The Power of Buying Second Hand and How to Do It Right

Topics: Reading time: 4 minutes

Consignment shops, vintage stores, and thrift shops all have a certain stigma attached that keeps many of us from discovering just how great they can be. It’s easy to think shopping second hand is only something people do when they’re in a financial bind or that the items are all low quality.

In reality, shopping second hand is an amazing thing. Not only does it save you money but you can find high-quality products at a fraction of the cost. More importantly, it does a world of good for our planet which is currently bursting at the seams with waste.

We’re constantly bombarded by messages telling us to buy more and more. In 2016 alone, Australian households spent $666 billion on general living costs including food, clothing, and gadgets. While some of these things are must haves like housing and food costs, other expenses could have easily been easily lowered by buying second-hand goods.

There are endless benefits to shopping second hand:

  • It’s more affordable
  • Your money stays within your community
  • You experience the thrill of finding something exciting
  • It’s eco-friendly!
  • There are always new things to find

You now understand the power of buying second hand, but how do you do it right? Let’s face it, walking into a crowded thrift store is intimidating. There’s a lot of stuff to sift through and how do you know if you’re getting a good deal or if you’re just taking home someone else’s unwanted garbage?

Like everything in life, buying second hand well takes practice. You likely won’t be perfect at it overnight. You’ll make some (very inexpensive) mistakes along the way but it’s still a great way to discover new things.

The thrill of thrifting is something only a select few know about and you’re about to be welcomed into the most money savvy, eco-friendly club around. Below, you’ll find tips for doing second-hand shopping right, from finding the best deals to sourcing quality. You’ll be ready to hit the shops in no time.

Shopping for Second Hand Clothes

First, let’s talk about how to tackle thrift clothing. This is something that most thrift store newbies find overwhelming, but it’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds. Because most of the clothes are already broken in, it’s actually easier to identify high-quality fabrics and garments.

Australians have a serious problem with fast fashion. Fast fashion is a billion dollar industry focused on the constant influx of cheap, trendy fashion that’s seen as disposable. This is wreaking havoc not only on our wallets but also on landfills. One in five Aussies has tossed clothing after wearing it just once. When you choose to shop second hand, not only do you save a garment from landfill but you avoid giving money to the big name companies fueling fast fashion.

To shop for second-hand clothes, first, identify any gaps in your wardrobe. You might be in need of new work clothes, for instance. Knowing what you’re looking for before you enter a thrift shop will help you cut down on the overwhelming feeling and the impulse to buy too much. From there, establish a budget. Some thrift stores are more pricey than others, while some even let you negotiate your price.

Once you get in the store, start with your size and section type. This is when it gets a bit tedious. Since things aren’t laid out in a clear order like they are in a traditional store, you’re going to need to do some digging.

When you find something that looks great, take a closer look. Are there any signs of wear? How’s the fit? Try the garment on and walk around in it to make sure it’s something you really feel comfortable in. Avoid buying things just because you know the brand. Remember, it’s about only getting what you really need.

Buying Second Hand Furniture

When you’ve become a thrift store fashion pro, it’s time to take on the world of furniture. This is something that most people see as a pricey investment but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, most of the store bought furniture today that comes in a box to be assembled is of lesser quality. You’ll notice a lot of cheap, disposable materials that don’t last.

Instead of spending money on poor materials, you could opt for something second hand that’s built to last. With some know-how, you could even score a great piece that you’ll love for years.

Like when shopping for clothes, make sure you know what you’re looking for. Start by identifying any hardwood or metal pieces. These are the most likely to last a long time. If there’s any fabric, consider reupholstering it if you don’t mind a little DIY project.

Next, check for signs of wear and tear. Is there a support system still intact? If there are minor scratches, can they be easily fixed? A fresh coat of paint or wood varnish can do wonders for older furniture, so don’t pass on something that might need a bit of care.

Thrifting with Confidence

In time, you’ll gain the skills and experience to be thrifting with confidence. Knowing how to successfully shop second hand will help you save money and the planet. Second-hand goods can often be just as good, if not better than items you find at traditional stores. Since so many things today are made quickly and cheaply, thrifted goods give you an opportunity to find things you really love at a price you can afford.

Are you working on a tight budget? Choosing to buy second hand will go a long way to saving you money each month. From there, you can put these funds towards debt or your own savings. To talk to our financial experts to learn more, contact Debt Busters today. We help you manage your money better so you can focus on the things you love.

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