One of my favorite feelings in the world is having the money to buy something expensive – but not having to spend my money to get it. So when my editor asked me to scour the internet for used items to see how prices of used goods compared to their new counterparts, I jumped at the chance.
Shoppers who buy secondhand items at thrift shops save, on average, $1,760 per year.
Shoppers who buy secondhand items at thrift shops save, on average, $1,760 per year, according to a report by savings website Couponfollow.com. That’s money we can use to take a girls’ trip, plan a day at the spa or simply pad our bank account to give us some extra peace of mind.
There’s no shortage of digital storefronts where you can find used items online. Of course, all prices are subject to change, but here’s a little of what I found.
For items that are notorious for sitting in the basement unused (think exercise equipment), you may end up with a secondhand piece of equipment that is just like new.
|Item||New Price||Used Price|
|14K Gold Hoop Earrings||$140 and up||$30 and up|
|Ayesha Curry 12-Piece Cookware Set||$145||$110|
|Black Coach Crossbody Bag||$175||$135|
|Dior Designer Mid-Length Dress||$4,900||$495|
|iPad Pro||$799 and up||$230 and up|
|Maiden Home Warren Sofa||$2,350 and up||$1,730|
|Peloton Exercise Bike||$1,445||$500|
Before you pull out your wallet to see how much you can save:
Know when you’re better off buying new.
When it comes to items where there is a question of safety (such as tires) or hygiene (think mattresses and bathing suits), it’s better to buy them new and be the first person to use them since that’s the only way you’ll know their history. With items that are notorious for sitting in the basement unused (think exercise equipment), you may end up with a secondhand piece of equipment that is just like new. For electronics such as laptops, consider buying refurbished items, which are preowned products that undergo a process by a retailer to ensure they meet certain quality standards.
Have a game plan. The types of items you’re searching for will determine the sites you should visit.
- ·Online thrift stores such as Thredup.com, Swap.com and Thrifted.com let you find such products as clothing, accessories and shoes.
- Social media sites let you find items being discarded by friends, family and neighbors. In addition to checking sites like Facebook and Instagram, you can find items on platforms like NextDoor.com and Pinterest.
- Online marketplaces such as Etsy.com and Poshmark.com bring buyers and sellers together to make a deal.
- Sites dedicated to certain types of products give you a place to compare products by many different sellers. Do a web search of used appliances, used furniture or used jewelry to find sites dedicated to those particular items.
Understand your rights. The Federal Trade Commission requires sellers to deliver items when they say they will. If they promise they’ll ship it within five days, they must honor that. If they don’t say when they will ship it, they have 30 days from when you placed the order to do so. If they don’t ship the item by that time, they must give you the option of canceling the order or offering a refund.
Comparison shop. Trust me when I tell you there are a lot of bargain sites online. While I stuck with the ones that I’d heard of, there were plenty of others that had impressive deals. If you want to find the biggest bargain, give yourself time to compare.
Check out the seller. Some digital marketplaces post seller reviews where past customers can share their experiences. If a seller has a lot of complaints, whether it’s about late delivery or dissatisfaction with the product, use caution. If you’re buying from a used-merchandise website, do a search to see if there are any online complaints.
Ask questions. If you’re wondering about the condition of an item, ask the seller if they can send pictures. If you have questions related to hygiene – does the mattress have an odor? – ask if you can return the item if it does not meet your standards. If the seller isn’t amenable to your requests, keep shopping.
Note the refund policies. When you buy something online, there’s always the chance you may wind up with something different than what you expected. Find out in advance whether you can send the product back and get a full refund or if you’ll be responsible for restocking fees – a charge sometimes levied when merchandise is returned.
Pay by credit card. If you never receive your merchandise, you can dispute the charge and your credit card company will investigate the situation. If they find that you have been the victim of a scam or the retailer didn’t honor its obligations, you may not be responsible for the charges.
We owe it to ourselves to be masters of our money. No matter what we make, we can control how we spend.