5 Reasons to Buy Pre-Owned: From a Girl Who Doesn't Love Shopping and Rarely Shopped Pre-Owned
Updated: Oct 29, 2021
I have to be honest - I’ve never been big on shopping, much less going to antique and consignment type stores. So it’s a strange thing to start a business based on doing exactly those things. But since I’ve started this business I’ve grown to really enjoy the whole process and have found some major advantages to buying pre-owned.
It can definitely be a bit of a hassle buying pre owned. You have to be a little more flexible. There aren’t several different options of the same thing - whether it be size, color, material, etc. You can’t say "I’m running to the store to get ______". It’s a process that requires a little more patience. But it really does pay off in a BIG way. So, here are 5 advantages to shopping pre-owned and why it's become my go-to first option.
OUR FIRST DAY ON THE HUNT FOR ITEMS TO RESELL!
1. PRICE POINT
This one is pretty obvious but still has to be noted. If you're buying something pre-owned, chances are you're buying it for a fraction of it's retail value. Whether it be a pair of jeans, a piece of furniture, toys for kids, etc., you can find it at a steal of a price. We usually want things fast and easy and have grown accustomed to that type of consumerism, but if patience and flexibility can be practiced a bit, keeping some coins in our pocket is just one of the advantages.
EXAMPLE: I hate dropping $60-$70 on a pair of jeans. BUT I prefer jeans at that price point - they fit better, they're better quality and they last SO much longer. Too many times I've chosen price over quality and dropped $20-$30 on a pair of jeans, knowing I wouldn't like them as much and would eventually have to buy another pair anyway. My favorite jeans are usually from Express so I recently checked ebay for a pair of Express jeans in the style and fit I wanted. I couldn't find anything. But I kept checking back every few days and finally a pair appeared about a week later. I had to wait a bit longer than if I had just ran straight to Express, but I ended up paying less than $20 for a perfectly good pair of jeans that retail around $60.
2. UNIQUE FINDS
I like having things that are a little unique and feel a bit one of a kind. There's no better way to find that than going to thrift or antique store with not much of an agenda and just see what stands out to you. Chances are, it'll be something you weren't expecting and something you can't find just anywhere.
EXAMPLE: I was recently at one of my favorite consignment stores and stopped dead in my tracks at a couch. Honestly, I'm surprised I even liked the couch - it's not something I would ever search for myself and it's definitely not something you would see at your average furniture store. It was probably made in the 60's, had faux alligator skin and real cowhide (weird combination, I know). The details and accents were fantastic and it looked like a piece of art. I saw it and thought "that needs to be in someone's office who drinks whiskey and smokes cigars" ha! My mother-in-law and I stared and talked about it forever. It's not a thing I would buy, BUT where else do you find things like this?
And the couch was only a few hundred dollars! I know it's worth wayyyyy more than that. Unique, quality and a great price all wrapped up in one! Speaking of quality...
This one is a pretty big advantage - like the jeans, you're going to get better quality for the price point. I'm a pretty cheap shopper but prefer quality items, which creates a bit of conflict. I usually have to compromise on one or the other and for the longest time it was mostly quality that got the boot. Because, again, VERY cheap shopper. Shopping secondhand has allowed me the advantage of not having to choose price over quality and gives me room to have both! Buying quality is going to end up saving you in the long run in most cases. But the advantage to shopping pre-owned is you can see those savings in the short-term as well since you can often get quality at even less than retail prices.
EXAMPLE: I've been looking for a drum set for Maverick for his 3rd birthday. I didn't want a cheap toy one that would last a week or two and I DEFINITELY wasn't about to spend $100 or more on a thing he may lose interest in very quickly. So every day for about two weeks I've looked on ebay, marketplace, or offer up. Everything cost too much or was too low quality. The searching paid off JUST yesterday when I found one for $30 and was EXACTLY what I had pictured. I found it in Tampa and my parents are driving it up since they're coming for his birthday anyway. The search and wait was so worth it! Patience REALLY paid off here!
He even specifically said he wanted a red or blue one.
"the poor can't afford to buy cheap goods" - Yvon Chouinard
4. IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENT
This one I was NOT expecting to be an advantage for me. It's probably a sad thing to admit, but I honestly just hadn't really take the time to consider it. I'm not going to get in the weeds on this one because there is SO much to it and I plan on writing it's own blog post about it, but I had to mention it. And it really has given me pause to think about how and where and even IF I spend.
It all started with a book by the founder and CEO of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, Let My People Go Surfing. I got the book for different reasons but ended up having my eyes completely opened to how our consumerism impacts our planet. As a "reluctant businessman" (as he calls himself) and a person who literally creates clothing to be sold, he says "the most responsible way for a consumer and good citizen to buy clothes, is to buy used clothing". He encourages people to really stop and say "do I actually need this" and to buy things that are multi-functional so you buy less.
I'm for sure no expert on any of this, but with all the mills, the natural resources we have to take away, the synthetic ones we have to create that create toxins, the land we use up - we're making a serious dent in our planet. It's an overwhelming problem that we seem to feel we have no way of personally making a difference in, but the one act of looking to buy pre-owned first (even if it's occasionally), is less products that have to be created, makes us more responsible citizens and is better for our home planet.
"Buy less, buy better" - Yvon Chouinard
BUY IT USED ONLINE!
5. SUPPORTING AVERAGE JOE'S & LOCAL COMMUNITIES
This last advantage is definitely not least, as it's probably my favorite. I'll be the first to say it isn't always convenient or feasible to shop small or local, but the more I've practiced it, the more manageable it has become and the more pride I have when shopping. I don't feel like I'm throwing money into a huge pit of a rich man's stash, but am making an actual impact on people like us. I love Amazon Prime as much as the next person, but I have been trying to make more of a practice of pausing before I click that "Buy Now" button and consider other options.
Each time someone buys something from my store, I get just as excited as I did when it happened the first time. My husband and son both have food allergies so we mostly buy organic, real foods - and those costs add up every month. The first couple of weeks in doing this, I was able to cover our too large grocery bill with the extra income. So now when I buy a $5 shirt on facebook marketplace for Maverick or some toys for his birthday or some jeans for me - I know there's a real person on the other end of that purchase who just got a little extra cash in their bank account and gets as excited as I do. And I love being able to do that for others.
Another thing I have found that allows the money we spend to not only gain us what we want, is the impact it has when you shop at certain local thrift stores. So many are giving the funds back to the community. I shop at thrift stores who benefit churches, teens recovering from substance abuse, homeless communities, persons with disabilities, etc. It's a great feeling when you buy a few things for bargain prices and know that cash is going right back to groups you would probably donate to anyway.
My favorite consignment store doesn't have too bad of a view!
So, there you have it! My 5 favorite advantages to buying pre-owned that benefit you, our planet and others. This was an unexpected journey for me, but I'm glad I've found it. I won't always get it right, and I'm sure I'll fall into the trap of quick, cheap consumerism time and again still. But now I have reason to stop and think about what and how I buy, if I even need to buy, and have the opportunity to buy smarter. Sorry not sorry if this puts a knock in how you shop! :)