Saving Money Through Second-Hand
Monday, July 28, 2014
It helps to get (a little) entrepreneurial
It’s nothing revelatory to claim that you can save money by shopping second hand. However, there’s a good chance that you’re capable of saving more money – and getting better products – than you think when it comes to second hand shopping. You’d be surprised at the possibilities you could uncover with a bit of creativity and research.
As a personal example, my sister’s partner recently had to replace a broken smartphone. Rather than simply throw it out or recycle it, he merely put the phone on eBay (clearly stating that it was broken and could only be used for spare parts) and put the starting bid at 99 cents. Eventually, he sold his seemingly useless phone for eighty dollars.
Typically, when people think of saving money through second hand, they think of only one half of the equation – buying or selling. But, you can use both to greater effect. Another personal example; I recently bought an electric piano. A decent quality electric piano can set you back between $1,000 & $1,500 if bought brand new. To cut costs, I managed to find one second-hand for $400.
But, that was still a little rich for my blood. So, I found some old Nintendo game systems I’d owned as a kid and decided to sell them on eBay. While they were roughly twenty years old, I managed to make roughly $200 from them. My $1000 electric piano, through buying and selling second-hand, ended up costing me around $200.
There’s generally no cost to selling on eBay if you’re selling beneath a certain margin of price or selling for the first time. If you’re looking to cut costs and have some random things cluttering up your house, there’s no harm in sticking them on eBay and seeing if anyone bites. If you were going to throw it out and someone gives you so much as five dollars, you’re doing better than expected.
(My only advice would be to go in with no expectations as to price – give people a low starting bid and maximum time for other bids to drive up price. You might get nothing or you might go well. But, if you go in with high expectations for something you’re selling and demand too high a price, you could very well walk away with nothing.)
But, what if you don’t have anything to sell? You can still get a little creative with second hand. For example, there are multiple online locations people use to give away old furniture and belongings for free. Most famously, there’s Gumtree. There’s also Zilch. In both cases, people are often giving away things they’re simply too lazy to sell or throw out.
You might also want to look into the Freecycle Network. Freecycle is an international network of communities wherein people can post items and furniture they’d otherwise throw out to give their belongings a potential second home. There’s no cost to participate in the community at all. You just have to register and abide by the rules of the community.
If you think you’ll only find old junk through these outlets, I’d still suggest giving them a try. My home office consists almost entirely of furniture given away for free by a government-funded organisation when they moved location – and it was all given away on Gumtree. Again, it’s important to remember that a lot of what’s given away is there because people are too lazy to sell.
And, again, it doesn’t hurt to get a little creative and entrepreneurial. I could sell the desk I got for free for at least fifty dollars at any time, for example. It’s not a massive amount of money but we’re not starting a business. We’re just looking to save a little money. Next time you’re thinking of trying to scrimp some dollars together, have a look around and maybe think about second hand.