Thrift shopping en-US The 11 Best and Worst Things to Buy Used <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-11-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-used" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="secondhand bookstore" title="secondhand bookstore" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We often get what we pay for, and when it comes to certain items, some people wouldn't dare buy used. But while there are risks to buying someone else's trash, not every used item is a terrible buy. (See also: <a href="">31 Reasons to Love Thrift Shopping</a>)</p> <p>From a financial standpoint, some used items are just as good as (if not better than) new ones &mdash; it really depends on what you're looking for. So, before you conclude that new is better or worse, here are 11 of the best and worst things to buy used.</p> <h2>Best Things to Buy Used</h2> <p>Save money and get great stuff &mdash; these five things are always best bought used.</p> <h3>1. Books</h3> <p>Between eBay, thrift stores, and free e-book downloads, there's no reason to buy a new book. Unless you plan to re-read your favorite novel over-and-over again, it's pointless to pay full price for a book when you can go online and buy the print for pennies. Thanks to eBay, I've purchased two <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1599637324&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Writer's Markets</a> (both were less than a year old) for under $10, and I've scored other books that normally sell for $15 or $20 for under $5 including free shipping.</p> <h3>2. Houses</h3> <p>I definitely understand the appeal of buying a new construction home. You can design the home to your preference; new homes are typically more energy-efficient; and since everything's new, you don't have to worry about costly maintenance for at least a few years. However, there's a cost to buying new. According to real estate website Trulia, <a href="">new homes costs approximately 20% more than preowned homes</a>. If you're contemplating a new construction home with a price tag of $250,000, you can potentially save $50,000 by purchasing an older property with similar square footage and layout.</p> <h3>3. Cars</h3> <p>Sure, some cars hold their value better than others. But for the most part, new cars depreciate the moment they're driven off the lot. &quot;Drive a new car off the lot and it can lose 20% of its value,&quot; says And if this isn't bad enough, <a href="">most cars lose another 10% in value during the first year</a>. Since depreciation slows down after a car's second year, buying a car that's two or three years old is often a better buy than a brand new model.</p> <h3>4. Jewelry</h3> <p>Diamonds and other precious stones and metals are durable and can last for decades. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to spend thousands on brand new jewelry when you can buy used for less, especially since the <a href="">average retail markup for jewelry is 300%</a>. You're better off going to a pawn shop or another reputable secondhand jewelry retailer.</p> <h3>5. Timeshares</h3> <p>I've sat through a fair share of timeshare presentations, primarily to get free or discount tickets to Disney World and other attractions while vacationing. I've learned two things from these presentations. First, timeshares are crazy expensive. And secondly, you can save money with a resale.</p> <p>A company tried to sell us a timeshare for $20,000, and just as we were about to walk away, the salesperson said, &quot;What if we could get you a foreclosure for $12,000?&quot; It was an $8,000 break for buying a timeshare that was two years old. We didn't purchase, but if I'm ever in the market, resale is the way to go.</p> <h2>Worst Things to Buy Used</h2> <p>If you're ever tempted to buy any of this stuff used, just walk away.</p> <h3>1. Cribs and Car Seats</h3> <p>Baby supplies are expensive, and if you stumble upon a few finds at a yard sale or thrift store, you might jump at the chance to save money. But while baby clothes and toys are excellent items to buy used, you shouldn't buy car seats or cribs used. Car seats are only meant for one accident, and when you buy used, there's no way to know whether the car seat has been involved in an accident or damaged. You should also pass on used cribs. Between recalls and changing crib safety standards, you may unknowingly buy a crib that isn't safe for your precious one.</p> <p>For example, in June 2011, new standards set by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission <a href="">no longer allowed the manufacturing or selling of drop side cribs</a> in retail stores, yet you might find these cribs at yard sales or second hand stores. The detaching rails have been &quot;associated with at least 32 infant deaths since 2000.&quot;</p> <h3>2. Mattresses</h3> <p>I'm always amazed by the number of people I see picking up used mattresses on the street corner. Between the risk of a bed bug infestation, dust mites, and bacteria, a mattress is something that you should always buy new.</p> <h3>3. Shoes</h3> <p>There are two reasons why you shouldn't buy used shoes. Putting your feet in someone else's shoes can expose you to fungus, which can cause athlete's foot and toenail infections. Since shoes quickly mold to the owner's feet, buying a used pair may not result in the best fit, and this can cause more pain than comfort. Also, wearing improper fitting footwear can trigger problems with the heels, toes, and joints of the feet, which may require costly medical attention.</p> <h3>4. Electronics</h3> <p>I know people who only buy used electronics, such as laptops, televisions, and tablets. To each his own. You might get a device at an incredible price, but there's a chance that the previous owner didn't take care of the item. Between drops and spills, you could end up replacing the item sooner than anticipated or spending money to fix the device. If you buy used, purchase refurbished items through the manufacturer. (See also: <a href="">This Is the Secret to Buying Electronics for Cheap</a>)</p> <h3>5. Used Makeup</h3> <p>Yes, people do sell used make-up. I've witnessed this firsthand at yard sales and estate sales. But regardless of how new or clean makeup appears, or whether the seller &quot;only&quot; applied the item once, lipstick, foundation, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and other beauty products harbor bacteria. Don't put someone else's germs on your face.</p> <h3>6. Swimwear and Underwear</h3> <p>You'd think this was a no-brainer. But given that there's an entire section at Goodwill dedicated to used undergarments and swimwear, someone's buying these items. It doesn't matter whether you wash these garments in hot water, you don't want an item worn close to someone's personal areas to touch you. It's safer to buy new.</p> <p><em>Do you have other items to suggest that are better to buy new or used? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 11 Best and Worst Things to Buy Used" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping bargains buying used Thrift shopping used Wed, 13 Aug 2014 17:00:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 1183442 at The Greatest Frugal Fashion Makeover Ever: Refresh Your Wardrobe for $25 or Less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-greatest-frugal-fashion-makeover-ever-refresh-your-wardrobe-for-25-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="wardrobe" title="wardrobe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="172" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're all busy. When you're busy, it's hard enough to do basic things like eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise. Keeping up a quality wardrobe that lets you show off who you are in a fun, refined way often falls by the wayside. If money is an issue, it's even easier to let things slide, since browsing when you can't buy anything is just plain depressing. (See also: <a href="">10 Steps to Update Your Look on a Budget</a>)</p> <p>But all of us in need of a revamped wardrobe are in luck, because it's cheaper and easier than most of us think (or, at least, easier than I thought!) to refine your look and make sure you're saying what you want to say every time you get dressed.</p> <h2>Before You Shop</h2> <p>One of the best ways to revamp your wardrobe is to start with what you have. Think this is backwards? Let me show you how it works.</p> <p><strong>Analyze Your Wardrobe</strong></p> <p>Before you do anything else, look through your whole wardrobe. This means everything, including the clothes you have stashed away in the back of your closet. Look even at items that are too big or too small, as they can give you clues to what you like and don't like. Then, put all the clothes you don't like or that don't fit into one pile, and prep the rest for laundry.</p> <p><strong>Deep Clean Your Clothes</strong></p> <p>Depending on the age of your clothes, what they're made of, and your usual washing practices, you may need to do different steps here. The idea is to make your existing clothes look as good as they possibly can. Bleach your whites, and treat for armpit and other stains. Make your colored items pop and your dark items look crisp. Wisk DeepClean Power Blasts are known for helping with this project, but you can always treat stains with a Tide pen and add OxyClean to your detergent for all around cleaner clothes. (See also: <a href="">Defensive Laundry: 9 Ways to Help Your Clothes Last Longer</a>)</p> <p><strong>Revamp Tired Items</strong></p> <p>This can mean any number of things. Cover holes or stains that you can't get out with applique, patches, or handmade flowers; or <a href=";page=1">mend them</a>. Go over the stitching on boring items with a contrasting color, or add ribbon. You can even shorten or remove sleeves, change a hemline, or <a href="">restyle a T-shirt</a>. When it comes to revamping your clothes, you're only limited by your creativity.</p> <p><strong>Trade-In Time</strong></p> <p>Find a local consignment store that has items you'd like to own, and take in any clothes that you own, but don't wear, for a trade-in. Keep in mind that many consignment stores are choosy, and will only take clothes that are in good condition, made by name brands, and/or in the particular style that the store specializes in.</p> <p><strong>Host a Clothing Swap</strong></p> <p>If you like your friends' clothes, and you're all around the same size, host a clothing swap. There are <a href="">many ways to do this</a>, but the gist of the idea is that everyone comes together with the clothes that they don't want anymore and everyone gets to shop from the other closets. Anything not taken home is generally sent to a thrift store or donated elsewhere.</p> <h2>Shopping</h2> <p>Once you've done everything listed above, it's time to do a bit of shopping with your $25. It will help if you decide what you are looking for before you go, so you don't end up spending money on something you don't like or that will not be useful to you.</p> <p><strong>Shopping Second-Hand</strong></p> <p>One of the best ways to find quality clothes at a much-lower-than-retail price is to buy items second-hand. This takes some extra time and energy, as you often have to look through hundreds of items that you don't want to find a few that you do, but you can often buy several name-brand items for less than $25. Be sure to go to thrift stores when you have some extra time, so you won't feel hurried as you browse the racks. (See also: <a href="">10 Things to Look for Every Time You Visit a Thrift Store</a>)</p> <p><strong>Jewelry</strong></p> <p>If you generally feel good about your wardrobe but you just want to spice things up a bit, jewelry can be just the thing. <a href="">$25 can get you a decent statement necklace</a>, or a couple pairs of new earrings or a new bracelet. With a limited budget, you won't be able to buy a lot of jewelry or even whatever you want. With some patient searching, though, you should be able to find a piece or two that will help you say what you want to say with your clothing.</p> <p><strong>Scarves</strong></p> <p>Scarves are similar to jewelry in that they can change or enhance a look without much effort on your part. Again, you won't be able to buy many scarves or even every scarf you want, if you're on a limited budget. For <a href=";searchidx=20">interesting choices</a> (and often lower prices) try an ethnic market. African, Indian, Mexican, Native-American, and Asian markets often sell scarves in fabrics and prints that you won't find elsewhere. (See also: <a href="">Affordable Accessories to Kickstart Your Style</a>)</p> <p><strong>The Skinny Belt</strong></p> <p>A simple skinny belt, in black, white, brown, or grey, can add versatility to many outfits. Belt a shirt or a dress under the bust, at the waist, or low around the hips, for three <a href="">entirely different looks</a>. Experiment with what you like best and what looks best on your body. You may find that you like the belt worn several different ways, or you may prefer one or two. Either way, you've added versatility to your wardrobe.</p> <p>Revamping your wardrobe on a budget takes some focus and intentionality, but you'll feel better about the way you look when you're done. Don't be afraid to take your time so that you can figure out your style and what looks good on your body, and buy accordingly. Happy hunting!</p> <p><em>What are your favorite, frugal ways to freshen your look?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Greatest Frugal Fashion Makeover Ever: Refresh Your Wardrobe for $25 or Less" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Style accessories laundry new wardrobe Thrift shopping Tue, 13 Aug 2013 10:24:32 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 981038 at 10 Great Gifts From the Thrift Store <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-great-holiday-gifts-from-the-thrift-store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Holiday shopping doesn&rsquo;t have to be an orgy of planet-destroying consumerism. There is a very easy way to lower your carbon footprint, support your local economy, save money, and <a href="">give to charity</a> all at the same time &mdash; buy second hand gifts from your local thrift store. (See also: <a href="">10 Gifts Ideas That Cost Almost Nothing</a>)</p> <p>Even if you don&#39;t have thrift stores in your neck of the woods, several thrift stores have gotten internet savvy. <a href="">Goodwill has an auction site</a> that is similar to eBay and features a well curated collection of designer handbags, jewelry, musical instrument, vintage housewares, etc. Even if you do have thrift stores in your area, check to see if they have an online presence. Many boutique thrift stores in my area also post their best merchandise on Etsy or eBay. You can purchase through their online storefronts for convenience, or just use their online stores to do a little shopping recon before making your purchases in person at the brick and mortar store. Most places don&#39;t advertise that they also post items online, so it pays to ask.</p> <p>Because I love the thrill of the hunt, I go thrift shopping year around. This ensures that by November, I always have a stash of beautiful, second-hand gifts, ready to go. Since access to thrift stores and personal schedules vary, I&rsquo;ve put together a list of standard items that are readily available at just about every thrift store regardless of the season or the location. I&rsquo;ve discovered that shopping year around actually saves me time, as I usually stop in at thrift stores when I&rsquo;m doing other errands, as opposed to blocking out several hours of concentrated craziness at the mall at the end of the year. (See also: <a href="">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cashmere Sweaters</h2> <p>An upcycled cashmere sweater is still cashmere. Since I live in pricey Los Angeles,&nbsp;100% cashmere sweaters cost a whopping $3.99 to $7.99 each at my local Goodwill store.</p> <p>Be sure to check each sweater carefully for damage.&nbsp;Most of the time, I can find sweaters in pristine condition with just a little hunting. Less-than-mint sweaters can usually be refreshed with a new dye job or by replacing the buttons. Also, unlike a lot of luxury fibers, it&rsquo;s actually better to hand-wash cashmere in cool water versus dry cleaning, as the process of dry cleaning strips the natural oils out of the cashmere yarn leaving it more prone to breakage or bug damage.</p> <p>I use Eucalan, a fabric conditioner that is specifically designed for hand washing natural fibers, to clean everything from my vintage wool blankets to my &ldquo;luxury jeans.&rdquo; However, any mild baby shampoo will do the trick just fine. I do caution against using Woolite on dark clothes as it contains a powerful bleaching agent.</p> <h2>2. Knitted Items</h2> <p>Although I am a knitter and prefer to knit my own gifts, I&rsquo;m always shocked by the availability of beautiful, handmade baby blankets, afghans and table clothes priced far below the original cost of the just the supplies.</p> <h2>3. Framed Art</h2> <p>I cannot remember the last time I bought a new picture frame. Most thrift stores stock a lot of framed art. Teach yourself to ignore the often hideous artwork and just look at the frames and matting.&nbsp;Keep a list of items you&rsquo;d like to frame, along with their dimensions, in your phone or datebook for easy matchmaking. I prefer wood frames because they are easier to repair and repaint. (See also: <a href="">How to Buy Art as Gifts</a>)</p> <h2>4. Dinnerware</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Every thrift store has a gigantic collection of random china. If you have an eye for color and design, you can put together a gorgeous shabby chic set of mismatched-but-coordinating vintage dinnerware. This project usually requires a few trips to the store because you are looking for multiple pieces.</p> <p>I&nbsp;keep my eyes peeled for vintage plates, trays, and serving dishes that are in good condition and cost less than $2. Instead of buying plasticware at the grocery store or ugly take out containers, I used my thrifted dishes for food gifts. Bringing food to parties on a pretty, &ldquo;sacrificial&rdquo; plate saves your host time because your nicely presented gift can go directly on the table without replating.&nbsp;This also saves you time as you don&rsquo;t have to worry about getting your serving dish back if you leave the party before the bitter end. It&rsquo;s all the convenience of disposables, without all the trash.</p> <h2>5. Vases</h2> <p>Vases are another item that can be found in abundance at thrift stores. A beautiful $3 vase can turn a $7 bouquet you bought at the grocery store into a stunning host gift or housewarming gift. Thrift store vases are also a great way to cut down on the flower budget of your wedding or charity event.</p> <h2>6. Gift Baskets (the Basket Part, at Least)</h2> <p>Another thing I never buy new are baskets. Baskets make great reusable wrapping for all sorts of gifts. In addition to creating gift baskets full of smaller treats, you can also turn a basket into a stylish emergency kit for the car, attach it to your bike handlebars with zip ties for extra carrying capacity, or turn them into pet beds for your furry friends. Most thrift stores have a large collection of used baskets. Look for sturdy baskets that won&rsquo;t break down with a little scrubbing with soap and water.</p> <h2>7. Awesome Books</h2> <p>Bibliophiles already know that thrift stores are a great source of inexpensive reading material. Unlike used bookstores however, the staff at most thrift stores do not have the bandwidth to research the value of every book they put out on the sales floor. Therefore, it&rsquo;s still possible to find rare and valuable first editions of books shelved amongst the low-fat cookbooks and Tom Clancy hardbacks. (See also: <a href="">10 Unique Gifts for Booklovers</a>)</p> <p>Goodwill even operates <a href=" ">brick-and-mortar bookstores</a> around Southern California. Bookworms who do not live near a Goodwill bookstore, but would like to support the charity can shop online via <a href=";asin=&amp;isAmazonFulfilled=&amp;isCBA=&amp;marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;orderID=&amp;seller=A105ZQP2M5HOR9">Goodwill&rsquo;s Amazon store</a>.</p> <h2>8. Records</h2> <p>As a DJ with a radio show, I am constantly on the hunt for interesting vinyl. While the record selection at most thrift stores tends to be savaged by flocks of collectors, it is still possible to find gems in the record bins. Have your friends give you a list of artists or albums they are searching for. For example, I&rsquo;m on a constant quest for inexpensive copies of Nirvana&rsquo;s single for the song &quot;Sliver&quot; because there is a photograph of my husband on the back cover.</p> <h2>9.&nbsp;Dress-Up&nbsp;Bin</h2> <p>One of my favorite playthings as a kid was the dress-up bin that my mother kept stocked with ridiculous clothes, hats, and wigs she found at thrift stores. For under $20, kids can be outfitted for hours of play. The dress-up bin is also a great resource for last minute costumes for school plays, parties, and other events.</p> <h2>10. Costume Jewelry</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Costume jewelry is literally a mixed bag in a lot of thrift stores, as stores will pack handfuls of random jewelry pieces into plastic baggies. Often, the jewelry will need an extremely minor repair &mdash; a rhinestone glued back in or a clasp replaced. If you have good hand-eye coordination, even the most broken pieces can be cannibalized for their parts and reused to make other pieces of jewelry. There are many free YouTube instructionals about how to create <a href="">wire wrap links</a> or <a href="">restring pearls</a>. Look at <a href="">Anthropologie</a> or on <a href="">Etsy</a> for inspiration for how to mix and match vintage jewelry to stunning effect. (See also: <a href="">10 Awesome Sites to Shop for Affordable, Cool Jewelry</a>)</p> <p>One of my favorite pieces of jewelry is a brooch that is made of mismatched rhinestone jewelry that was originally owned by Lucille Ball. After Lucille passed away, her family auctioned off her <a href="">enormous jewelry collection</a> and raised millions of dollars for charity.</p> <p>There were boxes of broken costume jewelry leftover after the Christie&rsquo;s auction &mdash; single earrings, shoe clips, loose beads, etc&hellip;Instead of dumping these pieces, the Lucille Ball estate hired a professional jewelry designer to create one-of-a-kind jewelry that was marginally affordable to us little folk. I bought my brooch at a charity function for $45, but you could achieve the same look for far less.</p> <p>For everyone who is faint of heart when it comes to crafting, most thrift stores have racks of costume jewelry. Bring a magnifying glass with you to inspect for damage and look at labels. <a href="">Goodwill&#39;s website</a> is a great place to find high-end costume jewelry as well as gold and silver pieces at below market pricing.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Great Gifts From the Thrift Store" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Max Wong</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping frugal christmas gifts second hand gifts Thrift shopping Thu, 06 Dec 2012 11:24:31 +0000 Max Wong 955419 at 6 Reasons Why Used Is Better <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-why-used-is-better" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Yard sale" title="Yard sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="173" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This isn&rsquo;t a case of sour grapes; I really do prefer to buy used whenever possible. Maybe it&rsquo;s the result of being raised by frugal parents, maybe it&rsquo;s a too-intimate understanding of arbitrary retail markup and the subsequent depreciation, or maybe it just makes the most sense in a world that produces too much new stuff and throws away too much old stuff. Whatever the reason, let&rsquo;s explore my top six reasons why buying used is better. (See also: <a href="">To Buy or Not to Buy? Criteria for Thrift-Store Clothes Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>1. It's Less Expensive</h2> <p>First, and most obviously, buying second-hand is usually more budget friendly. From used cars to used jeans, the resale market can help you make ends meet. Garage sales, thrift stores, online classifieds, eBay, flea markets, and clothing swaps are all booming forums to source great used items for dimes on the dollar. You just have to know a bit about what to look for, be dedicated, plan ahead, and be willing to do a little digging.</p> <h2>2. There's Less Depreciation</h2> <p>Depreciation isn&rsquo;t just the value you lose on an item over time, it&rsquo;s also the value you lose on a new item the minute you remove the tags and toss out the receipt. I like to think of it as every consumer&rsquo;s &quot;thank you gift&quot; for paying retail mark-up and sales tax...thanks for nothing. Used items have already gone through that initial (and sharpest) drop in value. Items circulating in the used marketplace are priced closer to their real value and may even appreciate in value over time. Dodging that first step in depreciation is dodging a real bullet to your wallet. Don&rsquo;t underestimate it.</p> <h2>3. Items Are Tried and Tested</h2> <p>When I buy a shirt at a second-hand store, it may have been worn two or three months, a year, or maybe five years. It&rsquo;s been stress tested in a way that no new garment can be. If it still looks good and has worn well, then I know that trend is likely to continue. The same applies to nearly every category of item in the resale marketplace. By choosing items carefully and knowing the indicators of a quality product, buying used can sometimes be less of a risk that buying new.</p> <h2>4. It's Greener</h2> <p>I mentioned earlier that we live in a world with so much &ldquo;stuff&rdquo; floating around. Do I really need to help foster demand for new toasters, new lamps, and new flower pots? Isn&rsquo;t it wiser &mdash; and certainly greener &mdash; to use up what&rsquo;s already been manufactured? Now, before I get blasted for generalizing too much, there are a few <a href="">things that should never be purchased used</a>: safety helmets, car seats for infants and children, and (with the bedbug epidemic) most bedding. But with those few exceptions, buying used may be the greenest thing we can do for the planet.</p> <h2>5. The Quality Is Better</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s explore this line of logic &mdash; if used items tend to be older items and older items tend to be of a higher quality, then used items have a better chance of being well-made. Still with me? Maybe I&rsquo;m a cynic, but quality is slipping everywhere. Compare items made even just five or ten years ago with brand-new, and you&rsquo;ll see what I mean. With the exception of some electronics, buying used usually means opting for a more durable and longer-lasting product.</p> <h2>6. You're Providing Local&nbsp;Support</h2> <p>Typically, buying used is a more <a href="">local</a> activity than buying new. There just aren&rsquo;t many multinational corporations in the used-stuff market. Buying used is an activity more likely to take place face-to-face with friends and neighbors, and in a community setting. The result?<span> </span>When you buy used, you tend to support individuals, not companies. You toss just a little sand in the gears of the corporate marketing machine (and that&rsquo;s not always a bad thing).</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t be fooled &mdash; buying used takes more work, a more discriminating eye, a nearly clairvoyant knowledge of what you&rsquo;ll need down the road, and loads of patience. But the benefits are so significant that there are new converts every day. What better time to explore smarter spending strategies than in middle of a recession?</p> <p><em>Has buying second-hand become second nature for you? Inspire our readers by sharing some of your most amazing finds and biggest savings.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Reasons Why Used Is Better" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping buying used quality Thrift shopping Fri, 23 Sep 2011 10:36:33 +0000 Kentin Waits 714056 at 5 Ways to Snag Budget-Friendly Business Clothes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-snag-budget-friendly-business-clothes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Man in suit" title="Man in suit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="154" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Because law school is the academic equivalent to Thunderdome, my fiance recently interviewed for summer internships.</p> <p>Summer 2012 internships.</p> <p>Those interviews spurred a foraging expedition through our closet for the perfect interview outfit. She found what she needed, but we agreed that it was probably time to beef up our business collections. The rub is a familiar one &mdash; buying business clothes can get expensive in a flash.</p> <p>The challenges can multiply for under-employed or unemployed folks hoping to jump into the job market.&nbsp;Dress wear suitable for the office is often expensive, with a new suit or a couple of blazers costing a few hundred dollars. However, you don't have to rack up a bunch of debt to look the part. Here's a look at ways to track down budget-friendly business clothes.</p> <h2>The Internet</h2> <p>Dozens of online stores and clearinghouses offer inexpensive business clothes. <a href="">Overstock</a> and even <a href="">Amazon</a> offer affordable suits, business shirts, dresses, and skirts for generally 30% off. Dress shoes are often an expensive purchase, ranging in price from $40 to $100, but when you shop online for shoes on sites such as Amazon and <a href="">Zappos</a>, you can find stylish dress shoes at much more affordable prices. Shoes in particular are often worth the investment. (See also: <a href="">The Case for Expensive Shoes</a>)</p> <h2>Consignment and Thrift Shops</h2> <p>Consignment and thrift stores often have a great selection of quality items for only a couple of dollars. Thrift stores will almost always be cheaper than consignment stores, and you can expect to find great name-brand sports coats, dresses, and even suits. &nbsp;Most of these items are only worn once or twice before being donated, so you don't have to worry about additional wear and tear. Clothing at a consignment store is usually a little more expensive than what you would find at thrift store, but the quality is generally higher. You can always buy a little big and find a tailor you trust.</p> <h2>Hand-Me-Downs</h2> <p>Look for opportunities to pick up older, unused, or unwanted clothing from friends and relatives. Most people only wear their fine suits or sports coats a couple of times, and if your friends and family are willing to give their older pieces to you, save a few bucks by taking them. Just make sure that the clothes you are given aren't badly worn and actually fit well.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Store Closings</h2> <p>Due to the tough economy, many stores are closing around the country. If you notice that a local mall is going under or a department store is trumpeting its final days, be sure to swing by these places. You can often find name brand clothing for up to 60 to 75% off and even name-brand <a href="">accessories</a> to top off your outfits such as purses, shoes, belts, watches, and jewelry.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Discount Department Stores</h2> <p>You don't have to go to high-end department stores to purchase quality business attire. There are several stores &mdash; including JCPenney, Kohl's, T.J. Maxx, and Marshalls &mdash; that offer name brand clothing at discounted prices. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls almost always offer low prices, and JCPenney and Kohl's frequently have sales where business clothing can be purchased for 50 to 60% off.&nbsp;</p> <p>Don't ruin the joy of your first paycheck by having to hand it to your credit card company. Shop smart for your business clothes by avoiding high-end department stores. Look for quality clothing that will last, and also for pieces that don't need to be frequently dry cleaned. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Ways to Snag Budget-Friendly Business Clothes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Chris Birk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Shopping Style clothes suits Thrift shopping Tue, 30 Aug 2011 10:24:12 +0000 Chris Birk 679461 at Guerrilla Thrift Shopping: The 9 Laws of Profit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/guerrilla-thrift-shopping-the-9-laws-of-profit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="thrift shopping" title="thrift shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thrift shopping for profit isn't dead. Online auction sites built a cottage industry for many of us and then promptly created competition so stiff that we sometimes wonder if it's all worth it. Thrift stores operate like Rodeo Drive boutiques, now, and online buyers have seemingly limitless choices. But with laser-like focus and a broader base of knowledge, I assert that money can still be made from thrift shopping. Here are my nine laws for profitable thrift shopping in a tight market.</p> <h3>1. Know your suppliers</h3> <p>Understanding the local thrift market in your area is key to scoring the best items. What days do folks typically have <a href="" title="3 Proven Ways to Save Real Money at Garage Sales">yard sales</a> in your town? Unsold items tend to be donated to local charities the next day. Learning what days and times your favorite thrift store restocks can help keep you one step ahead of the competition. (See also: <a href="" title="Things You Might Not Know About Your Local Thrift Store">Things You Might Not Know About Your Local Thrift Store</a>)</p> <h3>2. Develop a primary and secondary shopping strategy</h3> <p>Realize that you are not alone in your quest to turn a buck from thrift shopping. If you live in an area of any significant size, there are dozens of folks you can reasonably call your competition. Beating them to the punch is the secret to success. Consider your shopping strategy. Do you browse casually or do you dive right in and hit the high-profit potential items first? Over time, I've started doing a quick turn around the store, immediately. This is what I call <em>primary shopping</em>. I hit the item categories that have the highest resale value first &mdash; before they can be cleaned out by other shoppers. This approach saves time, increases good finds, and helps me chill out for the next shopping phase. <em>Secondary shopping</em> is digging deeper into each item category &mdash; taking my time and shopping for profit as well as for personal items.</p> <h3>3. Stay one step ahead of the store</h3> <p>In the halcyon of the &quot;B.E.E.&quot; (or Before eBay Era) thrift stores were wonderfully naïve about the potential value of the items they carried. Now, stores research item values prior to sale and when in doubt, err on the side of &quot;enthusiastic&quot; pricing. This limits what you can reasonably profit from and limits the amount of profit. However, the stores' main business is selling high volumes of used items and they can't possibly stay ahead of every collectibles trend. Researching hot items and trending antiques is essential in discovering little gold mines of profit before the stores (and your competitors) catch on.</p> <h3>4. Become a generalist</h3> <p>It's wonderful to have a deep and keen knowledge of vintage bicycles from the 1980s, but then you are at the mercy of the vintage bicycles from the 1980s market. Become a generalist to broaden your base of potentially profitable items. I sell vintage musical instruments, Italian pottery from the 1950s and '60s, clothes, tools, shoes, rare Starbucks coffee mugs, and dozens of other items that I've come to learn about over the years. Use eBay to research the final sale price of specific items and create a mental list of what to look out for.</p> <h3>5. Check for quality</h3> <p>No great mystery here &mdash; <a href="" title="To Buy or Not to Buy? Criteria for Thrift-Store Clothes Shopping">always check</a> for missing buttons, stains, tears, and defects of any sort. It's easy to be blinded by the adrenaline of a good find. Remember, buyers typically want as close to perfection as possible.</p> <h3>6. Think like a business owner</h3> <p>Hardcore and longtime thrifters have a tendency to want to save items from the landfill or to reclaim and restore an item's use or value. This tendency is admirable on a personal level, but investment of too much time and energy on a single item reduces your profit. Begin to think like a small business owner &mdash; each hour devoted to the purchase, listing, and sale of item impacts your bottom line. Replacing a zipper on that vintage wool coat may give you a sense of personal satisfaction, but it could completely erase your profit.</p> <h3>7. Understand the changing market of collectibles and antiques</h3> <p>Like any market, the antiques and collectibles world is fickle. Tastes change, trends fade, and whole new aesthetics seem to blossom overnight. Mid-century modern furniture used to be set on the curb 10 years ago; now, it's one of the hottest categories in resale. Understand what demographic has the largest amount of discretionary income now &mdash; these are the folks to tailor your sales to.</p> <h3>8. Capitalize on trends</h3> <p>A recent eBay search under the key words &quot;Mad Men&quot; resulted in 2657 items for sale &mdash; in vintage clothing. The Mad Men TV series phenomenon is just one example of a hot trend you can profit from. People are going crazy for vintage wingtips and classic hats à la Don Draper. Expand the search to include house wares and there are even more items &mdash; whiskey glasses, decanters, office accessories &mdash; all with the signature look reminiscent of the '60s style. Though it may mean being a little more plugged into pop culture than you'd like, embrace trends and stay ahead of the curve to increase profits. Don would agree.</p> <h3>9. Resist the urge to collect</h3> <p>Thrift shopping is in my blood. My mom got me hooked at the ripe age of seven and I've been an avid devotee ever since. I've built collections and sold collections, I've stumbled on treasures I swore I'd never part with only to sell them six months later. In the current rarefied atmosphere of thin profits and high competition, I've decided that collecting is just a distraction that bleeds time and muddies the waters. I do, of course, keep an eye out for items that I need personally (just picked up a great Chemex coffee maker the other day for $6.00). For the most part though, I thrift shop to make money while doing something I love. Resist the urge to collect (or collect temporarily), enjoy the items, and then liquidate at a profit and begin again.</p> <p>Whether you're thrifting to supplement your day job or add another source of income to ease the budget a bit, don't forget to have fun. After all, thrifting is a way to make some cash while avoiding the cube farm and those painful Monday morning meetings. Grab a cup of coffee, hit the streets, and thrift on!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Guerrilla Thrift Shopping: The 9 Laws of Profit" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Extra Income articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Extra Income online auctions selling on ebay Thrift shopping Tue, 21 Sep 2010 12:00:06 +0000 Kentin Waits 241686 at