In the world of saving money and reducing expenses, the same recommendations seem to be written about over and over.  Cut out your cable, find a cheaper cell phone plan, call your insurance agent for a discount.Another one that I think is overlooked is buying some things used. It’s amazing how many times we just hop online or head to the store when we need something, instead of considering whether we can find it less expensively elsewhere.

But what if you ALREADY do or have done all of those things?  And yet you still thing nothing about running to the store to buy a new _________ with little thought or planning?Another one that I think is overlooked is buying some things used. It’s amazing how many times we just hop online or head to the store when we need something, instead of considering whether we can find it less expensively elsewhere.

Our approach probably comes largely from my hippie-esque background, and my absolute hatred of throwing good items away and filling up landfills.  So, I tend to want to donate/pass on/sell most of our belongings after we’re done with them.

But that said, I make a good salary.  There is a certain level of spending that seems to be expected in our society, if your income is relatively high.  In fact, I can remember, before my son was born, being at one of the mommy-to-be classes and listening to the other new moms talk about their nursery budgets.  One was talking about the great deal she’d gotten by ONLY spending $3,000 on their nursery furniture.  Another was bragging about how much her stroller cost ($650).  I remember thinking at the time that I must be crazy, because while I had absolutely budgeted for stocking up on diapers, clothing and other baby necessities, a budget for decorating the nursery hadn’t occurred to me.

At some point, my then-mother-in-law timidly asked me whether I would be willing to take hand-me-downs from her daughter’s son.  In the same sentence, she mentioned that she was “sure I wouldn’t want anything used, with how much I make.”  Um, really?  Perhaps I’m just too practical for that, but it amazed me and made me wonder if I came across as too uppity or snooty somehow for hand-me-downs.  Hello….little boys go through a TON of clothes. In fact, my son sometimes skipped clothing sizes entirely, or wore one for less than a month.  Which meant, if we had bought everything new, a lot of it would have gone unworn.  So, I smiled and said that yes, I thought it only made sense to pass on clothing, and that I would be sure to pass it on again when we were done with it (and then I was blessed with SIXTEEN boxes of clothing – but that’s another story entirely).

Now, my attitude on a whole host of things we “need” (typically, they’re really wants, not needs) is that we can probably find it at the local Goodwill or on Craigslist.  Particularly household items, furniture, etc.  It’s amazing how many times we just hop online or head to the store when we need something, instead of considering whether we can find it less expensively elsewhere.

For example – we recently realized we needed doggy stairs to help our aging pups get up on our bed. I hadn’t made it a priority yet, when we were driving past a garage sale and noticed a brand-new set of pet stairs that matched our decor. I hopped out of the car assuming they’d be asking $20-$30 (a new set from PetSmart is around $75). The lady having the garage sale wanted $3! It was a perfect solution to our problem and prevented us from totally unnecessary spending on a brand-new set of pet stairs. This set was ridiculously inexpensive, but they can be found regularly on Craigslist for $15 to $20 – which is still 2/3ds less expensive than a new set!

As I look around our home, there are a great many things we acquired this way.  Need a new shoe rack?  Yep, $2 at a garage sale, instead of $20 at Walmart.  *I should note – there are items I love around our house that we absolutely paid full retail price for (or perhaps full retail minus sales and coupons!).  But, more often than not, I realize that we could have re-used or re-purposed something, or acquired it from someone else.  And guess what – each time we make the $2 decision instead of the $20 decision, it’s more money that can go towards paying off debts and achieving our goals!

A final reason to trade-in your store credit cards for a trip to Goodwill?  When you’re done with the item, you can re-sell it or donate it guilt-free, without worrying about that $100 you’re losing on the shirt you never even wore!

And a single, last-ditch effort to convince you it’s not always necessary to buy new – did you know about Amazon Warehouse Deals – Deep Discounts on Open-box and Used Products?  We’ve had great experiences with buying Warehouse Deals, typically something someone bought and returned, at a 20 – 30% savings!

Any other ways you avoid buying new?  Please share!