Skip to Content

What to Buy Used + the Exceptions


Great list of things to look for to buy used + what you should avoid buying used. Save thousands of dollars per year buying used!An enormous amount of our belongings are used.

For a lot of things, we try to purchase used before we buy new. It saves lots of money and helps avoid waste.

We buy used at thrift stores, consignment stores, and auctions. We’ve gotten tons of hand-me-downs from relatives too, which is awesome.

If you’re not sure what to buy used, check out this list of what to try to buy used and what to maybe avoid.

Also, when you’re trying to buy used, it can be hard to find specific items right when you need them. It can be helpful to keep a list of things to be on the look out for so that you have a chance to find them used before you have to have them and end up paying more for new.

What to Buy Used + the Exceptions


Thrift store and consignment stores are excellent for finding used clothing.

I prefer consignment stores because they tend to be pickier in what they put out, so you don’t have to dig through as much junk to find the good stuff. They can be a bit pricier, though.

We’ve had great luck finding men’s dress shirts and pants. Men’s jeans are a lot harder since most men tend to wear them until they’re dead.

I look for women’s dress pants, skirts, dresses, and cute blouses. I’ve found great jeans for myself at consignment stores that look almost new. Don’t forget about jewelry and accessories. You can find some awesome stuff!

You can find practically new kids clothing, too since kids sometimes grow out of clothes before they can wear them.

Exceptions: Undergarments, Workout Clothes, Yoga Pants, and Swimwear. Used underwear and swimwear just kind of grosses me out. Workout clothes and yoga pants can get stretched out, or they shrink funny in the wash, so I like to buy them new.

Related Posts:

Our Actual Monthly Budget: Less Than $1500/Month

7 Tricks for Simplifying Your Wardrobe

13 Ways to Not Spend Money


Most of our furniture is hand-me-downs or from a thrift store.

I stick with furniture that I can sanitize, like tables and dressers.

We have some upholstered hand-me-downs, but they’re from my parents, so I feel comfortable knowing that they are clean. I get the heebeegeebees about that stuff!

Exceptions: Upholstered stuff & mattresses, unless they’re hand-me-downs from someone you know and trust for cleanliness.


We never pay for new books.

We buy used books on Amazon and all the time. Most of the time they come to us hardly looking used at all. We also have an amazing used bookstore one town over that has a great selection.

All of my fella’s textbooks have come from Amazon.

We’ve even given used books as gifts. Last Christmas, my brother-in-law wanted a whole bunch of books. He was surprised and excited because we got him almost every book on his list! If we had gotten the books new, we could have only afforded a couple. Since we bought used, we were able to buy almost the whole list.

Used books cost so much less and look almost the same. You just have be careful about the smell. If someone was a smoker and had the book, it might still smell like smoke when you open it up (so if you buy books at the thrift store, open it up and give it a good sniffing first 🙂 ).

Tools + Lawn Equipment

Rakes, shovels, lawn mower, hammer, screwdrivers… It’s all hand-me-downs at our house!

Sometimes you can find antique tools that are practically invincible. I have some super old pruning shears that work better than any new ones.

Exceptions: Some tools with a cord or a battery pack might not last as long when you buy used.


The people on the Facebook resale sites around here are constantly selling toys. You can find some great deals!

Plastic toys can be cleaned up and sanitized easily. Bikes are a great item to buy used as well.

Exceptions: Something that would cause a safety concern or plush things that can’t easily be cleaned.


Picture frames, holiday decor, artwork, candle holders…

There is always tons of this stuff at the thrift stores, and some of it is quite nice.


Dishes and serving ware are so easy to clean!

Serving dishes can be so expensive and thrift stores are usually bursting with them.

Related Posts:

The Ultimate Guide to What to Buy at Aldi

13 Secrets to Saving Money on Food (while still eating healthy)


A brand new car loses thousands of dollars of value the second you drive it off the lot.

Within a year it’s only worth 81% of what you paid for it (and if you financed, you probably still owe more than that).

New cars a not a good deal at all.

We have always had cars around ten years old with fairly low miles. They have been affordable and completely reliable.

For more simple living inspiration,  follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram(for pictures of Mozzie and what’s for dinner 🙂 ), and/or Twitter. You can also subscribe via email in the right-hand column to get new posts sent right to you.

⇒ What do you buy used? And what do you never buy used? Underwear, right?

If you find this page helpful, please pin or share it :)


NZ Muse

Wednesday 27th of July 2016

Pretty much all of these things (not so much on tools, though!)

I love reading but I don't buy books - not really my style, owning. There are very few books I'd want to keep and re read.

Clothing and furniture are the two biggies. There's basically nothing new in our house aside from the bed and electronics. And I swear by thrifting, a serious chunk of my wardrobe is secondhand.


Wednesday 27th of July 2016

That's great! I've been owning less and less books. There are a few that I like to reread, but the rest I'm good with borrowing.

Latoya @ Life and a Budget

Wednesday 27th of July 2016

I absolutely love getting my books from Amazon. I hardly ever step foot in a store to purchase books anymore because you can often by books for less than a dollar on Amazon and even with the $3 shipping, it comes out cheaper. A few weeks ago I purchased a book for a $1 for a friend of mine and it was actually cheaper to ship it directly to her using the $3.99 shipping than it would have been to ship it myself. I'm a big fan of going to thrift stores too for books. I can't imaging paying regular price for books unless I personally know the author. In that case, I'll pay to support the artist:)


Wednesday 27th of July 2016

I totally agree, Latoya! We order so much from Amazon for gifts because we can have it sent right to the person instead of having to pay to ship it. Used books are usually in almost perfect shape!


Friday 22nd of July 2016

Great list!I really have to agree with toys and tools and lawn care equipment. My kids outgrow their toys on a weekly basis so I really see no point in buying them brand new ones except on special occasions. As for tools and equipment, these things cost a ton is bought brand new! A little patience in going through garage sales and scrutinizing second hand ones being sold online has really helped me save a lot of money!


Friday 22nd of July 2016

That's great Jake! There's an online auction around here where you bid online and then go pick up what you win and we've bought and sold lawn equipment on there.

Shani | Sunshine & Munchkins

Wednesday 20th of July 2016

We've always purchased pre-owned cars and it's been a great way to save money. We also bought used textbooks in college and then sold them back to the bookstore or on Amazon so we were able to recoup the cost at least a little bit. We have a ton of hand me down clothes for our kids--I think both of our kids lived in 90% hand me downs from family and friends until they were 2 which was a huge money saver since kids grow so darn fast.


Wednesday 20th of July 2016

Thanks Shani! We sell our textbooks back too. It's nice to get a little money back for them for sure.


Tuesday 19th of July 2016

Thanks for the insight! Furniture is one thing I struggle with buying used. It'd definitely need to be something from someone I know or that could be wiped down, like you said!


Tuesday 19th of July 2016

I know a lot of people are fine with used upholstered things, but I just can't do it. But I'm all about saving money with furniture I can sanitize :)