My year of buying only used: part two
In January, as a 2015 resolution, I vowed to renounce new purchases and buy only previously-owned for a whole year. Tall order? Yes indeed, but a fun challenge nevertheless. It’s one that has generated lots of questions and musings amongst friends and further afield.
I write this as my first quarter of “nothing new” has come to an end, and what a peculiar quarter it has been.
I began January finding myself browsing aisles of stores I wouldn’t usually go into; gently caressing yoga mats in London Drugs, fervently comparing prices of tea cups in the dollar store, “mmmm that fresh-from-the-factory scent.” It was nothing but wrong and I had to get a grip of myself. But I REALLY needed to shop. Then fate intervened.
On February 5, after playing some all-star netball, I took and threw a ball only to land and fully rupture my achilles tendon. Hello 10 weeks in bed, goodbye idly walking store aisles. In fact, goodbye walking.
Funnily enough, some thought this would be where my “all used all the time” mandate would end, but it has, in fact, had quite the opposite effect. Because, when you can’t physically visit stores, what is there to do but SHOP ONLINE! There is nothing more convenient.
Shopping exclusively online and shopping only secondhand has meant that Used.ca has been my best friend and because of that, I have made some crazy savings and also really felt the warmth of my community. People have held items for me, delivered items for free, and, as in the case of the iMac I bought, the fellow refused to sell it at a higher price to other people who were making bids.
How did I get such great deals? Well the fire tools I had on an email alert so I was likely the first to know they’d gone on the site. The backpack and dining room chairs were found by good old fashioned scrolling. To get the chairs, I ran a filtered search, in the Household category, for “dining chairs” and “dining room chairs” at a specific price point, twice a day.
Having the time to browse a Used.ca site has meant I’ve upped my buy and sell game, so here are my top tips:
- Use email alerts – if you don’t have time to browse twice or more a day, use the alert system that emails you when your wanted item goes on the site. Occasionally people who ride the latest ads tab still get there before you, but not often.
- Don’t barter – if you really want something don’t barter, just be glad you found it and grab it while you can. This especially applies if the item is trending. I managed to get a trending item despite hundreds of people seeing the ad, quite simply because I didn’t barter. I asked if it was available to collect the following day and said I’d be there. I was the convenient choice in a sea of inconvenient questions.
- Do barter – here’s a trick for you, on the Used.ca sites, underneath the ad content, you will see an ad number and then “Posted,” this will show you when the item was originally posted, if this date is over a month ago, it means the item has been renewed, so it’s been waiting on the site for over a month – definitely an opportunity to make an offer.
- Filter your search – filter by radius, by price and hide commercial sellers and wanted ads.
My savings this quarter have been huge and because of my situation, there have been no frivolous purchases, everything I have bought I’ve been genuinely meaning to buy.
I know some folk were going to challenge themselves to also buy as many used items as possible this year. I’d love to hear from anyone who has grabbed a great bargain or changed their buying habits.
Until next time!