Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Why I Buy Used

How do we end up with so much useless crap? Why do people buy things they cannot afford (especially houses and cars). Why does society give such a big pat on the back to people getting out of debt? (I mean retail debt, not school debt, medical debt...). "Way to go everyone! You didnt charge up your credit card on useless crap and you exercised self control?! Congrats you are doing sooo awesome!"  Why does society seem to look down on those with less, automatically labeling those with small homes, people who have downsized, people who just don't care about how shiny and new their vehicles are? Perhaps it is advertising at its finest, making those who buy less and enjoy it feel "different?" How many of us are actually good stewards of our stuff?

Moving back to Texas was such a light bulb moment for me. Especially because we were in such a hurry that the movers had to literally throw random items from our house into boxes. Just imagine moving and not cleaning/straightening your house beforehand, not getting rid of anything you didn't use. There were toys with lamps, clothes, random office supplies just tossed in boxes. Unpacking JUNK really puts the important things into perspective.

So what if we can theoretically buy a more expensive [insert item here], do we really even want it or can we even use it? Its like this: If I could afford to buy a large bag of $6 candy every time I went to the store (say between the grocery store, gas station, etc. I go 3 times a week), and did that, it would be impractical. I do not need to buy the $6 bag of candy every.single.trip. But some might say "If I can afford it, why not?" I say lets STOP and think about what we are buying. Think about the price vs. the quality. Think about the actual need. This will cut down on a lot of excess purchases.

If you have visited this blog before, you know I love thrifting. Things are so awesome at the thrift stores, when I recently went mall shopping, the prices shocked me back to "reality" and I just couldn't bring myself to purchase anything. The idea that every time I buy something, I become part of the mathematical formula that is demand really makes me more conscious of my consumer decisions. Many stores have replenishment set up on a min/max system. Example: Store can have a max of 8 items, once people buy 4 of those, the computer kicks in and creates an order to fill the quantity back up to 8. (Did I mention my background in the corporate retail world?) Buying used means I am not triggering a replenishment order. Buying used means less packaging, less resources. Buying used means being conscious of what I bring into my home. How does the quality of used compare at lower prices than the mass market stores? I am not saying that I am boycotting the mall, or never buying at retail again. Its not about that. Thrifting, buying consignment, garage sale items is about being aware, and having fun. I enjoy digging around. I look forward to estate sales. I want to wear a 100% vintage wool cardigan while reading an old leather bound book. Do you buy used? Why?


  1. I love buying used. Almost all of my munchkins clothes is goodwill clothes. It makes more sense for me since its only 99 cents and he grows so quickly out of a size. So why spend more for less quantity when i can find great quality at goodwill? A lot of times I get lucky and find items still with tags for my munchkin and that doesn't change the price. Plus i think I get a thrill out of it. To see what hidden treasures I can find is so much fun!

  2. I also buy used all the time! Particularly with my son's clothes. Many times you can go to a thrift store and find clothes in PERFECT condition!

  3. Victoria, this is super inspiring to me. I am trying so hard to eliminate our clutter - and just not buy anything. For some reason, I find the habit of consuming SO hard to break. I think it's that I use little trips to the grocery or Target or the store to get my kiddos and I out of the house. I don't particularly love thrifting because I am not a patient shopper (probably because I typically have my kids with me). But I think I COULD be a patient shopper. I love all the reasons that you share for buying used and I'm going to try it again :)


Thank you in advance for sharing your lovely thoughts.