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Friday, December 20, 2013

You REALLY need to buy your stuff used. Seriously.

I have been involved in reselling used goods for over 10 years. Through Garage sales, Craigslist, eBay, thrift store, and currently running a live auction company, I have seen a lot of stuff come and go. Never has stuff been cheaper to buy than right now. Because of the current economic climate there are a lot of people looking to sell their stuff, but nobody is willing (or able) to pay as much as they did a few years ago. So the combination of an surplus of supply and a simultaneous precipitous drop in demand is really squeezing market on used personal good.

Right now you can get used goods for literally pennies on the dollar. I have been buying and selling almost exclusively used items that I will occasionally get shocked by how expensive these things are to buy new. I just can't believe that people are paying these prices when you can get the EXACT Same thing used for many times less than 5 or 10% of cost of a brand new item.

I was in the grocery store and saw that a brand new basic plastic spatula was selling for $5.99!

Six Dollars?! That represents almost an entire hour of human labor at minimum wage! No more than a week earlier at one of my auctions an ENTIRE BOX of kitchen supplies and utensils sold for $2.50!  This was a box that office paper came in, so it wasn't a tiny box. It had spatulas and all manner of  other utensils, measuring cups, you name it.

Both my girlfriend's car and mine are going to need new brake pads soon, so instead of paying the $120 bucks an axle or whatever it is they charge these days, I planned on doing it myself. I just needed a pair of jack stands. The absolute bargain basement set I could find brand new were a sale of $15 from Harbor Freight for a no-name brand. Actually cheaper than I anticipated, but I figured I could do better, and I didn't need them right away anyway.

This past weekend at a garage sale I found a pair of Craftsman Brand (guaranteed for life) jack stands purchased them for $5. So I got a much higher quality set for 30% of the cost of the cheapest generic set I could find. And that is par for the course with used goods right now!

So if you have things that you need/want, do your self a favor and make a list, and carry it around to garage sales and auctions and thrift stores. Not only will delaying the purchase initially probably make you find out you don't need the item after all, but if you do buy it you will pay WAY WAY less!

The following categories are where you can get the most insane deals right now in my experience:

  • Clothing and shoes - as a seller it is hard to GIVE clothing away
  • Books - Same here. I scoff at sellers trying to get more than a dollar per book, and usually it's $0.25
  • DVDs - $1 each is totally common
  • Last-generation electronics - I'm not talking about VCRs and 8track players, but even stuff that is only a year or two old is hard to even give away - mp3 players, original ipods, cd players, dvd players, laptops and computers, tv's etc. 
  • kitchen and household goods - more stuff that is hard to give away. 
  • Tools - You won't usually find as insane deals on tools as you will on the above categories, but the difference between brand new and used is still so enormous you have to see it to believe it. You can usually expect to find quality brand name tools for less than the cost of new, inferior tools. and trust me, you don't need wrenches, screwdrivers and clamps to be brand new. Why pay twice as much for a tool that is inferior in every way except for how shiny it is?

I see no reason why this trend is going to reverse any time soon, so please don't waste hard-earned money paying the 'new stuff' premium! 

-The Money Monk

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