Save Money and the Environment By Buying Second Hand

Fabrics on a market stallI love to buy things second hand.  Not only do I save a significant amount of money, but I also keep those still useable items out of the landfill.  I’m in good company with my love of all things used.  Just look at the many people scouring garage sales in the summer.  Likewise, thrift stores are always full of people.

If you think buying used is just for people who are on a tight budget, think again.  The most famous large family, the Duggars, routinely buy as much as they can used.  Their motto is “Buy used and save the difference.”  Yes, they have 19 children, but I’m guessing they make a fair amount of money from their television show.  While they may have had to buy used in the early days of their marriage, they now likely have enough money to buy new, but they choose not to.

Buying used isn’t just for those who want to save money.  It can also be great for those who care about the environment.

The Items We Typically Buy Used

Our home is filled with items we bought used.

Kitchen Appliances

Over the years, we’ve had a variety of used kitchen appliances.  What I love about buying used appliances is that the item is likely to stand up to wear and tear.  After all, it’s already been used by another family.  Many small appliances now break after only a year or two of use, but older ones tend to be more durable.

Blender Fifteen years ago, I bought a blender at a garage sale for $3.  We’re still using it today, though it needs to be replaced soon.  I’m going to try sharpening the blades before I give up on it completely.

Toaster Oven I bought a toaster oven at a garage sale for $2.  This little baby worked great, especially on summer days when I didn’t want to heat up the whole kitchen by running the regular oven.  We got rid of this when we moved, so I only owned it for about five years.

Mixer I would love to buy a Kitchen Aid mixer, but that’s not yet in the budget.  Instead, I settled on a garage sale stand mixer I found for $10.  The mixing bowls are glass, and they sit on a little spinning wheel.  The spinning wheel doesn’t work really; I have to rotate the bowl with my hand, but I can’t complain considering the price.


About half of my children’s clothing is bought used, and about 75% of my husband’s and my clothing is used.  I lost a lot of weight last year and dropped 6 dress sizes in less than a year.  Rather than spending money buying clothes in a new size every few months, I bought at garage sales and thrift stores.  I saved hundreds of dollars this way.


We’re fortunate to have an aunt and uncle who love to have the latest electronics and cameras.  Just this year we were able to purchase their very nice camera for $150 and their iPad mini for $100.  I love buying electronics this way rather than paying the high sticker price.

I don’t mind waiting to get these items used, and I don’t feel like we have to have the latest version to benefit from them.


We have bought a few pieces of furniture new such as our couch.  However, the majority have been bought used.

Kitchen Table We bought our first small kitchen table used for $25 fifteen years ago.  That table now serves as our homeschool table.  Just last summer we were able to buy a beautiful dining room table and six chairs for $50.

Bed For many years of our marriage, we slept on a futon mattress.  My mom got a new bed a few years ago, so we bought her old bed frame and mattresses for $50.

Buying used has saved us thousands of dollars over the years, but even more importantly, doing so has kept many of these items out of the landfill.

Do you buy used?  If so, what are your favorite items to buy?



Save Money and the Environment By Buying Second Hand — 3 Comments

  1. The only thing I buy in charity shops (they are second and sometimes third hand) is old china and wooden furniture. For some reason I’ve never been able to bring myself to buy clothes there. As to electronics, I am an early adopter.

  2. Much of our furniture and a lot of our clothes were bought used. It was mostly to save money, but the fact that it helps the environment is a bonus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I appreciate your readership and really enjoy hearing your thoughts on different topics. Thank you for contributing to the discussion.