The last few years have been tough on a lot of people. When you have to make that unfortunate decision between putting food on the table vs. replacing a worn-out piece of furniture or a broken down appliance, food wins every time. But, you’re still stuck with whatever it is that needs replacing. If you’ve become a frugal person, you need alternatives.
Where can you buy relatively expensive items in good condition – but for little (or maybe no) money? While there are many other places than what is listed here, these five are the most frequently used. By allocating a little time to do some searching, it’s possible to find tons of like-new products, for little or no money. Believe it or not, frugal buying can be fun.
eBay and other Online Auctions
Do a Google search for online auctions. You will find there are hundreds of auction websites that allow bidding for products. We are all familiar with eBay.com, but it’s not the only one – just the most well-known.
The biggest problem with eBay, as well as other auction sites, is that shipping costs can be quite high if you win a bulkier item like an appliance. This will most likely negate any savings you got from winning a low bid. It is possible to find auctions with free shipping or shipping discounts, but quite often you’ll have to bid higher or settle for a buy-it-now listing.
Local Estate Auctions
You can also look for actual (real) auctions. Mostly, these come along as estate sales where you’ll find a lot of stuff being sold at far less than the market value. Treasures abound at these auctions – mostly items that you can no longer buy in a store. If that’s what you need, then estate auctions may be just the ticket.
Check your local newspaper as auctions are usually advertised in the classified ads. If your newspaper has an online presence (most do), then you can sometimes sign up for email or RSS notifications when these auctions come up. Some newspapers may even include special coupons as a bonus.
Second Hand or Goodwill Stores
A lot of the merchandise you find in second hand stores is junk, but there are times when you can find quality merchandise at great bargain prices. The secret here is that you have to check these stores on a consistent basis. New merchandise is being picked up or dropped off and put on shelves daily, or at the very worst, weekly. Some trips to these stores result in nothing, but other times you can find lots of quality items.
Make a point of visiting your favorite local second hand store on a regular basis. Check the yellow pages for a listing of “Second Hand” stores in your area. Find one you like, and make it your “go-to” store.
Yard Sales and Flea Markets
Personally, I hate yard sales. Too often the merchandise is someone else’s junk, and regardless of what they say, one person’s junk is not always another person’s treasure. But, I can’t argue the fact that you can find great bargains at local yard sales. The same goes for and flea markets. You may have to devote a Saturday to looking around until you find what you want, but sometimes it is worth it.
Check your local paper for upcoming yard sales and see what they list as available. You can also find yard sale listings in your local ads magazine (almost every community has one), or by visiting Craigslist.com and/or BackPage.com
Freecycle has spread to many cities, and there may be one in your area. The idea is to combine “free” and recycling (hence Freecycle). People list things they no longer want or need hoping that someone else can use them. At Freecycle it’s possible to find anything from free furniture and clothing to free computers and other electronic gadgets.
You can also place a “wanted” ad in hopes that someone will see it. Don’t hold your breath thought – it may be months before someone has what you want. But, that goes with the frugal journey, I guess.
Visit Freecycle.org to get hooked up with a local group. As with Craigslist, you may have to go with the largest local city or region.
Honorable mentions: Craigslist and BackPage
Craigslist.com and BackPage.com always have great deals on certain items, and quite often you can find free stuff from people don’t want to bother with selling. It’s critical to respond as quickly as possible, though, because there are thousands of people who practically “live” on Craigslist. I’ve seen great items hit Craigslist only to be gone 15 minutes later. The “early bird getting the worm” is absolutely true for Craigslist and BackPage.
The best approach to using Craigslist (I’m not as familiar with BackPage) is to be constantly searching for the item you are after. Recently, I was able to pick up nearly new tires for my truck at $50 each – normally I would be spending $150-$200 each for the same tires. Thank you Craigslist.
This article was sponsored by cheap furniture online.
- eBay versus Craigslist(cheapogroovo.typepad.com)
- Yard sale shopper tips(examiner.com)
- New vs Used: 8 Things You’re Better Off Buying Secondhand(smartasset.com)