How to Save Money by Buying Used

posted in: Shopping Tips

The reuse and resell market is booming, and it’s no surprise. Buying used is an excellent way for you and your family to stretch your dollars and reduce waste. Here are some tips on how to buy used.

Clothing and Accessories

1. Utilize online platforms to look for quality pieces

Buying used does not mean that you have to compromise on quality. Sites like Poshmark, ThredUp (click to get $10 to shop at Poshmark or ThredUp via my referral link!) The RealReal, and eBay allow shoppers to find beautiful items at a far lower price than buying new. Many of these platforms sell kid’s clothes, too! And, you can sell your gently-used clothing to these sites for cash or credit.

TIP: If buying designer items, don’t be afraid to ask for authentication documents so you can be sure that what you are buying is the real deal.

2. Shop in-person

If you’d prefer to see items IRL, check out local consignment shops or larger format stores like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. The bigger stores can be overwhelming, but take your time. Inspect items carefully and try everything on.

TIP: Always throw used clothing in the drying for at least an hour before wearing them. This will kill any critters that are along for the ride!

3. Buy in bulk

If you have small children, look for bulk sales on platforms like Facebook Marketplace. Sellers will often bundle items according to age.

TIP: Ask questions of the seller regarding the condition, styles, and brands. When meeting up with a seller in-person, exercise caution by meeting in a public place.

3. Check out retailers with resell options

Brands like Patagonia, REI, and Levi’s have their own resell subsections in support of their sustainability missions. While the Patagonia Worn Wear program isn’t necessarily secondhand clothing, Patagonia uses material from traded-in Patagonia clothing to make upcycled pieces. For a more classic secondhand store setup, check out REI Good & Used or Levi’s Secondhand for broken in pieces.  

Brands like American Eagle, H&M, and Gap have partnered with ThredUp to introduce pre-loved collections where customers can buy secondhand items from ThredUp in categories like kids, women’s, denim, and athletic wear. New items from past collabs will also be available. 


1. Buy used on Amazon, Best Buy, Target & Walmart

These popular retailers offer pre-owned and refurbished tech, including computers, laptops, headphones, phones, and gaming consoles.

TIP: Look specifically for certified/warrantied items in case something goes wrong. This applies especially to Amazon where you could be purchasing from a third party. Also, always familiarize yourself with return policies.

2. Use platforms like eBay, Backmarket, GizmoGo, Decluttr, OfferUp, Gazelle, Swappa & MPB

eBay, Swappa, and OfferUp carry lots of used tech items on their platforms. You often have the option to meet in person or have the item shipped.  

TIP: If meeting in person, meet in a public place and ideally bring someone with you.  

Decluttr, GizmoGo, Backmarket, and Gazelle are platforms where you can buy and sell secondhand electronics, like laptops, phones, and tablets. MPB specializes in camera and video equipment. These businesses purchase items from consumers, carefully inspect and repair them, and make them available for sale. There are more assurances in place when purchasing from one of these platforms versus buying from an individual seller.  

3. Go straight to the brand

Apple’s Certified Refurbished and Samsung’s Re-Newed programs allow consumers to purchase like-new warrantied products, and trade in their older products if need be.


1. Shop local

Places like Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, thrift stores, and consignment shops will have well-priced items, however, with the rise of resellers and the popularity of “vintage” items, some pieces may be priced higher than you’d expect. If a price seems high, Google the item to see if you can find prices for the same/similar items online.

2. Visit yard/garage sales and estate sales

Nothing beats a good “everything must go” yard sale where prices will be rock bottom! Estate sales are typically higher priced, but good finds are still available especially if you go on the last day. Local Facebook groups and NextDoor are good places to learn about nearby sales.

TIP: Spend the time to scrutinize each piece before purchasing. Ask for discounts if you find imperfections.

4. Don’t be afraid of DIY fixes but be realistic about what you can do

An item that you like may need a touchup or a repair, which is fine if you’re handy and you have the time. Avoid too many DIYs that potentially won’t get finished.

5. Go digital

If you’re more of an online person, sites like Chairish have used furniture. Etsy is another site to check out as it has unique pieces of upcycled furniture. The pricing on these sites can potentially be higher than in-store finds, but it’s worth a try if you’re looking for a unique piece to spruce up your home.

Another site to check out is Cort, which specializes in leasing furniture for office and temporary spaces, but they also sell the gently-used pieces that have been previously leased for deep discounts. You can visit their site, and enter your zip code to see what is available near your. Pieces are available for pickup or delivery. 

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This article appeared in its original form on It has since been updated.

Related post: How to save money when you shop


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Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who has specialized in smart shopping, personal finance, and retail for more than a decade. She has appeared on TV over 1,000 times; including Today Show, GMA3, NBC Nightly News, Inside Edition, and network affiliates nationwide. She has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn, and her expert commentary has appeared in Forbes,, Kiplinger, Yahoo Finance, and numerous others.