Consumer IQ

How the Second-Hand Snob Saved Me Thousands on These 10 Used Items

thrift store

Do you buy used stuff? I do, and I’m proud of the thousands of dollars I’ve saved buying someone else’s refuse. I love to score deals using a variety of methods (haggling is a personal favorite), but the biggest reason I’ve been able to save so much money is because of The Second-Hand Snob.

The Second-Hand Snob wrinkles their nose at buying anything used, cringes at the thought of being seen at a thrift store, and gags just thinking about the time they unknowingly coveted someone else’s thrift store find.

The rejection of purchasing second-hand is a huge reason why the prices on used items can be so low, typically no more than 50 percent of the original price. It’s simple supply and demand: there are fewer people interested in buying used than people selling used items.

Thank you to all the Second-Hand Snobs of the world – you have saved me thousands of dollars. Please, I beg you, hold onto your fear of everything that doesn’t come in shiny new packaging. It sure makes being the Bargain Babe a heck of a lot easier!

Here are the best 10 used items I’ve bought – and how much money I saved.

Medela breast pump

A basic electronic dual pump runs about $300. I got mine for $20 off Craigslist. I was actually shopping for a changing table for my nursery, but the seller offered to throw in the top-rated Medela breast pump for an extra $20. Sold!

Savings: $280

2003 Mini Cooper

I purchased my Mini Cooper for $15,500 in January ’07 when it was still under warranty instead of splurging for a new model. Buying a used car made owning a Mini Cooper within reach because new models were running $25,000 and up at the time.

Savings: $9,500

Filing cabinet

When my husband and I combined households, we decided to merge our filing systems, too. We wanted a lateral, two-drawer filing cabinet.

Used wood filing cabinets are extremely rare in our area, so we settled for a second-hand metal one for $25 instead of purchasing a new one at an office supply store for $369.

Savings: $344.

Bicycle

My love of cycling dates back to high school, when I took long bike rides on the weekend with my father to get out of gym class (at a broke public school, this was the only way I could take a language and band.)

As an adult, I wanted a racing bike for triathlons and screaming down the mountains of Los Angeles County. I lucked out on Craigslist, where I found an avid cyclist who was selling off his collection of bikes to get knee surgery.

I snapped up his blue Felt T23 with 150 miles on it for $850. Just two years earlier he had paid $1,800 for it.

Savings: $950

Cashmere blend sweater

I hate itchy sweaters. I like to be warm. So grabbing a J.Crew cashmere-merino wool turtleneck for $22 at a local thirft store was a no-brainer.

Savings: $100.

15” Macbook Pro

I’m lucky enough to have a friend who upgrades his computer often and was willing to sell me his “old” laptop for ($750 + $43 shipping) a fraction of what he paid (about $1,700).

He also left his software on the laptop, so now I have access to dozens of top-quality programs that would not have been included with a brand new PC.

Savings: $950

High chair

We are old-fashioned granola parents who make our own organic baby food, put our baby in cloth diapers, and surround her with wooden toys.

Like her toys, we also wanted a wooden high chair. I called every baby consignment store in the state (luckily, I live in the smallest one) until I found one for only $25.

Savings: $60

Art

Instead of buying new artwork, I made a beautiful display from a family heirloom: a quilt my great-grandmother made from old feed sacks. All I had to buy was a curtain rod from Home Depot for $25.

Savings: Hundreds of dollars

Foyer table

I picked up a small table to drop keys and wallets in our foyer for just $5 at a garage sale. While the baby slept, I refinished the table in only a few hours!

The table is not high quality, but with a new paint job, looks tres shabby chic.

Savings: $90

Wedding shoes

Normally I shy away from buying used shoes, but when I spotted a practically new pair of silver Seychelles heels for $35, I couldn’t resist. Plus, they went perfectly with my wedding dress.

Savings: $55

My total savings from these nine items alone comes to $12,329.

What do you like to buy used?

Julia Scott’s blog BargainBabe.com has the best curated freebies on the web.