We're thrilled to present this smart Business Insider story here on Savvy!
It's no secret consumers have less cash to burn these days than ever before, but there are plenty of ways to save that don't require diving headfirst into a sales bin.
For some products, there's just no point paying full-price when you can find the same quality in a second-hand or used product.
Dropping hundreds of dollars for a new pet seems almost criminal when you get down to the cold, hard facts. There are thousands of shelters in the U.S. and sadly, between 3 million and 4 million of the cuddly critters that wander into their doors each year are eventually euthanized, according to ASPCA. While you're likely to encounter more mutts than anything, those of you who won't settle for less than purebreds are in luck. About a quarter of all shelter animals are purebred.
Textbooks can cost upwards of $200 for some science courses and for a pre-medical student with a full class schedule that could mean dropping up to a grand on reading material — per semester. For that, we compiled the ultimate guide to scoring deals on textbooks. Not only can you snap up used books at a fraction of the retail value but you can rent them as well.
Read on for more items you can buy used.
We wouldn't recommend going the used route on important items like car seats or strollers, but when it comes to clothing likely to get wrecked with smashed carrots anyway, there's no shame in browsing thrift shops or asking friends and family for hand-me-downs. Check out Swapbabygoods.com if you don't have a lot of friends with kids the same age as yours and you're likely to save big.
Like cars, new models of bicycles come out every season, which means you're likely to see older models pop up on sites for a fraction of the cost during colder seasons like fall and winter. If prices at your local bike shop aren't appealing, try Craigslist or eBay.
Before you buy online, be sure to use due diligence. If an ad seems fishy or uses a stock photo, the bike was likely stolen. Think about commuting to work on your new ride and watch your savings grow even more.
If you're not willing to hedge your bets on strangers or random pop-up sales, don't be afraid to ask family and friends to see if they're looking to get rid of any furniture. If this writer could manage to renovate her entire pad for under 800 bucks, so can you.
Check out FleaPortal and Collectors.org for a list of different indoor and outdoor flea markets in the U.S. Thrift shops like Goodwill and the Salvation Army both offer furniture, too, but be sure to call in advance because not all shops carry larger items like bed frames and dressers.
Fancy formal wear
Remember, no bridesmaid should pay full-price for a gown she'll only wear once. What you can't rent from sites like Renttherunway.com or Bagborrowsteal.com, check out consignment shops or thrifts stores for gently used formal wear.
For brides-to-be on a budget, check out the virtual racks on Recycledbride.com to score discount gowns and accessories that no one will ever guess were used.
Lucky fellas might score a tux for a fancy cocktail dinner and still be able to afford tailoring with the cash they saved by buying used. You can re-sell the garments you only wear once–just be kind to them so you'll get as much of their value back as possible.
The roof over your head
With the housing market still struggling, it might be a better idea to look for an older home rather than browsing new developments. Bankrate.com says existing homes are usually less expensive per square foot because of rising land costs, so your money will go farther.
There's a massive backload of foreclosed properties on the market, which could be good news for buyers. Realtors, homeowners and banks are probably more likely to be in the mood to lower their asking price if they're desperate to get rid of a certain property.
Before you head to over to Tiffany's, do your bank account a favor and consider this slightly less whimsical option: the pawn shop.
Trust us, not all those shelves are filled with broken appliances and handguns of questionable origins. The fact is that jewelry — especially diamonds — has a terribly low resale value. That's great news for the clever consumer who hits up estate sales or other resellers to find new bling.
If you're a girl in your 20s and you've never hosted or been to a clothing swap night with your friends, you are seriously missing out. Swaps are a great way to score designer gear you'd never be able to afford yourself.
If you're unimpressed by your buddies' fashion sense, then there are plenty of vintage or online swap sites like Bag, Borrow or Steal to quench your thirst for threads.
Scout shops first, either by checking out their reviews on Yelp or stopping by in person. If they seem unclean or have a reputation for crappy clothing, you're probably better off avoiding them. Nobody wants to dig in their pocket and find one of these little critters, do they?
Toys for your tots
Do your budget a favor and skip Toys R Us for these more affordable used options: Craigslist, eBay, Swap.com, or your neighborhood yard sales are a gold mine when it comes to finding cheap, but still usable cast-off toys.
Just steer clear of these toxic toys. Chance are your five-year-old probably won't remember whether the Tonka truck you bought him last weekend was used or not when he's 30.
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