I am a big fan of buying used to save money. On average you usually end up paying no more than .40 cents on the dollar versus retail. Often the price is even lower at garage sales where people are just trying to rid themselves of years worth of stuff for little money. Where do you buy used?
Second hand stores
$40 Abdominizer bought on Kijiji
We have had very good luck both buying and selling on Kijiji.
boat motor and trailer
large Ikea picture
brand new area rug
high end massage chair
executive desk and cabinets
boat, motor and trailer (yes, same one as above list-turns out we are not boaters!)
children's captain's bed
couch, chair, lamps, coffee table set
The basic advertisement on Kijiji is free which makes it a great marketplace with no cash outlay upfront. If you wish to have your advertisement posted at the top of each page you can pay more. We have purchased the second option when selling large items like vehicles and boats. We have sold 100% of our items listed on Kijiji, most within a week. I highly recommend it as a great used marketplace of goods. Kijiji especially works well in major cities and often a map location of the item is given in the ad so you know if you have to drive across town or not to pick up your goods. We ensure that items for sale are spotless and like new condition and ensure multiple photos are included in our advertisement.
When buying, we always feel more comfortable if two of us go for safety sake. I highly recommend it and have had only positive experiences.
$2 container found in thrift store
I am a thrift store addict, although I usually only come home with one or two items per shopping experience. Thrift stores are the one place you can go on a shopping spree and likely will still have change left out of your $20 bill at the end of the day. I usually buy books, clothes and art. Books are the best deal with my local goodwill even organizing their large book room into fiction/nonfiction/alphabetical by author. You can't get much closer to a regular book store than than. I only buy books that are in excellent condition and clean and stockpile my favorite authors until I have time to read. Although the library is free due to my schedule I find it easier to buy books and then pass them on to my Mother who tends to read the same kind of book. She then resells the books at her flea market table and the used circle continues on. I have been very lucky finding nice art at thrift stores and always look for one of a kind pieces versus mass produced art.
In terms of clothing the best buys are often jeans, dress pants and dress shirts used for my work wardrobe. All items are immediately washed upon getting home and once pressed you cannot tell I bought them second hand. Due to my own hibijibi limitations I stay away from shoes and undergarments...although others may have no such hangups. They do seem to have a large variety of shoes there and often in very good condition.
$3 Hamster house, accessories & ball from garage sale (excluding hamster Chewy)
I love garage sales. Our garage sale season in Edmonton is usually limited to May to July. Items purchased in the last couple of years at garage sales include:
dolly (for lifting)
Kitchen strainers and bowls
stop and go traffic light for our garage (purchased by hubby, for me - least liked garage sale item!)
television stand for kids room
You have to go with a few bucks in your pocket cash and zero expectations. Some garage sales are so terrible you can't find a single item to buy. The very best garage sales are those where someone is not trying to make money and just trying to get rid of their stuff. Often you end up finding several items to buy at that kind of garage sale. My motherinlaw has a garage sale every two years as her entire town has a garage sale that day (Mundare Alberta, usually first weekend in May). I volunteer to help her as we always sell 95% of what we bring due to very large crowds. I also sneak away to scope out great deals at nearby garage sales). My step-daughter has now learned how to bargain from garage sales and has no problem what so-ever buying used (she is 12).
I seem to have less luck on used items and more luck on eggs/cool jams/baked items every time I go to a flea market as usually the sellers are trying to make money and have marked up the items to higher than second hand store prices. I still am drawn to them however as any used buying junkie would. My mother sells hand tied fishing flys (she used to own a Fishing supply store and is a professional fly tier) at her fleamarket on Vancouver Island (Cobble Hill Fea Market between Victoria and Duncan). My favorite vendors there are Rozy's Jams. She makes amazing chutneys and the best strawberry rhubarb jam. She also sells at many other flea markets on Vancouver Island.
My husband seems to have the best luck at this kind of used purchase. In recent years we have purchased a used snow blower in like new condition and a high end workout weight set from the same guy where my husband works. This kind of purchase requires putting the word out on what you need - you never know what may come back. Don't be afraid to say no if the item does not meet your exact requirement.
$40 lithograph bought on Ebay (including shipping)
Although Ebay sells almost anything the only thing I have purchased is art. Be aware that here shipping costs can be sometimes higher than the price of the item. Three purchases later and I have only had good luck. You should have a pay pal account if buying on ebay for your own financial protection.
Usually antique stores have a high markup but on smaller decorative items you can find the odd deal. My mother and I enjoy browsing them for an enjoyable day out but only tend to make smaller item purchases.
Second hand stores
There are not many regular second hand stores in my area but where my Mom lives on Vancouver Island we found several second hand stores with great bargains (located at Whipple Tree Junction) and nice furniture. In saying that most are a waste of time to enter, but as a used item junkie I still tend to check them out. We found one of our best finds ever at this particular second hand store, angel hand carved end tables that came out of a hotel 50 years ago. We do not believe they are old enough to qualify as antique but they are incredibly cool and grace my mother's house.
Regardless of where you buy used great savings can be had. Used is a great way to find one of a kind items.
You may want to check out these cool blogs of fellow yardsaler/thrift store junkies:
Thrift Store Junkie
Finally, you tend to meet a lot of cool, sometimes unusual people when you buy used. That, my friends, is half the fun!