Bargain Shopping: Entering the World of Buying “Second-Hand”

When I first moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, I entered my new apartment and grimaced. The emptiness of the space was overwhelming. All I had was two suitcases. I had no furniture, nothing to cook with, and not a lot of money to buy everything I needed to turn this place into a home.

Fortunately, just a few miles away, there is a great store full of secondhand treasures, and for less than $100, we were able to fill our house with a dining room table, couches, plates, pots, and pans. Our empty little apartment became a home, and we didn’t even have to spend hundreds of dollars!

“Secondhand” is a common expression in America to describe goods like clothing, furniture, and appliances that have already been used by a previous owner. Buying secondhand items is a great way to save money when you are shopping for things you might need during your time in the US. Here are a few places you can find great deals (and some tips to help you start)!

Buying Online
There are many options for buying used goods online such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist! Websites like these enable you to buy things directly from people who are selling them. You can email sellers to negotiate on prices and set up a meeting to inspect the items and pay for them.

When shopping for secondhand items online, it is important to follow a few basic safety tips.

  1. Never give out your personal information to the people you are buying from.

  2. Always arrange to meet the seller in a public place.

  3. Bring a friend with you when you meet them, or tell someone where you are going.

  4. Trust your instincts.

BONUS TIP:
The deals on Craigslist are usually best at the end of the semester when everyone is moving away and trying to get rid of their extra furniture, clothing, and decorations!

Shopping at Local Thrift Stores
There are probably a few stores near you that sell used clothing and household items. Often the prices for these items are dramatically reduced from the price you might expect to pay when you visit the mall. You can look up local thrift stores on the Yelp! App to find stores with the highest ratings and reviews. Some stores will also deliver large furniture directly to your address! Usually thrift stores do not negotiate on prices.

Finding Garage Sales
In America, people who are moving or need to get rid of extra things in their home, will have a sale of these possessions. Typically, they happen during the weekend in the front yard of a house. To find local garage sales, you can search for them on Craigslist. Be sure to bring cash and negotiate with the sellers to get the best deals.

There are many ways to find great deals in America. Hopefully you are excited to find the best deals on secondhand treasures! What is the best deal you have found? Share in the comments below!