How to Save Money and Unlock the Bargain Potential of Second Hand Shops

Shopping at main retail outlets can sometimes be monotonous and boring, which may be one of the reasons why second hand stores attract buyers. Besides the obvious money saving potential offered to customers when visiting second hand brokers, consumers still need to be vigilant to consider themselves a successful second-hand shopper.

Big box stores give you exactly what you want, even when you don’t want it, and are designed to get you spending. Unless you are on top of the latest deals and offers you can end up over-spending, but this can also be the case at second hand stores too. It takes time to find the perfect bargain and like I have shown many buckscoopers how to save with recent deals on our deals page, it's time you also knew the best ways to save money and find bargains hidden in second hand stores as well.


These types of shops can provide a wealth of books, household goods, craft items, kids toys, clothing and even games. It’s very possible to come away from these stores with designer labels and otherwise previously expensive items, but finding them takes time. By using the following pointers hopefully you can avoid buying expensive junk and find hidden gems amidst the average second hand clutter.


Budget Management

Just because you are at a second hand store, it doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Monitor your budget as if you were shopping at the larger stores and have a set amount in your mind that you want to spend. To try and cancel out any chance of dipping into money you don’t want to spend, take the exact amount for your budget in cash with you. This will help you stick to your pre-agreed budget and also avoid disappointment if you find out that your store doesn’t accept EFTPOS.


Leave the Kids at Home when Shopping at Second Hand Stores to Avoid Stress

Lone Ranger

Due to there being more skill in this form of shopping, it can sometimes really pay to do it without the kids. You will require more time to browse thoroughly and inspect particular items, and going without the kids can relieve you from a world of stress. Although, teaching them to shop for a bargain every now and again can also prove valuable in the long run.


Shop with Purpose

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts on the blog, just because it’s cheap, does not make it a bargain. Second hand stores still require a shopping structure, go in there with a purpose and a shopping list and stick to it. Clothes for example will be varied in styles and sizes so try and stick to your style and find items that match it. A golden rule with all shopping, but most importantly when in second hand stores, is if you don’t immediately need it or wont use it in the foreseeable future, don’t buy it despite how great a bargain it might appear to be.


Think Outside the Box when shopping at Second Hand Stores

Think outside the Box

Choice is undoubtedly more limited compared to mainstream retailers, but this is one element of the shopping experience that attracts second hand shoppers. Whether an item can be repurposed or possibly renovated makes the keener eye and the broader mind find the greater deal. Try to see items as ways of possibly being used in your new project or try finding a diamond in the rough that can be re-painted or remodelled. When you apply this pattern of thinking you suddenly find yourself in a completely different shop.



Shelves are not systematically stocked like within large retailers so visiting the second hand store regularly can be rewarding. Certain weeks you may return home with a great steal and others empty handed. Part of the excitement can be found in the hunt within the unknown.


Preparation is Key

Information and a few tools can go a long way at a second hand store. A great idea before you visit your store is to know certain details about what you are looking for. Clothing sizes, colour swathes and even a measuring tape can prevent you from having to go home and coming back to only find the item you wanted sold.


Further Afield

It’s always a good idea to add some variety to the experience and if you happen to know of a second hand store in a wealthier area this can prove valuable. Not only can you find a different selection of items, but you may also find better quality second hand goods deposited by close dwelling residents.


Quality Assurance is Crucial for Finding a Good Bargain at Second Hand ShopsQuality Assurance

The material that an item is made with can help you understand the quality of it. Whilst you may be able to come out with designer brands, knowing the quality of the material can actually provide more value for money. The T.M. Lewin deal I recently posted showed that even though competitors shirts were more expensive, the cheaper T.M. Lewin garments in this particular deal were better quality and made from a higher standard of materials. This may mean you look for 100% cotton shirts or real leather on all parts of the sofa, but whatever it is, do your research to understand what materials are built to last for your chosen items.


Inspect, Examine, Repeat.

You are in a second hand store and things wont come with a manufactures warranty so make sure you check everything you buy thoroughly. The different shopping environment shouldn’t pressurise you to buy, actually quite the opposite. These items have been used so be sure to give them the once over carefully. If its anything electrical ensure you test it before any cash leaves your pocket.


Sales Still Happen At Second Hand Stores to Reveal Great BargainsSales

Yes even second hand stores have sales and mark down days so make sure to ask the shop attendant when these dates are. The owner does this to move stock and you can surely help him if you find an extra special deal on sale within your budget.

TOPICS:   Money   Fashion and Accessories   Shopping

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