Folks, here it is.
The post many of you have wondered, prayed, and dreamed for.
Today I will share with you our thrifty tricks on how we managed to furnish our first home for one-fifth of the cost!
All the Dave Ramsey “nerds” out there are waiting on pins and needles…I saw you salivating as you read the word thrifty 🙂
I want to address a couple misconceptions first:
- Second hand does NOT always equal to dirty, nasty, or ugly. I hear people say things like, “Well we just haaaad to buy a brand new couch, since you know, all those used ones have lice or something.” That’s bologne. You can find some of THE BEST deals on lightly used items that are cute, trendy, clean, and easy on the wallet.
- Buying things used is NOT simply for “poor people”. Plenty of poor people only buy new things and plenty of billionaires buy things used. Buying things used and in good condition is SMART because you can take the savings and spend or invest it elsewhere.
- Buying and selling things used doesn’t take that much time. Yup, there is a learning curve to learning the art of wheeling and dealing but once you have a few transactions you will be amazed at how easy it can be.
- Buying things new is NOT a bad thing. I don’t want anyone to think I refuse to buy new things or am morally opposed to it. I definitely buy some things new, particularly if I can’t find a used item that is similar to what I was looking and hoping for. I simply prefer to minimize expenses on “stuff” so we can give, save, and spend doing things that have more value to us, such as experiences and adventures…oh and that thing called adoption 🙂
So, now that we have that covered, shall we dive right into the deets?
First let’s take a peek at our SOLD list and then we will tell you how we did it. I am a firm believer in turning unused items into cash so you can buy items you want/need. Look what we found laying around the house being unused:
|books on amazon||$46.97|
|Vera Bradley Bag||$52.99|
|Kenneth Cole Bag||$29.99|
|Skin Care Products||$124.99|
|green swimsuit top||$19.99|
|Grey puffy vest||$9.99|
Where did we sell these items???
Ahhh, my friend ebay.
For more than half of the items we sold, we used ebay since it has a wider network of individuals shopping.
For example – how many people in one city are looking for a Banana Republic dress in a particular size?
Maybe a few.
But on ebay I knew there would be several people probably looking for that type of dress…several people I could entice into a bidding war on my item to drive up the value. 🙂 So any item that would be relatively easy to ship and needed a wide audience got listed on ebay.
There are two types of ways to list an item – auction style or receiving a best offer with a “buy it now” price. We typically did the week long auction on common items, to drive up bidding wars.
On more specific items, like old patterns of Vera Bradley only a small handful of people want, I did the 30 day listing with “buy it now” or “best offer” options. With those items I always set my price at or slightly above competitors with similar items but was absolutely willing to take lesser offers to get the items sold. I always counter-offered to get as much as possible from the sale, aiming for at least 80% of asking price.
And for goodness sake people, the photos matter!!! I can’t tell you how many people take junky photos of a quality item and it makes the item seem lame or less valuable. Below is a collage of a few items we sold on ebay.
My other dear friend, Craigslist.
After spending some time on Craigslist, you realize it’s best for heavier, bigger items that no one would ever think about shipping or items that have common local interest. If you list something on Craigslist and it doesn’t get any hits within one week, try relisting for one more week. If no bites, try ebay to widen the audience,
When listing items on Craigslist, always ask above what you’d be wiling to take, since negotiations are key in this type of sale. By asking higher, you will likely be able to end up getting what you wanted out of a particular item. I always do this, assuming the buyer will try to offer lower. Sometimes they do, and I typically take the offer to get the item sold. Bird in the hand…
Sometimes they don’t offer lower and I feel a little bad…but hey, I was willing to go lower, they just didn’t ask. Not my fault! 🙂
Other tips of the trade – don’t arrange buying or selling when you are alone. Have a second person with you OR if you have to be alone, meet somewhere public. 99.9% of people are amazing and I have not once had issues with Craigslist weirdos but it always pays off to be smart and prepared. Below are a few photos of items we sold on Craigslist.
We didn’t ONLY score deals by turning unused items into cash. We also bought things for the house at a FRACTION of the cost.
Here’s our BUY list:
|Couch, Chaise, Lamp||$350.00||$760.00|
|Table + Chairs||$300.00||$773.94|
|lamps, drapes, etc.||$250.00||$400.00|
|mattress + box||$100.00||$700.00|
The price on the LEFT is what we paid for the item. The price on the RIGHT is what we should have paid, had we paid retail.
Where did we do all this bargain buying?
You guessed it…our friends ebay and Craigslist. For good measure we threw in a local thrift store and even snagged some deals with manufacturer’s rebates at Costco.
On the buying side, the tips I have for you are to always offer fair but under asking price. Don’t be that guy who low balls everything. Do your research on what the competitors are offering and then try just a bit under that. Use this tactic on Craigslist and ebay “best offer” items. In general, I try to snag snag 40% off the asking price, which is already low since item is used.
For the ebay auction items? Click “watch item” and DO NOT BID until the last MINUTE it’s up for auction. This way, the bidding isn’t being driven upwards all week long. The person “winning” the item feels comfortable…like they are the only ones who want the item so will they be at the computer during that last minute? No. You will likely walk away with the item and the best possible price by waiting to bid until the end.
Below are some of the items we purchased second hand:
Every item was brand name but just happened to be second hand. We bought the dinning room/living room matching Ikea sets from a girl moving to Seattle. The lights were all Hampton Bay. The lamps were from World Market.
All classy and clean, my friends, but very easy on the wallet! 🙂
For all you math nerds out there wondering how we came up with saying we paid only one-fifth of the price to furnish the home?
We took the amount we paid ($1,688.80) and subtracted what we sold ($955.78) for a net total of: $733.02
Then we took our net total ($733.02) and divided it by what retail price would have been ($4,039.34) for a total of 18% which is approximately one-fifth of retail cost.
If anyone has questions or stories about deals you’ve snagged – fire away in the comments section. I want to hear from you!
Have a great weekend! 🙂