Monday, 14 December 2015

Second hand or new. Which is it to be?

Hello. The new fridge freezer is being delivered on Wednesday, so that's good news after putting up with a temperamental one for so long. I went out and splashed the cash on this, but there are a lot of things that I would happily accept second hand, from car boot sales and charity shops. It's got me thinking about what second hand goods are acceptable and which aren't.

I've said that I am happy to keep things I find in skips, things that people give me, and things bought cheap from car boot sales and charity shops, but I think there are some things which are best bought new. I could have put the feelers out for a second hand fridge freezer, asked around, or gone on web sites to look for one, but I just didn't fancy one that someone else had used before me. I want to keep my food in a brand new appliance.

Looking around my house there are far more second hand things than new. When I  moved in 18 years ago I had a new cooker, new bed, and new dining table and chairs. Then a few years later I had a new Kitchen fitted, new but bought on a budget, I assembled it and a plumber cut the worktops to size and fitted the sink. At that time I bought a new automatic washer after 20 odd years of using the same twin tub. I prefer to buy new  electrical appliances which I hope will last a long time. I have a microwave which I bought new about 20 years ago, a new stereo music centre which is 15 years old. My sewing machine was bought new ten years ago and this computer new about eight years ago. My cross trainer was bought new. So mainly electrical things I buy new, because I want some sort of guarantee that they will last.

So what will I accept second hand? I think it's ok to wear second hand clothes, either given or from car boot sales or charity shops. I even wear second hand pants, they were given to me by a friend so I know they were well washed. I will wear second hand boots, I don't care that someone else's feet has been in them, in fact I like it that they are already 'worn in'. The only exception to this is my walking boots. They have to be new because they need to be well fitting to enable me to walk lots of miles.

I bought a new set of non stick pans, but I have second hand stainless steel pans that I got from a car boot sale, and a large one I got out of a skip. These can be cleaned by scrubbing in hot water, you can't scrub non stick.

I have towels and bed linen which were given to me, some bought at charity shops, and some found in skips. These can all be cleaned in the washer before use. My curtains are all second hand from various places, I wouldn't buy new. Charity shops are a good source for these.

A list of second hand things given to me.
Two desks. Bookcase. Writing bureau. Small glass front cupboard. Office chair. Pine breakfast tabe with two benches. Treadle sewing machine. Dining table. Glass top table and four chairs. Dyson. Sideboard. Electric shredder. Toaster. Toiletries.
Things bought second hand.
Car. Four piece suite. Office desk. office chair. Sideboard. Metal shelving.

I wish I had gone down the second hand route years ago. While I was earning I did the same as most people, everything had to be new bought from a shop. As kids we were brought up wearing hand me down clothes, but of course, when you get a job you want to be keeping up with the fashions. Now, the only new clothes I buy are walking trousers, can't find them to fit in charity shops, and a pack of new underpants every five years or so. When I started reducing my working hours and the cash was tight I stopped spending and started to look at second hand. I am ecstatic when I find a real bargain for a lot less money. It is my mission to pay as little as possible for things that are perfectly fine second hand, so I have enough money to buy new things that matter to me. It's a juggling game, prioritizing what's important.

So, my question to you is what do you absolutely have to buy new, and what is ok to buy second hand, or even get free, either given or from skips?

Thanks for popping in. Catch you soon. Toodle pip

37 comments:

  1. "It's a juggling game, prioritizing what's important."

    That statement is the KEY. The key to financial solvency. The key to happiness. The key to good health. And so few people realize it.

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  2. Hello Ilona, I agree with you on the matter of electrical items I would also not buy a second hand bed. We have recently bought three second hand pure wool blankets they were perfectly clean but I washed them anyway and they are like new, one is just like the ones my parents had when they were first married so I think it must be about 60 years old but obviously well looked after, this saved us well over £100. If things are well looked after they are always welcomed second hand, this also goes for my husband , he is second hand ( second time for both of us ), and he is still running and clean and in reasonable working order after 24 years !

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  3. I'm happy with absolutely anything being second-hand apart from knickers. My cooker, fridge and freezer were left in the house when we moved in, they work very well and were immaculately clean. As I'd not had a freezer for the previous 8 years I was more than delighted to get one even though it had been used before.

    I haven't bought 'new' towels or bedding for years and apart from one bath towel I think all mine were second-hand. After a good wash through they are just as good (and perhaps even better - most having been made in the UK) than new. Two particularly nice towels came from the 'dog bedding' basket in a charity shop and were £1.00 each. Five or more years down the line they are still thick and fluffy and doing a marvellous job at drying my hair when I wash it.

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  4. When we were first married and very much struggling for cash I would accept gifts or buy almost anything second hand that we needed. We did have a tumble drier which we bought new when I had the last baby and it was given to my son after it had done nearly 20 years good service and he then worked it to death for another five years or so... if you really can't afford something new then I see no reason why you shouldn't give second hand a go.As far as clothes are concerned I love charity shops, if the item still looks good and its second hand the chances are that it was a quality item new and is made to last... buy it!

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  5. We have a mix of old and new in our house. We didn't have a new 3 piece suite until our youngest was about 8 as with 3 little ones a new one would have been a waste due to food, felt tips, etc, and I'm not the sort of person who wants to be cleaning all the time! Always had second hand cars, currently have a 17yr old Audi estate good as new. All our past pets were rescues too!! Wouldn't feel right though in second hand shoes or underwear but apart from these I'd consider most things.

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  6. Like you my white goods have to be new, my undies and shoes as well. With size 9 hoofs second hand is not possible, it is barely possible to find new ones some times. I would never buy a new car, just thinking of the money that evaporates as you drive off gives me the heebie jeebies. I do buy new yarn and fabric, but also source lots of fabric from charity shops and never say no to anything offered by friends.

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  7. The only thing I HAVE to buy new is my underwear. Anything and everything else (even gifts) are bought second hand.

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  8. Must buy new - Knickers, Washing Machine, Mattress and Toaster. Everything else is welcome if second hand as well. (Found a brand new pair of walking boots in charity shop today for £10 - my Christmas pressie to me, along with a (new) book on Dressmaking). As Mrs LH said above my 3 kitties are second hand too!

    Linda xxx

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  9. My daughters and their school uniform all came second hand. School dresses new were $80 each..I got them for between ten and fifteen, in perfect condition. I can't cope with waste. I do always buy new undies though...

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  10. We always have second-hand dogs, the ones people can't keep or just don't want any more. They have been our most precious "possessions".

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  11. I buy new underwear, socks and shoes. Also new mattresses. I'm ok with buying used clothes, but I always wash them first. Much of my furniture is used, mostly from relatives. We buy new electronics, computers, tvs, appliances, etc. We buy used cars though.
    I agree with you in prioritizing and spending money on what is more important to you.

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  12. Hi.If I can clean,disinfect,repair and reuse /repurpose anything, I will do that.If electrical appliances are kaput I will buy new for energy savings and safety peace of mind.Thrift stores,auctions,garage sales,bartering etc. are a great way to get quality and more value for much less money.Now that I am retired,saving is more of a priority and I am very careful at how and why we spend.Have a good one,D.

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  13. Underwear, appliances, mattresses, linens all must be new. Shoes must be new as I have problem feet and need orthotic type shoes. I will only buy a car new. I know most people do not agree but I keep my cars for 10+ years and the times I bought used cars they had too many problems and I will never do that again. Maybe it is different in the UK but here in the USA I just do not trust a used car. Everything else, furniture, clothing, books, etc. can be second-hand. I love going to thrift shops, although not as often because frankly I just do not need anything. I am trying to minimize and not have clutter. Right now my daughter and 5 year old grandson live with us and we are in a large house but I hope one day to sell it and move into a much smaller one so the utilities will be less and it will be much easier to clean. I love your blog it is one of my favorites and I look forward to it every day.

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    1. Thank you Lana. There are good and bad used cars here in the UK. I used to take a chance and buy used from private sellers, but it was always a chance it could go wrong. Now I prefer to go to a large dealer who does give a guarantee for a limited time, and hopefully they will have checked everything before they let the car go. Selling cars is a competitive business, they don't want bad publicity by supplying rogue cars.

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  14. Hi Ilona, I have recently started working for a charity and one of my responsibilities is the charity shops. I cannot believe what people give to us. I was in one shop today doing some checks and noticed quite a number of items of clothing that were brand new. There really is some amazing stuff in charity shops. I bought a couple of dresses for Christmas do's. Both together cost £15. An absolute bargain really. They just needed a wash before I wore them and I love them. I would urge people to look at charity shops for bargains. You never know what you can pick up in there!
    Love the blog
    Smij x

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    1. Totally agree Smij. I would be happy if there were more charity shops in the High Street. If you look you find brand new things in there.

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    2. Love a good old mooch round a chazza.

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  15. There's absolutely nothing I wouldn't use that was second hand - pants, bedding, furniture, crockery, cutlery, electricals, swimwear, clothing. Even my boyfriend and the cats had previous owners!

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    1. I think we ought to start a campaign, Vix. No more buying new tat.

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  16. There isn't anything I absolutely must buy new, unless it's underwear. I do buy a lot of things new, but I'm always up for something used, too. In your case, I would have bought a new fridge if only because your last one only lasted 7-1/2 years (mine is 18 years old; it has been repaired, but it still works fine). At 7-1/2 years, buying used means that you'd only be in the market again for a new one before you even got used to this one My stove (cooker) is also 18 years old and been repaired once. My washing machine is 26 years old and has never had a repair; my sewing machine is 32 years old and tuned up twice. My clothes dryer is about 5 years old, but I got over 21 years from the one that matched my washer. We tried to fix it ourselves, but couldn't get it to work.

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    1. Hi. I opted for the easy way out with the fridge freezer, I need one quickly within a couple of days. The men who deliver it will take away the old one.

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    2. Wow how do you manage to get a washing machine to last so long? I manage 3 years before mine die.

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    3. When I first moved in I bought a cooker, a fridge freezer and a washer. I was gifted furniture, beds, sofas. My for was my neices and my three girls all had it too. 2nd hand most things really are fine, I do draw the line at underwear and shoes (kids have a foot problem).

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  17. We try to make everything last as long as possible and buy new replacements only when absolutely necessary.Second hand items are all good too, they can be cleaned or repaired to make them like new. Well maybe the only thing I'd only buy new is a car after a bad experience with a second hand car.As we live in the bush we need a very reliable car, luckily we have a thirty year old 4wd that's still going strong ! AussieCheryl : )

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  18. Anything that can be cleaned or refurbished is ok for me. Maybe not knickers but I have always been lucky enough to be able to buy them. I have recently replaced some kitchen white goods with new ones. They have become more energy efficient over the years.

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    1. Hi. That's another thing to consider, the newer the appliance the more energy efficient it will be. Thanks for pointing that out.

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  19. I think I have to have beds and bedding, towels, etc., but also electrical appliances. A car could be used, if it has a warranty. But clothes, not a problem.

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  20. What I buy new:
    Bed, electronics, Air conditioning (I live in Florida), appliances, underwear...most everything else is secondhand, including my cats! Love the blog and I wish you a happy Christmas!

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  21. I got this year's winter coat from a charity shop - faux fur snow leopard for £9. Snuggly! :)

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  22. I have to buy my mattress new, don't want one complete with other peoples bed-bugs and all. Electrical appliances are bought new but made to last and sent to repair if possible, also shoes are new. People walk in different ways and I find it best for my feet not to wear other peoples'. I buy good ones and make them last for years. Pam in Norway

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  23. When I was working we had annual reviews which included appearance. All my clothes, apart from socks and pants, were from Charity shops. I always got a top grade for appearance.

    From skips I have had two greenhouses and endless pieces of wood which I made children's toys and a wood working bench.

    No mention of Freecycle ? Got loads of stuff from them and also given loads of stuff away.

    Also no mention of free software ? I use Linux operating system (free) and full software. I only paid for one program which I couldn't get the equivalent working on Linux

    Great blog; thanks.

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    1. Hi Davee. Yes, anyone can use Freecycle. I don't because I don't want people coming to my house to collect things, and it's only once a year or even longer when I actually need something. Good idea though, for anyone who wants to do this.

      I am not that computer literate and I am cautious about messing with mine. The simple programmes which came with it are sufficient for my needs. Yes, I agree, there is a lot of free stuff out there to download. My computer man keeps me up to date with free antivirus applications.

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    2. I stopped using Freecycle as I got fed up with people making arrangements to pick stuff up and then not even bother to turn up.

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  24. New items for me would be anything electronic, like the computer, or a cell phone. T.V. and entertainment centers can be used or second hand. I have bought or taken second hand appliances, but they have to be in good shape and cheap. My husband is a handy man and can do minor repairs. Vehicles are second hand, clothes and shoes, second hand, but I will by brand new for under clothes; socks can be second hand if gently used and thick and warm. Brand new for anything that I truly need, but can't find second hand. Medical devices, eyeglasses, would be brand new. We have no trouble with second hand furniture, but would need new mattresses. Linen and pretty much all household items can be second hand. All of my husband's tools can be second hand, but we did insist on a new power saw when his died after 29 years of service. Mary Jane in Canada.

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  25. When I first got married (many many years ago), my mother in law said she knew someone who was selling a sewing machine. I went to look at it and bought it for $5 (US). I still have it and it still works fine! Never thought about this until you started talking about second hand stuff. I have to agree about the used cars though. Here in the US, I went once to look for a used car and the used car I selected cost almost as much as the new one (same model). I opted for the new one. If I could find a used car that was a reasonable price and in good shape, I'd buy it instead. But, as it was, it did not come with a long warranty and I was reluctant to buy it.

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