Why you should buy second hand


I love being a second hand Rose! Now that I know what you can find second hand if you look carefully, I am reluctant to buy much that is new. From furniture, to clothing, household goods and tools, you can buy pretty much anything second hand.

Just a few days ago, Mr S spotted a fully working Dyson vacuum cleaner in our charity shop for £40. I had been hankering after a ball upright that could manage all of the cat fur in our house, but they are upwards of £250 new. It is exactly what I wanted and works perfectly. That boy has an eye for a bargain!

buy second handWhy should you buy second hand?

There are many reasons to buy pre-owned goods. Here are some of them.

You save money

It is obviously much more affordable to buy second hand goods, which is great if you are on a budget or trying to pay off debt.

You can afford better quality

In fact, buying second hand really allows you to see the quality of an item. If it has been worn in and is still in good nick, you can see it is good quality. Cheap, fast fashion is likely to look a little faded second hand.

You can buy designer brands

The cost of some designer and branded items amazes me, but people seem happy to pay way over the odds for an item just because it is from a particular designer or brand. These same people seem to tire of their branded goods quite quickly, which is great for bargain hunters like me. I regularly pick up expensive designer items at boot sales, in charity shops and online.

It’s better for the environment

Buying second hand helps create a circular economy. Instead of our make, take and waste approach, which depletes resources and causes issues with waste disposal, buying second hand (and donating or selling on when you no longer require the product) allows maximum use from the resources used in the item’s production.

When you buy second hand, you also encourage people to recycle and prevent items going to landfill.

You save on packaging

When you buy second hand from a boot sale, your local Facebook selling group or a charity shop, items won’t be as highly packaged as a new item, if at all. Even if you buy from online auction sites such as eBay, Depop, Gumtree, etc, sellers often send items in recycled cardboard and other packaging. This is another plus for the environment!

You can buy vintage and unique items

buy second hand

Charity shops, boot sales and jumbles are often a treasure house of quirky finds and vintage items. I love vintage art nouveau and styles from the early 1900s, for example, and Mr S has found some really lovely things for our house. He picked up what seems to be a genuine old piece of Clarice Cliff and a gorgeous old lamp, both on Facebook. He also came across this quirky teapot in the shape of a car, which we have since found on eBay for over £100!

You support charities

Many charities rely on their shops to bring in much needed cash. Even though I often complain that some of them charge too much, generally I am happy to buy from them and know that my purchase is helping a good cause.

It’s fun!

When you shop second hand you get the thrill of the chase! There are few things so satisfying as knowing you have found a mega bargain, like our Dyson, or located a unique vintage item.  It also tends to be a lot cheaper than spending the day in the shopping mall. I often come back with bags of stuff from the boot sale, having spent about a tenner!

buy second hand

What types of item should you buy second hand?


I have never bought a new car in my life and don’t suppose I ever will. Someone once told me they go down in price by a couple of thousand as soon as you drive them off the forecourt! I am sure there is some truth in this. A gently used second hand vehicle is my ideal.


Ditto with bikes – I don’t think we have bought any of those new either.  There are always loads of kids’ bikes in particular at boot sales and used adult bikes aplenty online.


Furniture is another area where you can see the quality of an item when you purchase it second hand. People seem to change their sofas with their colour schemes and you will often find them in charity shops in great used condition. I also love old wooden bedroom furniture from the 1930s and 40s. These are heavy and solid, not like the flat pack rubbish you can buy nowadays that last 5 minutes.

Looking round our lounge/diner, I can only see one piece of furniture that was purchased new. This is a good solid pine bookshelf that was bought 15 years ago and will easily do that and more again.

Mobile phones

I was slightly nervous about buying a second hand phone, but Mr S has had two now. Both have been great! As neither of us wants to get tied into an expensive phone contract, a second hand phone makes sense. We can pick up some good quality, fully working cast offs that people sell when they upgrade.


Apart from underwear and sometimes footwear (as I have wide feet!), I rarely get any new clothes and almost always buy second hand. I think the current throwaway fast fashion industry is shockingly damaging to the environment.  Also, if a top can be produced in Asia then transported all the way to the UK and still only cost a fiver I worry about how much (or how little) the people who made it must have been paid for their work.

I can buy much better quality, high end bits of clothing if I get them second hand. Great when you are on a budget but want to be a more ethical shopper.

This post gives more information on buying second hand clothing.


buy second hand

Second hand books are everywhere! I don’t read as much as I should, but if I am off on holiday and know I will have time I will often peruse the shelves of the charity shops. If I need a specific title I usually see if it is second hand on Amazon.

I also like the book sales they run periodically at the library – they sell them off super cheaply.

Media – DVDs, CDs and computer games

Ditto. If you aren’t into streaming you can pick up all of the above very inexpensively second hand.


buy second hand

When my daughters were little we bought loads of toys second hand. Particularly when they are tiny, they don’t care if they are new or not as long as they have good play value. Boot sales are extremely good if you want to buy second hand toys and games.

There are lots of things I have missed off this list I am sure! If you buy second hand you can satisfy your craving for a bit of retail therapy without breaking the bank, benefit your local economy and help the environment. What’s not to like?


11 thoughts on “Why you should buy second hand

  1. Great advice here, Jane! We went on the hunt for 2nd hand games for our little grandson last week and found a box of draughts, sadly not the wooden counters that we were used to but plastic ones as in tiddly-winks, but it will amuse him for a while until we can find a decent draughts set and chess set with wooden figures which are much more sturdy for little hands.
    Younger son also bought the most lovely dark grey leather suite of furniture last week which would have cost thousands new as it was excellent quality. Did you have antiques on your list? People often equate ‘antiques’ with things which are expensive and in a lot of cases they’re right, but right now a lot of furniture is inexpensive compared with the the usual furniture outlets that are heavily promoted on TV.

    • Nice to hear from you, Margaret! I guess old furniture might be considered antique, but certainly vintage. I love a lot of the old styles and appreciate their superior quality. Same with wooden toys. So nice to give kids an alternative to plastics once in a while so agree with you there.

  2. You are right about new cars. According to DH they lose a third of their price the moment you drive it away!
    Saying that he bought a “sort of new” Leaf yesterday, because they’re hard to find used. I think it was an ex-demo model as it has 2000 miles on the clock so was much cheaper than new!

    You are lucky to have such good charity shops nearby. Ours just sell the usual stuff, no electrics, furniture etc. 🙁

  3. A host of very good reasons, Jane. It’s true about cars – and more than a couple of thousand! I bought a 10 month old car last year for 60% of the cost of a brand new one. It had been used as a demonstrator and had only a few thousand miles on the clock and over 2 years warranty left on it. I couldn’t have afforded it new but even if I could have done, I’d have been thinking of what else I could do with that additional money!

  4. Your comments about the 1940s furniture struck a chord with me! I’ve been decorating a bedroom and was talking to a friend about the bookcase in there. It’s what’s called ‘utility furniture’ which was furniture you could buy in the 1940s/50s. Due to the shortage of materials during and post war, it was mainly beech or oak furniture but to keep as much material as possible in the market, the designs were based very much on the Arts and Crafts movement, i.e. minimal ‘fussery.’ My little bookcase has been in my family since before me, it became mine when I was about 9 (am now 62) and has been stripped, varnished, painted cream, white, pink, purple, beige, black and for the last 20 years, back to white again. Quick wipe over with some Jif every so often and it still looks immaculate. I love it and would never consider binning it for an Ikea Billy bookcase or whatever they’re called. God-daughter has already called ‘dibs’ on it for when I pop my clogs LOL. Savannah

      • And checked online yesterday, currently selling for circa £100! Not that I ever would, only have to close my eyes and I can see in my mind’s eye, not just my older brothers’ reading materials, one into Biggles, other brother into WW2 history, then my own teenage reading, Jane Austen sitting happily alongside Anya Seton, then in later years, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance rubbing shoulders with Clan of the Cave Bear saga etc. Now I just have the books that I know I want to re-read every so often plus a very small selection of books that I read and then pass on, either to friends or charity shop.

  5. I have found amazing things second hand as well. Working in social services has however made me very careful in what I brinf into my home as I have seen very tidy and clean homes with bed bugs. Bed bugs can be brought in in clothes, furniture and even books. Just be mindful of this when purchasing used. I still buy used but I investigate thoroughly first :).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *