Come join my new Facebook group, My Second Hand Life! I would love to create a community of like minded people working towards a more frugal and sustainable lifestyle by buying second hand.
Pretty much every January, I take a break from the excesses of Christmas and allow my bank balance to recover with a no spend month. This year I thought I would try something different. I plan on buying only second hand for the whole of 2021!
My reasons for buying only second hand are two-fold. Firstly, it will save me loads of money. Being the frugal sort, it’s not as if I spend thousands on new stuff anyway. I tend towards pre-loved clothing and furniture, and I have never purchased a new car, for example.
Secondly, used items are more eco-friendly. Using other people’s unwanted things prevents them from going into the bin or to landfill. They will come with much less or even no packaging, depending on where you find them. A new item doesn’t need to be manufactured, saving energy in their production and transportation.
There have been some brilliant pre-loved bargains at Shoestring Cottage in the past, mainly clothes, kitchen items and furniture. However, apart from a freezer I was given on Freecycle several years ago, I have tended to only buy electrical items from new. So – let’s hope nothing breaks down during 2021. If they do, we will attempt a repair. Failing that, we will be scouring charity shops and the internet for replacements.
If you want to save money and reduce your environmental footprint, why not look at buying more second hand stuff during 2021 – or go the whole hog like me and pledge to buy nothing new at all?
My rules for buying only second hand
- No new clothing, apart from knickers (and only if I need them) and possibly socks, as you don’t tend to find those second hand. Bras and vests will be second hand, though.
- No new furniture, tools, or plants for the garden (unless I grow them myself from seeds and cuttings).
- No new soft furnishings, cups, plates, saucepans, kitchen gadgets, etc.
- I can buy something new, such as glue or paint, if it facilitates a repair or the upcycling of second hand items.
- Obviously, you can’t buy second hand food, but I will try to get at least some of it via the Olio app, which helps prevent food waste.
- New toiletries are allowed. Having said that, I have picked up new or barely used moisturisers, make up, etc at boot sales before, so will keep my eyes peeled for such bargains.
- My second hand items can be purchased (from charity shops, boot sales, jumble sales, Facebook marketplace, eBay, etc) or scavenged (from Freecycle and Freegle, from skips, outside people’s houses, etc).
- Any gifts I give will also be second hand or homemade.
- I am allowed to buy something ‘new with tags’ if it was a mistake purchase that someone else made. For example, I often find things at boot sales and charity shops that are being discarded buy have never actually been used.
I think the toughest part of buying only second hand for a year will be gifts for other people. Personally, I am more than happy to receive a pre-loved or homemade present, but will my family feel the same?
What do you think about buying nothing new for a year? Could you do it?
Don’t forget to come and join me over on Facebook for a chat! See you there.