Buying Used Things in the Pandemic

In the pandemic era, the internet’s used market has gone crazier than ever before. Thrift stores have turned into online shops, people are bartering for their possessions, and Facebook Marketplace has never been so crowded!

But no, this is not an Economics 101 lecture about why the used market is booming (or not), but it still is a lecture for you who sleep on buying secondhand goods.

If you’re thinking, why would I want to buy something old? Well, I’m old, and probably, you too (yeah, I said it). Regardless of that, people still love us, including the friends we’ve just met recently. I know that the things we buy are not humans, but just because something is old and used, doesn’t mean that those things don’t have value anymore.

However, with all honesty, that’s a legitimate question. As far as used clothes are concerned, if you feel uneasy with the thought of wearing something that someone else once wore, then getting used clothes might not be for you. But I hope you’d still give pre-loved tech or furniture a chance.

Why Secondhand Goods?

There are many reasons for opting to go for these old items. The most obvious one is that they’re cheaper! You can make the most out of your money.

The used market also offers items that are rare, sold out, or no longer in production. I’m one of those people looking at Nintendo Switch owners with jealous puppy eyes, but my somewhat frugal persona is much stronger than my gaming spirit. If it turns out that I still want to get a Nintendo Switch many years later, I can still get one even if stores don’t sell them anymore.

Who says you have to get everything when they come out? Choose to buy that cool game a year later when someone’s trying to sell it for cheap. Wait for someone needing to sell their iPhone quickly as they get the new one. Get that limited edition shirt from Uniqlo when someone’s selling it for less in an unused condition!

If you believe something is unjustly expensive, you can try to find alternatives in other places. As you might have caught on, Uniqlo is one of the brands that I love with a passion. I know that they sell affordable stuff in their stores already, but I still prefer digging through our local thrift stores that ALWAYS had them without fail. Don’t have thrift stores near you? Can’t go outside? You’ll also have the same experience on platforms like Facebook Marketplace.

As long as you’re a patient treasure hunter, you’re bound to strike gold!

Firsthand Accounts of Secondhand Acquisitions

To give you some inspiration, I’ve listed some of the used things I’ve bought online over the past few years. I’ve had many great finds in my used market adventures (online and in thrift stores), but here are a few that I think would be relatable to most people. The items are only from my online finds for now because I really wouldn’t recommend looking for deals outside at the moment. And, if you’re wondering, the costs listed don’t include shipping.

Converse Cap (200 PHP / 4 USD)
I lost my 10-year old Adidas cap on a commute to the office, and I had to find a replacement while crying my eyes out. Still weeping, I found this dad hat on Carousell at such a bargain, miles away from the prices they’re usually at. And while it can never replace the void that my old buddy left, getting this was better than nothing.

Bershka Denim Jacket (500 PHP / 10 USD)
This was one of the first things I bought online when I learned that frugal fashion was possible. If you look at the denim jackets that this brand sells, their prices are quite far from what I bought this piece for. I was initially hesitant for the possibility of getting a fake item (it wasn’t btw), but most denim, even from counterfeit products, usually last long anyways. If it tears, I can just call it distressed.

Merryfair Fulkrum Ergonomic Chair (3000 PHP / 60 USD)
Ergonomic chairs, even the cheap ones, are expensive. Here in the Philippines, low-quality office chairs can be bought from around 500 PHP (10 USD) to 2000 PHP (40 USD). Fancy office chairs though, come at a premium, from 5000 PHP and up! This one in particular doesn’t seem to be in production anymore, but it looks like it cost over 12K PHP. Even if it’s only worth 5000 PHP new, I think getting this in pristine condition is a sweet deal.

Lenovo T430S (15K PHP / 300 USD)
This was a pandemic purchase that was a bit unfortunate because laptop prices have skyrocketed out of control due to demand. However, I’d still consider it a smart purchase overall. This, along with other Lenovo ThinkPads are business-grade laptops that are made with durability in mind. This specific model was released in 2012, currently unsupported, but you can find a vast ocean of them in the used laptop market. Even for its age, it can still beat most modern laptops in the same price range. Mine even came with 16 gigabytes of RAM! If you’re looking for a laptop, I highly suggest getting a used one rather than a new one

There are various other things you can buy secondhand like dining tables, sofa sets, or other furniture. You can find plenty of people out there looking to get rid of their old TV because they just got a bigger one. Need a bed frame for your growing toddler? Maybe some other toddler grew out of their old bed and their parents (of course, not the child) could sell it to you. You never know how sites/places like Facebook Marketplace, Carousell, eBay, your local thrift stores, and surplus centers have to offer!

Lastly, the money that these sellers get from your purchase goes a long way. While getting the pair of shoes you’ve always wanted, you can help someone buy what they’re saving up for. Buying a computer for online classes could also help someone pay for their tuition or monthly bills.

If you do plan to try things out, just remember that you don’t have to go for used things every time. You also don’t necessarily have to buy for the sake of buying. Only get the things that are worth your time and money. Be wise and keep your mind open to different options, including the choice to stop yourself from spending.

Thanks again for stopping by. If some of you read this for the benefits of confirmation bias, let me know about your experiences with buying secondhand. Maybe I’m missing out on some deals! My somewhat frugal persona would love to hear from you.

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