I used to be somewhat opposed to buying secondhand items. The whole idea of using someone else’s stuff just struck me as a little bit gross.
Now the idea of paying full-price for something I can get for a fraction of the cost is pretty repellant to me.
Of course, there are some things I would still not really want to buy used (a mattress, for instance, is on my list), but many items don’t bother me at all to buy used.
When we bought our house in Texas, we needed a washer and dryer. If you’ve been to Home Depot or Sears lately, you know how outrageously expensive these can be (and they don’t even come with a maid to actually do the laundry), but when we looked on CraigsList, there were dozens and dozens of low-priced sets. We ended up purchasing one for $180; the seller told us he was basically selling the two-year-old dryer for $180 and throwing the (somewhat older) washer in for free. He’d bought the dryer for his daughter when she moved out, but she’d gotten married and her new house already had a washer and dryer. So, we were the happy beneficiaries. Both the washer and dryer worked perfectly for the three years we lived in our house and then we sold them to the buyer when we moved.
I think buying second-hand is especially useful for buying high-ticket items that other people have paid a premium for and then realized they never use. Treadmills, for example, or jogging strollers often can be bought for far below the price of a new item. My mom, who is an accomplished sewer, has mentioned how many top-of-the-line sewing machines are available for much less than a new one could be purchased for – no doubt bought by someone who thought a $2500 sewing machine would suddenly turn them into a sewing wizard.
What things are you willing to buy second-hand?