Today I have a guest post for you from my fellow money blogger Vicky Eves.
Vicky loves nothing more than picking up a bargain, and in her article she shares some of her best tips and resources. Over to Vicky then…
I love a bargain. I mean, who doesn’t? Whether you are financially well off or not, why would you pay over the odds if you don’t need to? It’s not good financial sense. Buying second hand is also better for the environment so it’s a win-win. Here are my favourite places and ways of finding bargains.
I recently moved from a one bedroom flat to a three bedroom house. Much as I don’t want to fill my new place up completely, I knew it was going to be rather bare with only the belongings I already had.
Once the ball was rolling on my move I started planning and thinking. I would be using the third bedroom as a study or computer room. I had made do with my laptop on my knee for the last 12 years and I was so excited that I was going to have a study. I’d looked online and found a desk I really wanted. It was from Ikea and it wasn’t cheap, but as I’d never had a study before I built that expense into my budget.
A few weeks down the line, I was browsing Freecycle when I saw the EXACT desk I wanted. I thought it was too good to be true and that I would never get it (on Freecycle you have to be pretty quick off the mark as it is usually first come first served) but the owner still had it and was happy for me to take it. I went over there after work, and after putting all the seats down in the car and with the owner helping me take it apart I managed to squeeze it in. My move got held up so it was stored in pieces in the corner of my lounge for many months, but I am sat here now in my new house sat at my awesome FREE desk as I write this.
It is definitely worth bookmarking Freecycle and joining a few groups (it is done by area so you just find things that are close to you) and keeping an eye on it. I’ve got and given away other things via the site before but the desk is my favourite Freecycle item. Just remember that if you are meeting a stranger to purchase an item that you either go with someone else or that someone knows where you are – bad experiences are few and far between but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Such an obvious place to find a bargain – but how many of us actually go there when we are looking for specific items?
I regularly visited charity shops before I moved. I soon worked out which were cheaper and when each one would reduce or rotate their stock. I got some amazing bargains – including a little record player for my retro diner themed kitchen. Sometimes if you go in regularly you might get to know the staff and if they know you are looking for something specific or along a theme they will keep their eye out for you.
Car Boot Sales
Another obvious one, but do you ever go? I got so much awesome stuff at car boot sales over the summer before I moved. I found a big one near me that was every Sunday and I was there for a few weeks in a row. I’m still not convinced whether it’s better to get there early (to get the best things as soon as it is open) or later (when the sellers are getting bored and ready to go home and reduce things), but either way you can get some great things.
Don’t be afraid to haggle either. The first couple I went to, I was rubbish at it. They would say a price and I’d go “Wow, bargain” and just hand over the money. I know you won’t want to offend the seller, but they want rid of the stuff, so even if you just try £1 or 50p less than they’ve suggested and they meet you half way, the savings adds up!
Facebook Selling Groups and Shpock
Facebook selling groups are almost like online car boot sales, and Shpock even calls itself the “Car boot app”. With Facebook you join groups local to yourself and browse or search the items that people are selling. With Shpock you can search for the item and set a search radius.
You can still haggle online – negotiate with Facebook sellers via the messaging facility and Shpock is set up to haggle – you make an offer and they counter it until you find a price that works for you both. You would then arrange a mutually convenient place to pick up the item and make payment. Again, remember your safety when meeting people in person.
What If You Don’t Want Second Hand?
Whether you don’t want second hand items, or you just can’t find what you want via any of those methods, some of my favourite places to find bargains are outlet villages and clearance shops. Be sure to do your research online to make sure that the special offer or price is as special as they say, but if you know what you want and have a price in mind, you can really find some great deals.
Whilst technically second-hand, if you are on a budget or like a bargain, have you considered getting reconditioned items? They will have been pre-owned but they will have then been serviced or checked over and you will get some form of guarantee from the retailer. I know people with Dyson, Sony and Apple reconditioned items which they say are as good as new but they got for a fraction of the price! I’m definitely considering going down that route next time I need something electrical.
I’d love to hear about the bargains you’ve found. Please comment below, and pop on over to ibeatdebt.com for more money making and saving tips and articles.
Many thanks to Vicky for an eye-opening article. I would just like to add my recommendation to hers for reconditioned items. In the last few months I have bought a reconditioned digital radio and portable DVD player, both at around half the standard price for new products. Both were (to my eye anyway) indistinguishable from new and worked perfectly out of the box. In my experience that isn’t always the case when buying new from retailers or wholesalers.
As always, if you have any comments or questions about this post – for me or for Vicky – please do post them below.
Happy bargain hunting!