It’s no secret that it’s been getting harder and harder to purchase products as they come out. With growing inflation, wages stagnating and a looming global recession, it’s getting very tough to keep up with buying products brand new. For this reason, the second-hand market has been booming of late thanks to online shopping becoming easier to navigate for buyers and sellers, allowing many to save heaps on various products.
There is also an environmental bonus of buying secondhand as well. Every year, the world throws away around 44.7 million tonnes of electronic trash, which could do better in your hands than in a landfill degrading or tucked away in the cupboard.
Buying second-hand comes with a level of risk, however, but there are ways to protect your purchase and ensure that you’re not buying a lemon. Here are some of the most lucrative second-hand markets and ways to protect yourself.
‘My new year’s resolution is to get fit this year!’ Is often something a lot of people tell themselves. They’ll stock up on fresh exercise equipment, stay with it for a little bit and then sell off their equipment when life starts to get in the way and they lose that initial momentum.
This means there’s plenty of exercise equipment available secondhand in good quality for you to pick up and use yourself. While sometimes people will sell their old gear because they want to upgrade to something newer and better, equipment like free weights won’t lose its usefulness over extensive use if properly handled.
Physical media is definitely going to be having a comeback moment soon. With recent controversies with streaming services deleting episodes of shows or even entire series for tax write-offs, having a physical copy of your favourite show is becoming more appealing.
CDs and DVDs also come with the hidden benefit of having certain extras. For instance, bonus tracks might be unavailable on streaming in certain regions due to licensing rights. For DVDs, you also get plenty of value in commentary tracks and deleted scenes which are unavailable in a streaming world. They’re also sturdy long-lasting collectibles.
Computer games are also a great secondhand purchase as places like EB Games or JB Hi-Fi will sell pre-owned copies for a fraction of the cost, with most having only been played once.
Phones are only getting more and more expensive each year, and with each generation of tech upgrades not making noticeable leaps, it’s a bit harder to justify racing for that upgrade to the latest and newest release. With some phones reaching over the $1,000 mark as well, unless you’re head over heels for some features, the difference between one or two generations of a smartphone won’t always be noticeable. If you’re just looking for a consistent mobile experience, secondhand might be a preferable alternative.
There is also less risk involved with buying a used phone nowadays. Vendors like Belong Second Life Shop, which has a partnership with Kingfisher, has a 12-month warranty. If your device is covered by the warranty, Kingfisher will provide you with another device of equal or higher quality. This warranty is provided in addition to other rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
We’re in a golden age of buying electronics right now! There are plenty of items that can be bought second-hand that are refurbished and reconditioned and come complete with warranties also.
People in the market will naturally want to update and upgrade as new tech comes out, selling off perfectly good electronics. There’s also not a lot of demand for used electronics, meaning prices and bargaining power are really in the buyer’s favour.
Such items you can consider are smart TVs, gaming consoles, and digital watches. You can also pick up some cheap webcams and USB mics if you’re suddenly looking for an affordable working-from-home setup.
If you’re into PC building as well, second-hand computer parts are a great find. Building your own PC can be a really complex and expensive hobby, and a lot of the time, first-time PC builders will buy expensive parts and then resell them shortly after due to certain parts not being compatible with the rest of their build. Meaning you can score almost brand new parts cheaper than their retail value.
To make sure you don’t make the same mistake, I recommend using a site like PC Part Picker to make sure your hardware best suits your needs and can run without issues.
Used books are probably one of the best and most common secondhand bargain purchases there are. New books, especially for school or uni can be steep investments for little return, and will often end up being sold at the end of the year anyway.
Even if you’re not a student and are a hobby reader, second-hand books are still amazing purchases! While they don’t have that new book look or smell, the content in them is just as valuable. You can also find copies of books with different cover art, for instance, novels that have been adapted into films will often have the movie poster as the book cover instead. If you’re a collector or a bit of a purist, landing these copies can be pretty valuable as well!
Purchasing books secondhand can also land you bundle deals on franchises. For instance, on manga, comics, or long-spanning series, you can often find them bundled up on the cheap. Sometimes book series will compile all the series into a large and expensive collection as well, so buying secondhand can save you on some of the markups later down the line.
Music is such an expensive hobby! From lessons, rehearsal spaces, music books and gear, it can be very costly to even get started playing. As a drummer, it costs a fortune to even get to practice, especially if you live in an apartment or unit where you may have to keep your personal drumkit in a storage unit.
For this reason, musical instruments are a bit like sporting goods. People pick up an instrument determined to learn, and then financial or other factors creep in which prompts the original user to have to sell the instrument later.
For a lot of instruments, if the item is in good condition and can work properly, buying second-hand can save you hundreds and you don’t have to sacrifice quality. Even if the instrument is sounding less than stellar, taking it to a nearby store and buying some new strings or drum skins can be a quick and easy fix! The store assistants can also change it for you, making it sound brand new in some cases.
If you’re a seasoned player, buying secondhand is also the most likely way to find some of that vintage equipment that might have the right kind of sound or feel you might be looking for.
Thrifting clothing has blown up massively in recent years thanks to TikTok and fast fashion trends. Thrifting your clothes can save you heaps on everything from jeans, to tuxedos, to even baby clothes and designer fashion. Consumers today are also going through clothing faster than ever before, which is leading to perfectly fine clothing ending up in thrift stores.
We’re living in a very design-forward society as well, with fashion trends shifting faster than ever before as well. This means you’re bound to find very current clothing in thrift stores as well. So if you’re expecting baggy 70’s inspired blazers or t-shirts with lame printed designs on them, you’d probably be surprised by what’s often available.
Leather or suede clothing is also an excellent secondhand purchase as it’s very common to see those items lasting multiple decades due to their durable materials.
When buying secondhand clothing, make sure to check labels carefully as sellers could stick you with a fast-fashion knockoff with a designer label sewn in.
There’s seldom a reason nowadays to buy a car fresh and brand new as driving a car off the lot of the dealer can reduce the value of the vehicle by several thousand dollars already.
Cars manufactured in the past decade are also better and safer than ever before, which means you can have less of a headache with modifying your second-hand car and save a bit more on not needing to get it serviced as often as you might expect.
Buying second-hand can sometimes also save you on car insurance as a used car has less value than a newer one. Of course depending on how old the car is and how much mileage it’s sitting on, it might be worth considering different coverage.
The market for buying second-hand is better than it’s ever been before as there are websites such as Carfacts which can give essential vehicle history reports. In NSW there are also strict consumer laws that dealerships are forced to comply to that ensure they will run safely for 5,000 kms or for the first three months of purchase. These same laws also demand that car salesmen must legally tell you the truth about the car’s readiness for the road.
Because the second-hand market is fairly lucrative lately, some models can still be a bit pricey, so be sure to keep an eye out.
When purchasing anything secondhand, it is important to know what level of risk that might be coming with that purchase, so be sure to do your research on your purchase beforehand!
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