I recently spent some time at garage sales (or tag sales as my East Coast friends like to call them). Dozens and dozens of homes had hundreds of items for sale and people were buying like crazy.

I spent a couple of bucks on some odds and ends but also bought a teak desk for $30. I was not looking for a desk, but the owner was moving and anxious to sell so I couldn’t pass up his let’s-get-rid-of-this price. (Later, the wood expert guessed it was worth several hundred dollars and she suggested that I got the bargain of the day!)

I was struck by the number of transactions that occurred and continue to be amazed at the robust market for “used.” Garage sales, Goodwill, resale shops, Craigslist, eBay, the vending machine in the mall that buys used phones, flea markets and consignment stores all contribute to the reuse of unwanted merchandise. Stores such as Books A Million now buy back used audio or paper books, and Amazon has an extensive Seller Marketplace to serve as a forum for buying/selling just about everything.

Buying something that has “had a previous owner” is good for the environment, your budget and maybe even allows you to find something that you are unable to buy otherwise (like a teak desk!). Challenge yourself to make “used” as your default option for purchasing whenever you can.

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