First Person: The Upsides of Resale and Consignment Buying

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I love buying resale. While I certainly have standards when it comes to purchasing someone else's old stuff, this doesn't stop my eye from wandering whether it's at a garage sale, resale shop or consignment store. Of course, I had a lot of training from a resale queen…my mother. And in the process, I've managed to save myself and my family thousands of dollars and have experienced many of what I consider the upsides of resale and consignment buying.

Less Costly than Retail

I've saved literally thousands of dollars over the years by choosing resale and consignment purchases over retail. Whether it's kids' clothing for our children, a nice picture frame for a gift picture, finding some holiday decorations, or just picking up some new summer shorts, we can typically find most of our consumer product needs for just pennies on the dollar as compared to what we'd spend at a retail store.

One tactic in particular that we employ with clothing needs is buying name brands at resale prices. While we aren't typically name brand type people, choosing quality, style and low prices over the name stitched on a piece of clothing, we've found that if we can match our shopping preferences with a name brand, when we tire of the clothing articles, we can often resell them at a garage sale for about what we paid for them.

Chance at a Real Bargain

I've stumbled across my share of great deals during my resale shopping throughout the years. From garage sales, auctions, and estate sales, to consignment shops, antique stores, online resale, and specialty resale shops, there are deals to be had if I keep my eye out for them.

The key to knowing a deal from a steal is often knowledge, and even someone like me who knows quite a bit about the resale environment won't know every detail about particular items and what might make them worth buying. This is where the Internet comes into play. Being able to search sites like eBay to see what particular items are selling for or have sold for is a great way to gauge whether the item(s) I'm interested in is worth buying or worth buying at the price at which it's listed. While quality and condition can certainly play a role in my final determination, using the Internet as a tool to at least come up with a price range can be a good starting point.

Time Factor

For consignment purchases especially, time can play a significant role. For example, just the other day I was in our local consignment store looking at this awesome little end table. I really liked it and it had tons of character; however, it was listed at $95, which I thought was a little high. However, if I wait another month, the price comes down to $48 -- almost half the price it's at now. Of course, I chance someone else coming along and buying it in the meantime, and if I really wanted, I could make an offer at the $48 price now and see if the seller would be willing to deal, but in this case, there's no hurry.


I just never know what I might come across in my resale excursions. In a retail setting, I generally know what I'm getting. Go to a bookstore, and I'm going to find books. Go to a clothing store and I'm going to find clothing. And in such settings, I'm likely going to pay retail price for such purchases unless I luck into a sale of some sort, and even then I'm not guaranteed a real deal. However, if I go to a resale shop, garage sale, consignment store or antique mall, who knows what I might stumble across. Old coins, vintage clothing, furniture, home furnishings, silverware, sports equipment, books, CDs and DVDs, tools, yard equipment -- there are any number of possibilities, and those possibilities could mean big savings on things that I need or could resell for a profit of my own. This is why I always keep an eye out for the unexpected when I'm in such environments.

Vintage carpentry planes at a garage sale that I ended up reselling for double what I paid for them, a vintage book I sold on eBay for twice what I paid at a resale shop, and name brand clothing purchased at a resale shop that I can wear and eventually resell at a garage sale for about what I paid for it are just a few examples us such resale opportunities.

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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.


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