It's rather hard to survive without buying anything, however, many things that you can buy used and save a lot of money. In her article at MSN Money, Liz Pulliam Weston explains the 10 things you shouldn't buy new. I agree with everything she says, plus I would add a few. My additions:
- fancy children's coats. In my family, we call them church coats. Anything that you wouldn't let your kids wear to school qualifies. I scour consignment shops and let friends know that we gladly accept hand-me-down. Heck, I once had a friend with twin girls just a bit bigger than my oldest children. When I noticed that they had new coats at Sunday School one week, I asked if I could buy the old ones from her. She gave them to me, for free, and we've been loving them for 2 years now.
- pets. Not only is it much less expensive to get your new pet from a rescue league or shelter, you are also giving a new home to an animal that doesn't have a home. How great is that?
- baby gear. I admit, I did purchase new car seats for my children, for safety reasons, and new strollers because old ones tend to get rather gross. However, my children all managed to make it through their babyhood in used cribs, changing tables, bouncy seats and swings. I did purchase a few new things when we were overseas because there was no place to buy a used exersaucer in our non-American community and I could have it shipped to my APO address for a resonable cost. Similarly, used pack-and-plays were so expensive overseas that it was cheaper to buy new and have it shipped. (Plus, they tend to be recalled a lot, which is pretty scary.)
What items have you successfully bought used? What didn't work so well? Share your tips and thoughts in the comments.