Money saving tips: Sell, up-cycle and buy second-hand

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

Before making any drastic decisions or signing up for that second job, you should first consider selling items you no longer use, re-purposing other items and changing your spending habits.

Sell your unused stuff

A good place to start is by de-cluttering your house. Go into each room, look around and try to be brutally objective. Do you really need that baby stroller, spare Lazy-Boy chair or set of golf clubs which are standing around gathering dust? Probably not. Indeed, if a recent survey conducted by online classifieds portal Junk Mail is to be believed, there’s a very good chance that you have several items lying around the house which are no longer being used.

According to the survey which sought to determine people’s buying and selling habits during a downturn, 100% of respondents stated that they have unused goods and appliances in their homes. It’s not surprising to learn that such a large number of respondents are hoarding unused items. As time goes by, people’s needs change and their use of items changes too. Importantly, the survey also points to the fact that a lot of people are potentially sitting on untapped cash.

According to the Junk Mail survey, most unused items are located in kitchens and garages. Kitchen equipment listed as “no longer in use” includes coffee machines, blenders, liquidisers, steamers, sandwich toasters, deep fryers and electric carving knives. Goods listed as gathering dust in the garage includes bicycle racks, pedestal fans, standing lamps, sports gear, computer components and tumble dryers. Other miscellaneous household items which appear to have fallen out of favour with many owners include bar stools, cameras, hair irons and portable CD players.

Needless to say all of these items could be sold and put to good use elsewhere. And it’s easy enough to unlock cash from such items. In addition to Junk Mail there are numerous other online platforms which allow users to list and sell items quickly and easily. You could also sell your unused items at brick and mortar establishments such as Cash Converters and Cash Crusaders which have numerous branches around the country.

Repurpose old stuff

In line with making and saving money, you could also look at ‘up-cycling.’ Upcycling refers to the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, ‘useless’ and/or unwanted items into new materials or products of a better quality. While upcycling largely stems from the desire to offset environmental harm, it is also aligned to being more economical and the desire to create something unique.

There are numerous items which can be easily up-cycled around the typical home. Old furniture, wine crates, old window frames, trunks, glass jars and ‘plant-ware’ such as pot plant holders are arguably the easiest items to up-cycle and turn into something which can be put to good use around the house. All it takes is a little imagination, effort, the odd lick of paint and perhaps some glue to jazz up such items. Best of all it should cost you next to nothing.

Of course your spending habits will also impact your bank balance. If you want the latest and greatest gizmos and labour saving appliances but don’t have the bank balance to match, chances are you’re going to run into problems. With this in mind, it’s important to take a good, hard look at your finances and consider going the second-hand route if your budget can’t stretch to new items.

Buy old stuff

There are great savings to be had by buying items second-hand, many of which can be bought via the same sites and places you would use to sell your own items. Interestingly, according to the Junk Mail survey, second-hand furniture seems to be a popular choice when the budget is too tight to purchase a brand new replacement.

Respondents commented that furniture can be expensive when bought brand new and that looking at second-hand options can often lead to great deals. A number of survey respondents confirmed that they’ve purchased furniture such as a dining room set, a chest of drawers and wing-back chairs that they consider to be great purchases at a steal.

Televisions, baby accessories and children’s toys in good condition were some of the other second-hand items listed by the survey as being sought-after when the purse strings are tight.

In a nutshell, it doesn’t look like economic conditions are going to improve any time soon and may even get worse before things get better. As such, if you want to stay ahead and make ends meet, now is the time to sell superfluous goods, make the best of what you have and purchase within your means.

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