When my budget leaves me with no room for error, how am I going to pay off my debt? Many consumers who want to pay off debt but are having trouble doing the math have the same problem.
Stopping to purchase things brand new is among the simplest strategies to free up money in your budget. Instead, hunt for lightly used things to cut the cost of an item by up to 90%. By removing the demand-driven requirement to produce one more of that item, used goods not only enable you to save money (and possibly even make back your investment if you decide to sell them later), but they also reduce your carbon footprint.
Here are some items I recently purchased used. I could have purchased some or all of these items brand-new, but I decided against it. I choose to set aside money for debt repayment. Look at this:
1. A Car
A used car isn’t always an outdated junker. Visit a reputable used automobile dealership, such as the used car section of a large national brand dealer. Look for cars that have been discounted and have an extended warranty.
Since the purchase price of your car is nearly equal to what the insurance will pay if your car is totaled, you may skip gap insurance and save thousands of dollars by buying a used car.
By taking out a loan with a shorter term, you can save even more. A loan for two or three years may have a somewhat larger monthly payment than one for five or six years, but you may end up saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest.
2. Merchandise credit and gift cards
Purchase gift cards and store credit from resellers at a discount. For practically any retailer, cheap gift cards are available. Your budget can be stretched by even $10 off a $200 food gift card. Take advantage of your discounted gift card’s clearance deals and coupons to maximize your savings.
My preferred retailers for cheap gift cards are:
- Raise Card
- Cash Zen
3. Mobile devices
I start searching on eBay for the iPhone model below the most recent one that Apple publishes. I discovered one for under $300. After using it for a year and a half, I sold it for around $200.
Since the release of the iPhone 3G, I have been going through this cycle. Every time I buy a phone, I save $300 to $400, plus I occasionally get to upgrade.
4. Baby Products
Buying baby supplies is a fun aspect of being pregnant and nesting, but the price soon mounts. You can spend $100 to $200 on a single rocker or swing, and some things are only utilized for a few weeks at a time. For half the cost, many baby things can be found in excellent or like-new condition. For the greatest prices, peruse yard sales, your local Craigslist, and baby swap shops (thrift stores that specialize in baby items). Occasionally, hundreds of parents consign their lightly used baby and children’s belongings during sales held in certain regions.
For $10, I purchased a Boppy® Pillow and cover. It costs $40 to buy new. That is a 75% savings. Both the pillow and its cover can be laundered.
For the price of a used appliance, you may purchase a brand-new one. At nearby appliance retailers, look for floor models with dents and scratches (some cities have entire stores dedicated to scratch and dent units). Because it was a floor model and had a dent, I was able to get a $3,000 stainless steel refrigerator for just $1,300. I saved an additional $100 by paying with a gift card that was on sale and using a coupon.
Another Credit Sesame author paid $900 for a $2,800 stove at a San Diego scratch and dent shop. She had $1,500 saved.
Ever suffer “sectional couch sticker shock”? Surprisingly pricey is furniture. When I tell visitors that the majority of my furniture is from Craigslist, they are often startled. In addition to receiving my furniture for less than half the cost, I also helped a local craftsperson by paying to have several pieces repaired.
The biggest surprise of homeownership, at least for me, has been learning how many tools we actually need. It seems like a new specialized tool is needed for every modest endeavor (or set of tools).
At garage sales, my husband has acquired a number of tools, including a $200 tool chest for about $80.
Name brand clothing can be found at yard sales and thrift shops for 10–20% off the retail price. If you prefer online used clothing shopping over thrift stores, you can still save money. Every year, the typical household spends $1,700 on clothing. You could save up to $1,000 or more by purchasing used.
My preferred online stores for used clothing and accessories are:
eBay \sThredUp \sSchoola \sPoshMark \sSwap
An improved use of your funds
You can save thousands of dollars if you frequently buy used goods. Commit to increasing your debt payments while reducing other expenses. Spend your savings on debt from credit cards. Your credit score will rise as your utilization ratio decreases each month as your balances decrease.