Don’t Buy Anything Brand-New! Here’s How


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
Ever since she was a college girl, my wife didn’t want to buy anything brand-new. And I think that's pretty awesome of her! She and I love buying vintage because vintage is beautiful… and also because doing so saves us a lot of money.

We live in a modest-sized house but we manage to make the place appear more stylish than it actually is by getting both vintage and repurposed items. I wrote about repurposed and DIY furniture in a previous post. But today, I’ll be writing about buying vintage items.

If you’re looking to save a few bucks without sacrificing being stylish, I highly recommend buying vintage clothes, furniture, and decor. Buying vintage is a great way to save money, and it gives you a lot of character. Most people are out running after the newest, shiniest things. I prefer to be more frugal by buying vintage.

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Old and Used = Awesome and Stylish!

I think it’s safe to say that in this day and age, everyone knows the value of old stuff, whether it’s old furniture, old clothes, or even old gadgets (any retro gamers reading this post right now?). “Old” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “shabby” or “worn-out.” Because of the internet and TV shows like Vintage Roadshow and American Pickers, people have developed an appreciation for stuff from the past. These days, buying vintage is no longer a way to save money, it’s actually a statement.

And I for one, love that. But even if buying vintage wasn’t trendy, I’d still be doing this. Simply because it’s affordable! For the price if a brand new pair of jeans, I can get two, sometimes more, vintage designer pairs of pants! True, there are some sellers jacking up prices thinking their wares are collectible. But there are still bargains to be had.

If you’re looking to not buying anything new and save money in the process, this post is for you. I’ll be showing you a few tips I’ve picked up after a few years of devoted bargain-bin and thrift store shopping (courtesy of my wife's good taste). I really love shopping and buying anything vintage, so let’s get started!

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Avoid Overpriced Items!

The biggest hazard you’ll face when shopping vintage stuff isn’t crumbling, dilapidated, furniture or mothball-smelling clothes. The biggest hazard is artificially inflated prices. A lot of vintage or thrift store owners watch shows like Vintage Roadshow and Pawn Stars and automatically assume most of their stuff is worth big money. The truth is, 99% (not a scientific figure) of vintage items are worth more sentimentally or esthetically than financially (and that’s why I love vintage stuff in the first place!).

So don’t immediately bite when you find something you like, whether it’s a piece of whimsical decor or a chic coat. Do as much research as you can before paying what the seller is asking for. And even if the actual value is much lower than the selling price, you can use the info you have to try and bargain with the seller. Most good sellers I know are always willing to haggle.

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Diversify Your Hunting Grounds

Most of the vintage shops in my area get new stocks every Wednesday and Saturday. Info like that is good to know, but sometimes, new shipments can be so-so. Remember, these are vintage items, so the number of good items tend to vary. This isn’t like a regular shop where you know they will always have X amount of a particular item.

And that’s why you will have to visit as many vintage stores as you can. If shop #1 doesn’t have anything good, move on to shop #2, and so on. Heck, even if a shop has something good, I always visit the other shops in my hunting grounds. That’s because vintage shops are like a box of chocolate – you’ll never know what you find!

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Build Relationships with Shop Owners and Sellers

As much as I love shopping vintage, a little help goes a long way. And nobody can help you as a shop owner can. These people know what’s in stock when new stocks are coming, and the best time to buy anything, really. And that’s why I try to be friendly with shop owners at all times. I like to make small talk and ask them how their shop is doing. It also helps when they see you making purchases regularly.

When you’ve built a relationship with a shop owner, they can set aside stuff they know you’d like as soon as it arrives in the shop. And if competition among fellow vintage enthusiasts is stiff, having someone reserve stuff for you is a huge advantage!

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Unload to Reload!

I like to joke that vintage items are pretty immortal. As there are people who want these items, they will live on. To that end, I always found it easy to resell some of the stuff I’ve purchased. Reselling (or even flipping – more on that later) is a great way to reload the shopping budget for newer purchases. Of course, to resell your stuff, they have to be desirable in the first place. If you love porcelain frogs, that’s cool, but I don’t think there will be a lot of interested buyers if you decide to unload your collection.

If you have a pretty keen sense of what sells, you can even become a dedicated flipper. Buy stuff for cheap at vintage stores, then sell them at a profit online. People who live far from vintage shops will prefer to buy stuff from online stores like yours. Of course, this requires a bit more planning and dedication. If you decide to go for it, I recommend you start small first.

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Know What to Buy Vintage… and What Not To

So far, this post has been extolling the monetary and esthetic benefits of buying vintage. But as much as I prefer to not buy anything new, there are still things that should always, without exception, be bought brand-new. These are items pretty common sense: underwear, hygiene items, toiletries, food… all these need to be bought new. As tempting as it is to buy a box of cereal from your childhood days is, don’t!

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