I love the finer things in life. Music, sunsets, walking my dog and lemon pie all count. I believe most of the finer things in life aren’t actually things.
However, I also love nice stuff. A phrase I hear often from guests to our home is, “Where did you get that? I love it!” They admire our furniture or a cool bird lamp or an unusual dish holding the asparagus.
And I smile and usually say these 2 words: Adventure shopping. (Which in my world means second-hand shopping in all of its eccentric forms.) And then I say, “Most of what is in our home is second-hand.”
The looks of disbelief are always fun. We thrifters get a big kick out of those shocked looks. The strange thing? People really love the story of my thrifted finds and they want me to show them how to do it.
Listen. I love the finer things in life. Big time. I’m sure you do too. And I’ve found a way to have the finer things in life and save money and have fun and be good to the Earth all in one swoop.
I have a simple rule: 80% of the time, I try not to be the first buyer of something. I want to be the 2nd, 3rd, 4th…..maybe even 20th buyer.
My home was built in 1974. I think we’re the 8th buyers. My car is a luxury car. But I bought it gently used, I paid cash, and I will drive that baby for at least 7 years. My previous car was a Mini Cooper that I also drove for 7 years. I bought it when it was 4 years old.
Contrary to what the car dealers try to tell you and sell you — most good used cars, if they are properly maintained, will rarely need repairs. (And no — don’t buy the extended warranty.)
My can’t-live-without Dyson vacuum is refurbished. (I. love. that. thing.)
Our designer living room sofa and loveseat were only 3 months old when I bought them last year from a woman on Facebook Marketplace. She lived in a huge, ritzy house and she said,
“We got it 3 months ago but my book club doesn’t like it.”
So she dropped her price by 75%. Yes, she did. (Apparently, she burns $100 bills in their fireplace to keep warm too.) I almost ran to the door yelling to my husband, “Start the car!” — as this was a huge find.
I am happily curled up on that gorgeous, feather-stuffed sofa at this very moment.
Some people get confused and think that when I say,
“80% of the time I’m not the first buyer of something”
They think — “Oh, she’s not an early adopter.” They think I’m not buying the newest iPhone when it first comes out. Well, they would be right on that one. I never buy the newest iPhone.
When it comes to stuff I am definitely not an early adopter. I buy used cell phones off of early-adopters for a fraction of the cost. Why? Well, these people are impulsive and want to have the newest status symbol at any price.
Laugh all you want, but I have a 6S that I got for $50 and it does a fine job. All I did was replace the battery. Strangely enough, that same phone also works well when I fly to Paris or New York with the money I saved from not being an early adopter. Now, who is the smart dinosaur?
I see the phone as a tool vs a status symbol which makes it much easier for me to save money. The images we see of people sleeping outside a store to hysterically get the latest and greatest new thing? Sometimes they look like they are frothing at the mouth. It makes me wonder about the future of humanity.
What makes me happy? When 80% of the time I can buy something beautiful and useful SECOND HAND. You won’t ever catch me sleeping in a tent, in a line-up outside of a damn store. Why didn’t that frenzy die out with Cabbage Patch dolls?
You work hard for your money. Maybe you’d like to not have to work as hard. You can have the finer things in life and still live within your means.
Making a decision to buy quality used goods 80% of the time stretches your money that much further. More people are catching on to this.
The second-hand apparel market was worth $24 billion in the U.S. in 2018. This is incredibly good news as it’s driving fast fashion out of business. People are realizing they can buy used clothing in a consignment or thrift store, or in their community on Facebook Marketplace and a variety of other online options.
I know of people who hold clothing swap parties as a way to both clean out their closets and not spend any money. Plus they can drink wine at the same time and eat hors d’oeuvres.
So what happens when you can still have the finer things in life because 80% of the time you buy second-hand? It’s simple — you have more money. And then you can use that money for saving for retirement, or travelling or something else. You didn’t have to earn more. You didn’t go into debt.
Don’t forget about how you help the environment too. Because 80% of the time I choose to borrow, or rent (not lease) something for a short time; or I buy something second-hand — I’m also being good to the Earth as my second-hand finds doesn’t usually have packaging , stuff isn’t going to the landfill and someone doesn’t have to make another fill-in-the-blank to replace something I’ve bought.
Walmart hates people like me. So do most stores.
Maybe by now, you’re wondering what I do with the remaining 20% of my purchases (See — I knew what you were thinking. I have ESP.)
20% of the time I buy something new if:
- it is high quality (no dollar stores for me)
- it will last a long time
- it will be used regularly
- I can’t find it somewhere else second-hand
- I just love, love, love the hell out of it.
So, I’m not a simpler-living-martyr-making-tinfoil-balls. I love NEW, quality-made finer things too. If you want to simplify your life you don’t have to go to extremes. What’s important is seeing the long view of how you spend your money.
You can still have the finer things in life and tell the story of how you got that cool whatever-it-is by second-hand shopping.
Now that’s something to brag about.