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BellaOnline's Frugal Living Editor

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Giving Used Gifts


There are plenty of reasons to buy used for Christmas presents, and only one reason not to: you probably think it looks bad. Here's why you should buy used gifts and encourage the same from others.

Some Excellent Reasons for Buying Used Gifts

1. Buying used keeps nice things in the cycle and out of the landfill.

2. You are helping the environment buy not contributing to our unhealthy consumer crazy craze for "more stuff" - ie, new items.

3. It's really both thrifty for you and better for the giftee. You can usually get the recipient a nicer item at the same price level you were willing to spend.

Many times an older item is of higher quality than the newer stuff pumped out by the mega-stores. For example, I never have to try plugging in a vintage kitchen appliance, like a toaster, to see if it works. Those babies are heavy, solid, and made to LAST! I also found a gorgeous native american woven basket for 30 dollars. If I had bought something like that new, I cringe to think of the sticker shock. What a fabulous gift.

Often a vintage item is simply more stylish. Using my toaster example again, I love its fashionable Deco-and-Chrome look.

Hunting for the right treasure is fun! I had all my gifts ready to go BEFORE halloween this year. I even wrapped everything as I got them, in recyled paper wrap (I bought a used tube of Christmas Wrapping paper for one dollar at Goodwill). No last minute shopping or wrapping! There was absolutely no stress in the shopping aspect, and everyone will get a high-quality gift that is perfect for the reciever. You know it when you've found something that is just right - you feel a tingle inside.

This gives you a legit reason to haunt the thrift shops. My husband can't complain about my "habit" when he sees the money we save.

You will avoid the malls. This is reason alone to buy used!

How to Get Away With It

Let your family know ahead of time you are getting everyone nice, gently used gifts this year. If they know ahead of time, you won't come across as cheap. Give your reasons as you see fit, whether you are explaining that you have environmental convictions about the recycling aspect, or that you need to be thrifty this season. Or just say you enjoy the hunt too much, and this is the way to get everyone a truly perfect - not last minute - gift.

How to Buy Used

If you enjoy thrift shopping, by all means start your holiday search as early in the year as you like. Browse often. Be open to all kinds of categories: leather purses; framed prints; designer shirts, skirts or shoes; pet supplies; glassware and art glass; antiques; old dolls; gorgeous, well-made plush animals; vintage bibles; or collection contributions like Pyrex mixing bowls, Beanie Babies or asian tea sets. All of this and more is out there for the gifting.

Think of things your friends and family like and actually use. Keep your eyes open for appropriate gifts, or even "theme" gifts. This year I bought all the women and girls in my family designer tote bags. Really nice, very stylish, barely used tote bags...these would have cost $25-30 new, and I got them all for $3-4 bucks apiece! And they look brand new. Remember, it's NOT how much you spend that is the measure of your love. Get that out of your head right now. The holidays are for sharing love, not guilt.

Where to Buy Used

  • Goodwill and Other Thrift Shops
  • Garage and Yard Sales
  • Flea Markets
  • Estate Sales
  • Ebay and other online auctions
  • Classified Section of your Newspaper
  • Scavenging from your own house or attic
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Content copyright © 2014 by Jill Florio. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Jill Florio. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Jill Florio for details.

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