More Canadians shop second hand than not. And that number is growing every year, as people become more budget conscious and environmentally aware. Everyone has their own best reasons to prefer shopping second hand.
Financial reasons top the list for most of us. This is the biggest, most universal reason to shop used. Most of my personal reasons for shopping second hand are connected in some way to the financial aspects. However, even environmental concerns are related to financial costs for rectifying or mitigating damages to the environment.
My personal reasons are all tangled up in money and emotion:
It is Better for My Budget
Second hand items are usually, at most, half the listed price when new. Second hand items that are new or new with tags are usually priced at just a slight discount from the original retail price. But used items can easily be had at greatly reduced prices. And face it, after just one wearing or use, your brand new item has just become used! So why not let someone else pay the high price of getting the first use? Frequently, items can be found at far lower prices, especially if you don’t mind a bit of wear and tear.
I Have a Better Chance of Avoiding Problems
If a garment is going to shrink, or a car is likely to be a lemon, then the first owner has probably already discovered and dealt with this. I am driven crazy by pants and jeans shrinking in the leg length after the first wash. So shopping second hand helps me to avoid being annoyed.
Shopping Second Hand is More Environmentally Sound
Of course, if an item gains a second life by being re-purchased and continuing to be used, then factory pollutants are reduced by that small amount attributable to production of one less item. It also means that the second hand item doesn’t end up in a landfill until much later. And people are still needed to work in second hand shops so less jobs are lost.
I Feel Less Guilty
I don’t have to feel guilty about making a ‘mistake’ by purchasing something I end up not wearing. I can just pass it on!
I don’t have to feel guilty about my desire for lots of variety and change. If I view myself as a temporary owner, I feel much better about my clothing ‘greed’.
I don’t have to feel guilty about spending too much. I won’t break my budget. I can still afford groceries….
Shopping Second Hand Reduces the Emotional ‘Costs’ of Experimentation
I can try new styles and see if they fit into my lifestyle without feeling committed to wearing or using the item when it is unsuitable or uncomfortable.
I Can Indulge My Fashion Impulses
I can be greedy and lazy, and not spend a whole lot of time deciding if the item is a wise purchase or not. If it turns out not to be for me, I can just pass the item on. I am not a permanent home for items anymore; I am just a temporary stop.
I Can Develop My Own Style (and not go broke doing it)
I can try a new fashion for a while and see if it is more to my taste than following the crowd or just wearing the same-o, same-o.
I Can Step Outside My Style Comfort Zone
When a friend urges me to try something unfamiliar, it is easier for them to convince me because I did not have to choose between the unfamiliar item and an old faithful; I can afford both! That means I have a comfortable backup garment if the new style doesn’t work out. Sorry, pal!
Maybe I don’t have eight reasons after all; maybe I just have two. I feel less guilty and I spend less money. Or maybe that’s actually only one reason. Maybe it all boils down to me avoiding feelings of guilt…. guess we all know now what motivates me!