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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
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10 things you're better off buying used

Some tips to get you upcycling, reusing and getting more for your money: and we’d like your suggestions too…

IT’S NO SECRET that consumers have less cash to burn these days than ever before, but there are plenty of ways to save that don’t require diving headfirst into a sales bin.

For some products, there’s just no point paying full-price when you can find the same quality in a second-hand or used product.

1. Bicycles

Like cars, new models of bicycles come out every season, which means you’re likely to see older models pop up on sites for a fraction of the cost during colder seasons like autumn and winter.

If prices at your local bike shop aren’t appealing, try sites like, or a scheme like this one at the Rediscovery Centre, Ballymun, Dublin for ‘upcycling’ old bikes as part of the rethink, recycle, remake initiative.

Think about commuting to work on your new ride and watch your savings grow even more.

Before you buy online, be sure to use due diligence. If an ad seems fishy or uses a stock image, the bike might have been stolen.

2. Textbooks

University students in particular end up with massive bills for course-required textbooks, especially in science subjects. When possible, renting, borrowing or buying books secondhand are the simplest ways to save. runs a free facility on its site for parents to buy and sell secondhand school books directly to other parents. is also worth a look, and also has a section for third-level texts. is also useful and many third-level institutes run second-hand book services, for example this one at UL, run through the Students’ Union bookshop.

3. Children’s clothing

We wouldn’t recommend going the used route on important items like car seats or pushchairs, but when it comes to children’s clothing – which is likely to get wrecked by smashed carrots anyway – there’s no shame saving.

Try browsing reputable charity shops in your neighborhood or, of course, asking friends and family for handmedowns.

4. Cars

The new registration number divisions might get you over your ’13′ superstitions but most of us know that a new car is an extravagance many can’t consider.

“A used car that’s five years old can typically be about a third of the price of a new car, and the insurance is a lot less than it would be for a new car,” according to Investing Answers.

Buying used cars is an economical choice, but you’ll want to be wary of hitting the used car sales yards before doing your research. Sites like Car Buyers’ Guide, and are great places to get an idea of how much a used car should be worth.

5. Household appliances

Before you cart off lots of euro worth of new kitchen appliances , think about buying big ticket items from friends and family or online.

Things like refrigerators and washing machines are plentiful on sites such as the ones mentioned in the ‘bicycles’ section above, and smaller kitchen appliances like blenders, mixers, and microwaves are easiest to score.

You’re in real luck if you have a pair of friends who recently moved in together. Chances are they won’t want duplicate appliances cluttering their cabinets.

6. Toys

Do yourself a favour – especially when children are younger – and hold a swap party with friends who have children of a similar age or older. also has a classifieds section laden with children’s stuff and is worth checking.

Chance are your five-year-old won’t remember whether the Tonka truck you bought him for Christmas was used or not when he’s pushing 30.

7. Furniture

New beds and mattresses – we get the appeal. But we like a poke around auction rooms for house contents clearance and retro finds, as well as projects like Oxfam Home which manages the double whammy of selling unwanted furniture for reasonable prices, and benefitting charity too.

8. Wedding attire

Remember, no bridesmaid should pay full-price for a gown she’ll only wear once. As well as the reasonably-priced ranges from stores like Monsoon, Debenhams and Coast (for bridesmaids), brides-to-be on a budget should check out the chat forums on the large number of Irish wedding websites out there – there are always good deals to be had on gowns that a former bride no longer has the room to store.

Barnardos Bridal Rooms in Carlow and Dun Laoghaire stock new wedding attire from leading Irish designers and retailers but at a fraction of their original price. And again, it has the feelgood price tag of contributing to charity attached.

9. Pets

Dropping hundreds of euro (or slightly less) for a new pet seems almost criminal when you get down to the cold, hard facts. Animal shelters all over Ireland are full of healthy, vaccinated pets looking for a good home. Last summer the DSPCA had to issue an alert that its shelter was completely full and that it had noted a rise in the number of abandoned pets since the recession began.

So have a heart and if you have the time, space – and finances – to properly look after a pet, think about saving one from being euthanised.

10. Designer threads

If you are lucky enough to have a glitzy event to go to, is a good bet for pulling off the latest red carpet trend on a budget. But you can still wear the real labels by looking for dress rental services in your area, eg The Ivory Closet, Limerick; the Dress Bar in Cork; Covet in Dublin; Corless Formalwear in Galway (hello, gents) etc.

What else would you never consider buying new these days? Have you any helpful hints and suggestions? Let us know in the comments section.

- Mandi Woodruff, additional reporting by Susan Daly.

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