There’s a Cheaper Way to Save When Buying Used Stuff : The Saturday Weekend Review #139

The Saturday Weekend Review logoUSED STUFF SHOULDN’T BE SO EXPENSIVE


My wife and I have enjoyed saving money over the years by going to second-hand shops such as Value Village and Goodwill to buy new and used stuff.

These aren’t the only two places to buy used stuff in Ontario but they are the most commonly known shops around.

Lately though it seems that every time we go into these stores especially Value Village that the prices are outrageously high for used stuff that they were given FREE.

I can understand vintage used stuff or used stuff that holds value but they keep that stuff under lock and key. Even then some of those prices are a bit out of touch with what one can find elsewhere for less. Keep in mind not all of this stuff is in mint condition or has all the parts or accessories either.

We’ve questioned over and over if it’s even worth shopping there any longer when we can find used stuff cheaper other ways. There is always that tendency for us though to walk back in just to see if we can “Find anything“. I’m sure many of you have said and done just that.

Even though Value Village is for profit the Goodwill prices have also followed suit although we’d rather shop at Goodwill for used stuff.

The only good part for second-hand shops is that they creates jobs for those people in the community and keep items out of the landfill. Some people have even decided to work for themselves and create their own job buying and selling used stuff.

Some of these people are even given used stuff from friends and family who can’t be bothered to sell it and tell them to keep the profits. There are always other ways to get used stuff cheap and to sell it for more. I bet there has been a spike in mannequin sales over the past few years but sellers on Ebay have done it for longer.

Yes, people make a living doing this stuff and a good one at that. Used stuff isn’t going to fade away so it’s a great side-business to have if you want to earn extra money or create an income stream for yourself.


How much is that?


I remember buying a leather jacket for around $7.99 back a few years ago at Value Village. If you go have a look at the price of leather jackets now it’s astonishing. As an example we went to Value Village two days ago just to have a look around.

My wife suggested that I have a look at the leather jackets but I said to her, “Have you seen the prices they are charging?” She had a quick look and yes her mouth was wide open. Prices ranged from $19.99 to $59.99 and up.

Buying second-hand clothing such as sweaters will run you about $5.99 and up where back a couple of years they would be $1.99 or $2.99 each.

Baby clothes and used shoes are just as pricey. It’s bad enough some people have no choice but to buy used shoes that someone else has already broken in, at least keep the prices reasonable. They wanted $15.99 for a pair of Baby Nike shoes. Come on now!


Halloween is coming


A brilliant ploy to get people through the door at Value Village these days is selling Halloween costumes and accessories. Not only are university and college students flocking to the store but everyone else who wouldn’t normally shop there.

Mostly all the Halloween stuff is brand new unless it is donated decor. You see, lots of people don’t want to be caught in Value Village for fear someone might seem them and think they are “struggling financially”. I know it sounds silly but it’s the truth.

They know there are lots of people out there with that mindset but the purpose of second-hand shops is not to service just those people who have low-income. These shops are for everyone!

If they can squeeze people through the door once or twice they hope that a certain comfort level will come over them. Return customers are great for business after all.

They do have some stellar costumes but pricing is no cheaper than any other shops. We saw a costumer for our son at Value Village and found the same one at Winners for a dollar less.

Even Dollarama sells Halloween decor these days for a buck or two which is where most of what you see in Value Village comes from. We bought a scary hand to hide in the bush from Dollarama last week and found 2 of them at the Goodwill for the same price.

The problem is, pricing of items is not standardized from what we can see. It seems that it’s luck of the draw. I don’t know if they take the time to look up the price of every item that is donated but I doubt it. I’m curious how pricing happens but no one has ever offered this information when we’ve asked in the past.

When an item clearly has a Dollarama sticker for $1.00 on it we asked a cashier once why they were selling it for $2.00. The response was a bashful shrug to the shoulders. She didn’t know. This made us question other pricing practices throughout the store but you should at least know your prices as a consumer.

Ultimately it’s like buying a house, there’s always a buyer so what you won’t buy someone else will.


Used stuff is popular


If you head into the housewares department you will see the prices of plastic containers, jars and other knick-knacks which you can likely find at a garage sale for $0.25 selling for $4.99. No joke. I bought 2 Tupperware brand containers at a garage sale a few weeks ago for $0.25 BUT if you want to buy Tupperware at Value Village you’re paying $4.99 and up, plus tax.

I know they have employees to pay and all the other things that come when running a business but they get everything FREE! It’s a lucrative business, we all know that and they know that hence the price increases over the years.

Too many people starting to chime into the second-hand market and suddenly prices increased. I don’t remember this big boom for second-hand shops when I moved to Canada.

It wasn’t until about 2011-2012 that we really started to see the impact that these shops were having for families, ours included. Combine that with the extreme couponing explosion of 2011-2013 and that’s one heck of a great savings plan if you find stuff that you know you will use.

These days you can easily skip the second-hand shops and find the same items for a MUCH cheaper price in a few other places although with that comes with a bit more leg work.

These are our top places for finding used stuff for less.




I’m not talking about Facebook auctions because we’ve seen some people end up paying ridiculous amounts of money for an item because they got click happy and wanted the WIN!

The seller is laughing all the way to the bank when this happens especially if what they are auctioning was an item they were given or found for free or much less than it sold for.

What we do like is the Facebook Garage Sale groups where you can still negotiate prices. You still have to drive to pick up your product so time and gas is factored in but you’d do the same if you went shopping elsewhere. Most times you still pay for shipping costs if you bought online unless you get lucky with promo codes.

Another online site is Varage Sale which is a virtual garage sale similar to what you’d see on Kijiji I suppose. I don’t know how popular this site is yet but you can still negotiate like you would buying used stuff at a garage sale or on Kijiji.

The downfall when buying at second-hand shops is that typically you can’t negotiate prices, you pay what the price tag says. If you find something with a rip, stain or broken parts they may drop the price but even then they are hesitant at times.




This is one of our favourite places to buy and sell new and used stuff because we can negotiate back and forth. I’ve found all sorts of stuff on Kijiji for an amazing price which I know I would never get at a second-hand shop. You still have to drive to pick up the item so gas and time is needed. You don’t have to pay taxes so that’s another financial perk.


Garage Sales


The BEST way hands down is going to a garage sale. Garage sale pricing will never be standard but everyone knows that if you don’t sell it you’ll likely donate it and get nothing. It’s better to ring in something than to go the easy route and just drop it off and let the second-hand shops reap the riches of your hard work.

A garage sale takes some time to organize but for the seller it’s a great way to cash in and for those looking to buy stuff and save money you will strike gold. The hard part is getting up early on Saturday mornings when you want to lay in bed. The con is the gas BUT when you compare garage sale pricing to what you’d pay at a shop like Value Village the gas doesn’t seem much of a concern.

Garage sale prices will almost always send you home with a smile.

As you will see below Jen Peacock who typically shares all of her garage sale finds on Canadian Budget Binder every summer scores some amazing deals. This week she picked up a variety of clothing for her son but has bought items for the entire family.

You can’t buy pants for $0.50 a pair at a second-hand shop but you certainly can at a garage sale. If you aren’t afraid to negotiate you can get even deeper discounts on used stuff at a garage sale. Jen almost always negotiates prices, even on the small stuff.

I know Jen will tell you that garage sales are her best way to save money on everyday living needs and she doesn’t look forward to the end of garage sale season. This typically happens in about October although some people hold outdoor garage sales up until the snow falls.

I think the only time we may end up in second-hand shops from now on is when they have a 50% off day but until then we plan to source other avenues to get used stuff. No one is saying don’t shop at second-hand shops but if you want to save more money just know there are ways to do so.

What are your thoughts on second-hand shop pricing?


CBB Week At A Glance


We had an uneventful week because I’m working so much but we did manage to get out swimming and shopping.

Our son loves to swim so we do our best to get him in the water at our local pool on my day off. The day is mostly about family because while I’m working 2 jobs there isn’t much time for all of us to spend time together.

Other than that I didn’t get much done around the house. I’m on the look-out now for a deal on a garden hose as ours stopped working. I can only assume the inner hose wall has collapsed internally making it almost impossible to water anything.

I’ve tried everything I could to avoid spending money to buy a new but now I have no choice. I could buy second-hand which I will do if I find a good deal on a quality hose. The last thing I want to do is buy a crappy hose used but it is end-of-season so I might just get lucky.

All of our Fall decor is now out including our Fall wreathe. Next I’ll be cleaning up the yard and storing our summer stuff for the winter months. I hate this part of year where the nights come faster and the sun is not shining as much.

Do you decorate the outside of your house for Autumn?


Published This Week


Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will share them all below. If you are looking for past Saturday Weekend Review posts scroll down to the bottom of this post where I will list up to 5 previous weeks for you to read.

If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the Home Page and send in your questions.

If you want to share a story via a Fan Question only please ensure that there is minimum 500-1000 words and details… we love details!

Right now CBB is posting Tuesday (Grocery Game Challenge) , Thursday (Personal Finance Post), Saturday (Personal Finance and Weekly Wrap-Up and a recipe on Sunday!


Budget Brags


Submit your Deal or Brag:

Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge 2015.

What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies!!!

If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.(ca) < remove brackets) or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

Today Jen P shares her latest Garage Sale finds!

jens garage sale deals sept 19 2015

Hi Mr.CBB and Fans

Here are this weeks garage sale deals!

  • Exersaucer (for my parents house because he loves his at home) $3!
  • Laundry hamper that matches the crib set we have $3 (they were asking $5)
  • SpongeBob sandwich container – free
  • Wire rack (I have a special purpose in mind for it) $.25
  • 2 pairs of pants for Connor $1 ($.50 each)
  • 9 clothing items for Adam $.50 each (they were asking $1 each).
    Total spent $11.75

I’ve also been selling some of my baby and maternity items that I no longer need and have made over $50 this week doing so.

Great deals Jen.. keep a tally of what you sell and how much you make. My wife will be doing the same soon. I’d like to hear how much you make back.


Making A Difference (MAD)


Note: If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you.

This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans.


Hey CBB Readers!


Hi you guys. I’m still not over how cool it is that I’m writing to all the readers of Canadian Budget Binder right now, but I’ll try to keep it together and not be a total geek about it.

No promises.

So, again, hi! I’m Des, I AM Canadian (yes, beer commercial reference) and I write about personal finance over at Half Banked. In case you hadn’t guessed it, my blog follows my half-baked attempt to save half my income.

I started the blog after the somewhat-startling realization that oh, maybe I’m not as great with money as I always thought I was. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my wins – I’ve never carried a balance on my credit card, I bought my first car outright and I started saving for retirement the day I got my first full-time job.

But after diving into the personal finance blogosphere, I realized that I had also been making some pretty big money mistakes. Lifestyle inflation has been my constant companion for the past few years, I left all of my retirement savings sitting around in cash collecting dust, and I once paid $50 in bank fees – in one month. True story.

Since I’m not really the kind of person who does things by half-measures (oh, the irony) I decided to go all in and take on a big challenge to address my past mistakes: saving half of my take-home income. This brings me close to the amount I lived on when I first graduated university, so within the past few years, this was a reasonable lifestyle for me. Now, the challenge is maintaining it with my two new-ish sidekicks, The Boyfriend and The Dog.

I’m writing about everything that comes up as I try to rectify my past money mistakes, from spending way too much on takeout coffee, to finally starting to invest my money (right before the downturn, might I add) and balancing the absolute joy of having The Dog around with the inevitable costs of responsible dog ownership.

Half Banked is my small contribution to changing the way we all talk about money, and what’s considered “normal.” When you don’t hear people talk about different approaches to money, like saving more than 10% of their take home pay, it’s easy to forget that there are other options out there. I want to be one more vocal example of a slightly different way of managing money.

One of my favourite parts of the blog so far has been connecting with the absolutely amazing personal finance blog community, so I hope to e-meet a lot more of you through this! And Mr. CBB, you rock. Thanks for having me on M.A.D, and happy Saturday!


Top Recipe


nickos kitchen KFC copykat fried chickenFood  and grocery shopping is a BIG part of CBB because food is a large part of the budget which people struggle the most with.

If you are someone who would rather buy convenience meals or products consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch.

Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Food Bloggers from around the world.

I also share recipes on CBB once a week on Sundays either made by me or my in-house home blog cook Nicola Don!

This week our Top Recipe Pick goes to Nicko’s Kitchen for this amazing Copykat Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) recipe which showed up in my feed. The video will blow you away and it really does look like KFC although it’s the taste test that will tell all. I hope you get a chance to test this fried chicken out and let us know what you think.

The recipe is below which was from Nicko’s Kitchen Facebook Page  and check out the Nicko’s video for detailed steps to make this amazing KFC Copykat recipe!

KFC Chicken homemade

Ingredients: serves 6

2 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt & pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp ground chilli
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried sage leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder

1 cup buttermilk
1 egg

4 large chicken breasts
Vegetable oil for frying

~ Nicko


Editor’s Pick


Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with you and an Editor’s top blog post pick.

Editor’s pick (That’s me Mr.CBB) goes to G.E Miller who wrote a post for Rockstar Finance called “Meeting Your Future” which is a brilliant read about what would happen if you met your future and are you taking the right steps to make your financial dreams come true.


How people find CBB


Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Keep in mind any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.

  • Consequences for stealing a bar of soap at Walmart– Why would you do that in the first place? Certainly not worth what you will be possibly getting… charged with theft.
  • ATM spit out extra money– It spit did it.
  • Eating well on Welfare– Can be done!
  • Romantic Candles and Rose Petals for my wife– Oh, how romantic or What did you do wrong?

Don’t forget to subscribe to my daily blog post by entering your email address on the home page and verifying the subscription email once it is sent to you.


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  1. Oh my goodness, I looked into the sordid underbelly of the rag trade at Goodwill and the like here in the states as well. My main concern is the use of petrols to transport threads by ship by the TON to Africa. China also exports by the ton and there are efforts by some African countries to stop this so that locals can be employed to make their own clothes.

    Essentially, Africa has become the landfill.

    In addition, it is CHEAPER to buy imports from China than to buy there (because of govt taxes) Clothes at H&M in Beijing on Wanfuging St. are 30% MORE than we pay. I was Gobsmacked.

    Garage Sales, Poshmark, Tradesy, Craigaslist are the way to go

  2. I am now looking for a garage sale in our community for my kids’ Halloween party costumes. I have already set what costumes they’ll wearing. I just hope it’s available. If not, I am planning to get it online and use some coupons.

  3. Read this post yesterday morning, which was timely given I needed to buy work clothes that would get wrecked in the course of a job. I’d read articles regarding the various stores such as Goodwill, Value Village and Salvation Army Thrift store and paired that with my experience (canning jars for $1 each at G.W. for example) and decided to go to Salvation Army with my unneeded coats and to find what I needed. Jeans are $40 new, $20 on sale or the lowest $12 at Giant Tiger. Left Salvation Army with four pairs for $17.00 in good condition but found that two didn’t fit (face-palm, they weren’t for me) though the tags all said the same size. Lesson learned, go Salvation Army and take a pair that fit for reference.

    1. Were you not able to try them on before you left the shop? I don’t typically buy jeans at the Goodwill because I’m thin and tall so I really have to watch what I buy. I do try everything on because sizes in Canada tend to vary and just because it says one size doesn’t mean it fits like that. Similar to what you found out. I don’t think you can return items either can you?

  4. Value Village has always been expensive in my books. Approximately 15 years ago I bought 2 Halloween costumes and paid $20 each but I made them last me for many, many years. I haven’t been back shopping there since but I’ll donate items or to other thrift-type stores in the region.

    I know for the book store that I work at, my boss will go in to look at the selection of books and the stores want close to what we sell our books for and like previously mentioned…..these books were free to the store.

    When I was growing up in the region, my mom would shop at Salvation Army and I look back at those pictures and think “Boy I look geeky”. Due that feeling and other things, I typically don’t shop or even to look around in the thrift-type stores.

  5. There is no Value Village anywhere near us but there is a Goodwill in the nearest city. Also a Re-store location there as well. Here in town we have the Salvation Army Thrift store and we do shop there quite a bit. The older boy got himself some jeans there a while back. He noticed the one pair of jeans had part of the metal button missing at the waistband, he pointed this out to the clerk and she knocked a buck off for him. He brought them home and we removed the remains of that button and I sewed on a new button from my button stash and he is good to go. All the moneys made there stay in town to help out those that need the help so I have no problems there. They do have sales, usually it’s one colour of tag is 25% off that day. Or a certain article of clothing will be 25% off, all jeans there or what ever. Last year they ran all short sleeve t-shirts half price in the fall so I will be looking to grab a few for next summer and to wear layered under a sweater in the cooler weather.
    We also check out the clearance racks in any store we go in. My daughter and I have nabbed t-shirts for $2.00 or there abouts!! End of season clearance racks is a lovely place to find deals!! I’ll be looking for t-shirts for my daughter for Christmas as she wears them layered under her work shirt as well as in general. A couple of bucks each would be right up my budget!!
    Looks like I have a couple of new places to check out for reading matter…. Have a great weekend!!

    1. We go to the Thrift store as well in our city which is better than that Goodwill because of those sales you mention. It’s not a big store but it has everything you need to buy in there and then some. There are so many stores in our area it’s hard to pick one or two but without a doubt the prices have gone up at all of them.

  6. Secondhand shopping is really perfect for frugal people out there and those adventurer. It’s so exciting and challenging to look for good stuff out of all those items/products because whenever I go to a garage sale, it excites me knowing how much I can save and what things I can buy.

  7. Hi there Mr CBB!

    (Ironically my autocorrect keeps wanting to change ur acronym to CBC! Ha!)

    As a fellow permanent resident of Canada (originally from Australia) I’m toying with the idea of becoming a Canadian Citizen. At first I didn’t see much urgency in this as I already have 2 passports and would need to abandon one to become Canadian. My family is originally Dutch so I also have a Dutch passport.

    But recently friends of mine have found themselves suddenly having to return to Australia for family reasons. They are also PRs of Canada. They suddenly realized that it was not a good situation. They own 2 homes here and have investments, RRSPs etc. For some reason (which I don’t yet understand) they are not allowed to own property here if they don’t live in Canada and will have to pay tax on both ends in order to move their money back to Australia. However if they had become Canadian citizens this would not be an issue.

    They have warned me about this and encouraged me to get my citizenship asap so that I don’t end up in this situation .

    What do you know about this scenario and have you thought it through in your own situation?

    Thx for your blog btw…’s great!


    1. Hi Helen,
      I have never heard of this type of a situation to be honest. I don’t know how much truth there is to that as our family owns property out of country without issue. Even in Vancouver homes are being bought up by those living out of country however I don’t know the ins and outs of it. When you say pay taxes on both ends what do you mean? On their investments, savings accounts? I’m not a Canadian Resident but my wife has 2 passports. I don’t see me moving back to the UK for any reason so I’m not too concerned. Who did your friends get this information from? I’d be interested to find out so then I can see if I can find more info but I’m still a bit confused about what they are being asked to pay for and why. 🙂

      1. Hi again! Sorry.. just saw your reply now. I’ll ask my friends for the details and get back to you on that. I’m so curious and a little concerned about it as well. But they do have an immigration lawyer and financial advisor looking into it for them… so I’m sure their info is correct.

  8. I too have found Value Village pricing itself out of the market. An example: I donated 2 tops that I decided I didn’t want to wear.A week later I see my 2 tops priced higher than what I paid for them. Not right when everything they have is donated. I would like to see how much money they do donate to charity.

    1. Me too!! Yes the prices are skyrocketing and people are noticing BUT will they do anything about it. Probably not because they know people will still keep shopping there.

    2. I used to work at The Cerebral Palsy Association asking for the donations and the answer is not a hell of a lot. Less than 10% I believe. In the time I was there (3 years) the terms were changed too, to the charity’s detriment of course.

  9. I normally only hit up rummage sales for used items and have had good luck. We are actually doing our winter clothes shopping for our 5 month old daughter at the city wide sale today. We can’t justify buying full-priced kids clothes since she grows out of them so fast and we can get an outfit for 50 cents at rummage sales for lightly used (and sometimes new) clothes.

    1. We get almost all of our baby clothes free or donated to us. We also look at the reduced racks or end of season for used baby clothing which has treated us well. We picked up swimming trunks for our son for next year for $3 a pair which is a great price. We’ve looked around and this is one clothing item that is tough for us to get used.

  10. As if I get to be featured in SUCH an awesome post – I definitely have Thoughts about how expensive Value Village has gotten too! Even as a more recent addition to the Value Village / Goodwill shopping tribe, I do find it a little weird that used tops will go for almost $10, which is about what they would be marked down to brand-new in a sale. There is always the environment angle as well, which is great, but really?

    I have to second the garage sale thought – I have scored absolutely amazing finds at garage sales just this summer, including the chair I’m sitting on and the table my laptop is sitting on right now! My absolute best trick for garage sales, beyond getting there early, is to find the community garage sales in newly-built areas out in the suburbs. (I say “out in the suburbs” but really that’s just where I live.) In my experience, newly-built homes tend to attract a higher percentage of people who like new, shiny things, and the stuff they get rid of tends to be of the same caliber. At the community garage sale that taught me this, I scored two like-new Ikea chairs for $20, a gorgeous set of ceramic mixing bowls for $5 and a whole heap of almost-new baking supplies for under $10. And everything looked like it had been used *maybe* once.

    I’m just saying, even if it’s a bit of a drive, the newly built areas of the suburbs are worth it if you can find a community garage sale!

    1. Exactly what my wife and I both said the other day. I can go into Marks Work Warehouse and buy t-shirts for less than what I can find them used for. I think that too many people are forgetting about retail stores because they are so focused on getting used stuff. We believe that prices won’t be beat when they sure can be beat.
      I’ve heard that many times, so where the new builds are and you will find gold. It’s true for us because when we go to garage sales at the south end of our city we almost always find the best deals on new stuff and not just stuff that was sitting around for 40 years. Great tips Des and thanks for sharing your Personal Finance Blog with all of us today!! It was a pleasure to meet you!

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