A Year of the Second-Hand Economy

**This post may contain affiliate links. I may be compensated if you use them.

**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kijiji. All opinions are my own.

As the year comes to an end one thing that I’m really proud of is how I was able to use the second-hand economy to make and save money. Admittedly, since I was working with Kijiji throughout the year, I put a little more effort into buying and selling things online, but despite this, using these resources really showed me what a difference some small changes can do to my finances.

According to Kijiji’s 2018 Second-Hand Economy Index Report, Canadians can save an average of $825 per year buying second-hand vs. new. They can also earn an average of $1,134 by selling their second-hand goods. I actually saved even more than that this year but came up a bit short on the selling end of things. Keep reading to learn how much I saved and earned and what I plan to do with the money in the future.

a year of the second hand economy

How much I saved and made with the second-hand economy

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’m a relatively new dad (well my kid is 17 months old now), so a lot of my expenses have been related to the baby. By sourcing second-hand items throughout the year, I was able to save about $850. Many people will think that it took a lot of effort, but it really didn’t. According to the 2018 Report, baby accessories are one of the most popular categories in the second-hand economy, so finding items did not take much time at all. I was able to get a travel crib, toys, a rocking chair and some instruments within hours of searching for the items. Baby accessories can be expensive, but when you shop via the second-hand economy, it’s not that hard to find them for at least 50% less when buying them gently used on Kijiji.

As for selling, I try to get rid of things I no longer need. As soon as my child outgrew some of her things, I put them up for sale online. Many of these items I had purchased second-hand to begin with, so I often broke even or took a small loss. We also had a lot of luck selling some furniture (that weren’t baby safe), which put a few hundred dollars back in our pockets. I also got rid of some old sports memorabilia, action figures, and video games which I had collected in my younger days. In the end, I was able to sell and earn about $900 from my stuff which I likely would have thrown out or given away.

Why changing your money mentality matters

To be honest, I was a bit surprised at how much I saved and made but considering that $28.5 billion was spent in Canada via second-hand transactions last year, I really shouldn’t have been shocked. At the start of the year, I thought it would be difficult to save or make money by using the second-hand economy but that was more of a myth.

If you want to improve your finances, you need to try a few different things to see what works for you. It wasn’t that long ago where I thought tracking your expenses was a waste of time, but now it’s the first thing I tell people to do since it’ll help them get a grasp on their spending. I also thought investing was difficult, but now I manage my own portfolio.

It doesn’t matter if you cut back on eating out or start selling some things online, small things can add up and improve your financial wellbeing.

What I’m doing with the money I’ve saved

Overall, I ended up putting $1,750 back in my pocket by selling and buying items in the second-hand economy and on Kijiji this year alone. That’s obviously no small amount but let me put that into perspective for you.

My wife and I are already looking at our travel plans for 2019 and one of the destinations we are considering is Europe. We’re estimating that our flights will cost us $850 each so the money we’ve saved this year will easily cover our two tickets. This is especially handy since there’s a good chance we’ll be travelling after my daughter turns two, which means we’ll have to pay for her seat too.

Second, if we put the money we’ve saved towards my daughter’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), she would get a match of $350 thanks to the Canadian Education Savings Grant. That would give her a total of $2,100 to put towards her post-secondary education for the year when she’s older.

Lastly, I could also use that money to make a contribution to my Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and get a tax refund of about $720 since I’m in a high tax bracket.

As you can see, any of the three options above would be good, but I could turn that $1,750 I saved and make even more money if I deposited it into Scarlett’s RESP or my RRSP.

Final thoughts

It can be tricky to save or make money which is why sometimes you need to think about the tools available to you. Kijiji is Canada’s #1 channel for buying and selling second-hand, which makes it a great resource if you’re looking to buy or sell something specific. What you do with the money you’ve saved and made is up to you, but it’s clear that if you put in a little bit of effort, you can reap the rewards.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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