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These days, finding a second-hand deal on something is all too easy. We’re spoilt for choice, with people reselling whatever they can on websites like Facebook’s Marketplace, Gumtree and eBay. Depending on what you’re looking for, there are whole websites dedicated to certain items, like Depop.

Look hard enough and you can find almost anything being resold (I once saw someone trying to sell their cut-off dreadlocks).

I’ve never been someone who absolutely needs the newest version of a smartphone the moment it drops. I’m more than happy to hang onto things as long as they still work (I’m still using an iPhone 6).

But those people who need cutting edge products exist, which is great because they’re usually the ones flogging these second-hand goods. It especially works out if you’re in the market for new tech like a smartphone or tablet, which are pretty frequent second-hand sellers.

I’ve been living out of home for almost a decade now, and on the few occasions where I’ve had to replace my fridges and washing machines, I’ve always gone the second-hand option. It hasn’t done me wrong, so far.

Second-hand shopping is a great way to save yourself some money while getting a product that’s almost as good as if it was brand new. But there are a few things you should remember if you really want to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

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1. Know their second-hand value

If you want to get the best deal possible, you need to be aware what the average going rate for a second-hand item is. You’ll encounter your fair share of resellers who barely discount the item, so you’d better off buying it new.

Before committing to buying the second-hand item, have a poke around eBay or other reselling sites to see what the average price is.

Depending on what you’re buying, some sellers will misuse terms like “vintage” or “rare” as a label to mark up the price on an item and rip you off. That person trying to sell you a Harley Davidson shirt from 2017 for $80 because it’s “vintage”? Nah, buddy, take a hike.

2. Make an offer

If you’re absolutely deadset on something but the price is a bit out of your range, make the seller an offer.

There’s an art to haggling. You’ve got to find the sweet spot where your offer will save you a bit more money, but it isn’t so low that it’s straight up offensive to the seller.

Don’t be the jerk who offers $50 for a $500 camera – AKA almost everyone you meet on Gumtree. Instead, try offering $400 and see if the seller can meet you halfway if they bump back your first offer.

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3. Check the quality

Sometimes you come across a deal while second-hand shopping that seems too good to be true. Chances are, that’s exactly what it is. Someone’s slinging a fairly new Sony TV for a cartoonishly low price? Oh, that’s because there’s a dead pixel line running through it.

It’s important that you check that what you’re picking up is in working order and it comes with all of the necessary parts. If you buy something that dies on you pretty quickly, you’ll be spending more money to fix it or totally replace it.

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4. If you can’t buy second-hand, try saving elsewhere

Second-hand shopping is a great money-saver, but for the times where you need to buy brand new (ahem, undies), there are still ways you can save elsewhere.

Take Dodo’s new SIM-only plan, for example. For $20/month you now get a solid 12GB of data every month. There’s no lock-in contract and you can use whatever phone you’re currently rocking, so you can keep your number and switch with ease.

And, hey, you can use the money you could be saving on your monthly phone bill to pick up that shiny new thing you’ve been eying off.

Image: The Simpsons