Home » How to Save Money: Buying Used Instead of New

How to Save Money: Buying Used Instead of New

Happy Monday, friends!  Today I’m so excited to publish our first staff writer, our daughter Maddie!  You’ll see on the sidebar that our 13-year-old is already a published fiction author, and so it only made sense to get her hooked up into the PF blogging world (and help ingrain more PF responsibility into her 😉 )and have her start writing for us.  Maddie had a great money-saving experience a few weeks back, and wanted to share it with ya’ll.


Admit it:  If you’ve ever leased or owned a horse, you know it well… those things are expensive. Even if you don’t count the necessities, like the feed and bedding, horses are still what seems to be an endless supply of expenses to keep them.  No matter if you’re boarding your horse or keeping it at home, it’s a lot of cash.

So how do you save money when you’re trying to care for a half-ton beast? It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it can be done.

As an example: For the past few months, I’ve been eyeing a western riding saddle at the local farm store. It’s a nice, tan saddle, with a comfortable-looking seat and stirrup leathers that could easily customize to the rider and horse- a flexible build with fancy leather designs, a large seat and cantle and a soft cushion for the horse’s back. A perfect saddle for the type of riding I like to do. But it had one flaw. You guessed it: the price tag.

Five hundred, sixty bucks? As a teen, not something I have on hand. And there are some other things I’ve been wanting as well: a Sony Vegas and computer of my own – all high-priced beauties. All three added up? That comes to a good $1500. That price is a no-no, and I’m not talking the laser-shaving thingamajig that is advertised on the television.  Suffice to say, I needed to find a way to save money on at least one of those items.  I’m pretty good at saving money, but my savings account isn’t up quite that high – not yet at least. 🙂

Around 3 weeks ago, I found out that we were going to wander some garage sales out here, something that we don’t get to do often in redneck country.  One was supposed to have tack. I was a bit reluctant to go; honestly, I hate leaving the farm. But, of course, I ended up dragging my lazy tail into the truck, and off we went.

The first garage sale we hit sported the tack; bridles, whips, brushes, and a couple of saddles.  A gorgeous English saddle looked to be in just fantastic shape, but I already own a really good English saddle, so that wasn’t much of a help.  A little ways off, I spotted a large Western saddle – exactly what I’d been looking for. But it was dusty, dull, pretty worn, the leather was stiff, and it was old. Not exactly the pretty saddle that was sitting brand-new on the farm store shelves.  But, I had mused over the thought of getting a used saddle a bit. I did have some brand-new saddle soap at home, plenty of rags and time. It wouldn’t hurt to get out the elbow grease and the standing saddle rack, in order to save a bit of cash.

I asked the price- seventy bucks. Quick a shocking difference, compared to the $560 price tag on the new saddle.  Not an easy choice, considering I would have to polish the saddle to shine, get a new pad, and the worst part:  break in the old leather.  Doesn’t sound very bad until you actually experience it.  Let me just say it’s very painful for your joints. But there was a bright side:  I was saving on my horse expenses over five hundred dollars after you add in tax, but I would have the new, bigger saddle I needed.

So out of the bank came the cash and into the car went the saddle. I took it home and polished the dullness right out of it. I got a pretty nice shine, and it actually turned out to be a pretty beautiful saddle.

DSCN3243 DSCN3245


Whaddya think?  Looks pretty good all cleaned up, doesn’t it!  I finally got it onto my horse and up in it (three days after a surgery… Call me Einstein…). It turned out to be a pretty good ride, but it really did need breaking in.

Since then, I’ve been riding once or twice more. I’m pretty glad that I got this one- I’ve learned that this saddle is built with a higher quality compared to my old one, and because of that, I’m able to have a smoother ride when Star and I let loose on the trails. Yea!

So, in a nutshell, I think I got a pretty good deal. And I saved over 500 bucks! Booyah!

Author bio: Maddie is a true country girl at heart.  Much more comfortable in jeans and boots than in a dress, Maddie is a pro at the things country girls like to do: archery, target practice with the 22, and of course, riding horses.  She’s also pretty darn good at drawing and video production, which she does for fun on YouTube and Deviant Art.  Maddie can throw bales of hay around like nobody’s business, and she’s also a huge animal lover who aspires to own her own ranch someday, which her dad is quite certain will contain no less than 3,284 cats, dogs, horses and other fun animals. 🙂 


  1. Thomas says:

    Great story Maddie and welcome to the PF world. I think its great you looked at the financial’s behind paying all that money for the things you wanted and found other options. $1500 is a lot of money and a lot of kids would expect their parent to just go out and buy it for them. Saddle look pretty sweet now go out and make sure you break the leather in.

  2. I admit that I really prefer to buy new things than used, but now that I’ve been spending more time on Craigslist I am realizing just how easy it is to find affordable, lightly used goods that can cost significantly less than buying new. Good for you for saving $500!

  3. Maddie, You are super girl, you saved $500. I am happy you are learning savings and frugal ways at young age. Laurie must be very happy. By the way saddle looks pretty nice and you made a good choice, Njoy riding !

  4. Nice post Maddie & welcome to the PF world! Good for you for making the wiser choice and getting something you’ve been able to enjoy. Getting the “nice” new whatever can be tempting to get, but I find we appreciate the used item much more – especially when we have to put a little work in it. That’s also not to mention the sweet savings – good work! 🙂

    • Maddie B says:

      Thanks! Yeah, it was a hard decision for me, but hey, that’s some cash not spent and some stress not created, and a new saddle. I think things worked out pretty well 🙂

  5. Matt Becker says:

    Hey Maddie! Great lesson here. We’re so conditioned in our society to think we need the latest and greatest of whatever it is we want, but it’s so often the case that you can get something that fits your needs perfectly for a lot less money if you’re willing to buy used. Looks like you bought yourself a beautiful saddle and saved yourself a lot of money. Great work!

  6. Great first post Maddie, and a wonderful lesson! Often it’s possible to buy higher quality goods used and with a little elbow grease make them as good as new and likely to last us a very long time. Hope you’re feeling better after your surgery. =)

  7. Hi Maddie, I really enjoyed your post! Well done on getting a great deal on your riding saddle. I hate buying new stuff and would always prefer to find a pre-loved item if possible. Buying used instead of new is good move!

  8. Hey Maddie, great post and good job saving all that money! I definitely agree that buying new is not always necessary. I’ve saved so much money by buying things used and those things are just as good!

  9. Great job Maddie! You found a way to make your hobby (which I think is fairly expensive, no?) and make it more affordable for yourself. A little confession: I’m scared of horses. I think they’re beautiful but for some reason I think they have it in for me. 🙂 I’ve ridden a couple times and I’m afraid they want to throw me off them. 🙂

    • Maddie says:

      Horses are scary- they’re massive! 😉 But they really are good companions and friends, once you get used to them of course. Thank you! 🙂

  10. Sicorra says:

    Awesome job on saving money Maddie! Your saddle looks amazing and I loved reading your post. Congrats on publishing your book and I look forward to reading more posts from you 🙂

  11. MonicaOnMoney says:

    Awesome job on getting a great deal! Perfect example of how much we can save with a little research 🙂

  12. Alexandra @ Real Simple Finances says:

    Great post, Maddie! I was just thinking about getting horses (eventually) the other day, and I can’t believe how expensive they are. It’s great to know that there’s an opportunity to save money by buying used. That saddle looks beautiful.

    • Maddie says:

      Yes, they do cost a bit of money.:) But it’s always worth it in the end, they’re fantastic. Thank you! 😀

  13. I think that saddle is beautiful, and better than the new one in that it was brought to life by a labor of love.

    Used is way, way cooler than new. Any chump can spend more money to get something nice. It takes someone with know how and work ethic to get something nice the way you did it.

    • Maddie says:

      Thanks so much. I agree, used often it way cooler than new, it’s got a past to explore, especially if it’s older. I really enjoyed finding out how good-looking the saddle was under all that dust 🙂

    • Maddie says:

      Yes, a lot of older things turn out to have a much better quality than new, and I’m glad that goes for the saddle. Thanks! 🙂

  14. Alexa says:

    Great post, Maddie! I think it’s great that you can appreciate saving money at a young age. I love to get deals on used items (as long as I was already intending to buy them.) A lot of times you get higher quality used items than you would find brand new anyways.

  15. E.M. says:

    Great job on saving such a large amount of money Maddie! Horses are beautiful, I’ve always wanted to learn how to ride, but it can be quite expensive. Way to go on making it a bit more affordable with some creativity. I definitely try and buy used when possible.

    • Maddie B says:

      Oh yeah, horses are a bit of a financial pain to keep sometimes, but it’s always worth it. They really are beautiful creatures. Thank you 🙂

  16. jim says:

    Maddie B,
    YOU, darling, have a natural talent for this (blogging) and spending wisely. Good for you, honey! I am just loving seeing this from younger generations. Obviously, you have been taught well.

    • Maddie B says:

      I wish more of this generation understood the concept and reasons for spending wisely, I’m so glad I’ve been taught about that. Thank you so much! 😀

  17. Kelly @Stayingonbudget says:

    Great job polishing up the saddle. I try to buy as much used as possible because the savings can be huge.

  18. Buying used can save big dollars, a few months ago I bought a new iPod dock – top of the line which retailed for $799 for $300. It was two weeks old, came with the original receipt and box however the previous owner had been called to Dubai for work. It weighed too much to ship overseas, so he had to get rid of it cheap. I’m definitely happy with my purchase – don’t know if it would have quite been worth $700 though.

    I also bought my car second hand, but as new. The previous owner was an old lady with cancer – she drove the car 1700km over the course of 12 months before passing away (not in the car!). I picked it up from the estate at over 20% discount from new – and it still had the plastic lining in the boot that it came with new!

  19. lyle @ the Joy of Simple says:

    Hey Maddie and great post 🙂

    It’s nice to see the younger folk thinking a little more about where there money is going and how to make it stretch! If you keep this up, you’ll have that ranch you want earlier than expected 🙂

    If interested, I am also a used item fan and wrote a post over at my blog The Joy of Simple. Here’s the link if you or your folks wanna check it out.


    Take care and keep on doing what you’re doing! Peace out.


  20. CF says:

    Nice job! We try to buy used when we can. The best deal we’ve gotten is on our rug. New – over $100. We bought it “used” but the seller hadn’t even taken it out of the bag yet!

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