Find bargains, save money by buying used

IRVINE, Calif.

I think many people will be surprised by how much they can save. One place to find great deals is at the Home Consignment Center in Irvine, where the store's goal is to be 50 to 70 percent below retail.

For example, an office suite that includes shelving and a beautiful desk would typically go for about $5,000. At the Home Consignment Center , it's $1,499. That's a savings of over $3,500.

One top grain leather sofa is an electric recliner. It was on display, brand new from Macy's, at the consignment shop. On sale it would probably cost between $900-$1,200. At the consignment shop, it's $399.

How would you like to buy top-name designer fashion wear, handbags and shoes up to 90 percent off retail? Crossroads Trading Company, a pre-owned clothing chain, has those kinds of deals.

On a recent trip to Crossroads, a BCBG dress with retail tags of $298 was being sold for $32.50. A Joie silk dress with a $338 price tag was being sold for $37.50. J Brand snake print waxed denim that sell in the store for $198 were being sold at for $45.

Some other items that make sense to buy pre-owned are high-end shoes and handbags. For example, a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes might cost $900 in stores. At Crossroads they were $150. A Louis Vuitton bag that retails for about $1,000 was going for $350. A Chanel bag retails for $1,900. At Crossroads, the same bag is $1,200.

Another way to put real money in your pocket is to sell or consign your unwanted fashion items at Crossroads.

We pay the customer 35 percent in cash or 50 percent in store credit, or what we call trade," said Taylor Berg of Crossroads.

If you want to exercise more and get in shape, but don't want to go to the expensive gyms, then shop at stores like Play It Again Sports in Fullerton, which specializes in pre-owned exercise equipment at well below retail prices.

For example, a Precor, a commercial grade elliptical trainer, retails for $3,000. At Play It Again Sports, it was on consignment for $500. An exercise bike, a commercial grade Cybex, would sell for about $1,200 dollars. But it's going for $350.

So, breaking out of your comfort zone by buying used instead of new can save you some real money.

We want to hear from you, too! What tips do you have to save real money? Post them on Ric Romero's Facebook page at

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