April was amazing! From both an income and expenses point of view, I was able to achieve my best result in months. The Belgian government played a huge part in this. Of course, cutting expenses helped a lot as well giving us this splendid SR. Or am I cheating a bit?
Last Updated on April 5, 2021 by Mr. FightToFIRE
With a baby on the way, there is a lot of clothes, furniture, and just “stuff” we have to get to properly prepare for her arrival in May. While this could be an endeavor that goes into the thousands of euros, there is a way to keep it manageable.
Here is how we bought and sold our stuff online, not only for the baby but also the microwave or washing machine we didn’t need anymore after moving into my grandmother’s house.
Selling second-hand goods in Belgium
When it came to selling stuff online up 10 – 5 years ago, you had 2dehands.be and Kapaza.be in Belgium. The latter isn’t around anymore and instead redirects to 2dehand.be. In its stead more and more Belgians use Facebook Marketplace. Its not the only way to buy and sell online of course.
Next to the big two, Belgians also have various online forums and platforms such as Tweakers.net or BeyondGaming.be for anything electronics related (though not limited to). There are also niche forums such as autoforum.be but these are a dying breed.
Thanks to these online market places it’s easier than ever to buy and sell secondhand goods online in Belgium. Finding a diaper pail for your newborn, or selling your unused garbage bags while still getting a good price for it is usually just a few clicks away.
Where is the best place to sell second-hand goods in Belgium?
Other platforms exist as well.
Most familiar is eBay.be. It never really took off in Belgium but it certainly can be an option. For this reason, I believe they bought 2dehands.be.
Just like 2dehands, eBay also covers a plethora of categories. Though there are even more professionals active on eBay than on 2dehands.
Besides eBay, there are others which cover a certain niche of the online secondhand market or are part of a select forum. A big Belgian forum was 9lives.be owned by Telenet which got axed on January 2021. In its place came beyondgaming.be which now also has a buy and sell corner.
Tweakers.net is another online community with a thriving buy and sell area although Tweakers specializes in electronics.
autoforum.be, as the name suggests, focusses on cars. Campersite.be has its main attention on campers. There are many more, but the one thing they all in common is that they are a dying breed.
Thanks to the arrival of social media such platforms as Facebook and Reddit, many people use these sites to find like-minded people and share secondhand articles there. Heck, even I visit Reddit on a regular basis and share many thoughts and insights there.
In the end, the internet is constantly in motion, and sites come and go. so who knows, there might always be a place for these niche forums, but unless you already know them, chances are high you will stick to 2dehands.be and Facebook Marketplace.
Word of mouth
Not really a platform or site but good old word of mouth is also still a thing. Friends, family, colleagues, etc. all can have stuff they want to get rid of so don’t hesitate to ask them for second-hand stuff. The other way around works as well.
If you have something you want to sell or take over, be sure to inform everyone in your close circle. Who knows, maybe a friend who recently had a baby or will have a one is willing to sell or buy.
Safe and secure online buying and selling
Before buying or selling online, it’s important to keep a couple of key things in mind. My main attention points when planning to buy or sell online are rather straightforward, but you can sometimes forget them when being busy talking about that lovely diaper pail you have your eyes set on 😉
My top tips for safe and fun online secondhand trading
If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. A brand new PS5 isn’t going to be sold for half the price. Neither is an OLED TV of a year old unless there is something wrong with it. Ask about the origin or the reason for the sale, for example. Pay extra attention, for example, if a buyer offers more than your asking price or wants to reserve your product on payment of a surcharge.
Know who you are dealing with
For example, look at other postings from the seller, experiences of other buyers and sellers with this person, or check how long someone has been registered on the platform. If this person is newly active, be extra vigilant. Also check the seller/buyer via Google, social media, and internet forums.
Know what you are buying
Don’t only be sure about the person you are dealing with but also the product you want to buy. The clearer you have this set for yourself, the less easy you will get talked into buying something else or overlooking possible defects. A microwave with some rust might not be a big issue, but a car with a broken radiator or bad tires can quickly set you back hundreds if not thousands of euros.
This not only applies to how you pay online but also when. Only use recognized and proven safe methods such as with the Payconiq/Bancontact app or the build-in bancontact functionality of your banking app. Alternatively, pay with a Credit card if you can so you are insured.
Only communicate through trusted means such as the 2dehands chat functionality or Facebook Messenger.
This way, agreements made are always to hand. If the person you are dealing with lures you outside of the platform, you run the risk of online scams and phishing attempts.
Make clear arrangements about the transaction
If you don’t like meeting strangers at your house or don’t like to visit strangers, meet at a familiar place. For example, an acceptable public place or at a shopping center, post office, or bank.
Take a family member or acquaintance with you if it will put your mind at rest. Make sure the agreed-upon amount is clearly set and if the other party wants to change the price last minute be careful.
Moving out is the perfect moment to sell your used furniture and appliances online
When the deadline of our move crept closer every week, we not only started moving things from A to B, but also sell stuff we weren’t going to need in the house that was still furnished for the most part.
Even if you don’t move into a furnished house, if your new home has a different style it can be fun to change it up and using your furniture. Depending on how much you have, it might take some time, but it’s definitely worth the time. See it as an exercise in minimalism.
For us, the benefit of a small apartment is the ease with which you can cover all the things you don’t need anymore. An initial price list formed in the blink of an eye and if you know how much you paid for them, it’s easy to figure out how much it costs to use them.
|What||Purchase price||Selling price||Details|
|800W Samsung microwave||€50||€35||The original price we paid for it when we first moved in and also the price at which we wanted to sell it.|
|Whirpool top loading washing machine||€179||€110||We bought this from the previous tenant. Originally we wanted to try and sell it for 150 EUR but due to time restrictions we settled for 110 EUR. At this price point it was gone in three days.|
|Black metal bedside table||€5||€10||Got it for cheap from a student that was moving out of her “kot”. Given the low purchase price we thought we would try to sell it for more. We were Surprised we actually were able to sell it for 10 EUR.|
|Whirpool Fridge/freezer combo||FREE||–||We got this from my parents who bought it for my sister when she was living in her ‘kot’. We didn’t needed it anymore since my grandmother’s fridge was still fine (and bigger) and were allowed to sell it. However, due to time, we couldn’t sell it so it’s now back at my parents as a backup fridge.|
Not really a complex or extensive list but the washing machine was a big item we were eager to sell given its smaller size; while perfect for an apartment, less so for a house which already had a nearly-new 10 kg washing machine. In the end, we could sell everything we wanted to sell.
€234 - €155 = €79
Doing a quick calculation shows that for just €79, we used these appliances in our apartment for 1 year and 7 months. That’s just €4.65 per month!
It shows that by buying and selling things secondhand you can really save a lot. Imagine buying these things new and not selling them afterwards?
|Whirpool top loading washing machine||€360|
|Black metal bedside table||€9|
|Sum||€444||Note: prices are correct at the time of writing (14/013/2021)|
€444 / 17 months = 26,11 EUR/month. That’s a whopping 461.50% increase compared to buying and selling second hand!
If that isn’t a case for buying and selling secondhand here in Belgium, I don’t know what is.
Buying a nearly new changing table and other baby stuff
While selling our furniture and appliances on 2dehands.be and Facebook Marketplace as we moved out of our apartment, we also started to look at baby stuff we could buy second-hand on the same sites.
Realizing that most baby equipment such as a changing table costs an arm and a leg, even a “simple” diaper pail costs 70 EUR new(!), we quickly turned towards these secondhand sites to find what we were looking for.
Using the list we compiled before, we searched for our preferred items on both 2dehands.be and Facebook Marketplace. It didn’t take long to find what we’re looking for.
For some, we had quite some choice. Even a more specific item such as the diaper pail had three options we could choose from. We ended up getting one that got discolored from the sun -but who cares? It’s a trash can for diapers- for just €15 instead of €70.
Thanks to word of mouth we will also receive free clothes from my wife’s friend who recently had a daughter as well. Now that she has outgrown her newborn clothes we will receive a box full of them.
What we ended up getting secondhand
|What||New price||Purchase price|
|Clothes||€50 – …||FREE|
As you can see, another huge difference. I know, there is a huge caveat due to the clothes. While we will get a lot for free, we don’t know if and for how long they will fit. But even without those, buying secondhand is a huge money saver; money we used somewhere else.
Even though you can buy a lot of stuff secondhand, some things might be better new.
Not everything can or should be bought secondhand: here are 6!
Secondhand is a great way to save (or earn) money. But it’s not the the be-all and end-all. Certain products you are better of buying new. Which ones?
- Baby products requiring strict safety standards: First and foremost you have the car seat. Because it’s sometimes impossible to tell whether a car seat was in an accident, you cannot risk buying one that won’t perform as expected. Though some don’t mind, another one is a stroller. Taking a newborn out for a walk is good, but if the stroller is compromised you might end up dropping your child resulting in a head injury. Call me paranoid, but with newborns you better not risk it.
- Tickets through unofficial channels: I specify ‘unofficial’ as there are ways to buy tickets for cheap. However, it’s dangerous to do it any other way as ticket sellers are actively trying to prevent this and you risk getting prosecuted, even as a buyer.
- Tires: Can contain invisible tears, can be worn down too much or put on incorrectly resulting in uneven wear.
- Helmets: Like with baby car seats, you don’t know what happened to them.
- Fine jewelry (diamonds, gold, silver, etc.): It’s impossible to tell -unless you are an experienced jeweler?- whether what your buying is a real diamond or Moissanite. While there is nothing wrong with the latter, you just don’t know how much it’s worth.
- Food: Strange I know, but you have some ‘interesting’ folks out there. A noteworthy exception is of course food banks.