That said, I work in a barn. I do not exactly pull in the big bucks here, so I can't just prance in to your local tack store and march back out the door with all those lovely, name brand items new off the shelf. That only happens in dreams.
|Dressed for the party
Always only ever buy high quality items. Cheap leather will break. Cheap blankets will leak. Cheap tack will fail. Beyond that, if you ever get bored of something, the resale value of a name-brand item over some generic is ridiculous. It's easier to search for, it's easier to sell. I know, now you're saying, "But SB! If I could afford high quality items, I wouldn't need to read this post."
True. But here you are.
|Dover boots. Seen in catalog.
I generally check used items first. I don't mind a little rip or tear that is repairable, as long as the item itself isn't compromised. I look for super sales. I prefer buying from individuals vs storefronts, because I find I'm more likely to get a good deal from someone just wanting to unload stuff than I am from a for-profit business.
Here's the trick to eBay, though: Know what you will pay. It's easy to get sucked into a bidding war on an item and not pay attention to how much it's really costing, particularly once you factor in shipping. Once you've set your max price, LEAVE IT ALONE. There will be another item.
If you've scoured ebay and nothing is available, I move on to the next most obvious location. Facebook! Seriously. With the blossoming of social networking has come a plethora of tack exchange groups. Here are some of my favorites: English tack trader, Used Horse Blankets. You have to wade through a lot of crap, but I have found some stellar deals.
|Irish knit from facebook. $20.
Again, focus on buying quality items from recognizable brands. Many times I've snapped up an item I thought would work, then sold it on for more than I paid when it didn't work out. I'm not good enough to make a business of it, but let's just say saddle hunting has been a profitable endeavor for the most part.
|Plus you have to wait for shipping
A corollary to the above principle is simple: be prepared. I've been winter blanket shopping since August. I won't actually need a winter blanket for probably another month, but just keeping my eyes open means I have a better chance of getting exactly what I want for exactly what I want to pay.
So there you go... that's my process for keeping Cuna in nothing but the best without completely breaking the bank.
*It bores and stresses me to shop for pretty much anything else. Ergo, I have needed black flats for two years. I live in the largest city in my state. Ask if I've done anything about that.