8 Products You Should Almost ALWAYS Buy Used, Not New
Sometimes it's hard to resist the allure of buying something
brand new: a car with its new
car smell, an outfit that no one else has, a book with
not one crease or smudge on the cover. Yet there are some
items where it really does pay off to forgo the thrill of
buying new and opt for used instead.
Here we've highlighted the top items that experts agree you're
almost always better off buying used rather than new.
Did your child just decide to become a flutist with
the elementary school band? Buying used is probably
the way to go.
Cars depreciate in value about 15-20 percent each year, but
in the first year the depreciation is even steeper. The second
a car is driven off the lot, it reverts to its wholesale price
(the price the dealer paid for it), which means a large portion
of its value is instantly gone.
"Just the difference between wholesale and retail prices
is a large amount of what goes away right away," says
Charlie Vogelheim, editor of Kelley Blue Book.
Though you can't stop depreciation, you can avoid the first-year
loss by buying a used car. And with cars being built to last
longer than ever, you can purchase a car with some miles on
it and not have to worry that it's going to conk out a year
Musical instruments from pianos to drums to clarinets are
available used at a fraction of the cost of brand new ones.
Unless you are a professional musician or plan to use the
instrument heavily, a used variety should more than satisfy
This is especially true when it comes to buying instruments
for kids -- who may take up the hobby then decide to quit
five weeks later. When choosing a used instrument, make sure
to find a reputable dealer who will stand behind the product
and make any necessary repairs.
3. Most Kids' Items
Like kids' instruments, many kids' items are used for a few
months (or in the worst cases, a few hours) then grown out
of, no longer needed or pushed aside in favor of a new-and-improved
model. Kids' toys can often be found at garage sales or in
newspaper classifieds, as can used baby and kids' furniture,
clothing and more.
The exceptions here are items that, if not in working order,
could put your child at risk, such as car seats. Make sure
any used items (like cribs or changing tables) are secure
and come from a trustworthy source before buying.
4. Sports Equipment
Here we're referring to sturdy items like baseball bats,
hockey sticks, volleyball nets, croquet sets, weights and
other sports items that stand up to use over time. You can
buy them used at a discount price and still get plenty of
use out of them (and stand to lose a lot less if they end
up permanently in the closet).
Sports items that may not apply here, according to Liz Pulliam
Weston, a columnist for MSN Money, include "shoes, baseball
mitts and anything else that will mold to the wearer's body"
along with motorized items like treadmills, whose condition
may be harder to judge.
Students know that buying used textbooks saves money,
but other books (which are usually read only once) can
also be bought used to save a few dollars (and a few
5. CDs and DVDs
Media like CDs and DVDs are much more expensive when they
first come out and are brand new. Unless you simply can't
wait to see your favorite actor's new movie or hear a new
album, you can save 50 percent or more by buying these items
used. Video rental stores often sell used copies of movies,
used music stores are also common, and online sites also sell
used media items.
Buying used books (and CDs/DVDs) is often highly debated.
While used copies do not support authors (as they're only
paid for new copies sold), leading some to say it's not right
to buy used, others say buying used is better for the environment,
and is no different than borrowing from a library.
What is not debatable is that buying used books is easy (Amazon.com
and other Internet sites almost always have used copies, as
do garage sales, libraries and book stores) and cheap. Used
books sell for a fraction of the original price and make more
sense from an economical perspective because most people read
books only once.
Says Pulliam Weston, gemstones are subject to huge mark-ups
of 100 percent or more yet command maybe one-third of their
retail price should you decide to sell. Pulliam Weston recommends
finding a reputable pawn shop and asking the owner for some
used jewelry recommendations, searching newspaper ads (but
having the item appraised before buying it) and even buying
used stones and having them reset.
8. Office Furniture
Office furniture is meant to be used day-in, day-out, and
as such is built to last. You can find good-quality, used
office furniture for much less than you'll pay new, and expect
that it will last you for years to come, Pulliam Weston says.
Your Income Has Very Little to do With How Happy You Are
Six Debt Triggers for Women
Money: 10 Things You Shouldn't Buy New
Know the Deal on Auto Depreciation