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6 things you should consider buying used

You don't always have to sacrifice quality when you buy secondhand.

By Jul 21, 2014 4:52PM
This post comes from AJ Smith at partner site on MSN MoneyTightening your budget doesn’t have to mean cutting out the things you need or even want.

 Couple shopping for car © Image100, JupiterimagesThrift shops, garage or yard sales, online resources, flea markets and pawnshops are great sources of savings. Turning to these options can bring you the most value for your dollar because there are some things that most people simply do not need to buy new. There are plenty of items that come much cheaper secondhand, and without sacrificing much quality.

Check out these six purchases that you should consider buying used.


No. 1: Cars

It’s a well-known cautionary saying that cars depreciate the second they are driven off a dealer’s lot. Buying a used car can save you money on both initial cost and on insurance. It’s a good idea to pick a model that is a few years old, well-maintained and holds value well. Just because you're buying a used car doesn't mean you won't need financing to make the purchase. Before you set foot on a used car lot, you should check your credit scores so you know if you'll qualify for the better interest rates.

No. 2: Exercise and sports equipment

Between skis, tennis rackets, kayaks, baseball mitts, treadmills and elliptical machines, staying fit or playing sports can be a costly endeavor. Buying used comes especially in handy if you or your kids are outgrowing their equipment and hobbies quickly. Many people buy new, expecting to use their equipment regularly, but few manage to do so. Whether you buy refurbished or like-new from someone’s garage and basement, resale is a great option for sports and exercise equipment.

No. 3: Books

With the exception of coffee table displays and collections, books are usually used for a limited period of time – the duration of a class or the time it takes you to read from one cover to the other. Buying secondhand or holding book swaps with friends to find new reads can lead to big savings. Also, books are just one of the things offered for free with a library card.

No. 4: Electronics

It can sometimes feel like everyone has the newest gadgets. But if you are willing to wait a few months (or even a year) from the big release date, you can save hundreds. Next time you go to make a purchase, take a few minutes to compare last year’s model to this year’s and see if the difference in features is worth the difference in dollars. An older model may even still come with protection. People are often so excited to have the latest edition of everything that they get rid of electronics before the warranty is up, so you can capitalize on that and save some pocket change for future purchases.

No. 5: Furniture

Used does not always mean worn out or worthless – people often move suddenly or change their mind about big purchases like couches, dressers and other furniture. These things are usually priced to sell if someone’s move is imminent or they don’t have storage space. It may take a little work to seek out the high-quality or less used items, but it can be worth it for a new-to-you table, desk or chair that you love. Keep an eye out for scams when buying furniture secondhand online -- always inspect the furniture in person before handing over any money.

No. 6: Dishware

Dishes do not usually go bad with time, but are often recycled due to style or convenience. When people get married, move or just see something new they like, they might make room for new flatware in their life. Garage, yard or estate sales can be good places to find kitchen items that are perfectly usable and sometimes even back on trend.

Even if used items require extra evaluation, making the switch from new to used can make a big difference in your budget -- and your life. If you’re willing to find a great deal, resale can lead to great purchases. You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars – don’t let the shiny and new hold you back from the financial benefits of buying used. On the other hand, there are some things, like safety equipment or mattresses that may be worth the extra money to buy new.

More from

Jul 27, 2014 8:29AM
Used furniture cab be an Iffy thing. Especially if it is stuffed furniture.
Jul 21, 2014 5:35PM
Read this advice and heed it, darling daughters.
No, you dont have to live Up to the Kardashians.

Also, these days newer does not necessarily
mean "better".  Free up your cash to purchase
Assets, not Liabilities. 

Love yaz!

Jul 27, 2014 12:06PM
Dishware? Who the hell wants used paper plates!
Jul 22, 2014 12:00PM
Getting a used car is a no-brainer!

Who would want to go into debt for something as unimportant as a mode of transportation?

I drive a ’99 Toyota Camry handed down from my father-in-law who bought it new. I do my own maintenance so there’s minimal maintenance costs, no depreciation, low insurance ($25/month from Insurance Panda) and registration costs, no car wash expenses (I park it outside when it’s raining) and people think twice before trying to cut in front of me. It’s a comfortable ride on the highway but is also nimble on dirt roads. I could easily afford a new car but then I’d have to fuss about dents, scratches, car washes and all those other costs. It’s got a 3.1L V6 that achieves 30 mpg on the highway. As long as it continues to pass smog it’s a keeper…

and I don’t have to “pay it off”!
Jul 27, 2014 11:43AM
Another thing that should go on that list is to buy gently worn baby clothes, furniture and toys at consignment shops. Babies outgrow things so fast it only makes sense.
Jul 27, 2014 12:21PM
RV's. Never buy a new recreational vehicle. They depreciate faster than you can drive it off the lot. There's thousands of good RV's out there that have only been used for a few trips, then sit. I know a guy in my neighborhood  that bagged a three year old Winnie for about half of what the original owner paid for it.
Jul 27, 2014 1:40PM
Dishes are so cheap you're just making a statement, that you're stingy, and a used mattress makes the statement you're a fool, considering you don't know what was done on it.  Mattresses are only good for 6-7 years anyway. I hate sleeping on hotel beds but it's too much trouble to bring my own.
Jul 27, 2014 11:53AM
Generally good things to do but with a big caveat.  Used electronics are more often non-reparable junk, upholstered furniture can be risky with live contents you weren't expecting.  Caveat emptor  Also if you want to save money, you might try building some things yourself.  Furniture items like book cases and cabinets are not difficult to make and can be far better than the paper finished, chipboard junk that seems to be the norm now.  Plus you might find a great deal of personal satisfaction in actually producing something useful.
A+ on the buy used electronics thing...Have always said that all computers bring you to the same Internet.

Just one caveat: Many electronics get warm or even hot, which can be a haven for bud bugs, roaches and God knows what other bugs.
Something to be mindful of...

Jul 27, 2014 2:57PM
You can look at the car in two ways. A used car can be a good buy if it is maintained. I got 2 used cars for my teenage son and they turned out to be great vehicles. One saved his life and the other lasted over 250k miles. Both 6 cylinder GM vehicles. If you are worried about recalls and think a used car is probably past a recall, just read the news. There are some that are over 10 years old being recalled. The number of miles on a vehicle is something to consider too. A new car has a warranty and has no miles on it. So if you drive a car to 100k miles it means you can keep a new car longer so the initial cost is spread out over more time. If you are worried about the depreciation, it only comes into effect when you sell or trade it. It's like being in the stock market. You only lose if you cash out when it is at its' lowest. But unlike the stock market nearly every car always loses value from day one. This is most important if you if you get a new car every two to three years as part of your vehicle plans. If you drive a car till it is worn out the best may be a new car as long as you meticulously maintain it. Overall I found a used cars are a value based on the mileage but usually have a shorter time value. It's a balance you have to figure out based on your financial status and your needs or wants.
Jul 27, 2014 10:16AM
One would think that buying a used car would be a good idea, but dealers now seem to think that when their rentals return, they're essentially still new. The prices are ridiculous for year old cars, the new ones are about the same price and you never know what the actual mileage is on those used cars.  I've seen them with 15000 miles on the odometer and 4 new tires, I wonder why they need new tires at 15000 miles ?
Jul 27, 2014 4:57PM
where does a one armed man shop? at a secondhand store. 
Jul 27, 2014 1:24PM
Despite some of the comments by paranoid pessimists below, this is indeed the way to go. As a professional yard saler for 20 years I can guarantee we don't have much high value new stuff. Since I also repair and refinish furniture I can tell you it all looks good, too. Obviously you have to apply a little common sense and in this world that's something of a problem. You really don't want to buy that old coffee maker that's priced $2 below current retail. Forget about the overstuffed chair that looks like the dog's been sleeping on it for 20 years. Use your head. We have had two rental return cars. They were good cars. And so on. I also have to say I guess it depends on where you are. We live in southern Arizona and the only thing we can f ind is gold and some jewels including diamonds. No one's changing their furniture every year or two. The child thing is absolutely correct. That's one thing we don't handle and that's one thing that's everywhere. KIds clothes with the labels still on are definitely a good deal. 
Jul 27, 2014 2:19PM
WOW!  Good suggestions, one and all.  Another avenue for "used" (or, even new sometimes) items is auction sales.  Over the years we have made out like bandits at auctions.  Granted, you need to know values of items because you can also get stuck with over-priced/bid items too.  Besides, auctions are fun pass-times.  You never know what you might find at the bottom of a box of "junk".
Jul 27, 2014 2:05PM
This list is accurate IMO.

Except dishware and stuffed furniture.

Why buy old gross dishware when you can fork up $20 to get new dishes?  It's not like you are saving a ton of money by buying used.
Jul 27, 2014 1:26PM
i like ths one. always buy a used car and also got a nice used laptop on the net thanks
to my webmaster's advice...!
Jul 28, 2014 12:37AM

Boy, you said it 6dogs, buying used stuffed furniture is almost, but not quite, as bad as buying a used mattress. In, fact, I think it's illegal in some states to sell a used mattress.

Yes, the furniture MIGHT be all right, but why take the chance?

Unless you're into antiques, which is a totally different story

Jul 27, 2014 11:20PM
Ok,  but  DISHWARE? 
Pretty sure a new set of dishes from Target won't wreck the budget too badly.

Jul 27, 2014 4:32PM
Easy to agree with most all of the items mentioned. However, there are several  caveats associated with the sporting equipment. Skis are one item advisable to avoid buying used unless one truly knows how to examine the equipment and willing to accept a significant risk to life and limb or a wasted purchase. In any event, a thorough rehab by a highly skilled technician is a must before using. That will add to the price. Used binding can actually be dangerous. Treadmills can be a great deal in the used market but anyone expecting to use is a few times weekly or more should call in the maintenance person. A waked out treadmill can be an injury source so a tune up is worth the price. People often have used cars and trucks checked but seldom consider the safety aspects of sports equipment.
Jul 27, 2014 4:56PM
u can find some great deals on used items such as cds and books at amazon.
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