Money Saving Tips, Personal Finance

New vs Used: 8 Things You’re Better Off Buying Secondhand

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If you’re looking for ways to trim your budget, buying things that have been previously owned can save you a lot of money. While it’s true that you get what you pay for, buying secondhand doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice quality. If you take the time to shop around, you’ll find that there are plenty of things you can buy in like-new condition without having to pay top dollar. Here are just a few things we think you’re better off buying used.

Cars

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One of the most exciting things about buying a new car is breathing in that “new car smell” the first time you get behind the wheel but it comes at a significant cost. Within the first year, your car’s value depreciates by about 20 percent. After five years, you’re looking at a loss of around 60 percent.

Instead of shelling out big bucks for the latest model, shop around for a deal on something that’s a few years older. Look for a vehicle that’s been well-maintained and try to pick one that holds its value well.

Books

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Digital books have soared in popularity over the past few years but there’s still a sizable demand for the good old-fashioned paper versions. When it comes to getting good deals on used books, your choices are virtually limitless. Thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets can yield up plenty of treasure for book-lovers for a fraction of the cost.

Students who are looking to save money on textbooks can save as much as 80 percent using sites like Chegg.com and Half.com. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, you can always head over to Amazon and eBay for a quick browse.

Furniture

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One of the easiest ways to give your home a makeover without spending a lot of money is to invest in new-to-you furniture. Consignment shops, thrift stores and moving sales can offer lots of choices at low prices but it pays to take a look around online as well.

Craigslist can yield plenty of deals and Freecycle is also an option if you’re on a really tight budget. Just be sure to inspect anything you buy carefully to check for signs of wear, including stains, tears and mildew. Paying $50 for a used sofa isn’t really a deal if you end up having to throw it out and buy a new one because you didn’t notice that broken leg or the giant stains on the underside of the cushions when you bought it.

Tools

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If you’re planning on making some home repairs, you’ll need the right tools to get it done. It doesn’t make sense to spend hundreds of dollars on new tools, especially if you’re not sure when you’ll get around to using them again. Instead, look for used tools in good condition at pawn shops, estate sales, yard sales and online through Craigslist and Amazon. The money you save on tools can go towards your next big project.

Baby Gear

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Part of planning for a new baby is making sure you have all the right “stuff” to welcome your little one into the world. Baby’s basic needs usually include clothing, blankets and diapers but it’s easy to get caught up in buying all the extras like high-tech baby monitors and a deluxe playpen.

When it comes to baby gear, buying secondhand is a smart way to save, since your little one will only be using it for a short amount of time. Just keep in mind that for things like car seats and cribs, you’re better off buying new since an item that’s been damaged could lead to a potential safety hazard.

Kid’s Clothing

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Kids can grow at an alarming rate and buying a whole new wardrobe for them each year can easily bust your budget. There are plenty of places where you can buy used kid’s clothing for much less than what you pay retail. If you’re looking for name-brand items at a discount, look for resale shops, consignment shops and thrift stores that are located near upscale neighborhoods.

Exercise Equipment

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Ready to get in shape but don’t want to fork over a fee to join a gym? Working out at home can yield similar results, especially if you’re planning to buy your own equipment. Before you spend $400 on that new treadmill, look around online and locally for deals on used equipment. You can usually find equipment that’s still in great shape and you won’t have to feel guilty about spending a lot if you don’t find yourself using it as often as you planned.

Video Games and DVDs

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If you’re a serious gamer or movie buff, you could easily spending thousands of dollars to buy the latest game or DVD. Sites like GameStop, eBay and Amazon are gold mines if you’re looking to complete your entertainment library without paying full price.

When it comes to buying things secondhand, you always run the risk of getting something that’s damaged or may break as soon as you get it home so you have to evaluate your purchases carefully. Overall, buying used is a great way to save if you’re willing to put in a little extra time and effort to hunt down the best deals.

Photo Credit:  Junkstock,  Wonderlane,  Thomas HawkMartin Bengtssonvitaly.sokolovskyMark.Pilgrimd o l f islobpicks

About Rebecca Lake

Rebecca has been writing about the nuts and bolts of personal finance since 2009. Her work has appeared on a number of popular finance sites, including the Quicken money blog and Money Crashers. As a homeschooling mom of three, she's always looking for ways to make the most of every dollar.

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