14 Things You Should Always Buy Used

Photo (cc) by benzado

We recently shared a list of 20 things you should never buy used. Because it’s often true: You get what you pay for. When it comes to safety, hygiene, and warranties, there’s no substitute for buying some things new.

But for the most part, you can save a lot of money without sacrificing quality by purchasing many things used. In fact, it can change your life.

In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson takes a look at things best bought used. Check it out, read on for a longer list, then see if you can add to it…

Stacy just named six things you should never buy new. Now let’s recap and expand that list…

1. Cars

The biggest way to save on car ownership is to avoid paying the sticker price. A properly maintained year-old vehicle looks and functions like a new car – but costs 20 percent less. If you can save just $4,000 by buying used, then earn 10 percent on it for 20 years, you’ll be $26,000 ahead. And if you can avoid interest by paying cash rather than financing your ride, you’ll be richer still.

You can find a reliable used car for $5,000. The older the car the greater the risk, but having a car inspected by a mechanic can reduce it. The important thing when it comes to cars: Ignore the commercials. Cars are transportation, not status symbols.

2. Houses

With new homes, you don’t have to worry about repairs. But even factoring in fix-up costs – which you’ll know prior to purchase because you’ve had a professional inspection done – a pre-owned house will normally save thousands over new.

According to the latest data from the National Association of Home Builders, the average price for a new home in April ($282,600) was about 25 percent higher than the average price for an existing home ($226,400). Save $50,000 by buying used and you’ll have a lower mortgage payment, freeing up cash to do other more important things – like saving for retirement.

Pre-owned also means more flexible negotiations and mature landscaping.

3. Books

There’s no good reason to buy a new book. Pick up a copy online or at a local store for pennies on the dollar. Or rediscover the library, which these days may even offer free e-book downloads.

The high price of college textbooks makes buying used especially attractive. But you can save even more by checking the library (before your classmates), finding a textbook exchange, or buying an older edition for less. Do some searching and you’ll find lots of ways to get textbooks cheaper, or even free.

Depending on demand and when a new edition is released, you may also be able to recoup much of your cost by reselling them in the right places. Money Talks News writer Ricky Michalski recently bought one of his chemistry texts online for $75 – and resold it for $72 four months later. That means he’s $72 richer than the student who paid full price, then threw that book in a box, never to be read again.

4. Timeshares

A new timeshare is a terrible buy. Reuters recently reported owners are so desperate to ditch the annual maintenance fees that many timeshares are selling for $1. If you can buy a timeshare for basically nothing, avoiding a developer’s high-pressure sales pitch will make you tens of thousands of dollars richer. Check out articles like How to Buy and Sell Timeshares.

5. Recreational toys

From boats to RVs to bikes, buying used makes sense for all the reasons Stacy mentioned in the video above: They’re terrifically expensive new, they depreciate rapidly, and if someone is selling, they may not have had the free time to use it very much.

6. Sports and exercise gear

Everybody wants to lose weight, but few make the time to do it. That means many people have exercise gear they want to unload cheap or even free on sites like eBay and Freecycle. There are also stores that specialize in used gear, like Play It Again Sports.

Weights can’t go bad, although you’ll want to test things like treadmills and other more complex equipment. As we mentioned in our Best Bought New post, bicycle helmets are one thing you should buy new for safety reasons. But otherwise, why not buy used?

7. Furniture

Used furniture from garage sales and consignment stores is often a great bargain – just ask Money Talks News writer Angela Colley, who refurnished her home for under $720. Look around your house and mentally add up the amount you’ve spent on new furniture. Had you bought used, you could easily have saved 50 percent, which means that money would be in your pocket instead of a furniture retailer’s.

Moving sales are great places to save on furniture, since moving furniture is expensive, and sellers have a deadline to dump it. Snap up bargains when college dorms and apartments start emptying in the Spring.

Added bonus of buying used: you might find stuff that’s better built than today’s.

8. Jewelry

Jewelry depreciates faster than cars. And unlike cars, used jewelry isn’t going to break down, and nobody can tell a ring made this year from one made in 1950. In fact, vintage styles can be highly sought after. Best sources include pawn shops, online at places like eBay, and government and other auctions. Obviously, if you’re buying something expensive, be knowledgeable or enlist the help of someone who is.

9. Baby gear

Baby stuff doesn’t get much use – they outgrow everything in months. So baby clothes, toys, and nursery furniture can be smart used buys.

But there are definitely used baby items to avoid. Car seats and cribs have safety risks, and everything should be checked for product recalls. If you’re not sure, say no. But if you are, you can easily save 50 percent or more.

10. Clothes

Clean out your closet and get a tax deduction by donating the clothes you don’t want to a thrift store. Better yet, take them to a resale shop and make some money. And while you’re there, shop around.

The problem with buying clothes this way – as with many things you buy used – is that it might be hard to find exactly what you’re looking for. But if you’re not in a hurry, buying used can cut your clothing budget by 90 percent. For nicer clothes, head to the thrift and resale stores closest to upscale neighborhoods.

11. Dishware

Dishes don’t go bad with time, and buying used can save 80 percent or more. Got a friend getting married? Odds are good they’re going to be getting rid of old stuff to make room for wedding gifts. Thrift shops, yard sales and online sites like Freecycle are also good bets.

12. Electronics

Used electronics are a mixed bag: Things a few years old might be obsolete or incompatible with the latest technology, and it’s often hard to tell whether there are hardware issues.

However, buying used a few months after a product’s release (or even getting last year’s model) can be a great way to save. Purchasing from someone you know personally is a good way to avoid lemons, and factory-refurbished items have been professionally examined and repaired, and may even come with a warranty.

Electronics are a great place to save because so many people foolishly feel the need to buy the latest edition of everything. Not being one of those people will make you richer.

13. Video games and movies

These media are a lot like books. Many buy them new, enjoy them once, then toss them on a shelf. If that’s you, recycle your entertainment money and trade them in.

Online-only stores such as Amazon and Newegg sometimes feature sales with new copies cheaper than the used ones at brick-and-mortar stores, so be sure and check. But used prices are typically 10 to 70 percent less than new, with the best deals on the older stuff.

As with electronics, patience pays.

14. Tools

Most people don’t use tools regularly, so it may make sense to borrow or rent them. But well-maintained tools last a long time, and are easy to find at yard sales. It can be hard to tell how much life power tools have left – so only buy them used from people you trust.

Bottom line? You can be thousands of dollars richer simply by letting other people take the depreciation hit that accompanies virtually all consumer purchases. While it’s convenient to go into a local store and walk out with something new, there’s a high price to pay for that convenience. If you can save $10,000 every year by buying used, then compound that money at 10 percent, in 30 years you’ll be $1,809,434 richer than someone who buys the same things new. And what have you sacrificed? Nothing. After all, those new items become used the minute you bring them home.

Is there anything you can add to the list? Let us know below or on our Facebook page!

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say
This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say

One major wireless provider stands out for the least reliable call, messaging and data services.

Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card
Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card

Credit cards offer many conveniences and protections, but sometimes it’s simply smarter to keep the plastic tucked away.

9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45

These clever Amazon finds can help transform a messy nest into the pristine home of your dreams.

How to Avoid Being Surprised by 7 Nasty Expenses
How to Avoid Being Surprised by 7 Nasty Expenses

Major expenses are difficult to predict, but there are ways to make sure you’re protected.

5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement
5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement

Medicare can be confusing. Beware these missteps — which can hike your costs.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently
10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day
29 Purchases That Can Save You Money Every Day

Sometimes, you’ve got to spend to save.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.