Buying used items is one of the top ways to consistently save money. However, not every used item is a good value.
In fact, sometimes buying secondhand could endanger your or your family’s well-being, or end up costing you more in the long run.
Following are many things we think are better when bought new, and why the extra cost is worthwhile.
Back in 2011, the government changed safety standards for baby cribs in response to infant deaths related to old designs.
Though drop-side cribs used to be common, they are now banned. Plus, the new rules require stronger supports and hardware.
The problem with buying a used crib is the chance you might end up with one of the many that have been recalled. It may be easy to avoid drop-side cribs, but unless the seller can provide the original sale information, you may not know whether the crib you buy meets the latest safety requirements.
Better safe than sorry, so we say skip the used crib and invest in a new, safer one.
2. Car seats
Car seats are another no-no when it comes to buying used. Again, safety is the reason.
A used car seat could have been in an accident or exposed to extreme elements, either of which could compromise the seat’s durability. In addition, older seats may not be made to meet the latest safety standards.
You could save a few bucks and get a used seat or spend a little more and give your child the best protection possible. If you can’t afford a new seat, contact your local social services agency or community wellness organization. They may have leads on programs offering free or low-cost car seats.
Another safety item you want to buy new is a helmet, such as for riding a bike, motorcycle or skateboard.
Here, the main concern with buying used is that the helmet’s ability to protect you could have been compromised in an unrevealed accident.
A used computer is a giant question mark. You don’t necessarily know how it’s been used, and unless you’re tech-savvy, you might not be able to see what programs are lurking on the inside.
Laptops in particular are prone to all sorts of abuse, from being banged around in a bag to being dropped on the ground.
There is one exception when it comes to buying used computers and laptops: refurbished computers, which have been inspected and cleared for resale. Buying refurbished items can be a safe way to get a bargain on used electronics.
5. Digital cameras
Like laptops, a secondhand digital camera could also have been abused. It’s hard to look at one and determine how well its previous owner cared for it.
If you just need a basic point-and-click camera or video recorder, new models aren’t all that expensive. Or you could just use your smartphone and skip the expense completely.
If you’re interested in having comfy feet and minimizing back pain, you might want to skip past the used shoe section at the thrift store. Shoes often come to conform to their first owner’s feet, which can make them uncomfortable for you.
I know, some of you are probably shocked to think that anyone would wear used makeup. And yet you can find used mascara, lipstick and eye shadow at thrift stores, garage sales and on eBay. There’s even a Reddit message board for people looking to swap their new or barely used cosmetics.
Used makeup can be a completely harmless bargain — or it might contain scary bacteria or spread disease. We say it’s not worth the risk, and you’re better off buying your beauty products new.
Like shoes, mattresses tend to conform to the bodies of their users. Buying secondhand might mean you end up with a lumpy bed that leaves you tossing and turning all night long.
Even worse, a used mattress can harbor all sorts of nasty things like allergens, dust mites and bedbugs. In some cases, private sellers may try to pass off used mattresses as new ones.
9. Stuffed animals
Stuffed animals are another item that can contain dust mites, allergens or some other unpleasantness that you would not want to bring into your home.
In addition, some used toy animals may have safety issues, such as eyes that pop off and become a choking hazard. Buying used can also mean you can end up with an older toy that has since been recalled.
The final item on our list makes the cut solely for the “eww factor.” Some people might be concerned that used underwear might carry bacteria or germs, but I’m not convinced that’s anything that can’t be killed with a hot-water wash and bleach.
The bigger question is why would you want to wear someone else’s stretched out, used undies when so many stores will sell you a new pack for $10? All except the most destitute among us can certainly scrounge up that much money.