Purchasing Decisions 101: 9 Items to Buy Used vs New for Your Home or Office
Do you want to save money? Do you enjoy buying high quality items that will last a very long time? Are you interested in becoming more earth friendly? Then start buying used!
While I wouldn’t recommend you buy everything used, there are some things you can get away with purchasing second-hand. Used items are often just as good as new items and you can keep your spending to a minimum in the process.
Here are some items from my personal list that are better to buy used:
- Automobiles: This is always number one in my book; and yes, as a mechanic’s daughter, wife, and sister, I am a bit biased. Cars and trucks are very expensive to purchase brand new, and they depreciate as soon as they’re driven off the lot. You can save a huge amount of money by buying used! For example, if you’re on a tight budget, you would be much better off with a higher-quality used car than a brand-new cheaper model. My advice: take the used car to a mechanic you trust (other than the dealer), and have them check it over for you. They can spot problem areas and advise you in the purchase decision. Not to mention, a used car will be either paid in full right off the lot, or be paid off a whole lot sooner than that new one!
Used furniture is just as good as new!
- Furniture (for home or office): You can get beautiful, well-crafted furniture at a fraction of the cost of buying new. Furniture has a very high markup, so it’s best to let someone else pay that and then you can buy it from them a few years later! Plus, desks and shelves used to be made of real wood (not press board) so older furniture is a better buy most of the time. Quality used furniture is strong and solid, and can last a lifetime. Think antique shops, garage sales, newspaper ads, and online listings – you’ll get a better deal that way!
- Books: This one doesn’t need much explaining, does it? Books are super cheap used, and they are almost always in good condition. Why pay $20 for a new book when you can get the same copy used for $2? Not to mention all of the trees you will help save. Again, think garage sales and Salvation Army for great used book buys!
Buy pre-owned appliances to save money.
- Appliances: Big-ticket items like washers and dryers can run for years past the time when the first owner buys new, so let’s keep them out of the landfills as long as possible! (Side note: my dad has a great working fridge in his basement from the 1950’s!) Just make sure the appliance works well and looks like it’s been maintained before buying. And also keep in mind that you may have to pick up and install used appliances yourself (and you probably won’t get a warranty) but for people like me, this is a huge win! Even if self-pickup is listed as the default method, it never hurts to ask if the seller would deliver for an additional cost. Why finance $1,250 when you can just pay the $250 and be done with it? For the best prices on used appliances, think newspaper ads and people you know who may be moving.
- Musical Instruments: Used instruments may not be as desirable for a professional musician or for a picky person, but it’s an excellent option for people who are just starting to play. You can either buy used instruments or rent the piece before buying—remember that kids change their minds a lot and may give up before that new drum set is paid off. Local musical instrument shops will either have used options or know where to find them in your area!
Double your wardrobe with secondhand clothing!
- Clothing: I love buying all kinds of used clothes! They’re usually in great shape and have lots of wear left in them. This is an especially great idea for maternity, holiday, or baby clothes because they aren’t worn very much at all. New clothes can get expensive even when they go on sale, so buying used could get you a new wardrobe for half the price. Think secondhand shops like Goodwill and Salvation Army!
- Media Items: There’s a plethora of CDs, DVDs, and games of all sorts (board, video, computer, etc.) on the used market. As long as they’re not scratched or missing pieces, they’re just as good as new. Why pay the original markup? You could even use the item for a while, and then re-sell it…kind of like renting it. And if you buy from eBay, you can avoid paying sales tax. Awesome!
Give dogs like these a second chance...
- Pets: I know, this one sounds weird! By “used pets,” I mean getting pets from animal rescues and shelters instead of puppy mills and breeders. You can not only save money in adoption fees ($50 compared to $500 in some cases), but also help save homeless animals from abuse and a lonely life in a cage! Not to mention, most animals from shelters have already had their shots, have been spayed or neutered, are litter-box trained, and are just longing to be loved by you. Check out local humane societies and animal shelters if you’re looking for awesome pets!
- Housewares: Household items like decorations or knickknacks are almost always in great shape when they’re used. Many of them have only been touched by a duster since leaving the store! You’re probably thinking of your grandmother’s home décor and cringing, right? Well, not all used decorations are old and outdated—trust me. You can save a bundle if you just give it a look! Visit garage sales and antique shops in your area to get started with used stuff for your home.
There you have it: 9 of my favorite items to buy used instead of new. If you do it right, you will find high-quality items while saving money and saving the environment.
What items do you like to buy used most often? And if you don’t buy anything used, why not?