Buying new has its good points: you may receive a warranty, you can return the item if it is defective, and you simply enjoy the feeling of being the first-time owner. However, the cost savings of buying certain items used greatly outweighs these good points. Five such items are:
A new vehicle depreciates about 20% as soon as you drive it off the lot, and will continue to depreciate 10-15% annually for several years. This means that a new $30,000 vehicle will be worth about $15,000 in three years. When you buy pre-owned vehicles, you are letting the previous owner take that $5,000 a year (over $400 a month) depreciation hit. Sounds savvy to me.
2. Baby Clothes and Accessories
These clothes are nearly always pristine because the previous owner outgrew them so quickly. Check yard sales for pennies on the dollar clothes, baby beds, booster seats, toys and car seats. One caution: Make sure the car seat meets today’s standards before buying.
My wife and I have bought some new furniture over the years, but our favorites are used. For example, our vintage solid mahogany dining room chairs were a fraction of new cost, with proven quality which should hold up for years to come. Check estate sells, second-hand furniture stores or the classified ads of this newspaper for some great deals. One caveat: I would not buy a used mattress or any other furniture item which could possess mites or bedbugs.
4. Secondary Appliances
We purchased our primary refrigerator new, but the used one we keep in our basement was in like-new condition (it even has an ice maker) for about 20% of new cost. I wouldn’t be surprised if it outlasts our newer one.
Yard sale book prices are about $1 for hard back and 10-50 cents for soft cover books. If you are looking for a specific book, you can often find it used online for a fraction of the new price.
Remember: Whatever you buy new will be used as soon as you buy it. Why not save a bunch of money and buy used to start with?
Do you normally buy these items used? Why or why not? What other items do you normally buy used? Leave a comment!