Some things are best purchased new — lingerie pops to mind — but lots of other stuff depreciates quickly while still having plenty of useable life left. Here are ten items where the cost vs. use equation strongly tilts toward buying used.
- Books — Most books are read only once. Books are also easy to find cheap, or at your public library.
- DVDs, CDs, and videos — These are easy to find used at yard sales. And, again, try the library.
- Toys for young children — Kids are fickle; it’s tough to predict what they’ll like. And they don’t care if a toy is used or new.
- Jewelry — Gems have huge markups. Buy from a reputable pawn shop.
- Sports equipment — Sporting goods are easy to find at yard sales, thrift stores, and from friends who no longer use them.
- Timeshares — To get the best deal on a timeshare, buy from a disgruntled owner.
- Cars — Automobiles are notoriously poor “investments”. Let somebody else take the initial depreciation hit. Buy used. (Here’s how I recently shook the new car itch.)
- Software and console games — If you’re willing to wait a few months, you can get fantastic deals on used software. (Try craigslist, for example.)
- Office furniture — High-quality used office furniture is easy to find. Check the newspaper classifieds, craigslist, or look for a used furniture store.
- Hand tools — “Well-made tools with few or no moving parts — like hammers, wrenches, shovels, hoes, etc. — can last decades with proper maintenance and are relatively easy to find at yard sales.”
Weston’s article provides more details on each item, including notable exceptions. (For example, if your favorite band releases a new CD, buy it — you’ll listen to it over and over.) Weston also points to MP Dunleavey’s piece on why first-rate folks love secondhand stuff.
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This article is about Frugality