Five Things You Should Always Buy Used

Five Things You Should Always Buy Used. I know, I know!  We all like opening that shiny new box or breaking the binding on a pristine new book.


But, there’s certain things that can not only be bought used, but we should buy them used.  Take a look:

1. Cars

“New cars depreciate by thousands the second you drive them out of the dealership,” points out Brad Wilson of deal site “Just never be an idiot and buy a car without having it inspected by your own trusted mechanic.”

Sneaky inside tip: you should also keep in mind that cars depreciate at different rates, so to maximize value you’ll want to snatch up a used car that will hold its value well.


2. Video Games

These days most video games have extensive multiplayer modes, many of which will keep people playing for months and even years after they buy. But many gamers will nevertheless tire of a game shortly after completing the single-player campaign, and with even the longest games rarely taking more than 50 hours to complete, used games tend to flood the secondary market shortly after a game is released. That means big savings for patient gamers.  Sneaky inside tip: check online first–you can usually get a better deal.  But you are taking a chance that the game is gently used, as the seller promises.


3. Baby Clothes & Furniture

We literally had 48 hours notice that we would be bringing Zoe home from the hospital.  I gave my credit card to my sisters and shrieked “I don’t even have a crib!  We outfitted Zoe’s layette completely from Kid To Kid, a used children’s goods store.  (Editor’s note: no, they are not paying me to say this.)

Take advantage of the fact that parents will use their crib, changing table and other nursery furniture for only a couple of years before putting it away in the attic. That means there’s loads of baby furniture to be had at dirt-cheap prices if you buy it used, and most of it should be plenty sturdy.

Sneaky inside tip: check to make sure the used furniture items are not on the National Consumer Recall List.  You can find that here.


4. Musical Instruments

One of my most prized possesions is my Fender Precision Bass, 1968, made in AMERICA, baby!  when I bought it, it was used because that’s what I could afford.  Turns out that’s not such a bad idea.

Mark Wilson suggests buying old musical instruments used – not only because it’s much cheaper than buying new, but because they can have surprising resale value down the line.

“Older instruments are often more in demand by collectors,” he says. “I bought my first Yamaha Touring Drum set for $250 from some guy who listed them in the local newspaper when I was 11. I used them for years and sold them when I was 19 for $1,100 because the color was discontinued and therefore ‘rare.’”


5. Cell Phones

We’re generally wary of buying complex electronic equipment used – buy an iPhone on Craigslist and you won’t have any kind of warranty protection save what you can buy from a third party. But there’s one big exception: a subset of used merchandise known as refurbished, which refers to devices that have been returned to the company, repaired and repackaged. Because it has been repaired by the company you can generally be assured it’s as good as new, and is almost always covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

Yahoo Money recommends buying refurbished smartphones earlier this month in our Get It for Less feature on phones, noting that you can get the new iPhone 4S at a $50 discount by buying a refurbished model through the AT&T Web site.

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