Buying used items is cheaper, with very few exceptions. Some items lend themselves to second-hand purchase better than others. There is a little bit of an art to saving money by buying second-hand items.
Here are some things to consider and watch out for when you buy used.
Second-Hand Sales Are On the Rise
Sources are clear: second-hand sales are increasing, while increases in overall retail sales of new items are lagging. Ironically, the poor economic situation has much to do with this boom in used-item business. If you’re selling used items, it’s your market!
Another factor in the increase in second-hand sales is the internet. Entire sites are dedicated to selling used items, and even major online retailers like Amazon offer used options for appropriate merchandise. List your items on craigslist and look for local groups on facebook.
What are the Best Items to Buy Second-Hand?
Let’s take a look at what items are best bought used.
1. College textbooks
These are definitely good candidates for being purchased second-hand. All the information is there, and you can often sell them again when you’re finished. Textbooks are the sort of thing that is intended to be used only once.
Given the immediate depreciation that occurs when you drive a new car off the sales lot, it makes sense to look for a used vehicle when you want to purchase. Of course, the usual cautions apply – make sure the car is in good shape and that you are protected in case of a bad purchase. Overall, it makes sense to go for second-hand when it comes to a vehicle purchase.
3. Baby/Child Clothes
Babies and children grow so quickly that they don’t wear any given outfit for very long. Yard sales and second-hand stores like Goodwill are good places to look for these items. Used baby clothes are typically in like new condition.
Unless you are browsing at a very high-end antique store, buying used furniture can be a good move. Wood furniture that doesn’t have stains and dust (like upholstered furniture can) is a good idea. Tables, wooden or metal chairs, china cabinets, hutches, bookshelves, end tables, and similar items are great choices to buy used. There are a ton of people out there that get rid of newer furniture just because they want to redecorate. Again, keep an eye on craigslist for killer deals.
What Items are Best Purchase New?
There are some things that you really shouldn’t purchase used. Here are some of them.
Don’t purchase these used, unless you want a lot of accumulated dust and possibly bed bugs.
2. Upholstered Furniture
While it’s not always a bad idea, purchasing upholstered furniture is not an automatic good deal. Even if it’s not stained, dust, pet dander, and questionable dirt can be hidden in the stuffing. Consider the cost of having something professionally cleaned in the cost of the furniture piece.
3. Baby Items
Because of safety recalls, baby items like cribs and car seats are not advisable for second-hand purchase. Baby bottles are not a good choice, either, for sanitation reasons.
Use a little common sense and keep an eye out for bargains, and you can save a lot of money buying things second-hand. Stop by that garage sale you normally would pass. It’s pretty crazy what people are selling for cheap.