5 Home and Family Items to Avoid Buying Used
Gently used clothes at the local vintage shop or even a “pre-owned” car, as the dealers like to say, can prove a recipe for both savings and style.
But there are scores of important family and household items that should probably remain first-run purchases, dismal economy or not. Here’s a look at five in particular. (See also: The Stuff I Try to Never Buy New)
Buying a used car seat is like buying a used helmet — it’s just not safe. Once a car seat has been involved in one accident, the integrity of the car seat is ruined, and it may no longer be an effective mechanism for protecting your child. Don’t take a chance. Always buy a new car seat.
Cars are becoming more and more expensive to maintain. The rising price of gas is forcing car owners to come up with other creative ways to save money while driving, and some are choosing to do so by purchasing used tires. Tires that have been involved in a car accident suffer just like car seats do. But you can’t always tell if a set of tires has been in one. Consider new tires an investment in your safety.
Computer software is expensive, and buying a used copy can often reduce your costs by hundreds of dollars. Unfortunately, most of today’s computer software must be licensed in order to be used. Once the software is licensed it can’t be used again, which means that buying a used piece of software is essentially like buying a blank CD.
Although buying a used mattress may save you a few hundred dollars, it isn’t necessarily sanitary or the best for your body’s physical health. When you purchase a used mattress, you aren’t able to judge its overall cleanliness, as problems such as bed bugs are not always visible. Mattresses also generally only have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years, and you may not be able to get an honest age from the seller. Buying an older mattress can also lead to back problems or antagonize existing physical ailments.
Purchasing used pet supplies may seem like a good idea. But buying used pet supplies such as dog beds or cloth-covered cat stations can be just as unsanitary as purchasing a used mattress. Plus, pet odors tend to ferment over time even if they have been cleaned, so that seemingly clean dog bed you bought at a garage sale could begin to stink the first day it lays out in the sun. The exception to purchasing used pet supplies is the kennel. A wire crate can be fully sterilized, and buying a used one can save a pet owner anywhere from $50 to $100.
Buying used isn’t always a bargain, and certain used items may actually cost you more in the long run in terms of maintenance or having to repurchase the same item only a few months later. If you choose to buy used, however, always make sure to properly review the items in person prior to purchase.
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