8 Things You Should Always Buy Used
Sure, everyone loves the smell of a new car. And there's something appealing about the thought of a brand new home that hasn't suffered the wear-and-tear of past owners. But there are some purchases that you should never make new, no matter how tempting. Here are eight items that you're better off buying used. (See also: 10 Things You Should Never Buy Used)
You've heard that a new car starts losing value as soon as you drive it off the lot. That's not a myth — it's a fact. Just as importantly, new cars cost thousands of dollars more than vehicles that are just one model year older.
Here's an example: TRUECar says that dealers are offering the 2016 Subaru Forester SUV for about $25,000. The same website found a 2015 Subaru Forester for $23,000. You could save $2,000 just by buying a new car one model year older. If you're willing to go with an even older model, you'll save more. TRUECar listed a 2013 Forester for $18,556.
It might seem tempting to buy a new home. You won't have to worry about a 10-year-old water heater suddenly bursting, or a 15-year-old roof springing an unexpected leak. But new homes are also more expensive than existing ones.
The National Association of Realtors reported that the median price for existing homes across the country stood at $221,900 in September. That's 6.1% higher than where this figure stood in September of last year, but it's still lower than the median sales price for a new home.
According to the Federal Reserve Economic Data gathered by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the median sales price for new houses sold in the United States hit $296,900 in September of this year, more than $70,000 more than the median price for existing homes.
If you're a college student, you should know this already — but it rarely makes sense to buy textbooks new. (See also: 20 Places to Buy Used or Rent Textbooks)
The College Board estimates that the average college student in the United States spends about $1,200 a year on textbooks and supplies, while the Government Accountability Office reported that from 2002 through 2013, the price of college textbooks jumped 82%. Then, when students sell these books back at the end of the year, they often receive just pennies on the dollar.
The better move is to hunt for used versions of these textbooks. It can save you hundreds of dollars a semester.
It always makes financial sense to buy a "used" pet from your local humane society. It may not even cost anything to adopt your new companion from the shelter.
Buying a pet from the humane society is also a good thing to do. The ASPCA says that about 2.7 million animals are euthanized each year — 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats. If you adopt from your local animal shelter, you'll do your part to reduce these numbers.
5. Baby Clothing
Here's a truth about baby clothes: Your infant will barely wear each of the fuzzy outfits you buy. That's because babies grow so fast that they're constantly — and rapidly — getting too big for their outfits.
This is why it makes financial sense to purchase your baby clothes used. You can save a bundle when compared to buying new. And if you end up with some outfits that aren't your favorite? Don't worry, your baby will outgrow them quickly enough.
Furnishing a new home or apartment can cost a small fortune. But you don't have to overspend on a couch, loveseat, or end table if you buy them used.
There are plenty of sources for used furniture. You can find value-priced items at estate sales, antique stores, flea markets, and yard sales. Sure, you'll be sitting on a sofa that many others have sat on before, but think of how much fatter your wallet will be.
You don't need the latest year's screwdriver, do you? You don't need a shiny new hammer, either. Tools are one of the best items to buy used because there's little difference between a 10-year-old hammer and one manufactured yesterday.
As with furniture, you can find plenty of used tools at garage and estate sales. You can also hunt sites such as Craigslist for deals. But you should draw the line at tools with motors and moving parts. You don't want to buy an old power tool that might malfunction and leave you with a few less fingers on your favorite hand.
8. Musical Instruments
Ask parents who've had to buy their children tubas, baritones, or saxophones for the elementary school band: Musical instruments are pricey.
If you buy these instruments used, you can save a bundle. And many of the used trumpets, clarinets, and guitars that you buy will have been refurbished so that they feel like new. Many of these used instruments have rarely been played before hitting the resale market.
What products do you like to buy second-hand?
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