If you’re trying to save money, take a good look at what you’re spending your money on. I’m not talking about necessities like food and living expenses, but rather things you are paying way too much money for. In fact, there are several things that you may be paying full price for when you don’t need to. CreditDonkey.com uncovers the top ten things you should always buy used.
The first one is really a no brainer. It’s no secret that new cars lose their value immediately. In fact, some experts say a car loses 20% of its value the second you drive off the car lot.
In comparison, a slightly used vehicle may be a great deal when it comes to the sticker price and the insurance cost. Do your research, though. Check out the car’s history and compare the car’s true value to what you’re paying. You definitely want to make sure that what you’re buying isn’t a lemon.
The same goes for bicycles. Unless you’re looking for a professional grade bicycle, you can likely get a good deal on a used one. You may even be able to pay a fraction of the retail price at a garage sale. Chances are the previous owner barely even rode it and is just looking to make more room in the garage. The same goes for kids and their bicycles. Kids grow so quickly; they usually grow out of their bicycles in a year or two. As long as the bike is in relatively good shape, you can probably get a great deal.
3. Kid’s Clothes
Let me repeat what I just said. Kids grow up fast. When it comes to clothing, they probably won’t be able to wear anything for more than a season. That’s why buying kids clothing secondhand makes so much sense. You can save between 50-75% off the retail cost if you shop consignment stores like Kid to Kid. Because parents sometimes try and save special outfits for picture time, you may even be able to score some clothing that the previous owner only wore once, or possibly not at all.
4. Kids Toys
While kids grow out of their clothes quickly, they also tire of new toys just as quickly. Kids are notorious for pleading with you for the latest toy, only to abandon it the next week. Many toys simply end up on the bottom of the toy box. Give your wallet a break and buy gently used toys instead. Just be sure you check for any items that may have been recalled.
5. Sports Equipment
Just as with toys, you never know whether your aspiring sports star is really going to want to play more than one season. Don’t kid yourself; sports equipment is expensive, even if it’s made for a pint-sized player. Before you shell out your hard-earned money for a new hockey stick, new football pads or a new pair of golf clubs, let your child try them out. Buying used sporting equipment at a place like Play it Again Sports is a great way to ease your child into a sport without being too disappointed if they don’t keep it up.
6. Exercise Equipment
When it comes to large exercise equipment for the grownups, you’re probably looking at the same deal. How many times have you seen a “slightly used” treadmill, weight bench or stationary bike for sale? We all start out with great intentions, but oftentimes these types of items end up with clothing hanging off them. Do yourself a favor and check out the used exercise equipment first, before you buy.
7. Musical Instruments
If playing in the school orchestra, or school marching band, is more to your child’s liking, you can save at the second-hand store for that too. Instruments easily run upwards of several hundred dollars. Unless Mozart is practicing in the next room, give used a try before you shell out the big bucks.
Do you have a kid in college? If so, you know how much money it costs. After the tuition, one of the biggest costs may be for textbooks. They can easily cost upwards of $100-$200 a piece! That adds up to a big chunk of change. If you can, try to find used books for sale either in bookstores or online. If you can find them, you’ll likely save a lot of money. If they stay in good shape, you may even be able to recoup some of the cost by selling them to another student next semester.
9. Large Baby Gear
At the other end of the spectrum, if you have a new baby there’s really no need to buy everything brand new. From the highchair, to the baby swing, to the portable baby bed, all will cost around $100 or more if you buy new. Most of these items are made to last, so why not save a lot of money and buy used. Again, though, make sure you check for any recalled products to keep your baby safe.
10. Power Tools
If you don’t claim to be a home contractor, or even a weekend remodeling guru, you probably don’t get much use out of the tools sitting in your garage. However, there will come a time when you need to fire up the power tools. Since you aren’t putting much wear and tear on them, consider picking the tools up at a local garage sale or on Craigslist. As long as it works, you probably don’t need the latest model on the market.
So, if you want to save some real money, consider buying used when you can. Obviously, you don’t want to do this with everything, but there are some real deals out there if you know where to look.