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July 29, 2010


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I think you can certainly save money by buying many of these items used. But theres pros and cons to buying new vs. used and its not a 'never' question. Sometimes new makes more sense.

I don't really see their points about pets or new homes. Either can be just fine to buy new. Part of their argument against new homes is that old homes can be corner lots. Huh? New houses don't come on corner lots? I don't even want a corner lot.

This is a silly list. Over have are just plain dumb. ( a used dog? how about a jock strap?)

Why didn't they include toilet paper?

I assume by buying a dog used means getting it at the ASPCA (or something similar) instead of buying a brand new puppy at a pet store.

People spend a lot on brand new sports equipment when a lot can be bought at yard sales etc. or gotten as hand me downs. In fact where I live there is a thriving business in used sports equipment called "Play It Again Sports". This is especially true for things like soccer shoes. Every so often there is a call for used sports equipment to send to a poor country and it is pretty amazing what ppeople have in their garages and basements!

Specific criticisms:

3. Video games - Be aware that used games don't always come with all of the online accounts (the previous owner may still be using them), so there may be risk involved. Whether you buy new, buy used, or rent also depends on how long you plan to play the game. I've got games I grew bored of after 10 hours, and other games I've played for thousands of hours; I don't feel bad paying $50 for a new game that I'll play for a decade.

9. Musical instruments - probably good advice for beginners. You can often get a medium quality instrument from a pawn shop for what you'd pay for a low-quality new instrument. But it's hard to find really top quality used instruments.

15. Cars - depends on several factors, including your driving habits. 30,000 miles of someone else's driving might wear your car out worse than 90,000 miles of your own, or vice versa. For me, it makes sense to buy new and then drive it for 250k+ miles.

17. Sports equipment - If it's going to be right up against my body, it should be new. Things like weights, bats, and nets can be safely bought used.

It would take a lot of time and patience to buy everything used, esp. if it needs to be of a particular style, color, or size. But for generic items, I can see the logic in this.

Friends of ours had twin girls and they very rarely purchased anything new. They would hit the yard sales and bazaars and buy from eBay and C's L...everything from clothes to toys to Christmas decorations. When they were finished with the items (outgrown clothes, toys, cribs), they would re-sell on eBay or have yard sales.

They even spray-painted the worn-out brass outdoor lighting fixtures a glossy black rather than having them replaced. And they looked great!

They are about 10 years younger than we were...we haven't seen them since they moved several years ago. I can only imagine how fat their bank accounts are!

Some of the list makes a lot of sense. But "never" is a very stong word. I guess it's a rule that's easy to follow. But buying smart is more important than buying new or used in my opinion. That means spending an appropriate time looking for deals - more time if it makes sense and no time if you're trying to save a tiny bit of money on a one-time purchase. If you're buying something for a few bucks one time, it's probably not worth spending an hour trying to save a dollar by buying used, for example.

But to save a dollar a day (or even a week) on something you buy a lot of (books? DVDs? CDs?) or a bunch of money on a big-ticket item (Instruments? TVs?) used could be worth the efffot. And there is a difference between buying something used and buying junk.

Personally, I love buying secondhand stuff (my partner is more new-stuff-oriented). My favorite necklace was purchased at the Goodwill several years ago, and almost all of my books and furniture are pre-owned/antiques.

However, I strongly recommend against buying used, or new, IKEA furniture. There are good reasons why IKEA is so inexpensive, and I've regretted everything I've ever bought from that store.

My thoughts...

1. DVDs and CDs - Agreed. Library, Netflix, Grooveshark/Pandora, friends, etc.
2. Books - Library
3. Video Games - I know it is want and am willing to spend a bit more. I only get 1-2 new games/year anyways.
4. Special Occasion and Holiday Clothing - Agreed. Just wear normal clothes or wait for crazy Aunt Lilly to give you another ugly holiday sweater.
5. Jewelry - Agreed, but for our wedding rings, I felt it was important that they were ours. Used wedding jewelery probably came from a divorce anyways, I don't like that voodoo... ;-)
6. Ikea Furniture - Agreed. Freecycle, Craigslist, etc.
7. Games and Toys - Meh, whatever
8. Maternity and Baby Clothes - No need
9. Musical Instruments - Beginners, yes rent or buy used. High level or life-long players, get something nice, but new doesn't necessarily mean better.
10. Pets - This is exactly right. A huge percentage of rescue/shelter dogs are purebred and they have tons of puppies too. There is absolutely no reason to see a breeder unless you want to overpay. Even worse, never EVER get a pet from a pet store. They only encourage puppy mills and those animals tend to have MANY more health problems.
11. Home Accent - Depends on style.
12. Craft Supplies - You're going to buy used paint?
13. Houses - OK.
14. Office Furniture - Never thought about it.
15. Cars - In general, yes.
16. Hand Tools - Logical.
17. Sports Equipment - I can see this for items like golf clubs, hockey/football pads, helmets, bicycles, more durable items (esp. for growing kids). I would feel a little weird using some guy's old gym shoes/cleats, baseball glove, etc.
18. Consumer Electronics - Be careful.
19. Gardening Supplies - For tools, OK. How are you going to get used fertilizer/weed killer?
20. Timeshares - Never
21. Recreational Items - Not interested at this point.

1. DVDs and CDs - I bought "The Blind Side" new because I wanted it...otherwise we don't buy DVD's or CD's.
2. Books - Library. If we just have to have it, I usually try to find it used on Ebay or new at Amazon.
3. Video Games - Hubby buys both.
4. Special Occasion and Holiday Clothing - We had to buy hubby a suit for his grandma's funeral, but otherwise, we don't buy this stuff.
5. Jewelry - Most of my jewelry was bought new for me or given to me by family.
6. Ikea Furniture - Our furniture is either hand-me-downs or bought new to last.
7. Games and Toys - We buy new boardgames once or twice a year.
8. Maternity and Baby Clothes - Also no need.
9. Musical Instruments - I bought my tenor sax used and it worked great...just had to buy a new mouthpiece and reeds.
10. Pets - Both my dogs are rescues.
11. Home Accent - We also buy new.
12. Craft Supplies - No need.
13. Houses - Our house was a foreclosure, but it was only 3 years old.
14. Office Furniture - Our office furniture were either gifts or hand-me-downs.
15. Cars - My car was bought new and hubby's was used.
16. Hand Tools - No need yet.
17. Sports Equipment - Hubby buys his reffing supplies new.
18. Consumer Electronics - We buy new.
19. Gardening Supplies - Buy new.
20. Timeshares - Nope.
21. Recreational Items - When I buy something for an activity, I look at Craigslist first and buy new if I don't like what I find.

So, yeah, that list was silly for us. :-)

Not Ikea furniture specifically, but I would only buy Wood or metal furniture used. Anything like a mattress or sofa with cushions I would avoid. I read stories of bed bugs, cockroaches, etc infesting a home from used furniture.

Even with wood, I would make sure to clean everything and look through everything before bringing it into the house.

I would really like to see a list of items that you should always buy new. I tend to think that consumer electronics should always be purchased new because there is so much that can go wrong with them that would not be evident when purchasing on the spot at a garage sale, ebay, craiglist, etc.

Afterall - who would want to sell used electronics anyway and for what reason? It is either broke or obsolete.

If you shop smart you will compare your products to determine if it is worthwhile to buy new or used. For example, I have seen used baseball gloves at Goodwill that cost more than a brand new one from Walmart. Sometimes new clothes can cost less than used clothes if you find a good sale or have a coupon. You have to shop around.

Not all Ikea furniture is junk, and buying there is sometimes way cheaper than buying new at a department store or national furniture store... We purchased a solid metal bunk bed for less than $200 new at Ikea(any similar bed was hundreds more at other stores). It lasted her 6 years before we passed it to our friend for her two boys. We got our money's worth.

Wait, what? Am I understanding this correctly, or is the evening whiskey & water clouding my brain even more than usual? Never buy Ikea furniture new? Really?

Ikea furniture is junk to the third power. Stylish junk, sometimes, but junk x junk x junk. It is designed to be left behind by college students and mobile young recent graduates. It's not intended to last longer than five or six years, if cared for well by DINKs. Got kids? Make that three years. Buying it second-hand means you're buying something that'll last, oh, maybe six months if the glue the previous owner used can hold that long.

Timeshare second-hand? Nnnnoh. We don't buy a timeshare first-hand, to say nothing of second, third, or any other hand.

Pets? Yup. Infinitely better (and cheaper!) to adopt or buy a grown dog or cat than a pup or kitten that will eat your furniture, excavate your landscaping or entertain itself by performing acrobatics in the living-room curtains.

Yuck--used maternity clothes? No thanks! If I have to look like a gigantic ox for 10+ months, at least I can look like a gigantic ox in new, stylish clothing for 10+ months. On the other hand, expensive maternity clothes are just stupid--Target sells 100% cotton stuff in cute styles for very reasonable cost.

Oh, and I like to buy books new---I like to support the authors.

FMF - I continue to be absolutly baffled by your insistance on buying a brand new car. I understand that you intend to drive it for 10 years and 250k miles, but why on earth wouldn't you save thousands by purchasing a 2 year old model with less than 20k on it? Let someone else take the hit for the huge depreciation when it goes from "new" to "used" in the first 10 seconds of ownership. There are plenty of "used" cars that are essentially, brand new with a just a bit of wear. They are not so damaged by their first owners who drove 15-20k miles that it justifies the extra price for the brand new model. You are so frugal everywhere else in life - this particular issue continues to baffle me.

Susan --

Most of my reasons can be noted in these two posts:

You can get a used wedding band or wedding ring as precious metals can be refinished. But because metals are priced to their current value, you are not going to save any money. The price of gold and platinum is pretty high right now!

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