Sleek showrooms, the allure of a new leather bag, a gleaming watch, a coveted jacket wrapped in tissue paper by a loyal attendant: There’s no denying the appeal of shopping, especially when buying something new! But, for those sticking to a personal budget — or those who just want to make some savvier financial decisions — foregoing the mall doesn’t have to mean foregoing treating yourself.
There are plenty of items worth looking at buying used before splurging on the more expensive new stuff. From furniture, tools and video games, we offer up some of the best items to buy used while still getting quality, dependability and, in some cases, even luxury.
Cars are some of the most important things you should buy used because they depreciate in value… and fast! According to CARFAX, a new car will lose approximately 10 percent of its value once you drive it off the lot, and another 10 percent by the end of the first year. Over the first five years, that depreciation will amount to 60 percent. With just a little research, you can find a car that’s between two-to-five years old and has the low mileage, the safety features and the new tech (Bluetooth, backup cameras) you want. To make sure you’re ending up with a good car at a good price, check the vehicle’s history report, ask the seller questions, go on test drives and don’t be afraid to negotiate based on other price information you’ve found online.
Whether you’re starting a new job and want to look your best, or just want to give your wardrobe some love, it can be tempting to hit the stores. But clothing can be really, really expensive, and shopping sales racks and second-hand outlets can still snag you some high-quality additions. Plus, typically speaking, no one can even tell if you’re wearing something that’s brand-new or has already lived an experienced life.
Even if you’re not a fan of second-hand stores, second-hand sites like ThredUp offer like-new pieces: everything from Target brands to luxury garments can be found at prices of over 70 percent off, some still with tags. That way, if you can’t resist splurging on a Prada handbag, at least you’ll still be able to afford a new pair of shoes to go with it.
While having a home library is a worthy aspiration, at certain points in our lives, it’s not necessarily a practical one. Check out sites like Amazon Books or visit second-hand bookshops to continue adding to that “to-read” pile; resources that are especially great for students. There’s no reason to pay full-price for textbooks — you can also reach out to former students to buy their heavily discounted copies — as long as you make sure you’re buying the edition your professor requested. If you’re just in the market for some of the best books to read, hit up the library, otherwise known as the Netflix of books. Most libraries also offer free e-book downloads straight to your device of choice, which automatically return themselves so you don’t have to worry about late fees.
You want to be careful when buying used electronics — you risk getting lemons, and the rapidity with which tech develops means devices just a few years old can be rendered obsolete. But purchasing phones, computers or tablets that are even a couple of months old can save you some serious cash. Often, factory-refurbished items have been professionally taken care of, so they’re in their best shape, with some even coming with a warranty. Check out sites like Gazelle to find good deals, or even sell your own phone.
We’re not talking about buying someone’s used bicycle shorts; that’s just nasty! A lot of people purchase home exercise equipment; from weights to treadmills to ellipticals, but, unsurprisingly, not all of them end up using it. Check out eBay or Freecyle to find heavily discounted, and sometimes even free, exercise equipment. Make sure to test it out to ensure it’s in the promised condition before buying, though. A good rule of thumb to remember: Don’t buy bicycle helmets and other safety gear used, just in case it’s outdated or faulty.
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