To buy new, used items or not . . .

17 May, 2020 - 00:05 0 Views
To buy new, used items or not . . .

The Sunday Mail

One great way to drop money to the bottom line of your family’s budget is to buy used stuff whenever possible.

In many cases, you will get all the utility out of the item at a fraction of the cost — sometimes a small fraction.

But there are exceptions to that rule. It is possible to be pennywise and pound-foolish with a new-versus-used decision.

Here are some observations to help guide your decision-making, inspired by financial author Dave Ramsey.

Stuff to buy used


Everybody knows this, right? “The minute you drive it off the lot . . . blah, blah, blah.” It is true. All of it. Maximise your savings by purchasing a car that is at least two years old. Buying used makes it easier to pay cash for your vehicle, thus avoiding years of hideous monthly car payments.

Baby clothes

You really should not have to buy any new clothes for your bambino.

Family members can do that, while you get everything else from church bazaars, yard sales and friends with slightly older kids.


Again, we all know this one. The only thing you will get from buying a new copy is that “new book smell” and that first soft crack of the binding.

I like both of these things, but not enough to pay full price for a book I will read once. Here is a related idea: Start using the library again.

You might have to wait a few days for that current best-seller, but it will be . . . free.

Video games

Save US$10 to US$20 on the latest titles by waiting a couple of months to buy a used copy. Used video games are usually in pretty good shape. After all, they are being sold because they weren’t a hit with the first owner.

Hand tools

These are the perfect garage sale purchase.

They are simple, tough and it is easy to evaluate their condition.

That US$2 used hammer will get the job done just as well as the US$17 new model.

Exercise equipment

A lot of home fitness gear is barely broken in before it is converted to clothes rack or dragged to the back of the basement.

Home gyms are a no-brainer to buy used. But I would really do my homework before buying a used treadmill; they can be temperamental.


This is especially true if you are furnishing a spare room or like to refinish furniture. Quality dressers, coffee tables, et cetera are crazy expensive.

While this list is kind of all over the map, it does offer a couple of broad lessons. Never jeopardise your family’s safety or health when making a purchasing decision, and ideally, you should be able to easily evaluate the condition of a used item without any specialised knowledge. The more complicated the item, the riskier it is to buy used. (Your mechanic can pre-check used vehicles for you.) Of course, as with most decisions in life, common sense is the real key to deciding whether to buy new or “pre-owned.”

Things to buy new

Computer software

There’s a very good chance that used software package you see online is pirated or otherwise “fell off a truck.”

So, you would be stealing from the true developer and be vulnerable to who-knows-what glitches in the ripped-off programme.

Sports safety gear

Many pieces of protective equipment, including bike helmets and some knee and elbow pads, are designed to withstand one impact.

Since you cannot know the item’s true history, always buy new protective gear.

The risk to you or your kids isn’t worth saving a few bucks.


It is easy to take tyres for granted, but they are crucial to the safe operation of your car. This is another place where the risk to your family isn’t worth buying used. Besides, since you (probably) aren’t a tyre technician, it will be difficult for you to accurately assess the condition of a used tyre.

You haven’t saved anything if your “bargain” used tyre leaves you stranded two weeks later on the way to a big meeting or family outing.


These things are germ factories. Mould and bacteria are surely rampant inside that yard sale or Goodwill humidifier. New ones are cheap.

Wedding jewellery

A family heirloom or truly unique vintage piece is OK. But you should be very careful about buying used diamond rings anywhere but a reputable jewellery store.

And guys, trust us, your fiancée isn’t interested in wearing a wedding band bought on eBay from some divorcee. She understands that wedding rings are deeply symbolic and should not come with spiritual baggage! –


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