When money is tight and your budget doesn’t seem to have any room for expansion, shopping for necessities can be a major struggle. Well, here’s one way to lighten the burden: buy used. Not only will it save you money, but it also extends the useful life of products and goods that have been carefully manufactured and produced.
Here’s a list of some of the top items you should always buy used:
There are very few circumstances under which it’s smart to buy a new car or truck. “The minute a person drives a new car off the lot it loses approximately 10 percent of its value,” says Martin Davis of CARFAX. “By the end of the first year, that car will lose an additional 10 percent on average.”
But the loss of value doesn’t end after the first day. “The fact is, new cars continue to lose value for four more years, averaging a decline of 15-25 percent per year,” Davis continues. “On average, a new car will lose 60 percent of its total value over the first five years of its life.”
In other words, if you want someone else to take the majority of the valuation hit, then it’s wise to buy a used car that’s at least a few years old. This will allow you to get maximum value. Here are a handful of used cars that can typically be found for less than $20,000.
2. Office Furniture
Have you been in the market for furniture recently? If so, you realize just how expensive things can be. This is especially true when it comes to office furniture like reception desks, filing cabinets, chairs, and other equipment.
The good news is that you rarely have to buy these items new. There’s a lot of value to be found in the used office furniture market. When companies go out of business or upgrade their office furniture, they often sell their old items or pass things along to stores that specialize in the sale of used office furniture. And since office furniture is designed to withstand heavy use, there are generally some pretty good deals to be found.
3. Big Toys
Got your eye on a new boat, motorcycle, or RV? The same advice about buying used cars applies to these fun toys. In almost all situations, these items lose a lot of value in the first few years. As a result, buying used will give you more return on the back end.
The key when buying used is to make sure you’re purchasing reliable brands that are known for producing products with long useful lives. For example, most people assume Harley-Davidson is the best motorcycle brand, when in fact it barely cracks the top five. Do your research when purchasing a new “toy” to ensure you’re making the right decision.
It’s not all about big-ticket items. There are plenty of smaller items that can be purchased used, including books. Not only can you rent books at your local library, but used copies can be purchased from many sources at a fraction of the price of new books.
While garage sales, library sales, and thrift shops are popular places to buy used books, there’s an even better option: the Internet. With online stores like Amazon, eBay, and Half.com, you can see the side-by-side comparison of new and used copies. In most cases, you can save 50 percent or more just by buying a gently used copy.
5. Hand Tools
Every individual needs a solid collection of hand tools. From working on vehicles to maintaining things around your home, things like hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, and shovels come in handy. And while power tools are sometimes best purchased new, basic hand tools like these should be purchased used. There are few moving parts and they are typically made to last for years. Look for used hand tools at garage sales and thrift stores.
Save Money with Savvy Shopping Habits
As you can see, plenty of popular items hold their value well beyond the first owner. If you’re in the market for any of the aforementioned products, be sure to look around for used alternatives. They’re sure to be much cheaper than new versions.
With that being said, there are also things you’ll want to avoid buying used. These include mattresses, bicycle helmets, car seats, tires, cribs, and baby bottles. It’s impossible to know the true history of ownership behind these products and you don’t want to purchase something that isn’t suitable or healthy for your family.
Understanding what can be purchased used and what’s best purchased new can help you make savvy shopping decisions and develop cost-saving habits. When looking for used items, check out thrift stores, garage sales, auctions, and even websites like Craigslist and eBay.
Now, go score some great deals!