Tightening your budget doesn’t have to mean cutting out the things you need or even want. Thrift shops, garage or yard sales, online resources, flea markets and pawnshops are great sources of savings. Turning to these options can bring you the most value for your dollar because there are some things that most people simply do not need to buy new. There are plenty of items that come much cheaper secondhand, and without sacrificing much quality. Check out these six purchases that you should consider buying used.
It’s a well-known cautionary saying that cars depreciate the second they are driven off a dealer’s lot. Buying a used car can save you money on both initial cost and on insurance. It’s a good idea to pick a model that is a few years old, well-maintained and holds value well. Just because you’re buying a used car doesn’t mean you won’t need financing to make the purchase. Before you set foot on a used car lot, you should check your credit scores so you know if you’ll qualify for the better interest rates. You can check two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.
2. Exercise & Sports Equipment
Between skis, tennis rackets, kayaks, baseball mitts, treadmills and elliptical machines, staying fit or playing sports can be a costly endeavor. Buying used comes especially in handy if you or your kids are outgrowing their equipment and hobbies quickly. Many people buy new, expecting to use their equipment regularly, but few manage to do so. Whether you buy refurbished or like-new from someone’s garage and basement, resale is a great option for sports and exercise equipment.
With the exception of coffee table displays and collections, books are usually used for a limited period of time – the duration of a class or the time it takes you to read from one cover to the other. Buying secondhand or holding book swaps with friends to find new reads can lead to big savings. Also, books are just one of the things offered for free with a library card.
It can sometimes feel like everyone has the newest gadgets. But if you are willing to wait a few months (or even a year) from the big release date, you can save hundreds. Next time you go to make a purchase, take a few minutes to compare last year’s model to this year’s and see if the difference in features is worth the difference in dollars. An older model may even still come with protection. People are often so excited to have the latest edition of everything that they get rid of electronics before the warranty is up, so you can capitalize on that and save some pocket change for future purchases.
Used does not always mean worn out or worthless – people often move suddenly or change their mind about big purchases like couches, dressers and other furniture. These things are usually priced to sell if someone’s move is imminent or they don’t have storage space. It may take a little work to seek out the high-quality or less used items, but it can be worth it for a new-to-you table, desk or chair that you love. Be sure to keep an eye out for scams when buying furniture secondhand online — always inspect the furniture in person before handing over any money.
Dishes do not usually go bad with time, but are often recycled due to style or convenience. When people get married, move or just see something new they like, they might make room for new flatware in their life. Garage, yard or estate sales can be good places to find kitchen items that are perfectly usable and sometimes even back on trend.
Even if used items require extra evaluation, making the switch from new to used can make a big difference in your budget – and your life. If you’re willing to find a great deal, resale can lead to great purchases. You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars – don’t let the shiny and new hold you back from the financial benefits of buying used. On the other hand, there are some things, like safety equipment or mattresses that may be worth the extra money to buy new.
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Image: Ingram Publishing