7 Things You Should Be Buying Used

Posted by Don on August 9, 2012

It’s always nice to get a brand new shiny toy, but when it comes to getting the most for your money, there are some things that are better purchased used. Below I list seven things that are better purchased used as opposed to new. Surprisingly, you won’t find cars on this list. While in most cases, buying used will save you from the initial depreciation hit of the new car, there are cases when the rebates and special financing offers makes it a better deal to buy a new car and not used. With that being said, let’s look at the list.

Photo source: David Boyle in DC

Things You Should Buy Used

  1. Exercise Equipment. Most people get on an exercise kick and will buy the latest gadget or equipment and use it consistently for a few weeks or months. After that time period however, many will fall back to their old routine and use the equipment as a clothes hanger (you know who you are). By checking out Craigslist and yard sales, you are bound to find a used piece of exercise equipment in almost brand new condition for much less than new. Just make sure you are going to use it for exercise and not to hang clothes on!
  2. Power Tools. You can find great deals on used power tools at yard sales, on Craigslist, and even on Amazon. In many cases, people buy the tool for a special project they are working on and end up never using it again. So they sell it off for a discount. I must admit that I am guilty of this. I purchased a tool when remodeling and never used it again. Some lucky person made off with $100 tool that was used a handful of times over the course of a weekend for $40.
  3. Video Games. If you are a gamer or have kids that play video games, you know the routine. You buy a game for $60 and play it a handful of times then never again. When I was growing up, I would go to video rental stores and rent NES games. Only if I really liked it would I save my money to buy it. While there are a few options to rent video games, many electronic stores now sell used video games. You can get some good titles for half off or more. Your biggest discounts will come from the games that get released every year (think Madden). If you are really patient, you can score great deals on brand new games at Walmart. The only downside is you have to wait a few years to get the discount.
  4. Books and Textbooks. I may be showing my age, but when I was in college, buying used textbooks online was in its infancy. It was harder to find the book used then, but now it’s a piece of cake. You can buy the books for a deep discount at many places online. You can even sell them online to other buyers and get more money than you would if you tried to sell them to your college bookstore.

    But the savings don’t end there. You can buy lots of used paperback books at yard sales and online as well. Unless you are buying a new release, there really isn’t a reason to buy new.

  5. Movies. Just like with video games and books, buying a new movie is a thing of the past. (Of course, if you wait, you can usually find your favorite movie at Walmart for under $10 after some time.) You can jump online and find most movies used for much cheaper, or go to your local video game store. To increase revenues, many of these stores now buy and sell used movies. You can find some great movies for $5.
  6. Baby Clothes. While I don’t have kids (yet) I’ve learned from many friends and family members that there is no point in buying a lot of brand new baby clothes because kids outgrow them so fast. While you can run around to yard sales to find good deals, a better bet is to use a consignment shop. You will find that the prices may be a little higher than the yard sale, but the premium you are paying is from the consignment shop only taking clothes in good condition. They do all of the work for you.
  7. Baby Gear. Just like with clothing, all the other things you need for your little bundle of joy can be purchased used for much less. You can find items at yard sales, consignment shops and online. One caveat is to never buy a used car seat. They may have been in an accident, recalled, or not have the most current safety features. But for all other baby related gear, used it the way to go.

What items do you a make a point to always buy used?

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Comments to 7 Things You Should Be Buying Used

  1. Thanks for these! I have heard so much about saving money on text books and exercise equipment, but don’t think of movies and video games. Thanks for the tips!

    Deborah @ImpulseSave

    • You’re welcome Deborah! It’s amazing how many things you can get used now with the internet.

      Don @ MoneySmartGuides

  2. I’m always surprised at the good quality items on classifieds that you can get for a good price that are used. I definitely don’t understand the whole buying new baby clothes thing. The baby will grow out of the clothing in a matter of months, so it’s best to buy used to save some cash.


    • There are lots of people that don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up a yard sale and don’t want to throw the item away. Their solution: sell it cheaply online to someone else. They benefit and you benefit. Win win!!

      Don @ MoneySmartGuides

  3. Another great place to pick up used books is at your local library. Our library has several shelves of used books that have been donated. They sell for fifty cents to one dollar, and the proceeds go to the library to puchase new books. It’s a win-win situation!


    • Great tip!! My local library has brown bag events. You fill up brown grocery bags with books and pay for the bag. The money benefits the library and you get discounted books.

      Don @ MoneySmartGuides

  4. Skip buying the books, even used, and just visit the library instead. That way you can save your money for a used bicycle, still riding my second-hand one from 15 years ago!


    • One thing I just found out: many libraries now participate in lending books through the Kindle. Just jump on Amazon and see if your library participates.

      Don @ MoneySmartGuides

  5. As someone who just had a baby, baby clothes should be purchased used – they grow up so quick!

    Katie Christianson

  6. As someone who is going to have their first baby in the next week or two, I find myself thinking that while used may be good enough for me with a lot of things, it isn’t for my baby. Fortunately, we’ve had multiple baby showers and have two sets of very excited grandparents who have definitely spent more than us on the big ticket items. From everything I’ve heard though, I will definitely go used on clothes that I buy. I haven’t bought any yet because I have multiple friends whose babies weren’t even the right size long enough to get through all their outfits, so I’m waiting til we need them and know the right sizes, but I did start looking up baby consignment stores/sales in the area.


  7. For text books, you can also rent these days. It’s not dirt cheap, but usually a little cheaper than buying and selling, and a lot more convenient…

    I would even add cars to the list. We all know how new cars depreciate.

    William @ Drop Dead Money

  8. This is a very nice list however I think buying older video games and movies relies too much on just waiting for the price to drop. And you have to make sure to pace yourself to not run out of entertainment before wanting to buy more.

    Kevin Vesga

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