How to Avoid Buying New When Used Will Do
Buying used items instead of new is an excellent way to save money. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to avoid buying new when used will do just fine.
Reasons to Buy Used Instead of New
There are several key reasons why buying used makes more financial sense than always buying new:
Used Items Cost Less
This is the most obvious reason. Used items typically cost a fraction of what their new counterparts do. For example, a used car may be 50-75% less than the price when new. Used furniture and appliances can be found for 80% off retail prices or more. The savings add up quickly.
Used Items Still Have Life Left
Many used items are in great condition with plenty of useful life remaining. For example, buying a 2-3 year old used car means you skip the huge initial depreciation cars face when new. The car likely has 80% of its lifespan left but at a big discount to new prices. Used furniture may have minor cosmetic wear but structurally be sound for years to come.
Higher Quality for Less
Often, you can get a higher-end used item for the price of a lower-end new item. For instance, a used luxury car for the price of a new economy car. Or a used designer sofa for the price of a new budget sofa. You get superior quality while still saving money.
Categories Where Used Makes the Most Sense
While used can work for many purchases, some categories in particular lend themselves well to buying used:
One of the best purchases to buy used. A 2-3 year old used car with low miles costs far less than new but will likely last for many more years without issues.
Quality furniture like sofas, beds, and tables often hold up extremely well over decades. Buying used can land premium brands for bargain prices.
Many people renovate their kitchens and sell perfectly good used appliances for a fraction of their original price. Washers, dryers, fridges, and stoves are appliances commonly bought used.
Why pay full price for a new book when used books are plentiful for just a few dollars? Sites like AbeBooks make finding cheap used books for any title easy.
Previous year model TVs, tablets, computers, and phones can be found used in great condition for big discounts over new prices. Electronics depreciate quickly making used extra appealing.
Buying quality used clothing at thrift stores allows you to afford higher-end brands and replace items more often for less money overall.
Where to Find Quality Used Items
You just have to know where to look to uncover great used deals:
Online marketplaces – eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and OfferUp connect local sellers with used goods.
Thrift stores – Goodwill, Salvation Army, and local thrift shops offer super cheap used items.
Consignment shops – Higher-end used clothing, furniture, and decor sourced from local sellers.
Garage and estate sales – Weekend garage sales and estate sales after a death often have lightly used items at bargain prices.
Classified ads – Local newspapers and coupon mailers have classifieds with used goods for sale.
Specialized used retailers – Stores dedicated to used books, music, games, and electronics.
Inspecting and Testing Used Items
When buying used, be sure to thoroughly inspect and test the item first:
Carefully check condition – Look for damage, stains, cracks, or other cosmetic issues. Turn on and use electronics.
Ask about maintenance history – For vehicles and appliances, a documented service history is ideal.
Test drive vehicles – Take vehicles on a lengthy test drive on different road types. Listen for any odd noises.
Consider professional inspection – For major purchases, have a mechanic inspect a used car or inspector evaluate the home.
Verify servicing availability – If repairs are needed, make sure parts and service technicians are available.
Obtain a warranty if possible – Some used retailers offer short-term warranties on items for peace of mind.
Letting Go of the New Mindset
For some, moving from always buying new to buying quality used takes an adjustment in mindset. Here are some tips:
Focus on value over newness – Judge items by their utility and quality, not by being newly manufactured.
Take pride in conservation – View buying used as environmentally friendly and reducing waste.
See character in wear – Rather than flaws, view signs of use as giving the item character and history.
Focus savings toward goals – Mentally allocate savings from buying used toward your other financial goals.
Buying used instead of constantly buying new offers tremendous savings opportunities without necessarily sacrificing quality or usefulness. Follow the tips in this guide and you’ll unlock major savings that allow you to spend less and save or invest more towards important goals. The key is knowing where to shop, what to inspect, and simply letting go of the mindset that new is inherently better.