Buying used can be a good way to save money, but the key is knowing when a bargain is a bargain, and not a disaster waiting to happen.
What should you buy used, and what should you NOT buy used?
What to Buy Used
Some Cars Buying a car that’s one or two years old can be one of the biggest money-savers you’ll ever enjoy. It may still be under warranty, service records might be available, and a newer “previously owned” car is likely to have lower mileage. Best of all, your “new” used car still looks new.
However, avoid buying muscle cars (beaten), sports cars (beaten and temperamental), antique cars, and vehicles that are difficult to service (costly and lengthy repairs).
Some Recreational Vehicles Most recreational vehicles are used seasonally, so make sure to purchase motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles and RVs at the end of the season to maximize your savings.
If possible, buy from a dealer who offers a warranty, or have a mechanic check out the recreational vehicle to help prevent a big repair bill and a big headache.
DON’T buy off-road vehicles like quads, ATVs, dune buggies, off-road motorcycles, and other hard-used vehicles. These “toys” are made to be ridden hard, and chances are, they were.
Ski equipment Visit the local ski hut in April and May and save on skis, boots, poles, outerwear – everything you need to get an early start on theNevada slopes next season. And save big money.
Textbooks and books College textbooks can be expensive. Reduce your textbook expenses by purchasing used copies at campus bookstores, online bookstores, or online retailers. Look for a used copy with key text highlighted and side notes. It can be a bonus and may assist you in your studies. Make sure to also visit book fairs, book exchanges, libraries, and used goods shops.
Used video games and DVDs are so popular, there are stores that swap old games, consoles and controllers and then resell the items at steep discounts. The games and movies are the same, but you pay just a fraction of the cost.
Wood furniture, patio furniture, and anything with a hard, washable surface can save you some cash when it comes to furnishing on a shoestring. Just make sure you can scrub it clean before you bring it into your home.
Fitness equipment It sounded like a good idea, but now the stair stepper has become a tie rack in the bedroom. Check online sources, the local gym, and your local newspaper.
Musical instruments Purchasing used musical instruments is another item to consider. Buy from a reputable dealer or visit the local pawn shop. Musical instruments are often pawned, which can translate into big savings.
Certain types of clothes Formal wear, outerwear and clothes that didn’t touch skin. Buy at thrift stores and consignment shops. Children’s clothes are a real bargain since the previous owner may have grown out of the clothes before the garments wore out.
What NOT to Buy Used
Cribs and children’s car seats The safety standards for cribs and car seats are regularly updated. If you buy a crib that doesn’t meet current safety standards, you may put your child at risk. It’s not worth the risk even if you do save a few dollars.
Sports safety gear Bike helmets, flotation devices, football equipment – they may be good buys, but they may also be damaged or out-of-date.
Car tires They may not be the right size, they may have hidden damage, they just aren’t worth the risk.
Electronics An HDTV’s warranty may have run out, a computer may have corrupted files and malware, or the used DVD recorder isn’t worth the cost of repair when it breaks down. With any electronics, a manufacturer and store warranty should be part of your purchase.
Mattresses and bedding Even if the mattress is offered by a trusted source, like a family member or friend, it may be contaminated with bacteria, bedbugs, and other critters.
Certain articles of clothing Undergarments, swim suits, shoes and hats are items to avoid. Any article of clothing that routinely touches skin should NOT be bought used.
Buy used when you can. Just be careful that you’re actually saving money and not inheriting someone else’s problem.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.
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