A Guide On Whether To Buy Stuff New Or Used

In the age of internet shopping it’s easy to opt for a cheaper used version of an item rather than its new, more expensive counterpart. The question is whether the savings on used stuff make up for the possible drop in quality.

FreeShipping provides its opinion on 40 items you should always buy either new or used. Here are 10 of the post’s suggestions:

*Bike helmets — New because they’re only designed to hold up for one crash.

*Boats — Used because their value sinks like the Titanic once you drive a new boat out of the sales dock.

*Books — Used because dog-eared pages and coffee stains add character.

*Camera lenses — New because no matter how amazing your camera is, it’s only as strong as its lens.

*Car seats — New because technology is always evolving, making seats safer by the year.

*Cars and trucks — Used because of the depreciation thing.

*Consumer electronics — Used because early adopters are always ditching their months-old stuff and selling it for slashed costs as they go after the next glittery thing that catches their eyes.

*Craft supplies — Used because supply of quality, barely-used old stuff far outweighs demand.

*Diamonds — Used because a diamond is a diamond, so there’s no need to fund a mall salesman’s commission. Just be careful you know exactly what you’re buying.

*DVDs and CDs — Used as long as they’re not badly scratched.

Do you agree with everything on the list? How do you decide whether to buy used or new, and what is your favorite spot to nab used products?

Should You Buy New or Used? 40 Recommendations [FreeShipping]
(Thanks, Jeff!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. courtarro says:

    I disagree about camera lenses. If you know what you’re looking for (and how to check that a lens is in good condition) used camera lenses can be a good bargain.

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      You beat me to it. It’s easy to check a camera lens for flaws when you’re buying it, and high quality camera lenses tend to last forever, unlike the DSLR bodies they’re attached to.. Buy on craigslist, or somewhere you can check the lens before you spend the money, and you can get good deals on used lenses.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I think the reason is because most don’t know how to identify a used lens in good condition. That’s a risky prospect unless you know what you’re doing.

      • kimmie says:

        While this is true, if you’ve spent the $$ on a dSLR and you’re investing in lenses beyond the kit lens, you clearly know something.

      • mac-phisto says:

        that’s a good point, but then i’d make the same argument about boats. while you dodge the depreciation by buying a used boat, you can easily walk into an expensive repair.

        • Bohemian says:

          We have had this issue with cars. Even doing background research and having a mechanic look at it before buying we have had two vehicles that are constantly needing something expensive repaired. The cost of the used vehicles plus all the repair costs added up to more than the cost of a new vehicle both times. So next time we are going to save ourselves the headache and stress of breaking down and unexpected repairs and just buying new. Yea it will depreciate but we usually keep a vehicle until the tires are falling off so not really a loss.

    • kenbennedy says:

      I really have to disagree with the camera lens thing too. Fantastic lenses don’t physically age much, but can be had for 75% of the retail value. You are really just paying for a warranty if you buy new. And if you are buying a lens that is so good that it is better than the camera sensor (rather than the cheapo kit zoom lens), you can be talking a difference of several hundred dollars between new and used.

    • proscriptus says:

      …Which is why I own Nikons. I can get a 30-year-old lens for under $100, and would have to shell out more than a grand for a new, admittedly AF, equivalent. But honestly, focusing by hand is not exactly crossing the Rubicon.

      • exoxe says:

        Yes, but a good VR AF lens is worth its money if you’re shooting stuff that’s moving, especially at a distance.

        • exoxe says:

          Oh, and I wasn’t disagreeing with buying used – just that the newer VR lenses are a good investment. You can still find these at discounted (used) prices.

    • Mr.Grieves says:

      Exact same I thought when reading that list. Used lenses own, new ones are way too expensive.

    • valthun says:

      I agree as well with the lenses being purchased new. A good lens will pretty much remain a good lens as long as the previous owner knows how to care for them. I have owned many older cameras over the years and one that I purchased was a Rolei SL120 (120 format film, look it up, its not available anymore) But the little Zeis lens that came with it was far superior to the plastic lens my dad got me for my N90s. This was a 20 year old camera and lens easily.

    • BlisteringSilence says:

      I totally agree with you. Used lenses are often higher quality than new, and are available in specs that are no longer available. I am a wide angle lens whore, and no one makes quality wide angle glass like they used to. Sigma is trying with their new 8-16, but my Nikon 13 from 1983 is still the best I can get my hands on.

    • guroth says:

      I can’t believe they said to buy diamonds used and camera lenses new.

      A model X camera lens is going to perform the exact same new or used, as long as it is in good condition which is easy to examine.

      Diamonds don’t come with model numbers so unless you are an experienced gem buyer it is much easier to get ripped off buying used diamonds than brand new diamonds.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        Except that the whole process is a ripoff with really high profit margins. The only way to win is not to play (my wife insists I play the game, but not too much).

        • BBBB says:

          Diamonds: Just get a hunk of carbon in a different crystal form and it is MUCH cheaper. [My wife pushes on hers and says that if she does that long enough and hard enough it will turn into a diamond.]

        • varro says:

          My wife insisted on *no* diamond – she likes amethysts and garnets better. I got her a blue amethyst ring and we spent the difference on the mortgage or booze or something.

      • Grasshopper says:

        Actually all diamonds are several thousand years old; the question posed here should be from whom do you purchase one. Do you buy from a major retailer or from a reseller or private party?

    • LeftCartridge says:

      I’ll pile on. Used lenses are the way to go. There are some spectacular used places in the business…KEH, for instance. I’ve bought numerous EOS lenses from the place. Their grading is incredibly conservative.

    • Sparkstalker says:

      They’ve got a motivated self-interest with the camera lens…an offer for free shipping from Wolf/Ritz (http://www.freeshipping.org/category/wolf-camera-free-shipping/), who are notably more expensive than other retailers like Adorama. For example, a Canon 70-300mm EF f/4-5.6 IS is $649.99 at Wolf new, while $529 at Adorama new, $499 refurb.

      So yeah, find a grain of salt to go with this one…

  2. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Sex toys: new. Because, ew.

  3. stevenpdx says:

    Underwear: new.

  4. Mike says:

    Here is my rule: If it is a depreciable asset I look used or refurbished first, then new.

    Even stuff like child car seats, you can find one six months old on Craigslist. People get different cars, their seat doesn’t fit, they ditch their old one. A helmet can be purchase used if it has never been in an accident. Or plenty of people buy stuff and never use it, so you can buy it “used” when it really wasn’t.

    If it is an appreciable asset, mainly real estate, I look new or used.

    Also I try to buy appreciable assets as much as possible. Get an antique table at a consignment shop or yard sale instead of a new one, you might make some money on it.

    • proscriptus says:

      Nah man, when your life, or your child’s, may depend on your ability to discern whether an item has been damaged by a cursory visual inspection, “new” is the only option.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I completely agree. The only time it makes sense to use a used car seat or bike helmet is if it’s from a friend or family member, and you can trust with 100% certainty that it wasn’t in a crash. Even then, it can be exceedingly difficult to determine if a car seat has a pending recall or not.

        I wouldn’t trust a random eBay, Craigslist, or garage sale seller with being completely honest regarding something like that. I’d rather just pay the extra $100 for a new one.

        • Rain says:

          I agree. Car seats are unlikely to look any different after being involved in an accident and helmets can be weakened without cracking visibly. There’s no way to know if the Craigslist seller is malicious in selling you damaged items or ignorant that the item should have been thrown out and replaced after an accident. Safety is one of those areas you can’t skimp on.

      • cash_da_pibble says:

        Aw maan. This bums me out because I was going to sell my old motorcycle helmet on Craigslist, and now know that NO ONE is gonna buy it.

    • fs2k2isfun says:

      I STRONGLY disagree with your advice. Any type of safety equipment should always be bought new. You have no idea how the previous owner treated it even if it looks in good shape. Isn’t potentially saving your or your kid’s life worth spending the few extra dollars?

    • WagTheDog says:

      I have to disagree with the real estate thing. You’ll pay premium for a new house, the price is the price. Whereas if you made me an offer on my house, I might negotiate. Always buy an older home, preferably the worst house in a nice block.

      • Mike says:

        Most of the time new housing is a ripoff, but I have seen some great deals in this market because of the housing crisis. Many new homes might not even be finished but already in foreclosure so you can get some GREAT deals. To be fair I haven’t purchased any yet, but I would be more than willing to pick up the scraps of a new home in foreclosure. There are several new homes built on older lots in great locations that I have my eye on right now.

        • Ragman says:

          I end up buying new cars because I hang onto them for years and can pick almost exactly what I want. It really didn’t help that my first two vehicles were used, and quite costly in repairs. At least with a new car I know which idiot is driving it ;)

          • BBBB says:

            I’ve had great luck with used cars because they all came from trusted sources. My first one came from a friend of the family who was compulsive about scheduled maintenance. All my others came from my mechanic – they were usually acquired from his customers so he knew the history and he fixed them up before selling to me. [This requires having a mechanic you trust – hard to find, but worth the effort.]

        • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

          But new homes, especially boom homes, tend to be hunk-of-crap crackerboxes with hollow doors and toxic Chinese drywall. There was a Consumerist article a while ago about some woman in Florida whose brand-new dream house essentially collapsed around her. Think twice about buying new….

          Me, I gots a classic 1989 brick home in a classy neighborhood–it’s very very solid and well constructed….with some kick-ass brass fixtures, blue carpet, and patterned wallpaper :) Oh well, we paid less for it than for the cheap new granite/stainless/treeless yard house, so we can remodel.

    • DeathByCuriosity says:

      I would NEVER buy a used car seat, even one that’s six months old. There’s no telling whether it’s been in a car crash. Plus there’s the ick factor of spilled juice/soda/milk, candy and other food items, vomit from carsickness, urine, feces…stuff that gets in hard-to-clean crevices.

      My husband suggested getting a car seat for our infant daughter from his brother’s family, whose youngest child is 3 (so their car seat would be at least 3+ years old, and knowing their tendency to use a lot of second-hand items, it’s probably even older than that). I recoiled in horror and explained that car seats actually have expiration dates and that they degrade over time from everyday use, exposure to extreme heat and cold in the car, etc. He honestly had no idea. I wish more people were educated about car seat safety. IMO it should be one baby item that MUST be bought new.

  5. CalicoGal says:

    Exercise Equipment — Used because someone is always trying to unload a clothes hanger I mean elliptical.

    Campers/RVs — Used because people are always trying to unload these, too. Again with the depreciation thing.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Used with one exception – if you can find a steal new. There’s a liquidation store near my house that has an exercise bike I’m looking at. Though craigslist has some for $75, this one has more features and would be about the same were it on craigslist anyway.

      *shrug* personal preference I guess, but in general yeah used is better.

  6. Lolotehe says:

    Mattress. New.

  7. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    My one rule with craigslist is that I will never buy upholstered furniture ffrom there. I’ll trust a local shopowner, but I won’t even trust a Goodwill or any consignment shop. I just don’t know where it’s been, and at least with a local shopowner (I buy vintage furniture), I know that at least someone’s taken a good look at it and their reputation is on the line.

  8. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    Say What Now?
    “*Car seats — New because technology is always evolving, making seats safer by the year.”
    **Cough** recalls **Cough**

    • Incredulous1 says:

      You never know if a car seat has been through a crash that could affect the integrity of the structure.

    • armchair lactivist says:

      Car Seats: New because they’re only designed to withstand one crash. There’s no way to tell if they’ve been in a small crash that would lead them not working in the next accident.

    • indymps6 says:

      Exactly. Why skimp on your child’s safety?

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Yes, because recalls mean that the product is less safe. Necessarily.

      I mean, we all know that Toyotas today are way less safe than Toyotas from 15 years ago. There were recalls!

      It’s SCIENCE.

  9. Dover says:

    From the linked article: “…friendly Geek Squad. (Truly, these people can be a great help for non-techies.)” Hmm…

    • Dover says:

      Plus, #29 gives the go-ahead for purchasing a used copy of Firefox. Quality advice, if I do say so myself.

      • obits3 says:

        It doesn’t say that:

        “This does not apply to open-source software you download from the Internet free of charge, like Mozilla Firefox”

  10. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    What do I do about a bike helmet if I bought it, never crashed, but then no longer needed it?

    I sent it to goodwill. Now I feel kind of stupid :( But I didn’t want to trash it.

    Oh, and for boats, visit usedboats.com :D I used to work for the company and I can testify to the savings ! It’s just a listing site like craigslist, so the seller ultimately sets the price. But in this market.. ha, you’ve got all the power!

  11. soldstatic says:

    i disagree with the consumer electronics thing. Sometimes a warranty can be worth 5 times the cost of the item you’ve purchased. Plus return policies are generally better with stores rather than that guy off craigslist you can’t find anymore.

  12. Damocles57 says:

    Building materials: used, unless I need many of the same type/color/size/style and need it now. I gather lumber, screws/nails, hardware, etc. and stockpile it for my home and garden projects.

    Bikes: used. The caveat is if you don’t know what to look for in used bike – cracks, bent frames, misaligned wheels or handlebars, worn brakes, etc. – it might be safer to buy new. If you are fairly bike-competent, used is a great way to go.

    Landscape items: used or seeds. I am amazed how many things are given away on Craigslist or throughout my neighborhood. Many plantings are useable as they are, many can be divided to have multiples of the same item, and the price of a seed (and your patience) is almost too small to measure.

    I get things off Craigslist, at auctions, dumpsters, and through word-of-mouth. What I don’t use or don’t want, I list on CL or sell through auctions or give to other like-minded-people.

    So many things are thrown away because someone is tired of the color, needs to make room for the new stuff, or needs a screw/nail/glue. A few basic skills and tools will save people money and keep good things out of our landfills.

  13. badachie says:

    Car seats should only be bought used you can verify that it has never been in a crash. They should not be bought used for the same reasons bike helmets should not be bought uses.

  14. tbax929 says:

    I know I’m going to get flamed for saying this, but I don’t buy anything used. It’s not because I think I’m too good for used stuff or anything like that, I just like being the first person to own something. I’m really, really strange that way. I don’t want to live in a house someone lived in before me; I don’t want to wear clothing someone wore before me; I don’t want furniture someone else sat on before me; I don’t want to drive a car someone owned before me. You know how hoarders never get rid of anything old? I’m the opposite of that.

    Again, I know it’s horrible and wasteful to feel that way, but it’s just how I am. I also realize I waste a lot of money buying things new just so I can be the first to own them.

  15. georgi55 says:

    “because of the depreciation thing.” Great….so professional.

  16. humphrmi says:

    Car seats also expire. Yes, the actual materials expire, after which point they can no longer be trusted to sustain a crash. The better MFRs stamp the expiration date on the car seat.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I think it’s also a matter of photodegrading of the materials. I have a motorcycle lock chain that has a cover on it, and it’s been exposed to the sun because I lock our hay trailer with it. On the side exposed to the sun, it will actually crumble if you touch it now.

      • cosmic.charlie says:

        True, if they didn’t use UV stabilized polymerics. However there are products made of plastic that will last for years. ie the dash on my old 1982 Ford. For critical components they SHOULD always be using appropriate materials.

        That is why I make my own car seats at home. Couple of pillows stuffed into (slightly used) laundry basket and some duct tape, the kids have never been safer.

        Also, the best car seat marketing companies stamp an expiration date on the seat to get people to buy another!

  17. apd09 says:

    Engagement rings should always be new, you don’t want marriages tied to the ring you are using to get married.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Screw that. It’s an object, not a mystical tool of doom O_O

      • apd09 says:

        I’m pretty sure most women would disagree with you on that one. Not all of them, but most women I talked with prior to buying an engagement all said the same thing about getting a new vs used ring, the acceptable used engagement ring is a family heirloom otherwise the ring was part of a failed marriage or death and you don’t want that hanging over the start of your marriage.

        • Damocles57 says:

          Yeah, it’s not like the diamonds in those engagement rings were mined in some African country where the miners were paid pennies, who had family members who may have died, and whose profits go toward funding much of the atrocities we hear about almost daily on the news.

          Or the fact that jewelry has such a high markup and artificial allure because of the “image” many people have been trained to accept by years of advertising and social conditioning.

          • apd09 says:

            and since my wife is a director of animal conservation she actually wanted a lab made diamond as opposed to a mined one. Diamond Nexus 2.5 carat stone was only 800 then the platinum setting was 1500. I got her a beautiful, flawless diamond for 2300 and it was just what she wanted.

            Before she told me she wanted lab grown was when I was looking at real diamonds and heard that from people.

        • JulesNoctambule says:

          The only reason my engagement ring had a diamond in it was because my mother-in-law gave hers to my husband (she never wore it after getting married 35 years ago) to give to me. Given a choice I’d never have picked a diamond, ever. I do plan to pass this on to my niece and replace it with a sapphire one day, preferably one cut and set prior to the first World War.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          I don’t care about that myself. I think I’d be so happy to get engaged finally I’d take a ring from a garage sale.

          Besides, if you don’t have a lot of money you can always buy something else later.

        • varro says:

          You also will make Kay, Jared, and de Beers very, very happy.

          Death hanging over a marriage? When most vows have the word “death” in them? What if the ring was worn by your great-grandmother who lived to 100?

      • Poisson Process says:

        That’s right. Its not the ring that’s a mystical tool of doom, its the marriage.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      “you don’t want marriages tied to the ring you are using to get married.”

      Maybe it’s just been too long of a day but I have no idea what that means… :-)

      • apd09 says:

        I am still waiting for the edit features, it was supposed to say “you don’t want failed marriages tied…”

    • Grungo says:

      This advice is complete nonsense, but then again, so are engagement rings. I would have bought a used ring if I could have gotten away with it.

      Suckered into buying a diamond

    • sugarplum says:

      I like having my Grandmother’s wedding ring – she upgraded along the way and I got the ‘antique’ one…and they are still happily married after 60 years!

    • trencherman says:

      People who buy “new” engagement rings and think the diamond is “new” are naive. Many diamonds are taken from previous rings, possibly re-cut, placed in a new setting, then sold as new by the jeweler. You will never know.

    • lain1k says:

      Little known fact: You have to stand on one foot and hop up and down when you buy a ring. If you don’t it will almost certainly mean doom for your marriage. How else do you explain a high divorce rate?!

    • nobomojo says:

      I got mine at a consignment shop. blue diamond. used. breathtaking and it was a bargain compared to “new” jewelry stores.

  18. ShadowFalls says:

    Computer stuff, when it comes to used… best to avoid if possible. The lack of warranty and the risk of defects is much higher. Laptops are a biggest concern the older they get, usually needs a new battery and they aren’t cheap. Also, there is always better stuff coming out, sol the used one will not keep up quite so well. They also don’t always come cleaned out, so there is so much junk the previous person had on it.

    As for DVDs and video games, that is a good thing as long as there is a return policy in play. I’ve picked up some DVDs for a fraction of price and they were in excellent condition, others had playback issues but I could return them. Gamestop opened up a separate division called Moviestop recently, they sell a bunch of used stuff and they all have a lifetime warranty which is nice. There is also another chain that sells used stuff and it has an online presence. It is called Gohastings, think the stores are just called Hastings (none in my area), their stuff is usually really good quality.

    As for playback, you will be surprised what can play and what can’t. I had one DVD that would skip like crazy, looked fine no scratches or nothing. Had another, it had to have had at least 50 scratches and it played perfectly. The biggest concern can usually be the cases if they bothers you like it does me. I like them to look good as possible.

    The biggest concern is with those of Amazon and ebay. There are sellers who sell bootlegs. Amazon seems to take action when notified, but ebay does not. They seem to willing allow bootlegs to be sold even after they have been notified of it. They just do not take action, likely because of the conflict of interest of them profiting off of every sale.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      This is true, but if I were to buy a laptop or anything used I would thoroughly test it before buying.

    • Dave Farquhar says:

      In recent years I’ve done very well buying used business computers. The hard drive is the part most likely to go bad, but it’s probably too small anyway, so I replace that as soon as I can. I bought one for myself two or three years ago, and I liked it so much I had my mom and sister replace their PCs with the same model, that way if they ever had problems, they’d have something just like mine. And they haven’t had any problems, short of one hard drive dying–which was the one new part in the machine.

      The result: quality machines with no factory-installed bloatware on them, and we paid less than $200 for them. In another year or two, we’ll do it again.

      I suppose it helps that I work in IT and would be able to repair the machines myself if needed. But I’ve always noticed that the hardware in true business-class PCs doesn’t fail very often. Software issues abound, but when the reseller wipes the drive and installs a fresh copy of Windows on it, that goes away.

      Laptops make me more nervous, but the most likely things to fail are the hard drive, battery, and AC adapter, all of which are replaceable. Always assume the battery is shot and look into replacement cost ahead of time. Hard drives are cheap, and not difficult to replace. Replacement AC adapters are pretty easy to find on eBay. Beyond that, make sure there are no blatant signs of physical abuse.

      It’s still a risk, but new ones are a risk too, and almost always full of bloatware. So the question becomes whether you prefer a $200-$300 risk or a $400-$600 risk.

      And regarding Black Friday specials: I’ve seen and disassembled Black Friday PCs and I don’t recommend them. The manufacturers cut some serious corners in order to hit those price points. You’ll pay the price in performance and long-term reliability.

  19. Speak says:

    One of the things the article says to buy used is automobiles. There is a reason that I bought a New car last year when my old one was costing me more in repairs then it was worth. That is because of the “Cash for Clunkers” a lot of good used cars were destroyed so the ones that were left were over priced. Also a lot of the used cars more than a year or two old do not have any warranty. My new car has a 36k/3yr bumper to bumper with maintenance included from the factory. I may have paid more than I would have for a used car that already had but imprints from the previous driver.

    • Speak says:

      I also forgot to mention that getting a loan for a New car is much easier and often less then a used car.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        This is Consumerist. We don’t believe in debt. EVER. Save up for that car or you don’t deserve it, whelp! ;-)

  20. aja175 says:

    I disagree about camera lenses. You can find great deals on used gear from pro’s that treat their gear very well.

  21. Chaluapman says:

    I don’t agree with the lens thing. You can find some very excellent deals on used lenses that are in mint or near mint condition. And what the origial author said about even the slightest defect showing up is incorrrect. There are many defect types that would never show up on your picture.

  22. chargerRT says:

    I’ll go “open box” or “refurb” on electronics, but only rarely will I actually BUY a “previously owned” electronic product. I am not a fan of animal hair or smoke, so that takes a lot of pieces out of contention. But more important than that, many people seem to have a ridiculously inflated opinion of their old electronics and what they’re actually worth. Catch a good sale and buy new, then keep it till it dies!

  23. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    Bike helmets: Agreed. Safety at any cost.

    Boats: Agreed

    Books: Agreed

    Camera lenses: To a point. I’ll buy used throwaway lenses (nifty fifty, etc.), but L-series I just buy new. Warranties are nice…

    Car seats: NEW. Is saving $50 worth your baby’s safety?

    Cars and trucks: Used high-end (BMW), new cheap cars (like my Honda Fit.)

    Consumer electronics: 50/50. I like warranties on some things, don’t care so much on others. I’ve been burned on used electronics a few times.

    Craft supplies: Don’t know.

    Diamonds: Bluenile.com sort of fixes the mall salesman commission problem. So new.

    DVDs/CDs: Used unless it’s a new release I want badly (say, Star Trek on BD)

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      OK, and before someone tells me that I’m a jerk who doesn’t know how much car seats cost… I just think you can get a newer seat for a significant discount over brick and mortar retail through Amazon.

      I believe safety is worth the money in this case.

      Now flame away. :-)

    • KyleOrton says:

      Agree on most points. For consumer electronics, I don’t care about the warranty, but as fast as many things drop in price, the new cost could be cheaper than a person would sell it used. I bought a 42″ 720p plasma about 3 years ago as soon as I could pay under $1k. Now that same (plus updated niceties) plasma is about $450 on sale. I’d love a nicer TV, but it’s not even worth selling it if I’d have to sell it for $300 to compete. Might as well keep it.

  24. JMH says:

    I can’t agree with them about buying Ikea furniture; a lot of it (especially the low-end college student specials that they mention) just isn’t sturdy enough to stand up to being moved around once it’s been assembled, not to mention you don’t know whether the previous owner did a good job putting it together.

    (Personally, I also enjoy putting together Ikea furniture, but of course that may be just me.)

  25. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Double Edge Safety Razors: Used. Make sure you did them in Barbicide if you are scared, but they provide an amazing shave and you aren’t beholden to the cartridge cartel.

  26. Aeirlys says:

    Wood furniture – headboards, coffee tables, dining room sets, etc., I always buy used, strip, and refinish. It’s worth it as long as you don’t mind spending a weekend on a project.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Agreed. It’s a bit of a project, but refinishing wood furniture is easier than people think and often produces a finished product that’s better than anything from a furniture outlet.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I got a very nice dresser at the flea market, but it was painted this horrible ugly orange. I stripped as much of the paint off as I could, then primed and repainted white. Added white ceramic knobs with violet decals on them and I had a lovely piece for my bedroom.

    • DeathByCuriosity says:

      Definitely! Older furniture tends to be better constructed and made from quality wood.

  27. raybury says:

    The challenge with textbooks isn’t new or used, it’s how to know exactly what you need. Going to four different schools in the course of getting my degree, I saw the following in general, some of which may continue despite recent rule changes:

    – Can’t get ISBN or even title and edition until school bookstore gets stock in, usually less than two weeks before class starts (I found it was generally best to read two chapters before the first class)
    – ISBN provided for main text, but bookstore – and only school bookstore – is really selling a package that includes two to five other books or other media, so of which is only available from them
    – Book comes with non-transferable software, saving on used book means spending lots on full-price software (school bookstore discounts on used books simply are not worth it)

    When I was able to find out what I needed in a timely manner, I found bargains through Craigslist and aggregation sites like addall.com (one book was so much cheaper at Amazon.co.uk that paying for expedited shipping days before the first class was worthwhile; another time I got an economics text in the third-world-only edition, with charts in black and gray instead of black and green, paperback instead of thick cardboard covers, and exactly the same text; yes I got an ‘A’ in the course).

    The problem with buying used textbooks is the textbook publishers are on to you, and make sure to change ’em almost every year, what with all the new information in Calculus.

    I never bought used from the school bookstore if they had new in stock because the discount was so slight. If I could find the ISBN in a timely manner, or if the expedited shipping cost was justifiable, I was usually able to find bargains online through addall.com or similar aggregation sites.

  28. Sparty999 says:

    Golf Clubs… USED,

  29. Judah says:

    If it regularly touches someone’s private area or relates to cleaning — new! Includes pants because people go commando, but not sweaters, shirts, or T-shirts. Includes mattresses, recliners, couches, swimsuits, stuffed animals, towels, brooms, mops, sponges, certain types of toys, bicycle seats, and toilets.

    Everything else, used is fine.

  30. Outrun1986 says:

    I am mixed on clothing. So many people buy so much clothing that they don’t even wear or wear once. If you play your cards right you can often get a brand new item with tags for a fraction of a price of a new one from a store. The trick to buying pre-owned clothing is to find a sturdy item that is hardly worn. If you check the major wear spots and its in good condition and it costs a fraction of the price of a new item go for it. Its very easy to do this. I own plenty of pieces of used clothing and I have not had issues, especially since I am paying pennies for it at yard sales and it usually comes from one previous owner.

    If you are afraid of germs stuff gets tried on in stores too, and in fact I just brought home a very nasty smelling pair of pants from a retail store, the person must have lived in a smoke infested house and then returned the item. This item was from a department store and smelled worse than anything I have ever brought home from a thrift or yard sale!

    Used isn’t always your best buy when it comes to video games because now the publishers are including one time use codes for online play, and if you buy the used version you have to pay for a code again (I don’t play games that do this though). Also with stores constantly clearancing games sometimes you can get a lower price on clearance for a new copy than what a used copy will cost you. However if you are buying for older game systems or buying DVD’s used is the way to go just make sure you are actually getting a good price on your item.

  31. xredgambit says:

    I don’t know where these people are looking at used pc’s, but I almost never see a good deal on craigs list for them. Sure if you are lucky and get a true nerd to get something from, you may get a good price. But you see people post online that their 5 year old laptop they paid $4000 for is going for $400. I can buy a new one for that price that is better. Same with pc’s. I’ve never seen a good price on a used one.

  32. madanthony says:

    If you want to save money, you should probably not buy a boat, new or used. At least based on how much my boat-owning boss seems to spend on the hole in the water surrounded by wood into which he throws money.

    As far as electronics, i don’t think the savings for used are always worth it… I tend to buy new, but look for closeouts/last year’s model/display models/refurbs for savings. I also sell my old item when I buy a new gadget – if you buy cheap enough and keep it in good condition/keep the packaging and accessories, you can get a pretty good price for it and end up with pretty nice stuff without laying out a whole lot of money to upgrade.

  33. DEVO says:

    Bike helmet? That’s ridiculous. I guarantee it’s almost never being sold cause someone ate shit. In fact a helmet you should always buy used because of the exact reason they stated to buy new. If they’ve been crashed you would know. Why buy something new you can only use once.

  34. myCatCracksMeUp says:

    The article says to only buy time shares used, but I think buying a time share at all is financially stupid. Once you own a time share you own it not just for your life, but when you die your children inherit it whether they want it or not. The Time share group can raise the yearly maintenance fee anytime they want, and charge special assessments anytime. Plus – you can generally rent a place for about the same as the yearly maintenance fee on a time share – with no lasting financial obligation.

  35. momtimestwo says:

    After watching Hoarders on TV and seeing the stuff they donate and where it comes from, I buy new. Bed bugs, bugs, roaches, etc inside of everything, no thanks.

  36. TaraMisu says:

    23. Pets – Used
    Buy a pet from a professional breeder or store and it can set you back several hundreds or thousands of dollars. Add on the standard shots and vet bills and you might as well pay for a human child. Instead, adopt a pre-owned pet from your local animal shelter and get a new family member, fees, and vaccines at a substantially lower cost. You’ll also avoid supporting the infamous “puppy mills.”

    So true! Shelter pets rule!!

  37. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    Also car seats are only designed for one crash, and have expiry dates based on the age of the plastics they are made with.

  38. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I agree with everything except electronics. I’d rather have new. Not necessarily the latest cool thing. The exception is if someone gives me something I know they took good care of. My bf gave me his old PS2 and I know he has been careful with it.

  39. Wolfbird says:

    >*Camera lenses — New because no matter how amazing your camera is, it’s only as strong as its lens.

    Wait, what? Even a used lens can be bought for almost the same price as a new one. It’s not a TV screen or an MP3 player where the technology gets updated super fast, it’s a metal housing with glass in. Of course, you’re not supposed to buy the ones with scratches and shit on it, but I don’t need to tell you that.

    >*Consumer electronics — Used because early adopters are always ditching their months-old stuff and selling it for slashed costs as they go after the next glittery thing that catches their eyes.

    Yeah, if you hate guarantees, buy used. Personally, I dislike sinking money on used electronics because if you’re buying it from Some Guy or Craigslist or whatever, what do you do when it breaks prematurely or never worked in the first place? No, I like me some paper trails. You always have the option of looking for a cheaper, older model when you buy from a store. S’what I did for my cell phone.