10 NOT2BUY NEW
Why waste money on shiny packaging, hermetically sealed plastic and a fancy store name when you can find a 'previously experienced', 'pre-owned', 'good-as-new' item for a fraction of the cost? Only someone who is making too much money would alway buy new. And the way things are these days, there aren't many of them around.
The Frugal Yankee has done the research and found ten items worth getting used. You'll save from thousands of dollars to less than a hundred, but every bit helps.
Here are those ten items.
OK, be honest. How often do you read a book more than once? How often do you use a book as a reference? For the most part, we read books once and then they start collecting dust. Don’t buy books new (unless you know the author or it is about you). Take the Frugal Yankee advice, go to the library, hit a used book store, check out Half.com/Ebay or Amazon.com's used books, or score big at yard sales.
The discounts are steep at all of these locations and some are free. You can find plenty to read and once read put them back in circulation. Think of the trees you’re saving.
2) DVDs and CDs
Like books, you can find plenty of DVDs and CDs at yard sales, the library, on the internet at either very frugal prices or for free.
CDs are already a dying media breed. More and more folks are going digital, so the secondary market is full of them. You may not find exactly what you like, but it is a great time for experimentation. Finding a CD for 50¢ from an artist you may have heard about makes the purchase worthwhile. Buying it new for $15 and being disappointed is a bummer.
With DVDs, how many times do you see a film over and over again? Sometimes that happens. I personally like GROUNDHOG DAY and can see that many times. Yet for the most part it is a one time event. So hit up the usual suspects - library, yard sales, internet, and find movies, watch them and them recirculate them.
3) KIDS TOYS
Parents know: it's all but impossible to predict which toy will be a hit and which will lie forlorn at the bottom of the toy box. So rather than gamble at full price, cruise consignment shops and yard sales for bargains.
Better than cheap is free. See if there are toy-swapping meets in your area, or you might be lucky enough to score hand-me-downs from friends and relatives.
There are lots of places to find toys. Think about church rummage sales or multi-family yard sales. These are both good sources. If you’re concerned about germs, just wipe them down with a mild bleach/water mixture to kill germs.
These places are also great for finding children’s books, jigsaw puzzles and the like.
Exception: Some parents get away with giving used toys for birthdays and holidays, but most of us (and our kids) have been fairly well brainwashed into believing that gifts should be purchased new.
Advice: Development professionals recommend toys that engage children in creative play. Play which challenges the growing mind without a prescribed script. Toys tied into TV shows rarely provide creative play.
I admit, this is an area where I am lacking knowledge. I do know there are fat markups on most jewels.
Find a pawn shop that's been in business for a while, get to know the owner and ask for recommendations.
Exception: You want something custom-made. Even then, consider buying used stones and getting them reset.
If you get into buying jewelry, be sure you find a good appraiser. You’ll rest easier and avoid some disasters. As you get more knowledgeable you'll find auctions, online and other sources good bets.
5) SPORTS EQUIPMENT
This is a good one for a family with growing active kids. Whether it is hockey or softball or football or canoing or archery or horse back riding, outfitting a child with brand new equipment is expensive.
These days there lots of second hand sports stores out there. Check them out first for going prices.
Yard sales are good places to look into.
Local newspapers will also have classifieds with equipment for sale.
Exception: Shoes, baseball mitts and anything else that will mold to the wearer's body. Also like power tools, we’re leery of anything which runs on electricity or has a motor. You just don't know how much life is in them when you buy.
Have you ever heard of anyone making money on a timeshare? The Frugal Yankee hasn’t. They’re good if you go on vacation to the same spot year after year.
So if you fall into that category, buy used. Plenty of folks are looking to unload their timeshares and you can score well.
Exception: Some high-end properties in exclusive resorts don't lose much value. Before you buy, though, check resale values online.
Advice: Rent a timeshare before you buy. Be sure the place and the area are to your liking.
The average new car loses 12.2% of its value in the first year on a $20,000 car, that's $2,440, or more than $200 a month. Some cars lose money even faster depending make, model, and demand. For example, used SUV prices are falling at about 17% a year.
Why not let someone else take that hit? Not only will you be able to save money (or buy more car), but you'll pay less for insurance and property taxes. Cars are better-built and last longer than ever before, which means you're less likely to get a lemon. Companies like CarFax allow you to trace a car's history. A trusted mechanic can give your potential purchase the once-over to spot any problems.
Exception: You can pay cash and you really, really want that new-car smell.
8) SOFTWARE & GAMES
Buy used, and you'll pay half or less what the software cost new. Console games like those for the Xbox and Sony PS2 that list for $50 new, for instance, can often be purchased used for $20 or less a year after release.
It's more than just a matter of economy. Letting someone else be the early adopter also allows you to benefit from their experience. You'll find more reviews and information on software that's been out a year or more.
Exception: be sure your computer or systems are compatible.
9) OFFICE FURNITURE
Most office furniture is sturdy. They last a long time and there are many places to find some at bargain basement prices.
First, try your dump, oh, I mean Recycling Center or is that Transfer Center? Many places will put chairs, desks and the like aside for pick-up. Heck the price is right - free.
There are also lots of used equipment in the want ads and of course, second hand stores.
Tip: If you're looking for more high end office equipment or perhaps larger quantities, check out auctions. Many have office equipment, as well as computers and all sorts of office paraphernalia.
Warning: Don't buy anything looking or smelling moldy.
10) HAND TOOLS
Hand tools last for generations. Many of them were extremely well made with high quality components. If you need crow bars, hammers, screwdrivers, shovels, rakes, lobbers and more to fill out your tool shed, then listen up. Rather than heading over to the nearest big box “home improvement store” and buying brand new, made in China tools, read the newspaper or go online. What you are looking for are yard sales or estate sales where tools are being sold. You’ll score.
One word of caution, stay away from power tools, especially cordless ones. Cordless power tools are usually well constructed but if the batteries die, finding replacements can sometimes be a royal pain. The newer power tools are lighter and easier to use.
TIP: If you're not going to use a tool frequently, rent it or borrow it. You’ll save money in the long run and enjoy your neighbor. Be sure you share your tools with friends.
Remember there are lots of items we buy where we don’t need a shiny package with hard to read assembly instructions. When considering buying something, consider a used piece. Sometimes buying a used piece may lead to buying something new, but after a short period of using something, you’ll better define your likes and dislikes. then your purchase is smarter, savvier and more in keeping with being a Frugal Yankee.