Trying to watch your spending and make best use of your money? Ever run into financial situations where you are not sure what to do? Deciding whether to buy items new or used can lead to just such situations. The smartest purchase decisions are not always clear cut.
Here are some guidelines to help you decide whether buying new or used is the way to go. (Please note that this information is based upon my own experience and research. It should not be construed as legal or medical advice, as I am not an expert in either subject matter. Seek the advice of a licensed lawyer or physician for such advice.)
Steer clear of buying used for most items that come in close personal contact. Go for new when it comes to mattresses, pillows, sleeping bags, comforters, rugs, stuffed animals, and undergarments. The problem with buying these items used is that it is difficult to sanitize them enough to remove germs and bugs that may be lurking in the fabric and stuffing.
Upholstered furniture is also a buy new unless you are able or can pay someone to remove fabric and stuffing and reupholster the furniture. Make sure the cost of reupholstering will not exceed the price to buy an equivalent piece new.
Exception: Most clothing (unless particularly bulky, from industrial work settings, or undergarments) should be fine because you can wash and dry at high temperatures or take to the dry to cleaner to be sanitized. I have found some great deals on children’s dress clothes that are like new or still with tags on at consignment stores.
When it comes to household décor, buy used. It is relatively easy to find a wide variety of household decorations at consignment and thrifts stores, as well as, garage sales. Wall art, holiday décor, candle holders, etc.. are great items to snag at bargain prices. For sanitary reasons, avoid décor with stuffing and decorative rugs or throws.
Need exercise equipment? Most can be bought used. Face it. We humans love to buy exercise equipment and then use it sporadically. Barbells, exercise bikes, golf clubs, pedometers, stair climbers, treadmills, etc.. often end up being dust collectors. In fact, so much lightly used exercise equipment is available that whole franchises have been built around selling it. Think Play It Again Sports.
Just use common sense precautions when purchasing. Always plug in and test out any equipment that needs electricity and ask questions about its history. Any equipment that has gears, wheels, or other moving parts needs to be examined thoroughly to ensure that it is in good working order and not rusted. And always clean surfaces thoroughly when you get home.
Exception: Steer clear of used sports safety equipment and footwear. For example, in the case of bicycle or skating helmets, you can not be sure if not previously used as protection in a wreck which would alter the integrity of the helmet. Previously used footwear has likely molded to the shape of the past owner’s foot and therefore may not give the proper fit.
Stick to new on certain baby items for safety reasons. Unfortunately, recalls come with the territory when it comes to items made for infants and children. It is humanly impossible to keep up with all those recall notices. Play it safe by buying cribs, safety seats, sippy cups and bottles, and high chairs new.
Also, mamas do not buy used breast pumps. According to a variety of expert sources, there are real health concerns because home-use breast pumps can be very difficult to sanitize and can possibly expose you to pathogens.
To buy new or used is a case-by-case decision on appliances, electronics, and lawn equipment. When it comes to buying new or used for appliances, electronics, and lawn equipment, it depends on whether you have the expertise or can take along someone who does to assess the condition of the appliance or equipment. Also, how well you know the current owner can make a big difference. Additionally, look at the cost of new versus used in its current condition and see if the price gap and condition are enough to justify buying used.
As you may have noticed, I have steered clear of discussing whether to buy new or used vehicles. Volumes of information about the topic have been written and can easily be accessed with a quick internet search. As for the other purchases discussed above, I hope this information has helped clear up many of the new or used “what to dos”.
For more information on smart purchasing decisions have a look at: