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What You Should -- and Should Not -- Buy Used
Bargain hunting is fun – and it saves money. There are some things you can buy used without sacrificing quality or safety. But other things are best to buy new.
First, those things you should never buy used, according to U.S. News & World Report:
- Baby furniture. There have been several recalls on cribs and changing tables, and you don’t know if that furniture was included in a recall. Also, baby furniture often is repainted – sometimes with paint that is not safe for infants.
- Bike helmets. As with car seats, bike helmets can have been damaged in ways that are not immediately obvious.
- Mattresses. Even if a mattress has been cleaned, it can harbor a whole lot of gross things. Plus, most mattresses are designed for only a decade or less of use, so chances are that used mattress is worn out.
- Shoes. If shoes have been worn long enough to be resold, they probably have molded to the foot of the person who wore them. That person is not you.
- Hats. The inside of the hat can have anything from sweat to lice. Steer clear.
- Makeup. Makeup and makeup brushes can contain a variety of bacteria, so it is best to start fresh.
- Vacuum cleaners. Vacuums are a heavily used household tool, so even if they start right up at the second-hand store or the yard sale, they could quit just as quickly. And they are expensive to repair.
- Swimsuits and undergarments. No explanation is really necessary.
- Scuba suits. Over time, scuba suits become more likely to rip and less likely to keep you warm.
On the other hand, you should buy these 10 things used, according to the website MoneyCrashers.com:
- Designer clothes. These cost a lot and are usually rarely worn. Check online or in vintage clothing shops.
- Gold and other jewelry. You can get some great bargains at antique shops or estate sales. Just be sure that the stones and gold are real before you buy.
- Baby clothes. Babies grow fast, which means they wear clothes for a short time. That is especially true of fancy clothes. And that means there are lots of bargains.
- Furniture. You can find surprising bargains at estate sales and flea markets. If you refinish or paint a piece, you can really make it your own. But check upholstered furniture for odors and dirt.
- Cars. A new car loses significant value when you drive it off the dealer’s lot. Check out used cars from dealers or individuals. You should have a mechanic look at it before you buy, though.
- Sports equipment, especially for children who want to try a sport. Buy safety equipment like helmets new, but no need to splurge on any other expensive stuff until the child decides to play long-term.
- Musical instruments. As with sports equipment, it is best to rent or buy a used instrument until you see if your child has the interest – and the talent.
- Tools. Tools that have a motor can be problematic. But hammers, screwdrivers, mallets, etc. are much cheaper used.
- DVDs and CDs. They are usually only pennies on the dollar, and they can be as good as new.
- Books. Used books are much less expensive than new ones. Check out yard sales, library sales and used book sellers online. Then when you have read them, sell or donate them yourself.