Let’s face it, most of us are bargain hunters. We clip coupons, shop at outlets, can’t resist a sale, and more. But many times we don’t think twice before we spend top dollar on brand new items when actually it’s not necessary. Consider buying used on these items listed below — not only will it save you money, but it’s more efficient, and eliminates needless waste. Your wallet will thank you!
10 Things You Should Never Buy New
- Picture frames, mirrors, and artwork. Don’t overlook that outdated oak frame at your local thrift or consignment store. With a can of spray paint, you can modernize picture frames, and framed mirrors. Unframed canvas paintings have timeless appeal. The clean lines make canvas artwork a popular decorating choice for offices and homes. Local groups on Facebook make shopping for picture frames, mirrors, and artwork affordable.
- Baskets. Most thrift stores have an abundance of woven and wire baskets in all shapes and sizes. Baskets are especially handy for organizing household items on shelves. Use deep baskets to attractively house potted plants, or as waste paper baskets in the bathroom or home office. Instead of using wrapping paper, fill reusable decorative baskets with fresh baked goods, seasonal fruit, or gift items. Getting ready for vacation? Fill a basket with a paperback novel, sunglasses, beach blanket, and carry to your destination. Take your own basket when shopping. Use decorative baskets to store wood, laundry, or winter gear.
- Books. Unless you’re attending the book signing of a favorite author or friend, you can save loads of money by purchasing used books. Everyone knows how expensive textbooks are at college book stores. BookFinder.com makes it easy to find the textbook you’re looking for at the best price. Just key in the book title or ISBN, and it’ll give you various sellers and prices. If you read novels, nonfiction, or collect cookbooks, you can find like-new copies on Amazon.com. Thrift store shelves are packed with cheap reads in every genre, including books by popular novelists. You can also read fiction for free. Checking books out at the library costs nothing. You can also purchase digital versions of many books, including the Farmers’ Almanac!
- Glassware, kitchenware. Thrift stores and yard sales are great places to replenish, or pick up extra glass, ceramic, and stainless steel kitchenware: pie dishes, drinking glasses, casserole pans, measuring cups, pitchers, mixing bowls, etc. at a fraction of the cost.
- Flower pots, urns, vases. If you can’t resist household plants that are marked down at the local garden center, you’ll need a container in which to display them. Dollar stores, thrift shops, and yard sales are great places to shop for attractive containers for live plants, and floral arrangements.
- Furniture. Craigslist is a popular site for buying used desks, file cabinets, bed frames, headboards, tables, patio furniture and more. Or check out Facebook’s Market Place, which is easy to use. From your smartphone, you can view items for sale within a 40-mile radius or more from your location. You set the perimeters. When looking for a specific item, scroll through the items on Marketplace once or twice daily, as the best deals get swooped up quickly. A word of caution: Avoid upholstered furniture, headboards, and mattresses, which can carry bedbugs.
- Hand tools. Estate sales are one of the best places to buy used hand tools, like hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, and tool boxes. Auctions held at the estate site can be affordable ways to acquire tools that have been well cared for. Facebook’s Marketplace is another good source to search for the items you need. You might even stumble upon some well-made vintage tools — a real find!
- Sporting and fitness equipment. Treadmills, weights, and other fitness machines are often donated to thrift stores when the owners are unable to sell them. Archery equipment, tree stands, fishing poles, and other hobby and sporting goods are also available at bargain prices via Craigslist and Facebook’s Marketplace.
- Maternity, baby clothing. Clothing that is worn for a specific event, such as to a wedding or prom, is usually in mint condition afterward, and can often be found for sale at less than half the original price. Used baby and maternity clothes are worn for shorter durations than regular clothing and are garments that usually don’t see a lot of wear and tear. Wearing gently-used clothing instead of new, makes sense when you consider that you’ll also only be using it for a short time.
- Cars. Any good financial advisor will tell you to never buy a new car. A new car depreciates the most in its first year. When you drive a new car off the dealer’s lot, it depreciates in value by up to 11 percent. Edmunds.com shares these car buying tips, “By the time a car is 1 year old, it has lost nearly one-third of its value. That’s bad for the new-car buyer, but a real savings opportunity for the next buyer. From the second to the fifth years of a car’s life, it loses less than it did in the first year’s depreciation drop. When buying a car that’s one or two years old, you avoid the biggest depreciation.”
Did we leave anything off the list?
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.