16 things you're better off buying used

Certain things are absolutely worth buying new.

But in some cases, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars if you go with the just-as-durable secondhand version.

Here are 16 things to consider buying used.

Mandi Woodruff contributed to an earlier version of this article.



Textbooks can cost upwards of $200 for some science courses, and for a pre-medical student with a full class schedule, that could mean dropping up to a grand on reading material -- per semester.

When possible, renting, borrowing, or buying books secondhand are the simplest ways to save.

A few of our favourite sites to save on textbooks: Amazon's Book Rental, Chegg, and Half.com.

Children's clothing

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We wouldn't recommend going the used route on important items like car seats or strollers, but when it comes to children's clothing -- which they will grow out of quickly and is likely to get wrecked by smashed carrots anyway -- there's no shame in saving.

Try browsing reputable thrift shops in your neighbourhood or, of course, asking friends and family for hand-me-downs.

If all else fails, try reseller sites like Swap.com or ThredUP.

Maternity wear

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Outside the few months of pregnancy, maternity wear won't get much use, so skip the brand-new options and use the savings to buy clothes that you can wear all the time.

Look for gently used maternity clothes at reputable thrift shops, and again, ask friends and family for hand-me-downs.


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Everyone loves that 'new car' smell, but hear us out on this one.

The minute you drive a new car off the lot, its value drops by about 20%. Imagine the value lost after just five years.

You'll want to be wary of hitting the used-car lot before doing your research. Sites like Kelley Blue Book are great places to get an idea of how much a used car should cost.

Household appliances


Before you furnish your kitchen with a couple thousand dollars' worth of appliances from Sears, think about buying big-ticket items from friends and family or online.

Things like refrigerators and washing machines are plentiful on Craigslist, and smaller kitchen appliances, like blenders, mixers, and microwaves, are easiest to score.

You're in real luck if you have a pair of friends who recently moved in together. Chances are they won't want duplicate appliances cluttering their cabinets.


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New models of bicycles come out every year, which means you're likely to see older models pop up online for a fraction of the cost during the colder months.

If prices at your local bike shop aren't appealing, try Craigslist or eBay.

Before you buy online, be sure to do your due diligence. If an ad seems fishy or uses a stock image, the bike might have been stolen.


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Reseller sites like Craigslist are treasure troves for anyone looking for used furniture. And if you're not willing to put up with flaky sellers or bed-bug threats, don't be afraid to ask family and friends to see if they're looking to get rid of any furniture.

Check out FleaPortal and Collectors.org for a list of different indoor and outdoor flea markets in the US, too.

Thrift shops like Goodwill and the Salvation Army both offer furniture, but be sure to call in advance. Not all shops carry larger items like bed frames and dressers.

Toys for your tots

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Do your budget a favour and skip Toys 'R' Us for these more affordable used-goods options: Craigslist, eBay, Swap.com, or neighbourhood yard sales.

Each is a gold mine when it comes to finding cheap, but still usable, cast-off toys.

Wedding attire

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Remember, no wedding guest or bridesmaid should pay full-price for a gown she'll only wear once. For what you can't rent from sites like Rent the Runway or Bag Borrow or Steal, check out consignment shops or thrift stores for gently used formal wear.

For brides-to-be on a budget, check out the virtual racks in Tradesy's wedding section to score discount gowns and accessories that no one will ever guess were used. For grooms and groomsmen, shop for a secondhand tux and use the money you saved for tailoring.

And remember, you can resell the garments you only wear once -- just be kind to them so you'll get as much of their value back as possible.


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If you're on the prowl for DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, video games, or music, there's no reason to buy them full price.

EBay, Amazon, and swap sites like Swap.com are among the best places to score deals on entertainment.

Electronics like game consoles and laptops are another story. You can certainly find excellent bargains by purchasing them secondhand online, but you likely won't be able to get a warranty with them.

The roof over your head

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It might be a good idea to look for an older home rather than browsing new developments.

Real estate site Trulia found that that new homes are typically priced about 20% higher than older homes with similar attributes, such as square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms.

You also get to enjoy the traditional features and character of an older home, as well as a more established neighborhood, if you don't buy in a new development.


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Before you head to over to Tiffany's, do your bank account a solid and consider this slightly less whimsical option: the pawn shop.

Trust us, not all those shelves are filled with broken appliances and other items of questionable origin. The fact is that jewellery -- particularly diamonds -- has a terribly low resale value.

That's great news for the clever consumer who hits up estate sales or other resellers to find new bling.

Designer threads

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Consider hosting or going to a clothing swap with your friends -- swaps are a great way to score designer gear you'd never be able to afford yourself.

If you're unimpressed by your buddies' fashion sense, there are plenty of vintage or online swap sites like Bag Borrow or Steal to quench your thirst for threads. The same sites and apps that help you earn money by selling your used clothing also sell these goods for a discounted price.

Fitness equipment

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Whether you're a fitness nut or just getting into exercise, buying brand-new equipment is unnecessary. Most gym equipment, such as dumbbells, medicine balls, and ladders, doesn't have an expiration date.

Plus, if you don't end up using the elliptical or weights as much as you'd planned, you won't feel as guilty about the purchase later on.

If you're looking to invest in big-ticket items, such as a treadmill or other exercise machines, you'll want to put in a good amount of research and scrutinize the products more. Play It Again Sports sells used equipment at various store locations, and eBay and Amazon have a variety of offerings.

Tools and gardening supplies

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Stocking up on brand-new tools isn't worth it, especially if you won't be using them consistently. Tools have a long lifespan, and chances are, the used screwdriver or hammer you find at a garage sale or on Craigslist will last you forever.

If you're looking to invest in power tools, you should be more diligent when picking out used ones. Start by visiting the websites for Sears, The Home Depot, Lowe's, or Ace Hardware to get an idea of prices and models (visit the store if you can so you can actually pick up the tools).

Then look at sites like eBay and Craigslist. Pay attention to the age and condition of the tools described when comparing prices.

Pawnshops, thrift stores, live auctions, flea markets, and garage sales are also good places to score a deal on used tools.


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If you're in the market for a new hobby or want your kids to get involved in music, don't bother dropping hundreds on a new instrument, especially if you're not sure you or your kids will continue with it after a year or two.

Check out Craigslist or eBay for some steals. There are even secondhand stores and websites that sell instruments exclusively, like Music Go Round and Guitar Center.

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