Money Basics

How to save big buying used

November 5, 2019

Getting a new pair of jeans or gadget right out of the box produces a special thrill. But that thrill can cost you. Consider buying used and see your savings add up.

Technology

Technology is expensive. Keeping up with the latest phone model can set you back hundreds – or thousands – of dollars. But buying used doesn’t mean you have to go back to the dark ages of technology. Refurbished phones from manufacturers often use the same replacement batteries, outer shell and accessories as new models. They are usually professionally inspected by either the manufacturer or a certified reseller.

A used phone is usually sold as-is. While you can score great deals with used phones, they also carry added risk. Make sure you trust the seller and be diligent when you’re shopping. Look for damage that may not show up in online photos. Ask the seller about past damage, any repairs and changes that may void the manufacturer warranties.

Furniture

Between online, rummage sales and thrift stores, there are lots of ways to find good pieces at great prices.

Thrift and used stores get inventory daily so it’s worth checking back often to see what new furniture has arrived. Look for sturdy pieces made from solid wood and little to no fabric damage. Remember that you can also modify – new upholstery or a fresh coat of paint can transform a thrift-store find into a truly one-of-a-kind showpiece for your home.

Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are good resources for buying locally directly from sellers. Search for name brands or by the type of piece you’re looking for. It may take longer to search through all the items for sale, but you can find great deals with a little investment of time. Make sure to practice smart online buying: 

  1. Use a secure form of payment, like a credit card.
  2. Be alert for scams.
  3. Check out the profile of the seller.
  4. Meet the seller in a public place.

Clothing

More people are buying their clothing second-hand and with a range of shops – thrift, resale, consignment – you can find nearly new second-hand clothing for everyone in the family. But you can fall into the same traps as you would buying new, so it’s important to shop with a budget and a goal in mind.

Inspect clothing carefully before purchase. Look for holes, stains, tears, missing buttons or other defects. If it’s more than you’re able to repair on your own, reconsider. Don’t limit yourself to physical stores either. Estate and garage sales can be excellent opportunities to buy clothes for any family member. And finally, if you don’t love it, walk away.

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