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Why Mine Was Cheaper

Nancy Patterson February 17, 2010 Easy Street No Comments on Why Mine Was Cheaper

I have the memory of a gold fish. My mother always used to tell me that whenever she said something to me it would go in one ear and out the other. And while this dysfunction has its benefits… girlfriend’s secrets, traumatic events, etc. …it also has its drawbacks.

The most obvious being my propensity to forget things. To combat this “problem” I make lists. I make lists for most everything. Lists of things I need to do for work, buy at the grocery store, etc. Lists, lists, lists. I make them all day long. Today I’d like to share a list that could save you thousands of dollars.

There are hundreds of purchases people over spend on every year.  Sure there are times people don’t seek out the best deal.  Though it runs deeper than that; People often tend to forget about the many perfectly good items people can buy used.   Obviously there are certain things you’d never buy used.  Toothbrushes, underwear, and contraception just to name a few…

So here is my top 10 list of things that should be bought used.

1)    A Car.

This one is probably obvious to most and the most well known. It’s been widely reported that as soon as you drive a car off the lot it loses thousands of dollars in value. That’s why it can be a good idea to buy a used car. It pains me to say this because I am the daughter of a former car manufacturer executive who is probably clenching his jaw if he’s reading this. But one thing I learned is that many used cars are former “pet” cars that people rarely used.

Another thing that people often forget is that cars don’t change much year after year.  Some cars will even keep the exact same design for up to 6 years.  So with that said cars that are a 2004 might look very similar to their 2010 brothers and sisters.

The key to buying used cars is low mileage, good maintenance, and accident free.  At the car dealership they should be able to provide you with vehicle history reports.

Here is an example of why you should buy used cars.  Can you tell me the difference between the 2 cars below?

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Well they’re both Buick Enclaves, the first one is a 2008 and the second is a 2010.  They’re virtually identical in every way, except the 2008 will cost you about $6,000 less.

2)    Buying Used Furniture.

This one inspires thoughts of ratty, old, floral-printed couches and blue laminate dresser sets that are best left in the decade they were made. That horrible image is not what I’m suggesting AT ALL. Furniture rental stores can be great for finding gently used furniture at greatly discounted prices. The furniture is not dirty, smelly or damaged.  I bought my dining room table at a local furniture rental store.  I spent about $500 less than what a brand new version of my table and chairs would have cost.   In addition to that you can find estate sales and moving sales where people unload amazing furniture at significant discounts.

3)    Baby/Child Clothing.

It’s no secret children are expensive and one area that can suck money out of your wallet the fastest is clothing. It’s so expensive to cloth children and babies because they are constantly growing. Depending on the child’s age you might be buying a child a new pair of pants every few months. One way to combat this problem is to frequent clothing stores that sell previously owned clothing.  These stores are gaining in popularity and popping up in smaller and smaller cities.

Plus much of the baby clothing you find is virtually un-used.  Just think about it, little Jimmy or Jenny are born.  After that the aunts, uncles, and grandparents start buying all sorts of clothes.  By the time the baby could even wear half of the clothes they’ve grown out of them.


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4)    Jewelry.

Now this one is not a new concept but one that I would say has been dormant. Buying previously owned jewelry is gaining popularity again because of the sharp rise in the price of gold. In 2009 the price of gold rose 23%. It takes about six to eight months for the price of gold to impact the price at which gold jewelry is sold to consumers. That means that jewelry prices are on the rise thanks to the run up in price gold experienced last year. Gold’s closest competitor platinum also recently experienced a short run up in price which will affect the prices you see at the jewelry store. Buying previously owned jewelry may not be a bad idea considering how well jewelry ages.

5)    Electronics

Ever bought a brand new laptop only to see a commercial for a newer version of it only days later? Technology is advancing so fast in this area that buying the latest and best TV, laptop, speakers, whatever is akin to throwing money away. As soon as you buy one of these items it’s virtually a dinosaur a year later. Just look at the flat screen TV craze. My husband and I bought a brand new flat screen 3 years ago and now the thing looks so bulky and thick compared to what’s on the showroom floors right now.

Buying refurbished or used electronics saves you money and the feeling of obsoleteness that typically comes when you purchase cutting edge technology from a store.   Often times that TV or computer you see in the store today can easily be bought a few months later from an electronics upgrade junky.  I like to check Ebay or craigslist for these types of deals.

6)    Books and Movies

Boy what a difference a few months time makes in the purchasing of items like books and movies. When a movie comes out on video the price typically ranges around $17-$30, but if you wait just a few short months you could see the price dip as much as 40%.  Plus your local video store will usually unload their many used copies at major discounts a month or two after release.  It’s the same with books. has a great feature that allows you to purchase used books instead of new versions of the book for a fraction of the cost. It even shows you the savings you can get if you purchase a used version.

7)    Sporting Goods

The more expensive an item the more room there is to save money when you buy it used. That philosophy can truly be seen in no better place than the sporting goods section. It’s not uncommon to save hundreds of dollars on a single item when you buy it used versus new. And knowing how often things like exercise equipment decorate corners of rooms after a few months of ownership makes buying previously owned instead of new a sound financial decision. There is even a string of stores called Play It Again Sports that has dedicated itself to selling previously owned sporting good equipment.

8)    Office Equipment

Need equipment for your new or existing business?  Well everything from fax machines, copiers, chairs, and desks can be had for a fraction of the cost.  Check out a site called for low priced used office furniture. Would you do any better at work if you had a brand new desk and lamp rather than if you had one that was 5 years old? No! Buying refurbished office equipment and used furniture saves money so you have more money to invest in your business. Having a fancy office with sleek and new furniture will not do a darn thing for your bottom line.

9)    Tools

Tools are in the same vein as exercise equipment.   People will buy power drills and skill saws dreaming up home improvement projects.  The truth is most of this stuff gets used once and sits in a garage for years.  A 2 year old electric handheld drill may have a few more scratches on its plastic handle than a brand new one but it won’t help you put up shelves any better.

I like testing out tools at the store deciding which one is best for me and then buying previously used ones online. Saves money and gets my home improvement projects done all the same.  Plus if it’s not something you’ll use often consider renting it instead.  It’s a perfect way to get the tools you need for those one off projects.

10)    Cell Phones

Now with contract incentives some people are getting new phones every few months.  If your cell phone contract isn’t up and you’re looking to upgrade your phone try finding a used one. If you buy a refurbished cell phone you can keep out of a contract and still get the cool phone you wanted. Look for refurbished cell phones on websites like Ebay, Amazon and other similar sites.

As you can see there are plenty of great ways to save money buying used items.  Just a handful of these purchases can easily save you hundred if not thousands of dollars. The idea is to save money where you can.

Each week I will give you new ways to save money in everyday tasks. Real, practical advice. I hope you benefit and enjoy the information. I also hope you act upon my advice.

Keeping Money In Your Pocket,

Nancy Patterson

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