5 On Your Side

Good as new: Save by buying these things used

Posted March 18, 2009 4:47 p.m. EDT
Updated September 24, 2009 10:54 a.m. EDT

There are many options for buying used items. Yard sales and used clothing stores are two popular choices for consumers looking to save.



Five on Your Side did the research on secondhand shopping and found 10 things it's best to buy "new to you."

Cars: Experts at Edmunds Inc. estimate new cars lose 20 to 30 percent of their value after one year. A low-mileage, late model, reliable used car gets you more for your money.

Jewelry: If you know what you are looking for, try buying from a trusted pawn shop or an estate or yard sale to avoid the 100 percent markup charged at retail jewelry stores.

Clothes: Secondhand clothes are a simple way to save. Consider buying used clothes that have a short-term, specific need, such as maternity or baby clothes. Why pay full price for maternity clothes when you only wear them for a few months? Babies grow so quickly that clothes for them are often available gently used.


Label-conscious consumers can find designer clothes for a fraction of the cost at stores like Plato's Closet, which caters to teens. Kids outgrow clothes or styles so quickly that buying used can be a big money-saver.

Toys: Resale shops and yard sales are good sources for games and toys. As families age, they often sell playthings their children have outgrown.

Books: Buy used and sell them back when you finish. Better yet, use the public library.

CDs and DVDs: You can download just about any song you want and then burn it to a CD, saving the price of purchasing the whole thing. Used CDs and DVDs are available for sale in stores and online. Movies can be rented for a fraction of the cost of buying. For those you are sure you'll watch again and again, you can buy used.

Software and games: You can save about half if you wait until a program or game is slightly less than new. When a new version is released, the old version goes on sale.

Sporting equipment: Save money buying used and save guilt if your treadmill becomes a clothes rack. Buying from a store like Play It Again Sports allows you to try out equipment for a fraction of the cost.

Musical instruments: Buying used is a good way to find out if your child has a real interest in an instrument without spending a fortune.

Hand tools: Anything without moving parts can last a long time. Consider buying things like hammers, screwdrivers, rakes or shovels used.

Two things you should never buy used: car seats and bike helmets. Experts say both are only good for one crash. After that, the protection they provide is uncertain. And when you buy used, there's no way to tell what they've been through.