Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What to Buy Used and What to Buy New

 [Image Credit: Junk Science]

Yahoo syndicate Wisebread released two articles that pertain to hardcore thrifters in particular. 20 Things You Should Never Buy Used and 21 Things You Should Never Buy New. This is what the writers at Wisebread think, but what's your input? Where do you draw the line when it comes to buying used items? Below are some of the things listed by Wisebread.

Things to Buy Used

DVDs, CDs, & Video Games-Check the backs to make sure they're not scratched. If there's only slight scratching and it's cheap, try it anyway. As Wisebread points out there are ways to remove scratches.

Books- Used book stores and online sellers offer books for much lower prices than retail. Don't forget the library! (No price is better than free)

Special Occasion, Holiday, Maternity, and Baby Clothing- If you're only going to wear it once or twice, why buy it new? Yard Sales have baby/maternity in abundance.

Jewelry- Jewelry has too low of a resale value to buy it new. But this also means you can reap huge savings by checking out estate sales and pawn shops for good deals and unique jewelry treasure.

Games and Toys: I loved my thrift store toys as a kid and yours should, too! (I still have some of them...)

Home Accent: Hunting at yard sales, thrift stores, and antique stores is way funner than searching the retail aisles for bland, ubiquitous home decor.

Craft Supplies: I run into craft supplies at thrift stores constantly, just keep looking. You might want to invest in good fabric scissors and hard-to-find unique supplies but the rest is easily found thrifting.

Office Furniture: It's easy to  find lots of great office furniture deals. Good office furniture is built to last and there's a lot of it out there for the taking!

Hand Tools & Garden Supplies:  These are fairly easy to find at neighborhood yard or garage sales. If you're lucky enough to have nice neighbors with tools, borrow from them for a certain project them return them.

Things You Should NEVER Buy Used

Cribs and Children’s furniture: That's what they say, but I can't think of anyone in my circle of family and friends that bought a new crib. They usually thrift for them or inherit them. Cribs are so expensive new. Wisebread says used kid's and baby's furniture is a safety hazard.

Car seats: Safety first, says Wisebread. I can see eye-to-eye on them with this one...

Bicycle helmets: Again, a used helmet is a safety hazard.

Tires: You don't save much and the safety risks outweigh the savings.

Laptops: I know plenty of people who buy used laptops with no issues or complaints, but sometimes they do take lots of abuse.

DVD players: I don't agree here. I've never had problems with my used DVD player and nor has some of my friends with hand-me-down or used ones.

Digital and video cameras: I think you can buy used ones that will work fine, but I can see the wisdom in a virgin camera. My DSLR has taken some damage, it's inevitable when you always carry them around...

Camera lenses: Some say even the tiniest damage to the lens can effect picture quality. I think used ones can work fine, especially if you replace lenses often anyway. 

Mattresses and bedding: Wisebread says used ones are full of mold, mites, bacteria and bodily fluids but I sleep on my hand-me-down queen size mattress just fine...

Shoes: I've bought new and barely-worn shoes second hand that lasted for years (some still had the tags on them). Wisebread says they're gross but I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

Hats: I've personally never bought used hats but Wisebread says it's extremely icky. I say just toss them in the washing machine with the rest of the thrifted clothes and they'll be fine.
[My desk area, full of used fun. Two "new" things are two paintings by local artists]

Where do you draw the line with second hand items? I'm personally surprised they didn't list dinnerware, pots, and pans as things to buy used- they're so much cheaper than retail second-hand and you can find them in abundance.  

This post is linked to: Welcome Wednesday / Works for Me Wednesdays / Creative Therapy Session / Show and Tell / Penny Pinching Party / We Did it Wednesdays / Make it Yours Day / Whatever Goes Wednesday / Room to Inspire/ Women Who do it All / Hoo's Got Talent / We Can Do it Cheaper / Transformation Thursdays


  1. Great tips! I never buy used mattresses, couches, or upholstered chairs (unless I plan on ripping out the upholstery and re-doing it). Nor would I buy used linens or shoes or underwear....or hats. It's just an ick factor for me. I buy used dishes (but not silverware), used home decor, used clothes, used jewelry, and used furniture.

  2. Love the tips. One thing that might change on the list is Video Games, though...if you are buying them to play online (or let your child play online) it might be worth it to buy the new game. Starting next year, I think, used games will be unplayable online unless you pay $10 to unlock it. So, if you're looking at a brand new, just released game, that costs around $60, and a used would cost around $40-50, but you or your child wants to play get my drift.

    Since I just moved out of my parents' house a year ago, almost everything I have is hand-me-downs. However, we bought our plates and bowls at a thrift store (very nice Corelware, I might add!) and got our dining room table and chairs from someone trying to get rid of them.

    Cheap Geeks Anonymous

  3. Good point on the used games. I was thinking along the lines of counsel games which are in abundance used for a huge discount. I still need me some Animal Crossing Wild World. And a Wii. And Resident Evil 5...sigh... :)

  4. I think it is a good list, some of it is safety/common sense, others more perspective (won't hurt you). I don't see shoes being nastier than undergarments/swimwear. And I've bought vintage pillbox hats, etc. You can get them cleaned. Dishes and silverware don't bother me either. I eat out and I don't know who had the fork before me. If you thrift you need scalding hot water. It kills lots of things.

  5. I'm afraid that I disagree with most of the do-not-buy as well as the scratched CDs. While a CD scratch can't be made unscratched, you can buffer them out on a machine. Call your local indie music store and ask who has the best CD cleaning machine in town. 90% of my shoes are thrifted. I guess the only think I don't buy used is underwear. I'll buy nice quality socks even. I do buy used helmets. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know if it's missing pieces or have been in an accident. I'll even by thrifted food that is sealed. I think with some of these items it has to do with price. I took a free digital camera once that was supposed to be broken. I moved a switch and it started working perfectly.

    I think a lot of these things depend on your upbringing. I grew up on 40 acres climbing trees and playing in the mud. If you grew up thinking germs were going to kill you and make you sick, it might change your views on thrifting.

  6. This is what I never understood. It's ok to buy a used couch, a lot of us do it. But a bed is icky. People do realize we do everything if not more on a couch. If its on a bed it will be on a couch and probably triple so....But then I'll buy a used swimsuit. I can wash it and I work in a used clothing store I KNOW what gets left behind in pants! It can't be any worse on a swimsuit. Shoe's, seriously?! If you walk around barefoot ever you'll be introduced to whatever is in a pair of used shoe's. Underwear, that should be the number one thing not to buy. Cribs you can look them up and see if they have been recalled. Typically they have not. Car seat, BUY NEW!

  7. I love that I'm not the only one who would consider buying ANYTHING used save for panties. We're constantly surrounded by germs, even in what people consider crisp and pristine department stores. Wash everything you bring home (thrifted or otherwise) and you should be fine. We need exposure to germs to raise our immunities, in any case...

  8. I completely agree that MOST things can be bought used. I'm obsessed with thrift stores and try to buy almost everything there. Shoes can be iffy...I will buy them if they look pretty new and I'll give them a good cleaning first. Electronics and things like that are a little more difficult because you don't always know if they work and you would lose your money if they break. If it's something electric, I always find a plug in the store to make sure it works before buying it.

  9. I will not buy used undergarments or nightwear or socks. I don't buy used sheets for my bed. I have bought some great old 100% cotton white sheets to use to protect some quilts from touching wood during storage. I buy used books, CDs, wood furniture, dishes, pots, glassware, etc.

  10. I have a problem with used shoes, not the ick factor, I grew up on a farm.. ick is part of my life. Its the someone else broke them in and i have WEIRD WEIRD feet and i HATE blisters. The mattress thing is kindof the same thing but i got my mattresses from family guest rooms when they no longer had room for a queen sized bed, so im not complaining :-)

  11. I buy used shoes all the time! I have found some REALLY nice shoes for work, that I'd never be able to afford otherwise.

    I won't buy a used mattress, but that's because of my back.

    My mom will buy pretty much anything used. :)

  12. Thanks for commenting on my blog. Glad to find you in this huge universe of ours.
    I love to thrift, but I get so lazy and mostly impatient. When I do find that perfect thing thrifting, I'm almost always more satisfied with the purchase.

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  14. I think that with some of the things on the "don't buy used" list, it depends on the condition and/or on the price. If a digital camera is going for $5, is it really a big risk that it might not work? On the other hand, if it's $100, that's a bigger question mark.

    Or with condition...many "used" shoes are practically like new - somebody wore them once or twice, decided they didn't fit right, weren't needed, etc., and passed them on. Why pass these up in order to pay retail?! But, on the other hand, some shoes are totally broken in. I think most of us are intelligent enough to figure out the difference.

    Baby equipment: if you know what safety factors you're looking for, things like cribs are really a non-issue. The only one you really can't be confident of is a car seat. (And I guess bicycle helmets probably fall in this category, too, but, really, how do we know whether the helmets we or our children have been using - bought new - are still sound? I find myself less concerned about that one, too, since we don't race, ride on major roadways, etc.)

  15. About the only thing I won't buy used is a mattress and underware. As for shoes, do you know how many people try on your "new" shoes in a store before you. Pop some foot powder in them and let them sit in the sun on a hot day. Although I am probably going to buy a new car seat for my future grandchild, I would thrift everything else. Sheets, socks, hats...all can be washed. I just bought two vert dirty REI rolling duffel bags for a total of $5.00. A wash with detergent and a dry in the sun for two days and they are perfect.

  16. What are the things to analyzed while buying a new used laptop?

  17. Great article, it is very informative and I got a lot of ideas on how to buy a secondhand shoes. I found a website that have the criteria of what type of secondhand shoes I will buy here: website: and I have a now the choose that I've ordered. You can also visit that site if you want to choose your own.


I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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