Don’t Buy New Anymore

by Tim Fulton on December 22, 2008

This is one of the hardest tips for most people to follow. There are several reasons to buy new, including mainly the quality, security, and image associated with it. However, not all of these are good reasons. I was inspired by this post to give my own thoughts on buying used instead of new in certain situations.

Trustworthy Products

A few months ago I decided to purchase an iPod Touch. This was just before the new generation was released with the lower base price of $229, so my decision was between a new 8gb unit for ~$300 or a used one for considerably less.

Now, I decided to buy used. This decision not only saved me $140, but it prevented the production of a whole new iPod with the associated packaging, cords, and other junk. Why did I feel comfortable with buying used? Because I trust Apple’s products and the iPod Touch had a fairly good reputation, I knew that even second hand the iPod would be trustworthy.

Here’s how I go about ensuring a good purchase:
Ebay: First, I check closed ebay auctions to see what the prices were like for both used and refurbished product prices. Usually, if refurbished is only a little bit more I’ll buy that for the warranty but usually you can still save quite a bit by going plain old used, especially if your product has been on the market for a while.
Craigslist: Next, I search for the same thing on Craigslist. If it’s popular it will usually turn up a few results, and there’s always the chance that a good deal will turn up. Because ebay auctions generally have multiple watchers the prices tend to average out, but Craigslist gives you the option of being the first to jump on deals. Plus, you can see your purchase in real life.
Amazon: Amazon has become a great place to buy used products in the last few years. Amazon fees are cheaper than ebay so oftentimes very similar products are cheaper on Amazon. For example, DSLR camera stuff almost always seems to be cheaper on Amazon.

Not So Trustworthy Products

When I buy offbrand I tend to buy new to take advantage of warrantees and guarantees from the stores I have bought from. However, buying used from someone you trust can make you sure that the product actually works before you buy it. Surprisingly, knowing that someone has had something for a year and has been satisfied with it can sometimes make you feel better about going offbrand.

Clothes and Such

As I’ve gotten older and can not longer count on my mother to buy all my clothes, I’ve had to take a long, hard look at the way I acquire new clothes. This has been one of the main ways I’ve seen to cut down on buying new. Clothes are one of the many things that you will always have to buy more of over the course of your life, so it only makes sense to try to reduce the impact of those purchases.

However, instead of spending $100 on designer organic blue jeans, you can head to the local thrift store and spend $5 on a pair of old jeans that are likely perfectly good. Not only will you be reusing old stuff, but you’ll be helping the charity that benefits from the thrift store and saving money.


1 John December 30, 2008 at 3:26 pm

It works, my wife has safe us thousands of dollars with her “treasure finds” at Goodwill and other stores. Though I wish people would understand there is many ways to purchase used or recycle used that aren’t apparent. My biggest example is my 84 GM Suburban which rather then going to the junk yard got a rebuilt motor and a rebuilt overdrive transmission (way better then the old 3 speed). Just think of the energy, resources and pollution saved by not buying a Prius. Before you scoff do the math and read a little on what it takes to built that wonder car, it’s not that green. Still I wonder if it is worth it, I have to take a lot of crap from the Humboldt crowd.

2 Uncle B January 22, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Hopefully, the Chinese, (whom GM, by the way, have taught to build Buick LeSabers and a Cavalier-like clone in Shanghai – yes darling, for 85 cents an hour – the neo-con bastards!) whom are not totally profit motivated, and still slightly commie will send Americans a survival car, eco-box for the duration of the (GRD) great republican depression, that is not laced with the planned obsolescence and model change hype the Americans cars have! May its many parts be interchangeable and re-buildable! We must stop this 18th century British “Front Lawn” bullshit, and grow fantastic veggie gardens in their places! Soon, as the food chain corporations (foreign financed by the way) start to bankrupt, we will have great hoards of urbanites, layed-off, and no stores to get food at for them anyway! Big Trouble! Better get that lawn ripped up and something edible growing their fast, this could happen suddenly and with domino effect! Shanty- towns, all warm and cozy, are being built from the remains of the McMansions, all along the edges of small towns, and scavengers run city streets and dumps at night collecting anything supporting survival in the new underground, fringe societies economy. Good cloned German beer home brew is for sale, if you know who to see, fresh, humanured to be sure, but fresh, (washed) veggies are often cheaper than supermarket stuff, and the stolen goods market rages ahead as always, fueled on by shortages of work and cash! The Van is King in this new economy, and transports all things, legal or otherwise, using chip-oil for fuel. The new currency is “swap” or dope, grass being a favorite, and it grows everywhere you don’t expect! Used clothes are the mark of the true survivor, they don’t show opulence that closes the market to some, and bestow a trust often only given to close friends, like a uniform once did! America is changing, the GRD runs on, the greedy neo-cons started it. The common folk will finish it, tax free, and without a shot!

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