Top 10 Things You Should Never Buy New
By Maryalene LaPonsie
Some things really are better the second time around. In fact, many used items can be every bit as good as those purchased new. Plus, buying used is almost guaranteed to save you cash.
Without further ado, here's our top 10 list of things you should never buy new:
1. Cars. This had to be No. 1 on the list, right? After all, we've talked about it time and time again. The value of a new car drops like a rock as soon as you drive it off the lot.
Rather than be upside-down on your car loan five minutes after signing the paperwork, look for a quality used car that has already taken the huge depreciation hit. You can find advice on how to do that in our article on the six things to check before buying a used car.
2. Big toys such as boats, motorcycles and RVs. Actually, that advice about buying a used car can apply to any type of vehicle. With rare exception, virtually anything with an engine, from off-road vehicles to yachts, will depreciate in value over time. In most cases, you'll get more bang for your buck by purchasing used.
If you need more help, we have articles on buying a boat and which brands of motorcycle are considered most reliable.
3. Houses. Your house is another big-ticket item that it makes sense to buy used rather than new. According to a 2014 study by real estate website Trulia, a new home costs 20 percent more than an existing home with similar attributes in the same ZIP code.
Plus, older homes may have better "bones" than some new construction. That doesn't mean new construction can't be high quality, but some features that were standard in the past, such as real hardwood floors, will cost an arm and a leg to install new today.
And if you love the idea of new construction, don't forget that an existing home doesn't necessarily have to be one that's 50 years old. If you want an energy-efficient home with new amenities, you can probably find it at a lower price if you're willing to be owner No. 2 or 3.
4. Timeshares. Oh, please don't ever pay full price for a timeshare. Some people are practically giving them away because they're so desperate to get out from under the annual fees.
You can find out more by reading our story on whether timeshares are a fabulous opportunity or a financial trap.
5. Books. We could take this category one step further and say you shouldn't be buying books, period. After all, many of us live near a public library system that can meet most of our reading needs.
However, we won't go quite that extreme. I personally enjoy having a well-stocked home library, and I realize some books, such as college textbooks, have to be purchased. But that doesn't mean you have to pay full price.
Head to Half.com or the Amazon Marketplace to buy cheap used books, often as good as new. We've also got this article on building a personal library and another one specifically for college textbooks that can help you learn how to buy for less. When you're done with your books, don't forget to turn around and sell them to put some of that cash back in your pocket.
6. Movies and CDs. Many of the same places that sell used books also sell used DVDs, Blu-Rays and CDs. No need to spend money for a new disc when you can get a cheaper, used one online, at a garage sale or in the thrift shop. Of course, there's also the library where movies and music are free for the (temporary) taking.
7. Sports gear. Raise your hand if your kids have ever started a sport and quit after one season. I'm right there with you.
Instead of spending tons for new equipment, go to a specialty store like Play It Again Sports and buy used items. You can also scour garage sales, thrift stores and Craigslist for bargain finds.
Don't forget to look for fitness equipment for yourself, too. Buying new weights and kettlebells doesn't make sense if you can get used ones for a fraction of the price.
8. Musical instruments. Musical instruments are another purchase that parents make that could be money down the drain. A quick check of Craigslist shows plenty of people trying to offload old instruments. To avoid buying something overpriced or broken, consider spending a few dollars to have it appraised by a local music store. Or, better yet, but a used item directly from a shop.
Renting an instrument is another option for instruments -- and often you can rent-to-buy, so you will ultimately own the instrument if your child stays with it. However, keep in mind that renting a clarinet for three years could ending up costing you more than if you purchased a used one in the first place.
9. Jewelry. Like vehicles, jewelry typically depreciates in value, which makes it better to buy used than new. Before buying off Craigslist or from a private seller, be sure to get an appraisal, particularly if a significant amount of money is involved.
Estate jewelry from jewelers or reputable pawn shops are another way to find quality used baubles. If you want to buy online, eBay and ExboyfriendJewelry.com may be good ways to go so long as you keep your eyes open for scams and use a safe payment method (i.e. no wire transfers, people).
10. Pets. Some of you might disagree, but there really is no reason to spend lots of money on a brand new pet when plenty of pre-loved (or not so loved) animals are looking for homes. My local animal shelter and humane society regularly have free or almost-free adoption days, during which you can get dogs and cats as well as other pets from bunnies to birds. Your local shelter might offer the same.
Unless you're planning to show your pet, spending hundreds or even thousands on a purebred animal is probably not money well spent. The $50 puppy from the pound is just as likely as the $500 puppy from a breeder to smother you with wet kisses and stare at you with unbridled adoration.
That wraps up our list of stuff we think you should never buy new. What would you add to the list? Leave a comment below or head to our Facebook page to share your thoughts. And be sure to share this article with your Facebook network.
Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free!