New vs. Used

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Few of us want to waste our hard-earned dollars, but sometimes in the process of trying to save, we end up doing exactly that. Being the second owner of an item can mean that someone else has already taken on the financial burden of depreciation; whereas other times  the financial or safety risks of buying something used outweighs the savings. Here with tips on what to buy new versus used is Consumer savings expert Regina Novickis from explains.


  • Car Seats – A car seat that’s been in one accident may not protect your child in another. When you’re purchasing one used, there are no guarantees that the seat hasn’t been damaged. And brand new seats can often be purchased for as little as $50. Add to that the value of safety technology improvements that are made each year. The one exception to this is if you’re getting the car seat from a trusted friend, but in that case, make sure to still check with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make sure the model you’re getting hasn’t been recalled.
  • Vacuum Cleaners – A vacuum cleaner is prone to abuse, and a will cost you more to fix than if you’d simply bought new. For additional savings, look for codes on sites like for 20% off Hoover and Dirt Devil.
  • DVD Players – As is the case with vacuum cleaners, the cost to repair a DVD player will essentially cost you the same as a new unit. Prices are constantly dropping with technology is constantly improving, so buying new is a slam dunk in this case.
  • Mattresses – This may sound like a no-brainer, but there are some extra things to look out for when shopping for a mattress. Some dishonest retailers may ignore federal requirements that used mattresses be labeled as such, sometimes covering a secondhand cot with a new ticking. If you want an all-new mattress, the Federal Trade Commission recommends looking for a tag that promises “all-new materials.” Consumer Reports suggests you should spend about $800 to get a good quality queen-size mattress and box spring set. Over its life span of eight to ten years, that works out to about 25 cents per night – a small price to pay for cleanliness and comfort. 


  • Books – Most books don’t get read more than once, and are available at steep discounts, if not for free. Unless it’s something that you plan to keep in your library forever (and read more than once), books can be found at yard sales, thrift stores; or you can access your public library system. Organizing a book swap with friends is also a great way to make sure your previous purchases get additional use.
  • DVDs and CDs- Used DVDs and CDs can often be found at steep discounts at online retailers like or on eBay. Other places to look for similar deals is at movie rental chains, used record stores and yard sales. The quality of these items tends to remain high, unless they have scratches (which are typically easily spotted).
  • Sports Equipment – Many people buy sports equipment with the best intentions, only to find the items gathering dust in their garage or closets. Find high-quality used equipment through yard sales, used equipment sales at major retailers, or online. The only exceptions are items such as baseball mitts or shoes that mold to another person’s body.