Brand Spankin Used
While driving down the road the other day, I was behind a car that had a license plate frame that said “Brand Spankin Used from [Name of Dealership]”. I thought it was great little saying. I am a huge advocate of buying “Brand Spankin used”. The main reason is to save money.
Here are just a few things I like to buy “brand spankin used”:
- Cars – In my opinion, paying the price for a new car when you can buy something just a few years old for a much lower cost is just crazy. My last 3 cars have been used and I doubt seriously I will ever buy new again. Buying a used vehicle is a great way to save money and the environment.
- Homes – While I love having a brand new home, purchasing a used home is often a much better value, especially if it’s a fixer upper. Used homes have established yards, trees and often have all of the “new home” kinks worked out. The home we just placed a contract on is 4 years old and looks brand new. The best part? The previous owners did most of the work already for us and we can move in right away.
- Campers/RVs – Campers and RVs have a devastatingly high depreciation value. A camper or RV will typically be worth have of what you paid for it in 5 years and sometimes even less. I’ve purchased 2 brand new travel trailers and lost my shirt both times. No more. If we ever get into the financial situation where we can afford one again, we’ll definitely be buying used. I’d much rather let someone else take that depreciation hit.
- Electronics – Most all of the electronics we’ve purchased over the past few years have been refurbished. We’ve bought MP3 players, cell phones, a DVD player, and a few other miscellaneous items. All refurbished. While technically, refurbished products aren’t “used” they are close enough. Refurbished basically gives you a like new product for a much lower price. Generally the warranties aren’t as good, but I’m okay with that considering the price savings. Woot.com is a great source for finding low priced refurbished products. I check them out daily. You can also find some great deals on used electronics out on eBay.
- Musical instruments – Many people purchase new musical instruments only to find out it’s far more difficult than they thought or they just lose interest. For those of us that do like to play, this can be a great opportunity. I play Banjo, and a good Gibson Banjo can run $3,000 or more. But if you look around and are careful, you can get one almost new for around $1,500 – $2,000 instead! Now, I haven’t bought a Gibson yet (although I’d love to), I have purchased used and less expensive Banjos. Don’t forget though, with musical instruments you really do get what you pay for.
Here are a few things I won’t buy used:
- Clothes – I know, buying closed used can be a huge cost savings, but I just can’t do it. I have “issues” wearing clothes that were worn by someone else. I know it’s weird, but it’s just one of those things with me. I don’t like sitting in warm chairs that someone has just gotten up out of either…
- Furniture – While this isn’t always the case, I won’t buy or use used furniture. The only caveat is unless I know where it came from. See, I am highly allergic to animals with fur. Since I can’t always be certain if used furniture has been exposed to animals and animal hair, I just can’t take the risk. If I know for certain it never has, than I am fine with it.
- Mattresses – I know some of you may disagree with me on this, but used mattresses are just gross!
- Car Seats – Don’t ever purchase a used car seat. You never know if the seat has been in a wreck or damaged in some other way. Just spend the extra money, the safety of you child is worth it.
- Personal Items – Hopefully this requires no explanation.
Do your homework when buying used
When purchasing used or refurbished products, make sure you do your homework. Buying something that was previously owned by someone brings with it some risk. Cars may look great, but after a few weeks may begin showing problems…sometimes expensive ones. RVs may look and work great, but leak like a faucet during that first rainstorm. You might find your musical instruments look new and play great but won’t stay tuned due to a bent neck, faulty valve, etc.
When buying used, make sure you ask lots of questions and do lots of research about the product. For cars, services like Carfax can really save you from buying a lemon. Don’t know a great deal about the item you are wanting to purchase used? Ask your friends. Often you’ll find people that you know or work with that will be able to help you. For example, I know a great deal about RVs and campers and recently helped a friend decide on a used camper to purchase. I also know a lot about cars and have helped a few friends out in the past on selecting used cards and even went with them to look.
While it might seem like too much trouble, remember if you get a used product that was well taken care of and in good shape, it can serve you well for a long time and save you a tremendous amount of money upfront. I recently purchased a 2000 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer 4×4 with 105,000 miles on it. It runs GREAT and the only problem I’ve found with it is that the CD changer doesn’t work. Hey, I got it for $5,500 so you won’t hear me complain! I fully expect the Expedition to last me for at least another 100,000 miles and hopefully even more! I also sold my 130,000 mile Nissan Sentra over the weekend as well, so others are buying “brand spankin used” as well.
Do you buy used? What kinds of things will you or won’t you buy used? Add a comment!
This article is part of an ongoing series called Money Saving Monday. Each Monday, I share tips and techniques you can use to start saving money.
Photo by: drewzhrodague