Brand Spankin Used

By glblguy

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


17 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Brand Spankin Used”

  1. Kristen Says:

    I totally agree with your list of things that you won’t buy used. I don’t think it’s weird at all. I would buy used furniture if it was a hard item like a table or a wooden chair, but nothing with cushions. I’m a bit of a germaphobe, and I just can’t do it.

  2. Denise Says:

    When you try on clothes in a store, have you ever thought about how many people have tried them on before you? A wash gets rid of all the germs. I think that most clothes, on the rack , are used if others have tried them on.

  3. jim of Blueprint for Financial Prosperity Says:

    Brand spanking used is the way to go, the premium you pay on new simply doesn’t make sense for a lot of things (like… everything you listed!).

    One thing to add to that list of things that make sense used are power tools. Even if you get a refurb, used power tools can result in significant savings.

  4. Kacie Says:

    Great ideas! I buy a mix of new and used, depending on the item. Regarding clothes, sometimes you can find clothes with their original tags on them at second-hand stores.

    The first commenter mentioned that she wouldn’t buy used furniture if it had cushions or something like that. I tend to agree. If it’s used, I want to be able to sterilize it unless it came from like, my grandma’s house or something where I already knew it was clean.

  5. Dan Says:

    Buy baby and small kids clothing used from garage sales. Why?

    1) It’s really easy to tell the good stuff that has been worn once or twice from the old, frayed stuff.
    2) Wash all the quality clothes you buy and NO ONE can tell the difference, even you.
    3) Baby and small kids clothes are ridiculously expensive considering how little they get worn. If you have 10 outfits for a 6 month old, the most they will wear each outfit is 9 times, usually much less if the kid hits a growth spurt. One outfit new can cost $20 easily, and even onesies can costs $5 – $10 if they are brand name. I don’t want to spend $2 a day to clothe my child, not when I can buy the same outfit for $1 and spend less than a dime a day.

    I REPEAT, you CAN find really high quality clothes hardly worn at all for a dollar or less at garage sales! You do not have to buy the shabby stuff that’s been worn a lot or was really cheap to begin with. Go to garage sales in good neighborhoods, and you’ll even find children’s clothes not even worn, with the tags still on, selling at pennies on the dollar.

  6. Roshawn from Watson Inc Says:

    I completely agree with your list of items that you would purchase new. I generally think of myself as pretty flexible and frugal but would be unwilling to waiver on those items you listed.

  7. Sunbee Says:

    Be really careful with the instruments. Newer can be really poor quality and used can be quite a lot more expensive, the older/better they get. The glut of cheap lightly used mostly asian made string instruments seen on ebay–well, they’re cheap because they play poorly.
    As a musician, I’d say it’s worth your money to rent an instrument for a while until you’re sure you’ll continue and have found a teacher you trust to inspect the instrument you’ll buy. I can’t make a cello, but I know how to check one out.

  8. SingleGuyMoney Says:

    LOL @ “the warm chair”. I hate that too!

  9. education faculty jobs Says:

    Good list, I am taking your advice on the car route right now. One I love under electronics is Laptops, the one I am using now for example. Its a couple years old and I got it for $200. It probably went for $700 new, that is a crazy drop in value.

  10. No Debt Plan Says:

    Ugh, I can’t imagine buying a mattress from someone. Beware of bed bugs!

  11. neimanmarxist Says:

    matresses! ew! and i’m with you on the clothes. i feel guilty about buying them new but the used ones just give me the willies. i don’t care if they were only worn once.

  12. mikheil Says:

    I understand your feelings about used mattresses. Who knows who’s been humping on that bargain on sale at the local flea market! Practicing what we preach, I feel sure you do what I do whenever I check into a hotel: absolutely insist that management install a brand new, guaranteed-never-used mattress in my room. Who do these guys think they are, expecting guests to fork over $500 a night or more for second-hand springs? No way, Jose!

  13. glblguy Says:

    @mikheil – The only time I stay in hotels is when I travel on business which is just a couple of times a year if that. When we travel, we camp. We camp because it’s less expensive and so that we sleep in our own sheets, pillows and dirt.

    I’d also argue that sleeping in a hotel for a couple of nights is way different than sleeping on a used mattress every night. But hey, to each their own.

  14. graco pack n play playard Says:

    Lil children are so precious and only should be taken care of in that way! Your blog has allowed me to think up some interesting ideas, so thank you and please keep it going!

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