Being the frugal girl that I am, I love to score a deal on used items whenever possible. But even a money saver like me recognizes that new goods have their place. Here are six things that are a better bargain when you buy them brand new.
Credit Image: Fortyseven on Flickr
I'm not one to be easily squicked out by used clothing, but undergarments are another story. Unless you can get past the idea of wearing someone else's underwear, and you're really, really, really desperate to save money (there are lot of other things you can do before resorting to used undies!), you should probably stick to new.
Plus, underwear are full of elastic, which doesn't hold up particularly well, so new drawers will probably be a wiser choice. Because bras are elasticized, they're also a better deal brand new.
2. Car Seats
Unless you're getting a second-hand car seat from someone you know and trust, it's better to fork over the money for a new one. Accidents can cause invisible damage to car seats, and this is an area where I'd rather be safe than sorry.
If you do decide to get a used seat, make sure you check the seat to see when it expires. At a certain point, a car seat (even if it looks fine) will no longer function properly, and the straps may not hold in a crash. If the seat has no expiration date, it's probably way too old to be safe.
3. Bike Helmets
Like car seats, these are not safe to buy used unless you can verify that they haven't been damaged in a crash. The hard plastic casing on the outside of a helmet may be hiding compromised foam inside, so if you're not sure of the helmet's history, buy a new one. New helmets aren't expensive and could be worth every penny in an accident.
My husband is the computer guru in our house, and he tells me that used laptops aren't a good bargain because it's hard to tell what abuse a laptop has gone through (laptops obviously receive more wear and tear than desktops) and because most used laptops don't have warranties (if you buy a refurbished one, though, you should be able to get a warranty).
5. Outdated Electronics
The world of electronics moves fast, and if you buy something that's even a few years old, it may be impossible to repair it or buy replacement parts. Even if replacement parts are available, their cost may be more than the electronic item is worth (a new printhead for my last printer cost more than a brand new printer!). Unless you're getting a screaming deal that makes your purchase almost risk-free, it's usually more wise to stick with newer electronics.
Mattresses are difficult to clean and they're not built to last for decades. If you don't know where the mattress has been or how much wear it's had, you'll probably be better off and more comfortable if you buy a new mattress.
What do you think? Would you add something else to my list?
Kristen writes about cheerfully living on less at The Frugal Girl. She's a photography and baking nut, and a happy wife (of one) and mom (of four).
More from living