Seven things you should always buy used
Robert Powell reveals how you can save money by always buying these seven things used...
Last year we revealed ten things you should never buy new; and it proved to be a popular topic, sparking a long debate about second hand books, music and even pets! So as we lurch into a year of austerity I thought I’d look at seven more things you should always buy used.
Back when I was a guitar obsessed teen I bought a lot of my gear secondhand from music stores, local adverts or websites like eBay. Used music gear can save you hundreds of pounds but you should always make sure you check out the quality of the equipment before parting with any cash.
I always tried to buy secondhand gear locally so I could try out the equipment before buying it. Looking around your local music store for used instruments is also a good idea as if the item breaks, you’ve got more chance of getting it repaired or at least getting some tips on how to fix it.
Chances are if you’re planning on buying a brand new musical instrument you’ll want to try it out before parting with your cash anyway; so there’s no harm in also keeping an eye open for a cheaper used, version. If you’re really unsure about a piece of used equipment it might be a good idea to get a knowledgeable friend or music teacher to try it out and assess its quality before you part with any cash.
Buying cut price used musical gear is also a good idea if you or a family member wants to start learning a new instrument. After all, what starts as a lifelong commitment to a new instrument can often turn into a short lived fad fairly quickly!
And to find out how to get hold of recorded music easily and cheaply read 10 ways to legally download free music.
Car boot sales are a gold mine for hammers, saws, paint brushes and a whole host of other DIY equipment. There’s not much more to a hammer or paintbrush than meets the eye so as long it still feels sturdy and doesn’t look too battered you should be fine with secondhand household tools.
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Again, if you’re after larger tools, furniture or even electrical gear then pages such as Freegle, Freecycle and Snaffle Up could help. These community sites are split into regions and allow people to find new homes for unwanted items – and the great thing is, it’s completely free! All you’ll usually have to do is pick the item up.
Similarly you can often pick up gardening materials such as mulch, wood chippings and concrete hardcore very cheaply secondhand. If it’s only going on your garden then there’s no harm if it belonged to someone else before you. As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
As we reported in Ditch the gym and get fit for free!, there are cheaper ways to exercise than taking out a gym membership. And likewise, there are cheaper ways to get your hands on your own exercise gear than buying it new. After all, if it knocks off those extra Christmas pounds who cares if its been used before!
As well as the usual suspects (Freegle, Freecycle and Snaffle Up), or you could check eBay as well as your local papers. If a fitness DVD is what you’re after then head to SwapShop or Swapz where you can swap a DVD you no longer want for an exercise disc.
What’s more, February may be the perfect time to get hold of some used exercise gear as many of the people who bought bikes and rowing machines in an attempt to get fit in 2011 have probably given up on their resolution by now!
It amazes me how much the latest Playstation and X-Box games cost nowadays! But if you’re prepared to wait a month or two for the gaming nerds to beat the final boss and trade the game in – you could pick up a bargain. Just make sure youcheck the disc for scratches and cracks before parting with your cash.
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Most high street game stores will have a used section; I always used to mooch around Blockbuster Video looking out for ex-rental games for my PS1! eBay is a good shout again if you’re heading online for your used games, as is Gamestation and Tenner a Game.
Why oh why, is the apparent default Christmas or birthday present setting for many people either a dish or a candle? I shouldn’t be so ungrateful, as this does mean that if you are ever in need of either a dish or a candle, there’s always plenty knocking around car boot sales and charity shops!
As long as they look in one piece with no cracks or chips, a dish is a dish as far as I’m concerned! And who knows, you could even find yourself unwittingly picking up an antique!
When my colleague Donna Ferguson mentioned in our last second hand items article that you should never buy books new, it sparked a bit of an argument between authors and readers in the comments section.
Personally I have nothing against buying books second hand but I do still enjoy a good wander around a book store when searching for something new to read.
But when it comes to weighty and expensive academics text books for courses, I’d fully encourage everyone to buy second hand. Most universities will hold a book sale towards the start of the year where you can pick up second hand books for your course. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for adverts near to where your course is taking place offering used books from previous students for bargain prices.
Read Where to get free books for some more advice.
What do you always and never buy used?
Let us know in the comment box below.