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12 Things You Should Always Buy Used

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12 Things You Should Always Buy Used


December 30, 2016

used cars used trucks

used cars used trucks

A used car lot | SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

How far would you go to save a buck? While extreme cheapskates will go to great lengths to save money, most people agree that there are just some things you should never buy used. Secondhand baby furniture, tires, and used bicycle helmets may be cheap, but there’s also a good chance they’re not safe. Castoff mattresses and worn-in shoes may be uncomfortable and crawling with germs. Old DVD players and toasters may not work.

Turning up your nose at used mattresses or dated appliances is understandable, but an aversion to all things used could be costing you a lot of money. Budget-savvy shoppers know that sometimes buying used is the best way to score a deal. Provided that you are an educated consumer who can tell trash from treasure, settling for secondhand can be a great way to get higher-quality items for a great price. Plus, you’re doing your part for the environment by giving items a second life.

Many shoppers are realizing how much they can save when they buy used. The resale industry generates $17 billion in revenue annually, according to NARTS: The Association of Resale Professionals. Overall, between 16% and 18% of Americans will shop in the thrift store at some point during the year, just below the 21% who will shop at department stores. And gone are the days when bargain hunters were forced to hunt through crowded, disorganized racks of clothes or search for decent items on cluttered shelves. Many of the nation’s 25,000 charity and consignment shops are virtually indistinguishable from stores selling new items, according to NARTS. Plus, sites like eBay, Craiglist, and Etsy make it easy to track down used and vintage items from the comfort of your own home.

If you’re new to thrift store bargain hunting, it helps to know what items to throw in your cart and which to leave on store shelves. Here are 12 items that are worth it to buy used.

1. Tools

shopping for tools

shopping for tools

A man shops for tools at a a Home Depot store | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

High-quality tools are designed to last a long time, which means you can score a great deal by buying used, if you know what you’re looking for. Steer clear of low-end store brands, advises the DIY Network, and instead focus your search on higher-end products designed to stand the test of time. When buying hand tools, look for signs of rust or other damage, but don’t be put off by a little dirt. If you’re in the market for used power tools or larger equipment, be sure to test before you buy, says Popular Mechanics, and always inspect power cords and moving parts.

2. Pets

kitten

kitten

A kitten | MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

More than 7.6 million animals end up in shelters every year, according the ASPCA, and of those 41% of cats and 31% of dogs are eventually euthanized. If you’re ready to add a pet to your family, adopting an animal from a shelter rather than buying one from a pet store or unscrupulous breeder not only saves an animal’s life, but it is typically more affordable.

3. Fitness equipment

close up of a a runner on a treadmill

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