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4 things you should buy second hand (and 4 things to always buy new)

Posted  November 14, 2017

Buying second hand saves you money - but some items are more suited to the second-hand barrel than others. 

Trawl your local “previously loved” stores or check out the online classifieds, you’ll be amazed to find the “good as new” things that people offer for sale. Buying second hand not only makes the purchase a little easier on your wallet, it’s good for the environment too, because that’s one less item that has to come off a production line. BUT (of course there’s a but), there are some items that you should always buy new if you can, even if the price hurts a little.

So, here, to give your budget a break, are four things you should always buy used, but then, to make sure you are staying safe and healthy, we’ve listed four items that are better bought new.

Buy these things used
Books

books

The costs of keeping up with your favourite crime, romance or literary writer are steep these days. High overheads and import costs are driving the costs of literature up and up. But many people don’t hoard their books, and if you can bear to wait a few months for the latest titles, they start showing up in second-hand book stores – usually at a quarter of the price.

Cars

cars

A car can lose as much as 50% of its value as you drive it off the showroom floor, so your instant depreciation on this big asset is significant. Rather let the depreciation happen in someone else’s pocket, and buy second hand, but newish. Make sure you buy smart : buy second-hand from a dealership, and choose a car that’s still under a service plan for the best deal.

Pets

pets

If you are a fan of pedigree pets, you’re looking at thousands of rand for a purebred puppy or kitten. But there are so many unwanted pets in the world. Contact your local animal shelter or SPCA for the specific breed you are looking for. If you can let go of the idea that “breeds are better”, you could find a wonderful and loving companion at these shelters as well.

Sports equipment

sports equipment

If you (or your kids) are starting out a new hobby, you don’t need to invest in all the best and newest equipment to get yourself going. There’s a great market in second-hand bicycles, which are also easy to repair if things do go wrong. Rackets, sticks and balls can all be bought second hand – and then, if you are sure that this new endeavour is the sport for you, you can start investing in pro equipment piece by piece, if you need to.

Buy these things new
Car seats

car seats

Since you are investing in the safety of your child, it pays to make sure your car seat is in perfect working order. Even a bumper bash can compromise the structure of a car seat, and car seats have expiration dates because materials wear down. Buying new will also mean you have access to the most advanced technology to protect your baby.

Laptops

laptops

Laptops are not built to last forever. Five years is generally considered to be a good run for your trusty partner in processing. So chances are, if someone is selling a second-hand laptop, it’s had its run. As the years go by, laptops get buggy – their battery life runs down, they start processing more slowly, and you’re just never sure if they contain viruses or other malware.

Footwear

footwear

Aside from the “ick” factor, it’s not a good idea to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Shoes tend to mould themselves to the shape of the wearer’s foot, and the way the foot is balanced affects the wearer’s posture – all the way up their ankles, knees and hips. And don’t be tempted to accept hand-me-down shoes for your kids either.

Mattresses

mattress

Much like shoes, mattresses mould to the shape of their owners. Their supports wear out and their springs become less springy. This will affect the quality of your sleep – as it was probably affecting the quality of the previous owner’s. Also, mattresses harbour bacteria, moulds and dust mites – so you don’t want someone else’s.

The bottom lineBuying second hand is a cost-conscious choice - but it’s not ALWAYS the right one. Before you make a big second-hand purchase, do a bit of internet research to make sure that you aren’t compromising your safety or wasting your money, and if there’s a good reason to buy new, then start saving.

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