I'm a bonafide germaphobe so I tend to avoid used items unless I know the previous user. I'm also very tight with my money though, so sometimes logic prevails and I buy used items because it's almost crazy to pay twice as much (or more) to have the new version. There are many used items that are just as good as new items and cost much less. Here are the ones I opt for, despite my preference for new things, because the cost savings are worth it.
My husband is always working on something – from rebuilding an old Jeep to building a new room. Because of the diversity of his projects, he uses a LOT of different tools, many of them only a few times a year. Since this is his hobby, and not his career, it doesn't make sense to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to buy all of the tools and equipment he needs new, especially when they are a fraction of the cost if we buy them used. Plus, since most of the specialty tools are rarely used, previously owned tools are often in almost-new condition, even if they are several years old.
Most cars depreciate dramatically during the first year so it makes almost no sense to buy a car brand new unless you just HAVE to have the newest, best vehicle. And if you are that type of person, you might be better off leasing. If you buy an almost-new car (1-2 years old), you'll save thousands of dollars and the car will still be under warranty.
Books and Other Media
Remember when you were a starving college student and you had to buy textbooks for class? Everyone always went for the used ones first because it was a huge money savings. It was always a bummer when a professor changed a textbook for a class and you had no choice but to buy new from the student book store. Books are still great when purchased used, but so are music and movies and video games. Don't pay full price if you don't have to.
This isn't stuff that goes out of style. Weights are weights and yoga mats are yoga mats. You can get just as much out of a used treadmill as a new one, but without all of the added expense. Plus, let's be honest, most people who buy fitness equipment don't end up using it so even used, it's still almost like new.
If I'd had to buy all of my kids' clothes brand new, we wouldn't have anything saved for college. Clothes are expensive, especially at the rate at which kids grow out of them or wear through them. Thrift stores, consignment shops, and garage sales are great places to pick up an entire wardrobe of clothes for less than what one outfit will cost you brand new.
Many times buying used furniture can be just as great or even better than buying new. You can really feel free to make it uniquely yours because you haven't spent a whole lot of money on it. And then there's the history of used furniture, not to mention older furniture lasts much longer than the furniture you can get today.
Musical instruments costs hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars brand new. If you or one of your children is just learning an instrument, why spend that kind of money on something you aren't sure is going to be a lifelong passion? Or, if you have multiple musicians in your family like I do (all of my kids play an instrument – none of them the same), it can be just too expensive to buy everyone a brand new instrument. Buying them used is far less expensive and many music stores will even let you rent to own.
Why pay full price to have the latest and greatest Louis Vuitton when you can get something just as good for half the price? You can still say you have a Louis Vuitton after all. Unless you're a fashionista who absolutely MUST stay ahead of the trends, there's no reason to be shelling out twice as much as you need to just to have a designer handbag.
These are all the items I think are better to buy used than to buy new. Do you have one that isn't on the list? Please share it in the comments.