03 January 2014

Used versus New

When you need something do you automatically buy new or do you look for a used item that will do the job first?  Many people struggle with the concept of buying used, because, well it's used. There is a misconception that used is second best, but that's just not true.

Used items can be just as good, sometimes better, than brand new. They are almost always cheaper and because they cost less you can afford to buy better quality items. For example just before Christmas Mrs Sparkle (remember Mrs Sparkle of Budget Reno fame?)  asked for my help to find a "new" three piece lounge suite for her home. It took a week of searching eBay, Gumtree and Facebook but we found one, and only a few minutes from her home too.

For $150 Mrs Sparkle is now the proud owner of a beautiful lounge suite, just three years old. It's a classic suite, made by a well-known Australian furniture manufacturer and they are selling for $3,999 today. There's not a mark on this suite. I don't think it's ever been used - it came from a pet free, smoke free home and was well looked after. Secondhand was certainly the best buy.

Buying used doesn't just apply to furniture. Clothing can be picked up at garage sales, off Facebook, from op shops for a fraction of the new price. If you have a stigma about used clothing think of this: as soon as a garment has been worn once it's used. Actually if it's been tried on in the store it is used. If you're squeamish about wearing clothes someone else has worn, choose carefully and launder them before you wear them. The best thing about pre-loved clothes is that they have been laundered, so you're getting garments without the chemicals and starches of new clothes.

My camera cost $200. It was almost brand new, they were still selling that particular model in stores. The fellow who bought it new decided it wasn't quite good enough for what he wanted. We saved $860 on the camera and $60 on the bag (he threw it in free!).  My used camera is working just fine and it has definitely helped improve my photos.

Make it a habit to look for gently used before you buy. You'll save money and reduce waste.

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