Top 10 Things You Should Buy Used


Times are tough these days, and every little way to save a few extra dollars is a welcome one.  While we may try our best to keep up with the Joneses, it may well be that the Joneses are just as broke as you are and are merely hiding it better.  The trick, aside from outrageous credit card debt, is going secondhand.  After all, life is just as well-lived even if it is being lived a second time, as long as you elicit the same satisfaction.  Here are the top ten things you should buy used:

10.  Clothes


It’s utter insanity to buy clothes modeled on vintage styles brand-new and at premium prices.  The best possible anecdote is teenagers paying $70 for hand-ripped jeans at American Eagle, when natural wear and tear (and perhaps a job in construction) could do the same thing for free.  Authenticity would declare a thrift store or vintage clothing retailer your best source of styles that come straight from the horse’s mouth.

At the Garment District, which has locations in Boston and New York City, you can buy clothes by the pound at $1.50/lb.  They also feature items from decades past that can be transformed into vintage fashion (or worn to a costume party).  While undergarments should of course be bought brand new, for sanitary reasons, a new military jacket will never look better than the one formerly worn by a former serviceman.

9.  Sports Equipment


If you are a parent, you know how expensive it is to have a sports-fancying son.  Padding, sticks, helmets, and balls add up quickly, to the point to where you almost wish he had turned out to be a theater geek.  And should he take an interest in more than one sport, you find that interest builds up quickly on all those credit card statements as well.  The best bet is to go for broke by getting all that gear, in just as good and slightly used condition, for a way more affordable price.

This is where a store like Play it Again Sports or used-anything websites like EBay and Craigslist come in.  At Dicks Sporting Goods, a brand new set of football shoulder pads are no cheaper than a hundred bucks, and can be as much as three or four hundred, while on EBay, roughly thirty bucks will easily get you a less shinier, perhaps a little retro, alternative.  And at Play It Again Sports, you can not only get all your gear cheap, you can sell it back when your done with it.  With all the money you save, there is plenty left over for gambling.

8.  Movies


With Blu-Ray, prices of DVDs are starting to drastically reduce (being that they don’t even make VHS tapes anymore, it is at the bottom of the format totem pole).  However, you still get that $20 price tag for new releases regardless of format.  But if you want to really build up your collection fast, or host a movie marathon at a low price, the best way to go is used.  New releases generally are about 50% off used, but you can surely get all your past favorites for mere dollars at liquidating video rental stores and on EBay; search wisely, and you could fill up a whole backpack with just a twenty dollar bill.

7.  Video Games


Video games are expensive, and often very short-lived, sources of amusement.  For that, upwards of $50 seems incredibly indecent for a product that could last as quickly as two days of intense, uninterrupted-by-bathroom-and-food gaming.  Better to get a game used at Game Stop (or more preferably EBay where you deal directly with the seller and avoid exorbitant mark-ups), and afford to get more than one game for the price of one brand new heavily buzzed-about title.

The hottest game on internet discussion boards these days has to be The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.  Most retailers sell it for about sixty bucks brand new.  On Ebay, you can find a copy for $25 (lower assuming no one bids against you on a copy up for standard auction).  And when you are done, you can just as easily sell it back or trade it in at Game Stop for a criminally low price (or go fishing on EBay.)

6.  Records


Vinyl is seeing resurgence, and savvy record dealers are cashing in.  With “special edition” re-releases and reprints, new ways to shake unreasonable dollar amounts out of music fanatics are being constantly introduced.  While that may be so, record stores have been around forever, and still sell the same products they’ve been for half a decade, albeit used and for mere dollars.  So while some anniversary reprint of the Beatles’ Abbey Road will go for twenty five dollars brand-new at Newbury Comics,  a copy that sounds just as good or better sits at a dilapidated independent record store for six bucks, with the history of having survived the decade it was originally produced in.

5.  Musical Equipment


Things like amps, guitars, and recording equipment can run into the hundreds and even thousands brand-new.  A decent microphone alone can go for several hundred.  Any musician trying to live within his means, which is any musician struggling and rarely succeeding, still has to find some way to produce music.  On EBay, Craigslist, and used retailers like Daddy’s Junkie Music (not to mention garage sales), you are sure to find viable and completely decent merchandise to make you at least a practicing musician.

If you need a microphone slightly better than one built-in to your laptop, a functioning used mic can go as low as twenty bucks and afford you decent fidelity.  And you can find a practice amp for your guitar with a fifty dollar bill, which is better than paying top dollar, especially if you are a starting musician.  As for sound quality, that’s something that comes from within and whatever music you expose yourself to.  A good musician can make the best of what he’s got lying around.

4.  Textbooks


There’s a good racket in the school book industry.  As long as you shop at your campus bookstore, your guaranteed to spend several hundred dollars on a semester’s worth of classes, only to find them utterly worthless when you attempt to sell them back at the semester’s end whereupon a new edition has been released.  Better to void that scam entirely and go to  You can get the exact same book (same edition even) secondhand (okay, maybe third-hand) for a third of the price, to where you can even afford to keep the book on your bookshelf for future reference.  Any college or graduate student knee-deep in tuition and housing costs knows that any means to spare a little extra cash is just another kidney they don’t have to sell on the black market.

3.  Computers


Want a MacBook, but lack the luxury of disposable income?  Then get it used or refurbished.  A brand new MacBook can run you a thousand dollars easy.  A slightly used one can go for 700, and it doesn’t even have to run you the risk of crashing upon test drive.  Factory refurbished, safer through the company itself, is virtually risk free as the computer is reassembled from used parts and rigorously tested as if brand new.  What you are missing out on, for that extra 300 or 400 dollars, is the cellophane, but you can get that at the grocery store for three bucks, if truly necessary.

2.  Video Game Consoles


If you want the latest of the late, such as the PS3 and Xbox Kinect, immediately upon release, the price is likely going to be anywhere from five to seven hundred dollars.  Even the comparatively-cheap Nintendo Wii ran close to $300 at launch time.  If you can wait a year or two until the hype dies down, you can stand to save two hundred dollars easily.  However, few are patient enough when so many of your friends are already teasing you with mind-blowing Blu-Ray quality graphics.

This is where second-hand comes in.  Right off the bat, a pre-owned or refurbished video game system is a good hundred dollars cheaper than one brand new, and is just as good (plus the warranty plan is usually better).  So the risk is minimal to none.  Your local Gamestop makes the new and exciting very accessible; other places, such as on EBay, run the risk of technology failure as many private individuals are just trying to make some spare cash on old gaming systems, don’t offer warranties, and don’t require any stringent testing procedures prior to resale.

1.  Cars


Not everyone can waltz into their local dealership with a briefcase full of cash and take their pick of the litter. The youngest drivers on the road are the ones with the smallest budgets and rely almost entirely on the classifieds (or more accurately these days, Craigslist) to find a shiny, new rustbucket, something that can get them to class/work without catching on fire in the process.  Standards are often extremely low in this regard; as such, a thousand dollars is usually enough to get something.  Even a solid $500 can get you on the road (though, for how long is the real question).

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  1. Good list but I would have to agree that it would be a little foolish to buy a used computer.Maybe a rebuilt one with a 90-day warranty-Maybe. I would also add novels–I buy all my reading material from Amazon,used. The books are always in great condition and it’s quite a savings.

  2. “If you are a parent, you know how expensive it is to have a sports-fancying son. Padding, sticks, helmets, and balls add up quickly, to the point to where you almost wish he had turned out to be a theater geek. ”

    Um, excuse me? I AM a theatre geek, and I buy PLENTY of sports equipment, thank you very much.

  3. Buying used is the ultimate way to recycle. I don’t disagree with much of what’s on this list, so long as you do your homework and purchase wisely.

    About the only thing I’m not going to buy used is my camera, but that’s just for some personal reasons.

  4. Second Hand CDs Online on

    I am a reseller of clothes, CDs, DVDs, toys, household goods, books, magazines online. I go to garage sales and hand pick all my second hand goods as I will only sell Top Quality items. The great thing I found that at garage sales I can score great stuff for next to nothing. I have found it easy to buy items that are near new and none of my customers have been disappointed. I myself wear second hand clothes and have had many compliments by strangers in how great they look on me. I also love buying second hand cds, dvds and books as it saves me lots of money and I get to watch, listen and read them before I resell them. So not only do I get to save money I end up making money by reselling them. But not only that, by buying second hand wherever you can you help to keep these goods out of burgeoning landfills which helps to keep our precious environment clean and green.


  5. The great thing about used textbooks is the underlining’s already done. And bicycles would have been a good choice. You can pick these up super cheap used, sometimes for 15 or 20 percent of what a new one would cost.

  6. Yes on the rest, but clothes? Only if you really, really need to. New clothes aren’t very expensive if you’re not a fashion freak – and if you are one you probably don’t buy used anyway. For me, I still think it’s a bit gross. I don’t buy used silverware or plates either.

    Computers? The same here. You get a decent new one for the 700 bucks stated here, too – with warranty. If you need a good one, chances are that you won’t get an used one anyway.

  7. -jock straps
    -bubble gum
    -toilet paper

    Like the man said, better used than abused.

  8. Yes, buy used games and movies so the creators get zero of your dollars. Those should be on the worst things to buy used list.

  9. Some are valid some are not, I guess it comes down to personal decisions. Used musical equipment can be a huge risk if you are buying anything over $100. I’ve gotten good used instruments, but also bad amps, I would stay away from amps and speakers that are used, instruments and mics and such are much easier to check up front. Video games have curbed the used market a little with the advent of the previously mentioned Online Passes. You will end up paying about the same amount after you pay for those services, which I suppose is still a good deal if you save even a few bucks. Buying a used console however, is really stupid unless you buy it from a store that will give you a warranty.

  10. why in the hell would anyone buy a used computer, you dont know what kind of perv had it before you and whether or not the consignment shop has deleted the history….this list is by far the worst ive read on this site.

  11. The problem with used recent modern video games is the Online Pass, which is getting very prevalent in the industry.

    Typically it’s a one-time-use code in the box to “unlock” either multiplayer mode, or sometimes a whole portion of the single player game the the original buyer. So if you buy a game used, be prepared to also fork out $10-$15 extra to get a new online pass for your account.

    If you want to save money on video games I find it’s usually better to just wait a few months for the new game to drop in price, or wait on a sale. Otherwise you might end up actually paying more, or close to full price, to get the full game.

  12. I would add furniture to the list….particularly if you like your house to look “homey” and not so generic

  13. I’ll throw one more into the mix: guns. Used guns usually function just as well as new guns, except you don’t have to worry about the break-in period. With semis, you may have to replace a clip or a recoil spring, but at the end of it all, you’ve got a good, working weapon that you can use for home defense, sport shooting, hunting, or collecting.

      • Probably not. More than likely, it was used as a home defense weapon and sold so that the owner could purchase a different gun. One of my guns was used at a local gun range and was sold once it had reached a certain amount of usage.

  14. Whoever wrote this has to be from the Northeast US. Daddy’s Junky Music, Newbury Comics, Play it Again! Sports!

  15. 10. no used clothes smell and are often worn out from repeated wearing and washing
    9. yes if you have kids to buy for no if you are buying for yourself
    8.7.6. absolutely yes especially when its a digital medium
    5. yes and no the author covers it well here
    4. oh yeah ever take a class that required the professor’s book what a crock!
    3.2. sure why not.
    1. if you are mechanical or know and trust a good one yes if not then NO there are to many scammers with junk cars from public auctions looking to make a fast buck off you. remember all those floods in the midwest? that is the used cars you get.

    • 9, I have no problem buying used sports equipment for myself, as long as it’s not a jock strap. 🙂

      5. I’ve bought tons of used instruments and while it’s definitely buyer beware, I’ve had good luck so far.

      1. You have to be very, very careful buying a used car. I’d never use Discount Dave’s Used Car and Hair Care Center, but using a major car dealership can take some of the worry out of the process, especially if they’re willing to back up the used vehicle with a nice, long warranty.