15 Items That You Might Want to Buy Used 

Sam Mire

Sell Unused items

Everyone has their philosophy on used versus new. Many believe that a used vehicle is the most valuable. Others prefer the peace of mind of knowing exactly how many miles the vehicle has traveled (zero). 

Some items (like underwear) should only be purchased secondhand in the most dire financial circumstances. For other items, even financially well-to-do buyers would be wise to consider buying used. There's no need to blow money by paying the sticker price.  

1. Vehicles

Havana, Cuba - June 6, 2017: Old American motor Ford Falcon in the city street.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Purchasing a brand-new vehicle is completely justifiable if you are Jeff Bezos. A lawyer making $250,000 per year might justify buying a new $50,000 Lexus. 

Just know that purchasing a new vehicle is, in most cases, a poor financial decision. One self-made millionaire calls buying a brand-new vehicle “the single worst financial decision” most young people make. Between predatory interest and immediate depreciation, new vehicles are not the move. 

2. Non-Motorized Tools

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There is an element of risk when you purchase a secondhand lawnmower or skilled saw. Motorized components are vulnerable to water damage and general wear and tear so that we won't issue a blanket endorsement of purchasing used power tools.

Wrenches, hammers, and drill bits, though? If they're not rusty, buy them used to save yourself a buck. 

3. Refurbished Electronics

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You should research the technology and the seller before purchasing refurbished electronics. Find a reputable seller who conducts the necessary due diligence before listing used items for sale. You can save substantial sums while others go into debt at the local Apple store. 

Your inner vanity says, “They'll know someone else's face once unlocked my iPhone.” Your bank account and common sense tell you to ignore your inner vanity.

4. Childrens' Items

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Here's a pro tip: They're kids. They won't know the difference unless you tell them.

Whether you're looking for a jungle gym, stroller, trampoline, or G.I. Joe (are the kids still playing with them? They should be.), buying secondhand could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars throughout your kid's life. 

5. Animals

Loving Couple Walking With Pet Golden Retriever Dog Along Autumn Woodland Path Through Trees
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

This is tongue-in-cheek; some might take offense to their dog being “used.” Whether you want to say “adopted,” “rehomed,” or used, getting a previously owned animal can save you a life and a buck.

Some owners demand the purest-bred animals from only the most renowned breeders. Others would instead save the extra hundreds (or thousands) on the pet's upfront cost for down-the-road expenses. So long as their temperament is good, they'll love you just the same as the blue-chip alternative.

6. Home Gym Equipment

Home fitness workout woman training on smart stationary bike indoors watching screen connected online to live streaming subscription service for biking exercise. Young Asian woman athlete.
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Whatever you do, do not call the number on your television screen and order that flashy, never-used workout equipment. 

Instead, capitalize on the weary hordes of Americans who paid total price for their Peloton, gave up on the workout routine a month in, and now have to sell their stationary bike at a price that's been careening downhill for months. The same goes for weight sets and most other items for your home gym.

7. Bicycles

Woman going in bike
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The more complex the used item, the more difficult it can be to assess wear and tear. You must do extensive due diligence when purchasing a used vehicle or refurbished tech gadget.

Bikes aren't all that complicated (unless you're training for the Tour de France, which you're not). With a once-over rust examination, test ride, and advice from your bike enthusiast buddy, you can buy that mountain bike you've been eyeing at a steep discount. 

8. Furniture

Here is the caveat with used furniture: you better know what bed bugs look like and look hard for them before purchasing any used furniture item.

In fact, let's narrow this down to cloth-minimal used furniture. Wooden dining room sets, glass side tables, and other low-priced furniture can be stolen (practically) on the secondhand market. Furniture from bygone eras is often built to last, and a saturated resale market means deals abound.

9. High-Priced Clothing Items

You don't have to shop at Goodwill unless you want to. The secondhand clothing market is more varied and robust than you might realize. There are countless places to browse secondhand clothing online, from Vinted to Poshmark.

There are also countless consignment stores offering high-quality clothing at a substantial markdown. If you buy secondhand clothing, you'll avoid the fate of the people who sold you the clothing after taking a massive loss.

10. Books

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Some books can be read and re-read without suffering diminishing returns. The Bible, Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, and The Pickup Artist: The New and Improved Art of Seduction come to mind—don't tell me I'm alone on that last one. 

Most books, though, are one-time affairs. There is no shame in letting someone else bear the markup of a brand-new book. The words on the page don't change just because the paper is worn, and there's a coffee stain on page seven. There is even a strong case for “renting” books by going to the library.

11. Instruments

Woman playing guitar
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Few items are purchased and abandoned as rapidly as drum sets, guitars, and other musical instruments. Even rarely touched keyboards, marimbas, and amplifiers may come at a significant markdown merely because they carry the “used” stigma. 

You also run the chance of discovering that the used saxophone you found on Craigslist once belonged to John Coltrane. There is a zero percent chance of this happening if you buy something new (at an unnecessary markup).

12. Jewelry

Jewelry Making
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Diamonds are forever, after all. So are gold, silver, and other precious metals that jewelers use to craft timeless trinkets. You're already paying a premium for these fine accessories, so you should look for every opportunity to spare a buck.

With a bit of polish, shine, and perhaps a fresh engraving, you or the apple of your eye can emanate extravagance without compromising your fiscal integrity. 

13. Appliances

Kitchen Appliances
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I completely understand any wariness you have about purchasing a used appliance. However, casting off the entire used appliance marketplace as a festering ground for crooks and scammers would be a mistake. Life happens, and there has to be a way to flip appliances when someone has to move unexpectedly or get rid of their refrigerator for any other reason.

Take advantage of others' fear of buying a used washer-dryer combination. Local refurbishers, Facebook and Craigslist resellers, and Best Buy Outlet are among the places you may find used appliances. Plug the item in before you buy and enjoy the money saved.

14. Camping Gear

Family trip caravan camping
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Like musical instruments, camping gear is often purchased with the best of intentions and aspirations for a “new me.” Then, the Coleman tent and camping stove sit in the corner of the garage, gathering mothballs and cobwebs until, finally, the purchaser admits they are just an indoor kind of guy.

That's when you swoop into the Craigslist advertisement, spot the just-new equipment, and save yourself a couple hundred bucks. Then, you use the ever-living daylights out of that tent and camping stove.

15. A Home

home renovations
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Based on data from 2022, building a new home is 32% more expensive than purchasing one from a previous owner. That's a hefty price for a never-lived-in abode, and new homes are not without their problems.

There is no shortage of mass-scale homebuilders facing lawsuits over brand-new homes that were built like gingerbread houses. You're not guaranteed peace of mind when you build your home, but you are guaranteed to pay more.

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