Buying New Items vs. Used

New vs Used

Image via timparkinson

I came across an article this week about the benefits of buying certain things used, which went as far as telling me to “not buy them new.” There are a lot of problems with this article; almost each of the bits of “advice” should have given more information – so much so that buying new items in many cases was the best way to go.  Let’s look at each of the pieces of advice:

Buying new vs used cars

    Yes, it saves money, but you don’t know why it’s for sale.

Timeshares

    Many timeshares come with great perks for initial investment.

Pets

    Buying a “new” puppy vs buing a “used” puppy – does this writer have a soul? Puppies aren’t commodities, they are living, loving creatures. I believe most people should get their pets through adoption, but there are certain people who should be using breeders. Dogs with special training (seeing-eye dogs, herding dogs) are usually trained from the first weeks of life.
Used Jewelry

Image via Nodai

Jewelry

    Great idea, however new jewelry may have cleaning and replacement guarantees and it’s really hard to get a custom-made piece of jewelry used.

DVDs and Blu-Ray

    Fine for personal purchases, but I’d bet the majority of DVD or Blu-Ray purchases you make are as gifts – and there is a stigma against giving used electronics as gifts.

Sports Equipment

    Most of the time, they will warn against buying used helmets, but this article fails to mention this.

Office Furniture

    Good idea, although not helpful for most people.

Video Games

    I have a major contention with this advice.

    1. First, GameStop is not the only place to get used games or consoles. Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, and lots of other places sell used games, including Best Buy and Walmart. GameStops is helpful if you are buying a video game as a gift and you want help picking something out that the gift-receiver will enjoy – you probably won’t get this kind of help at Walmart or Best Buy.
    2. Second, they say to go to GameStop for 50% savings on games or consoles. Most games at GameStop are not half price when used – new games that are $60 will usually sell for $55-$45 used at GameStop. Games that are normally $20 new do tend to be around $10 used.
    3. What you should know about buying used games is where your money is going. When you buy a new game, the store gets a good deal of the money and the publishers (people who made the game) get money from that transaction as well. When you buy a used game, the publishers get no money – it all goes to the seller (plus tax depending on where you buy). On eBay or Craigslist, that goes to the person who is selling the item (minus some fees by eBay or other sites like this). With GameStop, the person who bought that game for $60 might get $15-$20 from GameStop, who then sells it to you for the $50. That’s $20 for the original purchaser, $0 for the game publishers, and $30 for GameStop. At eBay or Amazon, a much larger percentage of the purchase price goes to the original purchaser. When people take the time to consider where their money is going and use that to factor into their purchases, the extra value or cost is called an “intrinsic cost” – which is why many people will pay more money for something made in the USA.
    I don’t buy used games for the most part because I feel the game publishers deserve money for my purchases. I would feel less guilty buying used games if I made a lot of purchases and I wasn’t sure if the game(s) would be good, but I usually only get games I know I’m going to like and I rarely get more than 10 games per year.
    I do tend to sell my games through eBay, Amazon, or GameStop if I don’t think I’ll ever play the game again, so it’s not like I’m perfect or above the used game market. Amazon and eBay are where newer games can sell for the most money, but I might go to GameStop with old or unpopular games because they will take the game on the spot (with no shipping cost) and they tend to have specials where you get an extra $10 credit for trading in 3+ games (when my 3 games don’t sell for $10 total, I more than double the value).

All this being said, there are lots of reasons to buy used items – it reduces your purchasing costs, a secondhand market increases the value of the things you already own and it keeps items out of landfills. When you are given advice, remember there is rarely a “right” or “wrong” way of doing anything, even purchasing a DVD, so be skeptical when the advice tells your “always” or “never” do something.

Images here used under Creative Commons license.

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