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Slide Show | August 2012

11 Things to Buy Used

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You can save a lot by buying used rather than new. Many pre-owned items cost 50% to 75% less than comparable new items. Think “used” for products that:

-- will have a short lifespan in your possession. If you expect to discard an item soon, why pay top dollar for a shiny new model?

-- likely saw limited use by their previous owners. Think of these products as "almost new" rather than "used."

-- have been refurbished by trusted manufacturers to operate like new.

-- will get dinged and dirty in your possession. Who cares about an existing scratch or two on, say, a power tool that you’ll beat up on your own?

Here are 11 things you should consider buying used:


11 Things to Buy Used

Furniture

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Hit up estate sales, consignment stores, antique stores or even yard sales to find unique and affordable pieces. Craigslist.org is another good source of used furniture. For example, we found a china cabinet, dining table and six chairs for sale on the site for $475. A similar table and chairs cost $1,199 at Macys.com, and a similar china cabinet was $1,499.

Caution: Don’t buy used mattresses (unless you want to risk getting bedbugs), and consider getting upholstered items professionally cleaned.

Furniture

Designer Jeans

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A pair of designer jeans (brands such as True Religion, 7 For All Mankind and Joe’s Jeans) typically costs $150 to $200. But you can find a gently worn pair at an upscale consignment store for a third of that price. Don’t like the idea that someone else wore them? We hate to break it to you, but there’s a good chance that at least one -- maybe several -- people have tried on the "new" jeans you find at the store.

Designer Jeans

Tablet Computers

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The way to get a deal on pricey tablets is to buy refurbished models, which are tested to meet manufacturer specifications. For example, a new iPad2 with Wi-Fi, 3G and 16 gigabytes costs $529 new but only $399 refurbished. When buying refurbished, look for tablets with a warranty -- one year is ideal, according to dealnews.com.

Tablet Computers

Swing Sets

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High-quality wooden swing sets can cost several thousand dollars, and even simple models are at least $300. That’s a lot to pay for something your kids will quickly outgrow. Find used swing sets for half the original price via your local paper’s classifieds or craigslist.org.

Swing Sets

Books and College Textbooks

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You can pick up paperbacks at yard sales for $1 (or less), or find them at used bookstores or online at sites such as Amazon.com for a lot less than you’d pay if you bought them new. You also can cut the cost of college textbooks in half by buying used. Sites such as BigWords.com, CampusBooks.com and AllBookstores.com let you scan multiple online retailers to find the lowest price.

Books and College Textbooks

Kids’ Bicycles

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No need to spend a lot of money on a bike that your child will quickly outgrow. You likely can find a used one with little wear and tear (because the previous owner also likely outgrew it quickly) at a fraction of the cost of a new bike.

Kids’ Bicycles

Video Games

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If your kids (or you) aren’t intent on buying the latest, greatest video games at the time of their release, spend only half as much buying used games instead. Among the retailers that sell pre-owned video games are Amazon.com, Best Buy, GameStop and Walmart.

Video Games

Tools

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Sometimes, people buy new tools to complete a project, then never use them again -- and eventually unload them at great prices. Hammers, wrenches, saws, shovels and manual tools are a good bet if they've been gently used because there aren't any mechanical parts to cause problems. Search craigslist.org or the classifieds for used tools. You can find factory-reconditioned power tools at Amazon.com.

Tools

Baby Gear

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The cost of all the gear parents buy when expecting a baby -- such as a crib, basinet, stroller and high-chair -- can add up quickly. But you can find them in mint condition at consignment sales or online auctions for a lot less. And, trust us, your baby won’t know the difference.

Don’t buy used car seats, though, because they might have been involved in an accident, their safety features might have been compromised or they might have been recalled.

Baby Gear

Clothing for Babies, Toddlers and Kids

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Because kids -- especially babies -- grow out of clothing so quickly, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on their apparel. You can find name-brand children’s clothing in good condition for just a few bucks per item at upscale consignment stores, which are selective about the items they accept.

Clothing for Babies, Toddlers and Kids

Exercise Equipment

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Plenty of people have every intention of starting an exercise regimen when they purchase treadmills or elliptical machines, but many times this pricey equipment just gathers dust. That’s why it’s often easy to find used exercise equipment in great condition at great prices -- and you don’t have to feel so guilty if you don’t end up using it as much as you anticipated. For example, we found many name-brand treadmills and elliptical trainers listed for $300 or less on the Washington, D.C., Craigslist.

Exercise Equipment

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