Today I came across these two great articles in a write-up from LifeHacker. Some good sound advice!
10 Things You Shouldn't Buy New
This list includes things like books, jewelry and cars where the cost vs. use equation leans towards buying used.
- Little kids' toys. Parents know: it's all but impossible to predict which toy will be a hit and which will lie forlorn at the bottom of the toy box. So rather than gamble at full price, cruise consignment shops and yard sales for bargains. My husband's latest score: a plastic Push, Pedal 'N Ride Trike (retails for $28, he paid $10) that looks like new after a brief scrub.
Better than cheap, though, is free. Some parents set up regular toy-swapping meets, or you might be lucky enough to score hand-me-downs from friends and relatives.
Exception: Some parents get away with giving used toys for birthdays and holidays, but most of us (and our kids) have been fairly well brainwashed into believing that gifts should be purchased new. Try to opt, though, for classics, like sturdy wooden toys.
10 Things You Shouldn't Buy Used
This list includes things like car seats, plasma tv's and vacuum cleaners where the cost savings don't justify the risks of buying used.
- Mattresses. Think of all the stuff you do on your mattress. Now think of sleeping in someone else's stuff. Ewwwww.
Unfortunately, you may already be spending the night with other people's mold, mites, bacteria and bodily fluids. Dishonest retailers sometimes ignore federal requirements that used mattresses be labeled as such, often covering a secondhand cot with new ticking to disguise it. If you want an all-new mattress, the Federal Trade Commission recommends looking for a tag that promises "all-new materials" and requiring that the retailer write the word "new" on the receipt. (That can make it easier to prove your case should you find you've been sold a used mattress on the sly.)
There's also the fact that mattresses aren't meant to last forever. Even the good ones typically have a life span of just eight to 10 years, and it's hard to know for sure how old a used mattress may already be.
Exception: When "used" is really almost "unused," such as a mattress from someone's rarely visited guest room. Still, you'd really have to trust the buyer to know, and disclose, everything that's happened on that bed, which is why you're still probably better off buying new. You shouldn't ever pay the list price, because haggling is expected. Consumer Reports suggests you need to spend about $800 to get a good-quality queen-size mattress and box spring set. That works out to about 25 cents a night -- a small price to pay for cleanliness and comfort.