10 things you shouldn’t buy new

Liz Pulliam Weston at MSN Money wrote a great piece full of tips regarding what you shouldn’t buy new. She has looked at things from practical point of view and also as investment.

I cannot say I totally agree with everything she says yet it mostly coincides with my opinion. Here is her list with my comments.

As you go through it keep in mind one more (side) benefit. By buying used things you prolong their life and therefore contribute to saving energy and environment.

Books, books, books

I get all my books from library. The only kind of books I buy are references and dictionaries. In addition — no periodic of any sort, well, except for PlayBoy of course. ;-)

I also like listening to books (while I drive) and Audible subscription works perfect here. My trip to / from work is the only time I afford to spare for listening to books for pleasure. I guess it is just me.

College student? For textbooks there are places where you can get them very cheap from other students like you. Absolutely have to buy them? Make sure you pay the lowest price!

DVDs and CDs.

Why do you ever want to buy a DVD? Subscriber to Netflix or Blockbuster and get access to thousands of titles. Only buy if you notice that you rent the same movie for the third time in a row. But then it is likely not new release and you will save again.

CD’s? This is so 90’s! Why not use digital media? For starters give eMusic a try. This is the largest independent DRM-free music distributor. DRM-free means you will be able to freely copy the music to all your digital devices as well as burn CD collections. Songs are 33 cents each or less and you get 25 free downloads for starters.

Little kids’ toys

All our little kid’s toys came from garage sales and also as birthday gifts. Believe me, at the age of 4 children don’t care less if the toy is shiny new or was used before. They just want more of them!


Jewelry is almost non-existent in our family. Even if we buy something (which mostly happens on a birthday or Valentine day) it is usually something within $100-200. As terrible investment as it is, I find it very hard to justify spending more. After all this is all inside you. Only you and your attitude determine how much of a value that gold ring has to you.

Sports equipment

I can’t comment on this. My taste is rather conservative and I don’t change sports very often. As the result my two tennis rockets have served me well for over 5 years and I only buy tennis balls, new of course. ;-) My other favorite sport is volleyball and the ball is the only expense.


In general my opinion is that timeshares are for geeks who enjoy the process of trading and swapping them (I assume you are not the type that goes to the same place several years in a row in which case a timeshare would probably suit you fine). The truth is you can get as good of a deal if you buy a discounted/last minute package.


My last two cars are 2 year old models. This is the perfect age to buy a car. It is still under manufacturer warranty and it has depreciated a significant part of the value (around 20%). If you don’t feel confident buying used, I have some useful tips here for new car buyers.

Software and console games.

I consider myself a tech savvy computer user and I tend to use free open source software whenever it is possible. Here is a great list for your reference. As for games, the more I enjoy the real life the less time I tend to spend in virtual world. So my advice will be — enjoy your life, you only get to live once. And save money on games as a side effect. ;-)

Office furniture

My office is my home. No comment here.

Hand tools

It takes many years for good tools to wear down and I should have bought mine from a yard sale of some sort. However with the approach I have — only buy what you need at the moment — I slowly built my tools collection over the past 3 years or so out of new tools. However these are mostly basic tools, the only advanced piece I have is a circular saw. I rent all other power tools — I just don’t need them very often.


Do you have anything else in mind? I would love to hear your tips!

By the way, one thing you should never buy used is safety equipment, e.g. a car seat for a child or a helmet for biking / skateboarding.

See also:

4 Responses to “10 things you shouldn’t buy new”

  1. 1 The Financial Ladder Feb 7th, 2007 at 6:31 am

    The book tip has always been a tough one for me. I like to keep the books I read, and sell the books I don’t have any interest for. I usually compromise by purchasing used books from, Ebay, or Amazon.

  2. 2 Yan Feb 8th, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    For the books, here is a useful link:
    Free books from Creative Commons

  3. 3 digitalkaos Feb 13th, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    I’d have to disagree with a lot of these. Used jewelry? Try explaining that to your spouse. It’S ok to be frugal, but you need to draw the line somewhere. If you purchase the right jewelry, it will appreciate over time, so I’m not sure why you would think it loses value… Have you tracked the price of gold over the past few years?

    Sports Equipment? Some things, OK, but not everything. Try putting on someone’s used hockey gear…


  4. 4 Yan Feb 13th, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Gold and jewelry are two different things. Google up “jewelry markup” and you will see what I mean. Here is the first result I get:

    I personally don’t buy used jewelry. But then, I try not to buy jewelry at all.

    Re: sports equipment. I agree it doesn’t work in some cases. I personally had success with used skies. Check out this web site:

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