Money Matters: When to buy new

The main reason we make money is so we can spend it. Nothing wrong with that.

But why pay extra just to have everything new? There are a lot of cases where buying used makes more sense.

At the top of the list? Cars. Anyone who's bought one knows how much you can save by buying used. And you can pay less for insurance that way, too.

Same with houses. While new is nice, you can normally get more features for less money when you buy pre-owned. Other advantages? You're more likely to be able to negotiate a deal, and more likely to have mature landscaping.

And what about books? Ignoring the fact that they're free at the library, even if you feel like you need to own a book, you can go to a used bookstore and find them half-price. 

Then there's timeshares. Buying new from the developer costs way more than buying one from someone who's looking to sell. You can sometimes buy these for pennies on the dollar. 

Recreational things like boats and RVs are good used buys for three reasons: they're really expensive new, they depreciate rapidly and if someone's selling, they might not have used it much.

And what about sporting gear? It's hard to imagine how weights can go bad. And it's easy to imagine how many people are trying to get out from under them on sites like Craigslist or Freecycle.

Bottom line? While new is nice, when there's big money, or rarely used stuff involved, go used.

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