If you’re the type of person who always buys directly from a store, you’re missing out. At the same time, shopping the neighborhood yard sales can lead to trouble. When you make a purchase, you want quality at a terrific price. When should you buy new . . . and when is there a savvier way to go?
Like gym membership cards, home workout equipment tends to be used a few times before being forgotten and accumulating dust. As a result, what would be expensive gear to buy new becomes barely used equipment that people are happy to unload for at a major discount. Weights, treadmills, stationary bikes, and just about any other piece of equipment you can want can be found gently used and for low prices in classified ads and on sites like Craigslist.
Of course, don’t rely on out-of-focus photos taken by the seller. Take the time to do a thorough inspection of the gear before you purchase it. You can often secure an even better price with a bit of haggling.
The Verdict: Buy Used
Mattresses and Bed Linens
A mattress that supports you all night and leaves you feeling well rested in the morning is worth its weight in gold. Consequently, a great mattress can easily run you several hundred or even a few thousand dollars. Don’t be tempted, however, by the low prices of a garage sale or the college kid down the street who’s moving out. Mattresses, sheets, and pillow cases can harbor bacteria, mold, bedbugs, and more – enough to keep you up at night.
Getting your mattress new however doesn’t mean you have to pay full price. Consumer Report’s Mattress Buying Guide states that specialty mattress chains may have markups of up to 50% – which they’ll drop during a major sale or as the result of a bit of negotiation. Take advantage of advertised sales or haggle with the salesperson before shelling out for your new bedding.
The Verdict: Buy New
Video Game Gear
Do you have a soft spot for video games or like to gift them to someone who does? The newest games and gaming systems can be pricey and hard to find. If you’re not able to track them down in stores, the latest craze in gaming might be up for auction at a staggering price on eBay.
In gaming, there’s always something new around the bend, which all but kills off demand for the current trend. Instead of buying a new release, wait a few months and land some big savings. Stores and online retailers mark down older game systems and older but still recent games dramatically. Plus, it’s easy to find people who have upgraded their systems, moved on to the next game, and want to sell their older games and systems dirt cheap. Try eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, and GameStop for starters.
Even better, visit your local library. Many libraries allow you to check out games for a variety of platforms and thus enjoy new-to-you games for free at home.
The Verdict: Buy Used or Borrow
According to the APSCA, roughly 7.6 million pets are admitted to animal shelters each year. About 36% of those are adopted, while an equal number is euthanized. If you choose to adopt a pet rather than buy one, your action first and foremost saves an animal’s life.
There are other benefits as well. Adoption costs in general are much less than purchase prices and usually max out at a couple hundred dollars. The fee for adoption typically includes vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and sometimes microchipping – all costs you would also incur if you were to purchase an animal from a pet store. Additionally, animal rescue organizations may provide resources for you and your pet even after adoption. They’re invested in your pet’s happiness in his new home, so you have may have access to ongoing support.
Furthermore, many adopted pets are already housetrained and can respond to some commands. Consequently, you’ll not only save yourself the stresses of training; you’ll save on the cost of accident clean-up.
The Verdict: Adopt
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