New Or Used?
New or used? This is a question that seems to be most frequently asked about cars, but people do ask it about just about anything. I've done a bit of reading on the topic and have come across some interesting opinions.
Pat Foran, in his new book, The Smart, Savvy Young Consumer, devotes a chapter to the new or used debate. He gives a list of things that should be bought new, and another of things that should be bought used. His lists:
Always Buy Used: DVDs, CDs, books, video games, children's games and toys, maternity and baby clothing, exercise and sports equipment, musical instruments, office furniture, self-assembly home furniture, and recreational toys such as boats, RVs and motorcycles. (p. 138)
Never Buy Used: Children's cribs and baby furniture, car seats, helmets, laptops, plasma and flat panel TVs, mattresses and bedding, digital and video cameras, swimsuits and undergarments, vacuum cleaners and shoes. (P.138)
Cameron Hollinger is contributing editor of Kiplinger.com, a Washington, D.C.-based publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice. She recently wrote a column entitled 12 Things to Buy Used. She and Pat Foran agree on most things, but there is an interesting exception.
Hollinger defines baby gear as cribs, basinettes, strollers and high chairs, and states these should be bought used. Yet Pat Foran states that some of these are never to be bought used.
Suspecting the problems might have to do with safety, I checked Health Canada. According to them, there are serious issues to consider before buying cribs and other children's items. Here are just a few of the things to consider:
- Safety regulations for cribs have changed over time, and older cribs may not be up to code.
- Older cribs may be missing their safety warning information.
- Cribs parts may be broken or dangerously worn.
Also, an item may have actually been recalled due to safety reasons. There is a way you can check this. Health Canada maintains a list of recalled items, which includes both current recalls and a database of recalls which goes back to 1995.
Buying used is usually a great money-saver; just make sure you do your homework first!