Buying second hand is one of the most well-known tactics to get things for less. The trade-off, of course, is that second hand items have already been used so they will have amassed some wear and tear and have a shorter service life left to them. However, there are certain things which are not particularly susceptible to this problem, and buying these things second hand can be a great way to save money with few if any drawbacks.
Books will generally remain eminently readable even if they become dog-eared and floppy. Most second hand books, however, are in very good condition. They are widely available from charity shops, specialist bookshops, and online for extremely low prices – often a fraction of the original cover price. Unless you want to snap up a new release as soon as it comes out, you will almost certainly be better off buying second hand.
If you like to experiment with new books, you could try buying very cheap ones from a charity shop and then returning them for someone else to read when you are done. That way, you are saving money, reducing clutter in your home, and passing on the opportunity to other book-lovers.
DVDs, CDs and Computer Games
These disc-based goods hold up to their second hand status almost as well as books. Generally, a disc will have to be quite badly scratched before it develops problems. Unless the previous owner was careless, it is probably almost pristine as simply being played does not really put any wear and tear on a disc. These items rarely offer any real disadvantage when bought second hand. Most retailers inspect second hand discs before sale, and will happily accept a return if there is a problem.
CDs are particularly interesting. In the age of the digital download, they have been an oft-neglected medium for some time. For this reason, second hand CDs are often sold at bargain bucket prices. This means that buying a CD and then digitising the tracks (a simple process using software that comes with new computers as standard) can actually be cheaper than downloading.
Cars depreciate quickly. This fact is the bane of many car owners, but it can be a blessing when it comes to buying a second hand car. Buying cars that have previously been owned is already a popular process, but even if you want the newest model it can still be worth looking at second hand models. Even cars that are just a few months old with very low mileage will sometimes appear on the market, and will generally offer a noticeable discount while in reality being little different from a brand new car.
There are sometimes advantages of buying a new car over a good second hand one. These are usually not so much anything to do with the car itself, but rather retailer promotions like attractive finance deals, long warranties, or free servicing. Sometimes, similar deals can be available on second hand cars if bought from a dealer rather than privately.