Save Money by Never Buying These 5 Things New

Shopping for gently used items isn't only better for the planet; it's better for your bank account. Here are the top five items you should never buy new.

Saving money can be easier than you think. In fact, a huge part of saving money is learning how to be a thrifty shopper and simply buying used items instead of new. Shopping for gently used, vintage, thrifted, pre-owned, or just straight-up old items isn't only better for your bank account; it reduces waste and essentially recycles items by giving them a new life rather than funneling money into the production of more stuff.

Of course, shopping smart doesn't mean thrifting things you don't need. Instead, it's about being savvy with the purchases you do need (or at least really, really want) in order to save you money—we're talking about saving hundreds to thousands of dollars, especially if the items on your shopping list are as major as a house or car. Simply buying a used car can save you enough money to bulk up a few months of living expenses for an emergency fund.

We've rounded up the top five items far too many of us buy new—that will save you serious dollars if you buy pre-owned instead.

01 of 05

A house

For most of us, a house is one of the biggest purchases we will make in our life. It can also be an excellent investment if you do it right. However, brand new homes can cost up to 30 percent more than a similar existing home. That's a lot of money. In fact, the average price for a new home in the United States is over $400,000.

Someone shopping for a home in this price range can save up to $80,000 just by getting a home that's pre-owned instead. Before you jump on a brand-new house, check the area for comparable properties to see if you can find your dream home on a budget.

Sites such as Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Zillow, or are great to research and compare homes.

02 of 05

A car

It's easy to get caught up in the pursuit of your dream car, but vehicles are one of the worst things to buy new. A new car depreciates by 20 to 30 percent in the first year. So if you spend the average price for a new car, which is about $47,000, it will depreciate by $9,400 to $14,100 within a year.

Even if you purchase a model that's a year old, it's better than buying it new. There are plenty of great vehicles you can buy pre-owned that are reliable and save you money, too.

One of the best places to find a used car is CARFAX. This site informs you if the vehicle was ever in an accident and how many other people owned the car before you. Of course, you can check with your local dealers or even on Facebook Marketplace for used cars too.

03 of 05


Whether you're shopping for a gorgeous diamond engagement ring or a shimmering gold chain, buying pre-owned jewelry can save you a ton of money. Jewelry is a multi-billion-dollar global industry with a high mark-up rate, so purchasing new will cost you a pretty penny.

You can find beautiful jewelry at local pawn shops or consignment shops. Another place to find affordable jewelry is eBay or other reputable websites. Just be careful: Review the seller, the return policy, and descriptions to ensure you are purchasing an authentic piece.

If you love costume jewelry, check out stores like Goodwill for amazing deals. Great jewelry pieces can be found at flea markets and yard sales too.

04 of 05


Did you know phones depreciate between 38 to 76 percent in the first year? So, if you fork out $400 on a new phone, you're looking at a loss of $150 to $300.

You can save up to 50 percent off retail prices by purchasing used electronics: Find electronics in decent shape in pawn shops, thrift stores, or on websites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

Try to apply the same rule to electronics as you would vehicles: Don't buy the latest model. Instead, either wait a few months or get the previous model to save money. Your savings account will thank you.

05 of 05

Musical instruments

Whether you're thinking about finally taking guitar lessons or need to buy your child an instrument for the school band, purchasing musical instruments used is the way to save. This is especially true if you're not worried about the brand you are buying.

You can also find great deals on instruments at local thrift stores and pawn shops. Check websites such as Craigslist or Facebook for people selling locally. This way, you don't have to worry about your new buy getting damaged during shipping from an online store or accidentally being dropped at school.

Of course, there are also fantastic finds online; make sure the company or seller insures the item, so you're guaranteed to get it safely.

Sometimes, you can luck out and find people who are getting rid of good instruments at yard sales—don't forget to ask friends and family if they want to sell any they no longer use.

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