New vs. Used

The mindset this day in age is buying new is buying better. In some instances I whole heartedly agree. For example, underwear, mattresses, and shoes are a few things I would never buy used. Obviously no one wants to where someone else’s undergarments or sleep on a piece of furniture that maybe infested with who knows what. Used shoes can also be hazardous to your health because once a new shoe is worn it forms to that persons unique foot. Wearing shoes that are not conformed to your feet can cause back and posture problems. However, I do believe that in many instances buying used has many more positives than buying new.

Buying certain things used not only cost less but may actually last longer and work better. Cars is one example of a purchase that most people believe needs to be brand new, when in reality buying a used car has much more upside. First off, when a new car is driven off the lot, the value of the car decreases between 15 to 20 percent. To put that into perspective if you were to buy a new car for $22,000 dollars, as soon as you drive away from that dealership your new ride is now worth between $17,600 and $18,700. But it doesn’t stop there, your car will continue to depreciate 7 to 12 percent annually.

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Used cars do not depreciate nearly as fast as new cars due to the fact the most cars lose the majority of their value in the first two years of its life. The hard part for most people when considering to buy a used car is the word “used”. When this word comes to mind people tend to think dirty and broken but really they couldn’t be further from the truth. New cars lose value so quickly that a car considered used is practically in mint condition. A new 2009 Ford Taurus goes for around $21,000 from a car dealership yet I found the same 2009 Ford Taurus with only 300 miles on it for $17,000 on Kelly Blue Book.

That’s like a friend paying you $4,000 dollars to borrow your car so they can drive from San Diego to Los Angeles and back. Not only is buying used cars less expensive they are also cheaper to maintain. Repairs on new cars can really burn a hole in your wallet especially if your car is not American. These repairs can cost up to a $1000 dollars or more due to the complex features newer car engines have. Older used cars are rather cheap to fix and you can often find a mechanic who’d be willing to help you out for a six pack of cold beer.

Used cars are usually cheaper to maintain and even get better gas mileage. A 1985 Chevrolet Chevette gets 36 miles per gallon and the 1999 Mazda Protege gets around 30 miles per gallon. While a 2008 Chevy Equinox gets 18 miles per gallon and the 2008 Nissan Armada gets a measly 13 miles per gallon. In fact in the 2008 Consumer’s Report the only vehicles above 25 miles per gallon were all hybrids. I am a firm believer that things aren’t built like they used to be. Manufacturers these days build things to break. The name for this is planned obsolescence.

To prove this to you the next time your in an old car feel how heavy the door is when you shut it and compare that to car doors these days that fly shut with a small gust of wind. Cars are not the only thing that are better to buy used than new. Appliances are a necessity in every household in America today. A refrigerator is definitely a must have but prices can often run as high as $2,500 dollars. I moved down to San Diego about 3 years ago and was in need of a refrigerator. I searched Craigslist and found an old 1995 model refrigerator for $100 dollars and haven’t had a single problem yet.

Refrigerators like cars are built to break. Due to America’s effort to conserve energy, appliances such as the refrigerator are now made with smaller condensers. Smaller condensers must work much harder than normal ones, causing them to burn out sooner. That means the refrigerator would have to be replaced in only a few years. If you were to buy an old refrigerator and run it with a power-controlling device it would be much cheaper in the long run. Refrigerators are just one example of household items your better off buying used.

Purchasing used furniture can also save your checkbook and will usually last a lot longer than you think. Furniture built before the 1980’s was made to last. Chairs, tables, desks and shelving took months to make and were almost always hand crafted, each piece a little different from the next. The wood used to build these items was usually high quality wood such as oak , pine or maple. These pieces were usually assembled by tongue and groove which is small grooves made in the wood so each part snuggly fits into the groove of the other piece of wood. Furniture built today is no longer a hobby or craft but just another ay to make money. The pieces built these days are made from compressed woods which is basically saw dust mixed with glue and compressed into a piece of wood. The furniture is held together usually with furniture glue or nails. Not only is furniture these days built not to last they lack in character and craftsmanship. Large companies mass produce cookie cutter furniture which loses value as soon as you bring it home. Older furniture cost less, last longer and may actually go up in value over time. These are just a few examples of things I believe should be bought used rather than new.

Companies these days are more focused on producing products faster and cheaper, which often leads to mediocre quality and high depreciation. Cars, appliances and furniture used to be built by experts that were masters of their trade and took pride in their work. Technology these days have watered down the expectations for life expectancy of a product. So instead of buying something new that was cheap to produce and expensive to buy, go with something old and used where your guaranteed durability and uniqueness. The smell of a new car last a few weeks but the smell of money saved last a lifetime.

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