Buying used items is one of the top ways to consistently save money on everything you purchase. However, not every used item is a good value.
Here are 9 things we think are better when bought new.
Back in 2011, the government changed safety standards for baby cribs in response to infant deaths related to old designs. Whereas drop-side cribs used to be common, they are now banned. Plus, the new rules require stronger supports and hardware.
The problem with buying a used crib is the chance you might end up with one of the millions that have been recalled. It may be easy to avoid drop-side cribs, but unless the seller can provide the original sales information, you may not know whether your purchase meets the new safety requirements.
Better safe than sorry, so we say skip the used crib and invest in a new, safer one.
2. Car seats
Car seats are another no-no when it comes to buying used. Again, safety is the reason.
A used car seat could have been in an accident or exposed to extreme elements, either of which could compromise the seat's durability. In addition, older seats may not be made to the latest safety standards.
You could save a few bucks and get a used seat or spend a little more and give your child the best protection possible. If you can't afford a new seat, contact your local social services agency or community wellness organization. They may have leads on programs offering free or low-cost car seats.
A final safety item you want to buy new is a helmet. This could be a helmet for a bike or a helmet for a motorcycle. Here, the main concern with buying used is that the helmet could be compromised from a previous accident. Play it safe and purchase yours new.
A used computer is a giant question mark. You don't necessarily know how it's been used, and unless you're tech-savvy, you might not be able to see what programs are lurking on the hard drive.
Laptops, in particular, are prone to all sorts of abuse, from being banged around in a bag to being dropped on the ground.
There is one exception when it comes to buying used computers and laptops: We're talking about buying refurbished computers. These are either used or open-box items that have been inspected and cleared for resale.
Buying refurbished items can be a safe way to get a bargain on used electronics. You can learn more in this article.
5. Digital cameras
Like laptops, a second-hand digital camera may not only be used, it could also have been abused. It's hard to look at one and determine how well its previous owner cared for it.
If you just need a basic point-and-click camera or video recorder, new models aren't all that expensive. Or you could just use your smartphone and skip the expense completely.
If you're interested in having comfy feet and minimizing back pain, you might want to skip past the used shoe section at the thrift store. Shoes often conform to their first owner's feet, which can make them uncomfortable for you.
I know, some of you are probably shocked to think that anyone would wear used makeup. And yet you can find used mascara, lipstick and eye shadow at thrift stores, garage sales and on eBay. There's even a Reddit makeup exchange board for people to swap their barely used cosmetics.
Used makeup can be a completely harmless bargain -- or it might contain scary bacteria or spread disease. We say it's not worth the risk, and you're better off buying your beauty products new.
Like shoes, mattresses tend to conform to the bodies of their users. Buying used might mean you end up with a lumpy bed that leaves you tossing and turning all night long.
Even worse, a used mattress can harbor all sorts of nasty things like allergens, dust mites and bed bugs. In some cases, retailers may try to pass off used mattresses as new ones. The Federal Trade Commission has some tips to help you avoid inadvertently buying a used mattress that has been recovered.
9. Stuffed animals
Stuffed animals are another item that can contain dust mites and allergens. In addition, some animals may have safety issues, such as eyes that pop off and become a choking hazard.
Buying used means you can end up with a toy that has been recalled or one that harbors unpleasantness that you may not want to bring into your house.