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Buy It New or Buy It Used?

You often have a choice: Buy it new, or buy it used.

Finding a great bargain on a used item online, in a secondhand store or at a garage sale is a great feeling, but sometimes you're better off paying more and getting the item out of the box.

On "The Early Show", CBS News Business and Economic Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis had the scoop on some things you can save on by purchasing used ones, and some items that are best bought brand new.

Simply put: Being frugal is all well and good, but sometimes you're better off laying down the cash for new, rather than buying someone else's troubles in a used product.

THINGS TO BUY USED

Jewelry: Depreciation hits hard when you try to sell used jewelry, but as a buyer you can take advantage of the markdown to save a bundle. This is especially true for diamonds, which have ridiculously low resale value. Check out estate sales and reputable pawn shops to find great deals on unique pieces. Even if you decide to resell the jewelry later, the depreciation won't hurt as much.

Timeshares: Buying timeshares isn't for everyone, but if you decide that it suits your lifestyle, purchasing the property as a resale would be a better deal than buying it brand new: On average, you'll save 67 percent on the price for a comparable new timeshare. If you're new to timeshare ownership, give it a test run first by renting short term.

Office Furniture: Good office furniture is built to withstand heavy use and handling. Really solid pieces will last a lifetime, long after they're resold the first or second time. A great used desk or file cabinet will work as well as (or better than) a new one, but for a fraction of the cost. And with the recession shutting down so many businesses, you can easily find lots of great office furniture deals.

DVDs, CDs, Books, Video Games: Used DVDs and CDs will play like new if they were well taken care of. Even if you wind up with a scratched disc and you don't want to bother with a return, there are ways to remove the scratches and make the DVD or CD playable again.

You can also buy used books at significant discounts from online sellers and brick-and-mortar used book stores. The condition of the books may vary, but they usually range from good to like-new. And of course, check out your local library for free reading material. As for video games, kids get tired of them rather quickly. You can easily find used video games from online sellers at sites like Amazon and eBay a few months after the release date. Most video game store outlets will feature a used game shelf, as well. And if you're not the patient type, you can rent or borrow from a friend first to see if it's worth the purchase.

Sports Equipment: Most people buy sports equipment planning to use the items until they're worn down, but this rarely happens. So when sports equipment ends up on the resale market, they tend to still be in excellent condition. Look into buying used sporting gear through Craigslist and at yard sales or sports equipment stores. At golfsmith.com a used set of Ping golf clubs sells for $300, a new set of similar clubs retail for $700.

Home Accents: Home decor and artwork are rarely handled on a day-to-day basis, so they're generally still in good condition even after being resold multiple times. If you like the worn-out look of some decor pieces, you can be sure you didn't pay extra for something that comes naturally with time. And don't forget, for most of us, discovering a true gem at a garage sale is 90% of the fun!

THINGS TO BUY NEW

Cribs and children's furniture: If there's any chance that you'll put your children at risk by buying used, then buy new. Used children's furniture, especially cribs, can be a safety hazard because you can't be certain of a potential recall or if the crib was installed correctly.

Digital and video cameras: Like laptops, used digital and video cameras are likely to have been dropped and banged around. It may not be obvious, but once the damage kicks in, it'll be expensive to repair. If you know what to look for in a digital camera, you can get a great new camera without breaking the bank.

Plasma and LCD TVs: The cost of fixing or replacing the parts on plasma or other HDTVs is high. Sometimes it costs as much as buying a new TV. Considering the repair costs, you'd want to get an extended warranty, but that isn't an option if you buy your TV used.

Car seats: Even if a used car seat looks OK, damaged car seats aren't uncommon. Considering that safety technology improves every year -- and the fact that car seats can go for as little as $50 -- buying new is usually the better option.

Bicycle helmets: Typically a crash would only crush the foam inside the helmet casing, so the damage to the helmet may not be visible. However, since helmets are meant to protect against one accident only, buying a new one would be a safer bet.

Vacuum cleaners: Vacuums are among the heavy-duty household appliances that tend to get a lot of use and abuse. They can also cost more to fix than to purchase new. Oreck vacuums, for example, are well worth the price for their sucking power. Keep in mind that older models tend to spew more dust than they suck up. So suck up and pay out the cash for a good vacuum. Your nose will thank you.

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