Avoid secondhand-buyer’s remorse
photo by PetitPoulailler
Buying preowned merchandise is often frugal — unless you buy something you don’t need or can’t use. When you come across what appears to be a good bargain, it’s tough to decide whether to grab it or walk away. Ask yourself the following before buying:
— Can I afford this?
— Does this purchase have other related costs involved?
— Am I informed on this item? Have I comparison shopped?
— Do I need this? Do I have room for this?
— Is there a lower-cost alternative?
— Will this purchase help me toward my goals?
— If I waited to purchase this item, would it be less expensive?
Sometimes, buyer’s remorse sets in when your purchase doesn’t work out . Consider the following common mistakes that are made during the thrill of the buy, so you can prevent buying something you’ll regret later.
ELECTRONICS AND COMPUTERS: Test electrical items before buying them. Some things look brand-new but don’t work. Laptops go through a lot of wear and tear. And there’s no warranty.
APPLIANCES: Used appliances can be inefficient. Consider passing on old freezers and refrigerators. With items like vacuums, test them before buying. While some require only a simple repair, it’s often best to buy new or refurbished.
CLOTHING AND SHOES: Carefully look clothing over for rips, tears, shrinkage and stains. Some clothing might smell like body odor, pet urine, tobacco or perfume that won’t come out even after multiple washings. Some people buy used shoes. Try them on to see whether they fit and are comfortable. Don’t waste money on poor-quality used shoes. Treat shoes with a disinfectant spray. You can also use baking soda, wadded newspaper, clean kitty litter or charcoal. Clothing sizes vary, so try it on, and bring a measuring tape or a garment from home for comparison.
TOYS: Many used toys are broken or missing parts. If it’s battery-operated, check to make sure it works. Be aware of any toys that have been recalled or contain lead.
GLASSWARE AND COLLECTIBLES: Check for chips and cracks. They can sometimes be hard to see at first glance. Many holiday decorations can be found inexpensively during post-holiday clearance sales, so it might be worth passing it up at a thrift store. Beware of reproductions, replicas and counterfeits when shopping for collectibles, jewelry, sunglasses, fragrances and handbags. How can you spot a knockoff? Look for misspelled trademarks, missing labels, etc. In other words, be informed on originals.
DVDS AND GAMES: If you’re looking for newer movies and games, you’re better off buying from movie and game stores that sell preowned releases. If you’re at a garage sale, you can ask the seller about the condition of the products. You can find great deals on older releases at thrift stores, but you’re taking a chance on the condition, so ask about their return policy.
FRAMES: If it includes art, check that it’s not warped or damaged. If it’s an empty frame, avoid buying a custom size that you’ll probably never find anything to fit in it.
LAMPS: Plug them in to make sure they work. If it doesn’t have a lampshade, it can get costly to find a replacement shade.
KITCHENWARE: Check bakeware for rust, scratches and a nonstick surface. With cutlery, look for silver or stainless steel. Be sure that plates and bowls are food-safe.
CLOCKS AND WATCHES: These items can be tricky. They might appear to work but aren’t accurate. They can sometimes be found in their original boxes and look brand-new. Test them out in your cart while you shop to see whether they keep proper time.
Lastly, avoid buying used mattresses, helmets and baby gear for safety reasons. Check for recalls at www.recalls.gov. Be aware of retail costs on items, too. Often, you’ll discover many items aren’t a deal at all. For example, with clothing, check your labels. Brands from discount stores can sometimes be sold more expensively at thrift stores. You can check eBay.com to compare prices, too.
Have you bought any secondhand items you regret? Let me know your secondhand flops or buying tips.