When you’re working on your budget, one choice that you may be facing is whether you should buy new or used appliances for your home. The decision to buy used appliances may seem scary at first since these items are usually sold as-is without a warranty.
Before getting into specific tips on what to buy, it’s important that you’re able to research the products you’re interested in to learn about what’s best for your situation. Consumer Reports has many information pages and buying guides that discuss the specifics around different kinds of appliances and other goods.
When to buy used appliances
Buying used machines from friends or family can be an excellent way to go. Used appliance stores often mark up the prices of the used item close to the original price. If you can’t find quality used appliances at a reasonable price, it doesn’t make sense to invest most of the cost of a new machine into an older one. New machines come with the protection of warranty, whereas used goods rarely come with any protection.
With some appliances, maintenance and repairs are rarely needed. Appliances that need little upkeep like refrigerators, gas ranges and freezers are safe to buy used. Fridges and freezers can have a 20-year lifespan.
If you’re considering replacing a damaged appliance here’s a rule of thumb: if the cost of the repair is more than half of the price of a new (or high-quality used) product, buy the new product.
Newer appliances tend towards planned obsolescence and have a shorter lifespan than their older predecessors. Major appliances are designed to have a shelf life of about 10-15 years. Items that have visible damage or leaks should be avoided. Avoid used appliances that are timeworn since they won’t last much longer.
Bringing your new machine home
If you do opt for a used unit, make sure that you’ve got the means to lift, transport and install the appliance. This is often covered in the purchase of a new unit, so make sure that you’re not losing your savings by having to hire someone to do these things for you.
Refurbished appliances and other goods
Refurbished items are a great way to getting a quality used appliance. Refurbished items have been repaired and repackaged for sale. These are pretty reliable.
Other items such as electronics have a shorter shelf life. Used HDTV’s can be a good bargain through online retailers that allow you to communicate with the sellers. Mobile phones, tablets, and laptops become obsolete quickly, so make sure that if you’re buying a used item that it’s the most recent release of the product. The discounts aren’t significant, so it makes more sense to buy these new.
Ultimately, what’s appropriate for you depends on your budget and the needs of you and your family. If you need help with budgeting or debt management, visit a trusted non-profit organization like CreditGUARD of America to get back on track with your finances.
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