Six things you shouldn’t buy new

If a penny saved is a penny earned, buying second-hand goods is a sure-fire way to make your savings stretch further.

But which items give the best bang for your second-hand buck? In the midst of ‘Buy Nothing New Month‘, we take a look at the top six items nominated by financial experts or frugal-living gurus.

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Buying a used car could save you thousands. Photo: Sutterstock

Perhaps the most popular asset to buy second-hand. Buyers with an eye for value can save thousands of dollars by purchasing a used car that may have been around the block a few times.

Car sales sites such as and advertise thousands of used cars along with photos and mechanical details. But be warned – second-hand cars still need a test drive and close inspection by the buyer, and preferably a mechanic, to determine their quality.

Financial advisor Matthew Ross, from Roskow Independent Advisory, said demo models can also represent great value for money.

“Even if you buy a demo from the dealer, you can knock $5000 off the price,” he said.

“But make sure the used car you’re buying isn’t too second-hand or you’re only inheriting someone else’s problem.”

Baby equipment

Babies use their prams, change tables and cots for such a short time that these items are still in near-new condition when sold second-hand. Preloved goods can be found at markets, op-shops and online at eBay, Gumtree and specific baby goods sites such as

But Frugal and Thriving blogger Melissa Goodwin says it pays to do your homework before purchasing.

“With second-hand baby stuff like cots, prams, highchairs etc, it’s important to have a good check over them for safety reasons and if you can get the brand, check that it’s not an item that’s been recalled due to manufacture fault,” she says.


Used or “previously loved” clothes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if the pieces are well cared for and well under purchase price, what’s not to love?

Everyone from lovers of designer wear to families on a tight budget appreciates how much it costs to keep a well-stocked wardrobe. Op shops can be fertile hunting ground, but can take hours of searching with few results.


The average Australian spends $143 per child each Christmas. Photo: Shutterstock

Seasoned second-hand shoppers say eBay is a trusted source of used attire. It not only provides specific search criteria and safe online transaction methods, but also a way to communicate with sellers if more information is needed or problems experienced.

Kids toys

Every parent will attest to the short attention span of their children. Even the most expensive toys can fail to hold their interest for long.

Australian parents spend an average $143 on each child at Christmas, a survey of more than 350 mums and dads by Planning With Kids blog found in October last year. This kind of spending requires a lot of budgeting.

Thankfully, the silver lining to kids outgrowing their playthings is the plentiful range of second-hand toys for sale. Used toys are a popular category on eBay and Gumtree, are always in stock at op-shops and are even advertised on Facebook noticeboards.


Brand spanking new textbooks cost a fortune, particularly for cash-strapped university students. Fortunately these can be found at campus bookstores or online at sites such as StudentVIP and Amazon. Use your savings to pay off that HECS debt!


Restocking the kitchen when pots, pans and crockery decide to die is not a cheap exercise. Buying good quality cookware can be achieved by searching for second-hand brands that are tried and trusted.

Of course, used kitchen goods will not come with a warranty. Ms Goodwin advises checking the description and photos for any faults if you are buying online at eBay or Gumtree.

“Most people who sell second hand are honest, in my experience, but you still have to do all the due checks,” she says.

Op shops are treasure troves of the beautiful and unique. Op Shop Chic by Rosie Lyons shows you how to brighten up your home, garden and wardrobe with pre-loved goods. Buy it here.

op-shop-chicLearn how to rejuvenate old furniture and crockery, imaginatively repurpose beautiful fabric from old clothes, turn cheap bric-a-brac into gorgeous home wares and turn jars of buttons into stylish jewellery. Easy-to-follow instructions and practical tips make this an indispensable and inspiring handbook for every creative crafter.
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