The Often Forgotten Art of Buying Used and Selling Used

by RJ

in Random

If you’re a smart buyer, one of the factors that go into your car purchase is resale value. Your goal is not only to buy a car for a good price today, but  a car that has value, years down the road (pun intended).

Sounds smart, right? That’s because it is. Paying attention to what the resale value is, means  more money in your pocket in the future.

Since I’m a big fan of having more money, I started to think what else I can apply this concept towards.

5 Things to Buy Used and Sell Used

The goal isn’t to get rid of the following items for pennies. That’s why I don’t include small items such as books or DVDs. Most of the items below can be resold for a little less than what you paid. Making the cost of owning each item as close to zero as possible.

  1. Appliances – Thanks to many homes being foreclosed, soon to be former homeowners, in a last-ditch effort to raise some cash are selling their appliances. It’s  easy right now to buy like new appliances for large amounts off of retail, only to sell them back a few years later, close to what you paid today.
  2. Cell Phones – A few years back, I was eligible for a phone upgrade. I went with the 1st Generation iPhone for $200. Turns out I can still get over $100 for that phone on eBay. When I do, I will upgrade to the 3G, which used costs around $150. Making the total cost of ownership so far only $250.
  3. Furniture – A quick glance on Craigslist and you will see there is no shortage of quality furniture. Want to upgrade couches or dining room tables? Turn to Craigslist first. There is a larger market, of quality items, than most think.
  4. Office Equipment - I like buying my computers brand new. However, when it comes to used paper shredders, desks, chairs, filing cabinets, etc…there is a large market of quality used items.
  5. Textbooks & Course Materials – Last year, I sat for the Certified Financial Planner® exam, which I’m proud to say I passed. The best deal I could find on Pre-Study materials was around $450. I was about to pay, when at the last second, I decided to check eBay. Turns out, the exact same materials were on eBay, which I bought for $150. That’s not the best part, after  finishing the examination and no longer needing for the materials; I sold them for $180.

Minimizing the Spread

Your goal on big purchases is to minimize the spread or the difference between what it costs to buy new and what it will be worth after you’re finished with it.

In the comments, please let me know if you have you successfully bought something used, only to sell it again for barely less? Plus, what other items are good for buying used and selling used.


Photo by: Dick Penn

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