Money-savvy shoppers know that there is big money to be saved by buying certain things second-hand – but you really need to buy some things new. Take our tips and score big. 


There’s something to be said for buying a brand-new item and being the first person to use it. But some things get better with age – or are just not worth paying full price for. You know what they say – one (wo)man’s trash…

Petrolheads will tell you nothing compares to that new-car smell, of course, but that whiff of brand-newness is going to cost you, from the moment you drive your new baby off the showroom floor. Luxury sedans, sports cars and lesser-known brands are the ones to steer well clear of as their value drops considerably – by almost 50 percent, even within the first year! Not that other models are exempt: most cars lose value at a rate of 10-20 percent a year.

But that doesn’t mean you have to buy a proper skedonk. The ideal used car to buy is one to two years old. Normally still under warranty, they have already taken their biggest knock in terms of losing value, so they represent good value for money. Because they are later models, they’re also more fuel-efficient than older models. It’s important to remember that you’re better off going to a dealer than buying a car voetstoots from a stranger online. If you buy a used car privately, it’s a case of ‘Buyer Beware’, according to the Automobile Association.

When you buy from a dealer you have better legal protection should anything go wrong. Also stick to reputable dealers – make sure it’s an established dealership, not one that sprung up on the corner two months ago. Buying from a reputable dealer means you know the car wasn’t stolen and you have an up-to-date service history. If you have any doubts about the car, have it independently inspected – a qualified mechanic giving it a once-over could save you thousands in the long run.

Still a fan of owning the complete box set of your favourite show rather than blowing through your data by watching it on Netflix? ‘Most people won’t rewatch their DVD box sets or replay their PS4 games once they’ve completed them, which means you can pick up very recent releases for a fraction of the cost,’ says Claire Cobbledick, GM of Gumtree South Africa. ‘With technology changing as rapidly as it does, it really doesn’t make sense to pay full price for these items.’

A tip for students: before you spend a small fortune on brand-new textbooks and prescribed reading, check which ones make the list year after year and find out who took the class the year before – someone will definitely be looking to unload their old books. The same goes for bestsellers, and you might even find a rare edition of an old favourite online or in a second-hand shop. Charities often have book sales too, so the money goes to a good cause – bonus!

‘Babies outgrow their clothes within weeks,’ says Cobbledick. ‘There are tons of moms selling their gently used babywear by the bagful – I’ve seen some with the tags still on. Provided that the items aren’t faded or subject to stretching, it’s perfectly safe (and much more environmentally friendly) to buy your maternity and baby clothes second-hand.’

How often have you had a peek inside someone’s garage, only to find a graveyard of abandoned hobbies? The surfboard that’s barely seen water; the drum kit that drove the neighbours mad for a week before the wannabe Hotstix lost interest and the punchbag that’s mostly been used as a clothes horse – all just gathering dust.

Before you make the same mistake and kit yourself out for a new hobby, have a look online. ‘Buy second-hand to see if the hobby sticks,’ says Cobbledick. ‘If it doesn’t, you can resell and you won’t feel the financial pinch as harshly.’ As for fitness equipment, you’ll find very gently used exercise bikes and weights for sale online. Someone else’s abandoned New Year’s resolution might just jump-start your fitness kick.

The same goes for new tents, camping stoves and camping chairs. ‘You’ll find plenty of second-hand items from families who went on one camping trip, hated it and decided to sell it all to pay for a nice hotel getaway,’ says Cobbledick. ‘Some of the items I’ve seen were never used and were sold for an absolute steal.’

What would you rather have: a generic coffee table or a quirky, antique statement piece? Some pieces just get better with age – the kitchen table that’s played host to many a family meal, the Art Deco cabinet that adds character to your living room or some vintage bedside tables to replace the matchy-matchy ones that came with the bed. You could even buy a simple pine piece and paint it. Follow the second-hand shops in your area on Instagram or Facebook – they often post pics of their new stock and you might snap up something special.

It’s said that the average power drill is used for only six to 20 minutes during its lifetime, yet somehow, we all feel that we need to own one. Maybe because no one will lend you theirs – it’s the kind of thing people borrow and never give back. The same goes for hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, and even bigger items like saws and angle grinders. As long as they’re not rusty, there’s no reason not to buy them second-hand.

Okay, so ‘second-hand’ might not be the right term for it, but we couldn’t resist slipping this one in here. Adopt, don’t shop! There are thousands of animals in shelters looking for loving families – why not give one of them a forever home? You’ll be repaid with loads of love.

Think tuxedoes, matric dance dresses, cocktail wear, evening gowns and, of course, the best example of something that’s literally used just once in its lifetime – wedding dresses. (If you’re carefully saving yours for your daughter, consider this: what are the odds of that particular style being back in fashion when she ties the knot? She might not want to be seen dead in the puffy-skirted or shoulder-padded number that was the envy of all your friends at the time. Just saying.)  Which is why there are entire websites dedicated to passing on your worn-once gown to a grateful bride-to-be. On, for instance, you can search according to size, designer or region, and get the designer dress you’ve always dreamed of at a fraction of the price.

Sometimes we throw good money away on buying something second-hand that simply doesn’t last. And some things just really shouldn’t be used by anyone but the original owner…

Protective headgear like bike helmets, motorcycle helmets and horse riding hats are built to withstand just one hard blow. ‘If you’re in a biking accident, throw out the bicycle helmet and replace it with a new one,’ the Mayo Clinic website reads. And here’s the thing with buying second-hand: unless it’s cracked, you won’t know if it’s been in an accident – there might be unseen damage.

Two words: ‘dust mites’. And ‘sweat’. And, hey, let’s throw in some dead skin cells and bodily fluids for good measure. Oh, and bed bugs. Convinced yet?

Used make-up is a bad idea – this is something someone has been applying to their skin, smearing over their lips or lining their eyes with. No sharing, please. And perfume will eventually go off, so unless you know for sure it’s relatively new, rather fork out for a new bottle.

Again, two words: ‘head lice’. Also, ‘sweat’, again. You can’t really wash a hat.

Unless you’re friends with a techie or are one, you don’t really know what you’re getting. There could be spyware or viruses lurking on it, and if it’s no longer under warranty it could cost you a small fortune if anything goes wrong. You could also lose all your information, pictures and anything else on it. Proceed with extreme caution.

Does anyone ever really get rid of a working vacuum cleaner? Plus, they’re filled with all the grime from someone else’s home.

Unless you’re buying it from someone you trust, you can’t be sure that its safety hasn’t been compromised after an accident. Why risk it?

Safety standards have changed over the years, so that vintage crib you have your eye on might well be covered in lead-based paint, and the ones with the drop-down sides are no longer considered safe – they have been recalled and later even banned in some countries.

Neoprene deteriorates over time, even if the wetsuit hasn’t been used all that much. In fact, lack of use can cause it to harden. And if it doesn’t fit properly, it’s not going to keep out the chill of the Atlantic.

We’re just calling this category ‘miscellaneous’ because honestly, no one with any common sense should be buying things like swimwear or  underwear second-hand. Right?

SECOND TIME AROUND SECOND TIME AROUND Reviewed by Mitasha Haripal on April 06, 2020 Rating: 5
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