New or second hand?

Buying secondhand can be a great way to save cash and still have the items you need or long for, but it can also be a bit of a minefield. While some things are just as good secondhand, others are best bought new. We take a look at those bits and pieces you can save money on, and the secondhand nasties it's wise to avoid.

What to buy new or secondhand

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Buy secondhand

Secondhand buys are the best way to get your hands on designer gear that might prove beyond your means otherwise. Once exorbitant items often pop up in online auction sites and at charity shops for a fraction of their original price tag, so why not snap them up? See how to make money from second hand clothes.

Baby clothes
The fact that babies grow so quickly means keeping up on the clothes front can be a continuing problem, but since so many mums and dads are in the same boat, there are always plenty of hand-me-downs to go around. Check eBay or keep your eyes peeled for local ads from NCT groups and parents whose kids have already outgrown their wardrobe. Some baby and children's items, like shoes, car seats and cot mattresses, are best bought new.

As satisfying as buying a new car may be, the minute you drive it away, the depreciation starts. Most dealerships will have three-year-old cars that are significantly cheaper than the newest models, and will come with warranties and the knowledge that you're buying a safety-checked vehicle. Alternatively, opt for a used car dealer - just be sure to have a mechanic look it over before you buy.

Console games
New games for Xbox, Wii and PlayStation come at a hefty price, and if you're a casual gamer or a parent with gaming kids, the cost can quickly mount up. Wait just a few months and the prices will drop considerably, and as avid games fans complete and discard their bought-new titles, you can pick up cheap pre-owned copies from reputable retailers.

Buy new

Though it may seem everlasting, the quality of perfume declines over time, meaning the scent is not what it once was. Therefore, even secondhand perfume that's still boxed and unused could turn out to be a poor buy.

Car seats
No parent would take a risk when it comes to their child's safety, and that's particularly true when it comes to having a baby on board. New car seats undergo rigorous testing to ensure their safety, and if you buy one secondhand there's no guarantee that it'll be up to scratch. Save yourself the worry and invest in a shop-bought seat.

Even though there are some amazingly cheap deals to be had when it comes to computers, laptops and tablets, they will still put a sizeable dent in your wallet. However, what might look like a fabulous secondhand deal could turn out to be money down the drain, as even those in working order could be reaching the end of their usable lifetime. Instead, keep your eyes open for retailers offering refurbished machines that are often much cheaper than new models but have been checked and come with a guarantee.

Safety helmets
Whether you're a biker, a cyclist or a horse rider, a helmet is an essential piece of kit. But just dropping a helmet can seriously compromise its effectiveness in the event of an accident. Why take the risk?

What items do you buy secondhand, and which do you insist on buying new? Leave your comments below...