Oct. 12, 2010 -- Secondhand stores are booming, not despite the tricky economy, but because of it.
The Association of Resale Professionals says secondhand sales are increasing 35 percent a year, whereas regular retailers are only seeing gains of about 2 percent.
What does this mean for you, the consumer? Better inventory and bigger bargains.
Buying used not only saves you money, but saves the environment because re-using products is very green.
Don't Buy New
Losing weight is the No. 1 New Year's resolution every year, and a few weeks or months later, when somebody else's resolution is forgotten, you can score a great deal.
Indestructible things like dumbbells are the safest bet. Try out more complicated machines for a good 10 to 15 minutes to make sure they work. And stick to the tried and true types of equipment found in gyms, rather than oddball as-seen-on-TV equipment that makes over-the-top fitness claims.
Typical bargains are 50 percent to 75 percent off buying used. "Good Morning America" found the Lifecycle 9500 for $1,137 new. By contrast, the used price: just $100 on Craigslist.
Click HERE to see five other items you should buy used.
They say diamonds are forever, but you may decide that new diamonds are never when you hear the price differences.
The industry likes to claim that diamonds appreciate in value, but really, they have a pretty dismal resale value -- which is great for buyers.
Also, diamonds, other gems, gold and silver don't wear out -- unlike other used goods.
Just make sure you're buying from a reputable seller and have the jewelry appraised before paying. Then pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if necessary.
One example: a classic Tiffany ring, three-quarter karat size, nice quality. New: $4,880. Used on eBay: $2,500.
CDs, DVDs and Video Games
You can get the entire album on CD for less than the cost of a single download if you buy it used. So for example, here's the classic Alanis Morisette album, "Jagged Little Pill," that every female has to own, and it's $10.97 new, but we found it for just 75 cents online.
Now, DVDs: Buying them used can be cheaper than renting. Or you can take advantage of swapping websites where you trade movies with other members for free -- just the cost of postage. So here's our example: The movie "Juno" costs $15.99 brand new on Amazon, but if you click the used button, you can get it for half price: $7.99
As for video games, once you or your kids have mastered them, they get old pretty fast. So once again, buying used is golden. Even big box retailers like Walmart and Best Buy have started selling pre-owned video games.
Sample pricing: The game "Madden" was $25.37 new, and $6.98 used.
Used Musical Instruments
Instruments are pricey -- especially if you or your kids are beginners and not sure you're going to stick with playing them.
Plus, older instruments can be better. Many were hand-crafted and made of materials that just aren't available today. And most wooden instruments actually get better with age, as they sort of cure and mellow.
It's best to take the instrument to a separate repair shop before you buy it and ask how much, if any work, it needs.
"GMA" priced a violin for $477 new. An equivalent used violin was just $100.
Used maternity clothes really make sense because women only wear them for a few months.
They're usually not as trendy as regular clothes, so they have a better chance of staying in style from year to year. Plus, when you're expecting, there are so many things you need to buy for the new baby that you may not want to spend a bunch of money on temporary clothes.
A Gap maternity dress was $59 new. But there are lots of websites that sell similar Gap maternity dresses for just $4 used.