Bargain shopping when money matters - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bargain shopping when money matters

Everyone's obviously shopping a little smarter these days trying to get what they want for as little as possible. But now there's a way to score a deal that has nothing to do with clipping coupons or scouting for that seasonal sale. More of today's savvy shoppers and retailers say the trick is realizing: what's old is new again! Bargain hunting is becoming an art form in this economy. But now you can score a deal by skipping new-and going used. We're not talking online auctions or pawn shops but first hand retail stores.

"When times are good, new is cool. When times are bad, cheap is chic! And that's really the message that's going on in the retail market now," said Carl Howe of Yankee Group.

Market analyst Carl Howe says it's the new way to shop for all kinds of things. While used cars and retooled computers are both really popular, there are also items you wouldn't think of. Prestigious watchmaker Tourneau says its refurbished timepieces are now a top seller.

"There's a lot of value in pre-owned. You can buy a contemporary classic depending on the brand--- from about 10 percent less than retail..all the way down to 30 to 40 percent less," said Andrew Block of Tourneau.

If you want to ring up savings, there are a lot of options when it comes to used phones and I-pods. Apple sells refurbished ipods online. AT&T offers used Blackberries at a discount. Best Buy sells refurbed I-phones for $50 less than the new version. The company says it's a hot item.

"We've had a lot of success with it," said Lisette Martinez, Best Buy Manager.

GameStop reports a 22% sales jump due in part to its used games. Avid gamer Jeremiah Harris says over the years, he's saved thousands on used games and consoles.

"I bought new consoles and then I got smart and starting buying used...It's a dramatic, you know, decrease in price," said Harris.

Howe says buying used typically saves you about 5 to 25% but you have to be a savvy shopper and check out the warranties. He says you may get the best protections when you buy directly from the manufacturer.

"Those usually carry the same warranties, the same guarantees that a new product would. So it's a relatively risk-free deal for the consumer," said Howe.

Retailers often back the manufacturers' warranty or offer their own.

"We give you a one year warranty. Every trade in or watch that is brought in from the consumer is overhauled by factory-trained technicians using factory parts," said Block.

Howe says there's no doubt, it's a trend whose time has come.

"The stigma of buying used products really has gone away, particularly with the economic downturn. It's really changed the way people think about their money," said Howe.

"Remember, the only one that's going to know when you leave the store that it's used, is you!" exclaimed Block.

When it comes to the terminology --- "used" and "pre-owned" are obvious but experts say "refurbished" can also mean the items have been discontinued or returned unused and repackaged for sale at a discount.

Online Producer:  Bob Waters

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