15 Things That Lose Value as Soon as You Buy Them – The Cheat Sheet
Anyone who watches Antiques Roadshow knows that certain items appreciate in value the longer you hang onto them. The trick to figuring out what you should count on for your retirement fund? A little bit of foresight and refusing to believe items are worth money when they’re called “collectibles” (we’re looking at you, Beanie Babies).
Some things are worth spending the money on because they’ll appreciate over time, like your home. But then there are those certain items that decrease in value from the moment you purchase them. Ahead, check out the most common items that lose value almost immediately.
1. New cars
New cars | welcomia/iStock/Getty Images
There’s no escaping the truth — brand new cars depreciate by as much as 11% the minute you drive them off the lot. One year later, their value decreases by 25% and by five years, it’s down a whopping 63%. Car insurance companies even have something called “gap insurance” to help protect drivers from the reality of rapid car value depreciation.
Next: The value for this item is all in your head.
Engagement ring | Aeya/iStock/Getty Images
The value of diamonds is largely the result of a massively successful marketing campaign by De Beers in 1938. As with most things, much of their value is entirely fabricated — and fickle. While gold and silver are commodities that typically hold their value, exorbitantly priced fine jewelry will almost never be worth what you paid for it if you purchase it full price from a jewelry store.
Next: These have new versions all the time.
3. Video games
Video games | robtek/iStock/Getty Images
Ever try to trade in a used video game? Then you probably noticed it’s not worth anywhere near what you paid for it. Since manufacturers are constantly coming out with new games and new versions of existing games, almost none of the existing games are worth much at all.
Next: This item is expensive, but it loses 72% of its value in one year.
4. Cell phones
Apple iPhone | Prykhodov/iStock
Blame this one on the speed of technology — cell phones don’t hold their value for very long at all. One study found that certain brands of phones lose as much as 72% of their value in just one year. Even expensive iPhones are worth much less the moment you open the box.
Next: Even brand new, this item isn’t worth much.
Art deco | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images
Consider this: You could purchase a brand new couch for $3,000 and have trouble selling it for half that amount the very next today. That’s because furniture doesn’t hold its value, especially the longer you have (and use) it. Look for this type of item on sale or clearance if you can.
Next: It’s a mistake to overpay for this thing.
6. Wedding gowns
Bridal gown | Kostyazar/iStock/Getty Images
Even if you never wore your wedding gown, it still wouldn’t be worth the price you paid for it. That’s because wedding dress makers know that gowns are an emotional purchase and they can charge a premium for them. Your best bet? Shop sample sales, set a budget, and stick with it.
Next: There are more of these on the market than buyers.
Vacation | EpicStockMedia/iStock/Getty Images
Contrary to what the salesperson told you during that presentation, timeshares are not a smart investment. The supply of timeshares vastly exceeds the demand, with a $20,000 timeshare on the primary market selling for less than $4,000 on the resale market. Add in maintenance fees and you’ve got nothing but a giant headache.
Next: Here’s a good argument for borrowing this rather than buying it new.
Books | Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Never pay the cover price for that new thriller. Books depreciate in value at lightning speed, and unless you return yours with the original receipt to the store, you’ll never be able to recoup the money you spent. Save money by borrowing books from the library instead.
Next: Try to restrain from buying this type of item new.
Boat | Atlantic_Adv/iStock/Getty Images
They say the two best days of your life are the day you purchase your boat and the day you finally sell it to the next sucker. Like cars, boats are unlikely to hold their value, especially when you purchase one brand new.
Next: These aren’t worth much after you buy them.
10. Media items
DVD | Yoshikozu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
CDs, DVDs, blu-rays… pretty much any type of media isn’t likely to hold its value past the day you purchase it. It’s unwise to purchase these types of items as investments as rapidly changing technology ensures they’ll be worth as much as cassette tapes soon.
Next: You’re definitely overpaying for this.
Clothing rack | Sigefride/iStock/Getty Images
Take your brand new with tags jacket to a local thrift store and you’re in for a rude awakening: it’s not worth anywhere near the price you paid for it in the store. Clothing depreciates in value even when it’s unworn.
Next: Attempting to sell these things secondhand is silly.
Toiletries | Okea/iStock
Food and other consumables don’t hold their value after you buy them. Shampoo, conditioner, fancy anti-wrinkle cream — all of it depreciates at an alarming rate, especially when it’s about to expire and needs to be thrown away.
Next: So many people spend too much cash on this type of thing.
Handbag | alexalenin/iStock/Getty Images
Forget spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a designer handbag. Even the fanciest name brands depreciate in value over time, making them a terrible investment decision. Buy the bag you like, but don’t expect it to hold its value.
Next: There’s a surplus of inventory for this.
Toys | Michael Buckner/Getty Images
People are always getting rid of toys and other kid items, which is part of the reason the value of this type of merchandise doesn’t hold even if you don’t open the box. There are certain things like car seats that you should never buy secondhand. But when you can, always take the hand-me-down.
Next: Here’s how you can tell if your item is worth anything.
15. Yard sale items
People visiting a yard sale | csfotoimages/iStock
Interested in seeing what else doesn’t hold value? Take a quick scroll through the classifieds or your local online yard sale site. You’ll notice that most items are offered for an extraordinary discount. Anything you see there probably won’t hold its value when you purchase it new.
Read more: Common Household Items That Are Worth More Than You Think (and Others That Are Worth Even Less)
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