My Journey out of Debt

Featured customers currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Relief Plan, share journey to become debt-free; hear how they juggle family, finances, and more.

It's New to You

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It's New to YouTwo years ago, I got my wife an iPod Touch for Christmas. 

I think I paid about $250 for it, but I honestly can't remember. When you're putting all your holiday shopping on credit cards, who really pays attention? 

She used it to listen to music while she exercised, and thus it came with us on our trip to Florida in April 2010, as we planned to do some outside exercising in the warm Florida sun. Somewhere between packing the car to leave for our flight home, a stop at a gas station, and the airport, a case containing our digital camera and my wife's iPod Touch got lost.

My wife has been using her old one since then. 


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It barely holds enough charge for a single workout, and randomly shuts off. She is frustrated with it, to say the least. 

My wife and I are on a quest to become both more financially and physically fit in 2011, and listening to music really helps motivate her throughout her workouts. 

Buying her a brand new iPod Touch for hundreds of dollars is just not feasible right now, but I somehow want to replace her dying iPod. 

I thought of several options such as purchasing a less expensive iPod, or maybe an MP3 player that was not an iPod. Suddenly, it occurred to me to search for a used iPod Touch. The thought seemed odd at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a good idea. 

People buy used cars and houses all the time, why would purchasing other items used be any different? 

So, I pulled up the internet and did some searching. I found a large selection of people selling used iPod for significantly less than new. Awesome! 

I decided to keep going. 

If you've read previous blogs of mine, you know that our vacuum cleaner is busted and we've been borrowing one from our neighbors. A quick search found a dozen or so posts selling used vacuums within 10 miles of my house. One person just got married and had duplicate items with their new spouse. It was less than a year old, and she was asking half the retail cost!

Okay, one more test. 

My personal laptop is starting to make some odd noises. I wondered if I could find a used replacement at a reasonable cost. 

For this one, I went to my employer's intranet. We have an employee purchase program for used computers. I found a quality used laptop for only $222.

Buying a used item can be a great option to fill a need at a reduced cost. 

Let's be honest, I'm not going to pull out my vacuum cleaner to try to impress people when I'm entertaining guests, so what does it matter if my vacuum cleaner is used? 

My wife's lost iPod Touch would now be a few years old. So what does it matter if I would decide to purchase a used iPod Touch from someone else? 

The next time a household item breaks, gets lost, or just needs to be replaced, search the internet, and check those classifieds. You just might find something that can be new to you.

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Travis PizelTravis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan and in his posts he shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. Compensated CareOne Blogger.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles



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  • So instead of buying a used iPod, why didn't you buy a new battery and just replace it?  If you scoured the'd see how easy and in-expensive it is to just fix the iPod instead of replacement.  Buying used is great up front (its how I got my 3 iPods), but the art of repairing items seems to be lost.

    If it's already've nothing to loose attempting to repair.

  • That's an awesome suggestion Rahhstah!  I really had no idea that was even possible.   This is exactly the point of the Community and the blogs - to share tips and help each other out.  I ipod in question is an older iPod mini, but I did find a battery kit for under $15, and also found instructions to install it.  I'm a tech savy kind of guy, and it would be a breeze for me to do it.

    Alas, though, I fear that more may be wrong with the Ipod than just the battery.  When it does work (it always "works" when plugged into the wall or into a USB port), it doesn't seem to send the entire music signal to the headphones (tried multiple headphones) - it only gets the higher tones, no bass at all.  I've checked all the settings I can find (even reset to factory settings), and looked on the internet and can't find any indication this is a "fixable" issue.

  • I always try to buy used stuff.  My garage doors were rotting and one of the openers was broken.  We didn't have the money to replace them with the nice insulated new ones so I looked on craigslist and found two doors and two openers for $250.  Put them up in one day and saved a few grand.  Going to throw a coat of paint on them when the weather warms up and should get at another ten years out of them.

  • Thanks for sharing your money saving experience by buying used, bimportico. This is a great example of how buying used can save someone a lot of money!

  • I should also mention that many manufacturers - notably Apple - have "refurbished" units available on their web sites, which come with warranties as new, but cost substantially less.  I am a professional Apple Consultant, and I haven't bought a new Apple computer since the mid-90's; they've all been "refurbs."  It's a great way to both save money AND have the advantages of a new item.

  • Thanks for the tip, mymacguy!  I wasn't aware that Apple offered refurbhised units on their website.  I'll definitely check it out!

  • My brother in law works for apple.  He said they refurbish old ipods all the time.  You just have to know to ask for them.  And they are usually super cheap, come with a warranty and are in all different color cases and styles.

  • I looked on their website, and sure enough reburbished ipods are indeed for sale.  I'm not sure I would call them super cheap, though.  Example: 8GB ipod touch new cost's $199, refurbished costs $149.  You can find them cheaper on Craig's list....however, it still is a significant savings AND it comes with a warrenty (which is a BIG positive).

  • Here's a couple of websites you folks might find interesting.   it's sort of a myth that modern electronics are "unrepairable".  Educate yourself about how they work and you'll understand how to repair them.  The web is a wondrous tool.   There's more to it that facebook.  Obviously you always want to be careful about the reliability of information.  But if you've a brain in your head, you should be able to tell what's real and what to take *** grano salis.

    Check these out:

    And remember that modern electronics are often built with modular parts.  The difference between an ordinary HDTV and a Super hi def television may simply be a digital processing chip you can purchase from or somewhere similar for $15.  Learn to solder.  etc etc.

  • Thanks for the info, David - DIY certainly provides lots of opportunity to save money on fixing, maintaining, and even building things yourself.  It just takes a bit of motivation and confidence to push the average person to come out of their comfort zone to give it a shot!

  • My father told me a long time ago "son, no one ever drives a new car.  It's "used" to everyone else as soon as you drive it off the lot.  There's a lot of wisdom there.   Thanks, Dad.

  • I agree, Denver, there is a lot of wisdom there.  The same can be said about pretty much any item.....and if the used item works great and fits your need....why not?

  • This a great point. I use sites like and others all the time. Why buy a new bike rack when a used one is just as good? Some items are too personal to buy used, but that does not include electronics, books, and even some furniture. Plus, as a kid, I loved going into resale shops and finding deals. It used to be fun.

  • Nice to hear from another fellow purchaser of used products, Shannon! I agree that there some items that are too personal - but I think that line is probably drawn in a different place depending upon the person.  Thanks for sharing!

  • I have long been a fan of pinching a penny until if bleeds!I.My late husband and I stretched every dime for many years. We learned how to fix, remodel, and make fun for the kids out of next to nothing. Did you know that 4 kids will love a rented movie with microwaved popcorn just as much as going out if you make a big deal of MOVIE NIGHT? They will love a homemade burger more than McDonalds when you let them bring their big wheels inside and play "pick-up window." My sons are in college now, but they still fondly remember the movie nights, riding their big wheels in the kitchen, having picnics in their fort outside... I think the fact that we went out of the way to make it exciting for them makes them treasure it far more than any amount of money we could have spent if we had it.

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