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Do you buy your curriculum used or new?


Nakia
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I have ALWAYS tried to buy my curriculum used as much as possible for the obvious reasons of saving money and helping out other homeschool families. But over the last six months, I have lost money three times. I don't know why it's happened so often so recently because I have purchased used, happily, for 6 years. I really really want to purchase all new this year, but as I've worked on my needs list for next year, the prices are scaring me. :eek:

 

We use SL, and I know they have a payment plan, so that's nice. OTOH, SL seems to be something that you can find relatively easy here on the S&S boards. We use R&S for math and grammar, and it's very inexpensive, so that's not a problem to buy new, but again it's found fairly easy on the S&S boards. I'm sure I will buy our science new because I have a hard time finding the newest edition used, but it's not very expensive. The other odds and ends such as writing, spelling, logic, vocabulary, etc are also not too expensive new. But all those "inexpensive" items add up after a while, ya know? It's the big ticket items (SL core) that I'd really love to find used, but I sure don't want to lose money on something that costs as much as SL does.

 

Last year I sold ALL our curriculum we were "done" with because that was the only money we had to buy new stuff. I don't want to do that this year because I know I will reuse the R&S materials and, most likely, the SL core.

 

Anyway, I'm rambling, but I just wondered how you all do it. Do you buy new or used? If you buy new, do you get most of your items from RR? Overall, they seem to be the least expensive, and the free shipping over $150 is great. If you buy used, how do you make sure you don't get burned? I have decided, if I do buy used, it will ONLY be with non personal paypal and only from members I "know".

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I mostly buy my stuff new. I have never lost money on a used transaction before but I have been burned with things being in worse condition than advertised. I would rather just have my own new stuff and not deal with the hassle. I have pretty much stopped selling my curriculum online just because it is too much of a pain to deal with.

 

I do buy a lot of stuff from RR and from Amazon. I am planning for next year and I currently have an Excel spreadsheet, a RR tab and an Amazon tab running on my laptop and I am tweaking things now. I started out putting everything on there that I wanted for next year and have been working on fine tuning that. I have limited funds to spend so I research and change things on the lists as needed. I also spend some time comparing prices as some things are cheaper on Amazon and some are cheaper on RR. Then, the final process for me is to prioritize what I absolutely need to start the year and what I can maybe purchase as I go along. I love having everything for the year all in one shipment but that is not always practical. For instance, I use Horizons math with dd9 and since it comes in two workbooks, I don't absolutely need both of them to start the year. I can add that second one later when we get closer to needing it.

 

Finally, I have to look at what I am buying and analyze if I really need the expensive program or will something else get the job done for less. For instance, my dilemma this year has been Latin. I had on my wish list all of the materials for either Latin For Children and later Prima Latina both of which would cost me $100 or so for both kids with the DVDs. I know I could do this without the DVDs but honestly, that was part of the appeal. After a little research, I think I can accomplish the same goals with Getting Started with Latin which costs $18.77 on Amazon right now. There are no bells and whistles but it will get the job done.

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I'm cheap. :) I've had such great luck finding items in great condition for a fraction of the cost that I almost can't bring myself to purchase some products new. I try to buy as much used as possible, but I also take advantage of the $150 w/free shipping at Rainbow Resource to buy certain pieces that are harder to find used. Getting burned in the used market definitely puts a bad taste in your mouth. I'm sorry you've had such trouble. It's hard when the curriculum items you need to purchase are expensive...like, say, a SL core. I've been burnt once on a $50 purchase, and now I won't spend over that used unless I am extremely confident in the seller. Most of my used purchases are under $20.

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I buy mostly used unless I can buy new for close to the price (or I can't find an item that I want used). I have paid by personal paypal before, but more recently after reading about that whole issue, I will no longer use the personal payment option.

 

I don't "know" many people here as I haven't been here long and don't participate on a large scale. If I only bought from people that I have bought from in the past, it would severely limit my ability to buy used. I also buy used on amazon, half.com, ebay, and other sites. I've had only a small handful of problems over the years, and I have always been able to get my money back through paypal and amazon.

 

I make the conscious decision to believe that people are honest and good. Maybe that makes me naive, but I don't really feel like I have any other choice unless I only want to buy everything new (which isn't realistic financially as I buy a lot of different curricula to check things out......ok, I'm a curriculum junkie, I admit it!) I can understand how upsetting it can be if you've had several bad experiences lately, and maybe if that was the case for me, I'd feel the same for awhile. Maybe the other side for me is that I love to gamble and I love to find a great deal. :tongue_smilie:

 

For new items, I tend to look for coupons online and sales. I usually don't buy from Rainbow as I don't usually spend $150 at a time, so I like Amazon with free shipping after $25 (and many of their buy 3 get the 4th free deals).

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In the past I have only bought new. The past year (or two) I have needed to buy used. I did buy a SL core used but had no problems. Most of the time people are honest about the condition of things. I have only been disappointed one time.

 

I just sold a couple things here in order to buy other books I need. I am so grateful that people took a risk to purchase from someone they don't know. Without them, I wouldn't be able to afford to buy what I need.

 

So sorry you were burned!!

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I do a combo. I buy used when I can for the savings. Sometimes, I have to buy new if I can't find what I want used and I want the item now. Buying used helps me have the $$ to put towards extras.

 

I have been burned once or twice but overall buying used has been successful.

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I do some of both depending on the item. I like getting the latest editions on books, so I am picky that way. But I also have been burned before by not asking a lot of questions before buying...I am known to send links to people I am considering buying from to make sure their item looks EXACTLY like what I am wanting, I ask about dates, editions, speicific questions about condition of books, condition of the environment in which it is coming from...I figure, if a seller can't deal with me and all of my questions, I shouldn't be buying from them anyway. I don't always do that...but if I am spending a lot of money...I will. We simply can't afford to buy everything new and if I can get it used, I will.

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I just wanted to add in response to your question about buying used safely that I am an extremely skeptical/cynical used-curriculum buyer. I definitely do not assume that all sellers are good. If the purchase is of multiple items and is costly, I ask for pictures to be sent. I ask lots of questions. I NEVER pay with personal paypal unless I personally know the seller. If a seller doesn't accept paypal, I pass no matter how much I'd like the curriculum (again, unless I know them or am very confident in them). Paypal's claim process is not foolproof, but it is an extra safety step. I ask before purchase if I can pay extra for delivery confirmation (and ins. if a larger purchase), and I ask if they would email me the dc# as confirmation of item being sent. I don't usually worry about this for smaller purchases, but I am greatly impressed when a seller offers this on her/his own.

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I've done a mixture of both. I think I've been very fortunate that I've not ever lost money. About the worst that has happened to me is something in bad condition (one time I got something that had mouse droppings in the box!) or not the edition I was expecting (I'm very careful to verify that now). I've purchased off of this board, homeschool classifieds, and Vegsource. I try to buy new when I can just because my dh is very chemically sensitive and so many people have perfume, candles etc... in their homes.

 

Some years I had garage sales to save up $$ for curriculum.

 

Merry :-)

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Used everywhere I can, and new if I can't find it. I've been disappointed once in 12 years. I even screwed up something this year accidentally when sending to someone else. It happens, we're not all perfect (knowing accident is different than dishonest). Still, buying used makes TOG doable for my family. I NEVER pay full price for books...ever and I'm continually happy.

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If I can find it used, I purchase used. Then I sell when I am finished, off-setting the cost as well.

 

We are BLESSED here in the Charlotte area with a well stocked second hand homeschool store. They have SL books at 50% off retail prices and I have gone there for any titles I can't find. They also have IGs but for some reason their IGs are quite old, so I try to find those elsewhere.

 

The other thing I like about SL is that most of the books ARE in the library if I need to go that route. I have done that some as well.

 

There is another mom who used to come to these boards who lives near me and she allowed me to buy THREE YEARS worth of SL from her when she stopped hsing. It was all almost complete....I still have the 3rd year here ready for next year, but I did need an IG, which I just ordered used.

 

OTOH:

 

Some things you just have to buy new when you can't find them. Consumables, specialty items, etc....

 

So:

 

I try to get a workable budget per year. It used to be $300 per year, but now that I have older kids and three school age, I have had to up that. I think I spent about $700-$800 last year and that included a lot of used.....but with 3 kids that isn't too bad.

 

My new method:

 

I started an ING account labeled "curriculum" and I put $100/month into the account. This is helping a lot and since I started it in December, I will have $800 by August just sitting there waiting for me! The following year I will have a full $1,200!

 

I am still a budgeter and if I can spend even less, I will!

 

Dawn

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I buy mostly used unless I want it now. I have bought all my Saxon math complete sets used (65, 76, Alg 1/2 & Alg I) and they were all in very good condition. I generally only buy used if the condition is described as very good or like new. I only have one child; and I want to resale the material in good condition. Fortunately, I have not been burned. Prior to buying on this board, I bought a lot of items on Ebay.

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I'm new to HSing so I have been purchasing new, after LOTS of careful consideration. Mainly because I don't know what I want and new offers me the ability to look and preview the stuff online first. We are usually broke. That being said, one thing I do is purchase and school year round. For the first part of the year, we focused on writing, math review and grammar. Now I am focusing on newer math, latin and history with writing and grammar as a "backseat" review. This spreads my purchases thoughout the year. It also seems to work for us to immerse ourselves in a few subjects at a time. This summer will be new grammar, science and history, (probably some type of a history based unity study). It doesn't make it cheaper, just easier to budget.

 

Lara

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Maybe it is the downturn of the economy?

 

I buy used where ever I can. With SL I bought the IG new, and the books used. With TOG I am using a used yearplan and both used and new books. Some books just aren't cheaper used with Amazon's buy 4 for the price of 3 sale.

 

That said when there isn't at least 25% savings I buy new. I just bough Dynamic Literacy new...and when I got it the package had been damaged in shopping, so my new books have slight bends and scratches. :blink: Typical for me, which is why I buy used.

 

Heather

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I buy used whenever possible, but am finding it more difficult to find the things that I want to use on the used boards and i'm also finding that the price of the used curriculum is usually only a few dollars less than new AND there is usually shipping added as well. I've seen things with writing in it on sale for almost new prices.

Edited by mama25angels
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I buy new if it is an IG/TG that I know I'll keep for use with later children. I figure if I buy the latest edition now it won't be TOO out of date by the time we get to it! If it is a book/TG I'm not 100% "sold" on, I'll try to get it used to check it out knowing I can always turn around and sell it if it doesn't meet my needs or live up to my expectations.

We use SL for history/geography, and I find that I almost always have 1/3 or even 1/2 the books on our shelf already so it makes no sense to buy a new core. So far I've been able to complete the sets I need with used books and no big disappointments. As a book lover and English gal, any book is a good book - new or used! : )

I wonder if the recent "burning" trend with buying used is people in desperate times doing desperate things? It is sad, especially when you tend to trust those in your "community" (of homeschoolers) to be honest and above-board and you get burned. Accidents DO happen, but blatant dishonesty is so wrong. Sorry to hear about your misfortunes.

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I'm not opposed to buying used, but i'm not familiar enough with any online sources to feel comfortable buying yet. Curriculua is sucha big investment, i don't want to take any chances. There is a homeschool resale store locally. I have purchased a few things used, but most of what i need is only available new, or they don't carry it at all.

I order almost everything from rainbow. I feel comfortable with the prices, the service is good, there's little wait time and no risk.

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I buy used whenever possible. I simply can't afford to get the curriculum we want to use for the retail prices. If there wasn't the option of buying used we'd be struggling with free printable worksheets.

 

Over the 4 years that we've been homeschooling and buying used books I've never been screwed. THANK THE LORD! We simply couldn't afford to recover in a quick timeframe if I didn't get something I ordered.

 

The only things I do buy new are the HWT workbooks and Kumon workbooks (as I can get them in a coop for amazing prices once a year).

 

Oh and I buy most of our teaching tools new because I get into coops and pay HALF off for Melissa and Doug products and other teaching tools!! So to me I buy new for used prices!!

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I have gotten most of my stuff used with the exception of SOTW 1 and my R&S preschool workbooks. I have spent a grand total of $80 for both 7th grade and preschool this year.

 

I would like to point out that I have a LOT of books that I got free from our local college that was cleaning out it's education dept.

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For now, I buy 99% new. The only things I buy used are books and only from a b&m used book store or library sales so I actually see the book. We are just starting out so some things (Usborne encyclopedias, SOTW and activity guide) I expect to be using more than once, some will see almost constant use for possibly the next 10 years so I think it's worth it to buy new. At the very least, non-consumable items are being used at least twice. I actually buy a lot of pdfs for consumable items so I can use them for both kids but of course, can't get them used.

 

I usually buy from Amazon or direct from the publisher (Peace hill press, AAS). Nothing that I'm doing is very expensive though.

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I have tried to buy used in the past but now, unless it's out of print, I tend to buy new. First, I can't afford the risk of a bad transaction. My budget is too tight to risk losing my money. Second, I don't have time to hunt high and low for a good deal on used items. If others do, that's great but I've found that I just don't have time for it. It's worth it to me to spend a little extra to guarantee I can find what I need, get it in a timely manner and not worry about the condition it's in or whether it will even arrive at all.

 

I've also found that as the years go by, I buy less and less. With 5 kids, reusability has always been important to me. So from the time we started homeschooling 8 years ago, I have always leaned toward curriculum that are a one time purchase and can be used over and over with each child even if I don't use it exactly the same way with each one. I've also discovered that I don't need the newest, latest and greatest of anything to teach the same things that have been taught for centuries. Generally, the older editions teach the exact same things as the newest edition, unless new information has been added I don't generally buy new editions of things I already have. Heck, I still only have the original edition of TWTM. I looked at the newest edition at the library, saw that it didn't really include any new information that was useful to me and decided I didn't need to own the new one.

 

On our list of purchases for the new school year right now, replacement books for some well referenced books that are starting to show their age, an algebra program for my oldest, a few items to restock our science and art supplies and renew a couple of online subscriptions. All items bought new, we will be spending about $500.

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I have tried to buy used in the past but now, unless it's out of print, I tend to buy new. First, I can't afford the risk of a bad transaction. My budget is too tight to risk losing my money. Second, I don't have time to hunt high and low for a good deal on used items. If others do, that's great but I've found that I just don't have time for it. It's worth it to me to spend a little extra to guarantee I can find what I need, get it in a timely manner and not worry about the condition it's in or whether it will even arrive at all.

 

I've also found that as the years go by, I buy less and less. With 5 kids, reusability has always been important to me. So from the time we started homeschooling 8 years ago, I have always leaned toward curriculum that are a one time purchase and can be used over and over with each child even if I don't use it exactly the same way with each one. I've also discovered that I don't need the newest, latest and greatest of anything to teach the same things that have been taught for centuries. Generally, the older editions teach the exact same things as the newest edition, unless new information has been added I don't generally buy new editions of things I already have. Heck, I still only have the original edition of TWTM. I looked at the newest edition at the library, saw that it didn't really include any new information that was useful to me and decided I didn't need to own the new one.

 

On our list of purchases for the new school year right now, replacement books for some well referenced books that are starting to show their age, an algebra program for my oldest, a few items to restock our science and art supplies and renew a couple of online subscriptions. All items bought new, we will be spending about $500.

 

:iagree:

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One last thing...maybe :) I'd just like to add in my 5+ years of buying from WTM members I have never had a problem. Very occasionally, I have received items in a condition worse than what I had expected...but in those cases I usually had not asked enough questions about specific issues. For the most part I have had wonderful service and have received items at such a discount that I have considered it a great, great blessing to be able to purchase this way. When I am not sure about a product and whether or not it will work for us, it is so much easier to pay 1/3 of the cost to try it out. I think, unfortunately, as Siloam mentioned, the economy has played a part in the problems. So many people are legitimately selling to help offset other costs, but some people are trying to get money and lose incentive to follow through once that money is spent. It's a sad thing, but I do believe it is a small minority. I just try to be as safe as possible.

 

My favorite place, though, is the used curriculum sale my homeschool group puts on each year. Great bargains...and you get to see it prior to buying. :)

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Thanks for all your replies! I am having such mixed feelings about this. Actually, one of the problems I had with not receiving an item I paid for was just remedied this morning. I don't want to give up on buying used yet. I just need to be very very cautious. Unfortunately I am not a member of any homeschool groups that have a used curriculum sale. There is a sale in the next county that I try to go to, but it's not until May, and I want to use our tax money, which will be here next month. I haven't had any luck in finding much of what I need at that sale anyway. I have found a lot of fun stuff, though. I think I might go ahead and post a list of things we need and see if I get any response. Thanks again!!!

 

ETA: Two of the problems I had with losing money were NOT from people on this board, but from vegsource, which I will never use again.

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It depends. If it is something that will be used for several years or for multiple kids, I buy new so that it will still be in good shape to resell later. If it is a really expensive curriculum, though, I still try to get it used (for ex. I always buy our RS math used). If it is something I will only use once, I get it used.

 

I started off homeschooling trying to buy everything used but like the original poster, had some problems (things never showing up, books arriving in lousy condition etc) and I got frustrated.

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I buy both, but I prefer new as much as possible. Last year I did purchase most of my stuff used but this year I'm going back to my old ways and purchasing mostly new. I'm not selling much this year, so I have no paypal money to purchase anyway:001_huh:

 

Twice I had problems; one was from here and I did leave a negative comment (although she did it right back to me even though I paid promptly) the second time was from Amazon used. I recv. the wrong item and it smelled of smoke. She was so mean to me when I let her know it was the wrong item. There was even a photo of what she was suppose to send but she still wouldn't believe me. Thankfully Amazon took care of it for me and refunded me.

Edited by Homeschooling6
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Guest RecumbentHeart

Depends on what it is. Sometimes I buy new just because the peace of mind is worth the extra money since I'm such a worrying, anal sort. Of course, I have my limits on how much extra.

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I buy mostly used, because if I end up not liking it, I can sell it for what I bought it for, minus shipping. In fact I have a whole closet of curriculum I need to post. I don't understand buying new.... :confused:

 

I don't think it's hard to understand. When you have bought used and lost money, it's not worth it. And like Wendy said, if you only save a few dollars, it totally not worth it.

 

There are definite pros and cons to both.

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Where are people getting all of these great deals on used books? Every time I comparison shop I find I won't save more than a couple of dollars (if at all). I imagine there might be more savings on something like a Sonlight core program since one cannot buy that just anywhere. But otherwise, really am I just looking in the wrong places?

 

The biggest problem I have found with trying to buy a SL core used is that, of course, the consumables are not for sale. So you have to buy those new anyway. But I would love to find a good deal on SL core 4. :D

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For me a lot of it depends on how good of a deal it is. If it is what I want but I only save 20% then I would rather buy it new. Yes, buying used helps other homeschool families, but buying new helps homeschool curricula providers and I want to help them too. If the materials are the latest edition, everything is included, and I can save 50% then I will buy used. Otherwise I'll anxiously await my shiny new materials. :D

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Where are people getting all of these great deals on used books? Every time I comparison shop I find I won't save more than a couple of dollars (if at all). I imagine there might be more savings on something like a Sonlight core program since one cannot buy that just anywhere. But otherwise, really am I just looking in the wrong places?

With both Paperback Swap and Book Mooch you get "credits" for listing books and mailing them out to people who request them. You only pay the shipping charges. Then when a book comes up you want you order it with your credits and pay nothing more.

 

With Half.com if you order from a single vender you get a shipping discount. I think it is you pay full price on the first shipping charge, and then get the rest at a 40% discount on shipping. I order a lot from Betterwordbooks, Thrift_books, Owl-books, greatbuybooks, atlantabookcompany and probably some others. Once in a while the book won't be in good condition, or they will miss one, and they have always refunded my money. One year Thrift_books shipped my order in two parts and one part was lost. It was at Christmas so they asked me to wait, and I did, even past the time when I could get them in trouble. When the second shipment didn't show up they refunded the whole order, not just the books that didn't show.

 

I also browse the sale boards here, and on Homeschool Classifieds. At times I watch ebay too, but things usually go for a premium there.

 

Generally to get the best deals I have to check them daily. You can't just check once in a while and find what you want. But with a little time you can catch a good deal.

 

Heather

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I do both. I haven't had any issues on homeschoolclassifieds or here. I have had 3 problems in the last month with paperbackswap. In 2 cases I received my credit back and the other was never resolved. I don't understand people sending books with pages pulling away from the spine:glare:! One instance someone spilled water on the book right before sending(they pm'd me and TOLD me) and sent it anyway when my request states that I didn't want damaged. Anyway, I do try to look at buyer reviews before I buy and if they have ANY negative reviews I won't buy.

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Gosh! I just checked out vegsource and it really makes one appreciate what we have here. All the neon and blinking ads make it almost unusable!! :confused:

 

I would like to buy more used, but I wish there was a better way to monitor what's for sale. I also think people should spell out the curriculum names in their posts instead of the acronyms for easier searchability. I try to scan the for sale board, but the titles are usually not as helpful as I think they could be. One thing I did like about vegsource was that they had the curriculum separated by grade groupings so the posts weren't quite as overwhelming.

 

I usually buy new thinking that I will save money on the back end by reselling it when I'm done, and then guess what? I never get around to selling it. :001_huh:

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I have done a mixture of both. I usually look for "like new" condition, although I have a long list of things to look at during the large curriculum fair at the HEAV convention in Richmond.

 

Most of the things I tend to buy used are reading books, though -- or hardbound textbooks. I did buy an entire set of MCT level 3 materials, but will be purchasing the new edition of Island and Town.

 

I am chomping at the bit to buy curriculum... but I'm trying to wait.

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I buy a mixture of new and used. I have only been burned once, and that was on Veg Source, so I will never buy from there again. I'm sorry you've been burned 3 times........just curious, why haven't you left negative feedback so others can see who not to buy from?

 

I don't mind paying the extra to go with regular paypal, and even insurance, if it's a lot of money.

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I buy a mixture of new and used. I have only been burned once, and that was on Veg Source, so I will never buy from there again. I'm sorry you've been burned 3 times........just curious, why haven't you left negative feedback so others can see who not to buy from?

 

I don't mind paying the extra to go with regular paypal, and even insurance, if it's a lot of money.

 

I posted later in this thread that two of the times were from vegsource, so, like you, I definitely won't buy from there again. The other time was here. After two months and three days with many unanswered posts, private messages and emails, I did receive a refund today. The seller has had a lot going on, and I'm sorry for her, but it is still very frustrating. I don't really have a reason for not leaving negative feedback except that I didn't think of it. I'm kinda glad now that I didn't since she finally refunded my money.

 

From now on, I'm going to be very very very cautious and ask a lot of questions.

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I've bought and sold used curricula, usually very trouble free. I have had some VERY nice ladies sell me things, often including extras, so I can't complain, for which I am thankful. I have also been delighted to be able to recoup some of the costs for stuff that didn't work out. I do ship with delivery confirmation, and I haven't had any weirdos who caused any problems.

 

However, I am now totally irritated with Thrift Books, which I never used much anyway. They put some permanent sticker on the spine of their books, which removes the part of the cover underneath. Their customer service response was basically, so what. There are way better sources for used things than them.

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I check used first for most things. I feel comfy buying/selling with active posters here. I'm hesitant with posters with few posts.

 

That said, I justify so much time here as "research" so I don't make major mistakes in purchasing curricula. Most things I will use for all 3 dc, and buying new is worth the cost of buying new *if* I don't use it with my oldest and change my mind.

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I've bought and sold new and used, on ebay, amazon, and Sonlight's websites, and feel comfortable doing both. However, I've learned that if I can find a "gently used" set of, say a Sonlight Core, or an Apologia set, or a Teaching Textbooks set, etc., and use it for my 2 children and then re-sell it, I basically can still get what I paid for it originally. :001_smile:

 

The only loss I've ever encountered was an ebay sale a few years ago with a set of 5 D'Aulaire books - LOVE THEM! - the package was ripped during USPS shipping, and I only received 1 of the 5 books. I'm still totally bummed about that, but I didn't buy insurance coverage for the books, so there was nothing the USPS could do, and it wasn't the seller's fault either .. lesson learned.

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