General, Reviews 

Why You Should Love Craigslist

Email  Print Print  

“risk”, a frequent commenter here at blueprint, left a comment in my previous post on Home Reserve furniture about how he/she (I’m pretty sure risk is a he, so I’ll use he from now on, unless she objects :)) scored a nice three piece Ikea PAX Wardrobe for a mere $150 (saving, he estimated, $600) on craigslist. This motivated me to want to write about the benefits of craigslist to the personal finance conscious. Craigslist is a free service akin to an online community bulletin board where anyone can post anything for free (some listings require payment, but none related to what the average John or Jane would use). The beauty of it is that you can sell and buy lots of things for fractions of their original cost (such as risk’s PAX wardrobe).

You may not have a craigslist in your area but if you’re near a moderately sized metropolitan or geographic area, there’s a craigslist. For me, I can pick either of the Washington DC or Baltimore (a list is on the right hand side for each area covered). The size of each craigslist is different, for example in DC the ‘for sale’ category contains over 47k listings while in Baltimore it has fewer than 9k (San Fran, the first and largest, has over 122k listings); size will come into play later.

Selling on Craigslist:
There are a ton of categories in the ‘for sale’ category from bikes to tools to electronics to listings of garage sales. If you want to sell something, list it in a sub-category and it will appear in the larger ‘for sale’ aggregate listing. You have all the benefits of a newspaper classified advertisement without any of the cost. I suggest you use their free ‘anonymizer’ for your email and that you don’t list a telephone number (unless you are in a tremendous hurry to sell) and expect someone to try to bargain down your initial price. Also expect a face-to-face transaction, unlike most times on EBay, because these folks are going to be in your area and no one likes to pay the post office to ship something a mile. The main benefit of craigslist is that there are no transaction fees – sell your stuff at a decent price without paying EBay their 5.5%+ cut but you are dealing with a smaller market.

Free Stuff:
In the ‘for sale’ category, there is a ‘free’ sub-category where you can find all the things people are giving away. Usually it’s ‘you haul it away’ type deals but you can find anything from moving boxes to furniture to pets needing a new home. The pickings are usually pretty good but they go very quickly.

Buying on Craigslist
It’s pretty much what you’d expect if you were to respond to a classified in the paper, just be diligent, be careful, and be smart about it. I’ve never bought anything from someone off craigslist but it can’t be much different than responding to a classified.

Finding a Job/Gig:
A job is a full or part-time job listing and there are a TON of categories (from accounting/finance down to writing/editing). A gig is akin to contract work, usually a few hours, short term, no extended relationship expected. There are only eight gig categories. Finally, you can list your resume but I’ve never done that so ‘buyer beware’ on that one.

I’ve never used this but friends have used it to sublet out their place or find some short term residential housing. I think it’s your best bet if you need to find a place to stay for under six months because you can usually get it for cheap and avoid apartment complex’s ‘under 1 year lease’ BS overcharge. What’s cool is that they’ve integrated Google Maps so you can find out exactly where the place is. My friends have also used it to check out relative rental prices in the area to figure out if you’re getting ripped off.

Those are all the things I think you should definitely check out at your local craigslist, there are a bunch of other features such as an actual community bboard (lost and found included) and personal ads but I’ve never really checked those out. Do you have a positive or negative craigslist-related story? I’d love to hear about it.

Update 8/25/05: For every ying, there is a yang, read why JP doesn’t like craigslist.

{ 11 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

Related Posts

RSS Subscribe Like this article? Get all the latest articles sent to your email for free every day. Enter your email address and click "Subscribe." Your email will only be used for this daily subscription and you can unsubscribe anytime.

11 Responses to “Why You Should Love Craigslist”

  1. Hazzard says:

    What I’ve found is that if it’s easily shippable, I like to list it on Ebay because I seem to get a better price, but if it’s fairly bulky, I always sell it on Craigslist.

    When I’m looking to buy something, I always check both Craigslist and Ebay.


  2. Lauren says:

    I bought my entire set of living room furniture plus barstools for the kitchen for around $500 on Craigslist. Split between my fiance and I, it was an incredible bargain! This included a TV stand, two side tables, a magazine rack, 4 barstools, a very large bookcase, a coffee table, and a large, very nice 3-seater sage green sofa that was less than a year old! The only problem is that sometimes you have to go kinda far to pick up the stuff, but it’s typically worth it if you’re relatively near any of the towns.

    I’ve also used it to find apartments and check out various areas of the country to see where prices are affordable enough for us to buy in the future.

  3. jim says:

    That’s a good point Hazzard, I usually use Ebay also for the easily shippables for the very same reason… the number of buyers on craigslist is lower so you might not get as much in terms of competition.

  4. sixpack says:

    If you ever look for a apartment rental in New York City, Craigslist is a godsend. Most brokers ask for one month’s rent as a finders fee. Crazy! So we looked at apartments through Craigslist. We got a great deal on a 2-bedroom in Manhattan.

  5. Perry says:

    Craigslist is nice, but even though you use the anonymizer, those great Kenyan money order scams still get through…but other than that…it’s a very nice tool. I’ve used it to find freelance jobs.

  6. jim says:

    Yeah, but that anonymizer email only lasts for a little while, then it dies so you won’t get any more junk mail to

  7. jim says:

    Incidentally, I just picked up (today no less) a relatively nice free dresser from a posting on Craigslist.

  8. Jose says:

    The other benefit Craiglist classifieds bring is that you are re-using stuff (sometimes providing someone some cash back for their product). This saves the environment.

  9. Kevin says:

    At least with the DC Craigslist, I’ve found you need to be careful with Real Estate and Rental prices. Because it’s free to post, a lot of people over shoot the market price and put in the “dream” price they’d like to sell or rent their place for. I’ve seen condos in my building posted on Craigslist as For Sale by Owner, and then a few weeks later I see them listed with a real estate agent for 20-30k less (e.g. 245 -> 220). Same sort of thing with rental prices. I think the moral is to watch prices for a few weeks to get a feel for the market before trusting that Craiglist has the best prices.

  10. matt says:

    I completely agree with your post. I have found so much stuff on craiglist, i started a website to show off what kind of deals you can find. It’s hard to believe what people will give stuff away for sometimes.

  11. tiffany says:

    I have bought and sold on Craigslist—gotten jobs-loved it.

Please Leave a Reply
Bargaineering Comment Policy

Previous Article: «
Next Article: »
Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2016 by All rights reserved.