Navigating the World of Craigslist – Buy Used

Buying All Your (Slightly) Used Stuff

I love finding a good deal. Sometimes I think the pursuit of the best deal ends up being more enjoyable for me than the purchase of the actual item in question. At this point, Craigslist is my new eBay for buying used goods. I used eBay obsessively when I first started college but after several bad experiences and getting sick of losing bids at the last second (and realizing that my time was being drained on these stupid bids) I eventually gave up entirely on eBay. I still have friends that swear by eBay but I just can’t use it any more. Craigslist, on the other hand, is a perfect alternate for me. I can buy local, get stuff on the cheap, and the entire transaction doesn’t eat away at my time – a limited and valuable commodity. Of course, this kind of is negated by the fact that I spend so much on Craigslist in general but.. um… shut up.

I don’t really have many revelatory tips as to how to best buy stuff on Craigslist but these might help:

  1. Cash only.
    Seriously, don’t mess around on this one.
  2. Haggle
    Because you are dealing locally and have cash in hand, don’t be afraid of haggling. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no and stick with their original price that got you interested in the first place?
  3. Be patient and check regularly.
    If you have a specific item in mind and have to get it via Craiglist, then you may have to check the site repeatedly over the course of time before something pops up. There are far fewer options than something like eBay, but it’ll feel like you struck gold when you find the thing you were looking for.
  4. Check the next city over.
    If you don’t mind driving a bit and your geographic region allows for it, then remember to check out other cities near you when using the site. I live in the Santa Barbara area so that’s my go to, but I’m always in easy driving distance to Ventura, the next closest city listed on Craigslist.
  5. Do your research.
    Always do at least a basic search of the item you might be buying online. Companies often make a huge array of similar products with widely varying degrees of quality and their naming conventions can be tricky to navigate. For example, you might be on the hunt for a computer monitor on Craigslist and think you’ve found a great deal only to find out that the monitor  product number starts with E instead of F and it’s the crappier version of what you want. Or you may find that the monitor in question happens to be on sale brand new for just a few dollars more with free shipping.