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Save Money With Craigslist

lenovo e420 keyboard

Anyone need a Lenovo e420 keyboard?

Where do you sell your used items? Garage sales? Ebay? Personally, I like to save money with Craigslist by buying and selling used stuff.

We needed to get rid of a few things recently and I posted them on Craigslist. Here are what I had for sale.

  • $20 Baby Einstein Exersaucer – we purchased this saucer used for $20 and baby RB40 enjoyed it immensely for 4-5 months. Once he was able to crawl, he didn’t like being in the saucer anymore. I sold this one pretty quickly to a harried new mom for the full asking price of $20.
  • $65 Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens – I got $60 for this one.
  • $79 Canon EFS 18-55mm kit lens – This lens came with my camera. I upgraded to a nicer lens and figured I can get rid of this lens. This one took a few weeks, but eventually sold for $70.
  • $149 Canon EFS 55-250mm IS lens – This lens also came with my camera. I did not like the bulk of this lens and I generally don’t take zoomed in pictures anyway, so I decided to get rid of it. I got $150 for this.
  • $25 Lenovo laptop keyboard. Lenovo sent me a replacement keyboard, but it turned out I didn’t need it after all. This item hasn’t sold yet.

Craigslist has some good and bad points, but if you are patient, the good outweighs the bad. It’s one way to support the local economy.

Good Things about Craigslist

  1. It’s mostly local so you can meet the buyer/seller and check out the item in detail.
  2. Cash transaction is quick, easy and painless.
  3. Items move pretty quickly if you’re in a more populated area. I sold all the items except the laptop keyboard in a few weeks. I guess it’s not that fast, but I’m happy with it.
  4. I don’t have to mail the item. I don’t like to deal with the whole packaging, taking it to the post office/UPS, and paying to mail it. I’d rather do business locally.
  5. No fee to list. I’m cheap, what can I say?

Bad Craig

  1. Buyers are flakes. Many of them do not show up or cancel at the last minute. I had 3 buyers change their minds on the kit lens.  Now, I expect that kind of behavior and will sell to the first person who hands me cash. I won’t hold the item for the first buyer in line anymore.
  2. Buyers like to bargain. The kit lens buyer showed up with $70 in cash and I took it. 🙂 Generally if you show up with cash, the seller won’t hesitate to sell their item to you.
  3. Safety? Some people are very safety minded and like to meet in a public place. That’s good, but it can be inconvenient. I try to avoid meeting people in their home, but sometimes it’s not possible.
  4. Limited market. You can probably make more money by selling on Ebay. I probably will have to sell the Lenovo keyboard on Ebay. That kind of specialized item will need a larger pool of buyers.
I’m very happy with Craigslist in general and always had good luck with them. I even sold my busted BMW Z3 for $3,000 a few years ago. Buying used and selling items that we don’t need anymore is a great way to save money and living space. What about you? Do you use Craigslist or another avenue to get rid of your used items? I hope you don’t just put your old things in a storage unit.
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{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Money Infant February 23, 2012, 4:14 am

    We sold lots of stuff on Craigslist prior to moving to Thailand and I just found out recently that Craigslist even works here. Testing the waters with a couple of baby items, but it is definitely not as active as in the US. Considering that Bangkok has maybe 12-15 million residents you would think I would get more than 1 response.

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2012, 9:16 am

      I’m surprise you only got 1 response. Bangkok is a huge city. Maybe they’d rather buy new things since it is not that expensive in general. Is that true?

  • MoneyCone February 23, 2012, 6:39 am

    I love craigslist to get rid of stuff, almost anything (just nuts what people will buy from you!). What I hate are those damn questions! Whether they buy or not, tons and tons of questions! If you have the patience go for it!

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2012, 9:17 am

      I agree with your sentiment. Your junk is another man’s treasure. 🙂
      I sold all kind of stuff on Craigslist. It’s pretty amazing. I haven’t had to deal much with questions. I get a lot of flakes who doesn’t show up or cancel the purchases.

  • Well Heeled Blog February 23, 2012, 7:26 am

    I am moving in a few months, and I am planning to sell most of my furniture on Craigslist. I’ve found that IKEA furniture hold their value VERY well (almost unreasonably well, it seems). A bookcase that costs me $80 new can probably be sold for $40 or $50. With furniture, it’d be hard to meet in a neutral location. I’d suggest no one ever meets a Craiglist buyer/seller alone, of course. And always let someone else know where you are going or who you are meeting with. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2012, 9:19 am

      We had a garage sale when we moved and Craigslist helped a lot. Yeah, it’s amazing about IKEA. If it’s somewhat new, the price will hold. I think they deteriorate pretty quickly and are pretty beat up after 5 years or so.

  • Dollar D @ The Dollar Disciple February 23, 2012, 7:55 am

    We’ve bought a lot of stuff on craigslist: bikes, weight lifting equipment. We advertised our garage sale on there and had a few people show up to check out some specialty items.

    Haven’t tried to sell stuff on it but I have a few items I should probably list.

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2012, 9:19 am

      I check CL when I want new stuff too, but usually I’m the seller. 🙂

  • Hunter - Financially Consumed February 23, 2012, 8:00 am

    If I really want a few bucks for something I’ll sell it on Craigslist rather than include it in a garage sale. I sold an old mountain bike last year on CL…very efficient, and I survived without being mugged. Generally I prefer to give away things of value that I no longer need. Veterans groups are always collecting from our neighborhood. Makes it easy to keep your house clutter free.

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2012, 9:20 am

      That’s a great way to share your used items.

  • frugalportland February 23, 2012, 10:44 am

    that’s funny — I hadn’t even considered Craigslist for some of the things I’m getting rid of. I consign, I free-geek, but it seems prohibitively inconvenient for me to list things on Craigslist. Not sure why, since I buy things from there — maybe because I don’t work from home?

    • retirebyforty February 23, 2012, 1:10 pm

      Really? Craigslist works quite well for me. I don’t work from home either and usually meet the buyer/seller in the evening or on the weekend.

  • The Happy Homeowner February 23, 2012, 11:54 am

    While I haven’t sold anything on Craigslist before, I did have great success finding a roommate (amazingly!), and I’ve found tons of furniture & other items for free that I’ve used in my various DIY projects. I’ve even found side jobs there!

    As long as you’re smart and safe about sharing information, etc, I think Craigslist is a wonderful avenue for all of the above.

  • krantcents February 23, 2012, 12:11 pm

    I bought a new desk chair through Craigslist. I saved probably 60-70%.

  • BE @ BusyExecutiveMoneyBlog February 23, 2012, 3:24 pm

    I’ve tried to sell once on craigslist. Buyer was a flake. I’ve bought once on craigslist and the item was very slightly damaged that wasn’t apparent in inspection. My fault, but I really like to use ebay as I can see a person’s track record as a seller before I pruchase from them

    • retirebyforty February 24, 2012, 1:36 pm

      Buyers are not reliable at all form Craigslist. I think Ebay probably has similar problem about quality too.

  • Edward Antrobus February 23, 2012, 4:43 pm

    I haven’t done much selling on Craigslist, mostly buying. I’ve always considered the sellers who want to meet in a public place kind of shady. A couple years ago, we bought our router off Craigslist, and they seller wanted to meet in the K-Mart parking lot. I gave him the cash, and then he opened his trunk and got it out. I felt like I was buying drugs or something.

    • retirebyforty February 24, 2012, 1:37 pm

      Haha, I met a few people in a parking lot and it’s not that bad. 😀

  • CG February 23, 2012, 5:53 pm

    Facebook has local swap groups too. They usually aren’t taken over by scammers and trolls. I’ve been buying, selling and administrating on two local groups and doing fairly well. Had a couple flakes but mostly lovely people! I kicked it up a notch this week and doubled my listings. An advantage of FB is that you can create an album of all your items and make your own little thrift store. People interested in one item sometimes buy another from looking through my album.
    And our group loves meeting at the store parking lot! It’s highly visible and safe. On the weekends I always run into other group members trading there. I think it’s really cool although it felt comically non-legit at first. I’d rather meet than have people come to my house. I had a dozen or so people come to my home a couple years ago when I decided to freecycle a bunch of stuff. Some of the emails I got from the recipients freaked me out. One person even tried to guess what ages my kids were based on our backyard toys and what toys and clothes they might be growing out of and if they could have them. Yikes.

    • retirebyforty February 24, 2012, 1:37 pm

      That’s interesting about Facebook. I might need to check it out for baby items.

  • Tie the Money Knot February 23, 2012, 6:51 pm

    I’ve purchased a few things on Craigslist, and got some very good deals. Things that were gently used, but ended up selling at real bargain. But, they lasted a long time and actually worked as new.

    • retirebyforty February 24, 2012, 1:38 pm

      I haven’t much problem with the quality at all.

  • UltimateSmartMoney February 23, 2012, 7:32 pm

    I so saved a lot of money using craigslist buying and selling. You can find great items there.

  • Roshawn @ Watson Inc February 23, 2012, 9:02 pm

    My wife is more comfortable buying and selling off of Craigslist than I am. I just don’t bother, as I can find deals elsewhere. However, if I saw the right item for the right price, I would go for it. My wife did purchase a car via Craigslist (before we were married) from a dealer.

    • retirebyforty February 24, 2012, 1:40 pm

      My wife never buy anything from Craigslist. 🙂 I guess we are the opposite of you guys.

  • CultOfMoney February 23, 2012, 9:22 pm

    I’ve sold quite a few things on craigslist, and bought a few too. The problem is that my wife doesn’t like strangers coming over to our house, so we don’t do it much. I have had good luck selling in the past year though! Not nearly as good as luck buying. Many of the deals are going in minutes if they’re true deals.

    • retirebyforty February 24, 2012, 1:40 pm

      We have a lobby so that’s where I usually meet the buyers. Or the Walmart parking lot works pretty well too. 🙂

  • Jeffrey February 24, 2012, 9:42 am

    I use craigslist for the same types of items and reasons that you’ve listed. I’ll often go to eBay if the item I have is easily shipped and I know I can get more money for it on there.

    • retirebyforty February 24, 2012, 2:14 pm

      I hate shipping. It’s such a bother.

  • 101 Centavos February 24, 2012, 9:57 am

    I just exactly one thing on Craigslist, the kids’ backyard playset. I had I known how many people would respond, I could have gotten at least 50% more than I listed. Lesson learned.

    • retirebyforty February 24, 2012, 2:14 pm

      Live and learn my friend. You can always lower the price so aim high. 🙂

  • I love selling on Craigslist. It is a great way to get rid of items we don’t need and generate extra income. I am one of those paranoid people who always meets in a public place. 🙂

  • Car Negotiation Coach February 29, 2012, 8:37 am

    RB40- Couple years ago, I bought a few poker tables off Craigslist and then turned around and sold them for more than I paid……there is no greater feeling than actually making a profit on Craigslist items!

    And I definitely agree with your technique; you have to sell to the first person that arrives. I’ve been burned as well waiting for the first caller to show up and then they back out.

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