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How to Find Craigslist Deals: $12,500+ in 20 Minutes

Updated on June 11, 2012


Craigslist is one of the most powerful money saving tools available today. Over the past year, I’ve saved nearly $1,000 using Craigslist. This coming year, my savings on rent, appliances and furniture alone will be well over $7,000. It’s easy and takes very little time.

Shopping Craigslist for just 4 major areas can save you thousands per year. In a quick 20-minute scan of the local Craigslist, I identified 13 listings that provide a combined savings of over $12,500.

Living

Average savings: 73% = $560/month or $6,720/year. Savings are based on the Indiana average for rent, utilities, TV, phone, internet, and water is $771.

  1. $100 per month: share a small apartment with a couple. Could be slightly awkward, but it includes: rent, internet, and cable. After paying your own utilities + phone service: $287/month. Savings: $484/month.
  2. A couple college students listed a $225/month room that includes utilities, water and free laundry. Only pay for internet + cable. Savings: $663/month.
  3. Now here’s a sweet deal: take care of a truck driver’s 2 dogs, water his plants, and keep the house secure. In exchange, he’ll let you stay for free. Even if you have to pay for everything else besides rent, you’d save $533/month.

Furniture

Average savings: 79% = $2,075

  1. A huge 71″x 66″ cherry wood stained business desk for $275. Owner says they bought new for $800 back in 2011. Savings: $525.
  2. A like new box spring mattress set for $50. Usually run you at least $300. Savings: $250.
  3. Nice condition 36″-54″ x 54″ adjustable wood kitchen table with 6 matching chairs for $200. Online for $1,500. Savings: $1,300.

Electronics

Average savings: 67% off = $954

  1. Purchased a lightly used 11″ MacBook Air with a 3-year AppleCare warranty for $630 cash. This same machine with the warranty would have cost at least $1,200 brand new. Savings: $570.
  2. As soon as the iPhone 4 came out, I went out and got a gently used factory unlocked iPhone 3GS with a 3-year warranty for $130. Brand new, these are now $375 + $99 AppleCare = $474. Savings: $344.
  3. 27″ Panasonic TV: $10 You’d pay just about as much for a Subway sandwich with a drink and chips. Savings: at least $40.

Appliances

Average savings: 91% = $2,730

  1. Washer and dryer combination: $45. Most combinations I’ve seen online cost over $1,000. Savings: $955.
  2. Side-by-side refrigerator: $50. These side-by-sides run $800. Savings: $750.
  3. Smooth-top electric stove: $75. At $600 brand new, this nice condition stove would save you $525.
  4. KitchenAid dishwasher: $100. If you are fed up with washing dishes by hand, you could go out and spend $600 on a dishwasher, or save $500 on this unit.

Isn't Craigslist Dangerous?

Unfortunately, many people shy away because of various overexaggerated problems. When I first started buying and selling on Craigslist, many of my friends and family were horrified. “Don’t you know how many scams are out there?” they would say. The truth is, an overwhelming majority of Craigslist deals are from completely legitimate, everyday people like you and me.

While there certainly are some scammers out there that give Craigslist a bad new, a few simple and easy practices can eliminate 99.9% of Craigslist scammers. Check out this article at Money Crashers for more tips.

  • Buy (and sell) only with cash or certified checks (never PayPal).
  • Never ship or have anyone ship you anything.
  • Write down the other person’s driver’s license number when you pay or buy.

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