How to Use Craigslist to Find Great Bargains

Posted on 09/12/2007

If you're looking for a bargain, there are certain must-go places on the Internet where you'll almost always find great deals. Craigslist is one of them. For those who haven't given this popular classified-listing site a look-see, Craigslist was started in the San Francisco Bay Area, but has now spread across nearly every major city in the United States and most countries and major cities around the world. Thousands and thousands of people list used (and even new) stuff on the site, some free, some cheap. For those who are a bit overwhelmed by the site, here's a guide to finding some great bargains.

1. Browse free stuff. Go to, find your state and then your city, and under the "for sale" listing, look for the "free" category. While the majority of stuff on is for sale, sometimes you'll find some good free stuff. It's worth a quick browse, at least. There's also a "barter" category if you're willing to do that.

2. Browse cheap stuff. The other categories under "for sale" typically have tons of bargains. Find categories that interest you and spend a little time browsing through them. If you're not exactly sure what you're looking for, this is one of the more common ways to find cheap stuff.

3. Search categories. Know exactly what you want? Do a search for the item. It's best if you go to the category you want, then enter your search term(s) in the search field at top. You can enter a minimum and maximum price, specify the category, require that the results have images, and even search within a specific sub-area in your city or area. Probably the most efficient way to use Craigslist.

4. Custom feeds. Haven't found exactly what you're looking for? You can keep tabs on certain items by creating custom RSS feeds. Do a search for the item you're looking for, with whatever search options you'd like (see Item #3 above). Then, when you get to the search results page, look at the bottom of the page for the "RSS" link in orange. You can click on this link to subscribe to the search feed and use your RSS reader (such as Google Reader or Bloglines, or whatever you use) to keep a running tab on the item you're looking for.

5. Want ads. If you want to get more active than just keeping an eye on a wanted item, put out a listing for what you want. You'll need to create a Craigslist account, if you don't already have one, but it's free and easy to set up. Once you've done that, click on the "wanted" category link under "for sale" in you area's Craigslist. Then, at the top right corner, there's a "post" link. Use that to post a want ad for whatever you're looking for. Be specific to get exactly what you want. You don't even have to have your personal contact info listed. If people have what you want, they'll contact you.

6. Garage sales. On the main page of your local Craigslist listing, you'll find a "garage sales" section under "for sale". You'll find a listing of garage sales in your area, sorted by date, often with a preview of the types of items that will be for sale. You can organize a couple hours of bargain-hunting at garage sales through this great listing.

* Hot deals expire quickly. This deal may no longer be valid.



Posted on 12.15.09 at 2:47 PM

Hey, this is a great article. I have been browsing to get a general idea of what items go for and what I can expect to pay for stuff on craigslist.

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