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List: Posted: 09/26/11
I love haggling. However, Craigslist can be a bit intimidating to the novice shopper. Once you get used to how Craigslist works, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars compared to retail shopping.
Below are the top five things to buy on Craigslist and a few guides on how to get them.
N.B.: One thing to note on Craigslist is to always keep an eye out for scams. With any service or product, there will be many people willing to profit by taking advantage of others. Never go into Craigslist thinking the person is legitimate. Although there are no guarantees, there are ways to reduce your likelihood of scams. Read below to learn more.
Event tickets are incredibly expensive. One day at Disneyland can cost almost $100 per person. Don't even think about park hopper passes or multi-day tickets. One of the best ways to save money on events like this is to pick up cheap tickets on Craigslist. However, be aware that tickets are probably the most scammed items online. They are fairly easy to duplicate and if you purchase them, you will be the one getting in trouble.
There are a couple ways to avoid getting scammed. The best method is when you go to pick up the tickets, call the phone number located on the back. Speak with a representative and ask them to check the ticket number. At this point, if the seller is scamming you, he will probably make up an excuse and leave. If they pressure you to buy the ticket without letting you call the company saying they are in a hurry, then do not purchase them.
If you can't check the validity of the ticket because the company is closed already, I usually ask the seller for a copy of their driver's license and make up a quick contract for them to sign. This way, you have their name and address so you can file a claim if they scammed you. Keep in mind, some tickets can not be resold, so a contract would be invalid. Try to avoid buying these on Craigslist.
So far I've bought tickets to Six Flags, Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, San Diego Zoo, Airline Tickets, Train Tickets, and Dodger Game tickets online, and have probably saved over $1000 dollars total. All of which turned out to be legitimate tickets.
Two of the services I most often use on Craigslist are mechanics and cleaning. I would suggest cleaning for everyone out there, but only mechanics for people who are already mechanically inclined. I use mechanic services when I don't have the tools I need to fix it myself, however I have some decent knowledge of how to fix most parts. A lot of mechanics will try to scam you, and this is especially the case on Craigslist.
Cleaning services are super cheap on Craigslist, from your car to your house. Since it is a service, it is hard to scam! A clean carpet is easy to tell (for most of us at least.)
Furniture is one of the safest things to buy on Craigslist. This is because it is very difficult to scam something that is easily checked for quality. Most of the time you'll be purchasing chairs or cheap desks. As long as there are no major breaks or scratches you'll be fine.
Furniture, unlike many major retail brands, will often be cheaper than 75% off the purchase price found at furniture stores. This is because when people search for a specific piece, they generally only buy something that matches what they want. So, if you find something you like, grab it on Craigslist.
When purchasing higher quality items like mahogany, you may want to research how to test for quality or bring a friend that knows a bit about quality checking.
I buy nearly all of my electronics on Craigslist because I can save some serious cash here. Brand new retail televisions are some of the most overpriced items on earth. People selling on Craigslist will usually discount TVs about 50%. The problem here is quality control. You have to have a good understanding of how to check a TV for quality, because plasmas for example only last a certain amount of hours before they burn out.
I have had not issues buying TV's on Craigslist. Besides TV's, I've bought computer monitors, cell phones, laptops, and cameras on Craigslist.
This one is a bit scary for many people, but as long as you are careful, you should be fine. I've bought my last 4 cars and motorcycles on Craigslist and have sold 5. You will save a lot of money for the same exact car if you buy on Craigslist rather than through a dealer.
I suggest researching how to check a car for any issues and test drive the vehicle. Also, get a CarFax report, and before you purchase, sign a contract with the seller where you can have a mechanic look at it before purchasing. I usually take the car to a local mechanic where they will do a detailed inspection for $20-$60. When you are saving hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, a $50 mechanic check is well worth it.
In total costs, Craigslist has saved me probably over $20,000 in the last five years versus buying from retail. Once you learn how to use the site, you'll find Craigslist is a great way to save a ton of cash!
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