A Little Known Secret for Bargain Shopping on Craigslist

While I’d love to buy a brand new stainless steel refrigerator, I’ll settle for what I need…a frugal fridge that works. Since our home buying process is moving right along, my husband and I are starting to make a list of things we’ll need for our new home. We’ve been putting a lot of money into the buying process, between inspections, fees, and an earnest money deposit, so we don’t want to blow a lot of cash on furniture and appliances.

Enter Craigslist. I just love Craigslist! The site is easy to navigate, and I almost always find what I’m looking for!

Two of the things we absolutely need as soon as we move in are a refrigerator and a lawn mower. Also on my wish list is a freezer. Now I could go to the Craigslist website every day and scour the ads for refrigerators. That takes a lot of time, though, and I can’t get to it every day. But I don’t want to miss a great deal on an item I need.

Here is the trick…

Instead, I navigated to the Craigslist for my community and did a search for refrigerators under $600. I’m aiming lower than that, but if I find a great fridge for $600, I could be tempted to buy it.

Once the search results came up, I scrolled to the bottom of the page and clicked on the orange RSS button. Then I had the option to subscribe to the search feed via any RSS reader I wanted. I use Google Reader, so that’s what I chose.

Now every time I read my blog feeds, I’ll also be alerted to any new refrigerators listed on Craigslist!

If I had a data plan with my cell phone, I could even check Google Reader by phone throughout the day, to make sure I find the refrigerator that’s best for me. But since I don’t have a data plan, and I’m usually attached to my laptop anyway, my laptop will do.

You can do this for anything you want to keep your eyes on. I’m also going to set up a feed for lawnmowers, so I can grab a good lawnmower when one comes available too.

We’re not quite ready to buy appliances and lawnmowers yet, as we’re navigating through post-inspection negotiations and the appraisal process. Once I’m fairly certain everything is going to come together, I’ll be ready to buy though. And I’ll be shopping Craigslist for the necessities. The price is sure to beat retail by a mile!

Do you have any Craigslist success stories? I’d love to hear them!

Photo by justinbaeder.



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By , on Jul 22, 2008
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{24 Comments}

  1. matt:

    This is a great example of how to actively find great deals on craigslist. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have used Craig’s List to sell many of my unwanted items and used it to find my current apartment. Love the service they provide

  3. We bought the house in my header off Craig’s list, so we know the power of that site!

    I didn’t know about using my feeder, though. Thanks for the great tip. I came here via Simple Mom.

  4. I had no idea you could subscribe to a craigslist search. I’m so glad to learn something new!

  5. Craigslist is pretty cool. there are some ummmm interesting people out there though! I’ll probably make a post in the future on my craigs list experience as I’ve done a lot of selling on it int he past week :)

  6. I love CraigsList!!! We just moved to a big metro area where there is a plethora of choices. We desperately needed a couch when we moved here–found a matching couch/chair set in perfect condition for $50! The lady had sold her house and just needed to get rid of them. We also found nice oak bar stools for our island for cheap too.
    Hope everything continues to go smoothly with your home purchase. How exciting!!

  7. I’ve never bought anything off of Craigslist, but i have sold things, and I would say I gave some people very good deals on the things I essentially wanted to get rid of. So yes, it is a great resource to find items that are probably still in pretty good shape, yet you can get on the cheap.

  8. Angelsong:

    I can so easily identify with this. We had too much furniture for our old apartment, but when we bought our home, we needed more. We bought several pieces of furniture from craigslist, including a brand new mattress and box springs for a lot less than in the stores. Craigslist is the first place I look for good quality items at low cost (or free).

  9. Hi there. Have you ever tried Froogle, the Google shop search? I find it is usually good at picking up some bargains.

  10. Great place for baby clothes and furniture too!

  11. bugscout:

    Don’t forget scratch and dent stores. Sears has a couple of them near my house and there is also a private one that deals with GE appliances. We bought most of our appliances at one of those two places. They are usually 30% off and have minor cosmetic flaws. Our dryer had a scratch on one side that couldn’t even be seen when it was installed. Our fridge has a scratch on the front, but they painted it for us when they installed it and you can barely tell where it is. I think it is well worth the 30% we saved!

  12. I love craigslist. We found to rented accomodations, almost all of our furniture through craigslist. We got a real good deal on furniture and I’m not sure I could have gotten it at any place else. Although I must admit, I kept scouring craigslist, it didn’t strike me to setup an RSS feed. Great idea!

    I haven’t tried my hand at selling something on craigslist, one of these days I’m going to do that.

  13. PT:

    Love the rss idea. That’s why they pay you the big bucks, Lynnae! :)

  14. In your search for appliances, don’t forget to check your local Lowes or Home Depot. Many have a great “scratch and dent” section. We were able to purchase a large side by side for under $500 delivered. There was a small dent in the back left corner of the freezer side.

    Have a great search!

    Andrea in NC

  15. Chris:

    I have a ton of stuff up on craigslist this summer, and I have sold off some, however most of what I get in responses are nuts! People wanting ME to deliver a $20 or $30 item to them in a 75 mile round trip. I get this request several times a week in response to my various adds. I figure they are either stupid or very smart – probably the latter, thinking I would be dumb enough to spend my gas money. Hmmmm….

  16. I love Craigslist, but I didn’t know you could do the RSS feeds. Thanks!

  17. I love craigslist. I just sold a children’s bookcase on there -Becky

  18. We use craigslist a lot. We’ve bought our pop-up tent camper, lots of remodeling supplies, and our living room furniture from craigslist. We’ve sold two antique dressers, a chest of drawers, Little Tikes toys, water filters, and a host of other things.

    We’ve also taken advantage of their FREE listings and were able to give away many, many good items that we no longer needed but didn’t want to list separately to sell. It was like a garage sale, only we gave everything away. It made us happy to have more space and it made others happy to get good items for free.

  19. "Mo" Money:

    I’ve used craigs list with success. There is another site http://www.ebayclassifieds.com/ that is easier to navigate I think, but probably isn’t as popular yet.

  20. boomeyers:

    Don’t rule out a new fridge too! Do your homework and look around. I found a great (simple, not fancy SS or bottom freezer, etc.) fridge for $595 brand new from Sears. It even has an ice maker and water dispenser (from inside the fridge, not in the door, but who cares!) And it was brand new, so the warranty was handy for a year! Check around! :)

  21. Marci:

    Good luck with the appliance search.

    I’d like to recommend a refrig. like mine to you – it’s a bottom freezer, with the refrig. on top. I had one 30 years ago and loved it, and when I bought a new one 2 years ago, that was what I had to have! I just love the ‘no more stooping over’ part of it – everything in the frig. is right there at eye level. If something spills, you can clean it standing up instead of being on your knees down under the veggie bins at the bottom. Plus no more having heavy frozen things drop out and fall on your foot or floor.

    I just luv it! Mine was $659… that’s not much over your budget. But it’s not the largest of the friges either – and with a family you might need more room.

    Craigs list is great – thanks for letting us know about the search subscription – sounds great! And try freecycle also – there was a free one a couple weeks ago on my coastal freecycle.

  22. My husband and I have a gently used Whirlpool washer and dryer from Craigslist. They were only $150 for the pair! It was cheaper than renting a set for a year.

  23. Ryan @ Smarter Wealth:

    I will need to check out this site. I have never heard of craiglist before. As a struggling entrepreneur it could be a great venture for me…thanks for the head up. I look forward to hearing more testimonials about the site

  24. I bought a Korg Triton keyboard a couple years ago from a gentleman on Craiglist. He was selling it for a fraction of the brand-new cost, and was willing to let me go to his house to look at it first. My husband and I drove to the guy’s house a few towns over, and after a small “test drive” on the keyboard I gave the man the cash and walked out with a nearly brand-new keyboard to use for my church band.

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