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How to Save Money Buying Used Stuff

Finding Local Resources to Buy Used Goods Can Save a Lot of Money

Why pay full price for something that you can usually find used and in great condition?  It used to be that ebay was the way to go, but because of all the euphoria and the high shipping costs, its been hard for us to find good deals there.  For that reason, we recommend searching local databases for the things you want to buy, with craigslist being by far the best source.

Save Money Buying Used:

  • Start by searching your local craigslist for the item you are looking for.  Be patient if you don't find it right away, people are adding hundreds of thousands of items everyday.
  • Also, search other local sites that are popular, including local classifieds and ebays local listings.
  • If you don't find what you are looking for, try using different search terms to describe the items.  People often post their items with abbreviations or with titles you wouldn't think to search.
  • If you are flexible, wait until the right time to buy.  For example, people start selling summer items in the Spring, often because they are replacing them.  Also, near the end of the season people are often looking to sell.  For example, if you are looking for a snowblower, check in the early Spring.  Many people sell because they don't want to store it another year.
  • If you still don't find what you're looking for, try searching other craigslist locations that are within your driving range.  If the item is worth a lot, people are often willing to drive half way or deliver the item for you.
  • Keep in mind that people choose prices for items based on what they think they are worth.  While one person might think their bike is worth $500 because they paid $600 for it, another person might value it at $150.  When you see prices that are close to retail, you can send the person an email asking them if they would take less, but usually those people are not good sellers and it might take months of watching their posts before they drop the price to a reasonable level.
  • Most people post prices that are higher than they expect to recieve (I know we do), so ask them if they would take a lower price.  Mention the price you have in mind, but don't be too greedy.  We often have people offer us $25 for something we're selling for $100 - this is an insult to the seller and will likely cause them to stop responding to your emails.
  • If you see a really good deal, pull the trigger fast.  When we sell some items, we have multiple emails in just a few minutes.  Give the seller a reason to choose you.  If it's really a great deal, offer the seller more than they are asking, or tell them that you can pick it up immediately (many sellers are really trying to get rid of stuff).
  • Check back every day when you are searching for something, especially on the weekends.  The best stuff goes fast.
  • Visit our extensive list of ideas on how to save money.

See Also:  Money Saving Tips