Sunday, July 13, 2014

Let Me Tell You About My Third Degree Black Belt in Craigslist !

There is currently no Third degree black belt in Craigslist, but I am convinced it is a sport. If there were, you could use your belt in tandem with several bungees,  to help secure items to the back of your truck !
  (Rendering: )

        I have no particular special skills with regard to shopping, other than persistence.  I don't have a huge amount of spare money, and if by some miracle, I occasionally do, it goes toward college tuition for a couple of my sons.  Yes, my cash is committed !  There is absolutely no reason you couldn't have the same results as I have shopping on Craigslist or on other similar venues.

           For years when our family has needed something, I have always looked first at the Mid-Virginia Trading Post newspaper. There is likely something similar in your area.  It's about a dollar, and it lists in categories everything from pets, livestock, cars, car parts, tires, furniture, appliances,  child and baby items, hobby items, sports equipment, etc. and a variety of different services.   Of course you need to be careful. I wouldn't travel alone to see or to pick up any of the items I considered buying. Sometimes someone does offer something that is poorly described and then you have made a trip for nothing.  That happens when you plan to buy retail too !    However, when we compare the US to Canada, for example,  we have a huge population in comparison. At any one time, our neighbors and most people have a large number of things they either bought unwisely or that they inherited, or that they bought    The chance that something you need was bought by someone in your area, and that they don't need it any more, is pretty good. The task simply becomes locating the item and the people willing to part with it.. Then, most people understand that they are going to need to discount whatever it is fairly well in order for the buyer to look past any doubts they have about buying something second hand.  Most of the time, a deal can be made.  Mid-Virginia Trading Post is also on the internet now, but they charge for membership, and so I evolved into the habit of perusing Craigslist first, because it is free to review the listings.

             I don't remember the very first thing I bought on Craigslist, but among the first things were an unusual type of duck and some unusual breed chickens I had wanted for a long time.  (Yes, some of the dealers actually have NPIP certification.)  There are a lot of really fine poultry breeders who list on Craigslist in many areas.  Some of their breeding overflow is listed on Craigslist, and they can be an excellent source of unusual heritage or rare breeds.    Once I had made contact with them, I also had a source of supplies and housing for poultry because they did that too.  These were not only a great buy but they have been very healthy stock indeed.   If you are a rural or farm person, Craigslist can also be a source of purebred livestock herding dogs, livestock housing, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, smaller pets, varietal including heritage poultry, (Swans, chickens, ducks, turkey, quail, geese etc.), and supplies for these animals, often from people who are occasionally getting out of one animal and into another.  They can be a great source for healthy barn cats and domestic cats too.

           I bought an amazing auger through Craigslist, which is the subject of an earlier blog post.

            Then, as I related in another post some time ago, our daughter bought her first home. Even though the home was reasonable, she needed to replace oak floors, buy a riding lawn mower,  paint the interior and buy a bed. This didn't leave any money to speak of for a washer and dryer, a new stove, incidental rugs, a kitchen table and chairs, lamps,  and furniture.  She looked at garage sales, and I read the Craigslist ads to two areas adjacent to us, daily.  I called on items she needed immediately and was available to look as soon as possible.  Taking a picture of the item and e-mailing it to her also helped to settle the issue of whether she wanted the item or not, once I got there. I also paid one of my sons to load and transport the larger items such as the stove etc.   My husband and I picked up the washer dryer set when we finally found one she liked. We did have a tough time getting to some of these places with a truck fast enough. It seemed that many times, the best buys went before my husband was off from work and could get there with a truck. Eventually, we were successful and got everything she needed.   Her entire home was carefully furnished for about seven hundred dollars (not including her new bed) and it looks great !

           Then, after my daughter bought her home through a conventional realtor, I began looking through Craigslist real estate ads to see if anything came up for one of my sons.  He didn't find a house, but we did find a very nice two acre piece of land very reasonably, which we promptly bought.    Another one of our sons needed a car, and he couldn't take on a payment along with college.  We were very lucky in that we fairly quickly located a late model Ford Focus that had just sold in a car auction.  The new owner had done some minimal work, and placed it up for sale on Craigslist, in January.  We bought it, insured and registered it, and then went about replacing a few missing things in it.  When we replaced a few things that we couldn't find online at the dealers, they could not believe how reasonably we bought the car.  The car is serving him well, and one day last week, while mine was being serviced, I used it too.

          A couple of years ago, a supplier of new corral panels and farm gates which I use to contain horses and for training were being advertised on Craigslist.  They were priced as factory direct and were much less money than I would normally buy such things from our farm supply stores.  I bought them and the man delivered them at a prearranged appointment on a specific day.  The quality and value was astounding.

          I also got some antique iron lawn furniture via Craigslist a man was selling after he inherited a large Richmond home.

This is an actual piece that I bought on Craigslist.

          We enjoy gardening here.  On Craigslist I have been lucky enough to get a number of plants, shrubs and trees from anything from "free if you dig it up" to plants for $1.-$10.     We bought forsythia, irises, water iris, papyrus, day lillies,  jonquils,  orange trees, ficus, fig trees, apple and pear trees, roses, and many others.

People often split plants that they gave in their garden, and then sell them on Craigslist.

           Making maximal use of Craigslist demands that you look at the categories in which you are most interested daily.   Looking at your two closest urban or quasi-urban centers makes the most sense.  Use the star feature in order to mark the things in which you have an interest.  If you are truly interested and the price is okay, contact them immediately in the manner in which they indicate.  (Some enter a phone number, some want to be contacted via e-mail, others use the contact through Craigslist.)   In order to get the item, be the first one available to come and get it, whenever possible.   Bring cash with smaller bills whenever possible.  Get a receipt, if just to protect yourself should you ever buy anything that someone later says is stolen.  At least you will avoid being charged with being in possession of stolen goods !   If someone won't give you a receipt, then that should be a bright red flag.   Most of the people on Craigslist are decent people who are trying to clean up, part with some things, or prepare to move.  They want to sell whatever it is fairly quickly and with a minimum of difficulty.  A few will help you load whatever it is.  Most will not or cannot, so bring someone with muscle, and a vehicle that will allow you to take whatever it is home. Bring a tarp, some old towels, and moving pads if you have them so that the item doesn't damage your vehicle while being moved, and so that the item you bought is protected.  If the item overhangs your vehicles back bumper, then you need to attach a red flag at the back of it as a warning to other drivers.  This is state law in most places in the US, but it's good common sense if you are somewhere where it isn't.

          In the US we still have some people who acquire things too easily and don't appreciate the things they have. This fuels their parting with some fantastic things much faster than I would.   I tend to get full use out of things until I can't anymore, and then I often give whatever the item is to someone who will cherish it as much as I did.
          Ebay and Half dot com are also excellent sources of unusual items. Don't overlook how useful these sources can be.

          Don't miss some of these fantastic chances to get a wonderful buy. Don't pay retail unless you have exhausted the possibility of paying less elsewhere for it.  If you consider the possibility of considering a gently used item, this will help you stretch your funds so that when you do need to buy something retail for cash that you will have the option of selecting the best item, and not necessarily the very cheapest one.

          Most importantly, this applies directly to preparedness.  Many times, items your family needs for preparedness, for home evacuation, sheltering-in-place, or farm or animal evacuation are available on Craigslist.  Don't let this avenue of preparedness pass you by.



Linda said...

I keep long pieces and shreds of some red fabric in my trunk for the occasional item that might stick out of my trunk. There is also a short shovel and plastic bags. But, I cannot dig now.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I stopped using ebay as I don't trust their security and now mainly look at craigslist every day. I have found several things that we really needed in the last year. A major find was two separate purchases of stainless steel chimney liners that allowed me to install two non-electric wood stoves, the sellers couldn't figure how to install them properly,. (The key is not to follow the instructions but pull them up the chimney instead of trying to force them down). Anyway the second purchase was a set of nearly new tires for my car for 100 bucks, the girl didn't want all weather (which I wanted) she wanted performance tires so sold her good ones for 1/4 what she paid for them. I am looking at some fertilized chicken eggs now to put under our setting hen.

lotta joy said...

Due to news highlights regarding Craigs List, the name always conjures up images for me of hookers and killers. I had no idea it could be for such good and honest purchases! I'm going there now. Thank you Jane!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

We got a nice push mower (rotary type) off Craig's List but I made sure to take my husband with me. I also like resale shops particularly ones associated with religious or charitable associations rather than consignment shops. Church rummage sales can also be good. Ours had machinery, stoves, carpets, canning equipment, etc. I also like resale shops in areas where the average income is higher, they throw out nicer things.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks for posting Kathy. I agree completely. The areas with higher incomes sometimes do part with some lovely things more often than I might. However, sometimes they have an exaggerated perception of its worth. Something they paid $100. shouldn't go for $75. when they sell it at a garage sale ! Still, there can be some good values.

JaneofVirginia said...

It's smart to keep flag material for the back of your vehicle. I brought a file cabinet home for my daughter one day which stuck out the back of my car and needed a flag. Thanks for posting, Linda.

JaneofVirginia said...

It never ceases to amaze me as to what people will part with. If I don't really want something, then I don't acquire it. Once I do, I really did want it ! Thanks for your posting ! Good luck with the chicken eggs.

JaneofVirginia said...

I think we need to be careful wherever we shop, but I have been very pleased.