One of the great advantages of living in the digital age is online classified boards. If you need to buy or sell something, no matter how random, it is just a click away. Today’s younger generation doesn’t save up all their second-hand junk for a weekend garage sale. No, they are taking to the web to peddle their wares.

One of the most popular online classified websites is Craigslist and I am sure many of you are aware of this site. It has been around since the mid 1990s and their old school website design is evidence of this.

There are no flashy ads and distracting popups, just straight up text classifieds. While it does provide for easy navigating, I suspect they keep the basic design to make it seem like less of a commercial business. While the website was completely free for a while, they are gradually making the more commercial categories a pay-per-post model.

Although some classified categories are taken over by the almighty dollar, most categories are still free and open to the masses. This is where you can find some awesome bargains.

Furniture

This is most likely one of the most popular second hand sections on Craigslist. Since furniture is quite durable (if you exclude Ikea garbage), there is no point in throwing out old furniture just because it no longer suits your tastes. Someone else can still get many years use out of it. You can find a wide range of used furniture at exceptional prices. With a bit of browsing, you could furnish your entire home for a fraction of what you would pay new.

Just a couple months ago I bought a used dresser from Craigslist because my Ikea dresser was literally falling apart. For $100, I had a decent looking dresser delivered to my door that very day. I am confident that I will get much longer use out of it compared to my last dresser. A while back I also bought 4 dining room chairs that were exactly what I wanted. I’m not positive on the exact price, but they were only about $10-15 each.

Selling used furniture keeps such items out of the landfills and puts some money back in your pocket. When you can reach such a large audience, there is sure to be someone in need of what you are selling.

Cars + Trucks

This is one category that may already be pay-per-post only in some areas. The majority of vehicle posts are actually from car dealerships. Used car dealerships in particular like to post their entire inventory online. These ones aren’t always good deals as those used car dealers often try to hide mechanical problems and can be quite dishonest.

The real deals in the Cars + Trucks category is ads posted by private dealers selling their own personal vehicle. These vehicles are usually in pretty good shape and the owners aren’t always trying to get the very highest price. Most are just interested in selling quickly to avoid spending a lot of time showing the vehicle.

If you do buy a car or truck through Craigslist, it is advisable to get a mechanic to inspect it. My girlfriend and I learned this the hard way as she bought more than 1 used vehicle which turned out to have mechanical short comings. Despite those problems, she purchased her last car through Craigslist again. This time around she got a car that was in excellent shape and even included a set of winter tires on steel rims. It was at a price lower than what others were asking for. More importantly for my girlfriend, it was in the color she wanted.

Be aware that even personal sellers can sometimes be dishonest and trying to pawn off a lousy car. So don’t jump at a deal just because it sounds good.

Tickets

For entertainment, I like to go to concerts and sporting events. Unfortunately the local scalpers (or ticket brokers as they call themselves) are quite aggressive and help many events to sell out quickly. These sames companies flood the online classifieds with their overpriced tickets.

Mixed in with that spam are individual sellers trying to sell off their tickets for one reason or another. A lot of times it is someone who has purchased season’s tickets, but are selling half the tickets to bring down their individual ticket price. These people usually charge face value or just below face value, which is acceptable for a high demand event.

The better deals are from the people who legitimately cannot use their ticket due to a conflicting schedule or other commitments. These people usually just want to recover most of their money and ensure the tickets get used. Depending on how close it is to the event, they might get desperate and sell for well below face value.

Free Section

For the real bargain hunters, the free section is where it’s at. Sometimes I like to browse this section just to get a laugh out of what I could get for free. Some of the stuff is truly junk, but there are real gems. For example, today I see someone giving away an above ground pool and someone else giving away an “awesome giant tv” which he claims is perfectly functional. Further down the page is a complete home gym. You truly can find everything for your home there, even a kitchen sink.

The one catch of this section is that you usually have to pick up the free swag yourself. So a truck may be required. Also some of the stuff goes pretty quickly.

Other Categories

The above categories are just the ones that I’ve personally used and found good deals. There are many other categories for whatever you are looking to buy. There are bound to be good deals in almost every category…well the ones not yet taken over by commercial interests anyway. Which categories have you had success with?

Profit Potential

Some people actually base home businesses off getting good deals or free stuff through classifieds. In some cases they sell the goods as-is either back on Craigslist or on auction sites such as eBay. In other cases, they refurbish the goods to make it more appealing to sellers. This may have been the case with the dresser I bought as it had recently been painted. I’m sure there are also people who repair electronics or reupholster couches, and then resell them online.

If you have usable goods that you don’t have a need for anymore, you can make some money too. Take a digital photo of whatever you have to sell and take a few minutes to post it online. Obviously some things will not be in demand, but some other things are always in need. Just remember that people will be looking for good deals. So asking for too high a price will be counter productive.

And now Weird Al Yankovic gives props to Craigslist in his unique way:

Conclusion

So next time you need to buy something, first consider whether you could just buy that item second hand. Usually you can find that item at a cheap price and help the environment at the same time. Online classified sites like Craigslist are an excellent resource for this, but maybe another website is more popular where you live. Or maybe garage sales are still a common sight in your neighborhood. Check around and you’ll be surprised at the good deals.

Do you personally shop on online classified sites? What is the best deal you’ve found on there? Or what is the most interesting online classified post you’ve come across?

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