In my opinion, one of the biggest disappointments in the United States is that you are required to pay the listed price of an item in the majority of cases when purchasing something. In a multitude of other countries, bartering is often an expected practice among those who go out to shop. This practice protects the customer by allowing them to pay what they believe is a suitable price for a good or service. In the U.S., Craigslist allows people to participate in bartering in a similar manner, and I believe that it is one of the greatest ways to save money!
From a young age, my parents taught me negotiation skills to aid my success in the future. I remember going to craigslist deals with my dad when he needed to purchase something, processing what was going on, and absorbing all the information I could. I was fascinated watching him go home with what he needed, after spending only a fraction of the item’s list price. All it took was a little bit of conversation and some back and forth price negotiation, and before I knew it, he and the vendor shook hands and we were on our way home.
Today, I have replicated what he has done many times, built on it, and have made plenty of successful buys! If used correctly, craigslist can be an excellent tool to never pay full price for anything you need! However, it’s a little more complicated that just finding an item, meeting up with someone, and buying the item. There’s a little bit of work that you need to do to make sure that you don’t go home unhappy. Here are my top three craigslist tips for your success:
Tip #1: Do your research.
Just like you would always do your research before investing in the stock market, it’s important to do your research when purchasing something. To start out, whenever you purchase something, doing your research allows you to be a more educated buyer. The more educated you are on a product or service, the more confident you’re going to be while purchasing. Confidence allows you to show the seller that you’re serious, and that you know what you’re talking about. In other words, it keeps you from getting scammed. If you were purchasing a car and it had bald tires, but you didn’t know what bald tires looked like, or you didn’t know to look to see if the tires were bald in the first place, you may be stuck with an extra expense after purchasing the vehicle. Although it may not involve tires, the same concept applies to nearly every other purchase.
Doing your research may also allow you to determine whether or not there are better deals available. In a similar car example, if you were purchasing a car that was listed for $15,000, but you didn’t know the car was only worth $10,000, you’re clearly not putting yourself in a situation to succeed in a deal. Research is crucial to a deal in your favor.
Tip #2: Only bring the amount of money you want to spend with you.
One of the things my dad used to do when I went with him to buy things from craigslist, is bring only the amount of money he wished to spend on the item. For example, if an item was listed for $400, but to him it wasn’t worth spending a penny over $250, he would only bring $250 with him. By only bringing $250 there was no way he could possibly spend any more money than he wanted to! It’s also a great tool for people who are trying to budget, since it forces you to walk away from a deal if it’s too much money.
Tip #3: Don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal.
One of the final things to take note of is that there is probably never going to be a time where you MUST buy something. Never will you need a TV for your house. If you need to live without it for a while, that’s alright! You will be best off by walking away from a deal if you don’t believe you can afford it. Nothing is worse than going home with an item for which you feel you paid too much. You can always come back to the vendor to purchase the same thing if it’s still for sale. Chances are, if the item was too expensive, the vendor will have to lower the price at some point in order to sell it. If you keep watch over the price, you may be able to contact the seller at a later point in time to make another offer!
In all honesty, there are plenty more things that you can do for a purchase from craigslist, but these three are some of the best strategies to be successful. Craigslist is a fantastic way to save a ton of money on your purchases.
Always be careful on craigslist and meet in a public place. Never meet somewhere where you feel uncomfortable. Usually you can ask to meet in the parking lot of a busy supermarket or even the parking lot of a police station if there’s an area available. If you’re still uncomfortable with that, ask a friend to come along for company!