Bargain Shopping I

20 February 2013

Hey Lovelies,
I wanted to come and talk with you all about bargain shopping – and to share some of my tips for shopping on one of my favorite sites, Craigslist. Now before you crinkle your nose and shake your head, just hear me out. There are a plethora of things you can purchase from craigslist without too much worry, for example clothes, gardening supplies, and my main thing – furniture. Now when it comes to appliances and electronics those things can be a little scarier to buy from someone that will not be able to guarantee or warranty the product – so buyers beware.
Today however I want to share a few tips about buying furniture on craigslist. So far this is the only thing that I have experience with, many of my friends however have succeeded in purchasing clothes and gardening supplies. So here are my tips for buying furniture:
1. Have an Idea. You never want to get on Craigslist and look without purpose. You will see many great deals for sure, but you do not want to fall prey to buying what you do not need. I recommend browsing around on sites like Crate & Barrel, Pier One Imports, Restoration Hardware, or even IKEA to get some inspiration. You may even view magazines or search Pinterest. For me I found a photograph of a living room that was similar to the one I wanted to achieve from Pinterest. Know what you want and what size the item needs to be.

2. Have a Budget. Often times when you find inspiration from the sources listed above they may or may not be in your budget, so that’s where Craigslist comes in. Personally I do not care if the item is or is not in my budget – I always shop around for a bargain. Be sure that your budget includes cushion to fix the item up if need be.

3. Have some Patience. Rarely will you succeed in finding what you are looking for on Craigslist at the right price and on the first day you search. If you have a smart phone or access to a computer all day search daily. On Craigslist new post come and go, so browse the furniture section and the free section in your area. Don’t be afraid to broaden your search. I usually search for my items in New York, New Jersey, and in Pennsylvania – this gives me a higher chance of finding what I want.

4. Have a List. Don’t be anxious, remember to be thorough and ask questions before negotiating a price and pick up time. The last thing you want is to drive 45 minutes to pick up and item and then to be surprise that it looks nothing like what you were expecting it to. For furniture buying here are the questions I recommend that you ask:

  • Where are you located? (Sometimes people list their items in the wrong city or state – ask for their zip code to be sure the item is within a reasonable distance from you.) 
  • Is it solid wood? (This question is very important if you plan to refinish the item.)
  • Are there any visible scratches or defects that I should know about? Does this item rock, squeak, or lean? Is it missing any pieces? (Often times bringing this to the owner’s attention may get them to lower the price – if you would still be willing to make the purchase.)
  • What are the measurements for this item? (Some things may look smaller or larger based on the photos – to make sure the item fits into your plan and most of all into your living space get the measurements. Measure your living space; tape the floor to gauge how an item of that size will work your space)
  • Can you provide more pictures from different angles? (Some people list their items with one or no pictures. Ask for more photos to insure what you are seeing is what you get when you arrange for pick up.)
  • When can I pick up the item? Will someone be able to assist me with lifting it? (If the seller is not strong enough to help you with the item, be prepared to bring along someone to help.)

5. Have some Manners. So now you have found what you want, and the condition or price of the item may not be what you were expecting. You may grumble and kiss your teeth because you feel the poster has their item listed too high – but remember some owners will have a sentimental attachment to their items. If you wish to proceed and negotiate with the seller be mindful of their feelings – have manners. Do not try and automatically low ball them, keep in mind that some people are not willing to budge at all – in that case I recommend you move on. For a seller with a sentimental attachment to their item, explain to them how you plant to use their item. Most of the time this gives them a little peace about the sale, and they are eager for you to purchase their item since they know it will go to a good home. I know that all sounds silly but it’s true. Think about it, if you were selling an awesome dresser that you have had for years would you want to lower the price if you knew someone was going to buy it and use it for fire wood? Ha! I didn’t think so! Lastly, when emailing or text messaging a seller be sure to include your name and telephone number. This helps the seller to fill confident that you are serious about the purchase and not a scammer.

6. Have A Brain. So the negotiations are made and you are ready to pick up your item. All you need to do now is get the cash and find a buddy. That’s right, be smart and find someone to go with you. I never recommend going to retrieve pieces alone, always bring someone along - even you guys! However if you are a macho man and you plan to pick up a piece by yourself send out a text message to the people who love and care about you with the address and time that you have arranged to do a pick up. Once you get your item be sure to let them know that you made it back home safely. If for any reasons you have suspicions about the seller or their intentions do not go through with the sale, use your intuition.
I hope these tips are useful to you all. Happy Craigslist Shopping. 
All images via Google.

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