Craigslist – How to Shop and Buy on Craigslist

Craigslist is one of the best online marketplaces there is and, when it comes to buying and selling, there may not be a site that comes close to being as easy as well as cheap to use for this purpose. Nevertheless, there are some tips to doing both, and the home page may look overwhelming to the first time visitor. Please, don’t let the home page scare you off! Craigslist is very useful once you become more familiar with it. Here, we’ll take a look at some things to know about shopping and buying things on Craigslist.

Shopping and buying items on Craigslist is easy. You just need to browse the relevant category and, when you find something you want to buy, you can just reply to the ad. And best of all, you don’t need to have any kind of account to browse or purchase anything.

Craigslist has a “for sale” section right on the home page, and this is divided into sub categories, so you don’t have to browse through appliances, cars, electronics, and clothes, while looking for a used dresser.

And, when you go into the for sale section or one of its subcategories, you have a keyword search field, a category field with a drop down menu, a selection for searching by title or entire post for keywords, a check box for images, and a price range field.

So, looking for a Kodak Z915 camera? Under the “for sale” section, you can click on the sub category “photo+video“.

Then, in the keyword field, type in Kodak Z915. You can leave the category field alone, as you are already in the category you need to be in. However, if you search here and find no results, you can always click the drop down menu in the category field and select another category the camera might be in, such as “electronics”. Next, you can put a check in the image box so that only ads with an image will come up. And, if you want to pay no more than $100 and no less than $50 to ensure that you’ll eliminate poor quality products, put your figures in the price range field. Then click on the “Search” button, and mostly relevant ads will come up.

In terms of relevance, some ads will still come up that may not be as relevant to your search, or not be relevant at all, depending on how they are titled. In the example above, you may still come up with an ad that says “Kodak Camera, Sony Walkman, and other electronics! ($1)” . When you click on this ad, you may see several items showcased and the prices may be different, with the Kodak Z915 camera priced at $150, which is out of your range. In some cases, the Kodak camera won’t even be the model you’re looking for!

Tip: When shopping for items, real estate, or an apartment, always put a check in the image box! This lets you see what the condition of the item, apartment, or property is, and even if it is the correct item you’re looking for. I’ve seen ads for cars where the wrong make and model is pictured!

Once you find the item you want, you can reply to the ad. Some ads will only have a phone number, or only allow you to click on the “reply” button. Replying to an ad does not mean you have bought the item. You can reply to ask questions if you wish.

Unlike E-bay or Amazon, Craigslist does not act as a middleman, helping to insure that the transaction goes smoothly and safely. Craigslist only allows buyers and sellers a common online place to conduct business. Once you’ve decided to take a personal look at an item, you and the seller have to make your own arrangements. Here’s some tips for a successful, and safer, transaction.

  • If you’re dealing with a business, you’re probably safe just going to the business itself, but, if dealing with a private party, arrange to meet in a public place, such as a coffee shop or inside a mall, where there are people about. Meeting at your place could result in your being robbed, or burglarized later on. Meeting at their place could also lead to your being robbed or worse. Exception: If you know that they are having a garage sale, then you can go there, but make sure when you drive up that they are really having a garage sale. If not, then keep going!
  • If dealing with a private party, don’t pay with a personal check! This gives them your checking account number. If a check is required, use a cashiers check or money order.
  • If buying electronics, try to meet at a place with plug-ins, so you can test the item. Many coffee shops and fast food places now feature WiFi and will often have places to plug-in laptop computers and other electronics.
  • Don’t jump at the first ad showing the item you’re looking for. Shop more because you may find offers that are cheaper or offer more for the same price. Some people over price their items while others under price them and there can be large variations in pricing and quality for many items. Generally, going back several days will show you all that there is. Many ads are repeated day after day until a product sells and sometimes, the price even comes down!
  • Never, never send money to a private party or business that you don’t know for a product that they claim they’ll send to you! Not Ever!! Anyone who requests this should be regarded as a scam artist! This is one reason you will see warnings on Craigslist to “Deal Locally!”.

So, these are the basics of buying things on Craigslist. Good luck shopping and stay safe! 🙂

If you want to know how to sell on Craigslist, see my post,Craigslist – How to sell on Craigslist”. And if you know anyone who wants to know more about Craigslist, send them to this site!

Thanks for reading!  🙂

How Craigslist can Help You – A General Overview

Need a job? Looking for a place to rent? Looking to buy a car or other item? Want to advertize your service? Perhaps the best place to start is Craigslist.

For those who don’t know, Craigslist can be found online at

Once you click on the link, you can then select the city or area you live in or the one closest to your home town. This will bring up the Craigslist page for your town or city. Bookmark this site and you’ll have easy access to it!

Craigslist is one of the best and most versatile online marketplaces and information sites on the internet. You can find all kinds of things for sale from cars and real estate to household items or just about anything else that can be sold. There are also job listings and services listings as well, and others, too. The site also features garage sales and community events and discussion forums. If you’ve just moved to a new locale, it can be an excellent resource for finding a place to live, getting it furnished, and getting a new job, too!

In addition, you can also check out whats available in other cities, states, and even other countries!

In addition to this, you can also post listings of your own, such as your resume, items you want to sell, items that you are looking for, jobs you want, jobs you are offering, and even discussion questions and answers in the forums.

Best of all, with the exception of posting job listings in some locations, and possibly a very few other exceptions, posting ads and answering ads are free!

Now, the description I gave is very general and you really have to go see and explore Craigslist on your own to see what I really mean.

Now, I do have a few tidbits of information about Craigslist here:

  • Each general category is broken down into sub-categories so you can narrow your searches. Also, when you are in a general category, there is a field where you can type in keywords to further narrow your search, and also boxes that you can check, one of which is to include only those ads with images. This can be very helpful when looking for a specific type of job or item.

Tip: When looking for an item or real estate to buy, or an apartment to rent, always put a check in the box for images! 

  • There is generally no charge to sell an item on Craigslist, though you do need to set up an account, which is also free. There is also no charge to reply to an ad, buy something, or simply browse on Craigslist.

Note: Unlike Ebay or Amazon, Craigslist does not play middleman for any transactions. It only functions as a way for buyers and sellers, or employers and employees to connect. The only thing it will do is, when posting an ad, it allows you the choice of making your e-mail anonymous for those who reply to your ad.

Safety Precaution: When you make contact with a potential buyer or seller through Craigslist, be sure to meet at a public place for your safety! Craigslist has a section on personal safety tips, and avoiding fraud and scams, and other issues – it’s a good idea to read this section before placing or answering ads!

  • Craigslist is getting easier to use and more versatile all the time! Over time it’s become more user-friendly for differing e-mail systems and also for downloading images to use in your ads.
  • You can see more at a faster pace than if you go driving around. This is especially true if you are looking for garage sales or a job.
  • Ads are listed by date and time and they show the time of their posting. For people looking to buy cars or real estate, or for those looking for apartments, this means looking at ads for items for sale or rent now instead of possibly being two weeks to a month out of date as they often are in used car, real estate, and apartment magazines!

So, this is just a general overview of Craigslist. I will be posting more articles on Craigslist in the future, as I’ve used it to get jobs, buy and sell items, and even to post a question in the forums. It’s been a great help to me.

In the meantime, go ahead and click on the link for Craigslist in this post, and see what it’s all about!

If you want to know how to shop and buy items on Craigslist, or how to sell items on Craigslist, please see my posts, “Craigslist – How to Shop and Buy on Craigslist” and “Craigslist – How to Sell on Craigslist”.

If you know anyone who wants to know more about Craigslist or anything else my other posts cover, send them to this site!

Thanks for reading! 🙂