Looking for cool items on a budget in your area? Try Craigslist (2024)

Craigslist allows users to buy and sell goods or post classified ads for anyone in a community to read or exchange. The service launched in the mid-1990s and has since grown to cover every continent. But what exactly is Craigslist, and how does it work?

What Is Craigslist: A Brief History

In 1995, San Francisco resident Craig Newmark created an online hub meant to inform visitors of local events. Soon, individuals began using Craig's small platform to post jobs, services, items for sale, and more, eventually requiring the use of a server.

Looking for cool items on a budget in your area? Try Craigslist (1)

During a housing shortage in San Francisco, individuals began posting ads for apartment rentals in and around the city. In response, Craig wrote software that could automatically add email postings to a website: craigslist.org. Finally, in 1999, Craig was able to devote himself full-time to Craigslist.

How Does Craigslist Work?

Craigslist functions as an online classifieds forum, but it also allows for community discussions, job postings, service advertisem*nts, and more. Visitors can post their own ads, apply for gigs, or take advantage of deals they're interested in. A quick glance at the Craigslist home page shows an array of sections. Some of the key sections you'll find include:

  • Community: This section is for events and trends happening in your community, including classes, lost and found items, political forums, and local news. There's also a unique section called "Rants & Raves," where posters can share whatever thoughts and feelings they have.
  • Services: Here's where you find people and organizations offering services, such as car repair, website design, or dog walking.
  • Housing: Use this section to find or advertisem*nt an apartment for rent. You can also find real estate listings in your area, whether you're looking to buy, sell, rent, or trade.
  • Jobs: Job postings are very common on Craigslist. You can find listings for pretty much any field, including Education, Real Estate, Accounting, Security, and Media.
  • For Sale: If you're looking for an item on the cheap, this is where you'll find it. One of the most used areas of Craigslist, these ads are placed by individuals selling anything from furniture to collectible figurines.
  • Discussion Forums: Craigslist has forums for discussing pretty much everything under the sun, such as tech products, religion, celebrities, and politics.

You can use the Wanted category under the For Sale section to solicit specific items you may want, or browse listings of other people's requests.

How Does Craigslist Make Money?

Craig Newmark was once asked to include sponsored ads on his website but turned down the offer. Instead, Craigslist focuses on only a couple of revenue streams, including:

  • Fees for job postings: There's a fee for posting a job posting in major U.S. cities, and it ranges from $7 to $75, depending on the location.
  • Fee for apartment postings: Individuals who post an apartment listing in Boston, Chicago, and New York are charged $5 per posting.
  • Other posting fees: Craigslist also charges fees for other postings, mostly depending on the region. You can find a complete list on the Craigslist posting fees page.

How to Use the Craigslist Marketplace

Follow these instructions to set up and begin using the Craigslist Marketplace.

You can follow these exact same steps to find other postings such as gigs, housing, and more.

  1. Go to the Craigslist home page. If you have your location services on, Craigslist will pull up the largest community home page closest to your area.

  2. Use the search bar on the left to manually search for listings, or browse subcategories under the For Sale section.

    Looking for cool items on a budget in your area? Try Craigslist (2)

  3. Every listing is different, with varying levels of detail. Each ad will have a map of the general location for an item, plus a description.

    Looking for cool items on a budget in your area? Try Craigslist (3)

  4. You can inquire about an item by selecting Reply in the upper-left corner of the page. You'll be given options to reply by email directly or to use the email provider of your choice.

Craigslist allows posters to mask their email address to keep their personal information private. The email you see and use will be directed to the poster's email account on file.

Craigslist Near Me

You can use voice search to find an item, service, or gig on Craigslist. Through Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, say "Craigslist near me" to be directed to your regional Craigslist page.

You can also use voice commands to search for items or services. For example, you can ask to see "puppies on Craigslist" to see a list of cities and their puppy listings.

All About the Craigslist Discussion Forums

You can use Craigslist forums to participate in or start conversations about pretty much anything, from classical music to the latest iPhone.

Looking for cool items on a budget in your area? Try Craigslist (4)

Under this section, you can choose a forum to view using the search bar at the top of the page. After selecting a forum, you will see a list of all the threads and discussions related to a particular topic or search term. If you see something that interests you, select the blue hyperlinked areas to view the response in more detail.

Looking for cool items on a budget in your area? Try Craigslist (5)

To reply to a post in the forum, you need to sign-up for a Craigslist account.

You can compose a new thread to start a new discussion or comment on others by replying. You can also rate an individual's response or flag it if it is inappropriate. The forums are a great place to learn, discuss topics, and find friends.

How to Stay Safe on Craigslist

Just like any other online activity, it's important to stay safe. If you're selling a product, service, or posting a gig on Craigslist, here are a few security tips to keep in mind:

  • Don't add all of your contact information: Keep your contact information to the bare minimum, just enough for buyers or those interested in your post to reach out.
  • Only accept cash for monetary transactions: Do not accept checks or money transfers for your product or service. Many scams have occurred for buyers using these methods.
  • Always invite buyers to a safe place: If you don't have a place of business and you're an individual selling an item, meet the buyer in a public place. Never invite buyers to your home.

For buyers on Craigslist, it's best to always:

  • Ask questions: If you're unsure about an item or service you're interested in, be sure to ask questions. You can also request more photos, past transactional information, and other details.
  • Don't send money first: Don't ever send money to a seller prior to seeing the item or knowing exactly what you're purchasing. This is a good way to get scammed.

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Looking for cool items on a budget in your area? Try Craigslist (2024)


What is the most bought item on Craigslist? ›

12 Items That Currently Sell the Most Money On Craigslist
  • Home Appliances. Gently used or well-maintained appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers are always in demand. ...
  • Furniture. ...
  • Electronics. ...
  • Cars and Motorcycles. ...
  • Power Tools. ...
  • Sporting Goods. ...
  • Garden Equipment. ...
  • Tech Accessories.
Jan 24, 2024

How to negotiate price on Craigslist? ›

To summarize:
  1. Avoid Craigslist professionals running arbitrage schemes.
  2. Call them rather than email them.
  3. Use the Ackerman bargaining method. If buying, pitch 65%, 85%, 95%, and 100%. If selling, pitch 150%, 120%, 105%, 100%.
  4. Send messages from multiple accounts to anchor your desired price.
Apr 5, 2020

Does anybody use Craigslist anymore? ›

Do People Still Use Craigslist? Absolutely. You can search your local area on Craigslist and find used furniture, cars, rentals, and even jobs.

How do I pay for expensive items on Craigslist? ›

Use a secure form of payment

Personal checks can bounce, and scammers can fake cashier's checks and money orders. If the transaction is for an expensive item, such as a car, meet the seller at the bank, and have them draw and deliver the cashier's check right then and there.

What is the most bought used item? ›

U.S. consumers most commonly buy Clothing second-hand followed by Shoes, while they are least likely to buy Stationery & hobby supplies second-hand. These results are based on our representative online survey conducted in 2024 among 10,051 respondents in the United States.

What is the easiest thing to sell on Craigslist? ›

Furniture is one of the most commonly listed items on Craigslist as well, so you can always find new pieces to flip. Power equipment. Similar to furniture, if you have some DIY know-how, making repairs on broken equipment equals money in your pocket.

What site is better than Craigslist? ›

The best alternative to Craigslist, in our opinion, is Offer Up. The app offers a robust array of listings, is easy to use, includes a verified account feature, and includes buyer ratings. Other worthy alternatives to Craigslist include Facebook Marketplace, Locanto, Mercari, and Recycler.

Is Facebook marketplace better than Craigslist? ›

Facebook Marketplace is better than Craigslist if you're trying to sell merchandise as fast as possible. Listing is easier, and same goes for messaging potential buyers and arranging sales. The downside of the Facebook Marketplace is that you can't post services, so it's just for resellers.

What's the best app to sell stuff? ›

The 7 Best Apps To Sell Your Stuff in 2024
  • eBay: Best overall.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Best for selling furniture and for local sales.
  • Poshmark: Best for clothes and fashion accessories.
  • Depop: Best for curating an online clothing or accessories store.
  • thredUP: Best for recycling clothes with minimal effort.
Apr 30, 2024

Should you give your phone number on Craigslist? ›

Craigslist email relay hides your email address when communicating with buyers or sellers. It's a great security feature that you should take advantage of. That means you shouldn't give your real email address or phone number to someone you're dealing with, especially if they're pressuring you.

Should you give your email address on Craigslist? ›

Craigslist automatically hides your email address from listings with an email relay system. But once you start communicating to messages in your Craigslist inbox, it will use the name in your own email address. As well, it's not difficult for a scammer to get your email address using a Craigslist email address decoder.

Is it safe to give an address on Craigslist? ›

Don't share personal details. Never disclose your personal or financial information to strangers online. There is no need for your Craigslist contact to know your bank account number, home address, or date of birth. You might share your cell phone number with someone you are meeting in person, but not more.

What is the most popular item ever sold? ›

The all-time best-selling product in human history in terms of volume is wheat. The longest continuously operating consumer goods company in the world has produced paper products for over 1,250 years.

What is Craigslist most used for? ›

With more than 80 million new classified advertisem*nts each month, Craigslist is the leading classifieds service in any medium.

What is the most sold item on Facebook marketplace? ›

1. Furniture. One of the absolute best things to sell on Facebook Marketplace is furniture, including new and used sets or individual pieces. This one may seem obvious, but most people will only take the time to sell large furniture items on Facebook Marketplace (i.e. Dining sets, beds, couches, dressers.)

Is Craigslist still profitable? ›

Craigslist lost almost half its revenue from 2018 to 2020, going from about one billion to 566 million U.S. dollars. However, the classifieds website's revenue grew after the decline in 2020, reaching 694 million U.S. dollars in 2022.

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