When Johnny and I are about to purchase a big ticket item, we inevitably turn to Craigslist as one of our first resources. Finding a great deal on there sometimes takes just a few minutes. For instance, the townhouse we live in now was the very first rental I called about. Boo yah. Other times, Johnny and I both scour Craigslist for days — weeks, even — before we find the one of whatever item we’re searching for. The $30 glider in Baby Girl’s room? Yeah, we spent weeks searching before we found that jewel. Whatever the process, I’ve always found it to be a fun one. It’s like a treasure hunt of sorts for grown ups. And it’s paid its dividends to our wallets. My favorite part about Craigslist? Negotiating with the seller. I love talking the price down on an item.
And each item we’ve found always has an interesting backstory. It can be kind of awkward walking into a complete stranger’s home to look at an item — or, better yet, meeting a complete stranger in a public place knowing only their shirt color. But once you make it out alive and with a sweet deal, it’s totally worth it.
Here’s some of our favorite finds and the stories behind them:
Leather Messenger Bag
Story: Johnny needed a man bag for his laptop. He met a guy in front of Grand Central Station in NYC. It’s hard enough finding a stranger from Craigslist in a public place… it’s even harder when that public place is one of the busiest places in the world. For $25, Johnny got a leather messenger bag *supposedly* custom made in Australia. It’s now served him well for almost four years.
2006 Ford Focus
Story: We bought this car right out of college. Purchasing it involved meeting what seemed like a shady guy in a shady little office. He ended up being really nice and honest, and we got an awesome deal. Five months later when we moved to NYC, we were able to sell the Focus for over $1000 more. Score!
Custom Cast Iron Coffee Table
Story: We were living in NYC at the time. I had been scouring Craigslist not only for a coffee table, but one within walking distance of our apartment in the Upper East Side. I’d looked at a few already and then found an especially promising one about 20 blocks away. Johnny and I were feeling ambitious and decided that if we liked the table enough, it’d be worth the 20-block walk back. The seller was a fifty-something man whose partner was 20-30 years his junior. We discussed their two lap dogs for a few minutes and then the bargaining began! What started as a $125 table ended up only costing us $90. We then carried it home 20 blocks amongst the crowded Manhattan nightlife. And, by the way, cast iron is much heavier than we were anticipating! But it was just what we were looking for and totally worth it.
Designer Computer Chair
Story: We bought this item in NYC as well. I took a 40-minute subway ride down to the West Village to look at this chair. It was located in a hair salon, and it’s original price was $30. When I got there, they decided to give it to me for $20! My next task was getting it home. Once I got it down the stairs and out on the sidewalk with the help of someone in the salon, I needed to hail a cab. Of course, it started raining at this point. Luckily, I found a cab half a block away, and the cab driver very reluctantly allowed me and the chair into his back seat. After 40 minutes in rush-hour traffic, the chair and I made it back safely to our tiny apartment. Cha-ching!
So those are just a few of our favorite Craigslist treasures. We’ve yet to regret a Craigslist purchase, and I’m sure Craigslist will continue to serve us well in the future.
Have you scored any awesome Craigslist finds? Ten points to the person with the craziest Craigslist story. Ready, go!