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

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.

Is it safe to text someone on Craigslist? ›

Craigslist text scams can start with the other party saying they want to confirm you aren't a scammer. Don't give out any codes sent to your phone, especially if it says it's for verifying your identity. The code is for a Google Voice account the scammer set up using your number.

Is Craigslist cash only? ›

Use a secure form of payment

In almost all cases, you are best off accepting cash for a Craigslist sale. Personal checks can bounce, and scammers can fake cashier's checks and money orders.

What is the most bought used item? ›

Clothes are one of the most common things to be resold. Individual tastes, fashion styles and body sizes change so frequently, so it's likely you have some clothes you could sell. Branded clothes sell particularly well and if they're in good condition you can almost get what you paid!

What to avoid when selling on Craigslist? ›

  • Deal locally. It's always safest to finalize a transaction in person. ...
  • Examine the product before finalizing a sale. ...
  • Don't accept or send a cashier's check, certified check or money order as payment. ...
  • Use cash — safely. ...
  • Don't share your personal information.

Why is Craigslist losing popularity? ›

Some users may prefer platforms with more visually appealing interfaces and enhanced user experiences [2]. Safety concerns: Craigslist has faced criticism and concerns regarding safety and scams. Due to its open nature, it can be challenging to verify the legitimacy of listings and the intentions of users.

Why is Craigslist so sketchy? ›

Craigslist is a legitimate website, and most Craigslist posts are legitimate and trustworthy as well. However, just like any other online platform, it can be used by scammers. Some people may post fraudulent listings only pretending to sell goods or services, so take precautions to ensure your safety.

Is Craigslist still a thing in 2024? ›

Some fans of Craigslist expressed concern that this development would affect the site's longtime non-commercial nature. As of January 2024, there have been no substantive changes to the usefulness or the non-advertising nature of the site; neither banner ads, nor charges for a few services provided to businesses.

Should I give my phone number on Craigslist? ›

Scammers are getting pretty sneaky and are collecting personal phone numbers through Craigslist Ads. Case in point, when you're placing an ad or responding to an ad, avoid using your personal phone number to communicate with buyers or sellers.

Do Craigslist sellers see my email? ›

To protect buyer and seller privacy, Craigslist keeps email addresses hidden. However, even with this security system, you might want to take additional precautions when responding to emails from Craigslist.

Can someone steal your identity with your email address? ›

It's become second nature to share our email addresses with people or businesses. But if your email address ends up in the wrong hands, you could easily become a victim of identity theft, account takeovers, or financial fraud.

What is the best payment method to not get scammed? ›

Credit cards offer features like encryption and fraud protection to help keep your personal information secure. In addition, credit card users are protected by federal law and can only be liable for up to $50 on fraudulent chargers.

How do I contact someone on Craigslist? ›

Contacting Someone on Craigslist

To reply to a Craigslist post, just click the reply button. To use your device's default email app, select the first link. Otherwise, select the web-based email you use (like Gmail or Yahoo) or copy and paste the email address at the bottom of the window into a new email manually.

Where is the best place to meet for Craigslist sale? ›

It's called SafeTrade. Here's how it works: Agree to meet the buyer or seller of whatever you're selling (or buying) ONLY at a police station, sheriff's office or similar law enforcement facility. Meet only during daylight hours, unless the police department has offered inside facilities 24 hours a day.

What is Craigslist most used for? ›

Craigslist is a website for viewing and posting local advertisem*nts. It works a lot like the Classifieds section of a newspaper, and it's completely free to use. You can find a listing for almost anything on Craigslist—jobs, apartments, garage sales, used cars, personal ads, and a whole lot more.

What is the most sold item on Facebook marketplace? ›

Best Selling Items on Facebook Marketplace
  • Gardening Item. ...
  • Homeware & Home Decor. ...
  • Sports Equipments. ...
  • Seasonal Items. ...
  • Musical Instruments. ...
  • Collectibles. ...
  • Jewelry. Trending jewelry is sure to sell on Facebook. ...
  • Vehicles. Vehicles can be one of the best things to sell on Facebook Marketplace.
Jan 6, 2023

How profitable is Craigslist? ›

Revenue of Craigslist 2018-2022

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.

Who is Craigslist biggest competitor? ›

Sites Like Craigslist for Selling Locally
  1. OfferUp. OfferUp is a popular alternative to Craigslist, and you can find almost any item on there. ...
  2. Oodle. Oodle is another marketplace with a dated-looking website reminiscent of Craigslist. ...
  3. 3. Facebook Marketplace. ...
  4. Gumtree. ...
  5. Locanto.
Apr 26, 2024


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