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Craigslist has suddenly become a huge phenomenon for bargain hunters. In the not-too-distant past, bargain hunters had to head to their local thrift stores to track down discount merchandise or keep their eyes peeled for their special sale prices. Now that Craigslist has sections for all fifty states and hundreds of different cities across the country, it’s easier than ever to find some great deals. The problem is simply finding those deals, but by using a few simple tips you can easily find a few great deals, no matter what you are looking for.

Shop Early.

As soon as you see a deal listed on Craigslist, immediately contact the seller. Listings can typically stay in the system for up to 45 days, but that doesn’t mean the merchandise will always be available. The better deals will disappear fairly quickly, so you need to jump on them as soon as possible. The second you see a listing that piques your interest, send off a quick email to the seller.

Shop Late.

Remember when I said to shop early? Well, shopping late can also grab you some great deals. I spotted a gorgeous vintage lamp with a price tag that was far beyond my budget. A few weeks later the listing was still there, and I sent a quick email to the owner. Not only did she offer me a significant discount, but she was also relieved to have someone take it off her hands. After a few weeks, sellers on Craigslist might be willing to make a deal. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Ask Questions.

If a good seems too good to be true, then your mom was probably right, and it is. Ask the seller a number of questions about the item, its condition, and who used it beforehand. A DVD player might seem like a good deal, but not if you find out that it’s several years old, and from a company that no longer exists. You can even ask for online promo codes that will help you in getting a discount on your bill. This way you also save some money on your bill as well. There are even trade options that will fetch you an additional discount of gadgets so make sure you always ask before you shop. 

Ask to See the Item First.

A Craigslist seller who really wants to sell their item will let you first see the item in person before committing to buy. I once saw a fantastic velvet couch advertised on Craigslist and arranged a visit to see it up close. The seller had carefully photographed the couch to hide the dark stains on the arms, and it had a strong smell of cat urine. By the time I paid to have it cleaned, my great deal would have cost me quite a bit.

Look Beyond Your Current City.

Craigslist allows you to search for specific cities, and you can often find good deals if you broaden your search a little more. Driving 1-2 hours to the next city can help you find some great bargains by opening up even more sellers. When looking for furniture, I found the perfect end tables at less than half what they would cost retail. The only catch was that they were in another city. By the time I factored in the cost of gas, I was still able to save money and find some unique pieces that I loved.

Look Through the Free Sections.

Craigslist often has different categories set up for free things, or things that people are giving away as long as you pick it up yourself. Some of the stuff might not be what you are looking for now, but it might be helpful in the future.

Browse all the Categories.

Even if you’re looking for one specific item, don’t be afraid to browse all the categories on Craigslist. The best deal might be listed in a different category. You might also be able to take advantage of ads that were listed in the wrong category.

These tips will help you find the best deals out there on Craigslist.