Working Craigslist

I’ve been monitoring several Craigslist searches for months now, looking for certain items that I don’t want to pay full price for in preparation for the baby.  I’m picky — unless it’s a really expensive item, I generally don’t want to have to haul myself out to a really far-away suburb for it, and I am generally looking for a specific item rather than just “some kind of X.”

Yesterday and today, this monitoring paid off!

We’ve been looking to buy an elliptical machine so that we can both cancel our gym memberships once the baby comes. It’s hard to schedule gym time before or after work right now; it’s going to get much harder when we have daycare pick-up and drop-off to contend with, as well as feeding times/bath time/bed time for an infant (and then a baby, and then a toddler).

Yesterday, I saw a Craigslist ad for a pretty decent model elliptical, on our side of town (about 4 miles away), for about 20% of retail. Tonight, we’re going to run by and look at it and, if we test it out and like it, it’s ours. Boom!

We also had decided (after multiple test-drives at various stores) which stroller we wanted to get. Now, this stroller will be for later — I think we’re going to use a Snap-n-Go when the baby is small and still in the bucket seat — but we know we’re going to need it eventually. It’s not the highest-priced model out there, but it’s definitely not a budget item either. So I’d been keeping an eye out on Craigslist for this particular model of stroller and today, someone posted an ad for one. Her price was only 15% or so less than retail, but I talked her down to 25% off retail (for a year-old model that was used for about 6 months and is basically in perfect condition).  This particular stroller doesn’t really go on sale and I don’t expect anyone to get it for us off our registry, so this seemed like a pretty good deal to me. In retrospect (remembering my law school negotiation class), I probably could have talked her down a little more on price, but I’m OK with the price I offered. I’ll be going by to pick it up tomorrow (on the Metro, even! We’ll learn how maneuverable the thing really is!).

I feel good about these two Craigslist wins. I usually don’t spend a lot of time looking for cheaper items (arranging to meet to pick stuff up is often not worth the $10-$30 you’ll save) but for bigger and more expensive items like these two? Totally worth it. Also: I feel good about being patient in passing up other ads for the same or similar items in much less convenient locations. My inner bargain hunter feels pretty good right now.

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