Financial Geekery


RSS Feed

Recent Posts



how to craigslist

(First off, I’d like to apologize to the grammar nazis who wince whenever someone verbs nouns. Welcome to twenty-first century English, and descriptive linguistics.)

In the course of Sunday nights’ workshop, the topic came up of selling one’s unneeded items to raise money for a cash buffer and/or emergency reserve. As Craigslist is a fantastic resource for this, I figured it would be worthwhile to write up a post, both on the basics of Craigslist and on tips for selling stuff on it effectively.

First, the basics. Craigslist is a completely free website that essentially serves as a big, online classifieds section. (Yes, you can post “help wanted” ads on it, but for this article, I’m going to focus on selling items.) There’s a separate Craigslist site for each major US city; Austin’s is at

In case you’re wondering: you can sell anything (legal) on Craigslist. My wife sold her car on it (and this is not uncommon), and for a better price than she would have gotten at a dealer or Carmax!

Putting up an ad for something you want to sell is relatively simple; click on “post to classifieds”, then “for sale”, then the category of the item. You’ll then be presented with several boxes to fill in: a title, the price, your location (e.g. Tarrytown, Round Rock), your e-mail address (which by default is “anonymized” so that spambots don’t see your real e-mail address), a description, and a button for uploading images. Fill it out, click “continue”, and your ad is posted. If you don’t do anything, your ad automatically comes down in 45 days (less in some cities), though you can easily “renew” your ad once every few days, re-setting the 45-day timer.

A few things to know about Craigslist:

1) When figuring out how to price your item, do a simple Google search to figure out what other people are selling similar items for. Prepend your search with “craigslist” or “ebay” to see what the going price is on those services. If your item doesn’t sell quickly enough, adjust the price downward (say, by 5-10%). That may be all it takes.

2) Take pictures and attach them to your ad. If you don’t have a digital camera, you can almost certainly borrow one. If the item you’re selling has a visual defect, include a picture. You don’t want the buyer to find out when they come to pick up the item, and you are open and upfront about any blemishes, people will actually sometimes feel less uncomfortable about buying from you, as they’ll already know what the “catch” is.

3) Take some time to work on the title and description of your item. Again, a Google search will help you quickly find out what information is often posted on a for-sale ad. For technical items, people want detail: make, model, year, specs, all that. Also, let people know why you’re selling the item; again, if they already know the “catch”, they’ll feel more comfortable about contacting you.

4) It helps a great deal to have a phone number listed; again, this helps people feel more comfortable about contacting you. Of course, you might not feel comfortable giving your number out to the world! This is where Google Voice comes in handy. With Google Voice, you can create a free phone number that forwards to any of your existing numbers. (You can only have one Google Voice number per Google account, but there’s nothing keeping you from creating multiple Google accounts…like, for instance, an account for online buying/selling!) You can then customize this number’s behavior; for example, you can have it automatically block calls from certain numbers, or you can leave it on “do not disturb” to automatically send all callers to voice mail (all the time, or during certain times of day), or you can screen calls on-the-fly, etc. etc. Check out the video for a tour.

Now, some of the folks following this blog are doubtless better Craigslisters than I am. So, spill: what tips do you have for selling your stuff online?

5-Minute Financial Scorecard

Whether you’re intentional about it or not, you’re using a set of financial strategies. How much benefit are you reaping from them -- and how much more could they be making? Answer a few questions and find out how optimized your financial strategies are!

Your data is completely private. We’ll only use your e-mail to keep you up to date!


The information on this site is provided “AS IS” and without warranties of any kind either express or implied. To the fullest extent permissible pursuant to applicable laws, Seaborn Financial, LLC (referred to as "Seaborn") disclaims all warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability, non-infringement and suitability for a particular purpose. Seaborn does not warrant that the information will be free from error. None of the information provided on this website is intended as investment, tax, accounting or legal advice,  as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as an endorsement of any company, security, fund, or other securities or non-securities offering. The information should not be relied upon for purposes of transacting securities or other investments. Your use of the information is at your sole risk. Under no circumstances shall Seaborn be liable for any direct, indirect, special or consequential damages that result from the use of, or the inability to use, the materials in this site, even if Seaborn or a Seaborn-authorized representative has been advised of the possibility of such damages. In no event shall Seaborn Financial, LLC have any liability to you for damages, losses and causes of action for accessing this site. Information on this website should not be considered a solicitation to buy, an offer to sell, or a recommendation of any security in any jurisdiction where such offer, solicitation, or recommendation would be unlawful or unauthorized.



6617 Oasis Drive, Austin, TX 78749


Follow us on