Stuff You Never Have to Buy if You Browse Craigslist’s Free Section Long Enough

For some odd reason, I scroll through Craigslist’s free stuff section like people do with Facebook. It’s a strange compulsion for a minimalist like me. I do this even when I’m not looking for any item in particular.

It is amazing to me what people will give away…from one extreme to another. Some people are truly generous, wealthy, short on time or all three. Some people advertise complete junk.

Through the years, I’ve learned that there are things you never have to buy if you are patient.

I thought I would share my list with you:

  1. Sofas
  2. Armchairs
  3. Desks
  4. Fridges
  5. Stoves, often working but outdated
  6. Washing machine, not front-loading but hey it’s free
  7. Dryers
  8. Old cabinets
  9. Broken concrete pieces
  10. Pavers
  11. Cement blocks
  12. Random pieces of wood
  13. Large wood crates
  14. Pallets
  15. Bed frames
  16. Mattresses
  17. Coffee tables
  18. Dressers (all shapes and styles)
  19. Armoires
  20. Entertainment centers (remember those?)
  21. Dining tables
  22. Patio tables and chairs
  23. Moving boxes
  24. TVs
  25. File cabinets
  26. Dishes
  27. Pots and pans
  28. Small appliances like toasters and rice cookers
  29. Kid toys
  30. Scrap metal
  31. Bikes
  32. Book shelves
  33. Old windows
  34. Most office furniture
  35. Plants
  36. Mirrors
  37. Christmas trees
  38. Computer monitors
  39. Cassette tapes
  40. VCRs
  41. Ceiling fans
  42. Toilets
  43. Jacuzzis
  44. Pianos
  45. Pool tables
  46. Charcoal BBQs
  47. Old doors
  48. Grown Trees that you have to dig out yourself
  49. Dirt
  50. Small vases

At the other end of the spectrum are items that are hard to find, at least during my scrolling sessions!

  1. Bedside tables
  2. Dining chairs
  3. Rugs
  4. Portable DVD players
  5. Large planters
  6. Curtains and curtain rods
  7. Lamps
  8. Benches
  9. Ottomans
  10. Sinks in good condition
  11. Bar stools
  12. Musical instruments (not including pianos)
  13. Hammocks
  14. Large frames
  15. Decorative Pillows
  16. Tiles
  17. Working vacuums
  18. Cribs
  19. Baby and kid clothes (I think these are usually handed off to family and friends?)

The best item I ever got was a free changing table pad with cover. The cover was exactly the same one that I had bookmarked on the Target website.

What is the best Craigslist (or
OfferUp or Freecycle) deal you’ve ever got?

Spending Like There’s No Tomorrow

Remember this post about my 2015 de-cluttering challenge? Well, that was a big fail. Somewhere along the way, my husband and I started spending like YOLO type of people. A large part of it was to reach a maximum spending on a new credit card to get rewards — something crazy like spend $4,000 in 3 months.

I can also blame this post “Stop Wasting Time on Minor Life Decisions” from I Will Teach You To Be Rich. It basically says that people waste too much time overthinking every little purchase. Since I’ve spent time comparing costs on toilet paper, I definitely fit into that category of people who waste time on minor decisions.  After reading this, I decided to spend less time comparison shopping. That’s not the bad part. However, I’m not quite sure why that this new habit was accompanied by a desire to hit the “buy” button more often.

I’ve just been hit with the new credit card bill.  Along with big costs like auto repairs, we’ve ‘cluttered’ our house with new clothes and shoes for everyone, emergency flashlights, a fire extinguisher, picture frames, chalkboard stickers, vacuum cleaner, motorized hair clipper, and a stockpile of household paper goods.

How do you stop the downward spiral of overspending?

5 More Things The Middle-Class Do For Money

As I stated in an earlier post “5 Things The Middle-Class Do For Money“, the advice below is not intended for those at either ends of the financial spectrum — very rich or poor. This advice is intended for the “solidly middle-class” who sort of have their financial lives in order but need to maximize their savings to maintain a “middle-class” lifestyle.

We earned enough credit card rewards to pay for one airline ticket to Mexico.

We earned enough credit card rewards to pay for one airline ticket to Mexico.

1) Points Game – Many people use their credit card to get airline miles. While airlines have tight restrictions and black-out dates, it can still be worthwhile if you or someone in your household is a frequent traveler. I’m not an expert at this because 1) we don’t travel enough and 2) when we travel, we are not loyal to any particular airline.  For us, the priorities are cost, number of stops, flight time, and NOT having a connecting flight in Newark, otherwise known as “hell on earth”.

2) Credit Card rewards – If you pay off your credit card in full, you’ll be a fool not to use a rewards card, which is simply a credit card that rewards your spending with points. These points can add up quickly and be redeemed for gift cards, travel, cash back and more. Since I started paying attention to these rewards, I estimate that we earn about $200 – $400 per year.  One year, the reward was enough to pay for a plane ticket to sunny Mexico.

Use Ebates to earn cash when you shop online.

Use Ebates to earn cash when you shop online.

3) Ebates –  I’ve earned over $254.65 back since signing up years ago. It’s not a life-changing amount but it’s great to get extra money just for buying online. Once you sign up, you earn cash back on online purchases at participating stores. Percentage of cash back varies by store.  I think this is a no-brainer way to earn ‘extra’ money and I admit to sending referral links to friends and friendly acquaintances.

Tip: More than once, I’ve had to follow up with Ebates about giving me credit for the purchase. This can happen because it takes time for the store to report the purchase. I believe there is a delay to make sure people don’t just buy and return, yet get the credit.  Just something to watch out for!

4) Referrals – Speaking of referrals, every time I sign up for a new service, I check to see if there is a referral credit. I love forwarding referrals to friends. Most of the time, you and your friend both get a reward (if your friend signs up and spends X-amount within a certain timeframe).

5) Mail-In Rebates – While some people hate rebates, I don’t think it’s really much of a bother to do this.  All you have to do (usually) is complete a simple form and send in the receipt and UPC code. I do this soon after purchase so I don’t miss the deadline. I’m hoping more companies follow the lead of Johnson & Johnson’s rebate process. All I had to do was take a photo of the receipt and text/email it to a special inbox or number.

As for dollar amount, I prefer to go after rebate $15 or higher. I generally do not purchase things I wouldn’t normally buy, unless it’s something I wanted to try already.