Limiting your environmental impact while still being frugal is becoming increasingly easy these days with technology. There are a lot of those great little energy savings inventions that fill a niche and do their part to reduce human impact on the planet.
But occasionally there are inventions that come along that harness great power to truly make a world-changing impact, while at the same time saving or making you significant money. And part of my Earth Day contribution this year will be to highlight a few of these inventions.
One of my favorite such inventions is Craigslist.
I love me some Craigslist. And I’ve written about it a lot here, as its been a huge contributor to my frugal lifestyle. And if you haven’t yet taken full advantage of its power, I’ll try to do some heavy convincing ahead…
Craigslist is a One Stop FREE Shop
You can find a job on Craigslist, an apartment to rent, a car to buy, a home, rideshare opportunities, volunteer experiences, free items, bartered services, or even a “casual encounter” if you’re lonely.
I’ve done all of the above (minus the encounter, I’m married people).
Outside of selling my car on Craigslist (a $12,000 transaction), I’ve been able to sell between $3-$5K of items on Craigslist.
The smaller ticket items that I didn’t sell on Craigslist were sold in a garage sale.
How did I advertise for the garage sale? Craigslist.
I almost sold my first house on Craigslist for sale by owner (FSBO), but it fell through at the appraisal stage (later, a good ole’ fashion flyer brought in the eventual buyer). Craigslist was driving 20+ visits a day to a website I had created to advertise the home. Had the house sold, my total Craigslist transactions would exceed $150K and I could attribute about $8K in realtor commission savings to Craigslist.
I’ve also been a bit creative with Craigslist.
I was able to get some free landscaping by having an ad respondent come and dig out a tree they were interested in. They got the tree, the tree’s life was saved, and I got free landscaping. Win, win, win.
But my favorite Craigslist story was the time that Craigslist saved me from homelessness as I jumped from sublet to sublet to sublet (saving $1,700) in the process.
Craigslist is always good for a few laughs and stories, if nothing else.
The Environmental Impact of Craigslist
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Craigslist (which will be its lasting legacy) is that you can find perfectly good (almost new) used things on Craigslist at a fraction of the price you would have to buy new.
Should you get tired of those things, you will likely be able to re-sell them on Craigslist for roughly the same (assuming it is still in good working condition) as what you bought it for. In the process, you’ve essentially borrowed the use of that item for almost nothing. Buy a dining set for $50, move 5 years later, and sell it for $50? That’s the circle of life.
If you fix something up you may even make money on the ownership. Why would you buy new?
In buying or selling used on Craigslist, you have:
- saved money (buyer)
- made money without incurring advertising costs (seller)
- given back to your local community
- kept money and the product local
- potentially made a new friend
- kept an item out of the landfill
- kept an item from being produced, and reduced your environmental impact in the process
- reduced shipping packaging and CO2 to move a new item from warehouse to your doorstep
- repeated the process so the next person can benefit
What more could you ask for than that?
As more and more folks use and have positive experiences with Craigslist, it will become even more useful. But even over the past 9 or so years I have been using it, I have been able to sell just about everything I’ve put up on Craigslist.
It is hard to measure the environmental impact of a business or website, but would any come close to matching the positive contributions Craigslist has made? Doubtful.
Thank you, Craigslist, for saving me money, and indirectly doing amazing things to help save the planet.
- What’s your favorite money and/or planet saving Craigslist story?
- What huge transactions have you made over Craigslist?