How Craigslist Has Saved Us Hundreds of Dollars

January 7, 2013 Permalink

When we bought our house, we knew that it needed a bit of work. Our house is nicely renovated, but it was built in the 1960s, and had a few issues that were “under the scenes”.

Luckily, with my partner being a carpenter and myself a paranoid schizophrenic, we uncovered the problems before the purchase through several different inspections, tests, and assessments.

Because my partner is a carpenter, we are and were able to do some of the work we needed to do on it, which would normally have been very costly for buyers who weren’t as “handy” as we are.

The only thing left for us was the cost of material.

Retail

The house had vermiculite insulation in the attic, which tested positive for asbestos. We had that insulation removed, and we needed to re-insulate the attic.

We were looking for R-40 fiber glass insulation, to cover our 580 sq foot attic space.

insul

At the Home Depot, the insulation we were looking for was $64.80/bag, which covered 48 sq feet. We would need 12 bags, which would cost $876.96 with tax.

Craigslist

The almost $900 insulation job left me with a bad taste in my mouth, so I turned to Craigslist for insulation. It is not unusual for contractors to sell of building supplies for a lower price on Craigslist, because they bought too much or decided to change directions mid-project.

There were two people selling the exact insulation that we needed on Craigslist.

One was selling R-40 for $41.95/bag, which covered almost 43 sq feet. We would have needed 14 bags, which would have cost us $587.30.

Another ad was for R-40 for $26.50/bag, which covered 32 sq feet, meaning we would need 18 bags for our attic. This would have costed us a total of $480.31.

Savings

We, of course, bought the 18 bags at $26.50. It was the exact same product, but for almost half the price.

We saved $396.65 by buying off of Craigslist instead of a large retailer. Lowes was slightly less expensive than Home Depot but our house is nowhere near a Lowes and the gas and time to buy from Lowes would put it at par with the Home Depot.

Other Examples

One of the other projects we have to do is a re-shingle of our roof. It’s old and worn out and runs the risk of leaking.

We negotiated $5,000 to re-do the roof when we purchased the house. My partner can do the roof himself, but we need to purchase the material.

We found the exact amount of roofing we need on Craigslist for $780 (in the best color, too). With the manufacturer, we would have had to pay $30/bundle (we need 52 bundles) plus tax. With tax, we would have paid $1747.20 with the manufacturer of these exact shingles, but these ones are $780 – no tax, because it’s off of Craigslist.

This saves us almost $1000.

The seller also had some other material that we needed to do the roof, like roofing felt. We were raking in the savings.

 

Before buying any big ticket items, check your local classifieds first. We needed new material for both of our big jobs, and we succeeded in getting brand new material for substantially less than retail.

 

26 Comments
  • Jamie Dickinson
    January 7, 2013

    I would of never thought to buy building supplies form this kind of place. Top tip, thanks!

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank
    January 7, 2013

    Never underestimate the value of shopping around for better deals. We ended up saving about 10-15K on our house by shopping around and hiring contractors to build portions of it instead of the main builder.

  • Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies
    January 7, 2013

    Those are some serious Craigslist finds. Well done, we also had to reroof part of our house shortly after we got it, and even though it was only part and Mr. PoP and his brother did the labor, shingles and the rest of the supplies are expensive!

    FWIW, you can usually find Lowes coupons for 5% off, and they offer free delivery in our area. Home depot only offers free delivery on some items for us.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules
    January 7, 2013

    Awesome savings using Craigslist. We’ve used it quite a bit for things around the house, but never for remodeling or housework. We’ll definitely keep it in mind though when the time comes.

  • Michelle
    January 7, 2013

    I need to keep this in mind when we are looking for a dining room table! I always forget about Craigslist.

  • L Bee and the Money Tree
    January 7, 2013

    I am currently furnishing my new apartment off a craigslist and it is a wonder how much money I am saving! Excitement!

  • Catherine
    January 7, 2013

    We used Kijiji (much bigger than Craigslist on the east coast) for our renovations and it saved us thousands! I love it. I was also able to see a bunch of stuff we were removing (light fixtures and click flooring for example ) Good for you guys!

  • SavvyFinancialLatina
    January 7, 2013

    We do the same thing. Granted we don’t have a house yet, but most of our home stuff has been second hand purchases. Most….our mattress isn’t. And a couple of things my in-laws bought like a tv and it’s stand. When we buy a house, I will be shopping for deals on craiglist and garage sales :)

  • Anne @ Unique Gifter
    January 7, 2013

    Those are solid scores! Craigslist and kijiji are also great homes for new goods from stores with crappy return policies, such as IKEA (45 days, I think it is). People get stuck with them and want to sell :-)

  • Canadianbudgetbinder
    January 7, 2013

    Good for you! Any time we need something we look for it second-hand or see if someone is selling something at a reduced price online. You never know who bought too much product and wants to get rid of it. Mr.CBB

  • Jacob @ iheartbudgets
    January 7, 2013

    Craigslist is da BOMB! We’ve saved tens of thousands over the years, most of it on cars! Nice work on finding the insulation, I would never have thought to buy that on craigslist!

  • TB at BlueCollarWorkman
    January 7, 2013

    THANK YOU! I try to tell people this too, but peopel seem to think that you have to buy new or that you MUST go to a big store for things. Like you said, people don’t always estimate correctly or change thir minds on things and they’re looking to unload all sorts of materials. Great job bringing this to peoples’ attention! I couldn’t agree more! Ebay and Craigs List are AWESOME!

  • Cat
    January 7, 2013

    What a great idea – something to think about if we ever get around to re-tiling the kitchen!

  • The Happy Homeowner
    January 7, 2013

    Well done! I love Craigslist for furniture, etc.–will definitely keep this in mind for home repairs and my upcoming renovations, too!

  • Debt Roundup
    January 7, 2013

    I love craigslist as long as you don’t get caught by some crappy sellers. I usually look for automotive parts on craigslist for my fixer upper. It has saved me quite a bit so far. I didn’t think about building supplies, so thank you.

  • Lance @ Money Life and More
    January 7, 2013

    That’s awesome! I’d never think to look for building supplies but it makes a lot of sense. I just wonder if any of them are stolen from job sites…

    • Daisy
      January 7, 2013

      Good question, actually. The place we got our roofing material from was an old guy. I think he just changed his mind on the color. He was in bed by 8 PM every night so I doubt they were. The insulation was actually a company that did wholesaling and was clearing it out. But I bet some of the smaller quantities are.

  • Money Beagle
    January 8, 2013

    I never would have thought to check for stuff like this on Craigslist, but it makes sense. I did have similar thoughts as other readers, as my first though was hoping that this wasn’t stolen material.

  • holly@ClubThrifty
    January 8, 2013

    I love craigslist! We have bought everything from furniture to baby clothes to luggage off of craigslist!

  • Hawaii Planner
    January 8, 2013

    I never would have thought to look on Craigslist for these kind of supplies – great tip!

  • KK @ Student Debt Survivor
    January 8, 2013

    I had no idea you could buy building supplies on Craiglist. Fortunately we haven’t had to make any repairs to our place yet, but when we do I’ll keep this in mind.

  • Pauline
    January 8, 2013

    It would have occured to me to turn to Craigslist for furniture or kitchen cabinets but not construction materials. Impressive savings!

  • Sarah Park
    January 8, 2013

    I love Craiglist. I have purchased several items and I was really able to save a lot, both on money and time. I’ve sold several items as well.

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life
    January 9, 2013

    Wow those are great savings! I’m definitely going to keep that in mind for our backyard projects this summer.

  • Jefferson @SeeDebtRun
    January 9, 2013

    Awesome, Daisy.. Like many here, I wouldn’t have thought of craigslist for building supplies, but this is a great idea. We have a project coming up that will need a good bit of tile, and I may have to take a look.

    We do use CL for many things however… Electronics, toys, etc. We actually did a nice chunk of our christmas shopping on CL this year.

  • First Gen American
    January 9, 2013

    I’m going to list some of the stuff I bought off of craigslist. I’ve saved tens of thousands over the years. Recent purchases: Undermount kitchen sink ($65), prefinished hardwood flooring, tile, windows, doors, molding, insulation, light fixtures, furniture, kids clothes, chickens, toys, sporting equipment, a car (both bought and sold).

    Craigslist is awesome. I keep finding new uses for it.

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