Tag Archives: Money

When Are eBay and Craigslist Worth It (and When Should I Stay Away)?

When Are eBay and Craigslist Worth It (and When Should I Stay Away)?

Dear Lifehacker,
I know sites like eBay and Craigslist are great for finding deals, but I imagine I shouldn’t use them for everything. Which items are best bought used, and which ones are more trouble than they’re worth?

Sincerely,
Bashful Buyer

Dear Bashful,
There’s no cut and dry answer to this, but you’re right: certain things are better bought off Cragislist than eBay, and vice versa (and some things you shouldn’t buy used at all). Here are some general guidelines we’ve found in our research and experience.

Items You Can Buy on Either eBay or Craigslist

  • Cars. Yeah, you heard me. It seems crazy, but About.com notes that buying a car on eBay is safer than you’d think, as eBay has a number of protections built in. Similarly, My Money Blog has a good guide to buying on Craigslist. Whatever you do, make sure you spend a few extra bucks to have a mechanic come and check it out before you drive away.
  • Laptops, though there is a lot of debate on this one (surprisingly, moreso than cars). Buying a used desktop computer is easy, and you can replace any parts that might not work up to your standards—but laptops are more prone to accidents, so you have to be a bit more careful. Check out our guide to buying used computers for some tips.
  • Used music albums, movies, and video games. When people are done with them, they unload them for cheap. You can often find recent video games for less than you would in the store, if you’re willing to wait a few months after its come out.

Things Best Bought on eBay

eBay has a huge selection of almost anything you could imagine, and you can get stuff shipped to you from all over the world. You can’t inspect the items before you get them, but you can track a seller’s reputation before you buy. Here are a few things eBay’s great for:

  • Rare and hard to find items like CDs or vinyl (for which condition isn’t a concern)
  • Refurbished gadgets like smartphones, tablets, and iPods. You can buy used gadgets pretty much anywhere, but if you want something that’s undergone a bit more inspection, there are loads of electronics stores selling refurbished items on eBay.
  • Replacement parts for your gadgets, like a new screen for your cracked iPhone. These are easy as heck to find on eBay, and easy to replace yourself.
  • Clothing. If used properly, eBay is like one giant outlet stores for designer clothes. Blogs like Put This On regularly post good eBay finds, and have their own guide to getting the most for your money.
  • Anything for which you want a good return policy, such as something that could break quickly after buying (or that has defects you won’t notice right away).

Things Best Bought on Craigslist

Craigslist is a slightly different beast than eBay. It doesn’t have the buyer protections that eBay does, but because you do most of the buying and selling in person, it means you can inspect the items yourself. So it’s better for things like:

  • Large items like furniture, exercise equipment, bed frames, and even appliances. These are usually very costly to ship, so you wouldn’t want to buy them on eBay.
  • Large collections of things like comic books, movies, music, or video games. Sometimes people just want to unload their entire collection without going through the work of selling them all individually, so you can get big lots at a good price (that is, if you’re looking for giant boxes of comics or video games to root through).
  • Tools, from things like hammers to shovels to anything else you might need. Most of these things last forever, and you can save a bundle by buying from someone in your neighborhood. Power tools can be worthwhile too, but make sure it isn’t something that becomes dangerous if kept in bad repair.
  • Audio equipment, particularly vintage equipment. We’ve talked about this a few times, but vintage audio equipment is the best way to get audiophile quality on the cheap, and on Craigslist, you can hear the equipment in action before you buy.
  • Anything you want to inspect or test out in person.

Things You (Probably) Shouldn’t Buy on Either Site

All that said, there are some things you should rarely, if ever, buy used. This includes things like:

  • Anything where safety is a concern, like motorcycle helmets, cribs, car seats, and so on. It’s hard to tell when some of these things are actually in good condition, so you want to get something that’s been inspected and approved.
  • Anything where a repair is more costly than a replacement. That includes HDTVs, as well as DVD players, vacuum cleaners, video cameras, and some other items. When you buy one of these, you want to make sure you get a warranty with them. Plus, as Get Rich Slowly notes, they’re often overpriced anyway. Only buy if you’re getting such a great deal that you wouldn’t mind if it broke a week after you bought it.
  • Food, medical supplements and equipment, or anything that applies to your health.
  • Mattresses. Because ew.

This is far from a comprehensive list, and as we said, it isn’t so cut and dry. You may find a perfectly good TV for cheap on Craigslist, for example. But you don’t know until you buy it, and it’s one of the riskier items to buy used. As always, use good judgment, do your research, and watch out for red flags.

Sincerely,
Lifehacker

P.S. For more on the subject, we recommend checking out the following articles:

We’re also curious to hear about all your experiences, so share them below!

How to Deal with Six of the Most Awkward Money Moments

How to Deal with Six of the Most Awkward Money Moments

We’ve all experienced uncomfortable money moments. Sometimes you just can’t avoid it: group gifts, friends asking to borrow money, and of course, splitting a giant restaurant bill with twenty of your closest friends. These situations often seem impossible to escape gracefully. However, there are simple ways to handle delicate money situations so you’ll never have to feel the hot red flush of money embarrassment again.

A Declined Credit Card

There’s nothing worse than having a waiter or sales clerk tell you that your card’s been declined.

Solution: The way to handle this one is to keep calm. If you can, talk with the waiter or sales person privately and arrange some other form of payment, or if you can’t pay immediately, settle the bill by making arrangements to come back later in the day. You can also run to the nearest ATM to pull out cash.

An Unreliable Friend Asks to Borrow Money

This situation may seem tricky, but it isn’t as hard to get out of as it seems.

Solution: Just say you wish you could help but right now you don’t feel comfortable lending that amount. There’s no shame in this, because it’s your money.

Splitting the Check

Dining out with a large party can be lots of fun, but there’s always a bit of confusion when the check comes out. Whoever organizes the gathering should be upfront about splitting the bill evenly or requesting separate checks.

Solution: It’s okay to go against the grain and speak up for yourself before you order. It’s also a good idea to come to these events with a little food in your stomach, so you can order an appetizer.

Your Rich Friend

Everyone has a rich friend. Whenever you get together, you end up spending way more than you’d like, or feel pressured to keep up to their lifestyle.

Solution: The method we suggest here is to just come clean.You can say, "I’m going to be honest, I’m on a tight budget and it doesn’t allow me to go out very often." Explain that you really do want to hang out, but rather than going to a bar or pricey restaurant, suggest getting together at someone’s house.

Dining with Co-Workers

When it comes to eating with co-workers, it is sometimes uncertain as to who will pick up the bill.

Solution: Always assume you’ll be paying for yourself, and if someone insists on getting the check, get the bill next time to be courteous. If you’re dining with your boss, he/she will most likely pick up the bill. Just to be certain though, ask if it’s on the company or if you should stop at an ATM to get cash.

Pressure to Chip In For a Group Gift

We’ve all received that mass email from friends or family, asking for everyone to pitch in for a birthday gift. Or we’ve all been asked to chip in for a co-worker’s birthday present, even if you don’t know this person very well.

Solution: A simple solution is to say you’ll get your own gift (and spend less), or a free e-card with a nice birthday message can suffice if you’re really strapped for cash.

How to Overcome 6 Awkward Money Moments | My Bank Tracker


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How to Get the Most Money When Selling Textbooks

I’ve been selling my used textbooks since the fall of 2007 and have developed a pretty good method for high return. I’ve even made a profit on a few books because I sold them for more than I paid. Here are my tips to get the most money when selling textbooks.

Take care of your books

When buying used textbooks, always buy the best possible condition. Don’t buy books with highlights, notes or any obvious defects. Use a book cover if you aren’t the most careful with your textbooks. Don’t write in or highlight your book. If you need to annotate, use sticky notes.

Next edition

Ask your professor (or ask Google) if the publisher is planning a new edition soon. If they are going to release a new edition before next semester, you have a very short window to get a high price for your book.

I have been known to copy the remaining chapters I needed at a cost of about $10 to sell my book mid-semester so I could still list for $150. If I’d waited until the end of the semester, I might have gotten $10 or $20 because the new edition was already out.

Companion resources

Some books come with a CD or code to access the textbook website and study resources. If you don’t plan to use them, you can sell your book for almost as much as a new one. Some of those codes can cost $100 or more.

Sell as soon as possible

List your books for sale as soon as you don’t need them anymore, even if the semester is still going on. Earlybirds shop for textbooks as early as mid-semester and it’s better to be one of 4 books listed than 1 of 100.

Price smart

Look at the other listings for your book and price accordingly. If you want to sell immediately, price the lowest (even just by $0.01). I usually price a few dollars higher than the best "Like New" listing and mention in the description how immaculate my textbook is, and how I will ship it fast.

Be a good seller

If you are selling them online, make sure you have good feedback. People look at seller ratings and if you have one that says you took 3 weeks to ship, you’re going to get passed up. Ship fast, package well and respond quickly to any messages the buyer sends.

Where to sell the books

Amazon Marketplace will typically get you the best price online.

You will net more money if you don’t have to pay fees for selling your book so Craigslist and in-person sales at your university are your best bet for overall dollars. However, they are time consuming and sometimes you will still get more from Amazon. It depends how much effort you want to put into it and how much money you want to get out of it.

What I used to do in the first few semester of college was to list textbooks on Amazon, a few other sites and Craigslist. Whoever had the best offer would win, but that was when I had more time on my hands. I sell exclusively through Amazon now because I don’t want to play haggle-with-the-other-poor-student.

Post flyers around campus. I’ve had the best luck with large, bold, colorful signs with a picture of the textbook. If you have a college Facebook page or any other online community, list there as well.

Don’t sell back to the bookstore – this almost never works in your favor outside of the convenience.

Do you have any tips I missed to get high dollar for your used textbooks?

Kim Dotcom Says His iTunes Library is Worth $20,000

With the recent launch of Mega, Kim Dotcom has been on the upswing lately, at least when he’s not getting stranded by a busted helicopter. Recently, he sat down with the Financial Times to discuss his status as a hero/villain, the future of content delivery, and the $20,000 he claims to have sunk into iTunes downloads. More »

    



Sell Your Stuff and Get Some Extra Cash This Weekend

Whether you’re hard up for cash or just want to de-crapify your home, selling your stuff online can be awesome. You get rid of stuff you don’t need, and you get some extra pocket money in return. Here are some tips for getting the most money back.

Prepare Your Stuff For Sale

As you gather up your clutter, you probably need to do a little work on it before you sell it off. A little work can go a long way to getting you more money—especially if you’re selling old gadgets. If you’ve got a smartphone, make sure you’ve protected it from wear and are selling it at the right time. If you’re selling a laptop, give it a little makeover—it’s probably become pretty dirty and worn out over the years. And no matter what you do, wipe your data—both on your computer and your phone—before you hand it off to a stranger. Check out our guide to selling your gadgets online for more preparation tips, while you’re at it.

Where to Sell Based on Your Needs

Before you rush off to eBay or Craigslist, think about what you’re selling and what you want from your sale. Certain places are better than others, depending on your needs. For example, if you’re selling electronics, books, or video games, Amazon and eBay are great choices, but they won’t be if you’re selling clothing. Check out our complete guide to selling your unwanted crap for an idea of where to sell.

If you’re looking for something a little more hassle-free, consider Amazon’s Fulfillment program, or even Facebook. Heck, you could even set up your own little online store without too much effort, giving you complete control over the whole process. For more ideas, check out our Hive Five poll on the five best places to set up shop online. You’re bound to find the perfect place with a bit of research.

Create Your Listings

When it comes time to actually put your stuff up for sale, don’t be careless. A little effort goes a long way. Take good photos to ensure they attract attention, find out how much your items are worth by searching for completed sales (or using a site like WorthMonkey), and set your eBay auctions to end at the optimal time for the most bidders. Bundling products together will get you a quicker sale, but not necessarily a better one. Patience is key with selling online: if you wait long enough, someone will offer you a great price. You don’t need to take the first offer that comes your way unless you’re really desperate to unload the object in question.

Lastly, as you’re waiting for that sale, make sure you don’t succumb to the loads of scams and lowballers out there. Check out our tips to avoid getting screwed on Craigslist (and elsewhere online) to make sure someone doesn’t take advantage.

That’s a lot of links to throw at you at once, but there are a lot of great tricks out there to help you get the most for your money. Luckily, we have a checklist that’ll help you keep track of it all. Click here to check it out, and good luck!

Have a great weekend!

Images by quazie, Leremy (Shutterstock), and Kevin Dooley.

Sell Your Stuff and Get Some Extra Cash This Weekend

Whether you’re hard up for cash or just want to de-crapify your home, selling your stuff online can be awesome. You get rid of stuff you don’t need, and you get some extra pocket money in return. Here are some tips for getting the most money back.

Prepare Your Stuff For Sale

As you gather up your clutter, you probably need to do a little work on it before you sell it off. A little work can go a long way to getting you more money—especially if you’re selling old gadgets. If you’ve got a smartphone, make sure you’ve protected it from wear and are selling it at the right time. If you’re selling a laptop, give it a little makeover—it’s probably become pretty dirty and worn out over the years. And no matter what you do, wipe your data—both on your computer and your phone—before you hand it off to a stranger. Check out our guide to selling your gadgets online for more preparation tips, while you’re at it.

Where to Sell Based on Your Needs

Before you rush off to eBay or Craigslist, think about what you’re selling and what you want from your sale. Certain places are better than others, depending on your needs. For example, if you’re selling electronics, books, or video games, Amazon and eBay are great choices, but they won’t be if you’re selling clothing. Check out our complete guide to selling your unwanted crap for an idea of where to sell.

If you’re looking for something a little more hassle-free, consider Amazon’s Fulfillment program, or even Facebook. Heck, you could even set up your own little online store without too much effort, giving you complete control over the whole process. For more ideas, check out our Hive Five poll on the five best places to set up shop online. You’re bound to find the perfect place with a bit of research.

Create Your Listings

When it comes time to actually put your stuff up for sale, don’t be careless. A little effort goes a long way. Take good photos to ensure they attract attention, find out how much your items are worth by searching for completed sales (or using a site like WorthMonkey), and set your eBay auctions to end at the optimal time for the most bidders. Bundling products together will get you a quicker sale, but not necessarily a better one. Patience is key with selling online: if you wait long enough, someone will offer you a great price. You don’t need to take the first offer that comes your way unless you’re really desperate to unload the object in question.

Lastly, as you’re waiting for that sale, make sure you don’t succumb to the loads of scams and lowballers out there. Check out our tips to avoid getting screwed on Craigslist (and elsewhere online) to make sure someone doesn’t take advantage.

That’s a lot of links to throw at you at once, but there are a lot of great tricks out there to help you get the most for your money. Luckily, we have a checklist that’ll help you keep track of it all. Click here to check it out, and good luck!

Have a great weekend!

Images by quazie, Leremy (Shutterstock), and Kevin Dooley.

My Purchases Shows You the Android Apps You’ve Bought (Because Google Won’t)

My Purchases Shows You the Android Apps You've Bought (Because Google Won't)Android (2.2+): For whatever reason, Google can’t or won’t filter the apps you’ve installed in your orders & settings to show just the paid-for apps. If you want to see what you’ve spent, for guilt or accounting purposes, the My Purchases app does the job.

My Purchases could definitely stand to improve in its next few updates. There only a few minimal options, to filter out canceled purchases or apps you have installed at that moment. And the only sorting is reverse chronological, though the app did catch everything I had bought from my primary account. For those simply looking to check up on their buying history, it’s an app that does just what it should.

My Purchases’ free version has advertising, while the $1.29 paid version removes the advertising.

Update: Whoops! Looks like we already posted this app yesterday. Sorry about the duplicate news, everyone!

My Purchases | Google Play