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I Love Recycling- via Craigslist

Why buy new when you can buy the same item for one fifth the price? OK, if you buy it from Craigslist you risk it being scratched, stolen, broken, and worn- but hey! Where’s the fun in buying new?

At a guess, I would think that 80% or more of our recent acquisitions are via Craigslist. I just love it. I know what I want and I am persistent. As a result, I can usually find a super deal if I can wait long enough. One man’s sorrow (or at least unwanted item) becomes my super cheap treasure.

The key is persistence. When I am on the hunt, I check every day, several times a day. I call, email, and then call again (and probably email again).

Here’s just a short list of items we have scored because of craigslist.

  1. Our 1995 Fleetwood Bounder 34′ Motorhome- a repo auction in California.  The buyer couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it and sold it to me cheap.  We drove 10 hours each way and found out it was something pretty simple.
  2. Our 1995 Toyota Landcruiser- the seller found another vehicle he really wanted and offered to sell it cheap if we could close for cash quick.  We did but the car he wanted turned out to be a lemon and he didn’t buy it.  We drove two hours each way to Phoenix to check it out.
  3. The 6×12 single axle trailer we bought in Georgia.  A siding installer was hard up and took our low ball offer.  We turned that trailer into the current frankentrailer for the donut setup that we used last season.
  4. Our new 8×16 double axle trailer I just bought for the entertainment setup.  A big step up from the single axle trailer, this one has brakes and a pull down ramp on the back.  We can hold two complete setups.  It was pretty cheap because of hail damage on two sides.  Like I care, it just looks funny.
  5. Our old 1999 Suburban diesel.  The owner was flying out of the country that very day.  I drove from St. Simon’s to Jacksonville (about 2 hours) to look at it and low balled him (it died and refused to restart while we looked at it) and he accepted in his rush to get to the airport.  It needed a new $90 fuel sensor installed, but less than two years later dropped the transmission in the middle of Wyoming (we sold it in a town so small they didn’t have Craigslist but something similar).
  6. The Little Orbits Donut Machine!  The beginning of our adventure.  A long story short, we picked it up for half of what it costs new and it still works like a champ!
  7. A Ipod Touch 32g 4th gen.  We needed one for the entertainment booth (ok, not the 32g version) and I picked it up for about $100 less AND it included a rubber case and screen protector (ok, the case is pink).
  8. A double barrel Frozen drink machine.  I had the grand idea of automating the frozen drinks this year.  A guy was selling three units and this was the last one.  He accepted about half what he was asking.  It works fine but doesn’t work for what I need- back onto Craigslist!
  9. A Hitachi CP-RS57 LCD Projector.  I use it to make the signage for the entertainment booth.  I have been using an overhead projector (via Craigslist) but it’s a pain getting transparencies made.  This projector has a scratch on the lens but, hey, I got it for $100 and it works great.  If it gets me through one season, it was money well spent.  Besides, now we can watch movies in the motorhome on the projector!
  10. I sold the custom 35′ triple axle trailer I built for transporting the Gemini Catamaran (which I never moved) on Craigslist for the same amount of money it cost me to build.

YES! WE ARE CHEAP!  We’re broke, what do you expect.  What’s more, everything is a work in progress.  An experiment with undetermined results.  Why spend big bucks if you’re not certain things are going to pan out.  Who knows, like the frozen drink machine, it might not work out like I thought.  At least I’m not on the hook for a solid $G (That’s a 1,000 bucks) if I bought new.  I feel confident I can sell this machine and recoup my investment.

Lately everything has been a work in progress.  We call the donut trailer frankentrailer 1.2 because we keep adapting it to what we learn.  Same for the new entertainment business.

The moral to the story, You don’t know what you don’t know.  That seems a little silly, and obvious- but ultimately a great truth!  We can only project what we know forward and, at best, it is a guess if we have only similar experiences.  Hence, why not treat it like an experiment?  As a result, I am not emotionally (or financially) invested in a certain outcome.  Which makes me happy.  Actually, to be precise it means that I am not disappointed, which is almost like being happy.

I could wax philosophically about the merits of not placing too much importance on your possessions and blah blah blah but in the end I just like getting a good deal.  That and I’m broke.

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