By Sarah Hendrix | Staff Writer

My first time using Craigslist for a large purchase, I was 21 years old and decided that I wanted to buy my first car out in Hawaiʻi. I had searched through Craigslist for a few days and ended up bringing my friend who was a mechanic with me to check out a 1997 Honda Civic. After a test drive and having him check under the hood to make sure everything was running smoothly, I handed over $1900 and drove away my first car. Since that day I have used Craigslist to furnish parts of my home and bought both of my cars from it, and my husband occasionally advertises for his business using Craigslist.

Below are some of the items I have been able to score on Craigslist and the stories behind them.

2001 Ford Ranger for $2,000

Back in August, my husband and I began searching online for a work truck for his landscaping business. On average trucks on the island retail for more than what they would typically sell for on the mainland. Most trucks we were looking at from 1998-2003 were advertising for upwards of $4,000, depending on the make and model.

After days of searching we saw an ad for a 2001 Ford Ranger for $3,600 and it had 131,000 miles on it. The pictures of the truck looked clean and well taken care of, so we drove out to Kailua to take it for a test drive. When we arrived, the elderly man selling his truck had been the only owner and had purchased the truck brand new 16 years earlier. He explained that it was a secondary vehicle in his family, and that if we decided not to buy it from him that day he was going to give it to charity.

We spoke for a couple of minutes and just before we jumped in to take it for a test drive, the man told us that he would even give it to us that day if we gave him $2,000 for it. After 20 minutes to test driving the Ford Ranger around Kailua we were sold. Within an hour of signing all the paperwork we drove away with our 2001 Ford Ranger.

Sectional Couch for Free

The free sectional couch we scored from Craigslist. (Photo by Sarah Hendrix)

Furniture is an expensive commodity, and after searching at many stores I did not want to spend more than 500 on a couch. So I went searching on Craigslist and found a sectional couch in Mililani that was free under the for-sale furniture section. Normally I’m very skeptical of free items on Craigslist, but this one had pictures showing that the couch was still in good condition.

So my husband drove up with a friend and was greeted by a military family who were just looking to upgrade and redecorate the living room. Not wanting the hassle of selling the couch, we walked away with sectional couch that was clean and still in good condition for free.

Patio Chairs for $40

The studio we were moving into last March had a patio, and a friend of ours had already given us a patio table, so we went searching on Craigslist for some patio chairs to match. We found someone in Honolulu that was selling a set of 4 patio chairs for $50 and decided to go check them out. The chairs were in great condition and were comparable to the Camden Sling Patio Dining Chairs sold at Target that retail for $299.99 for 4 chairs. We haggled with the owner and ended up walking away with a set of 4 patio chairs in great condition for $40.

Matching Lamps for $25

One day when I was aimlessly searching through the Craigslist furniture section I stumbled upon a set of 4 matching lamps. Each lamp was the same style, just a different height. I thought that they would look great with our furniture, and the person selling the lamps was located in Waikīkī. The lamps were listed for $35, so we drove down and offered $25 for the set. In the end we walked away with a set of 4 matching lamps in great condition for $25.

Craigslist is good for buying/selling items, is used by small local businesses to advertise their services, and can be great for finding housing. My husband has used Craigslist to advertise for his landscaping business, and it has been a platform for him to gain clients who need monthly yard maintenance. We have also used Craigslist to find both places that we have lived in on Oʻahu.

I realize that using Craigslist has been a nightmare for some people, so I think that there is an important lesson for people to be safe and wise while using the website. There can be scams that circulate throughout Craigslist, but if people know how to watch out for scams then there are many great items that are constantly being sold.

On Craigslist there is a page giving advice on ways to avoid scams. To read about how to avoid Craigslist scams click here.

Currently on Craigslist there is another free sectional couch for sale in Kaneohe, a blackjack table (dice and cards are included) for $75 and a collection of Elvis cassette tapes for $25. Whether people are looking to redecorate their house or are interested in some unusual knickknacks that cannot be purchased in a store, Craigslist has thousands of items worth sifting through.