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Four Fail-proof Ways to Make and Save Thousands of Dollars a Year on Craigslist

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When you need a new roommate to help cover half the costs of your midtown (or uptown or downtown) studio '“ because your previous roommate decided to skip out on the lease early to 'œfind' himself somewhere in Sumatra '“ Craigslist is likely the first place you look.

But Craigslist’s network of online communities isn’t limited to helping you hunt down your next live-in archenemy. The global website allows you to buy, sell and search for almost anything you can think of '“ goods, services, jobs, dates '“ just enter a word and Craigslist is on the case.

There’s money to be made on Craigslist too. Real money. (Much more than the $10 you pocketed from hocking your dearly departed bunkmate’s ZZ Top cassette collection.) I’m talking thousands of dollars a year if you use the site to its full potential. Who knows '“ maybe one day you’ll have enough dough to afford an apartment where Creepy McCreepington doesn’t watch you sleep.

OK, maybe that’s wishful thinking. But look on the bright side '“ at least you’ll earn enough green to buy a lock for your bedroom door.

1. Pimp Yourself (street corner not required)

Everybody’s good at something, and these days people are seeking services on the cheap. Whether it’s planning kids’ birthday parties or rewriting others’ resumes, there’s a whole gaggle of Craigslist users out there looking to avoid pricey operations in favor of a one-man or '“woman show. The key to success is in researching your competitors and offering your services near or below their price points. Also, be professional. Even though someone is actively seeking your expertise, they’re still weary of the potential dangers, i.e. that you’re gonna take ’em for a ride. Craft a compelling pitch and follow through as you would at your day job. Unless, of course, you were recently fired from your day job. Then just remember that your rent depends on it.

2. Sell That Junk (and its trunk)

You may like to live in excess, which is why you’re currently hard up for cheddar, but if your home is an urban apartment, you have limited space '“ space that’s undoubtedly being consumed by stuff you neither use nor need. The solution? Sell it '“ sell it all. Sure, a service like eBay offers more guarantees and protections against flakes, but, let’s be honest, are you really gonna ship your old college couch to Cincinnati? Probably not. Don’t underestimate the value of an item you may consider valueless, either. As they say, one person’s junk is another’s treasure. Suckas.

3. Think Like a Hilton (the hotel, not the ho)

Instead of finding a roommate to fill that second or third bedroom, consider renting it to tourists. Yes ' tourists. Before you scoff, hear me out. You see, roommates pay a flat fee per month '“ let’s say $1,000 '“ but tourists are willing to pay a per-night rate, allowing you, if you set a reasonable rate for decent accommodations, to make up to three times more than a roommate would pay. The average rate for a room listed on the 'œVacation Rentals' section of Craigslist NYC is $100. If you’re the ambitious type who’s committed to making a situation like this work, go head and multiply that per-night rate by 30 days, then again by 12 months. The numbers don’t lie '“ you’re the proud new owner of a Benjamins-birthing cash cow. Just don’t be stupid. While this is the mother of all Craigslist moneymakers, you can’t rely on it 24/7. There will be down times, especially during the winter months. Make sure your bills are covered before you start going berserk at Balenciaga.

4. Get Your Free-k On (getcha, getcha, getcha)

Need a crate for your pet or a slightly used set of used martini glasses? Chances are you can find what your heart and wallet desires on the 'œFree' section of Craigslist. In addition to useful items you need but don’t want to pay for, this section is usually ripe with free tickets to museums, comedy shows and other cultural events. Did somebody say cost-effective night out? Yeah I did! And if you’re a real go-getter, you can use the free section to scout valuable wares that you can grab at no cost and then resell. Some call it unethical. I call it economical.

(Don’t skim this next part. It’s the most important!)

Using Craigslist to make money is sort of like an AA meeting – it works if you work it.

Hundreds of posts populate in each section every day, so you have to post frequently for your ad to have an impact. Craigslist is smart, however; it doesn’t allow users to post the same ad more than once every two days. Still, I think you’re smarter. To beat the system, simply register two or three different e-mail addresses (and for added convenience, set these addresses to forward incoming mail to your primary e-mail so when users contact you you’ll know right away).

This posting method will allow you to publish your ads '“ whatever they may be '“ at least once daily, maximizing not only your exposure but also your earning potential.

Viva, Craigslist '“ and capitalism!

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Mikey Rox - Cut-Rate Copywriter

Mikey Rox - Cut-Rate Copywriter

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist/writer whose work has appeared in more than 80 regional, national and international print and digital publications. He resides in Manhattan with his partner. When Mikey's not uncovering the best that NYC has to offer, he's crashing roof parties with open bars. Because he can.