Online Thrifter’s Tips and Tricks

If you’ve got the passion, patience, and money, you too can be an online thrifter. For this week’s article, I thought I would share some of the tricks I have used to amass my collection at a fraction of the price.

Buying/Selling Apps Are Your Friend

I have made multiple accounts on many resell applications. Local ones in my area include Craigslist, Kijiji, Letgo, Freecycle, Varagesale – even Facebook Marketplace. Think of using apps as a fisherman would use nets: The more you employ, the more likely you are to catch that fish. Take the time to periodically look through the app store or Google Play store for the latest trend.

Simplify Your Search Terms

A mistake many people make is to be very specific in their searches. You may think that a seller would automatically list the computer you are searching for by their model designation, e.g. 2010 MacBook Pro 13 inch. Most people on these sites are simply looking to make a quick sale and list their items very quickly. Instead, one should enter keywords such as “MacBook” or “Apple laptop”. While this will yield many unwanted ads, it will also increase your chances of coming across the model you are looking for.

iMac boxDon’t Be Scammed

That unopened 2017 iMac for $900 that the seller lists as “an unwanted gift” may seem like an amazing deal. However, as the old saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Take the time to look at the seller’s profile. Has (s)he been selling long? Do they have any other items posted? If the app allows feedback, how much do they have? Don’t get caught up in the savings opportunity. It may cost you more than you think…

Be Polite

This is something that I really can’t stress enough. Getting a good deal is only part of the equation; there is a human side to collecting as well. We are searching for items that may have been used by someone when they were a child, carried them through their university glory days, or even gifted to them by a loved one.

Nobody wants to sell to a buyer who will put down the item they cared so much about. Show the seller that, although you are looking for a good deal, you are also planning to preserve the life of their device. It can prove to be beneficial down the road. On occasion, I have been recontacted by sellers who, knowing that I enjoy vintage machines, will offer me other items that come their way.

Meet in a Safe Location

This should seem obvious, but it needs to be stated. Always purchase your technology in a public place. Money is exchanging hands and, depending on the item, it could range in the hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Bring a second person as well. They need not take part in the transaction but can be nearby to monitor the exchange in case things go bad.

Prepare for Some Light Reading

In some occasions, it may take days or even weeks to find that special item. Don’t get frustrated by the wait. Use that time instead to do your own research. Sifting through ads, you can spot trends when it comes to pricing and availability. Sometimes you may see certain sellers repost their ads and slowly decrease their pricing over time. This type of research can make you a better buyer – or even a better seller if you choose to unload your own items somewhere down the line.

Join us in the Low End Mac Facebook group and share your thrifting tips and tricks!

short link: