The challenge is finding good deals or worthwhile free stuff in a timely manner. The best deals often have a window of availability shorter than an hour, with posters receiving a truly amazing number of responses as soon as the post goes live. How do so many people find the post so quickly? Do they spend all their time sitting on Craigslist hitting the refresh button on their search results? The answer is, "probably not", and to compete with them, you don't have to, either. In the long run, you will save a lot of searching time by doing the same thing they do: setting up automatic notifications on the items for which you have a chronic need (like lumber) or an acute but not completely urgent need (like a couch).
There are probably many ways to do that (including the RSS button hidden at the bottom of Craigslist search pages), but we recently found one that seems quite robust (thanks to a tip from the comments section here) and we're excited to tell everyone about it. It's called IFTTT, which stands for, "If This Then That", like a logical statement. There are actually hundreds of things IFTTT can do for you, but we basically use it to send us an e-mail when a new post fits our search criteria on Craigslist. It works kind of like this:
This type of updating is obviously most valuable in highly populated areas with a lot of posting and a high demand for used stuff, but can still save time (and moolah) in more rural locations if projects are planned ahead of time so a 'materials checklist' can be programmed into IFTTT.
This is getting a little off-track, but the channels on IFTTT allow one to become part of his very own Rube Goldberg-like machine. Consider the following example:
|*Assembling hamburgers and juicing oranges have previously been tasks required in the national Rube Goldberg Machine contest.|
In any case, we're excited to have found a way to automatically notify us of updates to our most common Craigslist searches, and thought you might be interested, too.
Are there any other ways you automate notifications of good deals on homestead essentials? How else has the internet helped your homesteading efforts? Let us know in the comments section below!