Subscribe to craigslist search results to grab great deals

You've been watching Craigslist for a good deal on a hedge trimmer, but you just aren't having any luck. By the time you find a good listing, it's been up for an hour and the HedgeHog XR is long gone. You could sit and refresh the farm+garden category constantly, but that's a waste of time. (Besides, what would your boss think?) Fortunately, there's a better way.

Did you know it's also possible to watch Craigslist searches via RSS feed?

Instead of subscribing to entire categories (and then having to wade through countless irrelevant results), you can subscribe to specific searches. Let's say, for example, that I wanted to buy a Mini Cooper. Because it's such a huge expense, I might want to wait for exactly the right car to come along. Instead of navigating to the Craigslist site a dozen times per day, I could simply subscribe to a search that features all the results I'm interested in. It's easy to do.

Step One: Search Craigslist

Simply search for the item you want. If you need to refine the search by category or by price, enter the additional parameters. The results page will list the current matches.

Step Two: Subscribe to Feed

The final step has a tiny trick to it: You have to find the RSS feed. You can't just use the RSS icon in your browser's address bar. (Well, I can't anyhow.) Instead, scroll to the bottom right corner of the page. There, tucked out of sight, is the RSS feed for your search.

Right-click on the icon to grab your feed!

This is an efficient way to grab great deals on cheap hedge trimmers or sports cars. But it can also be a handy tool for finding a job or apartment. Last February, Tim at the Seattle Bubble blog shared a great tip about how to use Craigslist and RSS to find a great rental.

(And don't forget: Last year I shared 24 of my top Craigslist tips, tricks, and resources gleaned from several years of experience.)

More about...Administration

Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others

Subscribe to the GRS Insider (FREE) and we’ll give you a copy of the Money Boss Manifesto (also FREE)

Yes! Sign up and get your free gift
Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others
guest
26 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
djtacoman
djtacoman
12 years ago

I could use this to replace the iPod I left on an airplane recently. Granted, I may end up buying my own iPod, but at least I would get it back.

tim
tim
12 years ago

I monitor craigslist for several things using the RSS feeds and Google Reader, it works great. You can also get feeds for eBay searches and follow those too. And for sites without RSS feeds, use something like FeedYes.com to scrape the site and create a feed. We got our dog from the Humane Society this way – every time our breed came up, by the time we saw it and contact the Humane Society, there was a waiting list. But creating a feed and following with Google Reader, we got our new pup on the first try!

leigh
leigh
12 years ago

now if only there was a way to get your items to sell more quickly 😉
and a way to get buyers to actually show up when they say they will… common courtesy is gone on craigslist.

Dena
Dena
12 years ago

Very cool. I didn’t know this, this is a great way to help me find an aquarium.

Daniel@youngandfrugal
12 years ago

Ha! I just started doing this today because I’m looking for a certain rower!

It is really cool! Way to get the word out!

J.D.
J.D.
12 years ago

I could have sworn that Kris and I used to set up e-mail subscriptions for Craigslist, but I can’t find that feature anymore. Does anyone else know about this? I just remember looking for mirrors and furniture when we moved into this house four years ago, and we did so by e-mail updates…

Randy
Randy
12 years ago

The email subscriptions were suspended. See this note:

http://www.craigslist.org/about/help/subscriptions

SingleGuyMoney
SingleGuyMoney
12 years ago

That is a pretty cool feature. I don’t plan to use it because I am sure I’ll find something I didn’t intend to purchase in the first place.

Driver B
Driver B
12 years ago

Thanks JD! I didn’t know about this feature and need to find an apt in another city while I complete my masters. This will make it so much easier!

Abe
Abe
12 years ago

More incredible CL tools: Crazedlist.com Search ALL craigslist areas – all of California, all the US, etc. Housingmaps.com Google + CL housing listings = magic Great for searching specific neighborhoods, but it is not all inclusive (only those posts that include an intersection or address show up). Please be nice to your fellow craigslisters! Buyers: include your contact info and availability – and don’t merely ask if someting’s “still available” or dramatically low-ball. Sellers: research reasonable prices before posting, remove posts quickly when the item sells/is given away. Include pictures and links, it’s easy and super helpful. Include honest descriptions,… Read more »

Writer's Coin
Writer's Coin
12 years ago

Sweet! That’s awesome! I had no idea you could do that.

Mo Money
Mo Money
12 years ago

This is good information that I will be able to use. I especially like the RSS feed. Thanks.

Sara
Sara
12 years ago

I love the convenience of this, but it seems like it would take a lot of self-control not to indulge. It would be easy to go from “I’m curious about what kind of deals I can get on new golf clubs” to “That’s the lowest price I’ve seen so I’d better buy them” without realizing it. Still, for purchases you’ve already decided on, this sounds pretty darn cool.

Brian
Brian
12 years ago

Hey JD,

Another cool tool I’ve found is Craigzilla. It’s an add on for firefox that makes searching and finding stuff easier than RSS (IMO) check it out ( http://studioshorts.com/projects/CraigZilla/ )

Cheers!

Rachel
Rachel
12 years ago

I just got into the whole Craigslist thing so your blog comes at a perfect time. I will have to try this the next time I am searching for something.

Dustin Barbour
Dustin Barbour
12 years ago

Sweet little tip, JD. Using it now to find a cheap TV.

lorenzo luiz
lorenzo luiz
12 years ago

nice… thanks for the tip. been trying to find online jobs and i have to comeback and forth to make sure im on top of things.

now with your tip and glyphius 2008 (my title writing aide) im sure its gonna be a lot easier to land a job…

thanks for the tip…

Dona
Dona
12 years ago

I don’t use RSS feeds, but I’ve done something similar in the past while looking for an apartment–I bookmarked my search page and set it as my homepage, so everytime I fired up my browser, I could skim the newest listings.

Cheap Like Me
Cheap Like Me
12 years ago

Awesome! I used to use the e-mail thing too … this will be so useful.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Awesome..I love technology:)

Kevin (ReturnToManliness)
Kevin (ReturnToManliness)
12 years ago

Epic post. This is an awesome tool on CL that so many people do not know about. Also, when you are selling stuff (a lot of stuff like my wife and I do as a side business) you can put a codeword in all the listings you have. The reason to do this is that if you have someone coming over to buy something you have listed, you can tell them to go search on that codeword and see everything you have for sale. This is like a never ending garage sale of all of your stuff. An example of… Read more »

Chris
Chris
12 years ago

A much better way of doing this is to aggregate feeds using Yahoo Pipes. It offers a simple, visual way of combining search feeds into one RSS so that you only need to subscribe to one. Much easier to manage. For example, I have a search for Free Items in North Portland… but sometimes people enter ‘NoPo’ as their location or frequently enter major intersections as their location. So I used Craiglist to search each of the area keywords. I them combined them in Yahoo Pipes and used their ‘filter’ feature to remove certain things that are frequently listed that… Read more »

ben
ben
12 years ago

This also works at gumtree.com

budgetsaresexy
budgetsaresexy
12 years ago

Wow – Bad to the A$$ for sure. but what will i do at work now?

handworn
handworn
12 years ago

Thanks! I didn’t know about that. That’ll be helpful.

OD
OD
12 years ago

Thanks alot I’m gonna use this to more efficiently search for freelance opportunities

shares