Tips for Buying on Kijiji

I’m a pretty typical Manitoban – I love a deal! Sales, discounts, coupons, and occasionally, used items. Anything to stretch my dollars farther. Since Christmas is right around the corner and you may be thinking about buying some of those large-ticket items second-hand to save some money, I thought it would also be good to put together some tips for buying on Kijiji. Also, if you haven’t, check out my tips on Selling on Kijiji.

  1. Buyer beware – Scammers are on both sides of the Kijiji transaction, both buying and selling. Be sure to read the description carefully and look closely at all the pictures. Request more pictures if you think the person doesn’t actually have the item. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Be aware of stolen items – People steal stuff and then sell it on Kijiji. If you buy something that is stolen on Kijiji, at the very least it is going to be confiscated and you will be out money. If the police think you knew the item was stolen or somehow had a hand in stealing it, the consequences could be much, much worse. Again, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. Haggling – Most sellers on Kijiji are open to a little bit of haggling. 10% is a good round number to end up at. Meaning, start at 20% off and hope the seller will meet you in the middle. If not, be prepared to either pay the full amount for the item or walk away from the sale. For example, a women sent a message asking if I would sell my $50 item for $40. I sent back a counter offer of $45. (I haven’t heard from her since so maybe she didn’t appreciate my counter-offer, lol).
  4. Be careful – Try to meet in public places, don’t bring too much extra cash with you, be aware of your surroundings when meeting and if you have any red flags about the sale, walk away immediately. A good deal isn’t worth getting robbed or your life.

Apologies if I’ve scared you. I haven’t had any situations where I’ve bought stolen merchandise or been robbed while trying to complete a transaction. These are extreme examples but it’s important to be prepared in case something goes astray. Be honest and you’ll find some great deals on some barely-used items.

Bought on Kijiji? Good experience? Bad experience? I’d love to hear about them. Happy Shopping!

My Thoughts on Christmas Shopping

My SIL posted an article on Facebook entitled, “Ten Things Our Kids Don’t Need for Christmas This Year.” Of course I read it, I’m always open for new suggestions on how to buy experiences and not stuff. This was a little different. It talked about the Christian perspective of Christmas but most importantly, it talked about not being perfect. Not buying everything on your kids’ list. Not staying awake at night to Pinterest the heck out of your house so it looks perfect and everything is homemade. And that really resonated with me.

I write a shopping blog. Some would think that this would make me a blatant consumerist and this blog would be propagating the idea that “More is Better.” But that’s not why I write the blog or shop for others. I do this to buy less. To buy more meaningful. To buy things that will be loved and cherished, played with, and worn. Not things that are forgotten in a closet or a basement. Chances are, if you are reading my blog, you have too much stuff already and so does just about everyone you know.

So heading into this holiday season, I just wanted to say a few things: Don’t Buy Everything. Whether that means you make a gift, get loved ones one nice thing instead of 100 stocking stuffers, or donate some money or time to someone less fortunate. Don’t get sucked into the phenomenon that “More is Better” or “Give Your Kids Everything They Want So They Don’t Hate You.” Buy what you can afford. Feel good about what you give. A gift means that you took time and money to think about someone in your life. It should not be an overwhelmingly guilt-ridden obligation. Take whatever is your “Reason for the Season” and hold onto it. I plan on doing exactly that. And I hope that my attitude about doing things together will make each Christmas the best one that my daughter remembers.

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Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays or whatever greeting you prefer this time of year. I wish the best for you and wonderful times with family and friends. And, as always, Happy Shopping!

Tips for Selling on Kijiji

One of my goals for the summer/fall was to clear out excess stuff. We’ve lived in this house for six years and stuff just seems to accumulate. Now some of it is baby stuff. We’re still on the fence about a second baby, so I don’t want to get rid of that stuff yet. But there’s lots of stuff that both Husband and I have from our lives before we met each other. Some of it is still in boxes in the basement…. definitely time for that stuff to go. Anyways, all this to tell you that I’ve been selling things on Kijiji again. Mostly excess yarn this time but also a used aluminum screen door and some candle holders. In the past I’ve sold shoes, baby items, Nightmare Before Christmas memorabilia and recently, my husband sold a car. I love Kijiji but it can be a weird and scary place. So here’s some tips to get you going if you want to sell using Kijiji.

  1. Post clear pictures – First of all, your ad is one of thousands on the site and one of at least dozens in the category. The one thing that’s going to make it stand out is clear pictures. People want to see what they are buying. One, clear picture is all you need. Multiple, clear pictures are great. Blurry pics might as well not be there. And if you don’t have any pics, don’t bother posting an ad.
  2. Use key words – While the description is important, be sure to use keywords that folks may use when searching for your item. For example, I was so busy writing tempting descriptions for my many yarn ads to include skein weight, colour and yarn weight, I forgot to put down the most basic descriptor: yarn! Now if someone was searching for “yarn,” they would’ve missed several of my ads because I forgot to put that in.
  3. Be open to offers – I think Kijiji is the last acceptable place that people haggle on prices for things smaller than cars and houses. I always increase the price for my item a little more ($2-10, for small items, more for larger ones) than I would like to sell them for and add OBO (or best offer) to my ads. I try not to haggle until the person has actually come to see the item as I feel there is no sense wasting your time unless they are really interested. Watch out for folks who will try and talk you too far down. Think about how little you can accept for the item and don’t go any further. I was selling an exersaucer and got several calls and emails asking way, way under the $50 I had posted it for. One person even went so far as to ask me if I would just give it to her, for free. I politely declined but was surprised at her guts. Stick to your guns and you will get the price, or close to it, for the item.
  4. Don’t accept any forms of payment except cash – I can’t stress this enough. If they don’t have cash, they can’t have the item. I don’t care about your sick grandma or kid or how you just have to run to the bank. People who are serious about buying will show up, cash in hand. Which leads me to….
  5. If it smells like a scam, it is a scam – No one, in their right mind, would EVER offer you more for the item than you are asking. EVER. I don’t care how good the offer sounds. My MIL was selling her nice leather couch on Kijiji. She got an offer for more than she was asking for the couch. They sent a legitimate looking cheque that she took to the bank, who confirmed it was a scam. The idea is the cheque looks like it has cashed, you mail the item to the scammer and then the cheque bounces. No money, no item.
  6. Be wary of out-of-town sales – I am not a fan of selling to out-of-towners. Often they are the scammers described above who should be avoided at all costs. I have sold once out-of-town with success so it can be done. First of all, I was upfront with the buyer that they would cover all the costs of shipping the items. I was not paying to ship them. Now, you can either use the Canada Post app to estimate the shipping costs, or you can actually take your items to a Canada Post outlet and they will estimate for you. Don’t forget an envelope or box and include those costs as well. I emailed the estimated cost of shipping plus the cost of the items back to the buyer, who agreed to the sale. She then emailed me money (PayPal works too if you have an account). I deposited it and went back to Canada Post and mailed the item. Get a tracking number. This way you have verification the item arrived to the buyer and they can’t claim they never received the item.
  7. Download the Kijiji app – Everyone has apps nowadays but I find the Kijiji app really helpful. It has a messaging system built into it that immediately notifies you if someone sends you an email/message about one of your items. And you can reply to the person right in the app. No more going into your email’s junk folder to look for Kijiji messages!
  8. Be patient – I would say that everything I’ve ever put on Kijiji has sold, eventually. It may be on there for two days or three months but I’ve always found a buyer. Be patient, especially when you are getting messages from scammers and people who are trying to low-ball you. Don’t feel pressure to pay Kijiji to “Bump Up” your ad to the top when it feels like your items aren’t moving. The right buyer will come along for the item.
  9. Be careful – Keep your wits about you when selling online. If something doesn’t feel right, back out of the sale. Meet in public areas to exchange items/money if you can. If you must give out your home address, never tell the buyer when you won’t be home. Pick a time for them to come to your house and stick to it. Try to have someone else home with you, if possible.

I feel like I ended on a particularly scary note with Kijiji selling but it is easy and fun to do. I myself have sold almost $300 in yarn in the last 6 weeks that was just hanging out in my basement, doing nothing. I’m sure you have stuff in your basement/attic/spare room that would make someone else very happy.

Have you sold on Kijiji? How did it go? Do you have any tips that I missed? I’d love to hear them! Happy Shopping!

Totally Random Friday – August 15th

Happy Friday! This week went by in a blur.

Last night, my husband and I went to Arcade Fire at the MTS Centre with some of our friends. It was a great show with tons of enthusiasm by both the band and the crowd. The band has requested ppl dress up in costumes or formal wear and many people did. I saw a hotdog costume and a mustard costume (not together, surprisingly enough). Women were dressed in fancy dresses and men in suits. We didn’t dress up that fancy, it was a hot night and even inside the arena it was hot.

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I also wanted to talk about this dress. It really grew on me over the course of the evening and even though it’s not something I would ever wear, I really ended up liking it on her. Sorry, photos are from far away on my iPhone but I think you get the gist.

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MAC released a new collection online this week called A Novel Romance. The colours look bright but rich for fall. Check out Julie’s (from Swatch and Review) gorgeous swatches here. The collection is released in stores August 21.

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I coloured my hair…. okay, it’s much crazier than that. I went blonde. Really blonde. Really, really blonde.

 

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It took a few days until I felt like I was rocking the blonde but now I love it.

I love articles that teach you stuff. Online shopping is easy but there is more onus on the consumer to know what they’re buying and read all the small print carefully. With the popularity of subscription boxes, I was super pumped earlier this week when I noticed that Jill, from Canadian Subscription Box Addict, wrote a great article about protecting yourself from shady subscriptions. She has great tips on reviewing subscription terms and cancellation policies before buying and learning about your credit card company or PayPal dispute policies. Head over and read the whole article here.

What’s going on with you this week? Happy Shopping!

Cross border shopping

So, this week I am SUPER ecstatic that I got an Anna doll. My kid is CRAZY about Frozen. She sings the songs, she asks to watch the movie, it’s ridiculous. I had no idea someone who wasn’t two yet could get so hooked on a movie. And just in case you think it’s the only movie we’ve shown her, she’s seen Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. Nope, Frozen, every time.

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So, since this is her favourite movie I have been wanting Anna and Elsa dolls. Apparently, so does every other Mom and Dad in the world. My friend Deanna just got a new job with Teavana (uh, so jealous!) and has been travelling all over the US and Canada for her orientation and training. And she has been amazing at checking every Disney store she comes across for these dolls. Seriously she has been to 6 or 8! Nothing, nadda, zip, zilch!

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Anyways, she advised me to keep an eye on the website as the Disney Store periodically releases Frozen stuff during the day. So yesterday, I happened to be checking around 2 pm and BAM, some Anna dolls became available. I jumped on one and some stuff I had saved in my favourites in case I put in an order (they are also having a pretty great 50% off sale). But as I was putting in my credit card information, I realized they wanted to charge me $30 to ship to Canada! Um, the doll only costs $20. Why in the heck does it cost $30 to ship it to me? And I bet that does not include duty.

So, I quickly typed in ‘Pembina Parcel’ into Google to get their address. Pembina Parcel in Pembina, ND and Connie’s Depot in Walhalla, ND are two shipping depots that specialize in deliveries for Canadians just across the border. Have your order shipped there, run across the line, pick it up, and come home with your items. Pembina Parcels charges a flat rate of $5 per parcel where Connie’s Depot charges $2.50 for small packages and $5 for large ones (at least they did the last time I used them a couple of years ago, couldn’t find accurate quotes on any of the websites that Google turned up). Keep in mind that it’s up to border guards to decide what, if any, duty and taxes to charge. I have found that if you don’t go during peak periods (i.e.. Sunday) they tend to wave you through and not bother charging you. Always better to be prepared to pay and not have to though.

I have used Connie’s Depot two separate times and my dad uses Connie’s all the time, especially for motorcycle parts and they are always great. I’ll let you know how Pembina Parcels goes but all the reviews are pretty good so I’m expecting it to be fine. Btw, I already love it because when I typed in their address, the Disney Store decided to only charge me $7 to ship instead of $30. Plus, I’ll take the day and head over to Grand Forks with my SIL, do some other shopping, have lunch and head home.

And I’ll have an Anna doll. Happy Shopping!