An Easier Way to Shop Craigslist

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Whether you are buying an antique clock or anything else off Craigslist, you’ve likely had the same painful experience I have. You see an ad that is a great deal or is the exact thing you want, but when you contact the seller, it’s already been sold. You can run Craigslist searches multiple times per day to try and keep up with all the new ads, but that’s exhausting. In your exhausted stupor you secretly wish there was a way to get notifications from Craigslist when new items of interest are posted.

Guess what? There is, but it is buried within the Craigslist website, so let me point out how:

  • You start at Craigslist and run your search.
  • Then scroll all the way to the bottom of the search results page
  • In the lower right-hand corner you’ll see an orange button that says RSS and a link. It looks like this: .
  • Click on that link and you’ll go to a new webpage.
  • Copy the website address from that new page into an RSS Reader, like Google’s free Google Reader, and you’ll receive alerts whenever a new ad is posted that matches your search criteria.

If you want to search Craigslist nationwide, or within a select set of cities, then I’d recommend the free version of CraigsPals, a downloadable PC-based app. Or instead of multiple cities you can pick a zip code and a radius distance, then it’ll provide search results that meet that criteria. Unless you pay $29.99 (ouch!) you won’t be able to use CraigsPals to automate searching, but their basic features are nice.

Or, it’s not surprising that iPhone, Blackberry and Android users can get apps for their their phone that do something similar. Craigslist for iPhone looked like the best option, in my opinion, in terms of a free app with robust functionality.

Your turn: How do you shop Craigslist without being tied to your computer all day running searches?

About Carrie Rocha

I am passionate about helping people live within their means so they can get out and stay out of debt. I live in Minneapolis, MN with my husband and two little girls.


  1. My husband and I both use the Craigslist app on our Android phones. Thanks to the app, when we were car hunting we were notified of desired postings immediately. The one we ended up purchasing had only been posted 45 min. prior! Very slick.

  2. Great post, that is a fantastic tip!

  3. Being a craigslist junkie….this is awesome! More than 1/2 my house is craigslist items….and you would never know it!

  4. Thanks Carrie, I just had a conversation with my Grandson the other day. I said it would be nice if you could get email alerts on a specific item. I will be sharing this info w/him.

  5. I love using the app on my phone for getting craigslist notifications! I also have another app that lets me create listings directly from my phone.

  6. My husband does this for more obscure items that he wants that don't show up very often. It's really useful!

  7. I use this app:
    (If this then that) logic. You set up channels, so I do one search in Craigslist, and set up that search to email me every time a new post is made that meets my criteria.

    I also use it for weather – for when the high is above a certain degree (65) and I think I'll set up one for the winter as well. It's worked really well! There are lots of other options available. :)

  8. Lisa–what is the name of the Craig's List Android ap that you use?

  9. Theresa K says:

    Android phones have a couple of free apps that work well. I have used them several times to keep a search going for a specific items. Do not pay for an app. The free ones work just as well. Currently on my Google phone: CraigsNortifica 3.10

  10. Therese S. says:

    is there an iPad app?

  11. I went to the rss feed. Now do they send it to my email or what?

  12. ah man! giving away all the good secrets! :) my family has been doing this for years and it really helps in scoring great deals…first! Bring on the competition, I'm ready!!! (jk)

  13. Pat Dierking says:

    Has anyone tried ? It seems to be a paid service but really cheap (like $1.99 a month). I wonder if it is a reasonable option.

  14. HOw can I do this now that Google Reader isnt in operation anymore?

  15. For Andriod phones I use CLapp (Craigslist App) and CLapp Notify. Once you save a search and turn on the “Notify Me Of New Items” button. The CLapp Notify service will check Craigslist at a user defined interval and notify you by a ringtone and or vibration to your phone. It works well!

    I know the app has a funny name. I didn’t build it. I just use it. Hope this helps. Oh yeah…it’s FREE!


  16. I used Craigslist RSS feed for some time and found that some new posts did not show up in the RSS feed right away. I switched to Classified Notifier which sends notifications to my phone as soon as they are posted.

  17. I have been desparately trying to find out why the Reply button on the
    jobs posting does not work on my computer. I sent the help desk 4 emails and they keep
    sending me their automated reponse. I asked to have someone call me. I have had no
    response. Their customer service is the pitts.

    Has any one else had the same problem. Was it resolved.

  18. Aron Steck says:

    FYI – Craigspal has been shut down.

  19. I use nothing but CLMonitor … its an android app that has become invaluable to me and my business. I don’t have to be tethered to my computer. I can go to work deal with whats really important and the app will notify me when something comes up that I am interested in. Really works well. Details and download links can be found here…

  20. Jaya Nagesh says:


  1. [...] Craigslist can definitely be “hit or miss”; however, if you’re in the market for something specific (example: Pottery Barn Sofa, Webber Grill, Honda C-RV, Graco Stroller, girls size 5 sandals, etc.), you can set up a search for that specific item and then “subscribe” to that search’s RSS feed so you’ll be notified when new items in your search are available (here’s a post that talks more about how to do this). [...]

  2. […] you use it for a couple of years, you can sell it for more than you paid! Side note: You can also set up a Craigslist alert for certain […]

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