A Money Savvy Thrifter’s Guide to the Facebook Marketplace

A Facebook feature called Marketplace made its debut earlier this year and has since soared in popularity – even inspiring some to say that it’s become a close competitor to Craigslist. It was previously only accessible on mobile devices, but has become available on your computer via this link.

Snapchat and Instagram may have become insanely popular with kids and teenagers, but everyone knows Facebook is where it’s at. The home base of social media sites, Facebook is like your starting point. Why else do you think so many apps allow you to ‘Login with Facebook’? Its popularity doesn’t seem to be dying down, nor does it appear to be anytime soon.

Whether you think of it as the social media for old people is irrelevant – there is money to be saved (& made) through this platform. Facebook has provided an easy way to buy and sell items to the everyday person – people who may not be on eBay or Craigslist. Some of these people have clutter they just want gone and are willing to sell items for next to nothing in order to get rid of it. I’ve seen furniture in wonderful condition being posted for free, just so the owner won’t have to haul it away.

I’ve spent months and months on this platform religiously – both buying and selling – and have come up with some tips for anyone who is considering utilizing this tool.

First off, it’s important that you know the history. Many Marketplace sellers originated from local selling Facebook groups, and have brought with them their slang. When you start off, it may be confusing to see comments like, “SA? Int, BU pls” or the likes. Knowing the lingo can help you better navigate and understand the buyers & sellers.

As with any in-person deals, it’s also hugely important to be aware of safety issues – if you feel uncomfortable meeting up with someone for a sale or a purchase, DON’T. There are safe places that you can meet, such as local sheriff’s offices, however if you’ get a bad vibe from someone there is nothing wrong with a little white lie. “Sorry, it’s pending pick up,” is better than becoming the next headline’s victim.

Don’t, however, think that this is super dangerous – I’ve done hundreds of transactions, both selling and buying, and have never had an issue. There are so many great people on Marketplace who are honestly just looking to buy and sell. They are the majority. Just use common sense and don’t meet up in a shady parking lot at midnight and you’ll be fine.

If you’re always looking for a specific type of good, such as computers or books or scrap metal, you can have Facebook notify you when a new item has been posted. Simply input the search terms you want to use and any filters for location, price, and category, and hit that fancy little ‘Get Notifications’ button at the top right corner, under ‘Sell Something’.

There are scammers and jerks out there that you should keep an eye out for. Sometimes, people will try and sell broken items as working, so always thoroughly check over and test all expensive electronics prior to handing over your money. A pretty safe rule for scam prevention is to never pay online or before getting the item, and to be careful giving out personal contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses. As I’ve mentioned before, if you feel uncomfortable, back out.

When you’re ready to start selling, be sure to join some popular local buy-sell groups. Once you’re admitted into the groups, you can go on your mobile device and share items you’ve posted to those groups – increasing your audience. Be warned though, many groups have rules to protect their buyers, so make sure to check those out and post to the groups you are familiar with.

Successful sellers price reasonably, describe items well, and are very responsive to messages. There will be no-shows and time wasters, but I personally find the time invested worth the profit (and extra space!).

Have you participated in buying or selling on Facebook? How was your experience? Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!