A Quick Easy Tutorial on Automating Spectacular Craigslist Deals

Have your sights set on buying something off of craigslist but don't have the time to wade through all the ads?

Or have you ever found something on craigslist and you contact the buyer only to find it was just sold.

For me, the answer is "yes" and "yes".

I am behind in a lot of things tech-wise, but I recently became aware of IFTTT which stands for "If This Then That".

This cool site can help you automate all sorts of stuff. I have it search the web for articles and dump the links into a Google docs spreadsheet that I can review later.

I am also experimenting with setting it up so I can tell Siri on my iphone to create a reminder and it automatically creates a task for me in Todoist. Nice.

But in this post I will show you how to use IFTTT to send you an email every time someone posts something on craigslist for the specific item you are looking for.

NOTE: Subscribers to my blog frequently received free spreadsheets and pdf files to accompany my posts. Subscribe today so you don't miss any.


Sign up for for an account on IFTTT. It's free. You then connect it to your Google account. If you don't have one sign up HERE

Log into IFTTT and click on MY RECIPES and then CREATE A RECIPE

Recipes are what IFTTT uses as instructions. If "this" happens then "do" this. In this case, we are telling IFTTT that if a new item becomes available on craigslist for something we want, it will send us an email. For my example, I am looking for an upright bass.


Click the big blue "this" link where you will be greeted with a screen to choose your trigger channel. In this case, we are choosing craigslist. So you can either scroll down to find it or type in the search box.


Choose your trigger. What we want for our trigger is a "new post from search"


Now go to craigslist and search for what item you want, in the area you want to buy from. When you do that, craigslist creates a url for that search criteria. Copy it. Paste that into IFTTT where it says search results URL. Press the blue button to create your trigger. For example, the first screenshot below you can see my search for an "upright bass" and I'm looking for it in the "for sale" section under "music instr" and I only want to look in the "northwest suburbs". 


Click the big blue "that" link and here is where you will tell IFTTT what action you want when the trigger happens. For us, we want IFTTT to send us an email to our gmail account. So search for the gmail icon. If you are not connected to your gmail you will need to do so next. Click Done.


Choose your action, which for this example we want to receive an email in our gmail account.


Enter your gmail address and click "Create Action".


Review your recipe and if everything looks good click "Create Recipe". In the recipe below, we are telling IFTTT that "if" craigslist has a new post that matches our search, "then" send us an email to our gmail account.


That is it. If you find that later on you are receiving too many emails for your trigger, go back into craigslist and refine your search to narrow it down further. Copy the new url and go back into IFTTT and edit your recipe.

This is just the beginning for me in using this app. I will report back when I've learned how to do more tasks that I think will help you too.

This is a great way to search for garage sales that have what you are looking for, people giving things away for free, cars for low prices...

I encourage you to sign up for a free account today and give it a try.

NOTE: If you become one of my subscribers, I send you both the link to new posts when I write them and frequently I also give you a companion pdf or spreadsheet to go with the post.

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