Even though I just finished sorting through eight years worth of paperwork (oh, how I wish I was joking) I thought I’d take a moment to share my fabulous find.

As previously mentioned, Mr. MT and I have been writing lists to keep us progressing on our move as opposed to hyperventilating and looking at my shelves. One of our lists contains items we will be needing for our new apartment. As we’d been living in a multi-family living arrangement, it turns out we’ll be needing more than I thought. In my spare (lol) time, I’ve been pricing a lot of what we need, and I’ve been suffering from sticker shock.

For example, we have a water filtration system in our house, something our apartment won’t possess. Previously, we had a PUR system, but a web search revealed the filter unit housings like what we had are currently selling for $30, not including the filters!

Even though it’s not a lot, the $20 – $30 here and there is starting to add up; I’m really hoping to completely furnish and stock our apartment for under $1000 and all we’re starting with is a bed frame. So I went searching through my favorite website…..craigslist. Yep, that’s right. I refuse to be deterred by any “craigslist killer”s.

It turned out someone had remodeled their kitchen with a water filtration system and was selling their PUR housings. They had two housings with two filters for each unit. They wanted $25 for one set, $45 for both, but when I e-mailed the individual with my interest, he offered both sets for the $25! (It really does pay to be polite.) After I sell the second housing that we don’t need for $10 at our garage sale this weekend, we’ll have purchased a housing and four filters for $15. That’s over a $100 value!

This is a really great deal, but I took steps to make sure that I made my purchase safely. Here are my rules for a safe online purchase:

1. Put as much in writing as possible. Not only does it show intent and can serve as a written contract in some cases, it also provides a paper trail in case something does happen.

2. Arrange for an exchange in a public place whenever possible. This is really “’nuff said.” If the item is small enough for reasonable transport, it is always wiser for you not to go to someone’s house, and for random people to be ignorant of where you live.

3. Bring a friend. When I bought my filters, Mr. MT came with me. There is safety in numbers, and while you’re not on an elementary school field trip, remember to “stay with your buddy.” If for some reason you can’t bring someone, make sure someone knows where you’re going.

4. Make sure the other party knows you’ll be bringing someone. If the shoe were on the other foot and a buyer randomly shows up with people, you might worry you were being held up.

5. Bring only the cash for the transaction with you. It keeps you from spending more via an impromptu re-negotiation, and starts to limit the potential damage if you get held up.

So I scored over $100 worth of gear for $15-$25, and I made it home safe and sound. Now if I could get the boxes to pack themselves…..