Okay, I'm really not going to write an ode. That would be my sister's line of work. I haven't the talent (or current desire to lay aside self-respect ;-D). But I do really like Craigs List. It's become a sort of replacement to my garage sale thriftiness.
Growing up we'd often spend Saturdays March-October hopping from garage sale to garage sale, and saving a lot of money in the process, buying needed household items for much cheaper than we could get them new, or even at a thrift store. There were also the dud purchases, like the CD player that didn't actually eject, or the money wasters like those dust-collecting purple peacocks, or the pink poodle trinkets (I'm not making this up), but we won't go there :-D. Overall, though, garage sales saved us a lot of money.
But the sky-high gas prices make weekend-ly (I decided that's a word) garage sale jaunts a really pricey way to find things. I am planning to go to two larger rummage sales ("tag sales" in New England) next weekend, hosted by a historical society and a church, but those are more gas-efficient.
Craigs List has proved to be a more gas-efficient way overall to find bargains. I got frustrated with the Atlanta Craigs List because everything listed was in mid-town or Marietta, and I did not live near either. But here in Hartford, everything is much closer together, and a lot of the things listed are within a 15 minute drive. I've been keeping three Hartford Craigs List categories minimized (baby/kids, furniture, free), and will check them several times throughout the day. I've found a washer/dryer set, a sleeper sofa, some maternity clothes, a mini-cosleeper, and a free(!) window air conditioner, just to name some of the main items. And I got them for pretty good deals :-).
The key is to be willing to wait. I've been looking for a dresser for Baby and a stroller for weeks (literally), but haven't found something for the price I'm looking for, and in a close enough drive. But because I started looking a while ago, I'm not in a rush and can wait out a better deal.
One amusing note on Craigs List, Freecyle, and other online exchange/selling/giving sites. Mainly this is a random thought I've had about Freecycle. Freecycle is a great site that is designed to recycle unwanted items, instead of tossing them in landfills, etc; you subscribe to the Yahoo group for your area, and receive e-mails of offers and requests. Everything is free. But I do wonder how ecologically efficient some of the exchanges are (just to be cynical :-D). Some of the items posted are only worth a few dollars, and let's face it, with the price of gas in New England, there are some things that I'd like but wouldn't bother to make a separate trip for 10 minutes away, because I'd end up breaking even between gas cost and the benefit of a free item, when I could just pick the same item up at another store when I'm already there buying other items. And if Freecycle is about saving the environment, it'd be amusing if someone made such a monetarily illogical extra trip and on the way added polution to the air :-). Hehe. Just my random thought. Overall I think Freecyle is a great idea.