Posts in Kijiji Tips

Want to Save Big on Electronics? 8 Ways to Stay Safe Buying Used Technology

Looking for a new cell phone, laptop or tablet? There are tonnes on Kijiji, and a secondhand model is a great way of getting the device you have been lusting after, at a budget friendly price. Staying safe is particularly important when dealing with small, high value items, so here are our tips on how to have a great transaction.

Meet face to face. Never send a seller money from your bank account before inspecting the item in person, and don’t send payment via money transfer services.

Ask for a receipt. Get the seller to sign and write his/her name and address on the back of a receipt.

Take a screenshot. Have a copy of the Kijiji ad so you have it as a reference for the transaction.

Be suspicious of a nearly-new phone being sold without packaging or accessories. If the seller can’t produce a receipt or even a charger, it could be a stolen phone. Here is how to check whether a smartphone is legal for sale.

Establish the condition of the phone. Use the phone, open a few apps, and try to find out what state the battery life is in if you can.

Don’t accept a phone laptop or device in a sealed box. As great as sealed boxes may seem, you need to be able to inspect the item. It is not hard to fake a seal on a box, so if the seller won’t allow you to take the item out of the box to test it, it could be faulty or even a fake.

Be careful of malware and viruses on a used device. If possible start with a clean slate by reinstalling the operating system or wiping the phone.

Take your time, and don’t rush into any decisions. If you see an iPhone or similar expensive device advertised at a very significant discount (even if it’s not the most recent model), then it’s probably too good to be true. Don’t pay until you have the device in your hands, and if in doubt, just walk away.

What to do when you can’t properly check an item for defects

At Kijiji, we recommend that you always meet up in a neutral public place for your transactions. We also recommend that you thoroughly test, inspect, or try out any items you are purchasing, especially when it comes to electronics, cars, and other items that might break or malfunction in ways that might not be immediately noticeable. In most cases, both of these conditions can be met, but what about the times when you can’t do both? Some things you might not be able to test, or a test might not reveal potential issues – for example, a disconnected dishwasher, a slow cooker (who has 8 hours to hang around to test a product?), or a vacuum (turning it on for more than a minute is not always possible, and not all neutral public places have outlets). Here are some ideas to get around issues that you might not be able to test for.

  • Ask the seller if it is in good working order. Sure, you can’t verify that they will tell you the whole truth, but you may be surprised at how forthcoming people can be. If it has minor issues that you might not notice they tell you about right up front, they are likely an honest person. Try rephrasing the question a few different ways during conversation and see if you get a different answer.
  • Ask the seller why they are selling it. Maybe they have multiples of the same object, maybe they are moving, maybe they are renovating – check out their “Posters Other Ads” page, as it will likely verify what you have been told.
  • Ask for a video of the product in use. If you are meeting outside a local coffee shop and can’t plug in the item in question, ask them to upload a video of the item in good working order. A video demonstrating that the blender blends will ease your mind going into the transaction.
  • Get it in writing. Most private sellers will not give you a money back guarantee, but a simple contract stating that in their best knowledge, the product is in good working order gives you some documentation just in case.
  • Remember, buying items on Kijiji are never guaranteed by Kijiji or other third parties. We always recommend that every item be checked out for defects before purchase, so if you don’t do an inspection, you are taking a chance.

    Thinking About Buying a Musical Instrument? Tips on Getting Your Money’s Worth

    Whether you’re a parent buying your child’s first musical instrument, a beginner inspired to pick up a new skill, or a seasoned pro looking to add to your collection, there’s one thing you all have in common: you want a musical instrument that’s not only in amazing shape and going to perform well for you, but is going to retain value if or when you decide you want to sell it.

    Picking the right Guitar or Instrument

    While there are a ton of amazing instruments out there, the more common musical instruments that the general population of buyers is looking for are guitars, pianos or keyboards, violins, and drums. Buyers often think that new is the way to go, but the thing with musical instruments is that if they have been taken care of properly and have had regular maintenance, you’re going to get a lot more value out of buying used.

    Used or brand new, here are a few things you should be asking a seller, and looking for in a new or used instrument before you decide to make the purchase.

    Consider its Uniqueness

    Instruments that are mass-produced, like certain brands of guitars or keyboards are going to lose their value quite quickly. This shouldn’t be too surprising- the more there is of a certain product the less it’s going to sell for later since there’s just so many of them out there. Instruments that you can find in a local department store aren’t going to be able to retain as much value as an instrument you find in specialty stores or from individual collectors and sellers. Similarly, a new instrument is not going to retain the value that you pay. A well maintained used or vintage instrument may keep or even gain value over time if properly cared for.

    Comb Over Every Inch

    Don’t hesitate to look over every inch of the instrument you’re looking at. You should be checking to see how well this instrument has been kept up. Is there any tarnishing? Are there any dents? (Even small ones?) Is there excessive wear down on keys or valves from natural finger oils? (These will look like fingertip-sized markings where the finger is usually placed on the instrument.) Any of these may be signs that the instrument has been to worn down or might have been used to a degree that it’s not going to hold as much value for you if you try to sell it again in the future.

    Ask the Right Questions

    Questions you should be asking a seller include where the instrument was made, the quality of materials that were used in making the instrument, how often it’s been sent in for regular maintenance, how long it has been played, and any previous repairs or damages that the instrument incurred. Don’t be shy to ask these questions: they’re incredibly important to help you figure out if this instrument has been taken care of and if it will continue to be a good investment for you.

    Ask for Help

    If you know of any musicians or musical instrument buffs and experts, ask them for a favour and bring them with you to check out the musical instrument you’re interested in. Chances are, they’re going to be able to ask questions you may not have thought of, or see little signs of the instrument’s value (or maybe even lack of value).

    Do Your Research

    As with most purchases we make in the 21st century, the internet should be your best friend. Be meticulous in your search for the instrument you’re thinking of purchasing. Look up the top brands, see what you should be looking for, and even scour forums to see reviews and going prices for your particular instrument.

    Test It Out

    Always, always, always test out the instrument before you make that final purchase. Bang on those drums, strum those strings, and pound on those piano keys! You should be listening for inconsistencies in sound and feeling for any weaknesses in certain parts of the instrument. Don’t be afraid to really play it- you want to be able to push your instrument to its full capacity to make sure it’s truly durable!

    University and College Living: On Campus of Off?

    To live on campus or to live off campus? It’s a classic debate many students across the world face as they enter various stages of their college careers. Check out our interactive infographic on which choice makes the most financial sense.

    It’s a huge decision, and it’s not often an easy one. Choosing a living situation can greatly affect not just life as a student but quality of life overall. There are many reasons why living in a private residence off campus would be attractive, but what if it could be more conducive to your success?
    Students studying outside together

    As students mature during their college tenure, things that they might have found endearing may not be so great the following years. It might be worthwhile to align yourself with like-minded people who share the same values for accomplishing their degree of study.

    Making the choice to live alone or to be responsible can seem daunting, especially if this is your first time out from under your parents’ roof.

    Pros and Cons of the Choices

    Living On Campus Pros & Cons

    Living Off Campus Pros & Cons

    Comfort vs. Convenience

    What’s that old real-estate adage? Location, location, location. That’s one of the most common arguments for on-campus housing.

    However, while planting yourself on campus seems like the obvious choice due to the convenience of being around everything, there are some things to consider that might make keeping campus at a distance seem a little more appealing.

    Living on campus means living in the dormitories, or “the dorms,” as they’re called. Dorm rooms come in all shapes and sizes. Some are luxurious and can be even more comfortable than off-campus apartments. Some rival closets.

    Depending on the school, you may be unable to choose which dorms you’re offered. Some schools give their best rooms to upperclassmen, meaning freshmen are relegated to the low-end rooms.

    Due to the limited nature of on-campus housing, the same thing could happen. They may run out of space altogether, leaving you without an on-campus option.

    When living off campus, you’ll be able to choose your own apartment rather than worry about what you might get assigned, allowing you to find a space that fits your lifestyle rather than having to work around a space that doesn’t.

    Enjoying on Campus Lifestyle

    If you like peace and quiet, the dorms may really shock you. Dorm walls are not famous for thickness, and if you get stuck with rowdy neighbors, you’ll be at their mercy.

    Due to the size of dorms, you’ll usually be in close contact with whomever you room with, so you’ll have to make sure you love your roommate – if you even get to choose at all. During your stay in college, you will make a lot of friends and run across a lot of personalities. Be warned: Great friends don’t always make great roommates. If you choose wrong, you can watch a good relationship turn sour quickly.

    Noisy Room mates Wreak Havoc on Sleep

    Another disadvantage to dorms is sometimes you won’t even have your own bedroom, so make sure to buy some earplugs if your roommate snores. Even if you do have your own bedroom, you will be sharing a common area, and you will probably end up sharing your bathroom with someone else, a sure recipe for brewing a war between roommates.

    That’s not even the biggest downside of dorm living. Universities even have additional rules for dormitories that are enforced, meaning less freedom over your own living space. Mt. Royal University, for example, has policies that prevent students from displaying messages in chalk on their windows or playing drinking games.

    A customizable experience

    Off-campus living is a solution to these problems. In addition to having more freedom to do as you please, you’ll be able to choose your roommates – something not always guaranteed with dorm living – and you’ll be able to choose how many you’ll have.

    Once you’ve found a roommate or two you like and can live with, you can put your heads together to find the level of privacy you’ll be comfortable with. You’ll have the opportunity to make sure everyone has their own room and bathroom – or not, if that’s what you prefer.

    One advantage of living in dorms might be the on-campus meal plans schools offer. If you are attracted to the idea of living on campus because you think you’ll be able to save money on food with your meal plan, keep in mind not all schools limit meal plans to students living on campus. Plus, preparing your own meals in your kitchen could very much lower your food expenses overall.

    Also, even the location advantage of living in on-campus dorms is mitigated if you can find off-campus housing within walking distance of your classes.

    The big upshot of off-campus housing is the experience is totally up to you. By shopping around online first, you can find a good living situation with relative ease.

    And if you don’t like what you see, don’t sign the lease.

    What about the cost?

    Alright, so living off-campus might sound great and all, but isn’t it generally more expensive?

    The short answer is yes.

    However, there is no hard and fast rule for which option is going to save you more money because the answer depends entirely on a whole range of factors.

    How many rooms and roommates will you have? What kind of area will you live in? What amenities will your place offer? Is it an apartment or a house?

    These are just a few of the kinds of questions that determine the price of off-campus accommodations.

    We calculated the average price for on-campus housing versus off-campus housing for 84 Canadian campuses, and we found that 70 percent of on-campus housing options were cheaper than the average price of off-campus housing in those areas.

    While the dorms may be cheaper on average, in almost every city there will be off-campus housing available for cheaper than the dorm rooms. It just takes a little work to browse around for the best deals.


    Making the best choice for your lifestyle

    While it may ultimately be less expensive to live on campus on average, the flexibility of off-campus housing allows you to find a bargain that fits the lifestyle you want, puts you with the people you want, and provides you with the amount of space you want.

    Even if you do end up paying a little more to get the setup you desire, there are always 118 other ways to save money other than by shacking up in the dorms.
    Graduating with your Roommates
    Want to find resources for students or other ways to save money? Check out these articles:

    The Benefits of a Piano (and how to get a beautiful piano for free)

    Pianos are one of the musical instruments most often given away for free on Kijiji (there are currently over 600 pianos across Canada offered for free), likely due to the cost and effort of moving one. There are some amazing deals to be found on an instrument that not only provides many benefits, but also creates an instant focal point in whatever room they are placed in. Whether for yourself, or for a child or even as a very generous gift, it might surprise you to learn that playing the piano isn’t just for wowing guests when they come over to your home.

    Here are 5 surprising ways that playing the piano can make your life better:

    Improves Cognitive Thinking

    Piano has been proven to stimulate the brain by connecting neurological pathways while you play. Think of it like a muscle- the more your brain is trained to operate this way, the more naturally it’s going to be able to do it whether you’re playing the piano or not. In turn, high-level cognitive thinking transfers over to academics as well as work.

    Helps You Learn New Languages

    There is research that shows that people who play instruments such as the piano are able to learn language much easier and quicker than people who have no musical background. It may seem like an odd connection, but what happens is playing piano helps train your brain to pick up sound patterns in the midst of noise, which is similar to how we pick up a new language. When a language is new to us, we focus more so on sound than on meaning before it begins to register and make sense.

    Teaches Important Life Skills

    Learning to play the piano requires an extraordinary amount of positive character traits that can carry over to all other aspects of your life. At any age, people who learn to play the piano are infused with a sense of determination, structure, and discipline. From learning the keys to the intervals, from building dexterity in your fingers to building strength, and from practicing scales to full length sonatas- the time and patience it takes to really learn how to play the piano is immense.

    Reduces Stress

    Playing the piano as a leisurely activity once you’ve learned the skill is actually known to reduce stress and lower the chance of burnout. Much like running, biking, painting, or other common hobbies, playing piano allows your to zone out from the outside world and just focus on what you’re creating with your music.

    Develops or Enhances Coordination

    This benefit not only helps younger children but adults as well. For kids, playing the piano builds on the coordination and motor skills that they’ll need throughout their lives. They need to learn how to control the force in which they press the keys and they have to be able to play different notes with two hands while going up and down the piano keys. For adults, playing the piano keeps your fingers from getting stiff, which is a natural part of aging. Think of it as exercise for your fingers- with regular playing as an adult, you keep your fingers loose and dexterous which your hands will thank you for later on in life.

    Extra Tips:

  • if purchasing a second-hand piano, always get a professional to come check the piano out with you
  • ask the seller how often the piano is tuned or maintained
  • check carefully inside the piano as well as outside the piano for dents, scratches, parts that may be loose, etc.
  • if you choose a free piano, don’t forget to consider the cost of piano movers and any maintenance that has to be done to it
  • negotiate: if the seller isn’t willing to tune the piano or have the regularly scheduled maintenance done to the piano before you purchase, see if you can get the price down a little lower to make up for what you’ll be spending on the tuning and fixing-up