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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: How to Save Even More When You Buy on eBay

I love to buy things on eBay. It's my first stop when I can't find something locally. I'm usually looking for something out-of-the-ordinary, or I'm looking for a great bargain. Either way, I don't want to pay any more than I have to. I've learned a few things as I've bought and sold on eBay over the years. If you're new to eBay or a veteran, maybe these tips will help you save even more when buying there.

  1. Set a limit. Know ahead of time how much you're willing to spend, and don't go over that limit. It's easy to get sucked into the I-gotta-have-it-ness that you find on eBay. But not getting lured in by the thrill of the win will help you save money.

  2. If it's an auction item (not Buy It Now), wait to bid until the very last minute.... literally. Find your item, get signed in, and then wait. If you have anything faster than a dial-up connection, wait until there is one minute left on the auction. Then bid. Bidding any earlier gives others a chance to outbid you. And it tempts you to outbid them, causing you to break Rule #1.

  3. When you bid, enter the maximum that you're willing to pay. eBay is set up to bid the lowest amount possible to outbid the last person, without going over your limit. For example, let's say the current bid is $2.15, and the most you're willing to pay for the item is $7.50. Bid $7.50 at the last minute. eBay will only bid $2.50 (or whatever it takes to make the next highest bid). If someone else entered a higher amount as their maximum, yours will automatically be bumped up until it reaches your maximum. Then it will stop.

  4. Bid strange numbers. If you only want to spend about $18 for an item, don't bid $18. Instead, bid $18.37. That way, if someone else was hoping to pay $18 for the item, your maximum bid will override theirs. That extra $.37 will win it for you.

  5. Watch the shipping charges. Buying from sellers in the US will usually get you lower shipping rates. eBay is cracking down on inflated shipping, but you still don't want the cost of the item plus shipping to be more than you would have paid somewhere else.

  6. Check the seller's feedback rating. The higher the rating, the more likely you are to get good service. If a seller has a rating in the 90s, you might want to read through their feedback. Sometimes people leave unfair feedback, so you want to be able to judge for yourself.

  7. Search for your item more than one way. Enter several different search terms to see if different items are available. Sellers can list items any way they want, so be creative as you search. I even read a tip one time to misspell words on purpose. That way, you might find an auction with a typo, one that no one else has found when searching with the correct spelling.

  8. Pay with PayPal. It's the only way I've found to ensure that you're going to receive what you paid for. Never send personal checks, cash, or any other form of payment. Scams do happen, so you want to keep yourself safe. PayPal has some built-in security features that help you keep your personal information confidential. They will also go to bat for you if there's a problem with an eBay seller.

If you're an eBay shopper (or seller), feel free to leave your tips in the comment section. If you have questions that I didn't address here, feel free to leave those too. With Christmas right around the corner, eBay will be filling up with great gift-giving items. Hopefully we'll all be able to snag some great deals!

For more great ideas that work, stop by Works for Me Wednesday hosted by We Are THAT Family.


Melissa said...

Good tips! I knew some of these, but not all of them. Thanks for sharing!

Carrie said...

don't forget to click through ebates before you bid to save another 2%

and i've had pretty good success with best offers when i'm planning to buy multiple items from a seller. sellers love (and i know this because i am a seller too) when people buy multiple items

Anonymous said...

I have found the best way to get what you are looking for is to do this:
*Type in what you are looking for.
*Go to the "BUY IT NOW" Tab and click it.
*Go over and sort the listings from LOW TO HIGH.
And now you have found the lowest priced buy it now listing on ebay! Check out what the auctions are going for, sometimes people are just getting carried away, as mentioned above and you can just BUY IT NOW for cheaper! Yay!

Leslie said...

great tips. Those ideas have helped us get great deals on Ebay over the years.

Alea said...

Good tips! I have been surprised to watch people get in a bidding war over an item and end up spending more (espeically if you combine shipping)than if they went to amazon and bought the item new!

Lisa said...

I use to make my last minute bids. It put the bid in about 10 seconds before the auction closes. It's saved me tons of money.