Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to Bid, Win, & Save on Ebay!

Good morning, Gorgeous!  Recently it seems a lot of people I talk to have started using Ebay for the first time.  I think this is awesome, because Ebay is a great place to find lots of fabulous things at heavily discounted prices!  Since I have been using Ebay for around six years now, I thought I would share some tips for those of you who are new to Ebay and those who have never used it before!

But first, let me tell you why you should shop on Ebay if you're not already.

  • It's Safe: Seller ratings and buyer protection help keep your money safe. Only buy from sellers with excellent ratings (99% positive or higher), and always use Paypal for your transactions.  If for some reason the seller doesn't follow through, Ebay's buyer protection will refund your money!
  • It's Convenient: I'm sure I don't have to tell you all about the conveniences of shopping online.  Ebay is just as easy and convenient to use as other online retailers.
  • It's Filled with Treasures: You'll be amazed at some of the fabulous things you can find on Ebay! If you ever lost a favorite necklace, tore your favorite pair of jeans, or just never bought that handbag you really wanted- check on Ebay! I've found many items I thought I'd never see again on Ebay! I even found a handbag I had been looking for about 5 years ago show up recently (and I still love it)! Of course, there is also plenty of garbage on Ebay, but I always find great items at excellent prices when I'm searching around!
  • It's Inexpensive: You can't argue with a great price! I have found so many fabulous items on Ebay for very low prices. Here are a few of my recent Ebay purchases, and what I paid for them:
New Ojon Shampoo & Conditioner- $20 with Shipping (Regularly $42)
Pre-owned Kenneth Cole New York Handbag- $8 with Shipping (Originally $250)

Pre-owned Citizens of Humanity Jeans- $40 with Shipping (Originally $175)
As you can see, I buy both new and pre-owned items on Ebay.  If you buy pre-owned, you can really save a ton of money, just make sure that the item is still in excellent condition (if in doubt, contact the seller with questions).  So now that I have told you why you should shop on Ebay, let me tell you how to shop on Ebay!

  • Step 1: Create an account.  To do this, you'll need the standard information (name, address, etc), as well as a credit or debit card, which will be used to confirm your identity.
  • Step 2: Create a Paypal account. Paypal is free for buyers to use, and it is the safest way to pay on Ebay. You will need to link your Paypal account to your checking account, so you should have your account and routing numbers handy. You can also link a credit card to this account as a means of payment.
  • Step 3: Wait for Verification. Paypal must verify your account, which takes a few days. To verify your checking account, Paypal makes a small deposit and then withdraws the same amount. You will be asked to enter this amount to verify the account belongs to you.
Once you have completed these steps, you will be ready to start shopping on Ebay!  Here are some tips to help you bid, win, and save!
  • Search, Search, and Search Some More. Even if you find what you are looking for with your initial search, try using variations of terms or fine tuning your search using the sidebar options.  For example, I might search "Marc Jacobs Bangle," but I will also try "Marc Jacobs bracelet." Not all seller's think the same, and many people who sell on Ebay may not know a ton about the products they sell (such as store owners who resell items for their customers). Although you made find what you're looking for right away, you might find it cheaper if you try searching in a slightly different way.
  • Read the Listing. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I have seen people bid on items without reading the listing, then later get upset because the item isn't in mint condition like they assumed.  It is the seller's responsibility to describe an item exactly as it is, so read the details and ask questions if necessary. Don't get burned by being naive.
  • Compare Prices. If you're looking at an item up for auction (as opposed to "Buy it now" items), you cannot be sure what the final selling price will be.  However, you can add different items to your "watch" list, and keep an eye on them as the auction nears the end.  Also, be sure to check shipping prices, which can vary widely from one seller to another.
  • Don't Bid Early. One thing novices on Ebay often do is place a bid well before the end of the auction. If you bid, then just wait until the end to see if you won, you will lose. To give yourself the best chance of winning an item, wait until the end of the auction, then place your bid (I usually bid with around 10-15 seconds left).
  • Bid the Highest Price You are Willing to Pay. You also don't want to lose an item because you only put in a bid that was 50 cents higher than the previous bid.  If you are willing to pay $50 for an item, bid $50 instead of $40. Placing your highest bid doesn't mean you will have to pay that price, it just helps prevent you from losing an item you would be willing to pay more for (e.g. You bid $50 on an item that's currently $39- if another person bids $45- you'll still win the item for $45.50).
  • Know When to Let Go. People often get invested in an item they're bidding on, so sometimes prices will inflate more than they should. Decide the most you are willing to pay, and stop there.  You have to be OK with losing an item if it goes over your budget, even if it's only by 25 cents.
  • Get an App. If you have an Android or iPhone, download the Ebay application (it's free). You can't always be home when an auction is ending, but if you have this application on your phone, it will send you a reminder 10 minutes before items you are "watching" end, so you can place your bid while you're on the go! Even if I'm at home, I appreciate the reminder to go online and place my bid!
So those are some of my recommendations for buying on Ebay. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment and I would be happy to help! Also, be on the lookout next week for a "How to Sell on Ebay" post! I hope you all have a fabulous day!


  1. Ahh one of my fave etailers! Great tips dear and I am working on the sniping ;)

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  2. Fabulous advice, darling!

    I had an ebay business before becoming a blogger and it was a really great experience!


  3. This is fabulous! You inspired me to start using ebay back when we had that live chat, and I finally won my first auction! I got 12 shirts for $30, including shipping, and although they were listed as pre-owned, they were in mint condition. I made the mistake of bidding to early, (by like, three days!) but I did put in the maximum I was willing to pay and ended up winning.

    I've had an issue every time I try to look at a cosmetic product listing though. I get an error message that says it can't be displayed because of some Paris commercial court ruling. Do you have any idea what that's all about? I really wanted to snag some Philosophy products, but I can't see the listing.

  4. I haven't there ever .. for no particular reason! I should check it out ... Great tips! Thanks :)

    ♡ from ©

  5. Wow, this is a REALLY awesome post!! Tara, you truly have great content! I'm sharing this!!

    Thanks for the tips!!

  6. I wish I had read this when I first started bidding on give great advice. I always get annoyed now when people bid really early...I'm like why????? LOL

  7. Thanks for this! I've heard about so many people getting great deals on Ebay!

  8. I got scammed on ebay. Returned an item that was completely different from item shown. It was the hugest hassle and I never got my money back because it wasn't worth my time to dispute over and over even though I had confirmation the person received the item back. Ebay was not nice about it. The seller called me profanities in an email when she got the item back. Looking back I should have disputed the credit card charge but that would have taken months as well. I just figured the person needed the money more than I did and gave up pursuing the refund.

  9. Sorry didn't mean to drag your post down. I was a new buyer and the seller did something shady as far as the bidding goes and so you couldn't tell where I was the winner (it was a long time ago). Anyway, you have great tips here! Maybe I'll try it again someday!

  10. Such an interesting post, your blog is fab at these things! Thanks for the comment, finally done a new post!

  11. Thanks, ladies! Premiere- no worries! You didn't bring it down. There's always a risk, it's just unfortunate that this happened to you! Hopefully you will have much better experiences in the future!

  12. great deal on the kenneth cole bag and great tips. i'm not well versed in ebay shopping (my hubby is better), but i've bought a couple of things, mainly fashion jewelry.

  13. I am amazed at the Ojon shampoo and conditioner price, i love the brand and it is double that price where i buy it! was it a reg size? I def have to check into e bay, thanks for posting this!

  14. Yes! The shampoo & conditioner were full size (8.5oz each)! Such a great deal!