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A few weeks ago, I bought two brand new long-sleeve shirts for my daughter off of eBay for less than $10. And shortly before that, I scoured eBay for a battery for my laptop and found one for less than $10, including shipping. Another time, I searched eBay for children’s bathing suits and bought a lot of them at just a few dollars apiece – and they lasted us all summer.
5 Ways to Score Amazing eBay Finds
These are just some of the amazing finds you can score on eBay on any given day – that is, if you’re willing to go through the hassle of searching for, and bidding on, the items you need. Here’s how I use eBay to save money on things I plan to purchase anyway:
Use ebay to compare prices.
When you’re looking for something out of the ordinary – like my backup computer battery, for example – I think it helps to use eBay as a guideline for pricing. When I began my search for a backup battery, I hit Amazon.com first, of course, then went to eBay to see how pricing stacked up. The battery I purchased ended up being around $12 cheaper through eBay, including shipping, which was a pretty sweet deal.
When shopping online, it’s always important to compare prices with shipping included; no matter what kind of online marketplace you’re using, the cost of shipping will determine the final price you’ll pay – and whether or not it is a good deal.
Related: Why Used Stuff is Better Than New
Search for auctions that are ending soon.
No matter what I’m searching for, I always sort the auctions by “ending soonest.” This is one way to get deals that are about to expire while also avoiding the hassle of too much back and forth bidding.
When I was shopping for clothing for my kids, for example, I searched for “girls 6T” and “girls 4T’ and scoured all of the auctions that were about to end. Using this strategy, I won a few auctions for brand name long-sleeve shirts and slacks that ended up being a few dollars apiece. Since I hate shopping, and basically refuse to buy anything new, buying my kid’s clothes this way is a dream come true!
Look for “lots” of clothing.
Since most of my ebay shopping revolves around used clothing, I like to minimize the costs associated with buying online whenever I can. One strategy to save involves buying “lots” of clothing from one individual. Not only can shipping be cheaper (or even included), but it often results in cheaper prices for individual pieces.
The key to making this work is not being picky about each individual piece. Since my kids are 6 and 4, they don’t really care what they wear yet. This is a huge help. Each time I have purchased a lot of clothing, there have been a few ugly pieces. At my house, we use them for play clothes and let the kids wear them when they play outside, paint, etc.
Use ebay to buy off-season.
Right after Halloween a few years ago, I purchased some really cute Halloween costumes for the following year. With the holiday over, many people had listed their just-used costumes online, and there was a huge selection!
I like buying off-season anyway, but eBay makes this especially easy. As long as you have a place to store whatever you’re buying, you can score some really good deals – and experience less competition – on clothing or other items that aren’t in huge demand.
Haggle for a deal.
Although many people aren’t aware, you can definitely haggle on eBay if you want. I’ve tried this strategy successfully (and unsuccessfully) many times, and it’s always fun. To ask for a lower price, you simply click “ask a question” on the items’ sale page, and write up your request.
This is where a little tact and common sense can come in handy. Asking someone to take 80 percent off their item with eight days left in their auction will probably be a no-go. But asking someone for a moderate discount on a “buy it now” auction that is ending soon could work. Either way, all they can say is ‘no.’
Related: Negotiate Your Way to Savings
The Bottom Line
The best way to save money on eBay is to only use it for items you planned to buy anyway. Whether you need new clothes, shoes, gym equipment, or sports gear, eBay is a great place to compare prices and potentially get a deal on a gently used or new item.
And if you hate shopping in real stores as much as I do, you’ll enjoy the fact that you can shop from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to modern technology, you can order your kid’s used wardrobe online, only for it to show up on your doorstep in a matter of days. When you think about it, that’s pretty amazing.
How do you use ebay to save? What is the best deal you have ever gotten on eBay?