How to Save Money Buying on eBay

By April 16, 2012Campaigns

Are you ready to rock your spring and change your budget forever?  I am totally not kidding.

Last month I was lucky enough to travel to San Jose with a group of fabulous bloggers to the eBay headquarters for a few days chock full of learning and a lot of fun.  I came home inspired to clean our house of clutter and start a little fund for family travel.  More than that, I was overwhelmed with the number of resources and tools that eBay has for both buyers and sellers.

But I know that a lot of you are afraid of eBay because of something you have heard or a past experience.  Please, give it another try.  eBay has been working around the clock to make it easier and safer to buy and sell.   I want to tell you all about how to sell on eBay and I will in the coming weeks.  I am planning a little series on spring cleaning and eBay is a BIG part of my plan.  You can make a lot more than with a yard sale.  Beyond spring cleaning, you can supplement your regular income with a little shopping and selling on eBay and it could change your life.  I met two wonderful people, Tristen and Windy, who can tell you that without a doubt eBay changed theirs.

In the past week what I keep hearing from my community both online and off is one of two things.  One:  people LOVE eBay and have realized that they can buy cheaper and sell for more.  Two: People avoid eBay completely and feel overwhelmed by buying and selling.  This was surprising to me.  I have always bought on eBay with great results.  I can save money on almost anything and many times receive a completely NEW product.

Before you can feel comfortable selling on Ebay, I encourage you to buy some of the items you need for your home and your life and get accustomed to the site.

How to Buy on eBayMy eBay Buying Tips

For these tips I am going to use my friend Stephanie as an example.  She was looking for an Ergo baby carrier and mentioned it on twitter and of course, the cost.  I responded to check out eBay but she is afraid of shopping there.  The Original Baby Carrier retails for $120 on their site.  The Ergo is awesome and worth the money, but at that price many people want a deal! I searched the completed listings and found TONS of Ergo transactions with sale prices from $50 all the way to $100.  Some came with extra accessories and many were sold NEW for $65 to $75!  I knew Stephanie could find a great deal and I realized that before we all start selling on eBay, we need to get comfortable buying.

Before we start, if you do not have the mobile app for eBay you should get it!  You can check prices and manage your auctions while you are out and about.  It is awesome!

1. Coupons on eBay: Before you buy anything anywhere, check eBay for coupons.  YES!  I have been doing it for years.  This is a great way to start small.  Just type in your store or product and coupon and start saving! There are thousands of coupons on eBay for you to save lots of money with very little effort.  The coupons usually sell for .99 to about $5 if they are big ones.  If you eat food, use diapers, buy clothes or buy anything really, wouldn’t it be nice to have that coupon?

The Ergo is a very specific product but I did find a rebate coupon.  If Stephanie chose to buy the carrier new, she could purchase this $10 rebate for $2.15 and would save $7.85 cents on her purchase.

2. Enter in your search term: Start general and adjust if your results are not what you want.  Sometimes you will search for an item and your results will be a mix of that item and the accessories that go with it.  I usually get more specific in my search or actually sort from highest to lowest price to eliminate the accessories.  Don’t be intimidated by all the pages of results.  This is good.  It means you have a lot to choose from and should be able to find what you want.

Here’s what came up for the Ergo. I sorted by ending soonest because I love to know right away if I win and I get a little giddy with the whole auction process.  You can see that there are Buy It Now options as well as brand new Ergo’s and multiple options for returns and shipping.  I love to find items that have a return policy and if there is free shipping too it’s a win!

Ergo Carrier eBay

3. Select a Listing You Like: Simply click on your desired listing for all the information you need.  I chose to click on an auction with 30 minutes left that is currently at $46 with $9.99 economy shipping.  That is significantly less than retail and this item is listed as “Like New” by the seller, who has a 100% positive rating from 30 buyers.  I find the best deals on “Like New” and “Gently Used” items so I almost always go with this but if you add NEW or NIB (New in Box) to your search you will come up with brand new items to buy.

Ergo Listing

4. Review details carefully: The biggest things to check out are item description details, the shipping costs and the seller’s history.  I do not need to buy from a Top Rated Seller but if this is a must for you you will see a little ribbon that says top rated seller.  Lot’s of sellers on eBay are casual sellers like you and I who have great products at a great deal and are honest and upstanding members of the eBay community without thousands of sales.  If I have a question I submit it to the seller.  If you are searching for items and want to save a couple to review simply place the items  you are interested in on your watch list by clicking the button in the top right corner of the listing.

Hint: If I am looking at multiple items from the same seller I always look for sellers who are willing to combine shipping.  If it doesn’t say that on the listing, I can send an email and ask.  I have had a lot of luck with this!

5. Make Your Bid or Buy It Now: Once you have made your choice simply enter the amount you are willing to pay into the box and wait.  If you have a limit, eBay will continue to bid for you up to that limit.  I love this simple feature.  You can get a notification if you are outbid and choose to up your bid or search for another item.

6. Pay Promptly When You Win: Both buyers and sellers receive feedback on eBay and I believe this is the most important part of the transaction.  I am stock piling for my big eBay sale but I have 100% positive feedback as a buyer because I pay right away with my PayPal account.  It is really easy to do.  If you have had problems with PayPal in the past, take the time to contact them and they will tell you what they need to fix your account.

7. Receive and Review Item: As soon as you receive your item look it over to make sure it meets the description and your needs.  If there is anything amiss, contact the seller directly before leaving any negative feedback.  Most sellers are more than happy to work with buyers to make sure they are satisfied.  I have never received an item that I had a problem with, but things happen.  Maybe an outfit doesn’t fit or there is problem with a New In Box electronic.  Simply contact the seller first.  eBay has a Buyer Protection plan that will refund you your money plus the shipping if the seller does not respond and a solution is not found.  Check out their video to know you are safe.

8.  Leave Feedback: The best thing you can do after an eBay transaction as a buyer is to leave feedback on the seller.  In the case of a great transaction, you are letting other buyers know that this is a good person to buy from.  In the unlikely case of a bad transaction, you are leaving thoughtful criticism to warn other buyers.

Now you are done!  Enjoy your well priced new item!  Fell free to ask me any questions in the comments or tell me what awesome finds you have picked up on eBay!  Currently my favorite thing to buy is Playmobil!

Stay tuned as I start my spring cleaning with eBay and see how much I can make and how easy it is!

 Disclosure: I am compensated for my time on the eBay Parent Panel.  However, all thoughts and feeling and love of saving and making money are my own.

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