Growing up eBay was a thing in my house. My mum would dig out her old digital camera and spend an entire day sat at our desktop computer (before the days of laptops) listing clothes. From years of seeing that I guess I’ve started my own love affair with eBay, not only to sell but actually buy new pieces for my wardrobe too. I’ve used eBay on and off for years now, I seem to go through phases. Lets just say I have been known to get heavily invested in a bidding war once or twice. In a bid (see what I did there) to be more sustainable and save money I’ve got right back into the groove of it, so I thought I would share a bit of a guide to buying on eBay and how I actually find things I love.
This post is assuming you’ve got a paypal account set up and an eBay account. Once you’ve ticked those two boxes you’re pretty good to go. Personally I would definitely recommend buying using paypal only, just to give you more protection when buying just incase anything was to go wrong – like when you shop anywhere.
Even before going onto eBay, it’s always best to know exactly what you want in as much detail as possible. An example of this is my recent quest to find an oversized wool blazer. It sounds quite specific, but if you just type that in you’ve got over 1000 search results which is a whole lot of scrolling. So knowing exactly what you’re looking for down to the model number of something is so helpful.
Sometimes I just fancy having a browse and trying my luck to see if there’s something I might like from one of my favourite brands. It’s usually & Other Stories that I do this with (and how I found the jumpsuit I’m wearing in these photos). When it comes to searching by brand I think about the different ways people will say/ spell brand names in listings, sometimes you can find an absolute bargain because someone hasn’t spelt a brand name right or they’ve used an and instead of &.
The filters are what really help to whittle down the searches and means you’re less likely to be scrolling through listings that you don’t want, they just really help to narrow down the search. I’ll filter by size, types of clothing I usually wear and colours (I know I’m usually not looking for something pink or orange). It’s definitely a little more time consuming that
Check their seller rating and product description! I’m yet to have a bad experience using eBay (apart from shrinking something because I didn’t realise it needed to be dry cleaned, learnt from that mistake!), and I think that’s mostly due to checking the seller rating and the product description. I don’t tend to shop from anyone with lower than 100% positive feedback, if they do have 98% lets say I’ll have a look at their most recent reviews to see why that might have been.
I look out for things like ‘smoke free home’ and if I’m buying something that’s listed as worn I’ll sometimes ask for extra photos, just to double check that it really is in good condition and worth my time buying. I also check the description over and over again, just to make sure I’m absolutely happy that I want to buy. Another tip is to check what else the seller has listed, if they’re selling one thing you love it’s likely they may have some other gems too and you could combine postage.
Still happy? Watch the item, this will put the item on your watch list and send a 15 minute alert to your phone when it’s about to end. Alternatively if they have the option to make an offer, go for it. You may as well try and see if you can get it sooner, and it’s a guaranteed payment of some sort for the item from the sellers perspective, so sometimes it can work well both ways (not all items have the make an offer feature).
Ahh, the fun part… Honestly the bidding gets a little addictive. Here’s a couple of things I do to make sure I win the item I want without going over my budget. The first thing I do is decide exactly how much I’m willing to pay including the postage cost, it’s amazing how much some items sell for and sometimes you’re not actually getting that much bang for your buck. Basically, I just decide how much I’m willing to spend and go from there, and absolutely stick to it!
If the item is still below the maximum I’m willing to pay then when there’s around 10 seconds left I put my bid in. This is usually the only time I bid on items, I never bid at the beginning otherwise it tends to hike up the price, and other people tend to know you’re also after that item – sneaky I know! I put the bid in at around one minute left and wait until the very last minute.
Honestly, that’s it. It’s definitely easy to get lost in eBay and feel like you’re going in circles, but hopefully this little guide will be helpful so you can actually find some gems.
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