Penny-Pinching 101: eBay Bargain-Hunt How-To Guide – Get Great Deals Shopping on eBay with these Tips and Shopping Apps/Websites

Hello All!

It’s been a while since the last post in this series, I’ve just been so caught up in posting stuff like reviews and also daily deal alerts, the problem with deal alerts is that I always feel they’re so ‘urgent’, if I don’t post it in time the deal might slip away and none of you lovely readers might get it! Yes, I stress myself out over silly things like that…

Ironic because the thought of doing this penny-pinching series was one of the main factors behind me wanting to start this blog in the first place!

I know I mentioned eBay very briefly in the very first post in this series but there I was kind of mentioning it as a friend to those of us who have too much useless junk we have sitting around that we know we’ll never use (like that jumper I never wore, or those shoes that are a tad too small for me, or that facial serum that I actually only used twice…). Funnily enough, eBay is also a great friend for those of us who want to buy stuff too.

Hello eBay my friend!

Hello eBay my friend!

It might seem like such an obvious thing to say, right, but when was the last time we actually searched on eBay for something we really wanted? I’ve actually managed to nab goodies on eBay for about half the price it would have cost me in-store. Which is why I believe eBay should be in every savvy shopper’s arsenal of money saving tricks.

I’m sure we’re all up for paying less for something we want, if you agree, read on =) In this post I’ve listed my top tips/advice for spotting bargains on eBay and also some great innovative websites/apps that will help you on your eBay hunt.


Okay, shopping on eBay might seem relatively straightforward and, in fact, it is. But bargain hunting on eBay is a whole other ballgame!

Just in case you don’t know, these are the very basics of shopping on eBay: eBay is a virtual marketplace where sellers can put up items for sale, these items can be for Auction (so you and other potential buyers bid on it, sometimes this can be a real steal but sometimes the bidding gets out of hand and you end up driving the price up higher than would be normally) or the items can be Buy It Now (where it’s a fixed price).

I love a good deal and couldn’t resist all the Auctions with starting bids of 99p so I used to trawl the fashion pages and when I say trawl I mean seriously trawl the whole place, it takes forever to spot a good deal and you just get so bored of the whole thing after awhile. A few mistakes, bad experiences and a couple years later I’ve put together my list of top 5 ways to make bargain-shopping on eBay a piece of cake. Well, perhaps not exactly as enjoyable as a piece of cake but you get my drift…

Number 1: Search Specifically

How does anyone find what they’re looking for on eBay? They search for it of course!

I’ve found that the very best way to find a good bargain on eBay is to firstly know what you’re looking for very specifically and then, of course, just search for it but be very particular. For example, if you know you want, say, Max Factor’s Lipfinity don’t just type in ‘Lipfinity’, remember to ideally put in the shade as well otherwise you’ll get swamped with results which you don’t actually want.

If you’re just shopping around casually on eBay and don’t have a specific product in mind, you can still specify your search by making use of the eBay categories. For example, you can head to Fashion, Women’s Fashion, Clothes and then Dresses. Then narrow down the search to your preferred colours, your size etc.

PRO-TIP: Take advantage of mis-spellings and typos!! Often others will be looking for the exact same product you’re searching for but 1 seller might have misspelt their item and no one will find it, which means if you find it chances are there won’t be any bids on it! The FatFingers website will even find these misspelt bargains for you.

Number 2: Arrange the Results

So you’ve searched for what you want and got a few pages worth of hits, what’s next? Arranging the results by price of course!

Remember not to arrange just by price, arrange by P&P which stands for Price and Postage. How much the total comes to including postage should always be the value for your final consideration for postage! I’ve seen some horrible ‘scams’ on eBay where the seller lists a very cheap Buy It Now price but the postage was £20 or something ridiculous.

If you’re just a casual shop this is very important, it’ll make your bargain hunt that much easier.

PRO-TIP: If you’re tired of searching constantly, you can use an app to search for you and alert you when a particular item is within your price range! The best one I’ve come across so far is Auction Sensor, which is an app available on Google Chrome. Both Chrome and the app are free to download.

Number 3: Scrutinise the Item

Not just the pictures (though as a rule of thumb the more pictures the better!) but also the description.

Is the item completely new? Or has it been used once or twice? If so, are you ok with that? Does it come with tags or without? That’s more a consideration if you’re giving the item away as a gift.

Sometimes I look for makeup online and I just don’t like the idea of using makeup that someone I don’t really know has used before me (but I’m completely fine sharing straws with people, I know, I don’t make sense!) so I would avoid any product like that. On the other hand, I’m happy to buy, say, boots with mild defects on the soles if the price is good enough but the defect is something I always take into consideration.

A lot of the items on eBay might also be dupes, if you suspect something isn’t genuine then do beware! This can also be a good thing as I’ve bought dupes on eBay before just because I wanted a dupe and they’ve worked perfectly for much cheaper than the actual product would’ve cost. For example my beauty blender dupe.

Number 4: Note the Seller Rating

Say you found a great deal, woohoo! But what if the seller rating is, say, 1 star out of 5 and they’ve been rated by 50 people as that?? Something fishy is going on there and I’d say proceed at your own risk.

It’s always, always a good idea to read the reviews of the seller from other buyers and you can read those by clicking onto the seller’s profile page. I’ve encountered dodgy sellers before who’ve just scammed me by not sending me the item but taking my money, thankfully eBay is very good at protecting its buyers and I got a refund back but the hassle was quite annoying.

On the plus side, I’ve also encountered lovely sellers who did send me the item but the item got lost by the Royal Mail, the seller was great and just refunded me my money anyway! And once another seller, whose parcel to me also got lost enroute, posted me a whole other parcel free of charge and by next day delivery because I told them I needed the item urgently (it was for an event). So, like with the whole world, there’s good and bad.

Number 5: Timing is of the Essence

This is more for those of you who are shopping for Auction items (I love Auction items! there’s such a thrill bidding on something, isn’t there?).

Those of you experienced shoppers will have realised that the bids really start to escalate during the last couple hours or so, when everyone tries to get their bids in. In the past I’ve been the highest bidder for days only to be outbid at the very last second, infuriating!!

There’re 2 methods of approach to this, one of which I like to call the ‘Chillax’ approach, which is where you just enter as your bid the very highest amount you’d be happy paying for that item. You won’t actually need to pay up to that amount unless the bidding drives it up to that price, so don’t worry. Once you’ve put in your highest bid, relax and if you get outbid just be happy knowing that some poor sap out there paid more than you deemed it was worth paying for that item!

The second method is what I like to call ‘SPARTA’ method. Basically, you don’t place a single bid on it so that the price doesn’t go up by a penny but you’re sat there at your computer during the last 5 minutes of the item monitoring its progress. Then at the very last second you enter your bid amount which is the highest you’re willing to pay. The reason why this method is better (if you’ve the time for it) is that other buyers can’t really gauge your highest bid price so you’ve that advantage of them not being able to out-bid you. Also, other buyers might be lulled into a sense of complacency thinking that no one else out there is bidding for the item (muahahaha).

But sometimes we just can’t be bothered doing this, and to be honest I often think I’ll go for method 2 but then end up being incredibly busy tied up with meetings or deadlines during that period and just end up not bidding on the item at all!

PRO-TIP: Which is where my ABSOLUTELY FAVOURITE eBay shopping site comes into play! It’s called LastMinuteAuction (this is the UK site but there’s also sites for buyers from Australia, America, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Spain!).

What this site basically does is it lists every single Auction that only has an hour left to go but still has a starting bidding price of 99p or less. So everything on the site is basically less than a pound and will be ending in an hour, perfect! No more having to keep your eye on an item that ends in 2 days and probably forgetting all about it by the time the end of that auction rolls around.

You can either search for the item you want using the search bar and it’s worthwhile popping back every hour or so because the stock will be constantly changing every hour.

Alternatively, if you just want to shop around for fun, just trawl through the category you’re interested in (ie fashion, beauty, books, electronics etc), everything’s arranged in order of which ends the soonest. I’ve spotted so many great bargains on this and I’ve nabbed quite a few too. In fact, I’ve so much to say about Last Minute Auction that I’m going to do a post just about this website =P Go see it for yourself!!

Right, and that’s absolutely all from me about eBay! I hope you liked the tips and I really hope the info here is useful! I sincerely feel there’s some great websites and apps I’ve mentioned here so please don’t ignore them =D

Love to All my eBay Hunters!

Xx Penny

Shout-out from fellow eBay-ers?

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One thought on “Penny-Pinching 101: eBay Bargain-Hunt How-To Guide – Get Great Deals Shopping on eBay with these Tips and Shopping Apps/Websites

  1. Pingback: Last Minute Auction – A Treasure Trove of Bargain Beauty Deals! | Parsimonious Penny

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