13 Easy Ways to Save Money Shopping on eBay

You can find just about everything you want and even things you didn’t know existed on eBay. The auction site offers many ways to buy items as well as many ways to save money. Be careful, though, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and quickly overpay for an item if you don’t do your due diligence.

Here are 13 ways to save money shopping on eBay so you get the best deals.

1. Shop the Daily Deals

As the name suggests, eBay offers new deals daily and they are for a limited time. Check back often to see what you might be able to get at savings. If there are items on your wishlist that you don’t need right away, save them and check the Daily Deals page to see if you can snag them on a deal.

On this page, you’ll find marked-down prices and even promo codes for certain products to help you save even more money.

2. Check the Home Page for Deals

If you scroll all the way through eBay’s home page, you’ll see sales and deals on certain product categories, such as ‘save 40% off all patio furniture.’ Take advantage of these category sales and save on anything you want in that category rather than one specific item that’s on sale. These deals even include categories all with free shipping.

3. Create eBay Alerts

If there’s a specific item you want, but want it at a better price, set up an alert. Search for the item in eBay while logged into your account. Once you find the item or category, click ‘save this search.’ This automatically signs you up for alerts when a similar or identical item is listed. You never know when you might snag a great deal this way.

4. Don’t Buy the First Item you See

Chances are unless you’re searching for an incredibly rare item, there are multiple sellers selling the item you want. Don’t fall for the featured listings as they are often the highest price, but the sellers have the room to pay for the advertising.

Instead, scroll through most or all of the listings. You never know when you’ll find the same item further down on the page for less money, but just as good quality.

5. Negotiate with the Seller

eBay is a platform that lets you negotiate with the seller. You’ll see in the description usually if they will allow negotiations. Just click ‘contact the seller’ and give him/her your best offer. 

The worst they can say is ‘no,’ but you never know when they may accept it or counteroffer to sell the item close to the price you wanted to pay.

6. Don’t use the eBay Watchlist

The eBay Watch List seems like a good idea. You put something on your list and are alerted when someone bids on it, so you can place a higher bid. But, there’s a problem if you’re trying to save money on eBay.

Certain users know when there are people on the Watchlist so they purposely bid on the item raising the price even if they might not want the item. Instead, bookmark the page or set a reminder for yourself to check back near the auction’s end time. If there’s little interest in the product, chances are the price will stay around the same or won’t be artificially inflated. 

7. Look for Free Shipping

As you scroll through your options for an item, pay attention to shipping charges. You might find an item for a great price but then overpay for shipping. Sellers are supposed to keep the shipping charges as close to the actual charges as possible, but why pay to ship if someone else offers it free?

Look at the total cost of the item WITH shipping. You might find that you pay a little more for an item but if it’s with free shipping, your total cost may be lower.

8. Don’t Bid Early

It can be tempting to throw your bid in right when you see an item you want, but this could drive the price up. Instead, bookmark it and set your alarm close to when the auction ends. Go back to the item then and place your bid. 

With fewer people bidding, the price won’t skyrocket and you might save money. It’s all about the demand. If everyone uses this method, the prices will stay lower, but it might get a little more competitive to get what you want.

9. Look for Promo Codes and Deals

Just like most retail stores, you can get promo codes and deals from third-party, reputable coupon sites too. Before you shop on eBay always search for a promo code to see how much more money you might be able to save. 

10. Download the eBay Mobile App

Download the eBay mobile app so you don’t have to worry about missing out on a chance to bid at the last minute. Rather than placing a bid early because you know you won’t be by your computer when the auction ends, download the app so you can avoid bidding too early and driving the price up.

The mobile app also has a scanning feature. When you’re in a store and see something you want, you can scan the barcode and see if you can find the item cheaper on eBay, saving you money.

11. Search the History of Similar Items

A great way to tell if you’re overpaying for an item is to search the history of similar items that are already sold. This will give you an idea of the item’s fair market value so you know how much you should pay.

You’ll likely find that some sellers overprice their items in the hopes that someone will pay it. Don’t be that person. Do your research to find out first. 

To do this, just click the filters for ‘completed items’ and ‘sold items’ on the left-hand side. Items listed with green prices sold and those in red did not sell.

12. Check for Typos and Different Keywords

Use eBay’s suggestions for alternative search terms when you put your keywords in or better yet, purposely mistype a word. Sometimes sellers misspell a word not realizing it. When this happens, the item doesn’t show up in search as often which can keep the bidding, aka pricing down.

13. Try a Second Chance Offer

If you lose a bid originally, don’t be afraid to send a second chance offer. This offer tells the seller you’re still willing to buy the item if the winner of the bid doesn’t follow through. Sometimes buyers bail or can’t pay, leaving the seller with the item.

If that’s the case, you have room to offer a slightly lower price and you might get it. Some sellers even have multiples of the same product but list them one at a time. Your second chance offer may get you the item you wanted right away even if the original buyer completes the sale.

FAQs – How to Save Money on eBay

What is the eBay Money Back Guarantee?

eBay also offers a Money Back Guarantee on most items. You must first file a dispute with the seller to try to settle the issue with them. Most sellers will oblige so they don’t hurt their ratings. If they don’t, though, you can file a complaint with eBay if you didn’t receive your item or it wasn’t as described and you’ll receive your money back on most items.

What is the safest way to buy on eBay?

It’s recommended to use PayPal to pay for your eBay purchases. If you have a dispute with the item purchased or an issue with the seller, PayPal will protect you. First, you must file a dispute with the seller through eBay. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, you have 20 days to file a dispute with PayPal to get more protection and/or your money back.

What is eBay Local?

If you’re looking for a large item that can’t be shipped, such as furniture, you can click ‘pickup only’ in the filters and you’ll see local listings. If you win the bid, you’ll go pick up the item or work out arrangements with the seller, but you won’t have to pay shipping charges.

Final Thoughts – How to Save Money Buying on eBay

It’s easy to save money buying on eBay if you take a few extra steps. Whether you search for a promo code using Koopy, scroll through all the listings to find the best price, wait until the last minute to bid, or look for free shipping, there are multiple ways to save.

Don’t settle for full price on anything on eBay and if all else fails, watch your category for items priced lower or even for sales in your category because they happen more often than you might think.

Kim Pinnelli is a personal finance freelance writer and koopy.com contributor. She lives in the Chicago suburbs, writing from home for the last 13 years. Kim enjoys helping people understand personal finances and writes on topics about saving money, investing, planning for retirement, and ways to increase income. In her free time, Kim enjoys hanging out with her 3 children, reading, crocheting, and spending time outdoors.

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