How to Save Money Using eBay

eBay to some people seems like a scary place of fraud, possible fake products and a place requiring a credit card. I’m not going to say there isn’t any fraud because there is, there are fake products and yes you do need a credit card, but there are ways to make sure you can avoid this problems. It all depends on what you are buying, how much you know about the product and understanding how eBay works. This post will help you learn how to save money using eBay which will lead to some great savings especially for those on a student budget.

eBay is where I find certain products I need (and sometimes just want) for a lot cheaper than in the stores. If it isn’t a deal on eBay you might as well just buy it in a store and save yourself the hassle of shipping and waiting for the product to arrive.

What is eBay?
At it’s core eBay can be defined as;

  1. eBay sellers pay a small flat fee plus a 1.5% percentage fee to eBay in order to market their wares;
  2. eBay buyers visit and use the marketplace without any surcharges;
  3. Any parties that abuse the system or each other will be disciplined or ejected


eBay is like a flea market but a bit different;

    1. The eBay marketplace is international, and crosses language and national boundaries;
    • The massive choice of goods is awe-inspiring;
    • Sales can either be auction format (competitions between bidders), or traditional fixed price format. The sellers choose whichever format they prefer
    • The buyers and sellers will likely never meet in person
    • The buyers do not get to see the product in person before purchase, but are given various post-purchase guarantees to ensure satisfaction;
    • Very sophisticated computer measures are implemented to minimize electronic dishonesty on all sides
    • Fulltime staff are employed to enforce safety and fairness across the system
    • An honesty incentive model called ‘positive feedback’ is used to motivate buyers and sellers to trade with integrity
    • Professional third parties payment services, like Paypal, Bidpay, and Escrow.com, are brought in to ensure safe and trusted payment between eBayers
    • eBay is easier to use than a flea market.

In order to purchase goods on eBay you need to register, supply a credit card number, and I suggest creating an account on PayPal to make purchases online. You can register a credit card and/or a debit card.

Check out this excellent guide on how to use eBay.

Here are some of my tips on how to be safe, make smart purchases and get the best deals you can.

  • Always check the sellers feedback score. I usually go with 100% or nothing. Even if a sellers feedback score says 99%, they are often high volume sellers and that can mean that they still have a lot of negative reviews. Read through their comment’s section and check for patterns, are people constantly complaining about shipping? or items not as described? If those show up, it’s a red flag. Don’t buy from that seller.
  • Check the location that the product is coming from (this may help determine shipping times/costs and/or product quality). Even if the currency is listed as US dollars or Australian dollars it may not be coming from that country. I have come across a lot of listings that say Australian dollars when in fact that product is coming from Hong Kong.
  • ALWAYS check how much the product will cost to ship, if it doesnt say in the listing make sure to message the seller to get a quote. Don’t ever bid if you don’t know the shipping cost, it could more than double what you spend depending on the product you’re buying.
  • Go with Canadian sellers whenever you can, shipping is usually cheaper and quicker. Also if there is an option to pick up an item do it, sometimes they charge you, but you can pick up your item on your own terms and not have to rely on good old Canada Post.
Best Products to Buy on eBay
  • Razor Blades- Don’t enjoy paying $20 for 4 blades at Shoppers Drug Mart? You can usually get double that for the same price or more on eBay. Check, but most often if you are purchasing from a Canadian seller shipping is free as well.
  • Clothing-Certain brands of clothing are everywhere on eBay and often cheaper. You can find anything from Lulu Lemon to Abercrombie and more.
  • Shoes- Be careful with shoes, some can be fakes. Determine the price you want to spend, try on the shoes in store some where and figure out if it makes sense to purchase them online.
Tips to Buying Clothes and Shoes
  • Try on products you are interested in, in store and determine your correct sizing. You dont want to have to return things to sellers on eBay unless you really have to.
  • Buying multiple products from the same seller can save you a ton on shipping
  • If you aren’t against buying used clothing/shoes, you can find great deals on used designer clothing and shoes on eBay.

Also you may be able to get a deal by using one of these websites. Type in the product you are searching for and both sites will generate typo’s for these products. These products wont come up in a normal eBay search because of their incorrect spelling, which can help you snag a great deal

eBay is a great place to find deals, if you do your research and are careful when making purchases. Make sure to check out sellers feedback scores, the location the product is coming from and the shipping costs. Also be aware of the sellers return policies.

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