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Shortcuts to Greater Savings in Shorter Time with eBay

August 22nd, 2010

ebay-saving-tips.jpgWhether you’re buying or selling, the real trick to eBay is striking the balance between savings and time. Understanding what options are available for buyers makes one a more astute seller. As such, this article will focus on tips for saving time and money as an Internet buyer.

Bid Late, Bid Frequent

Most eBay users have done it: sitting aimlessly at a computer waiting for those last few moments of an auction to count down, in hopes of squeezing in a final low, but winning bid — seconds before it closes. But how often have those last moments turned into laboriously-slow and unproductive hours? And what about those exhausting times when the auction closes at midnight?

Fortunately, there are a number of sites that will place automated bids (called sniping) on a desired auction. One such site is Phantombidder.com. Recommended by PC Magazine, users purchase bid packets for a low price (approximately 50 cents each bid) and then enter basic information like auction title, number, high bid, and how many attempts the system should make in those final seconds. Win and it only costs the single bid. Lose and it costs you nothing.

What’s even better is the Group Bid feature where buyers can list a number of similar items (like a favored Star Wars soundtrack). The system will bid on each of these, one at a time (based on closing times), and will cancel all remaining instructions the moment a single auction has been won. That way, users can watch a dozen auctions simultaneously, but only end up with one highly sought yard gnome. Meanwhile, there is more time to catch up on sports, the season opener of Fringe, or some much needed sleep. Other sites with similar services are EZSniper.com, ESnipe.com, and AuctionSniper.com.

Making Money on the Referral

Thanks to Microsoft’s Bing.com, buyers can now earn cash back with many eBay purchases. It works like this: set up a Bing Cashback account, then search for a particular item…like a 2010 Silver Eagle. Often, Bing will provide a click through as the first result inviting buyers to earn 8% on their purchase through eBay. Clicking the link activates a session during which items bought as “Buy it Now” (BIN) that also accept Paypal will earn 8%. That’s not much on a $20 Silver Eagle, but consider the savings on a 2010 1 oz. Gold Eagle (priced at $1160). And unlike Bing’s other cash back options, eBay earnings are credited to a Paypal account in 90 days — with no need to let them accrue for dispersal.

Keep in mind, BIN items are often priced higher than normal auctions. Buyers should decide whether it saves to purchase the BIN item (and get the Bing Cashback) or opt for the cheaper traditional auction posting. In the event that one goes with the latter—consider getting to eBay through one of the many referral companies, like Mypoints.com. Mypoints shoppers earn points for every purchase at certain locations, including eBay. And users can get a bonus 500 points on their first purchase! Upromise.com is another option, offering 2% into a college Upromise account with every eBay purchase.

Looking for Reliable Sellers

eBay’s policy of letting large companies (like Sears or Buy.com) sell their inventory on the site can really create a lot of “noise.” Buyers will see more of these items at times, but usually save less buying from one of these sellers. Look for sellers with reasonably high ratings — but not those with astronomical positive feedback. Lower rated sellers may just be new; then again, they are also untested. Sellers with a seemingly unrealistic number of positive ratings often end up being a retailer selling under a pseudonym. And if a buyer is just going to get the item from Buy.com in the end, why not do it directly through their website? It will usually cost less in the end.

Is eBay Really Best?

Sometimes eBay rocks, and sometimes it’s a bomb. Between the shipping costs, the downtime waiting, and the lost sleep over the undelivered item, there are alternatives. Other sites may offer cheaper items in better condition. For used books, consider Half.com (an eBay company), Alibris.com, and AbeBooks.com. For unique crafts or handmade items, consider Etsy.com. And if buyers feel comfortable driving a few miles to connect with a seller, consider CraigsList.com for a really quick turnaround.

Enter Final Bid Now!

In the end, it isn’t just the thrill of the hunt or getting that rare item, but whether both were accomplished while saving the most time and money along the way.

Related article: Introduction to Selling on eBay

This article was supplied by “Alxsteele” from Constant Content.

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