Top 5 Tips for Shopping on eBay

I've been a member of eBay since 2001 and have bought a whole host of things in the past fifteen years. From a cot for my son when he was born, to the most random toys my children request (anyone heard of The Wiggles?).

One of the things I think eBay is incredibly useful for, is saving money! With Christmas fast approaching, money is tight, and you can grab some serious bargains on eBay. With that in mind, here are my top five tips for shopping on eBay.

By Steven Arnold (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

1. Look out for mistakes
Mistake happen, use them to your advantage. If a seller has listed an item but made a spelling mistake in the title, you can search for them, using a site such as Fat Fingers. Items which are listed with mistakes tend to sell for less.

2. Check out the seller
If the seller has feedback of less than 97%, check out their reviews. If there are a lot of negative reviews then I would strongly consider not buying from them. I've had some very bad experiences buying on ebay from poor sellers. Thankfully, the good experiences outweigh the bad.

3. Find the price range & stick to your budget
Work out what similar items sell for on ebay by watching items before you choose what you want to buy. This kind of research can be invaluable and save you paying over the odds for items. Make sure that once you have worked out the price range, give yourself a budget and make sure that you stick to it. If you end up paying more than your budget then you might not be getting as good a deal as you think,

4. Bid at the last minute
I have found that this is the best way to bid and the least likely to make me go over my budget. If you can bear to leave it until the final ten second of an auction, then you can usually ensure that your rivals don't outid you, simply because they don't have time. They may already have set a higher bit than you though, so don't be disappointed if this happens.

5. Pay by PayPal
For me this is one of the most important parts. Make sure that whatever way you pay, it's covered. For me, the best way to do this is to pay through PayPal. This way you are covered if, when the item arrives, it is not as described or faulty in any way. You can get a refund through PayPal and there is a fantastic resolution centre there if you need it.

Once you've bagged your bargain, make sure you check out a website like Shiply for each and cheaper delivery options. Couriers then bid for your delivery job, rather like eBay but the other way round, which saves you the stress of trying to find a good price for a courier, and also saves you money.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.