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Whenever I want to buy something, I first check Ebay. Purchasing items on Ebay can be great or it can be a very, very bad experience. Understanding Ebay’s unique role in the marketplace can help you decide whether to use it. You can often find nice deals, but you need to know when it’s good to use and when it’s not. Visit Giftery today.

Ebay needs no introduction. You know a company is big when its name becomes an English verb. I ebayed it. I googled it. For those not familiar, Ebay is an online auction site/marketplace. You can either purchase through an auction process or you can buy at a fixed price.

Old-fashioned retail stores buy bulk items and resell for a set profit. There is a MSRP and thus prices are generally very uniform. Unlike retail stores, Ebay is not so constrained. Supply & Demand rule. Therefore it’s great for unique hard to find items that only you want (I got a great deal on some 1990 CTS Thunderstick tennis racquets), but horrible for high demand hot items (look at the ridiculous prices for the iPhone and Wii).

Random tip: Don’t buy items that are easily forged. For example, brand-name clothes (Diesel & Abercrombie clothes are notorious), and jewelry. Buying these items on Ebay is akin to buying that Rolex on the NYC street. Researching the Ebay purchase

Search ‘completed auctions’ for what prices that item has sold at. This will indicate the price range you can expect to pay. You do this by searching for the item, clicking on the checkbox for ‘completed auctions’ (you need to sign up for ebay to do this).

Take into account seller’s feedback rating when looking at prices. Seller reputation is key. Higher feedback ratings = less risk but higher price.
Based on completed auction prices, decide on what is an attainable price. Compare the price to lowest online price (maybe check Amazon)

You have to then decide whether the price savings is worth the added hassle of poor return policies and risk of fraud (generally low). In my experience, it is very low risk if you use common sense.

Once you decide that Ebay offers a good deal, then you need to actually make the purchase. Stay tuned for my next installment where I will talk about “ebay sniping” and cashback options; ways to make your Ebay purchase an even better deal.

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Now that you’ve mastered the art of Ebay buying, you have to learn how to sell. This is the best part about Ebay. The beauty of Ebay is that what is junk to you is valuable to someone else. Before Ebay came along, this was a very difficult task. Now, it’s easy to make money while getting rid of your junk. Someone give you a hideous gift? Ebay it. Are you envying the newest, greatest model of whatever? No problem, ebay the old version to offset the cost.

I’ve mostly sold electronics & computer stuff on Ebay. I usually find a great deal on the newest things, and then sell the old versions on Ebay for a little less (or sometimes more!) than what i paid. First off, make sure you have a Paypal account. It is essential for various reasons.

Ebay selling basics
Reputation Before doing any real selling on Ebay, you need to develop a reputation through the feedback system. The more positive feedback you receive, the more likely that people will buy from you. What if you don’t have any feedback yet? Make some Ebay purchases to build up your feedback rating.
Take a picture.

Pictures tell a thousand words. And people will trust a real picture of your item a lot more than some generic stock photo. Even better, include in the photo a piece of paper showing your Ebay ID so that people know it’s really your item rather than someone else’s photo that you stole. I find 1 picture is usually sufficient for my listings.

Pick the right title for your listing. This is very important. You want to make sure people can find your item. Pick basic keywords that you think people might search for. Include model numbers if applicable. Include relevant specs. Say it’s new if it is. Avoid filler words (i.e. “and”) as they are a waste of space. Above all else, spell it correctly!

Give an honest description. Describe the condition (new, used, like-new, etc). State any imperfections. State what the warranty is if there is one. State whether original packaging and/or accessories are included. I don’t bother giving any specs as I assume that people know them already if they are searching for the item on Ebay.

Fixed-price or auction style? I usually have better luck with Fixed-price auctions. If the item you are selling is very popular with lots of potential buyers (like iPhone and Wii early on), do an auction-style as you will be more likely to attract a bidding war.

Starting Prices. Know what the going rates are. Search “completed listings” to see what the selling prices are to get an idea of what you can expect. For popular items for that I do an auction-style acution, I just start the price at $0.99 since I know it will get bid up. For fixed-price auctions, determine the price range of completed auction and set it based on how desperate you are to sell (depends on market forces and timing of product upgrades).

Be Safe. You don’t want to sell to a scammer. You can set options to sell to people from certain countries (U.S. only is safer), with certain feedback levels, etc. I always set my options to take full advantage of safety.
Other listing options. Ebay has lots of options to modify your auction.

These are all require extra fees which I don’t think are worth it. It depends, though, on what you are trying to sell. Experiment to see what works for you.
Once you’ve listed your item, you can sit back and relax. Or maybe not. I get very excited watching the bids on my items. What do after your item actually sells? Stay tuned for my next installment..

Quick tips on being frugal

Go with a smaller car

A car instead of an SUV, for example, is a big savings. Be comfortable, but don’t overdo it. You’ll save a lot on gas this way too.

Eat out less.

One of the biggest expenses in our daily lives is eating out — the average person spends well over $2,000 a year on eating out. 

Use a minimal wardrobe

This tip won’t be for everybody, but I try for a minimalist wardrobe. I generally wear casual pants, a T-shirt, and shoes

Stop online impulse buys.

This was a problem for me before I canceled my credit card. I used to buy online a couple of times a week, but beware the impulse buy.