How to Save Money When Buying For Baby
My daughter is now eight-years-old. Over the years I have spent thousands of dollars on baby clothes, educational toys, baby furniture, books … all the best that I could afford to buy. I shopped online, I shopped in-store, I shopped I shopped I shopped. But then I discovered Ebay. Now don’t roll your eyes and click off this article like I did for years – read on! There is nothing that you can find in a store that you can’t find on Ebay – sometimes gently used, sometimes very used, often times brand new – but almost always at an unbelievable price. I mean pennies on the dollar – literally.
If it’s too good to be true it probably is
Yes and no. As a seasoned Ebay shopper, I have gotten some deals that seemed too good to be true (those are the ones I especially love). But I’ve also learned some lessons, and I’d like to pass them on to you. Here are some tips that I suggest you pay attention to before jumping into the Ebay World.
- Pay Attention To Feedback
Every item you see on Ebay is offered by a person, a “seller.” When viewing an item, you will see the seller’s handle, followed by a number in parenthesis. This is the seller’s feedback rating.
When someone purchases an item from a seller (a buyer) they leave “feedback” about how their transaction went. Each feedback left consists of a rating (positive, negative, or neutral), and a short comment. The number is how many buyers have purchased an item from that seller, so right off the bat, you now how long a seller has been doing business. Someone with 1 feedback rating obviously hasn’t been around as long as someone with a 5,648 rating (and yes, you’ll see that often!)
But just as important as how many people have left feedback, is the percentage of Positive Feedback … 100% is the best! But of course, you can’t please people all of the time, so even a positive feedback of 95% can be good. You can read the comments left by buyers by clicking on the feedback rating. They will tell you if the product was received, in what condition, how promptly, etc., which will allow you to make a decision on whether or not to trust the Ebay seller.
- Shipping and Handling
Almost all items have an associated Shipping and Handling charge. Most sellers assign a reasonable fee to cover their cost of packaging, and of course, the delivery fee. But sometimes they jack that price up in order to make the low cost of their item appear to be a better deal than it is. Most of the time the S&H fee is prominently posted on the item page, so be sure to look for it! If it is not listed, contact the buyer and ask them what shipping fees will be incurred before you make a bid! Be sure to calculate the cost of S&H with the cost of the item to be sure you are indeed getting a great deal.
- Don’t bid immediately!
Ok, so you’ve found an item that you want. It’s a great price, and the S&H fee is reasonable. You want to bid on it, now. DON’T! All items listed on Ebay are there for a specified amount of time. You can see how much time you have to purchase the item by looking at how much time is left on the auction (see Time Left: under the current bid cost). If there are four days left until the auction ends, wait. Bidding now is going to cause someone else who is interested in the item to bid too, which in turn raises the price of the item. What you need to do is Watch the item, and come back the day the auction ends (preferably within a few minute of the end time) and bid then. This doesn’t give other buyers as much time to out bid you and make the cost go up!
How do you “watch the item?” There is a link that says “Watch This Item” for every product offered on Ebay. All you need to do is click it, and that product will be saved in a list for you to come back to later. You must be a registered Ebay Member to take advantage of this, but registering is FREE and easy. So I suggest you register right away, that way when you find a great buy you’re ready for it.
- View seller’s other items
Once you find an item that you like at the right price, see what else the seller is offering. Odds are, they have many other items that are closely related to exactly what you’re looking for that didn’t come up in your product search. Check it out! And if you like the buyer and their products, save the buyer as a favorite!
- Pay attention to the item description
Some items will be listed with words or phrases that you don’t understand. For instance, “NIB” means new in box. If there is something that is in the description that you don’t understand – ASK THE SELLER! Once you win the auction it is too late to clear up unanswered questions, so rather than be disappointed, be safe.
- Don’t get stuck in a competitive mindset
This was the biggest lesson that I needed to learn in the early days of my Ebay-hood. I’d find an item that I’d like, bid on it, then be outbid. So then I’d bid again. It was a viciuos cycle and I ended up paying more for the item than I should have, simply because I wanted to win. You must keep in mind that you are trying to get a deal. If the price is no longer a deal in your mind, wait. The item will be listed again eventually at a price you want to pay.
- Don’t limit yourself
You can literally find *anything* on Ebay: Books, furniture, household products, clothes, shoes, collectibles… it is rare that I search for something and don’t find it.
- Don’t just buy – SELL!
As your baby grows, you’re going to find yourself with boxes full of clothes, toys, and other items that you no longer need. Use them to finance your new shopping sprees! Become an Ebay Seller and have a garage sale from the comfort of your living room! You’ll be amazed at how easy it is, and how much money you can make doing it! Many of my friends go to weekend garage sales and pick up antiques, collectibles, etc. and then sell them on Ebay for a tremendous profit. If you’re looking for some extra money, this is one easy way to do it!
Ready to check out Ebay now that you know the ins and outs a little bit? Type anything into the search box below and see what kind of deals you can get, or view our Discount Baby Products section for baby product categories to browse through. Happy Saving!
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