Saturday, 5 April 2014

Thrift Shopping: Making the most of eBay

As an avid bargain hunter, I thought I'd share some tips on thrift shopping for my first post!

Shopping on eBay is one of the best ways to find a bargain whether you’re looking for a specific item or just browsing your favourite brands. Often, even items that are still on the shelves can end up on eBay for cheaper.

For those that aren’t familiar with eBay yet, there are a few tips that I feel make bargain hunting a lot easier.
  • Whatever you’re looking for, whether it be a certain brand, style or item, type it in on the search bar along with the size you need. When the list appears, I always refine the search so the ‘items ending soonest’ appear first. If there’s a product you fancy that ends soon, a quick bid at the last minute can increase your chances of winning it.

  • When bidding, think realistically about how much you’d be willing to spend on an item. For example, if an item is listed at £5 but you’d be willing to bid up to £10 then type that bid in. It doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll pay, it just means if someone puts a bid in of, say, £6 they’ll be automatically outbid by you until someone’s bid becomes higher than yours. The moment another bid reaches over £10 you’re out of the running. You can either bid again if you really want the item or accept that it’s not worth more than your original bid and move on to the next bargain hunt!

  • ‘Buy it now’ items are ones that give you the option of purchasing the item without having to worry about a bidding war. As long as the item is cheaper than it was originally then you’ll bag yourself a bargain without much hassle!

  • Always check the feedback of a seller to make sure the item you have your eye on is likely to be of good quality.
Here’s just a few examples of my eBay finds:

This beautifully detailed, beaded, monochrome vintage top only cost £7 including P&P. Was in perfect condition and was just what I wanted to go with skinny jeans and heels for drinks with friends.

This cute brooch for £2 (free P&P). I love a collared shirt; adding brooches can turn something plain into pretty. 

This Topshop camel coat was only £25 (free P&P). It was brand new, so one of my proudest purchases!

The eBay outlet or Fashion Gallery as it’s known now is fairly easy to navigate. It’s just like using a normal fashion website. You can refine a search or browse more broadly. The fashion gallery also always shows you what the item was originally and how much you’re saving which is really useful.

The other great thing about eBay is that you can also sell your unwanted clothing and make a profit. I always sell my old (but good quality) things on eBay to give me a bit of extra pocket money. I have a few tips for this too!
  • Unless you want to pay an insertion fee (a fee for listing your item), the bidding will start at 99p. This is worth doing sometimes as the low price can attract a lot of interest. People may end up in a bidding war for your item and you can make more money than you expected! On the other hand, there are some items that you really won’t want to let go for 99p if it ends up that there’s only one bidder. I always try and wait for ‘zero insertion fee’ weekends where eBay makes it free to list an item for a higher price than 99p. Keep the listing price realistic though if you do want it to sell.

  • Always use as many pictures as possible and describe the item accurately. You don’t want to sell something and feel elated only to then have to refund them if they’re not happy!

  • I remember reading in a newspaper article that items are more likely to gain higher bids if they end on a Sunday. This is because most people don’t work Sundays and have the time to sift through eBay listings. Funnily enough, for me, the items I have listed that have ended on Sundays do seem to sell for a slightly higher price than expected! Although that could be a coincidence!
So there you have it, my top eBaying tips! Hopefully now you can get started, but be warned – it’s VERY addictive!!


  1. Great tips!! I haven't ventured into EBay too much, so I really appreciate these tips to make it seem less intimidating!

  2. Ah thank you! Glad it's of some help! It's easier than you think to get started :)