the fashion ramblings of a 21-year-old wonderlust king

Category: Tips

Bid Now! Top 10 Tips to Conquering Ebay Purchases

1. The Key to Keywords:

When choosing the words for what you’re searcing for, remember to think like a seller. Sellers (especially the least expensive ones) usually include as many descriptive words as possible. If you’re looking for knock-offs, don’t expect the original designer’s name to be included in the title, so try to describe the item rather then put a name brand on it.

For example: In a search for knock-off JC Lita boots, first maybe try searching Lita then read some of the descriptive words people include in their titles:

These are the lowest priced boots offered, and not super cheap at all (for Ebay that is). Next, try searching platform lace up boots:

There you have it, a cheaper price on the first go! It takes some practice to learn the best keywords, but you get the hang of it.

2. Category Shopping:

If you’re looking for something specific, keep your category options open because some of the best items can hide in the incorrect category. If you’re browsing for something more broad, try opening a few different categories with the same search term, to see which one seems to have the most or cheapest of the item you’re looking for.

Take pyramid studs for example:

5,313 is a pretty huge number, so let’s narrow it down. Click on the top few bold Categories to narrow down your search. I narrowed it down by  Crafts > Home & Art Crafts > Leathercraft > Accessories > Spots

Narrowing it down this far is helpful when you’re searching for more than one similar item. If I want to find cone spike studs, I can search in this category and not have to worry about narrowing the search results down again.

3. Organize Your Searches:

Searches can be sorted in a variety of ways:

I usually search by lowest price or ending soonest. I like ending soonest because I know I’m more likely to win, and less likely to be away from my computer when the bidding dwindles down. Most items are listed for 7-10 days, so if an item says it has 6 days left, expect the bids to go up between now and then.

The Price menu on the left lets you cap your max spending limit, so you can sort by ending soonest without having to wade through the items that are out of your budget.

4. Narrow it Down:

You can narrow down your searches by choosing options in the left side menu. Once a category has been chosen, options will display on the left for you to pick from. You can choose specific sizes, colors, condition and more!

But be careful: Most Asian shops don’t specify most of their selections, so you may be weeding out some good options. I like to choose my size, then also select “not specified” just to be safe.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of International Items:

Most items I buy from Ebay are from sellers in Korea and China. Why? Because they’re loads cheaper! Most even offer free shipping! You just have to know where to look. When you come across an item you love that’s at a great price (take the Lita knock-offs), browse the seller’s other items for even more great bargains. Some Asian stores sell a wide variety of products at incredibly low prices!

6. Save Sellers & Watch List Items:

You can save your favorite sellers and return to them later! You can even subscribe to receive emails with updates about new products from your favorite sellers.

When viewing an item, click “add to my watch list” to save a specific item without bidding on it. Then, from your watch list, you can check up on the auction and even be notified by email when it’s about to end.

7. My Favorite Word: “lot”

When searching for a large quantity of the same item (or for a huge group of the same sized clothes for example), use the word lot in your search. You’ll be suprised how cheap things can come in lot form. 100 piercing balls for $.99!? Sure, why not. My ultimate favorite lot search (not sure if I should give this away and increase my competition but what the heck) is Men’s T-Shirts. I simply search the word “lot” then click on the Men’s Clothing category, then on T-Shirts. I’ve bought tons of vintage band tees on the cheap just by getting them in “lot” form rather than purchasing them one at a time.

8. Check Shipping Prices:

I mostly aim forfree shipping” but Ebay won’t sort by shipping prices for you unless you’re in a specific store or category, so watch out when sorting from “price: lowest to highest” because a $.99 item can have $49.99 shipping costs attached. Also read the seller’s policies to see if they offer combined shipping at a discounted rate. You can even select to view only free shipping items in the left side menu.

9. Check Seller Policies and Feedback: 

Most sellers will list their policies within their item description (check towards the bottom). There, you can learn about shipping and color options that may require prior seller notification. You can also learn about estimated shipping times, shipping service options, return policies, size conversions, seller info and more.

Be sure to check seller Feedback to see if they’re trustworthy. Read through the testimonials and ratings from other buyers. Even if there are a ton of great ones, click the little blue number next to the “negative” button to read the not so great ones. Remember not to believe all the negative comments either, sometimes Ebay sellers deal with some psycho buyers who are just out to scam (ignore the resentment as I typed that; hence the reason I moved to Etsy).

10. Bidding:

When bidding, enter a median price you’re willing to pay for an item. Ebay will automatically make your bid the lowest possible while still naming you the winner. If you get theYou’ve been outbid notice, bid again until you’re either the highest bidder, or until you’ve exceeded your comfort zone. Don’t go crazy and overbid just to be the winner; remember you can probably get the same item at a lower price elsewhere on Ebay.


  • Be careful of the new “Shopping Cart.” While it allows you to rack up your purchases before committing to buy, if you press “Pay Now,” be prepared to pay for everything in the cart unless you’re specific.
  • Sometimes, the Buy it Now sales are a great option. You don’t have to worry about bidding and can receive your product right away without having to wait for an auction to end.
  • Watch out for sellers who have little or no description to their items. Read their Feedback carefully to see it they’re worth trusting.
  • Use Quotes With Caution: Ebay works just like a search engine, so if you use quotes it will search the entire phrase Be careful because this could help or hinder you depending on what you’re looking for. I always go without quotes first just to be safe.
  • Most people bid in the last few seconds to ensure a win, so make sure you’re around for the auction end if it’s an item you can’t live without.

If you’re still with me, thank you for your time. I hope I’ve been helpful. If you have any more questions leave them in the comments and I promise to get back to you!
Good luck and happy bidding!


Get Thrifty: Top 10 Tips to Achieving Secondhand Greatness

As a college student, my budget is limited, so limited that it’s often a decision between food other than Ramen, or clothing. Clothing usually wins. But on my small limit, I have to stretch my dollar as far as it will possibly go, which is why I thrift. So here are my tips for making the most out of your thrifting experience:

image from: Tumblr

1. Always have a plan. Browse around online and look through your closet to get ideas for the items you would like to purchase. You wouldn’t want to blow your budget on an amazing fur coat at the very beginning of summer (unless of course it’s one of those need-to-own-it situations, with which I empathize). But seriously, make a plan. This is important. You really don’t need 16 blazers or 23 cat print vests when your wardrobe is severely lacking shorts.

2. Check the tags. “If it says Mossimo, it’s a no-go,” is the personal slogan I live by. If you can get the same top in the Target discount bin for the same price, it’s not worth it. We’re looking for quality here. I’ve found some major deals just by checking the tags. BCBG dress that fits like a glove for $14.99, don’t mind if I do. It also helps to do some research if you come across an unfamiliar brand, especially if the item looks and feels like a quality piece (Thank God for smart phones; Google it!).

3.  Check the fabrics. Really go over the entire piece. I’ve found some amazing outfits with just a bit too much pit stain for my liking. Avoid fabrics with holes, loose threads, tears and stains, unless it’s worth it to pay for the repairs. The aforementioned BCBG dress had a huge stain on the slip, but one trip to the dry cleaners had it looking like new which was completely worth it for the bargain. Also, check the type of fabrics. I tend to stay away from rayons, nylons and chiffon blends that feel like an unwanted trip to the 80’s. If it says dry clean only, put it back.

image from: Tumblr

4. Try it on! Most thrift stores have dressing rooms, and if not, wear tight clothing you can try stuff on over. If you’re embarassed, why? you’re already secondhand shopping… get over it! It will save you money and distress because you won’t end up at home with five pairs of pants that would all fit great if you lost 10 pounds and had shorter legs.

5. Sort out the must-haves. If your items are starting to pile up, go back through them and decide what is a necessity and what is a maybe. Let the “maybe”s go for someone else. Just because something’s name brand, doesn’t mean you NEED it. Don’t say you’re buying it to sell on Ebay if it’s something you’d never buy yourself or if you’ll never get around to selling it.

6. Don’t blow the budget. Many stores have “boutique” sections that can have you spending $30 on just one item. Unless it’s a one-of-a-kind Versace dress for your upcoming prom, don’t even think about it.

7. My favorite, most useful tip: Learn where the deals are! In San Diego, every Wednesday, all Salvation Army shops are 40% off all clothing, then on many Mondays after 3 it’s 50% off everything. Ask an employee what the upcoming sales are. It’s always great to get a $2.99 top for $.50, especially when it was originally $50+. Stores like Goodwill even now will Email you with upcoming deals, so do your research!

image from: Tumblr

8. Maybe this should be the first tip: Go to REAL thrift stores. The Buffalo Exchange is not a real thrift store. They price their items just as high (and usually higher eep!) than they originally cost. Most thrift stores are HUGE and offer tons of random clothing (they aren’t super selective, they’ll take anything) at low low prices.

9. Don’t forget the accessories! I have an amazing pair of genuine leather Calvin Klein boots I scored for $2.99 at an AmVet. Necklaces, belts, hats, bags, and all other accessories are good to check out. Sometimes, the jewelry will be overpriced, I mostly just ignore that, but it never hurts to look!

10. Finally, give back! All the neglected clothing in your closet could become someone else’s thrifting treasure; give them that chance by donating your unwanted items to a secondhand shop.

image from: Tumblr

There you have it, my 10 tips for secondhand greatness.

This is the first of many how-to installations I have planned. If you have a request, feel free to leave it in the comments. Also, feel free to share your own tips to achieving thrifting gold!