eBay Made eAsy: Your Guide to Thrifty Online Shopping

eBay Made eAsy: Your Guide to Thrifty Online Shopping

Before I started this blog, I wasn’t clued up on all the ethical brands and shops out there, and the ones that I came across were great, although not always entirely within my budget. On a mission to shop more sustainably, I turned to eBay – the home of thousands of new, second hand, and vintage items, ready to be loved again. I haven’t looked back since, setting up my own seller profile and saving a pretty penny in the process!

Know What to Look for

ebay maxi dresses

Those new to eBay will probably find it daunting to say the least – where do you begin?! How does it work? It all becomes much easier if you have an idea of what you’re looking for.

Put as many details into your search as possible. If you take the example above – floral maxi dress size 10 this narrows down your search to the specifics, but you can even choose to narrow it down more by specifically selecting the brand of clothing, as well as ‘buy it now’ or ‘auction’ options.

ebay denimIf you haven’t found what you’re looking for, or you want to revisit a secific search, simply click ‘follow this search‘ , which is displayed in green at the top of the listings page. Your search will automatically be saved to your home page and updated each time you visit eBay.

Ready, Set, Bid!


With eBay, you can purchase from the brands you like without buying into fast fashion – the great thing about second hand. Vintage RaybansOf course, it’s equally unsustainable to be buying things you don’t really need, so don’t carried away by the cheap prices and bargains out there! 

 Before you buy anything make sure the seller has a high positive feedback percentage (shown under seller information, on the right of the image), so you know they are reliable.

Step 1:  Download the eBay app to your phone which sends you alerts when your item is ending. Great for those who don’t have tome to be sitting around a computer all day, watching an item.

eBay phone appStep 2:  See something you like? Click ‘Add item to your watch list‘ and track its bidding progress in the countdown to the auction ending.

Step 3: The trick is to bid within the last few seconds of an item ending. Bidding before the end will only unnecessarily bump up the price, so don’t bid higher if someone makes a bid days before the auction ends. Patience is key!

Step 4: Within the last 5 seconds, simply enter the highest price you’re willing to pay, cross your fingers and hope for the best! 

Step 5: If you win – great! Make sure you have a Paypal account set up as most sellers request Paypal only purchases.

Top Tip: If you find an item you like from a particular seller, definitely check out their profile to see what kind of other kind of things they sell. If you like what you see, click the ‘follow this seller‘ shown in green on the right of the page. Remember to make sure they have a positive reputation. A blue star next to their name means they are most likely to be reliable with shipping times, prices and product description.

Charity Shopping

eBay can also act as an alternative to visiting your local charity shop. The Ebay for ebay for charityCharity  section allows you to shop or sell whilst supporting your favourite charities. Sellers can choose the percentage of the proceeds they want to donate, with an option of adding Gift Aid, while shoppers can choose what causes they wish to support. 

Today alone, over £26,000 has been donated to eBay for Charity, while to date the initiative has raised over £50 million since it was founded in 2005.

Get Selling 

ebay sellingAs we update and make adjustments to our wardrobes, we’ve all found something that doesn’t fit anymore or we’ve outgrown a particular item. This is where eBay can help you to rid of those unwanted pieces cluttering up your rails.

Setting up a seller account can even act as an extra business on the side. Here’s how it works.

Step 1:  Click the sell category at the top of the home page and click ‘sell an item‘ from the drop down list. I’d suggest using your mobile app as it’s much quicker.

Sell ebayStep 2: Upload the photos, making sure they’re as clear as possible, and from many different angles, then add your details and information. Make sure the title has all the key words e.g colour, size, pattern, style (for example ‘oversized’ or ‘cropped’). This will help it come up in more searches and attract more potential buyers.

Step 3: Make sure you get the pricing right. You dont want to charge too much, but at the same time you don’t want to give it away. Check out how much similar items are going for and do some research before you set a price. This includes researching postage fees to see what seems to be the standard.

Step 4: To bid or not to bid? Asess you clothing quality. Is it a cheap top you bought years ago that lots of people probably own? You’re better off selling in an auction. Auctions usually start at 99p, which means if someone bids you’ll get at least that starting amount.

Black zara bagsIf you’re selling a designer piece or something a bit special, such as a gold necklace or an expensive pair of sunglasses, it might be better to go for a set price ‘buy it now‘ format. By paying an additional cost (usually around 40p) you can add a feature that allows the highest asking price if your reserve isn’t met.

Step 5: You might want to prepare by buying some postage bags for when it’s time to ship that item. You can get them cheap from eBay and they come in a number of sizes. Make sure you send your item out on time according to the delivery service you chose. Package your item as small and neat as you possibly can to ensure minimal delivery costs.



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