Friday, March 2, 2012

Ebay buying gude for the cheap... or thrifty

Kids grow.  And if you're like me---I have champagne tastes on a water budget--you figure out ways to get what you want at prices you can afford. My mom and I are the few people I know who will walk into a store, and pick out the most expensive thing there without first glancing at the price tags.  For kids' shoes, I prefer to stay away from the discount brands, because those developing tootsies don't need to be molded to fit the shoes!  My brands of choice are Pediped and Stride Rite.  Yep.  $40-$60 a pair, retail.  And more for the boots Gracie loves.  Raise your right hand and repeat after me, "I do not need to pay retail for new, brand-name kids' shoes--ever."  You don't.  I don't.  I never have.

So, here's my rules.

I don't pay more than $5 over what a pair would cost at Payless.

I only buy true second hand if they've only been worn once or twice, or they're infant shoes, and thus nearly new.  I only buy second hand dress shoes in infant sizes or if they've never been worn.  (It would surprise you how many people buy their kids multiple pairs of expensive shoes that then sit in the closet, unworn.)  If they've been worn twice, but are scuffed on the toes, shoe polish can fix it unless it's patent leather.

I always take the price of shipping into account when placing bids.  If the shoes cost you $15, and the shipping is $10, it's not a bargain.

Never place a bid before the last 15 seconds.  All that does is make what you want more expensive.  Let the other people who want it bid, and steal it at the last second.

Just because you don't get it this time, doesn't mean that you won't get it the next time around.  There will always be another auction.  Therefore, if you don't get something, don't sweat it.

However, this leads to my next rule--plan ahead.  Unless you pay the Buy-it-now price, (which is usually too close to retail for my liking; I only do that for patent leather dress shoes) you need to be organized and buy in advance.  Gracie is in size 10 toddler/child right now.  The only thing she's lacking in 11s is boots, and she has a brand new pair of size 12 black  patent  Strasburg dress shoes waiting for her to grow into.  (I paid $21.  The retail price listed on the shoe box was $86.)  I'm starting to collect 12s now for Gracie.  Nikki, well, I'm looking for a pair of size 5 sandals before I move on to 6s.  She's almost into 4s.

Just because it's there and cute, doesn't mean that you need it.  You don't have to bid on everything you watch.  I cull my watch list at least once a day, and add more to it.  I don't bid on even 1/3 of what I'm watching. While Gracie and Nikki have more shoes than they need right now, all they really need in one size is dress shoes for church, sneakers for every day, sandals for hot weather, and water shoes for the pool.  Gracie loves boots, so I try and get those, and I do admit that I like for them to have both a black pair and a white or bone pair of dress shoes.

I know there are automated bid snipers out there, but I prefer to do it in person.  That way, I can make adjustments--especially if it's something that they need right away.  My SIL has turned over shoe shopping to me, because I've learned how to get cute, better shoes for around the same or less than she spends, anyway.   A little patience and preplanning go a long way...

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