Like most moms, I always think of my kids and their needs first. That includes their clothing. But not anymore. I want a wardrobe that reflects me – shows I am someone other than just a soccer mom and I still have my own sense of style.

I have a boho, hippy, gothy, rockabilly, peasant type fashionista inside. She has been screaming to get out for years. And I’ve finally found a way to engage her without breaking the bank. My Halloween costume started the whole process. I decided I wanted to go as a burlesque dancer and I didn’t want a costume from Walmart. I wanted something that looked like a genuine burlesque dancer’s outfit. So I headed over to ebay and put together an entire costume for $29 (including shipping). I’d used ebay for other purchases, but never for clothes. Now I’m happy to share with you some tips for Ebaying frugally:

  • Watch the item you want. Do not big on it until the last minute. Many times when I have bid, someone comes right after me and bids me up. If I wait until the auction is right at the end, I have been able to stay under the price I wanted to pay. (Make sure you don’t wait too long, or you’ll completely miss the auction ending.)

  • When you search, refine your search to only show items that include free shipping.
  • Look to other countries. If you are willing to wait a couple of weeks, you can get some really cool clothes for very cheap if you’re looking outside of the US.
  • Use your phone/iPad/iPod Touch/Android. I have alerts sent directly to me on both my iPod Touch and my HTC Evo. When a watched item is coming to an end, I get the notice. I get over there and bid. If someone outbids me, I get that alert, and if I want it badly enough, I bid again.
  • Find different terms for what you want. Try a variety of search times to either narrow or broaden your scope. Then you can refine to the categories you’re shopping in.
  • Be flexible. If you’re looking for that peasant skirt, don’t add the word skirt. You may come across a vintage hippy shirt that is fabulous and you would never have found it if you had limited yourself.
  • If you have found something from one seller that you love and have bid on and/or won, look at the other items they have for sale. Many times you will find that same style in their store, in the size you need, and most of the time (especially US sellers) they will combine shipping if you have bought more than one item.
  • Save your searches. I do this on my phone or my iPod. There is a star at the top of the search page, click on that and you can always see when new items are listed with those search qualifications.
  • Save your favorite seller’s store and sign up for their newsletter. (Under see seller’s store or see seller’s other items on their auction page). You’ll always know what they have new up for auction AND sometimes they have specials for their newsletter subscribers.

You can follow these tips with your kids’ clothes, sports equipment, arts, crafts, antiques and more.

Happy auctioning!