Online shoppers know that they can score deals by bidding on eBay auctions. The problems, however, are many. Bidding wars ensue in which the winning buyer pays more than he or she intended. Sometimes auctions end while a bidder is trying to log into eBay.

There are numerous tools available to monitor auctions, but some of them cost money and this seems to defeat the purpose of saving money by bidding on used items. The eBay site offers various free tools to aid buyers. Two of the best free tools are Automatic Bidding and eBay Countdown.

Bid and Buy on eBay
Bid and Buy on eBay

Automatic Bidding

Automatic bidding is simple to use. For example, a pair of shoes is up for auction and the bidding starts at $5. Jane wants these shoes, but she is unwilling to pay more than $10 for them. She puts in her bid for $10; the auction shows that she will pay $5 if no one else bids.

Mary sees the auction and is willing to pay $8 for the shoes. She puts in a bid for $8, and sees that she is not the high bidder because Jane is. Jane’s price for the shoes is now $8.50. Mary decides to move on.

Angela, however, sees the auction for the shoes. She is willing to pay $12. She puts in her bid at $12, and sees that she is the high bidder. Her price at the moment is $10.50, just over Jane’s highest bid.

Online Bidding Strategies

The above describes how automatic bidding works on eBay. Bidders are welcome to bid only the amount necessary for the item; for example, Jane could have bid $5 in the beginning and gone back to bid more if necessary. Bidders may bid on the same item more than once.

The eBay buyers have the option to watch an auction on their “My eBay” page. This is a wise, money-saving option. Instead of starting the bidding right away and driving up the cost of an item, wise buyers wait and start bidding toward the end of the auction.

eBay Countdown

The eBay Countdown is a free tool offered by eBay that gives buyers the ability to monitor an auction and win at the last minute.

Countdown opens a new window in the browser. It shows the auction in real time, counting down second by second. It shows when a new bid has been placed. This tool allows buyers to monitor their auctions without refreshing eBay pages, and Countdown keeps buyers logged in to eBay.

Countdown is good to use if a buyer has his or her heart set on winning an auction. It allows to buyer to get in a bid quite literally at the last second. It also allows buyers to forego using automatic bidding, and instead put in their highest bids at the last minute. This helps to prevent spending more money in bidding wars.

Get eBay Countdown by clicking here.

Buy it Now

Sometimes eBay sellers choose to offer a Buy it Now option. In shoe example above, the seller may have offered immediate sale of the shoes for $12. If Jane were willing to pay $12 for the shoes, she could have done so right away. However, once Jane chose to bid, the Buy it Now option disappears and is no longer available to any bidder.

Buy it Now makes the most sense when a buyer wants the item very much. Bidding wars can raise the cost of an item above the Buy it Now price.

But for buyers who know they will not go over a certain price for an item, bidding is often the best method.