I bought it on *whispers*... Ebay! Yes, I really did.

 If you're an Ebay seller, especially of clothing, shoes and accessories, you've probably noticed that sales are absolutely dire right now. I've been selling on Ebay for ten years now and, while I'm certainly not an expert, I have noticed definite trends in the amount of sales I make - and how much I sell for -  at certain times of the year. There is a silver lining to this particular Ebay cloud though: for buyers it's absolutely AMAZING. Now is THE best time to pick up bargains.

So here I'm going to share some of my Ebay tips for bagging a bargain, as well as some of the great buys I've come across recently.

Timing. As I mentioned, the first couple of months after Christmas tend to be quite slow for sellers, so it's a good time to pick up a bargain for much less than the RRP. I was watching a Reiss dress which retailed at £179 and eventually sold for just £12 - sadly it was a size too big for me and, although I did consider bidding and then gorging on M&S white chocolate cookies so I'd fit into it, that pesky sensible bit in my brain stopped me.

The fateful Reiss dress *sob*

Another thing to consider is whether the time of year has any impact on the price of the item you're after - for example I'd been lusting after a particular Hobbs coat last winter, but at £199 I just couldn't justify it. Over the summer, when no one particular needs a winter coat, it came up on Ebay for under £60. As it was a classic style, I bought it and kept it in my wardrobe until I did need it.

 I've read lots of tips for sellers that tell you to time your auction to end on a Sunday night, when lots of people are browsing Ebay for a bargain. In terms of buying, I've found the best bargains to be had on auctions that end during the day on a weekday - for example I recently bagged a BNWT Joules body warmer (RRP £59) which ended at 2pm on a Thursday for £22.

Ebay Fashion Gallery. Lots of high street retailers have Ebay stores in which they sell excess stock - sometimes these are store returns. French Connection, Boden, Dune and Karen Millen are just a few of the names on there. They will often have sales with some amazing bargains - I nabbed some black patent peep toe heels from French Connection, RRP £79, for a tenner.

There are LOTS of business sellers that have great shops selling brand new high street brands too - I've previously used Celebrity Fashion Store and Pour Moi Clearance to name a couple.

Set up alerts for items you really want. Occasionally, I'll have a huge clearout and list items at low Buy It Now prices, just to get them sold. Other sellers seem to do the same, and these items sell quickly. If you have an alert running, Ebay will let you know as soon as that item listing goes live, so you can be the first to grab it.

So, I hope these tips have been useful, and that you've managed to bag a bargain! Do let me know if you have, and please share any of your own Ebaying tips with me - I'd love to hear them!

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