New blog – today I will be blogging about how you can save a fortune on buying branded/designer clothes. You can look stylish and sophisticated without breaking the bank!
Past buying habits:
In the past when clothes shopping I’ve tended to rely on picking up bargains in the sales or a visit to my local branch of Primark. If I’ve needed something a bit more stylish or sophisticated then I’ve tended to visit my local designer outlet village at Cheshire Oaks and spend a couple of hours looking for bargains. It’s an approach which has served me well for many years but recently I’ve had a need to change this approach. Having joined the gym recently I needed to buy some clothes to wear to the gym. I wasn’t satisfied with the quality of the clothes in Primark so decided to visit my local branch of Sports Direct. I found some great clothes there but I was staggered at how much things cost! With the ‘beast from the east’ weather front drawing in I didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to drive to Cheshire Oaks and risk getting marooned in the bad weather so I headed home thinking that I would wait for the bad weather to pass.
Whilst at home I started to ponder my problem. The way I saw it I had three possible options. Firstly I could buy some inferior gym clothes from Primark but in the knowledge that I’d probably want to replace these in a few months. Alternatively, I could continue going to the gym in clothes that weren’t suitable for the purpose and wait until I could get to Cheshire Oaks. However, the risk existed of me going to Cheshire Oaks and not finding anything I liked there so this made me lean towards my third option of biting the bullet and buying some expensive (but good quality) Adidas clothes from Sports Direct.
How did I resolve the dilemma?
Having been in sports direct and tried on a few items of clothing I had a good idea of what I wanted and knew what size I needed. So before committing to going back to sports direct and buying the pants I wanted I thought I’d have a quick look on google to see if I could find the ones I wanted cheaper online. After exploring a few clothes sites I thought about checking eBay. I’m a big fan of eBay and often use it to buy electronic equipment but I’d never considered using it for buying clothes before. Mainly because I didn’t like the idea of not being able to try clothes on before I bought them and then having to go through the pain of returning items if they didn’t fit. However, having tried on the clothes I wanted already in the store I was in a much stronger position in that I knew what I was looking for should fit. I started filtering through the eBay clothing categories and quickly found a section for men’s Adidas activewear which I could filter by the size I was looking for.
Here I found a bewildering array of items for sale with listings full of anacronyms such as BNWT and BNWOT. I had no clue what any of these meant! However, using my good friend google I was able to quickly work out that these meant ‘brand new with tags’ and ‘brand new without tags’. Looking at the prices I was staggered. I’d been able to find brand new versions of the clothes I wanted for as much as 50% less than they had been in Sports Direct. Surely this was too good to be true? Where they fakes? I’d heard many horror stories of people getting ripped off so I was worried that this might happen to me as well.
One of the things I always advise with eBay before buying anything is to look at the seller’s feedback. Particularly any negative feedback they’ve received. I was quickly able to establish that the people selling these had masses of positive feedback all of which indicated that the items received were genuine good quality items.
So the long and the short of it was I decided to take the plunge and buy some items. The long and the short of it is that I now have some new outfits for the gym from good quality brands for less than the amount of money I’d have spent in Primark! So I can definitely recommend doing this yourself if you’re looking to expand your wardrobe. But what have I learned doing this?
Top tips for cloth shopping on eBay:
1. Always check the seller’s feedback.
This first tip has already been covered above but it’s so important that I’m stating it again here. Read the feedback. If the seller has lots of positive feedback for selling similar items then it’s a pretty good bet that they’re selling genuine merchandise. Don’t forget as well that you’re covered by the eBay’s buyer guarantee if you do find a problem with anything you purchase.
2. Try before you buy
Not being able to try clothes on before you buy them has always put me off buying clothes online in the past. However, if you’re looking for something in particular why not try it on in your local store’s fitting room (like I did in Sports Direct) and then have a look for it on eBay? If you find it cheaper on eBay then great. You’ve saved money on something that you already know fits you! If it’s not cheaper then you can always go back to the shop and buy it there. Don’t though go into the same shop every day
3. You can haggle on eBay.
Found that perfect item but the price is just a little too high for you? Well eBay has three different categories for selling items. The first is ‘auction’ and is what eBay is most famous for. Obviously you can’t haggle on these! With auction items I always advise only bidding at the last possible moment in order to avoid getting into a bidding war. If you win an item but it remains unsold because the seller has set a reserve on the item and it hasn’t met that don’t be disheartened. Often if you message the seller afterwards you can negotiate a price with them (although items sold by negotiation in this manner are not covered by eBay buyer’s protection as they are treated as private sales).
There is also a ‘buy it now’ category on eBay. With this category the seller sets how the amount they want for their product and you can buy that item straight away (much like shopping on amazon). However, even with these items you can still haggle! You can do this by messaging the seller and asking if they’ll be open to an offer. Many sellers will be happy to take offers on ‘buy it now’ items if they’ve been listed for a while and not had any interest. However, be warned that any items purchased by messaging the seller and striking a deal with them in this manner will be treated as a private sale and not covered by eBay buyer’s protection.
The final category is the ‘buy it now with best offer’ category. I think this a brilliant category. Here the seller states how much they’d like for their product but is also signaling that they’re happy to negotiate on the page. You can submit an offer (up to a maximum of three) and see if they accept it. So if you see the item you want but the price is too high then make an offer. You’d be surprised at how often they get accepted. I’d always advise opening the negotiation with a low offer (but not too low as to appear insulting). I tend to offer 50% less than the buy it now price and see where I end up.
The best sellers on eBay will list not just the size of an item that’s on the label (e.g S, M, L, etc.) but will also measure the item and put the measurements in the listing. I now know from this that if an item is listed with a pit to pit measurement that I can double this to get the chest size. If a listing doesn’t have this in then don’t be afraid to message the buyer and ask if they can get their measuring tape out! If the seller ignores you or isn’t prepared to do this then move on. There’s a lot of people selling clothes on eBay so you’ll find what you want from someone else.
One thing that not everyone knows is that you can earn cashback on your eBay purchases through the website Top Cashback. Every purchase I make on eBay goes through Top Cashback and although they don’t pay a fortune over the course of the year it can add up to a nice amount. If you’re interested in signing up to Top Casback you can do it here
Finally – there’s a lot of choice on eBay so don’t worry if you miss out on the item you wanted. Within a day or two the chances are that you’ll see the same or a similar item listed so don’t despair if you miss out. This choice also means that you can pick and choose which sellers you buy from as well. There are a lot out there so stick with the onese with good feedback. Don’t gamble needlessly just because you’ve fallen in love with an item.
Other cheap options for buying clothes:
The internet does offer other alternatives to eBay for buying clothes. Apart from the major brands and shops having online websites offering their wares you could also try the Facebook marketplace, sphlock and vinted. There are online retailers using these sites who take payments via PayPal etc. although I’d advise using them to look for items for sale in your local area that you can go and see and try on in person. This is because items sold via these sites are treated as private sales so you don’t have as much protection as you do when using eBay. Another alternative for buying clothes used to be charity shops. However, charity shops are now wise to the power of eBay and so many of the best items they receive get put straight on eBay. So online is definetly the way forward!
So there you have it. Some hints and tips for buying the clothes you want without breaking the bank. In fact many of the tips I’ve put for using eBay can apply to eBay transactions in general. Have you ever bought clothes online and had any positive/negative experiences? If so let me know in the comments below or on the Money Mental community hub.
Thanks for reading 🙂