I’ve been on a jones lately, looking for – and buying – craft supplies on Ebay. Purchasing your supplies this way can either be great savings or a huge rip-off. Here’s how to know the difference.
First of all, take into consideration what kind of products your looking for, and whether or not “new” or “used” means anything to you. Today I got a shipment of polymer clay products, and the some of it was considered “used.” In this case, it means that the previous owner bought the huge bottle of Translucent Liquid Sculpey, tried one project, and then never used it again. That item retails for $11.99. Do I mind if a drop or two is gone? Not really.
The rest of this particular lot was new in package (NIP to the uninitiated) and a pretty OK value. The small blocks would have retailed for $22.00 at full price, and that huge Premo log would have been $19.99. So full price, it would have been a $52.00 dollar value, which I got for $33.00.
I know, you can work the coupons and sales and get good prices too. But then you might have to make multiple trips to the store, so time and gas saved counts for something. Also, I am a big fan of combined shipping. I got a polymer clay book from this same seller for $4.50, and she threw it in for no extra shipping. My rule of thumb is that if I can get it on Ebay for less than 1/2 of the retail, I’m in.
Which brings me to a potential pitfall of E-bay: shipping. This is where you have to be judicious. I just bid on a huge lot of tools and clay cuttersâ€¦.all for the great price of $25.00. Well worth it! But the shipping was over $12.00, so I had to pass. Itâ€™s easy to get caught up in the bidding, and neglect how much that extra shipping charge will jack up the final price. If you are interested in multiple items from the same seller, make sure you send an e-mail to ask if they will combine shipping for a lower price, if itâ€™s not already stated in their selling terms. Most folks want to sell their stuff, not make money on the shipping costs.
There are also some dealers on line, who sell endlots and over-runs. This is fun, too, because they will sell in quantities. I got 6 sets of clay cutters, new in packaging (NIP for you neophytes) for $12.00. They retail for $5.50 each. Do I need 6 sets? No. But I can re-gift them to crafty friends, hand a set over to my kids, sell a few off to students, etc. You get the picture. For the price with shippng, too good to pass up.
Which brings me to my favorite Ebay search term, “lots.” Whether you’re looking for buttons, stamps, paints, or stickers, look for lots. Usually these are folks who have accumulated way too much stuff, and need to clear out their craft closet. You can find some great deals and interesting items! Just type in “craft lots” (or whatever) into the search bar, and see what comes up.
Lastly, only buy from E-bay stores if want you want is just not available any other way. Usually those prices compare with other retail stores, and usually gas is cheaper than shipping costs. And if you can’t get a good price on an item today, wait a week. New items are being listed every day….you’ll surely find a good deal sometime!
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