1. Keep Watch: There is no need to blow your wad immediately. Amiright? If you know you want to bid on something, add it to your Watch List, and lie in wait. Don't get in the game until you need to. Let the plebeians fight it out in the very beginning. You're smart enough to know that you have 4d8h left in this battle.
2. Get Low: When you do bid, do not—we cannot stress this enough—do not immediately bid the maximum amount you're willing to pay. We promise you there is someone out there willing to pay more. Start with your minimum bid and let the rest of the auction dictate how much and when you'll bid. Keep reading.
3. Know Your Enemy: Are you dealing with a professional? Someone seasoned in the eBay arts (with piles of cash) who thinks you're David to their eBay Goliath? If each time you bid, you're instantly outbid by someone else, you've got a fighter. Stop bidding for a bit (until the end of the auction), and let them think they've scared you off. They haven't.
4. Go Mobile: The advent of the eBay mobile app was nothing short of a miracle. Download it. Learn it. It is your friend, and it will save your ass on many occasions. It means you won't have to miss a minute of the action on your laptop should you have to run to an appointment. Or, like, pee.
5. Stay Alert: The number one reason why we lose eBay auctions is that we completely forget when they are ending. The magic happens in the last 60 seconds of these things, and if you don't actually know when those 60 seconds are, you're going to lose. Set an alarm, use Post-It notes, do whatever you need to do to focus on the task at hand. Forgetfulness is not an option.
6. Kill, Kill, Kill: In the last 60 seconds of the auction, keep your eyes open! Know your absolute maximum bid, and place your bids against competitors fiercely, in small increments toward that maximum. The refresh button is your best friend at this time. If, with 15 seconds left, you're outbid, bid that absolute maximum amount (only you can know how far you're willing to go), and hope that there is no one as interested in that DVF coat as you are. It's your best strategy, and it just might work.
7. Pay Immediately: Once you've effectively demonstrated your auction-winning prowess, say thanks to the eBay gods and pay for your item immediately. It breeds good karma.
See you in the searches, kids.
Auction image via shadowfoxstone