Four Common Mistakes New Bidders Make – and How to Fix Them
Written by Another Satisfied DealDash Bidder
Penny bidding at Deal Dash can be one of the best ways to find great products at unbelievable discounts of up to 85% or even 95% off retail. Nearly everyone bidding at DealDash.com visits the site after seeing an ad showing someone buying a monster flat-screen TV for under a hundred dollars or an iPad for less than twenty. Those deals do exist. For real. But with an increasing number of people entering the world of penny bidding, winning big takes practice and smart-bidding skills.
If you’re new to the world of penny bidding (new meaning you’ve been bidding for less than five months), there’s a good chance you find yourself repeatedly out of bids with nothing to show for your investment. If that describes you, the bad news is that you suck at penny auctions. The good news is you can change that, starting today.
This is the first part in a series about the most common reasons new bidders fail at penny auctions and how you can turn your luck around by bidding smarter.
YOU LACK FOCUS. You visit the home page. Buy a bid package – a small one. You browse the auctions for a few minutes. No, you didn’t take time to read the tips. But suddenly bidding on that hot surround-sound system, laptop, oh, oh and that 51” Plasma Television looks like a great idea. Many novice bidders jump into three, four or more auctions at once. They load up their bid-buddies and try to win a laptop, television, stereo, and DSLR — at the same time. After all, how hard can it be? Playing multiple auctions can be exciting but if you don’t have a plan, a budget – and a focused desire for each auction, it’s easy to drain your account faster than you can dig out your credit card and buy more bids — at full price.
THE SOLUTION: Check upcoming auctions and make a list of the things you really want or need. Then spend at least one hour studying the list of wins for the times and dates those items sold for the least amount. Then wait for those days and times and only bid on the items you can afford one at a time and “afford” means items you’re willing to pay full price for if you lose the auction. Don’t get distracted by every shiny new camera or tablet auction that opens, hoping for that easy win. Yes they happen. But your chances of winning an auction and getting a decent discount are bigger than paying one cent for a television. There are other bidders out there waiting for you to get exhausted and bid-depleted. Throwing a few individual bids at a laptop that has four or twenty people with loaded bid-buddies waiting for you to become depleted means throwing your bids away. Choose what you want to bid on. If it’s a “No Jump Auction,” place one bid before the auction price reaches $3.00 or it’s too late to get in on it. Then bid on that and only that item after watching how that auction progresses and how many people got in before the “No-Jump” Timer expired. (“No Jump” auctions mean after the price of the item being auctioned reaches either $3.00 or $5.00, only those who have made at least one bid can participate in that auction.) Whether you’re an athlete, stock investor or penny bidder, a tip to being a winner is concentrated focus instead of depleting and scattering your energy.
YOU PAY TOO MUCH FOR YOUR BIDS: Paying full retail for your bids is one of the surest ways to lose money. It’s also totally nonessential. Deal Dash often has sales on bids for as low as 13 cents each. If you purchase too small of a bid package and have to scramble and purchase bids at the last minute to stay in the game or if you pay full price for all your bids and someone else bought their bids on sale, they can bid three times as long as you for the same cost. You can complain all you want about how they’re paying too much, but the reality is: they’re not paying one penny more than you are. If you’re not careful, you can win the auction but lose money on the item. News: that’s not a win.
THE SOLUTION: buy a few bids to get yourself started, then, either win more bids in the auctions or watch for sales and specials and buy the bulk of your bids then. If you have the budget, buy more than a month’s worth of bids during the sales so that you won’t run out mid-month or worse yet, mid-auction and find yourself forced into paying full-price.
YOU LACK EXPERIENCE. Yes, you can win a home theater system for pennies on the dollar, but probably not in your first auction. Like anything else, being a successful bidder takes time and experience. That’s why some auctions are smarter choices for new bidders. Before trying for that $2,000 Apple laptop, go for that hundred dollar gas card. It’s not as exciting as the Big Win but saving money is smart no matter where you save it. If you lose a gas card auction, you’ll still walk away a winner by exercising the “Buy It Now” (BIN) option. DealDash will refund every bid you used and you spent your money there buying something you would have bought anyway – gas for your car. One hundred dollars of gas is one hundred dollars you would have spent on gas anyway. Develop your biding skills on those kinds of auctions and before long there’s a good chance you’ll be buying your gas for fifty cents on the dollar and that’s smart.
THE SOLUTION: Start by bidding on smaller auctions and bidding on items you would buy anyway. Gift cards for Target and Wal-Mart, gas stations and your favorite restaurant chains are all smart auctions where you can learn the ins and outs of penny bidding. Remember, if you reach your budget limit, use the “Buy it Now” option and pay retail price for the gift card. If you bid on things you always buy anyway, you haven’t lost. You get your bids refunded and you’re learning to bid smarter. Try again on another smart item. When you master the smaller auctions, then – and only then – it’s time to Bid Big.
YOU DON’T HAVE A BUDGET. Penny bidding is fun. It can also eat a hole in your wallet if you don’t pay attention to how much money you’re spending. While it is possible to save big on great purchases, it’s also possible to spend a lot of money chasing a big win that turns into a loss. To keep from making a big financial mistake by spending money you can’t afford to lose, plan in advance how much you’re willing to invest in an auction. Then, keep your calculator near. Track the price of your bids plus the auction price of the item (unless it’s a “Free auction” – no price for the item, just the bid price) and then pull the plug by exercising the ‘Buy it Now’ option when you reach your budget limit. It’s smarter to pay full price for something you would pay full price for anyway that month and get your bids back than it is to throw good money after bad spending thousands of bids on an item that you have no intention of buying if you’re outbid.
THE SOLUTION: Make a budget and stick to it. Decide in advance how much you’re willing to invest in your hobby – recreational shopping — each month and how much you’re willing to risk on any particular auction. Make your budget stretch by purchasing bids when they’re on sale and using ‘Buy it Now’ on items you would normally pay full price for anyway. It may sting your ego when you let IAlwaysWin take the auction, but it will boost your budget and make you the person who always wins.
Penny auctions are an exciting way to shop for everyday purchases and for that occasional big-ticket item that you might just be lucky enough to win at a deep discount. But like any hobby, it takes time and experience to develop bidding skills and strategies. Set a budget, start small, and learn something from every auction experience. If you’re patient and bid smart, chances are good that soon you’ll pull in the big prizes and surprise friends and family with amazing gifts you purchased for pennies on the dollar and a few hours’ time spent in front of your computer.