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Shopping for Free: Using Listia
In today's economy, everyone is trying to save a few pennies here and there, but how would you like to shop for free? Yes, it's actually possible to do. It's called Listia.
What is Listia?
Listia is a website that began in 2009 and allows members to "sell" personal items that are no longer used in exchange for credits that can be used to "buy" items wanted or needed. The website looks very similar to Ebay, but there are no fees charged for it's use (though "sellers" may ask "buyers" to pay shipping charges). The types of items that can be bought or sold are limitless. Items that can be found range from gift cards to jewelry to electronics to video games and clothing to so much more.
How Do I Use Listia?
1. The first step is to sign up for an account on the Listia website. Here's a link that can be used: http://www.listia.com/signup/32192. As soon as you sign up for an account, you will receive 400 credits that can be used to "buy" items.
2. If you connect your Listia account with your Facebook account, you will be awarded 50 credits.
3. The first time you list an item for "sale", you will be automatically awarded 100 credits. Listing an auction is simple. You click on the "list auction" tab on the top tool bar and there is a form to fill out. Often bonus offers for credits are given for such things as offering free shipping, adding a photo, or posting certain types of items.
4. After your auction is listed, people will begin to bid on the item. You can choose how many days you want the auction to last, usually 3 to 7 days. When the auction closes, the person with the highest bid wins your item and you are awarded the number of credits they bid on the item. You are then responsible for shipping the item to the customer.
5. Have fun shopping. Once you have some credits, you can begin to search for things you want. Are you looking for books, children's items, video games (I was able to get Nintendo DS games for my children for Christmas for free, some never opened), clothes, photo albums, collectibles, or any of a limitless number of other things? Do a search and start bidding.
6. If you enjoy shopping for free, invite friends. For every friend you invite that signs up, you receive 500 credits once they complete their first auction.
Tips and Hints
There are some things to remember when using Listia to make the process easier and more profitable. First, offering free shipping and posting a picture of your item will give you a better placement in the Listia lineup. Also, Listia has an option that allows a "buyer" to follow an auction so that you can track when you've been outbid and how much longer an auction has before closing. Keeping track of auctions you are bidding on will allow you a better chance to win the auction. Finally, if you are an active user of Listia by checking in to the site, listing auctions, or leaving feedback for the seller of an item you bought or the buyer of one of your items, you may be awarded bonus credits.
Another very important thing about Listia is that members are rated by other members who have business with them; therefore, it is possible to determine whether a "seller" is reliable or not. Ratings are based on percentage, so someone with a score of 100% or close to it that has had many transactions would be more reliable to work with than someone who has a lower percentage score. It is also possible to read reviews before bidding on a seller's items.
Listia is a wonderful website in which to "buy" many amazing things for yourself or gifts for others for FREE. It is an easy site to use, and if used regularly, can be quite helpful for those attempting to save money in a difficult economy.