I had really good luck with eBay this week. I bought two bras in brands I’ve never tried, but both were under $15 (shipping included!), so I figured I couldn’t lose. One hasn’t arrived yet since it was shipped from the UK, but the other (a Fantasie smoothing tee shirt bra) literally has the best-fitting cups I’ve ever worn! I wish Fantasie made 28 bands, because then everything would be perfect, but I can live with the 30 and will just sew it tighter if it stretches out too much over time.

I’ve also had lots of luck in the past. When a bra I love is sold out or discontinued, I can almost always find it on eBay for months, if not years, later. It can also be one of the cheapest places to buy less common sizes and usually has a good selection, since it’s culling product from all over the world. If you’re low on cash but desperately need new undergarments, eBay is the place to go. So this week I’m going to share my eBay bra-buying tips.

Tip #1. The best possible thing you can do prior to browsing is to know your size. Get properly fitted! But if you’re trying a new brand or don’t have a good fitter anywhere near you, you’re not out of luck….

Tip #2. Take advantage of the return policy. Many eBay bra sellers have excellent return policies. The one time I absolutely had to send back a bra, the seller refunded all my money, shipping fees and all, no questions asked. At first I felt bad, but then someone told me that most bra sellers are actually companies, not individual people. So it’s not really hurting their bottom line and isn’t an inconvenience for them. You do still have to pay the return shipping (and I recommend paying the 85 cents extra for delivery confirmation to ensure there’s no funny business), but the cost of shipping one bra from the US to the UK is usually only a few dollars.

Tip #3. Speaking of the UK, make sure you look at the international sellers. Just because your country (in my case, the US) may not offer the European brands we all love, doesn’t mean you have to go without. If ebay.com’s international sellers aren’t enough, try the British site directly, ebay.co.uk. Or if you speak a foreign language (or are handy with Google Translate), try other countries too. Here’s a list of all the world’s url roots: http://www.iana.org/domains/root/db/. Just be sure your seller of choice ships to your location before bidding.

Tip #4. Use the “Saved Search” feature. If there is a brand and/or size that you know you love and know fits you perfectly, you can save that search phrase and eBay will email you daily or weekly with new listings. Type in your search criteria (“Freya 28FF” or even just “28FF,” for example). You may need to narrow down the category by selecting “Women’s Clothing” from the left column. Then at the top of the page, next to the spot where your search phrase appears, select “save search.” Now you’ll be the first to know when bras in your size go up for sale. The emails eBay sends give you a photo, item name, price, and time remaining to the end of the sale. It’s far more convenient than checking eBay every day. And remember to do it on the British (or other country) site too.

Happy hunting!