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Rare Item Buying Guide

Shopping online is great for finding rare or unique items. With access to so many retailers there is a good chance that one of them is selling what you're looking for. However, it may be hard finding exactly which retailer has the products and you may end up lost in a sea of bad searches. Never fear, Savvy Shopping will help you find that perfect 1956 widget.

Your first stop should be Ebay or another auction site. Think of Ebay as a garage sale for the entire country. Everyone has stuff they no longer want, and they put it on Ebay. There are also many small retailers who virtually do all their business on Ebay. What they typically do is buy items from wholesalers for wholesale prices and then resell the items on Ebay for very little markup.

Many of you may be apprehensive about buying from an auction site, but believe me they are safer than you think. The system of peer review or "Feedback" that most auction sites employ allows you to get a good idea of how trustworthy a seller is. If they have delivered as promised to hundreds of people in the past, then chances are they'll deliver to you too. Additionally, if you do get ripped off, the big sites will offer free insurance, and if you pay with your credit card you may have another way to get your money back. Just make sure that you document everything when completing an auction purchase - because you can never be too careful.

If you cannot find what you're looking for at an auction site, try Google. Google is the world's leading search engine, their site is clean, fast, and they offer relevant results. Your first step can be to simply type in what you're looking for and search. You will get a list of web pages, but they might not all be what you want. I've found that clicking on the "image" tab at the top of the search results makes finding what I'm looking for easier. This allows you to search for images, and so like browsing a catalog, you can look through all of the images until you see the exact product you're after.

Many times small retailers will share a manufacturer and by doing searches like this you can find the exact same product at a different retailer for less. This is especially true with those small "gift" catalogs.

Google has also launched a new service called Froogle. This service is like a giant catalog for thousands of merchants. You can search for items and then order results by things like price. Froogle can help you find the best deal for a wide variety of items, and of course it can help you find those hard to find items as well.

This article was written by Chris Beasley.