How I Got Paid Money to Buy a Playstation Vita

I’ve always been a deal junkie. Thrift stores and flea markets have evolved into mostly craigslist and ebay, but the deal hunting has never stopped. I’m going to relate my most recent experience of getting paid to buy a Playstation Vita. I should say PS VitaS, since this process involved multiple purchases, but let’s keep things simple for now.

Ebay can be a goldmine for buying games and systems, but only if you know how to use it. The quickest, easiest thing you can do to find the best deals is to use the Buy It Now option while searching for “newly listed.” The reality of auction sites nowadays is that everyone knows about them, and therefore the “deals” become less of a deal as more and more people bid on them. Of course, there is an exception to this; if your item is fairly rare and doesn’t often appear on ebay, then you may be forced to take this conventional auction approach. But if your desired item has decent representation on Ebay, then I would use the BIN strategy.

Ideally, you can use both approaches to your advantage. I’ve already described how to use BIN, but auctions are a different story. Here, what you’ll look for is items that have vague descriptions, or that end are really odd times. This means you may have to broaden your search criteria, but it can really pay off.

Another consideration is trends for when prices rise and fall overall on ebay. I remember reading an article that cited research that prices tend to elevate in the middle of the week, and decrease during the weekend. Presumably, this is because people are out doing things during the weekend instead of sitting at home staring at their computer, but the reason isn’t important: What’s important is that it’s generally true. So when I sell, I list so that my auction will end on a Wednesday, and when I buy I pay extra attention on the weekends, especially late at night.

Finally, knowing how expensive things are makes all the difference. If you don’t realize how much it costs, then someone else will, and they’ll snatch up that BIN before you can think twice. Know your market!

So, to the question at hand: How did I get paid to buy a Vita?

My first purchase was through searching for “Vita” using my most often effective method of BIN and newly listed. I thought white models looked better than black at the time, hence I refined to “white vita.” Anyone who works at a computer can perform this search regularly: Just have a separate window open with the search parameters selected, and periodically (I usually do once every hour or two) just re-click “search.” It’s quite simple and very effective in my experience.

I eventually had a BIN option pop up with a nice folio case ($50 new on Amazon), a white oled model, a 16gb card, and Uncharted for $150. As white oled vitas are always more expensive then their black counterparts (probably because they were produced in smaller quantities), this was a good deal, and I completed the BIN and had my new unit in about a week. Not a bad start!

However, I found I really didn’t like the feel of the oled version as much as I thought that I would. The buttons sunk in like I’m pressing a wet noodle, especially the L/R buttons. The start and select were hard to press, as was the volume buttons.

Next time I was at a Gamestop, I talked to the manager about vitas for a bit and he let me try his new version. It was like night and day. You can see my article about why I liked the newer vita better, but the short story is that it’s better in every way except for the screen. However, the screen wasn’t a deal breaker given all the other positives, so I began my search for another vita, this time the newer model.

I found a newer version of the vita by simply searching for “Vita” and “newly listed” under the consoles category. However, it wasn’t labeled as the new model, and it had a fairly fuzzy picture, to the point where you had to look really close to see if those select and start buttons were ovular (old model) or circular (new model). Through closer examination I found that it was the newer model. The auction had the added benefit of ending around 11pm at night on the west coast, so it was unlikely that most of the country would stay up to bid in the wee hours of the morning. I followed the auction, and ended up paying $81 for a new version of the vita, including an 8gb memory card and charging cable.

Now, using this approach, because of the bad pictures I couldn’t tell if there were any scratches on the screen, and I ended up with a newer vita that had a few very faint scratches on the screen. Even though I couldn’t see any of the scratches with the screen turned on, I had good success buying the last two models, so I went on the hunt for a perfect condition newer model vita. Now is the winter of my discontent…or something…I just wasn’t happy with it.

So, I began the search for a new vita. At this point, I have already sold my first vita for $220 on Ebay. Admittedly, that included a bit more than the original auction – I threw in Little Big Planet Vita, WipeOut 2048, MLB 12 The Show, and the cradle. I kept Uncharted. Still, I was pretty happy with the exchange. At this point, my investment looks like the following:

Original purchases: -$150 for system/Uncharted, -$11 for LBP, -$4 for MLB The Show, -$6 for WipeOut 2048, and -$13 for the cradle.
Net: -$184

Sold white Vita, MLB, LBP, WipeOut, and cradle: $220
Net: +$36

Bought newer vita model/charger: $81
Net: -$45

At this point, things are looking pretty good. I’ve spent $45 to buy a newer version of the vita, and it’s in pretty good shape, and I’m ready to play. But those scratches slowly ate away at me, until I just decided I’d keep an eye out for another deal…just in case. Boy did I find one.

Using the newly listed BIN approach, I ended up buying a like new newer model Vita for $184. Expensive, right? Well, the catch is that this came with a 64gb card, an 8gb card, AND the same deluxe folio case I got with my original purchase. As I knew that the 64 gb card tends to go for about $90, this ended up being quite a deal.

Great deal or not, there simply isn’t enough Vita games for me to fill up a card that size, so I put it up for sale and collected a quick $87. I then sold the second Vita I had bought (with faint scratches on the screen) with the folio case from the final version I bought, and included an 8gb card. That went for $164, so at this point my investment looks like this:

Original purchases: -$150 for system/Uncharted, -$11 for LBP, -$4 for MLB The Show, -$6 for WipeOut 2048, and -$13 for the cradle.
Net: -$184

Sold white Vita, MLB, LBP, WipeOut, and cradle: +$220
Net: +$36

Bought newer vita model/charger: +$81
Net: -$45

Bought newer vita in better condition with 64gb card: -$184
Net: -$229

Sold newer vita with faint scratches/charger: +$164
Net: -$75

Sold 64gb card: +$87
Net: +$12

Admittedly, I had some luck, and I also had a collection of stamps given to me that allowed me to ship for free, thus my decision to not detract those costs. Still, there’s some good tactics here that can, at the very least, help you get a lot more for your money. To recap, I bought a like-new PS Vita 2000 with 16gb, charger, and Uncharted…for a net gain of $12. And now you can too!

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