I only bid on things I really want, and establish how much I'm willing to pay before I bid. If there's a buy it now price that's within my limit, I just buy the thing. Otherwise, I'll put in my maximum bid and let ebay handle it for me. I usually wait until the last couple of hours before I place my first bid, but I've occasionally just placed a bid when I first saw an item because I didn't want to come back later to bid on it. Both sniping and proxy bidding depend on your maximum bid, so they're going to keep you out of trouble with bidding wars. I've never payed more than I thought I should have yet. In fact, I'm sending a guy $30 extra because I got a watch last week for $50 that I was willing to go as high as $150 for. Was fully prepared to spend the $150 I budgeted for the watch (a like new condition 1986 Sieko that sold originally for $285), so even though it sounds stupid, I mailed the seller another $30 after I got the watch. Nobody else bid on it, I have no idea why.