Just bid the maximum you are willing to pay the first time. Problem solved.
If someone outbids you than so be it.
That would be great, and thats the way it SHOULD be if it was an invisible auction. Each person makes one bid, there are no updates, and at the end of the auction, whoever bid the most wins the item.
But with the auction updating, and another person being able to continuously increase their bid to the point where they can see exactly what you bid and beat that bid, bidding 'the max your willing to pay' is the worst thing you can do. #1, you've just knocked the price up to that maximum price, and #2, Anyone who decides they want that item, can just keep increasing their bid till they see that they've outbid you. All you've done by bidding the maximum your willing to pay is just basically handed your money to the seller.
When you see something you say to yourself hmmm I'd like that item for as cheap as possible... but I'm willing to pay XXXX amount IF it gets up to that point. If you just go ahead and put up XXXX to start with, you've basically just paid that for the item... basically nullifying any reason for having an auction to begin with. The only way that is going to work to your benefit is if it turns out no one else wants that item, AND the seller happens to be honest and isn't going to use an alternate account, or a friends account to jack that price up. All your doing by bidding your maximum is just handing that amount to the seller.
Thats what people are saying in this thread. The way the AH works now, the only way to not hand the entire 'purse' to the seller is to snipe it. People coming back and saying just bid the maximum your willing to pay don't have a clue as to how auctions work. That is giving a huge advantage to the seller. If AH's worked that way in real life, there wouldn't be any auctions because no one would be interested.