Something New's Eleanor talks about how she changed it up this festive season and made HUGE savings on her Christmas gift buying...
I'm a total bargain-hunter. I experience pure joy at spending as little as possible on an item - eBay, Gumtree and Marketplace, that's where I find my treasures.
My love of secondhand started when I was at secondary school. My mum shopped in the charity shops on Ashley Road in Parkstone and found me some absolute gems, but back then it wasn't 'cool'. I still remember the burning shame as someone pointed out the cut-out label in my shirt (Oxfam used to cut the brand name out of the clothes they sold). In the late 90s, when sportswear and trouser-skirts were the in thing, buying someone else's cast-offs meant you were poor and unfashionable. Thankfully nowadays, it seems that things are much more relaxed when it comes to re-loving clothes, toys and household items.
Anyway, back to now.
This year I decided to do as much of my Christmas shopping from charity shops and Facebook Marketplace as I could. And here I am, 3rd of December pretty much done. And with an incredible haul too!
This month can be really tricky for families financially. Juggling the usual household bills, extra childcare over the holidays, fuel for those family visits, not to mention all the Christmas food you get through. And that's before you have bought the presents. I've seen a number of posts and articles extolling the benefits of reducing the number of gifts you give and replacing it with time together and shared experiences, and yes, I'm a great big fan of this. But. You can't deny the total joy of giving and receiving a gift. By buying pre-owned items, I can overload the Christmas cheer without getting into debt.
Here are my reasons why pre-loved is the way to go:
1) Obviously, you save money. I got a Baby Annabell doll that retails at £50 for £15. A Happyland Rocket that sells for £40 for £20 (I also got another one for my nephew for less than that!). A Ted Baker jacket for a tenner. In all, I spent £51 on my daughter. If I'd bought it all new, I'd have spent £169.
2) You don't have to put stuff together at 10.59pm on Christmas Eve. Last Christmas Eve my husband and I were up to the wee hours (ok, 11.15 but that's mega late for us) wrapping, stocking stuffing and constructing toys. Gah, even the easiest ones are annoying. Buying pre-loved means someone else has done the graft - you just have to wrap the thing (I'll concede this might be a little tricker given it's probably much larger when built, but hey, make like my mum did and chuck a throw over it :p).
3) This is a biggy — no waste. No boxes, plastic, infuriating tags screwed into the box, tiny elastic bands, nada. Good for the planet, good for your bin men. Winner.
4) Your money is helping. Be it a charity shop or a family, that £4 you buy a DVD for will have a direct impact on someone. I'm not much of a seller on Marketplace (it's quite a lot of hassle!), but the times I have, the few quid I've got has gone on family days out, towards the food shop or on new (preloved) toys.
5) Less plastic. By not buying new; you're recycling. If more and more people start making the most of secondhand goods, then the overall footprint of plastic waste will lessen.
So, that's why from now on, I'll be sticking to reloving, reusing and recycling Christmas gifts. It isn't without its cons; I scroll Marketplace ALL the time. I might actually be addicted. You do get some duds - things that aren't in as good condition as the picture led you to believe, things that are a bit grubby, that are a totally different size to what you thought (I own a great big rocking horse, a tiny occasional chair and the world's smallest vase). You can guarantee that the house you're picking up from has no house number, has random house numbering or no parking. But all in all, I love treasure hunting; the satisfaction of finding a bargain, the window shopping, the hilarious things people try and sell (half a bottle of vinegar, anyone?).
We'd love to hear about the bargains you have found!