Holly Smith is the founder of the Coupon Queen website and mum to Mollie, 10, Bella, 9, Zac, 2, and Bonnie, 10 months – here’s how she saves money at charity shops
Mum-of-four Holly Smith estimates she saves thousands of pounds by shopping at charity shops – and even uses it to buy Christmas presents for her children.
Holly also manages to pack designer clothes for just a fraction of the cost by scouting for used goods.
It’s not uncommon for the cash-saving mom to also find new items at charity shops, saving her a fortune compared to buying brand new.
Holly is the founder of queen of coupons website and mum to Mollie, 10, Bella, 9, Zac, 2, and Bonnie, 10 months.
Her youngest child, Bonnie, had gifts worth £40 at the recommended retail price (RRP) – but Holly only paid £2.50 at a charity shop.
She also paid just £1.50 for toys worth £25 for second youngest child Zac.
Holly said: ‘I save thousands of dollars shopping at charity shops and have found designer brands.
“I bought all the gifts for my youngest children from charity shops – you can find good gems and babies can’t tell the difference.
“When you buy second-hand wooden toys, you have to disinfect them.
“I use a supermarket own brand pine sanitizer diluted in water and wipe down each toy with a dish towel. Then I let the toys dry.
“When cleaning stuffed animals, simply place them in your washing machine, add a mild detergent and use the gentlest cycle.
“Tumble drying is fine, but be sure to use the low heat setting. Newer washing machines have a cycle for babies and toddlers. This guarantees thorough cleaning of the lint.
As well as doing second-hand bargains, Holly has found new items from the White Stuff and JoJo Mamen Bebe brands when shopping for her children’s Christmas gifts.
Holly recommends shoppers start browsing charity shops now, as they should have started receiving unwanted Christmas gift donations.
“The best time to find these great deals is in January,” she said.
“Make a list of people you need to buy presents for – don’t forget birthdays either – and visit as many charity shops as you can in January.
“January is also a good time to buy Christmas jumpers from charity shops. I bought several
Christmas jumpers from charity shops as low as 50p each.
Charity shops in expensive neighborhoods are more likely to have hidden treasures, says Holly.
However, it’s still worth checking your local store even if you don’t live near an expensive place like London – The Mirror managed to get £400 worth of clothes for just £60 when we searched for a local British Heart Foundation in Kent.
Holly added: “We have a town called Southwold which is a 40 minute drive from where I live.
“Southwold has had many famous residents over the years, including Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Judi Dench and Twiggy.
“A friend of mine once found a designer bag for £20 (which was selling for £800). If you’re looking for high end designer bargains.
She also points to the number of companies that donate their unsold goods to charity stores, including Amazon and Zara.
Various wedding dress designers will also be donating ‘last season’ and ‘ready-made’ dresses to Oxfam.