Mum-of-four buys Christmas presents for kids from charity shops – and saves £1,000s

Mum-of-four buys Christmas presents for kids from charity shops – and saves £1,000s

Holly Smith is the founder of the Coupon Queen website and mum to Mollie, 10, Bella, 9, Zac, 2 and Bonnie, 10 months – here is how she saves money in charity shops

Mum-of-four Holly Smith reckons she saves thousands of pounds by shopping in charity shops – and even uses them to buy Christmas presents for her kids.

Holly also manages to bag designer clothes for just a fraction of the cost by searching for goods second-hand.

It isn’t uncommon for the money-savvy mum to find brand new items in charity shops as well – saving her a fortune compared to buying brand new.

Holly is the founder of the Coupon Queen website and mum to Mollie, 10, Bella, 9, Zac, 2 and Bonnie, 10 months.

Her youngest child Bonnie had presents worth a recommended retail price (RRP) of £40 – but Holly paid just £2.50 in a charity shop.

She also paid just £1.50 for toys worth £25 for second-youngest child Zac.

Holly said: ”I save thousands by shopping in Charity shops and have found designer brands.

“I bought all the presents for my younger children from charity shops – you can find some right gems and babies don’t know the difference.

“When you buy second-hand wooden toys, you do need to disinfect them.

“I use supermarket own brand pine-disinfectant diluted in water and wipe over each toy with dishcloth. Then, I leave the toys to dry.

“When cleaning soft toys, simply place them in your washing machine, add a mild detergent and use the gentlest cycle.

“Machine drying is fine but make sure to use the low heat setting. Newer washing machines have a baby and toddler cycle. This ensures deep cleaning of the soft toys.”

As well as scooping up second-hand deals, Holly found brand new items from brands White Stuff and JoJo Mamen Bebe when shopping for her kids’ Christmas presents.

Holly recommends shoppers start scouring the charity shops now as they should’ve started to receive donations of unwanted Christmas presents.

“The best time to find these bargains is in January,” she said.

“Make a list of who you need to buy presents for – don’t forget birthdays too – and visit as many Charity shops in January as possible.

“January is also a good time to buy Christmas jumpers from charity shops. I’ve bought several

Christmas jumpers from charity shops as low as 50p each.”

Charity shops located in expensive neighbourhoods are more likely to have hidden gems, says Holly.

However, it is still worth checking your local shop even if you don’t live near somewhere pricey like London – The Mirror managed to get £400 worth of clothes for just £60 when we searched a local British Heart Foundation in Kent.

Holly added: ”We have a town called Southwold which is a 40-minute drive from my home.

“Southwold has had many celebrity 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 retailed for £800). If you’re looking for high-end designer bargains.”

She also points out how many companies donate their unsold stock to charity shops – including Amazon and Zara.

Various wedding dress designers will also donate “last season” and “off the rack” dresses to Oxfam.

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