My Charity Shop Haul

Miss Thrifty8 June 17, 2012

miss thrifty recently sent some bloggers, including me, a pre-paid credit card with £100 on it. Nice, huh? The brief was to see what bargains we could find. By rights I should have taken to this challenge like a duck to water. But in truth, I was stumped for a while. Since Thrifty Baby came along, our finances have been streamlined and carefully managed. There isn’t much breathing space, but we have everything we need. I don’t have much to splurge with, but neither do I have much to splurge on. Also, I haven’t been doing much shopping lately, as work and baby don’t leave much breathing space either.

And so, as potty as this sounds, the other bloggers all spent their £100s weeks and weeks ago, while I wandered around with a pre-paid credit card burning a hole on my wallet, not quite sure what to do with it. Ideally I’d have bunged it straight into the bank, but that didn’t seem to be in the spirit of the challenge…

I cranked into action eventually, and I’m going to set out what I did with that £100 in four separate posts over the coming days. Inspired by a Twitter conversation, I decided to begin with charity shops.


thrift shopping

This cotton top, from Next, was practically unworn.  The polka dot skirt, from H&M, is great over leggings. I’ve been living in it.

Charity Shop Bargains

It’s difficult to tell from the photos, but that’s a green and white polka dot top. It’s from Marks & Spencer, and it’s pretty – a steal for £3.00. The coat is from Debenhams, and is in perfect nick. (Actually, there’s a similar mac on the Debenhams website for £40.00 – which isn’t bad either.) Both of these items came from our local hospice shop. Also, I forgot when I was labeling up this photo, but I also picked up a pair of soft leather gloves there, for £5.00. I didn’t think I’d be needing those until the autumn at least – HA!  The jeans aren’t from a charity shop; they’re from Wal-Mart.

charity shop fashion

I like this dress, which was originally from Dorothy Perkins. Up close, the rose print is heavily pixellated. It’s an unusual design. And yes, that’s a good old 80s revival puffball skirt.

Oh, and the scarlet ballet pumps, in case you were wondering, are from Jones The Bootmaker. They were £29.00 in the Boxing Day sale, reduced from £49.00. You can still get them in blue, white or yellow for £35.00, in the shoe shop’s online sale. Nice, soft leather – I like them.

charity shop clothes

I picked up that Beano at a recent car boot sale. I have plans for it – more of those in a later post. Anyway, this is a Miss Selfridge top and a Hooch skirt. I’m going to get plenty of wear out of both. (Or at least, I will if the weather perks up…)

All in all, it’s not a bad haul. The total: just under £43.00. That works out at just over £10 an outfit, and I know I’ll get plenty of wear out of these purchases.

I love dipping in and out of charity shops for bargains – and when we lived in America, where the thrift shops are the size of small warehouses, I was in my element. Recently, however, chazza shop fans in the UK have been complaining that the price tags here have been hiked upwards. The need for charities to maximise their incomes, in the face of falling donations elsewhere, has been cited as a reason for this. In general, the shops have also been smartening up their acts. A lot of the old school charity shops, with their wares piled high, their tell-tale aromas and their rock-bottom prices, have been disappearing. Increasingly, shops are removing second-hand goods to make way for brand new products such as toys and accessories.

As you can see, however, even with the raised prices there are still bargains to be found. My number one tip is to rummage rummage rummage: sometimes you can get lucky by being in the right place at the right time, as I was when I found my favourite pair of Manolo Blahniks in Oxfam. But in general, it’s the hard slog that pays off.

My number two tip is to frequent the “indies”: the standalone shops for local charities such as hospices and animal sanctuaries. As you can see from the prices above, my local hospice shop was where the lowest prices were to be found. In general I find that the local indies have the best bargains. Probably because they have the fewest expensive makeovers!

Stay tuned for my full rundown of tips for finding the best bargains in charity shops. They were featured in The Times recently (oooh, get me) but the newspaper’s website is behind that dratted paywall, so I might as well spread the word by reprinting them here, for free.

I’ll also spill the beans on what I did with the remaining £58.00 on that prepaid credit card. Hmm, decisions. I’d make a terrible millionaire, wouldn’t I?



Did you enjoy this post?

Free Daily Digest

8 Responses to “My Charity Shop Haul

Jill says:

I love my local Oxfam bookshop! I have an on
going project of filling an entire bookcase with old orange Penguin books. the reason being that I want a block of different shades of orange in a particular room. Some charity shops sell these between £3 and £5 depending on condition but when I asked in my local Oxfam shop they told me they usually threw them away if they were donated because the pages were yellowed. After a little persuasion they have agreed to keep them for me. the last bag I picked up contained eleven books, all of them I was happy to read anyway and another foot of my bookcase complete. the cost £10, Bargain!

June 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Susan Albany Weir says:

Great outfits. I do so agree with you about charity shops ‘smartening up’ their act. That misses the whole point. I don’t want to go in to a proper shop. The delight of charity shops should be their randomness – the unexpected treasure etc. But then I’m a scavenger with a good eye. No doubt their new look encourages shoppers that might have been frightened off before, but us Chazzers are not impressed. As for their own new lines – who would want those anyway? I blame Saint Mary Portas.

June 18, 2012 at 7:32 am

Johnny Debt says:

Have you thought about adding a Pinterest button for you blog?

June 21, 2012 at 7:36 am

Johnny Debt says:

Miss Thrifty – Thanks for getting me out of your spam filter.

I also wanted to say that I knew a couple of people that ran businesses using charity shops.

One lady would spend lots of time searching charity shops for designer clothing. She would then spruce them up at home and then sell them on eBay. She actually made quite a few pennies from doing this.

I also knew someone else that loved jigsaw puzzles, in fact she was quite an expert on them. She would search the charity shops for rare jigsaws and but them for just a very small amount. She would then do the jigsaw, as that was part of the fun and also to make sure all the pieces were there. She would then sell them on. Because she knew her jigsaws, she would sometimes make a large profit.

June 22, 2012 at 6:03 am

Brilliant post! It is very true that charity shops are going up in quality and some of the clothes you can get in there now are fantastic! I worked out that I bought £300 worth of clothes for less than £40 from charity shops!

July 6, 2012 at 11:07 am

We are currently looking to open a charity shop in Chester but are finding it difficult cutting through the red tape. We will push on and hopefully have this in place for Summer. A great article and thanks for sharing.

August 10, 2012 at 9:30 am

Leave a reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *