Tag Archives: Second-hand

When is cheap a waste of money?

‘You get what you pay for’, so the saying goes. But is this always true? Does spending more guarantee better quality or are you wasting your cash? Will you live to regret buying cheaply?

When it comes to new furniture, I think it is likely. Cheap flat packed stuff rarely stands much family wear and tear. However, good quality second hand items are a whole different ball game. An old but solid wooden wardrobe can be painted to fit in with your decor, chairs can be cleaned or re-covered, and a sanded pine table can be a thing of joy to last and last. 

I frequently pick up designer dresses to sell on eBay and I have been shocked at just how shoddy some of these are. When you consider that they cost hundreds of pounds new they should be top quality.  I buy basic vests and t-shirts from cheap shops and market stalls sometimes but they don’t wash well or last long. I prefer second hand decent quality finds from eBay, charity shops and boot sales. I go for Marks and Spencer, Monsoon, Phase Eight and Laura Ashley if I can find them as they are well made with good fabrics that wash well.

With food you get what you pay for up to a point. I don’t like really cheap baked beans, but I’m happy with supermarket own brands. However, the vegetables I can buy on offer in Aldi or Lidl don’t taste any different to the more expensive ones in the bigger supermarkets. My taste buds aren’t sophisticated enough to to detect the difference between decent supermarket teabags and the premium brands. 

I have written many times about the racket that is the makeup and toiletry market. With the most expensive brands I really believe you are paying for the marketing and packaging. Sprinkle a bit of pseudo-science in an advert and some people will believe anything. Really cheap shampoo is usually a mistake, but again the supermarket brands are pretty good. 

It is always worth trying cheaper when you are on a budget but you don’t have to give up on quality.  What do you think? Is expensive always better?

How to save money on clothes

I wasn’t surprised to read in Good Housekeeping that the average UK woman spends around £600 a year on clothes. I know quite a few who spend a lot more than that! I was quite shocked to find in the same article that women’s wardrobes also contain around £300 of clothes that never get worn. I addressed this in my Great Wardrobe Challenge post a few months back. 

I don’t spend anything like this amount. Last year the items  I purchased new were as follows:

 One pair of leather boots, reduced from £60 to £14.40.

Several vests in assorted colours from Primark, about £15.

3 long sleeved black tops, also from Primark, about £12.

A Wallis top, my one extravagance, bought with a 20% discount for £25.

One pair of black suede loafers, £20.

Some socks and underwear, around £25.

Mr S also  bought me a pair of Next jeans as part of my Christmas present, but I won’t count those towards my total.

A blue lace blouse from eBay, £6. 

I honestly can’t remember buying anything else new. I did make several second-hand purchases, including some tops, skirts, a cardigan, shoes and more jeans from charity shops and boot sales. I would estimate I spent about £40 on these, so a grand total of £111.40. I never look like a tramp – I’m sure my friends would tell me if I did 😀. If you need to save money you can easily do so by hitting the boot sales – the time to do this in the UK  is right now! Boot sale season is underway.

The article also said that families are spending more than ever before on their children’s clothes: an average annual figure of almost £800 per child! I was fortunate in that mine were more than happy to wear used clothes and hand me downs, and never demanded expensive designer brands. Now that they are all independent they all buy far too many clothes in my view, but are still savvy bargain hunters!

We also all sell items we no longer use on eBay if they are in good condition.

If you are trying to budget and save money, first take a long look at what you have. If you don’t wear it, sell or donate it. Then consider what you actually need. Don’t buy stuff just for the sake of it, even if it is secondhand. Consider quality used items of clothing rather than new. If you have to buy new, take advantage of the sales. 

It is also worth checking eBay for new items. I wanted a Zara coat a few years ago. It was £120 in the shop but I found  exactly the same one for £70 brand new. The same with some leather Hotter boots. £135 in the catalogue: I got mine for £50 online!

Finally, look after your clothes and footwear. I keep mine for years. I don’t launder them every time I wear them unless they are actually dirty as they diminish with each wash, and I keep my shoes and boots clean and polished. 

How much do you spend? How do you save money on clothing?

Happy Easter and welcome to my new site!

I have moved my site over to what I am told is a more flexible version of WordPress. At the moment it is a work in progress so the appearance might change every now and again as I experiment. Truth be told, I am not a techie and it is all Greek to me! Save me to your favourites 😀.

Boot sale bargains

I dragged Mr S up early and out to the boot sale this morning. It was freezing, but the sun eventually came out and it was nice when we managed to get out of the wind. The first boot sale was disappointing with very few traders. I found a couple of items but we decided to move on fairly quickly. The second sale was much better – still fairly small scale but it is the start of the season.

More bargains!

I found a nice pair of yoga pants, a warm hooded jumper, some brand new wooly tights and a very pretty lacey cornflower blue jumper from next. I also picked up some lovely dresses to sell on eBay.
 Boot sales are great for plants too. I bought some primroses – you can’t go wrong at 50p a pot. I would have got some fruit and veg too as it was excellent value but we already have plenty. No point in buying bargains if they go to waste.
We arrived home just as the rain came down, thank goodness. We did have some fine weather on Good Friday and we managed to do some work on the garden. I hit the weeds before they got established! I will plant a few more seeds next weekend.

We are off to my mum and dad’s to have Sunday lunch cooked for us now. It’s so lovely to have a four day weekend. I could do with that every week – how productive I would be!

Have a lovely Easter Sunday whatever you are doing and whatever the weather.

It’s all go at Shoestring Cottage

cakesWe have had a lot of fun this morning piping icing onto the cupcakes ready for the big Sweet Sixteen party tonight, making sausage rolls and pizzas and finishing off the sweetie trees. As you can see, my healthy eating won’t be starting until next week. I can’t do it surrounded by unhealthy carbs!!!

sofaIn the midst of all the madness, a truck arrived with the sofa and bed I bought the other day in the charity shop. I am very pleased with the sofa as it is so comfy! I am sitting on it as I type.  I wasn’t sure it would go with my duck egg blue walls but I think it does. There is nothing quite like a bargain to give you a warm glow of satisfaction. I need a matching three seater now. 


Furniture Bargains!

We are fortunate to have three charity furniture shops locally, and I have found some excellent quality bargains in them over the years. I prefer to buy good solid second-hand items than new cheap stuff that falls apart in no time.

On Saturday I drove DD1 round to the nearest as she wanted a new bed. We found a lovely double with a very clean mattress for £65. She doesn’t like the idea of a used mattress but honestly it looks perfect, so I think she will use it for the time being.

Whilst I was in there I spotted a pretty little two seater sofa. My current sofa looks ok, but is actually the least comfy chair you can imagine. As it was £60 and they said they could deliver both items for £10 I went for it! It is a yellowy cream colour and my lounge is duck egg blue but I will chuck a throw over it to make it blend in!

I will now have to look out for a similar looking three seater and get rid of the current one but that will have to wait until I can afford it.

It’s all systems go preparing for DD3’s sweet 16 party on Saturday! I have made lots of cup cakes but can’t ice them until Saturday morning. It will be a busy day 🙂image

The Joy of Swishing

A few years ago I was invited to a ‘swishing’ party. I was concerned That my friend was luring me into some kind of dubious practice, but upon further investigation it seemed that swishing was an actual thing!

Basically she was hosting a clothes swapping party. We all took some decent quality items along and had a look through the rails to see if we fancied anything others had brought along. We drank lots of wine and had a good old gossip. It cost very little, we all went home with some new (to us anyway) items of clothing, and it was fun.

Now it seems swishing has gone viral. There are websites listing events, and others where you can advertise your clothes, and get credits to spend if somebody ‘buys’ them. I think it is a brilliant idea however you do it.

Here are a few good sites:

www.swishing.com: Advertises events all around the UK. Quote: “Save money, save the planet, have a party: swishing effortlessly touches all of these buttons. Swishing parties are for all those women who want to combine glamour, environmental protection and frugality.”

www.swishing.co.uk . They say: “you get virtual money credits for the items you send us, credits you can immediately use to order any item on the site – no waiting, no haggling, no missing out on those items you love … all items on Swishing.co.uk are already in stock and quality checked, just waiting to be sent to you!”

www.SwishingParties.com “aims to be the definitive guide for women looking for a swishing party in their town. Also if you are looking to promote a swishing party, you can list it on SwishingParties.com for FREE!”

I am going to give this a go and try the on-line swapping. I have a mass of stuff in the loft to Ebay so some of it will be swished instead!

eBay Bargains

I have mentioned before that I love a bargain and I am definitely not too proud to wear secondhand clothes. At this time of year the boot sale season is a long way away, and I have no time to peruse the charity shops or fight my way through the Christmas shoppers. However, I am desperately short of decent work skirts at the moment so, having a few minutes spare before work this morning, I thought I would have a quick look at eBay. I didn’t expect to find much on there. But to my great surprise there were lots of nice looking skirts in my size coming to the end of auction with no bidders! Maybe this is the time to buy – everyone else is out Christmas shopping! I put very small bids on two skirts and have just found that I have won them both. With postage I paid £4 for a nice quality Marks and Spencer skirt and £4.50 for a fancy looking one from Spirit.

Let’s hope they fit me after a the Christmas cheer!