THERE’S no denying that December is an expensive time of year.
But add a pandemic into the mix with all the Christmas present shopping and it’s hardly surprising that so many of us are feeling the pinch this festive season.
Well if you’re dreading the thought of looking at your bank balance come January, then you might want to take a leaf out of this thrifty mum’s book.
Savvy mum-of-two Maria, from Essex, has shared her top budget-friendly tips on the Instagram account This Mum Saves Money – and revealed how she NEVER pays full-price for clothing.
Smart clothes shopping
In December 2018, Maria challenged herself to only buy new clothes from charity shops – and she was so successful, she’s kept it up all this year too.
Earlier this year, Maria revealed how she managed to bag an outfit worth £116 for just a tenner.
Posting a photo of her effortlessly chic pretty top and jeans combo, the mum wrote: “New outfit head to toe charity shop purchases..total cost £10 exactly!”
While the Tommy Hilfiger wedge heels would have ordinarily set her back £80, Maria bought them for just over £5.
What’s more, she also bagged a brand new pair of New Look jeggings for £1.50 while her Dorothy Perkins polka dot top was only £3.
After visiting one of her favourite shops Farleigh Hospice, Maria spent another £10 on a whole new outfit to wear on Christmas Day – consisting of a £1 tartan skirt, £3 red turtleneck knit and £6 suede boots from Sketchers.
She wrote: “I have good branded, good quality clothing. Not only have I saved clothing going to landfill, helping the environment. But I’ve supported charities buying from them. And saved heaps of money!”
And rather than shoving old clothes to the back of the wardrobe like the rest of us, Maria puts her kids’ hand-me-downs up for sale eBay – and has bagged some real bargains through it too.
In October, she wrote: “I don’t just sell my kids outgrown belongings on eBay…I sourced these brand new M&S gorgeous leather boots for my little girl with a tag price £30. My eBay winning auction price just of just £9!”
Maria’s Charity Shop Tips:
- Go regularly to keep tabs on new stock
- Talk to staff – they might have want you want in the stockroom
- Take your time browsing – you might miss a bargain if you’re rushing
- Don’t be afraid to look in the men’s section – sometimes women’s clothes get put there too
- Check the item for damage – and know you can easily replace a missing button or small hole
Slash food bill in half
Unsurprisingly, Maria is pretty savvy when it comes to her food shopping too.
The mum uses money-saving apps such as Shopmium UK, Checkout Smart and GreenJinn to get cash back on her monthly shop.
Recommending her 39,000 followers take a look at the Checkout Smart App, Maria wrote: “They offer big savings and often freebie groceries.
“You buy in-store, upload the receipt and claim the saving back via Paypal.
“BUT they also have a min payout of £5 and also payouts under £20, they charge a five per cent fee. Over £20 it’s free to withdraw.”
The website shows customers which items are currently on sale in a range of supermarkets – including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco.
The discounts which are available to shop are at least a third off while others are better than half price.
Thrifty Storage Hack
Thanks to Stacey Solomon, we’ve become obsessed with creating storage solutions in every cupboard in our home.
But Maria has proved you don’t need to order any pricey plastic boxes to keep your cupboards neat and tidy.
Instead, she uses old fruit containers and laundry capsule boxes to store her children’s snacks and art supplies.
“It didn’t cost me a penny, I re-used, I recycled,” she wrote. “The space is now well organised, I can easily see every product at a quick glance to write a shopping list. No more over buying!”
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