Saving Money On Clothes Whilst Being Kind To The Planet

I’ve written a post in the past detailing how I’ve filled my wardrobe with quality clothes from well known labels for less over the years. It included tips such as browsing ex-high street clothing markets where labels are removed from garments but if you’re in the know with shops you can easily identify items or browsing eBay for stores which offer similar items. The post also touched upon buying second hand and that’s really the main focus of what I’m writing about now.

I recently discovered that the fashion industry is one of the worst offenders for waste being sent to landfill. A quick Google showed some scary statistics of £140 million of garments per year simply being dumped which I think is horrific. I discovered some people are turning their backs on the high street all together and vowing to only buy second hand in the future. I think this is admirable and after reading about this actually turned to second hand sources as my first port of call for a bit of a much needed shopping to replace holey and overworn items.

I’ve never been a big fan of having a huge quantity of cheap clothes and instead would rather have far less of better quality so have largely shunned Primark and other cheaper stores with their “fast fashion” attitude. I have absolutely no objection to shopping second hand and in fact over the years it’s saved me a lot of money and I’ve still ended up with the clothes I wanted as well as some lucky surprises and below details how it’s been done.


Using eBay to purchase second hand clothes has probably been my most successful way of adding to my wardrobe whilst saving a lot of money. It’s something that I’ve been doing for years, I took to eBay in my early teens when a Zara shirt I wanted was sold out in stores and found it for half the price worn once on eBay and never looked back. I’ve picked up items such as lightly worn dresses which RRP at £60+ for under £18 including postage. Earlier this evening I won myself a thoroughly photographed preloved cardigan of great quality which is currently selling for £49.95 in store and online for a total of £7.20 with delivery which inspired this post.

If you’re clever about your eBay shopping you can find exactly what you’re looking for and some great bargains by buying preloved. Here are some of my best tips:

  • Be really specific with your searches

For example when replacing a pair of jeans I liked I searched for exactly the same brand, waist measurement, leg length and style name thus ensuring my new purchase would fit and I’d get exactly what I was looking for. I paid £20.98 for my “new without tags” River Island jeans to be delivered to me instead of £40 in store. The previously mentioned cardigan was again a really focused search as I wanted another colour of a item I already owned.

  • Stick with brands you trust that fit you

If you know exactly what size dress you take from a certain shop and are seeking a new one this will clearly be a great place to start! This tip obviously makes your purchase less of a gamble of will it or won’t it fit if you already have 3 similar tops from a brand in your wardrobe you know you’re much guaranteed your new one will be fine.

  • Ask sellers for further photos or measurements

In some cases you may want to ask for more detailed photos to show the condition a bit better or measurements for you to check against existing items in your wardrobe.

Charity Shops

Charity shops are like the 2nd hand version of TK Maxx in that its a complete lottery of what you might find which isn’t for everyone but I really enjoy it. A couple of my favourite dresses are gems I found in charity shops, one a vintage Marks and Spencers shift dress for £9 and the other a Ted Baker little black dress for £16. The Ted dress was in fantastic condition and there’s no way I’d have had such a label in my wardrobe without second hand shopping.

In my opinion charity shops are always worth a rummage, some are better than others and you may find firm favourites to revisit. When in the mood I enjoy visiting the more expensive areas of London to browse their shops as a lot of the stock is designer which means that the price is higher than your average charity shop purchase but you’re still getting a great deal. There’s a triple bonus when buying from these shops that you’re reducing clothing waste, saving yourself money and raising money for charity all at the same time.

I often sell clothing, shoes and accessories I no longer wear on eBay, leave the money in my PayPal account and then use that to fund my new second hand clothing purchases. It keeps me on a budget and stops me spending the money I’ve earnt on normal purchases so I get a little treat for myself.

If you have any other tips on second hand shopping I’d love to hear them in the comments.

April ’19 Freebies

  • The Body Shop Moisturisers and Face Mask

The Body Shop offer free skincare consultations with samples. Some are bookable by appointment only but others you can walk in. I generally visit the shop for a consultation if my skin changes habits to trial new products. They’re very generous with their sample pots, I received a day moisturiser to last 7 days, a night moisturiser for the same length of time and a face mask which would last 3 applications. I’ve used this service a few times and never been asked for my details so haven’t felt guilty revisiting the shops to try new things again!

  • A Wardrobe’s Worth of Coat Hangers

I moved house and had no hangers so visited a few shops to ask for spares. An incredibly kind New Look shop assistant filled the entire large weekend bag I took with me with coat hangers and Debenhams gave me about 10 trouser hangers. Department stores are usually really good for giving out free hangers, shops like Next, H&M and River Island reuse them within stores so won’t give them out without purchase.

  • Rituals The Ritual Of Sakura Body Cream

I got this inside a free copy of Grazia through my work.

  • Cadbury’s Mini Eggs

I got this £1 bag for free in WH Smith thanks to an O2 Priority code.

  • Mini Easter Eggs

These were being handed out at work just before Good Friday.

  • Clarins Lip Oil

I saw via a Facebook post that Clarins had teamed up with recycling company Terracycle and they were giving out free make up minis in exchange for empty skin care or make up containers from any brand which they could recycle. I think this is a brilliant idea as it is and even better with an added freebie to get people on board! They have a small selection of 3 lip products, 2 primers and a mascara you can choose from.

  • Clarins skin care samples

The sales assistant kindly gave me these when I took part in their recycling scheme with Terracycle. I enquired about some skin concerns and was given these as an extra.

  • Lindt Easter Egg

These were being handed out in a Lindt shop I visited over the long weekend.

  • Nescafe Azera Nitro Infused Coffee Drink

These were being handed out at a train station in London one weekday and I managed to collect 2 on my morning commute.

  • Rituals Magic Touch Body Cream

I got this through the Debenhams Beauty Club. It’s a really generous 70ml size.

  • The Body Shop Coffee and Charcoal Face Masks

I picked these up in store after filling in a quick form on their website and receiving an email voucher as a result. The little pack came with a 25% off voucher for any of their 7 expert face masks

  • Clarins SOS Primer

I got this after recycling an old empty tube of lipstick as part of their Beauty Swap event in which they’ve partnered with Terracycle to recycle our old beauty packaging.

I look forward to seeing what freebies I can find next month! Please share any good tips in the comments if you have any!

Clarins x TerraCycle – free samples and product recycling scheme

For those of you who may have read my previous posts you’ll know that I love a freebie and am also a huge fan of an easily accessible recycling scheme to help reduce waste and save the planet. I’ve written on several occasions about H&M recycling old textiles in any condition to either benefit charity or make cleaning cloths and loft insulation as I think its a fantastic idea. I came across Clarins’ partnership with TerraCycle which they’re simply calling The Beauty Swap via a Facebook advert so did a little research to find out more information.

You simply visit your local Clarins counter with any skin care, make up or beauty packaging from any brand apart from aerosols, perfume or nail varnish and they will recycle them for you via Terracycle. As an incentive they’re offering free travel sized make up samples for customers who take part as well as a quick beauty consultation.

In the store I visited I had the option of 3 different lip products, a mascara or 2 primers for different skin types. I was pleased that the counter I approached made the scheme very obvious with a whole section dedicated to advertising the scheme. I chose one of their lip oils as I’ve never tried anything like it before.

Clarins are well known for being generous with their samples and whilst having a chat with the sales assistant and saying what a great idea I thought the scheme was I was also given some skin care samples to trial as an added bonus. I was informed the bag they came in was now also biodegradable and the company are really trying to improve their eco footprint over the next few years.

The scheme is running until the 4th May. I think it’s a really brilliant idea and hope lots of people support it so Clarins might consider having a permanent connection with TerraCycle.

Below is a link to their website for further details:

If you know of any other great schemes like this please let me know in the comments!

New Home: Moving Houseshare Painlessly and Fitting Out A Room Without Spending A Fortune…

I had intended to title this post simply “moving house without spending a fortune”; however, like the vast majority of people living in London what I really mean by moving house is essentially moving from one room to another within a house share. I recently posted about how to save money on rent and living costs in London (link below) and now am moving onto (pun intended) how to get from A to B whilst watching the pennies. 

Firstly just as a note I have no large items like furniture so really only had to transport bedding, clothing, technology, accessories and my miniature house plant collection.

  • When Looking To Move Search For A Well Kitted Out Flat

I intentionally asked when flat viewing about what they had in terms of kitchenware, crockery, glasses, clothes airers etc as I don’t own any of the above and if your new home has all the communal essentials it saves you a fortune. 

  • Be Nice To Your Landlord…

When I viewed the room the person living there had bought and desk to put in it which they took with them. I really wanted a table or desk to have the same set up and mentioned it to the landlord who very kindly offered to buy me one once the contract was signed. I appreciate this is a rare case but it never hurts to ask nicely! This saved me £60. 

  • Offer a friend a “favour swap” and petrol money in exchange for them being your taxi 

I looked into moving via a taxi but as some of my items were heavy like a large suitcase I wasn’t confident with loading it all into a cab by myself at either end. I was also concerned about my plants! I considered getting an Uber XL but discovered they charge for waiting time and still wouldn’t guarantee me assistance with getting things in and out the car and certainly wouldn’t have covered getting things up flights of stairs into my new home. So instead I asked a friend in exchange for petrol money and me owing her a huge favour to help me move. In the end this cost me a meal out for 2 including drinks, mains and a dessert to share for a total of £26 thanks to O2 Priority Moments in Pizza Express and I got a lovely catch up with a friend out of it too. 

Next up I looked into kitting out my room with as much for free or low cost as possible…

  • Freecycle

This is a great website where you simply type in your borough and can browse items that people are giving away for free. You just have to go and collect them. It’s great for picking up furniture, ornaments and I like the lottery of what you might find. As it’s free if you come to move again and don’t want the cost of transporting it then it’s not the end of the world to leave it behind or pop it back on Freecycle.

  • Collect free coat hangers in stores

Admittedly it did take me going in about 5 shops to suss this out but some stores will happily give you spare coat hangers for free. I knew this as I once worked in a department store which had 100s of old style hangers in the basement going to waste. I went early in the morning and took a large overnight bag with me and a wonderfully kind assistant in New Look filled the whole bag for me with really nice hangers. Debenhams kindly provided me with about 10 trouser hangers and the girl told me they always had more if I needed them. The best part about my collection is that every hanger in my wardrobe is black and virtually matching which was a happy accident!

Note: stores like H&M, Next and River Island all reuse their hangers within stores so won’t give them out without purchase. 

  • Primark

I am not Primark’s biggest fan purely because I like quality items that last but some of Primark’s stock I really can’t argue with. I bought a laundry basket for £4 and a new fitted bedsheet for £6.50.  The laundry basket could be used to move things in the future or it can easily be folded up to easily transport. 

I was happy to buy the cheaper bedsheet as I’ve ended up in a room with a kingsize bed when I’m used to a double and if I choose to move again next year I highly doubt I’ll find a kingsize bed again! My total bill came to £10.50.

Primark also have some great value blankets that are really lightweight but super warm. 

  • Flying Tiger

This quirky shop has some really good home bargains and are a good place to look for small storage solutions or cheap kitchen items. I managed to get a medium sized storage box with lid for £3 to keep bathroom items in (the shelf is too small for the bottles to just stand up in!). They had lots of glasses, plates and tooth brush holders reduced to £1 and a good selection of bargain houseplant accessories and vanity organisers. 

  • IKEA

This was my first IKEA trip and I have to say I found it rather enjoyable. I managed to pick up some boring essentials really cheap such as a decent sized bin for 95p and the perfect tiny bed side table with extra shelf for £9.

By thinking outside the box for cheap storage solutions I managed to get two large colourful plastic tubs for £1.50 each to divide up a shelf in my wardrobe instead of £6 for drawer organisers which wouldn’t have worked as well. They were advertised as kids toy storage. 

Make the most of what you’ve got in the room… Living in a rented room often means you can’t put posters up or screw things to the wall. In my new place the previous tenant had banged 2 nails into the wall which I managed to use to hang a much needed lightweight £7 light as all I had previously was the bright overhead lampshade. 

I also picked up an 85p photo frame to make the place feel more homely.

I’d love to hear any of your tips on cheap house moves or kitting out a new home on a budget in the comments! 


Saving The Planet By Sending Less To Landfill…Where To Send Your Unwanted Items

This is a slightly different post theme to my usual frugal hacks and freebie collections. It’s that time of year for a good Spring clean and clear out and I’ve held on to some things for so long purely because they were too good for landfill but I didn’t know what to do with them. Below I’ve included all the recycling schemes and charities which can benefit from receiving some of our old (and in some case really ruined!) items that I’ve come across recently.

  • H&M Textiles Recycling Scheme For Clothes etc.

In all H&M stores there are collections for bags of unwanted clothing and a system for all items donated. Some are sold for charity and really old unwearable items are recycled into loft insulation or cleaning cloths etc. I’ve filled at least 5 bags in the last 6 months with old paint stained t shirt from work, socks with holes in, bobbled jumpers or faded bed sheets. In exchange you will be given a £5 off your next £25 spend voucher with usually a long use by date on. I’ve given most of these to friends as I haven’t needed new clothes.

  • Clarks x Unicef For Old Shoes

Clarks have partnered with Unicef since 2008 and use any old shoes you donate by taking to their stores and putting in a collection bin (even including worn £1 Primark flip flops) to help fund children’s education in poor 3rd world countries.

  • Donate Used Make up to the Charity: Give And Make Up

The charity Give And Make Up supports Refuge and Women’s Aid in London and Cardiff areas. You can donate any used make up apart from mascara and lip gloss by popping it in a box and posting it to the charity. They request you only send items you’d be happy to give to a friend and not just any old virtually empty containers but this is a perfect place to send those foundations you’ve tried that are the wrong colour or the lipsticks that didn’t suit you and it benefits a great cause. They also accept toiletries and clothing including bras. I managed to send a full shoe box for £2.95 via 2nd class post and thought this was well worth it. I’ve included the 2 addresses below.


Cardiff: GIVE AND MAKEUP, c/o, 63-67 Wellfield Road, CARDIFF, CF24 3PA

  • Donate Old Glasses Frames via The Lion’s Club or New Eyes

I recently donated 2 pairs of old glasses  that were at least 4 years too old for me to wear as they were old prescription by taking them to my local optician who have a link with The Lion’s Club who send the glasses to 3rd world countries after servicing them. In some African countries the cost of an eye test is the equivalent of one month’s wages. Both charities  The Lion’s Club and New Eyes also accept hearing aids as well as glasses for children, men and women. Try your local opticians to see if you can donate the pairs in store or check online for addresses to ship items to a good cause.

If you have any other great tips that might help me rehome items for the better please let me know in the comments!

March ’19 Freebies

Once again March wasn’t my best month for a freebie haul as I’ve been very busy so had less time to hunt down complimentary samples! I missed out on a Carolina Herrera mascara and perfume duo from Debenhams as all the samples had gone by the time I finished work on Friday sadly and I also missed out of a box of free Thortons chocolates via O2 Priority Moments as my nearest one is the opposite side of London. However; I still managed to get a couple of fragrance freebies to make up for it!

  • Boots Magazine

Free in store if you have a Boots loyalty card. I always like to pick these up as they have coupons in the back to boots your points balance or money off offers. In this month’s issue there’s a voucher for a free eye test.


  • The Body Shop Oils of Life Moisturiser

I picked this deluxe sample up for free after receiving an invitation via email to fill out a form for it. I received the email for belonging to The Body Shop’s loyalty club and having a Love Your Body card.

  • Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Perfume Samples

I received two of these in the post both from completing online applications. One was through a Facebook advert and the other through signing up to the Glamour Beauty Club online.

  • Lens Cleaner and Cloth

I was given a free small spray bottle of lens cleaner and a cloth when visiting my local opticians. Admittedly I did buy new glasses (and donated old ones to charity) but this was the first time I’ve ever receive complimentary lens cleaner hence it making my monthly freebie list!

  • YSL Touche Eclat foundation samples

I managed to pick up 2 of these after receiving a card inviting me to trial their foundation in the post along with a complimentary fragrance sample. The glass bottles are a generous size and so handy to wash put and reuse once empty. The wand applicator in them makes them the perfect no hassle foundation solution for me!

Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Beauty Freebies…

For the last 8 months I’ve been collecting a huge range of beauty freebies either by joining beauty clubs, loyalty schemes or simply filling out a quick online advert to sample a new perfume, lipstick etc from trusted high end brands. I signed up to the Glamour Beauty Club, Debenhams Beauty Club, Love Your Body scheme from The Body Shop and various make up counters such as Clinique and Estee Lauder as they offer free samples during your birthday month. Everything in the image shown below is from my make up bag and I haven’t paid a penny for any of it.

Free make up and perfume from Dior, Kat Von D, Estee Lauder, Chanel, Clarins, Laura Geller, YSL and Guerlain.

Here are a few of my tips on how to make the most of your freebies.

  • Store lipstick swatches in pots to use more than once

In the past I’ve asked Clinique counters for some of their empty foundation sample pots to use to decant products for weekends away and I’ve used these to store lipstick samples in. I received a 5 pack lipstick swatch sample from Chanel last year for having a Debenhams Beauty card and by storing them in this way and using them with a lip brush I’ve got several months of usage out of them. You can pick up similar cheap pots in Primark or to be more eco-friendly just wash out any foundation sample pots you might have.



  • Decant the same moisturiser samples into a container

Last year when Clinique launched their Dramatic Different Jelly moisturiser I somehow ended up with 13 sample sachets of the product. I picked them up with Stylist magazine, outside a Bond Street Department store and over a counter. I usually find one moisturiser sachet contains too much for one use but are a pain to store so cut the tops off and squeeze them into a clean empty moisturiser tub. By doing this with the Jelly samples I was able to use the moisturiser every morning for nearly a month instead of nearly 2 weeks getting double the use out of them.

  • Check freebie deliveries from online ads for vouchers and offers

I once applied for a free sample pack from Bodyform despite already being a customer and received 2 50p off coupons with them. I used these in Savers to get 2 packs for 49p each as Savers only charge 89p for the RRP of £1.50 on the products. I’ve also received vouchers offering me a complimentary foundation sample and perfume with a YSL fragrance sample I got via a Facebook advert. Some vouchers are always handy to pass on to friends like the Dior foundation sample

  • Reuse sample foundation bottles

I recently got a Dior foundation sample via the Debenhams Beauty Club and it came in a small glass bottle with wand-like applicator inside it. It’s really clean to use, easy and incredibly handy. Once empty I intend to wash it out and refill it with my current foundation if I go away for a weekend to save my carrying a large bottle.

If you have any other tips to share I’d love to hear them in the comments!