Buying Clothes Pre-Loved To Save Money – How I Saved £300+ On 6 Items

I was introduced to charity shopping at a very young age and loved scouring rails for reputable brands at a pinch of their RRP. In my late teens I began selling on eBay and using this money to purchase specific items of clothing I’d loved in stores second hand. This post is just an example of some of the many pre-loved items I have and an estimation of how much money I’ve saved by not buying them new. I always buy lightly used / worn once clothing so it still has some life left in it. (All my coat hangers were collected free in New Look / Debenhams too!).

Seasalt Cardigan – This first one is a bit of a cheat. I was given this from a relative who, after many years of wear, managed to accidentally shrink it in the wash. A quick browse through their website suggests knitwear retails between £65 – £79. The higher prices being fairisle like this cardigan.

Fat Face Haywood Cardigan – RRP £49.50. I bought this is lightly worn condition from eBay for £13.90 including postage. It looked virtually new and if it bobbles I’ll run a razor over to remove them.

Orla Kiely Stem Print Top – RRP £14.90 (thanks Vogue article from 2012 when this collab with Uniqlo was released for this info!). It’s now impossible to buy tops like this new and I love the print and colours. I paid £7.75 including postage and have now collected 3 from this release.

Round Up – For these 3 items I paid £21.65 for approximately £129-143 worth of clothing. Saving £107.35-121.35.

Phase Eight Dip Dye Maxi Dress – RRP £120. I paid £7.99 including delivery for this from eBay in “immaculate condition”. It showed up with a mark on it and a small hole. I was able to wash the stain out and stitched it up. The seller gave me a full refund for mis-selling me the item so I effectively got it for free and its still wearable after my repairs.

Cath Kidston Rainbow Breton – RRP £45. Their tops are lovely thick cotton and last so well but I’m never willing to pay full price for them. I bought this one in great condition, which sold out on the CK website, for £15.53 including postage. It looked new on arrival.

Cath Kidston London Skirt – RRP £60. I fell in love with this in the store, tried searching for it in outlets a year later and then came across it on eBay in “worn once” condition. I paid £7.05 including postage and its immaculate.

Round Up – For these 3 items I paid £22.58 for approximately £225 worth of clothing. Saving £202.42

I love buying preloved as it enables me to afford better quality brands for far less. With these 6 items I saved over £300. I paid a total of £44.23 for 6 items of clothing and their delivery which averages at £7.37 per item and I love that its a more eco conscious way to shop.

If you have any preloved shopping tips please share them in the comments!

Things Not To Say To Someone With Adult Acne

I read and related to a brilliant article in Elle magazine in 2014 called “My Skin But Better” by Katie Mulloy. It covered how adult acne can affect a person’s life, things not to say to someone struggling with it and how all encompassing the journey to clear skin can be. The article, which sadly I can’t find online, began with saying that one day the author would write a book on all the things not to say to someone with adult acne and I loved this idea hence finally writing this post.

It’s an accumulation of my biggest pet hates of dealing with the skin condition, some heavy sarcasm, small rays of optimism and my hope for acne acceptance within the media and beauty industry.

“Have you tried…” I know people mean well when offering product recommendations, lifestyle changes and advice but the reality is… I’ve been dealing with this for over 5 years and experience on-off major dislike for my face. I haven’t just sat idly feeling sorry for myself for more than half a decade. I’ve tried countless things from cutting favourite food groups out of my diet to £20 a month skin care regimes and hormonal medication that made me feel terrible to name but a few. I can guarantee unless its wildly out of the box I’ve probably tried whatever you’re about to suggest and your occasional teenage pimples don’t qualify you for doling out acne advice. I was ready to verbally destroy a GP I once saw who, after hearing I’d tried over 10 prescriptions in 5 years including 8 month antibiotic treatments, asked “have you used Clearasil? It works for my teenage son”. I nearly died with exasperation because yes, its normal for your teenage son to be spotty, but not so much for a girl in their mid 20s. Unless you’re an acne sufferer, a dermatologist or a sympathetic GP I appreciate the thought but I don’t want to hear it.

But you look fine with make up on” Yes, I might look passable with my £34-a-bottle foundation on but knowing the only way I can look, feel somewhat OK and socially accepted is to cover up my face can be pretty deflating. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation works for me and gives me the confidence to face the world without wanting to put a paper bag over my head, but hearing someone say this further enforces that my natural appearance just isn’t good enough. I once woke up late and in a hurry to get to work on time I was faced with running out the door bare faced and the idea made me feel physically ill and I’m not a vain person. Needless to say I clocked in late.

Imperfections / anti imperfections” I wish cosmetic companies would just stick to terms like “anti acne” and “spot prone skin” etc. By plastering “anti imperfections” all over products you’re hammering home that my face doesn’t match up to the world’s perfect clear skin beauty standards and it’s not a reminder I need. Instead why not just stick with the more medical sounding terms that lessen the blow? Garnier almost broke me when I was shopping for a non-comedogenic anti blemish sun cream a few years ago when it was labelled for “greasy acne prone skin”. Greasy hit me hard and felt excessive. I wish for the sake of my imperfect self esteem they’d just written oily / combination.

“Your face looks so much better today” I’d always rather we just not acknowledge the state of my skin. By telling me its better one day as opposed to when you last saw me makes me think the time consuming cover up mission I embarked on was a total failure. Its a bumpy road as opposed to a linear journey of success – just ask my face, it can confirm it is often literally bumpy.

Best acne treatments… 33 Skin Clearing products that work” – This is a genuine title from Teen Vogue and I despise articles like this because I find them borderline offensive when having a particularly low self esteemed day. I get they’re trying to round up helpful products but I don’t need it implying that if I buy THIRTY THREE items like serums, brushes, patches etc for hundreds of pounds that I might actually have clear skin.

Beauty and skin care campaigns…Last, but not least, my complaint is with beauty and skin care companies advertising everything from miraculous anti blemish serums to full coverage foundations yet countless models used for advertising said products don’t look as though they’ve seen a spot or blemish in their airbrushed lives. Show me a before and after comparison of someone with a real skin condition as your selling point if you truly want me to believe in your product’s capabilities rather than just another faultless face which we’re forever surrounded by.

La Roche Posay – whose products I really rate but am unimpressed with their chosen face for promoting anti-acne products.
Vichy doing it right with their models and incidentally making me excited about trialing their products

On a more positive note – Boots Health and Beauty Magazine almost reduced me to tears earlier this year when I saw a generic article about make up looks. Within the glossy pages one model, beneath the even skin tone of foundation, had a small scattering of noticeable spots as their images aren’t edited or retouched. She looked beautiful and for once I saw an image in a beauty magazine that felt relatable, realistically attainable and in the short term it stopped me feeling like my skin was being shunned completely by the beauty world. The image wasn’t traditionally airbrushed “perfect”, like none us in reality are, and for me that made it so. It briefly it made me feel represented, more positive and accepting of my face and it made all the difference that the portrait wasn’t included in an anti acne article. I wish there were more examples of this – a heartfelt thank you to Boots, long may it continue.

According to an Elle article from 2019 10 million people in the UK say that a skin condition has affected their mental health and that acne sufferers are 63% more likely to experience depression. I have to say hats off to Elle for naming this article “Is ‘Bad’ Skin Affecting Your Mental Health” – I appreciate the inverted commas around “bad”, thank you. Reading stats like this aren’t the cheeriest but they give me a little comfort knowing that I’m not alone. The NHS page for acne prompted me to see a GP for my skin in 2016 which made a real difference for me, so despite me saying earlier how much I hated the acne-advise givers, this is the one piece I will leave you with as it has over the years changed my life.

Comments welcome.

My Current Skincare Routine & Toiletries and How I Saved £20+ On 5 Items

I never pay full price for toiletries and skin care is the one area that I am fussy with what I buy so always make sure to look out for savings on products. Below are some of the more exciting items currently in use in my bathroom and how I saved when buying them.

Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser – RRP £9.50 for 236ml from Boots

I on and off struggle with adult acne and started using topical prescription medication again early this year. I wanted a very gentle cleanser and this one claimed to balance oil levels without drying the skin. I checked with a pharmacist to see if it was suitable before buying to make sure I wasn’t wasting money on a product that wouldn’t work for me. I collected Boots point on this purchase.

RRP £9.50 – student discount reduced it to £8.55 – promotional offer took £3 off. I paid £5.55 saving £3.95

Clinique Anti Blemish Clarifying Lotion – RRP £19 for 200ml from Clinique

I typically buy the La Roche Posay Effaclar Clarifying Lotion for my toner which is £12.50 for 200ml from Boots. However; I picked up the Clinique one from the O2 Icon Outlet and then used my O2 priority moments app to reduce it further as they offer an extra 20% from lots of stores on a Friday night between 6-10pm (as well as a free glass of prosecco!)

RRP £19 – O2 Icon Outlet price £14.25 – further 20% discount meant I paid £11.40 saving £7.60

La Roche Posay Effclar Duo+ Moisturiser – RRP £17 for 40ml from LRP

This is my go to moisturiser and I only ever buy it when on offer usually from Boots or Superdrug. Due to the current lockdown situation and it being unavailable for home delivery from the usual stores I go to I checked Amazon Prime where I made a really good saving.

RRP £17 – Amazon Prime £12 including next day delivery saving £5

L’oreal Dream Lengths Rapid Reviver Conditioner – RRP £5.50 for 180ml

I personally find this works just as well as the Aussie 3 minute miracle conditioner products but is cheaper in Savers. L’oreal products are often on offer in Boots or Superdrug for half price so it’s always worth keeping an eye on those.

RRP £5.50 – I paid £2.50 – saving £3

100% Cotton Pads – RRP £1.70 for 100 from Boots

I buy the Super Soft 100% Cotton 120 Round Cosmetic Pads from Primark for £0.50. I rarely shop in Primark to tend to buy these in bulk, they’re great quality and such good value. Mine are stored in a repurposed glass dessert ramekin from GU.

I did some maths here… based on the RRP for 100 from Boots, their price for 120 would be £2.04 – from Primark I paid £0.50 saving £1.54… enough to buy 3 more packets for that price!

All added up compared to the RRPs on these products I saved £21.09

Fortunately I am usually fairly stocked up on toiletries, relying on Savers for half price toothbrushes, 75p Colgate toothpaste and 75p shower gels among other items. During lockdown our local branch shut so I’ve discovered Superdrug offer free delivery for members on any spend over £10 whereas the minimum for Boots is £30. I placed one order with Superdrug reaching the £10 by buying items for my housemate also. Amazon Prime has proved really handy for necessary items like £2 bottles of shampoo delivered within a couple of days and also cheaper than the limited range my local supermarket had to offer.

If you’ve any tips for saving on toiletries please let me know in the comments!

Reviewing Beauty Club Subscriptions For Free Samples

When I first vowed in 2018 to stop buying make up and instead up my freebie game to reduce spending I looked into beauty club memberships offering free samples and signed up to as many as possible. Below are some of the pros and cons to subscriptions I’ve joined.

Glamour Beauty Club

Pros – you don’t have to be a Glamour reader / purchaser of their magazines and it is free for anyone to join. You simply sign up at https://beautyclub.glamourmagazine.co.uk/ and fill in a survey about your beauty buying habits. They use this information to send you products tailored to your results so its best to engage positively with as many of the questions as possible if you want to try lots of products. e.g. pick the maximum number of options it allows for brands you use etc. All samples are posted directly to your house without you having to do anything which is a huge plus.

Cons – In around 18 months I’ve probably received less than 5 freebies. A friend of mine I suggested sign up to this completely forgot she had until about 8 months later she received one perfume sample. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still grateful to receive these I just didn’t expect my samples to be so sparse after answering questions about perfume, foundation, hair products, fake tan, hair removal, skin type, mascara and more. Ultimately if you’ve got 5-10 mins to kill I’d still say sign up, just don’t expect too much!

Sign up to Glamour Beauty Club online for free samples through your door

Debenhams Beauty Club

Pros: It is free to sign up here https://www.debenhams.com/content/beauty-club and Debenhams offer a range of perks including 3 points for £1 spent on beauty, 500 points becomes a £5 voucher to redeem, deluxe free samples, free delivery with online orders and birthday treats including a facial, makeover for 2 with Kat Von D and nail paint from Blow LTD. Some “samples” are even full size products and they’re always a good selection. You simply take your DBC into the store on a sample day Friday and hopefully collect your treats which are given out on a first come first serve basis.

Below are just a few of the items I’ve picked up in the past 18 months – 2 years including a full size moisturiser from Rituals, Chanel mascara and lipstick swatches, Laura Geller highlighter, Elizabeth Arden serums, Dior foundation and lip gloss. I’ve also grabbed miniature lipsticks from Givenchy, a full size foaming shower gel from Rituals and 5ml perfumes from Dior and Lancome.

Cons: I first started collecting the Debenhams Beauty Club samples when I lived in Manchester. They’re always released on a Friday and I’d easily be able to pick them up in store early Saturday morning. However; if you live in central London it is really hard to get hold of these even at 5.30pm on the Friday so it’s been a few months since I was able to grab any of these. There isn’t really a pattern to when the freebies appear so it’s best to follow their Facebook page and Instagram to keep tabs. After seeing some of my hauls my mum decided to join and as she doesn’t use social media she finds it impossible to know when samples are available so has missed out on quite a few.

Ultimately you can’t argue with any freebie in my opinion! I’d say if you’ve got 10 mins to spare you’ve got nothing to lose by signing up to the Glamour Beauty Club and Debenhams offer such good treats that are worth trying to claim. Definitely worth joining, particularly if you live outside of a big city or close to a store!

If you know of any beauty clubs worth joining please let me know in the comments!

19 Things I Don’t Buy To Save Money

I’ve recently seen posts on this theme on other thrifty blogs and really loved the idea so decided to jump on the bandwagon. Below is a pretty diverse list of things I don’t buy which saves me money.

  • Tupperware and Cling Film – I inherited this one from my very thrifty dad. To store food I use ice cream tubs or some yoghurt tubs which come with sturdy plastic lids which are a great 1 portion size for freezing things like ragu for dinners.
  • Lunches On Work Days – I always take a packed lunch to work either making sandwiches, salads or leftovers from dinner the night before. An average Tesco meal deal costs £3 and based on this I save £15 a week or £60 a month by making my own lunch.
  • Hot Drinks – As much as I love my coffees, I was raised on instant and reduced Nescafe Azera at £3 for a tin is more than good enough for me instead of a daily almost £3 spend in Costa or similar.
  • Full Price Meals Out – I often use O2 priority moments for deals like 2 mains for £10 in Pizza Express or try to visit places on discount days.
  • Water – I never buy bottles of it and in restaurants am happy with tap water.
  • Takeaways – In my family we never had takeaways as my dad was a frugal, very good cook. I’ve probably had about 3 in my whole life and personally don’t see the point of forking out on them. During the current pandemic I had a huge pizza craving so picked up a treat one for £3 in Co Op. Good enough for me.
  • Carrier Bags – I leave reusable bags by the front door for food shopping and fold a plastic bag up really small into my handbag just in case.
  • Alcohol – I’ve always been a minimal drinker and decided last December to give it a complete break for a while.
  • Ice Blocks – I reuse any plastic bottles in the house as ice packs by filling them up with water, freezing overnight and throwing into a picnic bag during the summer. I’ve even clean used 1pt milk bottles in the past.
  • Ice Cubes and Ice Lollies – I’ve never understood why people buy big bags of ice cubes in the summer! I make my own ice cubes in a £2 ice lolly mould I purchased last year from Ikea. The lolly mould is a brilliant multi-tasker for making ice cubes, freezing slices of lemon for cooking and making healthy desserts from frozen smoothies, juices etc.
  • Cleaning Cloths – I cut up old t-shirts when they’re past their best and use these. I tend to throw them in the wash with kitchen tea towels and baths mats and then reuse. Once they’re too tatty for this use I recycle them by taking them to H&M where they collect old clothes and fabrics to transform them into loft insulation etc.
  • Fabric Softener – Growing up this wasn’t something that was ever used and as I have sensitive fussy skin I wouldn’t be able to use any of the scented ones anyway so just stick to supermarket own brand non-bio washing liquid to clean my clothes.
  • Make Up – I rarely wear a full face of make up, my basic daily staple at the most will include foundation (used as concealer in areas) and mascara. I collect freebies from beauty club memberships etc to stock up my make up bag to save me spending lots of money. For me the miniatures are perfect and last a long time due to how infrequently I use them.

My favourite methods to collect high brand make up for free is to join the Debenhams Beauty Club, Glamour Beauty Club, check O2 Priority Moments and sign up to make up counters’ websites to receive free gifts during your birthday month. If there are specific items of make up I want to purchase, which maybe happens twice a year if that, I save up my Boots points and use those. I strongly recommend downloading the Boots app to maximize points collection.

My current collection of deluxe make up samples all collected for free
  • Perfume – Again, not bought due to having slightly sensitive skin. I can wear perfume for a couple of days before having to take a break and due to its short shelf life and price I’ve never been able to justify buying big bottles of designer fragrance. Instead I rely on free samples collected online via promotions or in store offers from shops like Debenhams who offer great sized minis.
My current collection of perfume samples either collected from online offers or via the Debenhams Beauty Club
  • Face masks, serums, eye creams etc – Anything beyond a basic cleanser, toner and moisturiser I don’t buy. This is due to having on-off problematic skin and suffering from blemishes. I don’t like to deviate from a routine that works for me and frankly haven’t the time, patience or spending inclination to add more than 3 steps to my skin care regime.
  • New Clothes – Wherever possible I buy second hand clothing from sites like eBay where I search for lightly used items in good condition. I still purchase things like underwear, socks and shoes new but whenever I can I buy pre-loved outfits from quality brands that I trust. It enables me to afford a wider range of better quality clothes than if I were to buy new such as picking up Cath Kidston dresses retailing new at £60-80 for around £18-25 pre-loved. I sell any clothes I no longer wear and use this to fund my second hand clothing purchases.
  • Full Price Fashion – Any clothing items I don’t buy second hand I tend to pick up from outlet stores or buy ex-high street items online or from markets such as Roman Road where I’ve bought £25 New Look jeans for £10 identical to ones I already own. If I have to buy something I always try to invest in good quality items that will last a long time to save me money in the long run.
Skechers trainers – RRP £75 purchased in an outlet store for £44.19
(These are still available full price on their website too!)
  • New Books – I either rely on the library, book swaps, charity shops or buy books second hand for a maximum of £2 – if its a particular title I’m after I’ll stretch to around £4 with delivery online.
  • Magazines – Living in London I pick up quite a few free magazines and tend to get the Boots’ magazine which is free for beauty club members whenever shopping in the store.

If there are items you don’t buy to save money please let me know in the comments as I’m always keen to learn new ways to save!