Mum saves £20,000 thanks to second-hand bargains

A mum-of-two has saved £20,000 by buying second-hand clothes from charity shops and says people can save a lot of money with the discounted items in the stores.

Francesca Ramsden, 33, goes to charity shops as much as possible, often picking up “stashed” items in the children and menswear sections, which can be fixed up and used again.

The bargain hunter says she uses the extra cash for holidays where she can make precious memories with her family.

The nurse, from Burnley, said: “Thrifting is life – I absolutely love it. It haunts me the thought of when I’m older and when I die, my children have to live in this world – with all the things that are thrown away and all the pollution.

“I got a Chanel bag for £1 from Cancer Research in Rawtenstall and a Louis Vuitton bag for £3.50 a few months ago from a recycling centre in Manchester.

“I go into the shop with a clear vision of what I want and manifest what I want. I think I’ve saved about £20,000 buying second-hand and I’ve been to Rome and Lanzarote on family holidays last year because of money I’ve saved.”

She said people can get the best bargains by going to towns and cities in the north or in less affluent areas and fix up any damaged garments.

She took up the practice as a youngster as her family would often browse charity shops and now she is passing on the habit to her children – Hattie, three and Elliot, nine.

When she doesn’t have work, she goes straight to the charity shop at 9am to get the first chance to grab the best stock.

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Another tip from the thrifty mum is to get to know the volunteers and find out when the new stock is coming in.

She explained: “Sometimes people will find good items and stash them somewhere so it’s good to look everywhere.

“Get talking to the staff and don’t be afraid to ask if they have stuff in the back. I go four times a week – it’s my hobby.

“I found a really badly deformed Ted Baker bag for 50p, but I made it brand new by shoving it full of jumpers and towels to reshape it.

“I then heated it with a hair dryer and smoothed the plastic out. I used nail polish remover to remove the scuffs.”

Her personal favourite charity shop is Age UK in Burnley, where she has bought lot of clothes for just £1.

She added: “All my kids’ stuff is second-hand. I’d rather spend my money on memories rather than materialistic things.”

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