I'm a mum and buy everything second-hand – including my kid's clothes…I don't care if you think it's cheap, I save loads | The Sun

A MUM-OF-TWO has revealed that she buys practically everything second-hand, including the majority of her children’s clothes and shoes.

Mum-of-two Rae, from Sheffield, shops second-hand to reduce waste and save cash and even buys furniture and electricals pre-owned, from charity shops and Facebook Marketplace.

To inspire others to shop smarter, save money and help the environment, Rae has teamed up with circular economy pioneer, musicMagpie, to reveal her biggest savings and her top tips for finding great second-hand items.

Rae explained: “Money-saving is up there for obvious reasons right now, but I’m also very aware of how much “stuff” already exists, and the impact it has on the environment, so to me it just makes more sense to seek out a second-hand version of something I want or need. 

“I also find that second-hand items generally tend to have a better lifespan.

"So much of what is manufactured nowadays is done so quickly and consequently, cheaply, so buying second-hand means I tend to get items that were built to last, or made by brands that I wouldn’t be able to afford at new prices. 

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“All parents know kids get through clothing and toys so quickly when they’re little, outgrowing stuff before they’ve had much chance to use it again – and it can be very expensive.

"So, in terms of saving money, second-hand shopping helps keep my bank account happy!”

Rae is mum to a 12-year-old and two-year-old and explained that she buys the majority of her family's clothing second-hand.

She continued: “The vast majority of my family’s clothing is bought second-hand, either from charity shops or from platforms such as Vinted or eBay, or Facebook. 

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“My youngest is at nursery and buying second-hand means I don’t have to worry about expensive clothing being ruined by paint or mud stains anymore – which is such a relief!

“My husband has also bought a number of refurbished tech too, including iPhone handsets and he’s always happy with the quality and usage he gets.  

“Furnishings are something we would shop second-hand for as well. Over the years we’ve gotten a sofa, cabin bed, a desk, several bookshelves and more – plus, they tend to be solid wood items over cheaper, less resilient materials.”

When it comes to buying school uniform, Rae likes to do a mixture of second-hand and new shopping.

She highlighted: “I do think that for foot development in children it’s really important that shoes fit and support well. 

“I search for brands that I know last well and check for signs of wear to the sole structure.

“School uniform was a tricky one, and there were some items I bought new here, but my daughter’s school was very aware of the problem strict uniform rules could have in terms of economic and environmental impact. 

“Therefore their guidelines were more “red jumpers or cardigans” to allow parents to source uniform from a variety of places. The PTA also had regular uniform swap shops where you could drop off uniforms your child had outgrown and browse other donations.

“I don’t think anyone judges me for it. Whenever I get compliments on an item I’ve got second-hand I can’t help but say “thanks, I got it on Vinted/eBay/Facebook and it was only £x!” and people are often surprised and go on to find their own bargains.

“I think some people worry that second-hand means cheap or poor quality – but that isn’t necessarily the case!

“I certainly don’t judge those who buy everything new, we live in an incredibly consumerist society which is constantly pushing us to buy “the next big thing” and it’s hard to resist, we are all susceptible to that. 

“I think as a society we are massively wasteful and we need more done centrally to address that, but we can all make small changes to lessen our personal impact.” 

Rae has been lucky enough to save herself hundreds on her second-hand buys.

She said: “I think one of my biggest bargains was my daughter’s cabin bed. New, it would have cost me around £150, but we got it for £30 and she was ecstatic! 

“I imagine my husband has saved £200+ by buying refurbished handsets, but seeing my daughter so happy has kept that saving at the forefront of my mind.” 

If you are looking to shop second-hand, Rae has shared the important tips and tricks that she swears by.

She advised: “Look at labels closely, and try to weed out the brands and materials that won’t likely last long. 

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“With any purchase you want to know it’s worth the money, and the same goes for second-hand shopping. There are loads of buy or swap groups on Facebook too. 

“With tech, find a company that does rigorous checks and purchase from them. We’ve all been stung at one point or another by purchasing something only to find that it’s not functional so this gives you a level of protection to avoid that.”

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