Buying second hand saves thrifty mum over £1,000 a year

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Anna Cargan’s love for preloved has inspired her and business partner Nathalie Redfern to open their own business, Buildabundle, which sells preloved children’s clothing from newborn to age 14 as well as maternity wear. Anna said: “The thing for me is it’s not just a cost-saving thing but it’s also an environmental thing too. I absolutely hate waste and I’ve always hated the idea of throwing away things that other people could use it just makes no sense to me.”

Anna said it was the birth of her son in 2012 which made her realise the benefits of buying second-hand as she used to be the “total opposite” of what she is like now.

She said: “For the first few months after my son was born I wanted to get everything brand new which is what a lot of people do, I think, with newborns but by the time he was about three months old I just realised how quickly he was growing out of things.

“I had so much stuff that he had worn or only used a handful of times which I was selling on myself and I think that’s what made me realise how much I paid for the stuff and how cheaply I was selling it on and how much money I’ve lost doing that.”

According to research by the second-hand selling app Vinted, one of the top reasons for buying second-hand was to save money.

One of the best secondhand bargains Anna managed to secure was after her son was born a few years ago. She needed to buy several items of nursery furniture and before buying new she checked out some local secondhand selling pages on Facebook.

She added: “When I was looking on these pages I came across an entire Mamas and Papas nursery set, like a cot, chest of drawers and a wardrobe, and I got it all for £50.

“If you buy them new it costs over £1,000 so that was definitely the best bargain I’ve ever got.”

When her son grew out of the set, Anna then sold the furniture set to another mother for the same bargain price she had managed to get it for.

Other offers Anna has managed to bag over the last few years mostly related to items she needed for her young children.

She said: “I needed to buy myself a double buggy and it was over £1,000 to get one new with some of the better brands and I managed to get myself one, an Oyster Max, which had a baby seat and a toddler seat, for about £200 on eBay.”

“I had to pay a bit more to get it shipped to me with a courier but it arrived and it was in beautiful condition. By buying it second-hand, I saved myself around £750 and when I was done with it, I sold it on again.”

Over the last 10 years, Anna believes she has saved thousands by choosing to buy second-hand rather than new.

She said: “I saved £600-£700 on the nursery alone so I’d say over a year factoring in the cost of everything I buy I’d say I’m saving between £1,000 and a couple of thousand pounds a year definitely.”

“Over the last 10 years, I’d say probably I’ve saved around £20,000 and that, I think, is a totally accurate estimate.”

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For people who are interested in starting to buy second-hand, Anna says people should “always” check the seller’s feedback and do some investigating on the seller before making a purchase.

She said: “Sellers with more positive feedback is more likely to be a legitimate seller and accounts which are selling on local Facebook groups that look realistic, with like pictures, and status’ will be more trustworthy.”

She also recommends people only pay for items through Paypal or another well-renowned payment service as these services can offer protection on the purchase.

Anna says sellers asking for payment through bank transfer is “a massive red flag” and should be avoided “at all costs”.

She added: “All big websites will offer a secure way of paying but if someone is asking for a bank transfer that should set alarm bells ringing. You need to ask why they would want the payment that way, that is not going to be traceable.”

For those looking to start selling their own preloved items, Anna says people should really examine their items and first write a detailed, accurate and honest description of the items.

This description must include “all defects” the item has “even if they are small” and price the item accordingly in relation to the faults.

Anna added: “Nine times out of ten if someone is aware of the faults of an item they actually don’t mind, it’s when you leave out these details where people get upset.”

Anna also recommends people “put aside time” to take pictures of the item as the pictures are one of the most “important” aspects to selling preloved stuff. People should make sure there are plenty of pictures showing the item that are clear, bright and unblurred.

Anna said: “It is worth it definitely, at the end of the day these things are just going to be sat around in your house and by selling them you can make a little bit of money but you can also keep them in circulation so it’s better overall for the environment.”

Natacha Blanchard, Consumer Lead at Vinted explained how access and affordability make seconds-hand shopping a real win for thrifty consumers.

She said: “As pre-loved pieces often cost less than retail-purchased equivalents, budgets stretch much further, so you get more for your money when you do decide to buy.

“In addition, brands or premium and luxury items that may once have been out of financial reach, become more accessible, so you can choose quality over quantity more easily.

“If you buy your higher quality item second-hand, you also have a high-quality item to sell on second-hand when the item no longer fits or if you no longer have a need for it, and you may be able to get more money for it than a lower quality item.”

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