Today I have invited fellow blogger Fran to share her thoughts on thrifting – one of my favourite things to do! Enjoy!
Hi – I’m Fran from Skulls and Ponies. I’m very honoured to be here blogging for Claire – I adore her blog (don’t we all?) so was very excited when she asked me to write a guest post for her. Today – I’ll be writing about something I love – finding a bargain.
The term ‘thrifting’ is commonly used by American bloggers to describe the activity of bargain hunting in ‘thrift stores’. Here in the UK – we don’t have thrift shops as such, but we do have an abundance of charity shops and car boot sales. In the blogging world it’s becoming more and more common to refer to ‘charity shopping’ or ‘car booting’ as thrifting. At first, I was a little reluctant to adopt this terminology, but let’s us be honest – it is so much of a better description than ours!
I am a massive fan of thrifting – I love charity shops, but then I love car boot sales….but which is better? There’s only one way to find out….(sorry…Harry Hill moment over)..a good old pros and cons list!
Scavenger hunt – A lot of fun can be had at car boots. For example, this year for my birthday my friends organised a scavenger hunt for us at one of my favourite car boots. It really was so much fun!
Great for collectors – if you collect something, then chances are you’ll be able to find your treasure at a car boot sale. I collect willow pattern china which is always so overpriced in charity shops and antique shops. At car boots however I can guarantee I can find a piece for less than a pound.
Cheap as chips – I have got some amazing bargains at car boots. My favourite pair of boots cost a quid and lasted much longer than any I bought off the high street.
Addictions – I’m pretty sure everyone has a car boot addiction. By that I mean something they always buy. For me it has to be shoes. I am always finding great shoes at car boot sales! Not for everyone, but I have no problem with wearing second hand shoes if they are in good condition. All of these were £2 or less!
Bartering – one of the things I love most about car boots is bartering. It can be a little intimidating at first, especially if people refuse – but most car booters are there because they want to get rid of their junk and making money is an added bonus. I got this tea set down to £3 for the lot.
Seasonal – the main con for car boots is that it’s seasonal. Car boots only really happen from March-September and are also very dependent on the weather. The better the weather, the better your swag is likely to be.
Professional car booters – In Brighton at least, we have hoards of professional car booters. This means they hunt for bargains, and then double the price to sell at car boots and it drives me bonkers! One particular (and very central) car boot in Brighton I completely stopped bothering to go to, simply because no one would barter. For me at least, professional car booting defeats the point!
Getting up early – If you aren’t a fan of getting up early on a Sunday then chances are you’ll miss the best bargains. You can of course, go for the leftovers by turning up around 12 noon in the hope you’ll find some great bargains – but it’s quite risky as you might just be left with the tat. I’m an early riser, so for me the early slot suits me fine!
Your spending helps others – One of the great things about thrifting in charity shops, is your money is going to charity! I love that – guilt free spending – shopping that helps people.
Clothes – At car boots (unless you have no shame) you can’t try on clothes which means you have to guess. With charity shops – you always know you are getting a bargain – as you know it fits! I got one of my favourite red dresses from a charity shop and was so excited that it fit perfectly!
Finding a little gem – Sometimes with charity shops you won’t find anything you want to buy but then all of a sudden you’ll find something truly amazing that you can’t quite believe anyone would ever part with. For me it was these heart print shoes.
Books – No matter what, I always find at least one book to buy when I go charity shopping. Oxfam books is my favourite – all paperbacks are priced at £1.99 and the one I always go to seems to constantly have recent publications that I want to read!
Great for furniture – The majority of my living room is filled with furniture that is second hand – and the vast majority of it is from charity shops. Maybe in part that’s down to my tastes – but hunting around you are sure to find something. Near me there is a charity that has a big warehouse especially for furniture. I got a brand new Brabantia breadbin from there for a quid! I’d been searching for a standing lamp for ages so was over the moon when I spotted this one!
More expensive – This isn’t always true, but most of the time charity shops are more expensive than car boots which means you are going to need a bigger budget. This isn’t always a bad thing, as sometimes it means you can get better quality items. Just don’t get stung by charity shops over charging for items.
Less likely to make a purchase – For me at least 99% of the time I’ll come back with at least one item from a carboot, but when I go charity shopping I often come back empty handed. This in part is to do with the price, I’m probably pickier in charity shops but it’s worth mentioning as you don’t want to get your hopes up.
Location – I have a few charity shop sweet spots near where I live that have a lot of charity shops in close proximity with each other. For most towns however, charity shops are spread out which can make it a bit of a mission to find some bargains!
Ooh it’s neck and neck! For me though carboots are definitely my favourite. I think this is mainly due to the excitement I get – and being able to barter!
What about you? Carboots or charity shops?
What a great post, thanks Fran for sharing your thrifty thoughts with my readers! What handy tips. I am charity shop lady myself, as I’m not a fan of the early starts on a Sunday morning and all ours are in one street in Cambridge, convenient!