I’m a second hand shopping queen – my £35 finds are worth £250 and here’s how you can grab huge bargains too
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I’m a second-hand shopping queen – my £35 finds are worth £250...

SECOND-HAND shopping isn’t just for buying vintage items.

You can find everything from wardrobes to wedding dresses at a fraction of the normal price if you know where to look.

John McLellanSocial media manager Caroline Butler, 46, recently nabbed more than £250 worth of new clothing and boots for £34.50 in one visit to a Sue Ryder store in Norwich[/caption]

From online auctions to outlets and charity shops, Harriet Cooke explains how to track down the best of the bargains.


Karen Millen dress – RRP: £139 – Depop: £55 – Saving: £84

SAVVY shoppers can find big discounts on clothes that are being re-sold because they weren’t returned in time to get a refund.

Start your search on Google Shopping, which trawls major online stores, second-hand sites such as Depop and charity shops such as Oxfam.

Also check resale site vinted.com and clothes site re-fashion.co.uk. For kids’ and baby clothes, try worninwardrobe.com.

When searching secondhand sites, use filters to select only “brand new” clothing.

Look out for abbreviations like BNWT (Brand New With Tags) and others – see our code guide below right.

On Depop we found this new Karen Millen purple strappy midi dress for £55, which costs £90.35 on the designer’s website, down from £139.

High street chains often donate unsold stock to charity shops, but sometimes they cut the labels off first so they aren’t always easy to identify.

Get chatting to staff to find out about whether they get any regular deliveries from brands you like.


Ted Baker Mules – RRP: £150 – Office Outlet: £50 – Saving: £100

IF you want to look well-heeled on a shoestring budget, you can get huge discounts on footwear that is ex-display or has been returned by customers.

Office, Schuh and Clarks have little-known websites where you can pick up some great bargains, although some might have the odd scuff.

Visit schuh.co.uk/ex-display, clarksoutlet.co.uk and offcutsshoes.co.uk.

This week on the Office outlet we found these Ted Baker Deltino platform mules in size 4 at £50, down from £150 and listed as Grade 2, which means they’re still in “great condition”.

Plenty of people buy shoes online and forget to return them, so it’s also worth looking on Depop, Vinted and eBay and scouring charity shops.

On Depop this week we found Michael Kors high-heeled Berkley sandals in luggage-leather brown for £45, brand-new in their box, and originally bought in the US. They retail for around double that amount at Macy’s.


Made Wardrobe – RRP: £1,300 – Auction: £179 – Saving: £1,121

AUCTION houses aren’t just for antiques – some specialise in brand-new items.

John Pye Auctions sells returned, end-of-line and ex-display goods from large retailers such as John Lewis and Sofology.

You can bid online and get furniture delivered to most parts of the country, for an extra fee.

John Pye is currently auctioning off thousands of items, including sofas, chests, lighting and more from made.com, the online furniture store that went into administration last year.

Some of the best made.com deals recently nabbed by bidders include an Ilaria multi-coloured glass cluster pendant light which was originally on sale for £375, but snapped up at auction for £55.

A Tubby three-seater sofa in pillar-box red, originally on sale for £449, sold for £106.

And an Ebro dusk-grey triple wardrobe, originally £1,300, sold for £179.

The made.com auctions are set to run until August.

Outlet stores are also worth checking out as they sell discounted furniture that might have been sitting in a showroom or returned by a customer.


Ninja Air Fryer – RRP: £219.99 – Amazon Warehouse: £55

AMAZON Warehouse sells items that customers have sent back but can’t be sold as brand-new, because the packaging has been opened.

It can be a great way to pick up new tech with a discount.

This week we found a Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer AF300UK (7.6L) on there for £164.99 where only the box was damaged. The same gadget is currently selling elsewhere for £179.99, down from its original price of £219.99.

But use a comparison site such as Idealo.co.uk to make sure you’re really getting a bargain.


BAFFLED by the codes used to describe items? Here’s our handy guide:

BIN: Buy It Now

BNIP: Brand New In Packet

BNWOT: Brand New Without Tags

BNWT: Brand New With Tags

EUC: Excellent Used Condition

HTF: Hard To Find

MIB: Mint In Box

NRFB: Never Removed From Box

NWT: New With Tags

Find returned items or out-of-season stock at huge discounts

THRIFTY Caroline Butler loves rummaging at charity shops and browsing online for bargains.

Social media manager Caroline, 46, recently nabbed more than £250 worth of new clothing and boots for £34.50 in one visit to a Sue Ryder store in Norwich.

Her bargains included a new £95 linen dress by East for £8; Zara shorts worth £29.99 for £5; a £70 Warehouse blazer for £7.50; £40 Mustang boots for £7.50; and a men’s French Connection shirt, worth around £15, for £6.50.

Caroline, from Norfolk, said: “There’s a real thrill to finding bargains, it’s like a treasure hunt. I also love the Vinted app, where you can get incredible finds.

“I got a new Vivienne Westwood clutch bag still in its box worth £130 for just £35.

“Facebook Marketplace is also great. I recently found a Jack Wills handbag for just £5 with the £39.99 price tag still on.

“The Nextdoor app is good for bargains too. It has a section ­dedicated to things for sale in your local neighbourhood.”

Caroline posts finds on TikTok and Instagram @caroline.shops.


BEFORE hitting your nearest charity shops, download the Google Lens app to your phone and use it to snap pictures of items that look new. It will help you find out what they’re worth. When shopping online, click on the picture and do a Google image search to see what it costs new. If the brand name has been cut out of a garment, look for other signs that it’s from a premium shop, such as whether it has been lined, the quality of the stitching and labels that say where it was made. Keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook pages as sometimes charity shops will flag special sales. For example, Pilgrims Hospices recently held a “Brand New With Tags” event in its Westgate shop in Kent, which it posted on Twitter. For an A-Z of outlet stores for different fashion and homeware brands see moneysavingexpert.com/deals/outlets.

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