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Charity shop bargain hunting tips with advice from Oxfam and Money Saving Expert as Love Island contestants wear eBay secondhand clothes



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Love Island's decision to dress this year's contestants in secondhand clothes from eBay could spark a change in viewers' shopping habits, it has been suggested.

And with the cost of living crisis continuing to bite - many more of us are said to be turning more frequently to secondhand shops and selling sites to purchase items we need and want for less.

But how do shoppers find the best bargains inside the charity shops on their high street?

Love Island has teamed up with eBay to dress contestants in second hand clothes. Picture: ITV.
Love Island has teamed up with eBay to dress contestants in second hand clothes. Picture: ITV.

We've sought seven hacks and tips for thrift shopping that could help you scoop the most stylish summer garms.

1. Look out for de-tagged stock

When handling items from big-label brands, charity shops sometimes take off the labels on these clothes so that shoppers can't return them to the original stores.

If you spot an item missing its label, it could be a donation that originated at a high-end brand, suggests Martin Lewis' website Money Saving Expert.

When dealing with these sorts of items, spotting whether it is a top quality item can take practice but simple checks such as a genuine leather sole on shoes or whether sunglasses have thicker lenses and heavy duty hinges can be among the ways to tell.

There are tips and hacks for getting the most from a charity shop say those in the know. Photo: iStock.
There are tips and hacks for getting the most from a charity shop say those in the know. Photo: iStock.

2. Visit often

Regular visits will increase your chances of finding a bargain. If you are able to pop to your local charity shop on a relatively regular basis and come to know the kind of stock is available it will increase your chances of finding a bargain.

Website Save the Student suggests visiting on weekdays, preferably in the morning and at the start of the week - when shelves may have been replenished - rather than at weekends when there will be more competition or in the afternoon when some of the best buys may have already been snapped up.

And don't be afraid to chat to the staff - befriending them may mean you can find out if and when they get big donations from major manufacturers or if the shop has a particular restock day or time to help you know when you are most likely to grab your next find and they can also help you hunt for something in particular if you tell them what it is you're looking for.

Reporter Nicola Jordan got a charity shop makeover with a budget of £50
Reporter Nicola Jordan got a charity shop makeover with a budget of £50

3. Follow your local charity shop on social media

Getting to know your local charity shops - both in person and on social media - will help you come to understand what each particular one might have to offer.

Website betway, which has been conducting its own research into people's thrifting and spending patterns, says websites like facebook and Instagram can be among the first places charity shops will go to advertise special sales, particularly bulky donations or discounts on items.

The global gambling company, which has been studying the behaviour of second hand sellers and shoppers across the globe, also suggests seeking out reward programmes ahead of a spree. For example, the British Red Cross often offers a Give and Gain loyalty card which can earn you money off your first purchase as well as other offers and potential discounts.

Check all the rails regardless of whether clothes are in the men's or women's department. Picture: iStock.
Check all the rails regardless of whether clothes are in the men's or women's department. Picture: iStock.

4. Rummage through the rails

Unlike a high street store, a charity shop won’t have the best buys or latest stock necessarily adorning windows or made easy to find on one rack. Instead for the benefit of all shoppers, donated items are mostly separated by size, colour and style so be prepared to be patient looking through stock to find something that suits.

Oxfam, which has charity shops up and down the UK, also suggests shoppers avoid sticking to searching gendered departments and instead make a point to look through the entire shop. Clothes items like hoodies and coats are never heavily tailored, meaning that translating sizes is more straightforward between men and women and means you might find a bargain where you least expect it!

Avoid only be attracting to larger items, find the smaller storage compartments too. Picture: iStock.
Avoid only be attracting to larger items, find the smaller storage compartments too. Picture: iStock.

5. Check smaller displays and compartments

When going into a charity shop it's easy to get distracted by large clothes rails and endless stacks of books and shoes. But it can be just as important to pay attention to the little things - such as smaller pots of jewellery or accessories or glass cabinets typically put near the tills housing smaller items.
They can often be loaded with an assortment of jewellery, watches and sometimes even gadgets like digital cameras - often at a discount. So if you're on the hunt for new accessories, be sure to hunt high and low through the whole shop.

Specialist shops exist for things like books and furniture. Photo: iStock.
Specialist shops exist for things like books and furniture. Photo: iStock.

6. Go to specialist charity shops

Many charity shops now run specialist branches for items like furniture or bridal wear. And if you need something specific - such as household items to kit out your new pad or clothes for a big day, the experts at Money Saving Expert recommend finding more specialised branches where staff are only collecting a certain type of second hand item.

Sue Ryder has shops specialising in vintage and retro clothes, Oxfam is among those well known for its pre-owned book offerings while the British Heart Foundation is also among those known for good collections of household items and furniture - with its household clearance service among the reasons why its stores are so often well stocked.

Shop out of season is among the tips. Photo: Stock image.
Shop out of season is among the tips. Photo: Stock image.

7. Shop out of season

It's one of the top tips from the experts at Oxfam, who say shoppers shouldn't be dissuaded from buying something that they might not necessarily wear straight away.

Shopping out of season often means less competition for items - as fewer people want to snap up a thick winter coat in May - and prices can also be lower as there is less demand for the items and yet charity shops may not always want to hold onto them in terms of storage space. If you can afford to do so - not shopping for the season you're in could be a good and money-saving move.



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