When my daughter was born, I started buying second-hand Christmas gifts. I realized that there is not much point in buying expensive things for your child when they are so small because they have no idea what it is.
But it wasn’t just because she was short. It was a necessity. When my daughter was young I had a job working from home in Gloucestershire, England and was only making a few hundred pounds a month. I was in debt and didn’t have any money, but I still wanted to get my daughter Christmas gifts she would love and not be so stressed.
My daughter is 11 now and I’m fine financially, but I still buy gifts I love now. When you start you’ll see why it’s such a good idea.
Not only are you helping someone else clean up and earning extra money, you’re also saving money and helping the environment. Plus, whoever you buy will still get the item they wanted. I think it’s a no-brainer.
I don’t buy much for other people – mainly for my daughter. My partner and I don’t usually buy each other much other than the occasional gift card, but if I see something used for him I’d be more than happy to get it. However, the majority of my expenses go to my daughter, and much of it is second hand.
My daughter never mentioned anything about her gifts being second hand and she never commented on her gifts not having wrapping. I think as adults we would be aware of the lack of packaging, but in my experience kids don’t care.
I didn’t bother to tell my daughter where I got her gifts from or that they were needed, but she never noticed or commented. She doesn’t seem to mind at all.
Where to buy used gifts
When I’m looking for gifts, I check the flea market and Facebook marketplace. Those are my main favorite places. I also look in charity shops, especially for used books. I buy a lot of my daughter’s clothes on eBay, where I make sure they still have their tags on, or on sites like Depop and Vinted.
I think a lot of people don’t realize that you can get brand new stuff at flea markets or Facebook Marketplace — even if it’s technically second hand because you’re buying it from someone else. When your kids are little, you get so many duplicate toys, and that’s what people want to resell.
I like to be organized and buy gifts in advance, so this summer I’ll be going to the flea market with a list in mind. I will do my best to find any gift second hand but if I can’t it will be bought new. But I would estimate that about 80 percent of my gifts are second hand.
The gift that really stood out for me and resonated the most with my daughter was the roller skates I got at a flea market for £1 when I was 7 years old. They weren’t in any packaging and they weren’t pristine – the wheels were slightly worn – but she didn’t care. I have a picture of her facial expression and she was so excited.
Now my daughter is older, she has varied tastes. This year I managed to get most of her second hand gifts including: second hand clothes, a children’s watch, lots of books and an iPad which was in a damaged box and was therefore at a discount. I don’t have her often to be fair – she doesn’t really ask for much.
How much money will I save when buying second-hand gifts?
My daughter always had second-hand gifts for her birthday and Christmas. Since second-hand gifts are cheaper, you can buy more. I’ve bought a whole collection of £5 birthday gifts before – a Disney Princess Barbie, unboxed; Skates; dolls; a barbie carriage. This saving meant I could spend more on my daughter’s birthday party.
I don’t know exactly how much I spend each year, but I try to keep it under £50 – and I still manage to give my daughter whatever she wants. The amount of money I save each year depends on what I buy, but I’d say I’ve saved hundreds of pounds on Christmas gifts.
The money I saved could go into my daughter’s pot for her next birthday or Christmas, or whatever my financial goal is at that point, like overpaying on the mortgage or contributing to my pension.
I am financially comfortable now. I paid off all of my debt years ago and hopefully am well on my way to early retirement. We are certainly very comfortable and I recently bought a house with my partner.
I think I will always buy my gifts used. When you have a lot of money, people say, “Why don’t they spend it?” But this is how people stay wealthy by not spending their money. You don’t have to spend all your money just because you have it. And we’re saving for bigger things—while also managing to get my daughter what she wants for Christmas.
Francesca Henry is the owner of the financial blog The Money Fox.
All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
As reported by Katie Russell, deputy editor of Newsweek’s My Turn.
https://www.newsweek.com/second-hand-gifts-christmas-how-save-money-1766904 “I only buy second-hand gifts for Christmas”