Pampering for pennies not pounds

Pampering for pennies not pounds: JASMINE BIRTLES shares ingenious ways to beat the squeeze from swapping clothes with friends to supersizing your shampoo

  • With the cost of food, fuel, electricity and gas are soaring, we are short of cash
  • Jasmine Birtle as shared some tips on how to make your money go further 
  • UK-based money-saving guru says go second hand or swap your clothes 

All this week money-saving guru Jasmine Birtles has been sharing ingenious ways to beat the squeeze. When the cost of food, fuel, electricity and gas are soaring, it can mean that we don’t have extra cash to spend on clothes, beauty and pampering. But here are some clever ways to look fabulous for less.

With the cost of food, fuel, electricity and gas are soaring, we are short of cash. Jasmine Birtle as shared some tips on how to make your money go further including the Charity Shop Gift Card (thecharityshopgiftcard.co.uk), which can be used in a variety of charity shops around the country

HOW TO UPDATE YOUR WARDROBE ON A BUDGET 

The average UK woman spends around £81 a month on clothes and accessories, according to a report from Statista. But there are all sorts of ways you can spend less and still look great. 

HAVE A SWAP SHOP: Get friends, neighbours and family members round for an evening of fun. Everyone has to bring clothes, accessories and anything else that they don’t want anymore and you all swap with each other. If it goes well, you will de-clutter your wardrobe and get some new (to you) clothes into the bargain. USE 

DISCOUNT CODES ONLINE: Download Honey (joinhoney.com) on to your computer and it will automatically search for discount codes for any website you are shopping on. It also gives you honey ‘gold’, which are points you can cash in for gift cards. 

RENT OR BORROW: If you have a wedding, ball or other special occasion coming up, don’t go out and buy a special outfit you’re only likely to wear once. Rent a designer outfit instead. Sites such as Rotaro, HirestreetUK or Hurr Collective have clothes you can rent from £30 upwards. 

Even better, if you have a friend who is the same size as you and doesn’t mind sharing, see if they have a ‘best’ item you can borrow or rent for a small fee. 

SHOP OFF-SEASON: If you’re keen on designer items, look for out-of-season clothes and accessories. Search for swimwear in September, buy ballgowns in February and woollens and coats in May. You will have to wait a few months to wear them, but it’s worth it for the huge savings you can make. 

Jasmine suggests getting friends, neighbours and family members round for an evening of fun. Everyone has to bring clothes, accessories and anything else that they don’t want anymore to swap

CHARITY SHOP GIFT CARDS: A new gift card on the market, the Charity Shop Gift Card (thecharityshopgiftcard.co.uk) can be used in a variety of charity shops around the country. You will be able to buy far more for your money and there’s the thrill of tracking down a designer bargain. 

GO TRULY SECOND HAND: Everyone knows about buying clothes on eBay — often the best place to get designer and top High Street labels — but you can also pick and choose other people’s unwanted items on apps such as Shpock, Depop and Vinted among others. 

The great thing about using these apps is not only that you get ‘new to you’ clothes and help the environment by re-using instead of buying new, but you can also sell clothes you don’t want and then use that money to buy something different. 

Having a ‘one in, one out’ policy for your wardrobe is a good way to keep control of your clothes, and should mean that you don’t have to find extra money to buy more. 

Jasmine suggest if you’re keen on designer items, to look for out-of-season clothes and accessories. Search for swimwear in September, buy ballgowns in February and woollens and coats in May

GET A SUITCASE-FULL OF CLOTHES AT AUCTION: Every day people lose luggage on airlines. Much of it is reunited with its owner eventually, but some is never returned to them. The suitcases that are left behind are sent to local auction houses so that the cases, and their contents, can be auctioned off. 

Large or expensive items (such as cameras, iPads etc) are auctioned separately, as are shoes — often in bundles of the same size. 

The rest of the contents are stuffed back into the suitcases and then auctioned off, sight-unseen. 

You have a general idea of what’s in there (adult female or children’s clothes, for example) but you won’t really know what you’re getting until you open it up. 

Cases tend to go for anything from £10-£100, depending on the size and quality. Buy one or two of these, and when you open them up you might find a few clothes that are right for you and then the rest can be sold online, together with the suitcase. 

Auction houses that run these occasionally include Greasby’s in South London, BCVA Commercial Auctions in Bristol and Mulberry Bank Auctions in Glasgow. 

MAKE YOUR OWN: Sewing machines are getting cheaper and lighter all the time and, although it can be tricky to find shops that sell material, there is a growing interest in making your own clothes. YouTube is full of video tutorials on creating outfits and department stores such as John Lewis have haberdashery departments that still sell patterns, together with sewing machines, cotton and materials. 

It’s even possible to turn a dress or shirt you already own into something completely different if there is enough material in the original.

A surprising number of beauty products can be made at home. For example, lip balm is easy to make with petroleum jelly or beeswax and some essential oils

BEAUTY DOESN’T NEED TO COST THE EARTH 

According to Statista, women in the UK spend an average £650 a year on beauty products, and sadly much of that is wasted. Often items end up lying around half opened for a few months or gathering dust on a shelf, so we throw them away, only to buy virtually the same thing. However, there are ways to bring down your beauty spend with these clever hacks. 

MAKE YOUR OWN: A surprising number of beauty products can be made at home. For example, lip balm is easy to make with petroleum jelly or beeswax and some essential oils. Find instructions for this on various beauty websites such as thesoapkitchen. co.uk or naturally balmy.co.uk. 

You can even make your own anti-ageing cream for a fraction of the price these creams cost on the High Street. For example, the website savvy homemade.com has an anti-wrinkle cream that contains frankincense, avocado and argan oil. 

PERSONAL CARE SHOULD NOT COST YOU THOUSANDS 

Women and teenage girls have to spend an average of £5,000 over their lifetime on sanitary products. Thankfully, the tax on these was removed last year, which helped a little, but it is still quite a financial consideration for menstruating women. However, there is help for those facing ‘period poverty’. Here’s where to get free feminine hygiene:

  • Morrisons has announced that customers can discreetly get a free pack of sanitary products if they go to the Customer Service Desk and ask for a ‘Package for Sandy’. 
  • The charity Beauty Banks (beautybanks. org.uk) works with Superdrug and other donators to provide free hygiene products to youth centres, schools and other organisations that support vulnerable communities. 
  • In Scotland, an app called PickupMy­Period links to more than 700 venues across the country where free products are available. 
  • All state-maintained schools and 16-19 education organisations in England are able to provide free hygiene products to students who need them, through the national period product scheme.

The website ukbeautyroom.com has recipes for all sorts of beauty products including facial scrubs, cleansing balms and toners. Another site, formulabotanica.com, also has recipes for various skincare products, including those you can make with herbs grown in the garden.

USE SPECIALIST WEBSITES: Some of the best prices for cosmetics and skincare are on the net, particularly if you use a discount beauty site. 

Feelunique is a comprehensive beauty site giving tips and advice from top beauty brands, as well as special offers and discounts on popular brands. 

The main selling point here is the editorial content, which is extensive and detailed, and The Lounge is an area of the site where you can watch more videos and tips in easy-tofollow categories. 

LookFantastic is similar to Feelunique but with less editorial content: instead, the focus is on getting specific brands and popular items at competitive prices. 

Beauty Bay has the feel of an online magazine rather than a bargain site, so it makes for a good read as you click through features as well as offering you great prices on products. There is a blog, too, with a focus on tutorials and articles. 

SUPERSIZE IT: Look for supersized bottles of your favourite shampoo, conditioner, hand wash and body moisturiser. It’s more economical to buy in bulk — for example, a litre of Aveda Damage Remedy Shampoo will save you £24.50 and a litre pouch of Kiehl’s Creme de Corps gives a £14 saving on buying smaller bottles. 

And it is better for the environment, too, as there is less packaging and reducing the number of orders you need also means less emissions from deliveries.  

SNAP UP FREE MAKE-UP AND SKINCARE SAMPLES: Spend time trawling round the make-up counters at department stores and chemists Supersize your shampoo bottles, swap clothes with friends and snaffle designer perfumes for a whopping discount… and chat-up the assistants so they give you free samples of creams, foundation, lipsticks and more. 

HOST PARTIES: If you host a Body Shop at Home or Mary Kay party, you get lots of free cosmetics in return. Body Shop at Home offers you £25-worth of free products if you sell at least £150- worth of goods. Mary Kay gives hosts free products, exclusive gifts or special offers. 

Supersize your shampoo bottles, swap clothes with friends and snaffle designer perfumes for a whopping discount… and chat-up the assistants so they give you free samples of creams, foundation, lipsticks and more

TREAT ACCESSORIES AS INVESTMENTS 

With the cost of living soaring, splashing out on designer accessories may feel like a luxury we can no longer afford. But if you buy wisely, you could actually be making a wise investment. 

Some designer handbags will go up in value if you look after them carefully. The best place to look is at local auction houses where some labels will not only be cheaper than new versions but will also be genuine investments. 

The Hermes Birkin and Kelly bags, for example, in recent years have both gone up at around 12- 14 per cent each year. The Birkin (pictured below) has seen its value increase by more than 500per cent in the past 35 years, and it’s widely assumed the value of these bags could double in the next ten years, so they could get you a better return than stocks and shares or property. 

Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags also tend to hold their value over time so buying one at auction particularly can be a sensible investment, as well as being a cheaper way to look expensive.

Remember not to forget high street bargains. There’s a reason why Claire’s Accessories, Primark and Accessorize are still going strong

SNAP UP DISCOUNT SHADES: The turnaround for sunglasses is quite fast as trends change so it’s worth checking TK Maxx for discounted designs from past seasons or browse online marketplace Depop for secondhand and vintage shades at affordable prices. 

Narrow it down to your top five pairs and then go for the best bargain. 

Keep an eye out for online sales. Many fashion websites have special sale sections where they sometimes offer huge discounts on accessories and special offers on certain lines. 

Asos Outlet offers favourite brands, dramatically reduced, like belts, baseball caps, bandanas or whatever you’re looking for. 

DON’T FORGET HIGH STREET BARGAINS: There’s a reason why Claire’s Accessories, Primark and Accessorize are still going strong. Not all of their stock is low-priced, but a great deal is what you (and they) might call ‘cheap and cheerful’ and accessible to those with a small budget. 

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