I’m a thrifting pro and got £1,000 worth of Christmas gifts this year for just £50 – how you can too

A THRIFTING pro has revealed how she managed to buy £1,000 worth of presents for just £50.

Caroline Butler has been an expert in bagging bargains for years and has directed her talents towards Christmas gifts.

Caroline in her Nike jacket she bought for just £4


Caroline in her Nike jacket she bought for just £4Credit: Caroline Butler
Caroline paid just £8 for these Kurt Geiger Carvela slippers worth £49


Caroline paid just £8 for these Kurt Geiger Carvela slippers worth £49Credit: Caroline Butler

The 46-year-old from Norfolk has always been a fan of charity shops, garage sales and online second-hand retailers.

But, this year she had upped her game.

Using her shopping skills, she reckons she’s bought around £1,000 of gifts for 15 people for just £50.

She’s managed to make major savings by buying designer and high-end items at massively discounted rates.

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Caroline told The Sun: “It’s just such a great way to save money.

“I’ve always said, ‘thrifting is not just for Christmas’ – you can make savings like this all year round.

“This Christmas I made it my mission to only buy second-hand gifts – it’s a win-win situation because you’re giving money to charities and recycling as well.”

The social media manager shares her thrifting finds and tips with her 17.7K followers on TikTok.

A Ted Baker purse Caroline picked up for just £5


A Ted Baker purse Caroline picked up for just £5Credit: Caroline Butler
Gianni Feraud silk tie and cufflink set Caroline grabbed for just £2


Gianni Feraud silk tie and cufflink set Caroline grabbed for just £2Credit: Caroline Butler

Posting under the name “caroline.shops” she has wracked up thousands of views and likes from people looking to find similar bargains.

Most of Caroline’s finds are designer clothes, shoes and handbags but she has also found books and board games too.

Among her finds this year is a Dr Martens pink leather bespoke satchel which she got for £7 in a charity shop.

She said the bag is usually worth about £150 to £200.

Another big saving was on a pair of Kurt Geiger Carvela slippers on Facebook Marketplace, still with their tags on.

Caroline paid just £8 for the slippers which usually cost £49.

Other big brands she’s grabbed include Jasper Conran, M&S clothing, YSL and James Sadler.

Caroline said she has always had a “passion for thrifting” and it’s basically her hobby now.

She does acknowledge that because she doesn’t have kids, her outgoings are fairly minimal so she has extra cash to buy these “lovely” items.

She said: “It makes so much sense to me.

“It really is a win-win situation, when you buy from charity shops you’re giving them money, I’m getting a great deal and the person I’m gifting gets something that is worth lots more money than I paid.

“I’m lucky to live somewhere like Norfolk which is quite an affluent area but everyone has access to online retailers like Facebook Marketplace and Vinted.

“How can you go wrong.”

Caroline said that since she started thrifting, she has more designer clothes than she has ever had before.

Her wardrobe is full of Karen Millen, Ted Baker and Vivienne Westwood items that are all second-hand.

She is encouraging other people to try second-hand shopping at Christmas, especially this year when everyone is looking to save cash where they can.

Caroline’s top tips for thrifting

Caroline has shared her top tips for saving money by buying second-hand Christmas presents.

She said: “When I’m shopping for myself I don’t really have a plan but when you’re looking for other people it’s good to have a plan.

“Make sure you have a rough idea of what you’re looking for so you don’t end up wasting money.”

Make sure you have a proper rummage when you’re looking in charity shops, some of the best bargains could be hiding at the back of rails and shelves.

Caroline also said to have an open mind when looking at clothing sizes.

She said: “For example, vintage clothing sizes are quite different to our modern sizes, also if items have been through a wash they might have shrunk

“That also goes for men’s clothes as well, you never know what oversized clothes you could bag.”

Keeping an eye out for high-quality items is also key, if something is 100% silk or leather then you know it will be a good quality gift for someone.

Another tip is that independent charity shops might have cheaper bits than big chain shops.

Also, when buying presents for people in particular, most of us will want to gift items with their tags still on.

Caroline said there are plenty of choices of things that still have labels or are in their original packaging, which might work better for presents.

She also said that it’s important not to worry about what other people think about giving second-hand gifts.

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Caroline said: “I understand that everybody’s different but ultimately the person who is receiving doesn’t need to know that you’ve got it second-hand.

“But also, for me, you’re being more eco-friendly and giving to charity as well so I’d be more than happy to tell people.”

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing money-sm@news.co.uk

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