A PART-TIME student has revealed how she is set to save £300 by swapping new Christmas presents for second-hand.
The big day is fast approaching and some households have saved big bucks by shopping mainly in charity shops and pre-loved marketplaces.
That's what Emily Nuttall did last year and she's doing the same this Christmas too.
The 30-year-old part-time student and campaigner has saved around £100 so far by shopping in charity shops.
She expects to have saved a total of £300 in total once all her shopping is done.
Emily spoke exclusively to The Sun and said she enjoys shopping second-hand because it's a "beautiful and unique way" of gifting.
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She said: "Growing up, our family motto was to always give back to charity at Christmas time, and I love doing so through buying gifts at their shops.
"We find gifting second-hand items has more meaning than spending lots of money."
As an adult now she says chooses to shop second-hand because it's "more affordable" and "it’s a way to give back to charities" that have supported her.
She continued: "The cost of living crisis, working a zero-hour contract, and being a student has had a huge impact on my finances and my mental health.
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"I find charity shopping reduces my stress, as I know my finances won’t be worse off after Christmas and I can still gift in a beautiful and unique way."
Emily, who lives in Guernsey, says she would normally spend around £200 on Christmas presents before.
She said: "My family and friends find being given second-hand gifts more special as it’s more personal and gives them joy knowing that you would not find these items elsewhere.
"These gifts have so much more meaning, and this is the true importance of Christmas – and is our ethos as a family."
Emily added that some gifts even bring up memories and conversations about their lives, which is an added bonus.
Some examples of gifts she has bought so far this year include fidget toys, like spinners, fidget bricks, and worry wriggly worms.
One fidget spinner alone costs £3.50, Emily bought 10 of these for just £10.
She also picked up a special Peter Rabbit outfit and toy for her baby cousin – as it’s their favourite toy – for just £8.
These could cost as much as £40 for both in a shop like JoJo Maman.
Another great find she found was a Harry Potter Lego set for £10, these sets tend to cost anything from £45 to £90 new.
Emily also bagged a scarf, a top, a butterfly ornament, and a toy – all for just £10.
Other bits she's grabbed so far include fun packs of cards of which she got three for £2.
These gifts are just for four people in total, but Emily is buying for 14 further family members and friends so is expecting even grander savings.
These furher presents will likely be items such as books, games, clothing, photo frames for photos.
She said she won't be spending any more than another £50 altogether.
Emily said: "I bought gifts second-hand last year, am doing so this year, and plan to do so again next year.
"It’s just normal for me now."
She said that not having pressure to buy expensive gifts is also "hugely important" for her mental health and financial wellbeing, as well as her family’s.
"Being a student on disability and sickness benefits, only working zero-hour contracts and the added impact of the cost of living crisis – my family do not want me to be worried about buying things I can’t afford," Emily explained.
Shopping in charity shops reduces this stress, whilst also still allowing her to give back, she said.
Emily's story comes after mental health charity Mind revealed that people aren't too keen on charity shop shopping for Christmas presents.
Almost half of people in England and Wales are shopping more in charity shops because of the rising cost of living, new research found.
Over 50% of these people say the reason is items are cheaper second-hand, and over a third say they like supporting charity.
But, despite that, as few as only 13% say they'd gift second-hand presents.
Mind is urging the public to consider shopping at one of its 160 stores this Christmas, as they offer "high-quality items that could make the perfect gift for friends and family".
Items range from books and clothing to homeware and accessories.
You can find your nearest Mind shop using the store locator tool on the charity's website.
Andrew Vale, director of retail at Mind, said: "We know that Christmas and the pressure to buy and receive presents can bring enormous financial strain, with the rising cost of living only making this worse.
"We also know that this can bring increased anxiety, stress and worry to so many of us.
"We are in the middle of a mental health crisis and that’s why we need the public’s support more than ever."
Emily's top tips for buying second-hand Christmas presents
Emily has revealed her top tips for shopping second-hand Christmas presents.
When you’re shopping for friends and family, try to buy presents that match their personality or will mean a lot to them, she said.
Emily explained: "For example, I will look for items in their favourite colour, related to a hobby they do or something from their childhood."
Another of her top tips is to make sure you get a head start.
She said: "Give yourself plenty of time by starting to shop early.
"Or even better, keep an eye out for gifts all year round – this is great as it also helps spread the cost."
The savvy shopper also pointed out that charity shops have new stock almost every day.
It means it’s important to keep an eye out regularly as the perfect gift may just appear.
Emily added: "Overall, I think it’s important to not overthink and remember that it’s the thought that counts.
"You can find some really unique and interesting gifts in charity shops that you would not be able to find elsewhere on the high street."
Another top tip is to browse sites like John Lewis for inspiration on what you'd ordinarily want to buy.
Then when you're armed with ideas, head to a charity shop or look on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Etsy for what you're after.
Sometimes you might even be able to find it unused too.
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Meanwhile, a second-hand shopping expert has revealed the three things to buy pre-loved online.
Plus, a mum-of-two has revealed how she has managed to save a whopping £1,000 by doing her Christmas completely second-hand.
You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.
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