I buy all my Christmas presents from charity shops, it saves me hundreds

A thrifty fashion blogger is planning a second-hand Christmas by buying all her presents from charity shops – saving her £560 as well as saving the planet.

While Iso Neville, 24, spends around £200 each year on festive gifts, the average adult spends £760, according to Atomik Research.

Not only does Iso love rooting out preloved bargains, but she's delighted that her money is going to charity, too.

Head of social media for an art agency, Iso, from London Bridge, south east London, has been hitting vintage stores since her school days, and says: "As a teen, normal high street clothing shops were too far away for me, without getting a lift from my parents.

“Instead, I would my browse the charity shops near home and quickly found there were plenty of treasures there for sale at a bargain price.

“Now that I’m older, I don’t see a need to shop at fast fashion stores when second-hand shops have such great quality items.”


Since she chose to go 100 per cent second-hand in 2019 – saving money, avoiding waste and helping the environment, as well as supporting charities – Iso has not looked back.

She said: “I was already buying a lot of things second-hand, but when I heard a shocking statistic – that we have enough clothes on earth right now to clothe the next six generations – that made me want to cut out new clothes for good.

“Sustainability is very important to me and there are very good quality clothes in charity shops, which outlive your average clothes in a fast fashion shop.”

Now Iso’s thrifty shopping ways have also been applied to nifty present buying.

She said: “Friends and family know how much I believe in charity shops, so they now expect all the presents I buy to be second-hand.

“No one has ever complained to me, because it’s the thought that counts and, after all, you would never even know the items weren’t new!”

Frequently complimented on her amazing finds, she also hopes to lift the stigma attached to buying things second-hand.

She said: “There's definitely a kind of taboo around second-hand shopping, but it’s just not true that preloved items are trash.

“Since lockdown, it seems a lot of people in the UK have been having a clear out, because there’s so much choice at the moment in charity shops.

“You can really find some amazing stuff and I’ve even been able to furnish my home with things I’ve bought at Barnardo’s.”

This year, Iso has every intention to get all her Christmas gifts from charity shops.

She said: “I have a friend who recently got into tennis, so I found a pack of brand-new Wimbledon tennis balls and pins in a local charity shop, which I’ll give to her this Christmas.


1. Chloe logo sock boots – cost £90, originally £1400, saving her £1310

2. Burberry trench coat – cost £150, originally around £1500, saving her £1350

3. Louis Vuitton Noé handbag – cost £300, originally £1250, saving her £950

4. Aquazzura Wild Thing sandals – cost £100, originally £510, saving her £410

5. Saint Laurent Anja heels – cost £150, originally £520, saving her £370​​​​​​

“A good top tip for thrifty gift giving is to get a plant from the garden centre and buy a plant pot from a charity shop to go with it.

“No one would ever know it’s second-hand and they often have very quirky and interesting plant pots for sale.

“On average, I save at least 50 per cent on a second-hand item compared to buying it brand new.”

Children’s charity Barnardo’s, in partnership with Atomik Research, found that two thirds of people in the UK say they'll consider buying their Christmas presents from charity shops this year.

While 4 out of 5  adults said thoughtfulness is the key to a perfect gift, and a quarter of people surveyed marked sustainability as important too.

Iso said: “I’m very environmentally conscious and Christmas can be quite a wasteful time of year, but it doesn’t have to be.

“I use my social media to kind of spread that message and to make sure that if I'm posting a photo, people are aware that everything I'm wearing is second-hand.

“A lot of people will have tighter purse strings this Christmas after the effects of the pandemic, so charity shopping is an excellent way to save some extra cash.”


1. Search regularly – pop into your local shop twice a month or so as new stock is updated daily.

2. Browse online – Barnardo's has a great website – and Thrift+ allows you to shop second-hand and choose which charity to donate the proceeds to.

3. Find the premium section – most charity shops have a designated section for better quality items.

4. Buy books – second-hand books are incredibly cheap and are just as good as their brand-new counterparts.

5. Look closely – some items might be more jumbled than in fast fashion stores, so double check sections that aren’t your size. You might find a treasure that’s been hidden in the wrong place!

Managing Director of Barnardo’s Trading, Roy Clark, said: “The Christmas period is always an exciting time and it’s great to see that so many people are looking to charity shops for inspiration.

“By shopping at Barnardo’s in a store or online you can find fantastic gifts for friends and family, and you will also be helping us to continue providing vital services to vulnerable children, young people, parents and carers at Christmas time and all year round.”

For more information visit www.barnardos.org.uk

You can even find designer gear in some charity shops, see the top five charity shops in the country to find designer bargains and rich women’s fancy cast offs

Check out this charity shop queen, my designer wardrobe costs me less than Primark hauls, here’s how to get the best bargains

Join the rest of us as more Brits than ever will bag charity shop bargains rather than buy brand new next year

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