Christmas is right around the corner, and the expense of buying presents amid a rising cost-of-living crisis is enough to make any parent feel worried this festive season.
But one mum-of-two has urged families to buy second-hand Christmas presents this year to help alleviate the cost of the season of giving.
Maddy Alexander-Grout, a 39-year-old chief marketing officer, usually spends an eye-watering £250 on Christmas presents for her family, but has spent just £30 at charity shops, car boot sales and online.
Through her money-saving antics, she has been able to purchase books for her 41-year-old husband, James Alexander-Grout, as well as games, scooters and Paw Patrol-themed gifts for her two children, Ben, seven, and Harriet, three.
“My kids don’t always even remember what they’ve asked for,” Maddy, who is from Southampton, Hampshire, said.
“My son has asked me for Pokemon cards, and they’re really easy to get second-hand on eBay. So I’m going to get some of those.
“My daughter just likes anything Paw Patrol, she would not care if it was in a packet or not.”
Maddy has been searching for second-hand Christmas presents since September, and has gone to charity shops twice a week and a car-boot sale twice a month, so far spending just £30.
She has also found FatFace clothes on Facebook Marketplace, scooters for her two children at a car boot sale at just £7 each, and a remote control car for £1 for her son in a charity shop.
And to keep her children occupied over Christmas, she has also picked up some board games as presents, with four games costing just £4, which she knows the children will love.
She joked: “I also got three books for my husband, for 50p each, and I can wrap all three of those up separately so it looks like I’ve got him a really good present.”
Maddy has also sold her unused Christmas presents from last year on Facebook Marketplace and is using Nectar points and vouchers to buy her Christmas dinner.
She is not only taking actions to save some cash, but also to help the environment by using recyclable and reusable wrapping paper and ribbons, and buying second-hand gifts without plastic packaging.
“I don’t think the kids value packaging,” she said. “In fact, they spent more time whinging about why something won’t open or why it hasn’t got batteries.
“When you buy second-hand, you can just put batteries in and away you go.
“Whereas, if you buy new, you have to get scissors, you have to go and cut the packaging open and then it ends up being really messy in the living room. It’s just more waste.”
Now, Maddy, who managed to recover from £40,000 of debt, now shares money-saving tips with her 20,000 TikTok followers.
“I just wanted there to be somewhere that I could talk about money, because I feel like people don’t talk about money enough,” she said about her platform.
“So I talk about money news, comment on news stories and talk about my money-saving tips.
“I set it up because I actually used to be in £40,000-worth of debt myself, and it took me six years to pay that off.
“And with the cost-of-living crisis, I just wanted to be able to give something back and help people.”
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