My husband called me a Super-scrimper last week because I was offended by the prices on toys in a certain charity shop in Highgate Village. My husband pointed out that £4-5 for a toy was still cheaper than new and they were also a charity.

“Well, I think they are taking the mick, just because they are in Highgate,” I replied.

“Do you blame them?”

“Yes. They are losing out on buyers because they are trying to cash in. The rich folks don’t buy their toys from charity shops, we do. So no one wants to donate because they get over-priced, no one wants to buy because they are £2 cheaper either next door or down the road.”

“So don’t buy from there.”

“I won’t but I think their business plan is all wrong.”

I wasn’t outraged at them selling toys for more than their competition but for clearly doing so because of where they were based. I guess rent might be higher than down the road as they same charity charges much less for toys there, but then should the stock bought be simply keeping the shop open, if so?

I did feel bad for thinking that they should charge the same as other shops in the area but we can’t afford new toys and I don’t like the waste either. A good scrub and anything can look like new.

On the same day I bought 5 new toys and 3 books for £13 from various local charity shops. My son will never know and he won’t go without.

I read recently that the first child can cost up to £7k in the first year alone. £7k?! What are folks buying? We get our clothes second-hand, toys from charity shops, books from the library, walk everywhere and use cloth nappies. Believe me, if someone wanted me to test reusable wipes, I would. It’s not just to save the money, although we do need to. It is also to save on the waste. I cannot stand the waste that comes from all things directed at babies and it doesn’t need to be that way.

When I was pregnant, a friend advised us that we would need much more space than our one-bed flat, (heck I miss that lovely place), because babies come with lots of things. Actually babies turn up with nothing, we flourish them with lots of things, are told we NEED lots of things, that we MUST have this and that. All the things I have bought because I’ve been told that I must buy it, my son will be missing out if I don’t and why haven’t I got it already, are all the things that I felt weren’t really used.

The door bouncer – I was repeatedly told I could leave him in it for hours and do some house work and he’d love it. What actually happened is it took me ages to get him into it, he wanted me to sit there and bounce him and then he’d get bored.

Walker – Ok we were donated one but I was told we MUST have one to encourage him to walk. He liked it but then crawled and outgrew it. Now it sits in the corner.

Mobile – we got 3 offers of buying a cot mobile so we didn’t bother. None turned up and it was suggested my son’s development was hampered by this. Deep breath and ignore. By the time we were in a shop with one of the ‘offerers’ my son could sit up and was too old. I’m quite glad we didn’t bother. He’s a bright spark and we’re 30 quid better off.

Saying this, you would think we have spare cash or savings with all my scrimping. Looking after the pennies only looks after pennies when that is all you have. Yet, we are happy and that is worth more than a lottery win.


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