A THRIFTY mum has revealed how she’s built a wardrobe full of chic and on-trend outfits but never spends more than £5 for each.
Emily Firmin, 41, from Warwickshire, loves shopping up a storm and chasing eye-watering deals without sacrificing her glam style – and now shares her tips so you can too.
Emily Firmin, 41, from Warwickshire, loves looking glam but never pays full price for clothesCredit: Emily Firmin
The mum-of-two, who’s a professionally trained makeup artist, shares her bargain finds on her YouTube channel AllTheLadiesCredit: Emily Firmin
The mum-of-two, who’s a professionally trained makeup artist, shares her bargain finds on her YouTube channel AllTheLadies.
There she reveals how she nabs affordable fashion, beauty and occasional homeware items for bargain prices meaning she never pays retail price.
In fact, Emily, who has twin boys aged six, never pays full price for anything and scours the internet for the best deals from Zara, Topshop and other high-street brands.
Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, Emily said: “I’ve always been known as thrifty. Personally, I prefer the word savvy. Paying top dollar just doesn’t excite me.
“Bargains are all around us, even when the sale signs are down. Fashion and beauty should be fun and it certainly shouldn’t break the bank.”
Emily says she’s known for her “Everything5pounds hauls” which sees her unpack a range of stylish clothes she nabbed for just £5.
The website, Everything 5 Pounds, is updated daily and features hundreds of items available for a fiver – and often has high street brands including Zara and Topshop.
“Many of the items are sourced are from large high street brands from the UK and Europe. I have had many ex TOPSHOP, Zara, Next, PLT and Misguided,” the thrifty shopper said.
“The exciting part is you actually don’t know what brand the item is. All the items are listed by their colour and style, no brand is mentioned. [The] labels are cut out but often if you look closely you can tell where it’s from.”
The website sells old stock, overstock and out of season items, according to Emily, and while there are loads of “less desirable” items, it’s certainly “worth the scroll” as you always “find a gem.”
“I received some Steve Madden wedge sandals last summer; they retailed at £79. I was so happy. Recently I received two silk Zara dresses. They retailed at £34.99 and I bagged two for a tenner,” she revealed.
Adding: “I couldn’t tell you the amount of times friends and complete strangers have asked where I got something.
“I’ve saved hundreds of pounds over the past few years.
“I may not have bought the items at full price, but at £5 I’ve been able to try different styles, shapes, trends and colours that maybe I wouldn’t have done so at full price.”
TO THE MAXX
Another place to score a bargain or three is TK Maxx and the savvy shopper is certainly no stranger to the popular high-street store.
She says: “TK Maxx has reduced prices from the RRP (what the brand store would charge) but they still reduce even further – so look out for the red labels.
“Many people find TK Maxx a tad hectic, but I love nothing more than delving into the rails.
“For me, this is the exciting part and the only way I believe you will find the real bargains.”
The best time to go, she says, is straight after the school run in the morning describing it as “pure bliss.”
Plus, “the staff are pricing up new arrivals from the night delivery” at that time so you’re bound to grab some winners.
Bargains are all around us, even when the sale signs are down. Fashion and beauty should be fun and it certainly shouldn’t break the bank.
Sharing some tips on how best to streamline the shopping experience, Emily suggests checking out the online store first.
“TK Maxx is online now so if you have a specific item or brand you love or you just can’t bear to sift through the rails check the website as they have plenty held back in the warehouse,” she says.
“I just bought a Michael Kors Padded Duvet Coat, perfect for walking the dog but super stylish at the same time. I bought it for £89…RRP £319. I wear it every day and get many compliments.”
But the bargain hunter says you “need to have an idea of what you’re going in for” as this will help you navigate the deals.
“It can be a very busy and hectic place. Grab a trolley even if you don’t think you’ll need it because you’re gonna get hot,” she suggests.
The mum-of-two says it’s also great for discounted cosmetics which she will “religiously keep my eye out for every time I go in.”
And with Christmas fast approaching, Emily reckons it’s a good place to bag some presents, specifically some “incredible” gift boxes.
She says: “Gift boxes and Christmas ideas at this time of the year are incredible…they are normally placed right by the entrance but you have to be quick with all seasonal stock with TK Maxx as they shift items very quickly.”
It’s not just high-street bargains Emily’s on the hunt for, but she’s able to score a range of luxury designer clothes and cosmetics for purse-friendly prices.
She suggests checking out outlets that offer up to 80% off brands, including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Stella McCartney, Michal Kors, Gucci and Armani, so you can fill your wardrobe with designer pieces without the hefty price tags.
“Discount stores and outlets are a great go-to,” she says. “[They] sell brand-name and private-brand merchandise at prices significantly lower than prices at conventional retailers, up to 80 per cent.”
If you want a range of British brands at your fingertips, Emily suggests hitting up the Designer Outlet at Bicester Village which is “fab for bagging discounted designer pieces.”
Offering her tips, she says: “If you sign up for free to their membership you will be sent a QR code which when presented in any store will get you 10% off your purchases, forever.”
I couldn’t tell you the amount of times friends and complete strangers have asked where I got something.
Brand Alley is another online store that has brands such as Kate Spade, Reiss, Amanda Wakeley, Mango, Coach and Whistles on offer
“It’s a members-only site but it’s free to sign up. Once signed you will receive £15 off your first purchase and a gift on your birthday which is a nice incentive,” she says.
Adding: “I’m just constantly amazed at how discounted the items are and the high-profile designers you can pick up such as Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Philip Kingsley.
“They’re currently selling [Philip Kingsley’s] multi-award-winning elasticizer (1000ml) for £45 (RRP £106)…this product I swear by for conquering extremely dry thirsty hair.”
In recent years, supermarket fashion has “reached another level”, according to Emily who often finds herself browsing the ranges at Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys regularly.
She says: “I spend more time perusing the clothing section than buying groceries.
“I always say, ‘don’t discount the discount stores!’. I appreciate it is not about buying everything from these stores but having a rummage, find the time to seek out the real deals.”
What’s more, while Emily reckons Primark is better suited for “the younger generation,” there are still few things she’ll always head in store for.
“Primark has proved to be a fantastic place to find good denim, coats and underwear,” she says.
“I recently purchased a plum coloured faux fur coat for £35…I’ve received countless compliments when wearing it out.
“I [also] purchased a pair of vegan boots and I am being complimented every day I wear them. For £16, you just cannot complain.”
Check out Emily’s YouTube page, AllTheLadies, for bargain hauls, hints and tips.
Elsewhere, Ex TK Maxx worker reveals secrets for bagging the best bargains- including ideal time to shop & when items get reduced.
Plus this woman got into £38k debt thanks to takeaways and shopping – now she’s paid off £24k, here’s how.
And we revealed how to bag bargain Christmas gifts including £5 hampers and £3 Lego.
Emily found this cream bodycon dress, originally £34.99 from Zara, for just £5Credit: Emily Firmin
This Jaeger hat retails for £39.99 but teh thrifty shopper found it at TK Maxx for just £16.99Credit: Emily Firmin
Emily raved about Primark coats including this plum faux fur numberCredit: Emily Firmin
The mum-of-two loves fashion and beauty but aims to make it affordable.Credit: Emily Firmin