Model saves £10,000 for house deposit by buying all her clothes in charity shops

Johanna Kirkham says that snapping up bargain designer clothes in charity shops has helped her save £10,000 for a house deposit.

The model says she still buys brands including Adidas, Karen Millen and Levi’s for a fraction of their retail price by trawling through second-hand rails.

Bride-to-be Johanna, 23, was introduced to second-hand shopping by her mum Kim Worsley, 50, when she was a child.

Back then she was more interested in job lots of Barbie dolls but now she has a wardrobe of second-hand high-end outfits.

Now Johanna, who also works as an optical advisor, regularly gets outfits for £3 – less than a sandwich, drink and crisp deal.

Johanna, from Chorley, Lancashire, said: ‘I’ve saved thousands of pounds over the years, I sometimes look through my wardrobe and wonder ‘how on earth did I find that so cheap?’.

‘I love the unique pieces you can find in charity shops and at car boot sales, you can go into a shop and find such a variety of things.

‘I have an eclectic fashion sense and love picking up unique pieces. I like quirky things, pin-up style and band t-shirts and jeans – not just things you’d find in a high street store.

‘By going into a charity shop I can come out with all of those things and the bonus is nine times out of ten it costs me less than £20.

‘The by-product of shopping this way is that it’s environmentally friendly as well as you’re recycling things that may have only been worn once or twice.’

Johanna said shopping in this way helped her and 25-year-old mobile phone customer adviser fiance Mitchell save for the deposit on their £135,000 home.

They did move back to live with her mum, which she says was a big help, but she says even then, they needed to live as frugally as possible to save up the money.

Johanna said: ‘Buying from charity shops was instrumental in helping us save for the deposit on our house.

‘It’s quite difficult to step onto the property ladder but we managed it successfully and we bought our house in June last year.

‘Living frugally, including at charity shops, was a massive help and we managed to save £10,000 in 12 months.

‘When you’re saving for such a big thing like that you can’t go on shopping sprees and start spending hundreds of pounds.

‘I feel like I’m in a palace, I love my house, I’m a very lucky lady.’

Now with their wedding coming up in August, she wants to continue to save as much as possible.

She said: ‘I know I can’t just go and blow £100 on buying new things.

‘As much as we are saving for our wedding, we are fortunate enough that we can afford to go and buy new things, but choose to shop this way as it’s exciting not knowing what we can find.’

Johanna’s best finds include a lavish Karen Millen evening gown for £7.49, a 50s-style Hell Bunny dress for £3.99, a Regatta coat for £1 and a pair of Levi’s shorts bought on holiday for $1.80.

The size 8-10 model also regularly tracks down tops, dresses, coats and shoes for just £1 a pop from charity shops and car boot sales.

She said that charity shops are much cheaper than buying secondhand clothes on eBay.

Johanna said: ‘My favourite find is a Karen Millen dress, which is absolutely gorgeous, that cost me £7.49. On eBay, the same dress secondhand was £120.

‘Another favourite find is the most beautiful blue fishtail gown I spotted when I nipped into a charity shop, it cost me £9.50.

‘It’s not something you can wear to the shops but modelling allows me to wear gorgeous dresses like this.’

Her favourite shop does three for £1 on all clothes, including branded items from Adidas and Superdry.

She said: ‘I picked up a pretty vintage floral strapless dress from a £1 rail, put it with some white shoes I got at a car boot sale for £1 and a ‘pearl’ necklace I picked up for £1.

‘I looked in the mirror and thought ‘there’s a full outfit for £3 – for less than a meal deal.’

Johanna regularly picks up items to wear every day, but also looks for eye-catching outfits that will photograph well at shoots.

Johanna said: ‘I always keep in mind what looks good on camera in terms of colour and pattern while looking for outfits for shoots and try to keep things cheap and cheerful.’

She loves charity shops so much that at the age of 16 she volunteered in one for two days a week for two years.

‘It gave me great experience and knowledge of working in the real world and helped me get my first job,’ she said.

Johanna now shares her bargains from charity shops and car boots to show people the stylish secondhand outfits that can be found.

And to pass on her bargains, she re-donates back to charity shops when she has a wardrobe clear out and she wants to encourage others to shop like her.

Johanna said: ‘To anyone who’s not shopped this way before I would advise them to just try it.

‘I love telling people how little I paid for something I’m wearing, it’s amazing.

‘I would say to use common sense – if something is riddled with stains and full of holes don’t get it.

‘I don’t see buying items this way any differently than if a friend gave it to me, I would stick it in the wash and wear it.’