Tips for gift buying on a budget
by Zoe Robinson
We all know it’s the thought that counts, but sometimes it can be tricky to find something a little bit different when buying gifts on a budget. Here a few ideas and High Rd places to help you along the way:
1. Gift wrap galore
Save your gift wrap, ribbons, gift bags and any beautiful magazine spreads as these can always be reused to wrap presents. Keep Christmas cards, cut out beautiful patterns or cute pictures and reuse the following year as gift labels.
This is not only a great way of recycling, by giving a second life to materials that are still usable, but will also save you money and you’ll always have a ready stock. Otherwise, buy recycled brown paper (available from Unik, Unikob and WH Smith) and dress up with ribbon, rafia or colourful wool.
2. Nice and Spicy
Streatham is home to some amazing grocery stores with foods that span the continents. Daily Fresh Foods opposite Streatham Hill Station has just about every ingredient you could ever wish for (and if they don’t they will do their best to get it for you!) The spice collection is amazing and very well-priced so go in, choose a selection and with change in your pocket you are almost there.
For the ultimate beautiful budget gift wrap, make a gift bag from an old newspaper. We like this tutorial from How About Orange.
3. Flower Power
Ok, so flowers aren’t the most original gifts in the world but a plant can make a wonderful and long-lasting gift. Bill’s flower stall which pops up on the corner of Streatham High Road and Becmead Avenue every week Thursday to Sunday should be your first port of call. Tell Bill your budget and he’ll work with you to choose the perfect plant.
Then pop over to Unik Arts and Crafts for a ribbon to adorn it (if you don’t have any at home that is) and into Oxfam to pick up some Fair Trade chocolate – carefully hidden amongst the leaves this is a lovely surprise.
4. Top Charity Shops
I cannot pass a Streatham charity shop without going in. I always find wonderful, unique gifts. My top local buys include this vintage sewing machine, a 1970s evening dress and a mint condition Guinness Book of World Records circa 1966 for my very happy boyfriend (the year of England’s Football World Cup Win).
Here’s a list of all our locals and my picks on what to look out for:
Wandsworth Oasis is usually good for children’s toys and bric a brac – I recently spied a full set of Poole Pottery here. Also lots of paperback novels if you’re after some holiday reading.
All Aboard is wonderful for interesting books and lovely jewellery. Also keep an eye out for vintage hats and bags.
British Heart Foundation Clothes and Accessories. Search this shop for children’s books, toys and clothes, women’s accessories, plus books and DVDs.
Cancer Research is worth a look for homeware and women’s accessories, plus some lovely gift cards. They even have a small selection of women’s vintage fashion.
Oxfam Fashion shop offers a wide range of ethical gifts and goodies as well as interesting bric a brac. They often have some high-quality or vintage clothes and accessories and their gift wrap and card range is excellent (and recycled). Their Fair Trade Stars Knitting bag is just £9.99
Trinity is a great option for book lovers and they usually have some quite high-quality accessories and gifts. Also home to the sewing machine you see above.
British Heart Foundation Book and Music shop does what it says on the tin and more. You can’t help but spend hours browsing old records, books and maps. They also have a very good selection of DVDs and nearly new books.
I am from a generation that took interest in who played bass or tambourine on old records. British Heart Foundation on Streatham High Rd is the perfect place to go looking for vinyl records.
Peter Larsen, Music Producer
Romania Relief Fund
Books and records are very cheap here – it may take some searching but you might just find a little gem.
Oxfam Furniture and Book shop is well worth a browse for books homeware and nearly new or vintage furniture. Also stock some Oxfam ethical gifts.
Trinity has a good selection of vintage clothing, some interesting books and bric a brac. If you know someone into knitting, they often have a few vintage patterns which make lovely gifts when framed.
Give a Little, though not technically classified a charity shop, is a lovely shop that sells good quality second hand clothes, books, accessories and lots more with profits going to charity. A veritable treasure trove!
5. Record Breaker
Don’t have a record player? Some of the art work on record sleeves is beautiful and can make a wonderful gift if framed. For an inexpensive option, lots of the charity shops listed sell frames, otherwise try The Frame Factory who do standard sizes or bespoke.
If the vinyl is scratched beyond hope, the record itself can be repurposed into a bowl, great filled with sweets, spices, cookies or a DVD and popcorn. Have a look at this ‘how to’ on the Guardian website but do take care (and wear oven gloves!)