I scoured the charity shops and found new River Island and Zara clothes at bargain prices

The cost of living is soaring and is expected to continue to soar throughout the year. For many of us, that will mean looking where we can make cuts.

Charity shops and thrift stores have seen a huge increase in the last 12 months, with a 7% increase in revenue per charity shop reported since before the pandemic.

Recently WalesOnline reported how I was saving £250 a month with their designer fashion charity shop and app hack, so I took a tour of Swansea’s charity shops to see what they had to offer and I couldn’t really believe some of the things I found. You can get more Swansea news and other story updates by subscribing to our newsletters here.

Read more:The Cardiff mum runs a one-woman charity shop from her home – and it’s all free

Cancer research in the UK

The Cancer Research UK hypermarket is Swansea’s largest charity store and the 29th in the UK with further branches opening in Cardiff and Newport. Almost everything in this store is £3 or less. Electronics and furniture are priced individually with sizes ranging from 6 to 22 and XS to XXL.

The store certainly lived up to its reputation as the biggest charity store in town; it was filled to the brim with bargains. During my visit, my best finds were a Nike XL men’s sports top, priced at £3.

Anyone who needs to furnish a home quickly would be able to find almost anything they need. This store offered a wide selection of sofas, armchairs, tables and chairs. The branch has also stocked new towels, pillows, duvets and linens. In the window was my favorite piece of furniture; a two-seater sofa for just £150.

Shoe lovers should definitely visit this charity store. There were literally hundreds of pairs ranging from ballet flats to sneakers to high heels. For me, the best was a pair of practically new River Island heels, perfect for special occasions.

These are £25 new

A similar style sofa will cost you twice the price of this one

The perfect pumps for all occasions

British Red Cross

The next stop on my bargain hunt was the British Red Cross shop in Oxford Street. It was one of the more expensive charity stores, but it offered a variety of clothing, brick furniture, as well as records, CDs and DVDs, with sizes ranging from 6 to 22 and XS to XXL.

The items in this shop are all individually priced, but the brands kept coming, with a gray Calvin Klein quarter zip sweatshirt for £10. They also had a navy blue Nike zip-up sweatshirt for £8.

The British Red Cross also has a partnership with high street giant, Zara. This means you can often find brand new Zara clothes, with tags attached, for a fraction of what they would have cost in stores. My favorite find was a pair of white Zara boots for just £7.

Similar shirts cost around £25

A new Nike quarter zip will set you back £30 or more

A pair of Zara boots


YMCA Oxford Street was the next charity shop I visited. This shop was by far the cheapest of the lot, with most items costing just £1 and with sizes ranging from 6 to 20 and XS to XXL.

They had the usual assortment of clothes, odds and ends, records, CDs and DVDs Here I was able to find an XL Fred Perry polo shirt, which is only £1, and a Hugo Boss M t-shirt , also costing just £1. There was also a full McDonald’s uniform in this store, £1 each for top and trousers.

Similar Fred Perry shirts cost around £65

Not sure if this Hugo Boss shirt is real but it’s only £1

British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation in Oxford Street, Swansea was next on my list and was undoubtedly the most expensive shop of them all. It stocked a mix of new and used clothes, shoes, jewelry, books, CDs and toys, with sizes ranging from 4 to 22 and XS to XL.

There were also the best brands. Here I found a pair of Kurt Geiger Carvela ballet flats for just £6.99. I also spotted a pair of Marc Jacobs shoes for £8.99. In the window were Vans, priced at £34.99. The same style, brand new on the Vans website, priced at £100 meaning there had been a 65% discount on these.

These Kurt Geiger pumps are a bargain at £6.99

These Marc Jacobs pumps are a godsend, even though they are an interesting color combination

There was a 65% saving on these Vans


Barnardo’s, Fforestfach, was my last stop. They also stocked a mix of new and used clothes, shoes, jewelry, books, CDs and toys, with sizes ranging from 4 to 22 and XS to XL.

We visited the store when it opened earlier this year. You can read more about what we found here. This time we were still able to find some good deals. A Helly Hansen jacket normally sells for around £100 on their website, but it’s only £6.50 here. It also had a “Brand new Designer Label” section, containing Jack Wills and French Connection. A French Connection dress was priced at £10.

I couldn’t leave without snapping a picture of a Primark midi dress, which is trending this summer. The size 8 garment costs just £6, a fraction of what it would cost in stores.

This Helly Hansen coat normally sells for £100

This French Connection dress was priced at £10

This Primark dress costs £6

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