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15 tips for Christmas shopping at local markets

Melbourne, Australia - March, 11 2017: Queen Victoria Market Organic, Australia. (Source: Getty)

Come December, people the world over are gearing up to feel a pinch in their wallets due to all the Christmas events, lunches, dinners and gifts that need to be planned and paid for.

However, the silly season doesn’t need to carve a hole in your wallet: one Sydney-based thrifty mum shares her tips on how to make the most of local markets to keep more dollars in your wallet.

1. You’ll find new and old things. There are stallholders at trash and treasure markets who carry both new and used products. It's amazing what kinds of newly packaged toys and games you can find for half the price.

2. Designer items can be found at a fraction of the price. Fashion is a big used selling items at local markets and thrifty trash and treasure markets and if you spend some time looking though what people bring to sell you can always find something unexpected. Designer label shoes and handbags, accessories, jewellery, clothes that still have the tags on them. Who wouldn't love some designer vintage this Christmas?

Or, if you know what's valuable, you can buy it for yourself then flip it again online and make some money.

3. Books, DVDs, records and CDs are a big seller at trash and treasure markets. You can find so many bargains and rare finds make fantastic Christmas presents.

4. Decorations for cheap. Christmas lights and decorations can cost a small fortune and often we leave it to the last minute to go out and buy yet another over priced set of solar lights for our house. But the vendors at our markets actually carry the exact same items for literally half the price. Before hitting up one of the big name stores, see what you can find at the markets first!

5. Shop at local markets to save some dollars. Cooking the Christmas feast this year? The best, freshest and cheapest produce is often found at local markets. It's proven that naturally grown produce lasts longer than store bought produce and it is a thrifty way to support local farmers and have the most delicious Christmas meal. You're spending less on packaged foods and more on yourself. 

6. Gift the tools of creativity. Are your kids into craft? Plaster painting kits, sand art kits and other craft activities make really creative and thrifty gifts for your kids friends. These can all be found at the markets and don't break the bank. I can guarantee the kids will love them and so will your Christmas budget.

7. Candles, candles and more candles. Candles are literally our number one selling item at any market and these handmade, naturally scented products are a must buy for your Christmas gift list. Inexpensive, long lasting and beautifully smelling, you can't go wrong with a lovely candle, wax melt or reed diffuser for your mother-in-law, sister-in-law or even your kids teachers.

8. Homewares. The best, most unique and thrifty homewares are the ones you find at markets, whether they're second hand, hand crafted, antique or new, these types of specialty items can be hard to come by.

The markets are the best place to start with your search for the perfect item as you'll usually find that thing you've been looking for without the extra large price tag. You're also supporting local businesses and craftsmen in the process.

9. Baby items. Buying for the youngest members of our families can often be the hardest. How many brightly coloured, noise making toys can a baby really need? But what they do need are the little accessories that make life easier. Bibs, burp cloths, dummy chains, clothes and more are always available at our markets and are usually hand made making them one of a kind. 

10. Jewellery. Jewellery makes a fantastic gift but can be pricey. The vendors who attend our markets bring beautiful jewellery items with them from watches, rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and hair clips. The perfect item is waiting for you without the hefty price tag.

11. Is upcycling your thing? Some markets are an absolute treasure trove for items that can very easily be upcycled with just a fresh coat of paint. Turn a $50 cabinet into something you would pay hundreds for in the shop with some sandpaper and paint.

12. Eco-friendly products. Mums are often searching for new, environmentally friendly ways to live their lives. It’s been proven that the target audience for eco friendly products is in fact the women of the house.

Markets often have a large number of vendors who sell eco friendly products from natural skin and body care to household cleaning products made from all natural ingredients. Don’t pay shipping and ridiculous prices for something you can get at your local market for sometimes half the price.

13. Antiques. Many of the vendors at the markets will have stalls filled with antique items. Whether it’s a painting by someone famous that you’ve been searching for or a statement piece for your entryway, you’d be shocked at the amazing things you can find by visiting your local market.

The best part about markets? Negotiation. You can have a chat to the lovely vendors about price and sometimes get a fantastic deal.

14. Supporting local businesses. The absolute best thing about markets is not only the thrifty ways to use them, but it's also the best opportunity to support small local businesses. It's such a pleasure to shop local and support local and watch those businesses grow and develop. 

15. Cheaper tools. Tools can be an expensive commodity for any home. But if you’re looking for a more thrifty way to purchase tools the markets are an untapped resource of new, used and collectible tools and handyman items. Our vendors who deal in tools will also have the parts and expertise to help you fix anything that’s broken. So if you’re on the lookout for something in particular at a good price.

Sydney-based thrifty mum Monique Annetts is the founder of AMA Event Management and host of a number of Trash and Treasure and $10 markets across NSW. 

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