When the going gets tough, mums get selling at Jack & Jill Market

Borders mums selling baby items at an earlier Jack & Jill market in Galashiels
Borders mums selling baby items at an earlier Jack & Jill market in Galashiels

Faced with the ever-rising cost of bringing up a child, Borders mums are using their initiative in a bid to reduce the cost of raising children. And thrift is the new cool.

Some 400 families took part in their local Jack & Jill Market last month at The Volunteer Hall in Galashiels, selling and bartering for children’s items to help make every penny count. And many will be getting ready to make more smart savings at this month’s local Borders Jack & Jill event on Sunday in Galashiels.

the Jack & Jill Market is a magnet for thrifty parents looking for good quality children's items at a fraction of the normal cost

the Jack & Jill Market is a magnet for thrifty parents looking for good quality children's items at a fraction of the normal cost

It costs £90,000 to raise a child up to age 11, an increase of 15 per cent over the past five years, according to new figures released by Halifax, whose economist, Martin Ellis, says the figures have “added to the already considerable strain on household finances during the economic downturn”.

But, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. As the cost of raising children soars, an increasing number of smart money mums have beefed up their selling and bartering skills to make and save money.

A trend is emerging where mums and dads are now much happier to choose selling and shopping at local car-boot sales and market days, as a cost-effective alternative to the high street for what their children need. Over a third of parents are now choosing to buy and sell second-hand, according to recent figures.

One organisation Borders parents have turned to is The Jack & Jill Market which runs monthly nearly-new baby and children’s markets in the Borders and across Scotland, solely for local families, with the emphasis on quality goods.

The Jack & Jill Market is so swamped with demand from mums wanting to make and save money, that new locations are being set-up all the time in an effort to meet this demand.

Thirty-five-year-old Nicole Diamond, Borders mum of two-year-old Stella, is founder and director of The Jack & Jill Market, a not-for-profit Scottish Social Enterprise set up to help reduce the cost of raising children, while encouraging recycling in local communities.

She told TheSouthern: “We have seen a phenomenal increase over the last couple of years in the number of mums and parents choosing the more money-smart option of selling on their unwanted items and releasing the money locked up in them, rather than simply giving them away for nothing.

“Recent research has shown that UK adults can have up to £581 worth of useable but unused items; for a two-parent family this can add up to more than £1,000, much of it locked up in buggies, bikes, cots, clothes, toys, etc which all still have plenty of life left in them, so it makes smart money sense to release this money into the family budget.”

Explaining the success of the Jack & Jill Market, Nicole continued: “Several of our events are now fully-booked up to threeto four months in advance for sellers, and we are now seeing up to 800 mums and families through the doors in a three-hour period, looking for high quality items, at a fraction of the retail price.

“There has definitely been a cultural shift in attitude. Thrift is the new cool as mums look for ways to reduce the cost of raising children. The change is especially obvious in first-time mums who have traditionally opted for predominantly new items when setting up for their new baby but are now looking for a smarter alternative.”

Nicole adds: “It’s not about being tight or miserly; it’s about being money-smart. Eighty per cent of our mums and families selling at the markets make £100-£350 in three hours of selling, with a significant number of mums having made up to £550, and our top selling mum to date making £800. This is money that can then be reinvested back into the family budget to help with the ongoing costs of raising a family.

“For our families shopping at the markets, they are saving an absolute fortune. Many baby and kids items are barely used, or never used, and on offer at the markets for up to 90 per cent off the retail price.

“And with more than 13 million toys still ending up in landfill each year, it makes perfect sense to recycle and save – why pay more when you can pay less – now that’s being smart!”

The next Jack & Jill Community Market will be held this Sunday, September 30 at the Volunteer Hall, Galashiels, 10.30am-1.30pm. For further details, visit www.jackandjillmarket.co.uk