Praise be!  Ok, so I didn’t find the retro, yet achingly hip desk chair for five bucks I was after for my newly organised home office but I scored these titles to rummage through for 50 cents each! Shut. Up. Bargain alert!!

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2-21092009696I feel I seem to be doing exactly that these past two weeks.  AND it’s actually all on crap I really need!  I’ve been bleeding out money on things like a hair cut and colour for me, haircuts for both dogs, getting five pairs of shoes repaired (tres sensible, I know), endless hayfever drugs and fixes as well as two dog kennels and dog food (ok, so that was a bit fancy but everyone at the park comments on how soft my dog’s coats are as a result).  I’ve also lost my cooking mojo a bit so I tend to eat out a lot too or impulse buy groceries which ain’t turning out to be so clever either.  I shudder to look at my bank account but I’m sooper hoping that I will come out ahead at Christmas time because I’ve finished my shopping for that two months ago!

2-08092009657The only supermarket in my new ‘hood has a good spattering of basic things  as well as lots of yummy things that tug at my purse strings every time I visit.  On balance I’d say it’s quite gour-mette.  The other night I only needed some potatoes to make some mash to go with my left over massaman curry.  So I thought after a play in the park with the dogs we’d swing by and grab some on the way home.  I must have stared at the vegie shelves for an age looking at every type of sprout/ stalk/ root/ herb/ bulbous thing I didn’t need while muttering what kind of bloody shop doesn’t have potatoes!!  Then I happened to notice the stand of non-refrigerated items directly adjacent to me and casually scooped up a few.  They cost me 2 bucks, which seems like a lot for just 3 very average spuds.  I think the posh dirt on them must have cost more.

2-CIMG3259I used to think this was part and parcel of being  a hip young thing, but now I’m less inclined to believe the hype.  Make that, ‘rather unwilling to entertain even the mere thought’.  But it wavers.  Especially if the object in question is pretty, flirty, sparkly or to-die-for.  Lately though I find my limits firmly set at ‘only somewhat true’.  And only for shoes.  And only sometimes.  Take these puppies here.  The gold ones have been worn once and lacerated my toes so badly they have been quarantined and the red ones took many band-aided toes before we resembled anything close to being friends.  And these were by a brand for big spaz-shaped feet, like mine!  Gawd help the little people…

My old mantra

My old mantra

Like author Neradine Tisaj I like shopping, no I love shopping and I’m good at it.  Unlike me, Neradine is incredibly sensible when it comes to shopping.  But it wasn’t always so.  In her book How to Give Up Shopping she speaks as a true reformed unconscious shopper, and I think I have found my people.

Many years ago I used to work in finance and the hours, workload and pressures were often unbearable.  I recall one time, quite possibly at my lowest, I just bolted from the office and went out and bought a $400 lolly pink, two piece suit by a prestige lable, among many other things, all within 30 minutes.  That was the sale price by the way, and I remember at the time I  was feeling incredibly stressed, like my head would explode and I bought it to try and make me feel better. 

Now I could rationlise that purchase any way you needed me to, and did.  ‘I can wear it to the races’, I said to my bemused colleagues and ‘it will be perfect if I need to go to a wedding’ I told my strategically single, gay friends.   Did either of those things happen?? No.

Last year as I was preparing to downsize I culled my wardrobe and worldly posessions pretty hard.  I agonised over what to do with the as-yet-unworn lolly suit.  It was so expensive, it was well made, it was a good brand… and on and on it went.  Eventually, I was very firm with myself and donated the suit to my Mum and asked her to find it a good home.  But I’ll just die if I see it on a bag lady in the park!!

Following Neradine’s sound advice will now be my new mantra, you can borrow it too if you like so that you don’t buy a lolly-pink-never-to-be-worn suit!

– shopping per se is not bad, it’s over-shopping and getting in to debt that is
– gather your receipts and work out what you spend money on and how you are feeling when you do.  Build awareness of your weak moments
– don’t shop when everyone else is, the frenetic energy is very contagious
– don’t go to the mall because you have nothing else to do, find a new hobby instead
– write a list of 20 things that you enoy doing, keep it in your wallet and refer to it when you’re stressed, bored, sad or feel like spending money you don’t have!