In which I celebrate Splurge Day
I am no stranger to splurging. The Husband will pay testament to that. Unfortunately, it's not just the occasional splurge...
The 18th June is Splurge Day, and I don't need any excuse to indulge. Apparently, it's a day to forget your financial prudence and let your hair down. "Treat yourself" I read online. Well, I have absolutely no objections to that mantra. "I hear ya" I say, nodding along enthusiastically; simultaneously loading the Feel Unique website, whilst typing this post. And then I stop, and realise that I have already indulged in a splurge at the beginning of the month, as I do at the start of every month. The rest of the time, is spent in near poverty. A pitiful, penny-pinching affair of checking the bank account daily and praying that the Husband doesn't notice that anything's amiss. He can't complain too much, he has just bought membership to our local Golf Club!
As much as he spoils my fun at times, it's a good job he's there to rein me in, or else we'd be out on our ear; without a roof over our heads, or a John Lewis throw to wrap around our shoulders. The minute the wages clear in our bank account, I'm off. I've already made a list on my phone entitled "payday shopping" and I hit the internet at breakneck speed. No debit card needed; I know my details off by heart. Quickly racing to the checkout on each website before I hear the Husband pull up in the car on our gravel driveway. I tend to spend, spend, spend until he has to say "right, that's enough. We cannot spend any more money this month! We've still got the mortgage, the insurance, the phone bill... blah, blah, blah..." and off he goes, with an air of sensibility and a sharp needle poised to burst my bubble.
I think it's safe to say that I'm a shopaholic, and I think I always have been. I believe it stems from my parent's frugality during my childhood. Everything the four of us owned came from a charity shop, and it wasn't that we were poor; my Dad had a good job in London as a Civil Servant. Gone before we even got up for school to catch the 7am train into the City. Now, I can appreciate that the cost of living in Greater London is high. My Mum stayed at home to look after us kids, so we were completely reliant on my Dad's income. I'm not sure if they spent little because they had to, or if it was a case of not wanting to. My Dad did try to show me how to budget and balance my accounts, (I still don't fully understand it twenty years later), but really, I'm none-the-wiser when it comes to looking after my own finances.
When I was sixteen, I got my first part-time job as an assistant in a clothes shop. I can remember opening my first pay cheque with great excitement. £184! I couldn't believe my luck, having never been in possession of such a huge amount of money before. After paying my Mum a measly sum towards household bills, I blew the rest on the very first day. This meant I had absolutely nothing to my name for the remainder of the month. Some of my friends were getting paid weekly, or fortnightly, and would take pity on me and buy me a drink in the pub, or a fillet o' fish from McDonald's. Whilst this was extremely generous of them, it did nothing to educate me in the value of being careful with money. Nor did it teach me the ability to think ahead.
Working for this particular clothes shop, I was offered a store card for our store and many others in the same marketing group. As a cashier, it was part of my job to pitch this card to customers, with the promise of 25% off their current purchase. Under normal circumstances, you had to be over eighteen to apply, and a credit check was performed over the phone whilst they waited at the till. However, as an employee, it was made available to me at sixteen, with any missed payments being taken straight from my wages. I got into a dangerous cycle that quickly began spiralling out of control. My spending had become an addiction, born from a lack of having anything new as a child. I even remember receiving second-hand Barbie dolls from my Dad's Sister at Christmas, and toiletries in battered packaging, with a 50p sticker still attached to the side!
I can only imagine how my life would be now if I was left to my own devices. The kids and I would be dining on steak and caviar for the first week of the month, and then bread and gruel for the remainder. I'd have skin bathed in Crème de la Mer at £100+ a jar, and pits deodorised with Poundland's cheapest roll-on. I'd be sauntering about in LK Bennett shoes, whilst the Daughter went off to school in hole ridden Mary Jane's. I'm not suggesting there's anything wrong with Poundland. I'm proud to say that I'm now a huge fan. And I have no problems telling people who compliment an item of my clothing that it's a "Primarni special", but I will always feel the strong tug of a Fiorelli handbag, or a nice box of choccies from Hotel Chocolat...
Do you fair any better when it comes to being thrifty? Please share any little tips and tricks you have in the comments below.
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