Monday, February 23, 2004

Now I know where it goes

A distressing realisation was made over the weekend. In the past month I seem to have acquired over £200 worth of new clothing. How did this happen?! I never spend more than £50 on any one thing, and the £200+ did buy me 11 items (just call me Stingy McThrifterton), and now I know where all my money goes and why I am usually broke a week before payday. Jesus. Whenever I do that whole ‘write down everything you spend’ it’s something like: mortgage, £300; service charge, £146; travel, roughly £80; clothes, £100, max. Obviously not! So I have asked Steve to monitor my spending and stop me, using force is necessary, from buying more shoes/tops/summer dresses.

Clothing bought in February

Black suede TopShop boots
Navy and white striped TS bag
Brown flat 30s TS shoes
Pale yellow pointy t-bar TS shoes
Grey 80s 2nd hand boots
Red strapless cotton TS sundress
Grey Dorothy Perkins cowl neck sweatshirt
Red sparkly Pringle jumper
White and yellow lemon-print H&M top (‘Lemons are the new cherries.’ – Jodie)
Purple Zara handbag
Cherry blossom print Zara silk skirt

So the plan for March is this.

1) Allocate clothing/shoe/bag money, maximum of £50. There’s no point trying to go cold turkey and buy absolutely nothing, cos I would go mad/die and end up buying a £150 monstrosity which I would never wear.
2) Leave all cards at home, and only carry cash. If I am at work all day and going home after, there’s no way I’d possibly need more that £5 to cover even the most urgent of snack attacks/post-work drinking emergencies.
3) The most radical solution, suggested by a colleague: visit the cashpoint only once a week. Withdraw money needed for week (£100?) and if that runs out, you can’t get any more. I think this is the only thing that’ll work for me, so as of March, I will be trying it.

On Friday morning my houseguests Jodie and Tim left. It was great having them stay: they were the perfect guests, which for me means that they didn’t require round-the-clock babysitting, and they didn’t take offence if some nights I was too tired to go out. However, I went out more while they were here than in the entire previous month!

Saturday I went to see my friend D and her baby son. I’ve known D since we were born – our mothers got talking in the hospital – and I see her childhood self strongly in Maks’s face. He looks just like she and her younger brother looked when they were babies. Very cute, pale skin, dark hair, worried expression. Aaaaaaw! We got coffee and then went to TK Maxx. I never get to shop here, but managed not to go crazy nuts and only bought a red sparkly Pringle sweater, reduced from £105 to £16. D bought her husband some designer odds and ends and must’ve asked me ‘Is this really Ted Baker? Are you sure this is Nicole Farhi?’ twenty times.

Did anyone else read that piece in ES magazine? It made me gag; it made me see red. It was all about the Nouveaux Pauvres, rich people whose ancestors had country piles and titles until they blew it all on gin and pontoon. Or something. So now these NP, in their 30s and with children called Inigo and Araminta, are slumming it by living in London’s poorest boroughs. Oh, they can afford Chelsea, Notting Hill and Clapham, but you get more bedrooms for your buck in Peckham, Brixton and Clapton.

This article made steam come out of my ears for several reasons: firstly, there are millions of people in London who are working class/lower middle class, and therefore can only afford to live in the ‘poorer’ parts of town. (By my definition, poorer parts are where you can buy a one-bedroom flat for under £145,000. There aren’t many.) They live in these areas out of necessity, not as a lifestyle choice. Secondly, if you really want to prove how urban/tough/pioneering you are, by all means live on Murder Mile (as the article’s writer claims to), but for fuck’s sake don’t brag about it like it’s cool and you should be commended on your daring and cutting-edgeness. I find it so insulting to think of all these Notting Hillbillies sitting around at a dinner party, listening to Joss Stone, talking about how ‘brave’ India and Hugh are to live in a slum like Hackney.

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