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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thursday Thought: Eyes bigger than your purse

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Like most women, I love to shop. Who can deny that rush of excitement when you bag a bargain in the sale or that must-have item is in your size? I shop when I'm happy and even worse when I'm angry - and let's face it, angry shopping can never end well. It usually results in hoards of clothes that numbed the emotion for a few hours, but now are just swamping your bedroom floor. 

This happened to me last week. Over three shopping trips, I'd collected a fair few bags full of merchandise which I didn't particularly want. So today, I put on my responsible head and returned it all. Now, the Stacey two years ago wouldn't have imagined returning clothes to a shop. But that's not because I was knee-deep in money or anything like that, I just brought and brought and yes, you guessed it - brought (and didn't think of the consequences). 

But times have changed. I'm no longer earning a wage and saving up - I'm in my final year at university which is financially draining. Oh, and we're still amidst a pretty dire looking recession. Employment isn't looking great and thanks to tax, certain products and services have become dearer. So you'd think that fashion would take a back seat right? Not really... Topshop and Topman had record years in 2010 and Marks and Spencer's annual UK revenue jumped from 7,977.5m in 2007 to 8,733.0m in 2011 ( 

So how are we affording it? Well, for one thing, fashion companies know how to capture their audience, even when money is tight. Whether it's a mid-season sale that seems to last the entire year, ASOS's free next day delivery promotions or Debenhams offering BOGOF on sale items, the temptation to shop knows no boundaries. Most people don't mind a spend if they feel they've purchased a 'bargain', but what needs to be asked is 'Do I need it' or 'Will I use it?' Yes that bubblegum pink statement jumpsuit might be a 'laugh' for a fiver but realistically - will you make use of it? If not, then it pretty much loses it's once gleaming 'bargain' status. 

I'm not saying that treating yourself every once in a while is bad, but buying for the sake of buying something I think is. It's like eating because you're bored. Eventually, you'll become poorer, miserable and whilst unlike food, you'll have clothes to show for it, your bank account won't thank you. So while the high street is seducing me to keep their annual profits high during this tough economic time, I'm switching my mindset to responsible mode. Do I need another LBD or that top which looks very similar to one I already have...?    No longer is 'Grease the word', for me it's 'need'.

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