Pocket Money: Hey! I'm a big spender - but not in Somerfield

I never have a pen and paper near to add it all up before those confirmation e-mails start rolling in
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Inever got around to organising my income and outgoings in the CreditAction budget pack (available online, and it looks good, honest). I've been far too busy spending money.

First up, some holidays. When the little darlings are school age and all your colleagues' little darlings are school age too, it pays to plan ahead, so you don't get lumbered with no time off in the holidays, and the long-term rage of your stay-at-home partner.

I've tried to put past failures behind me (two days off work one Christmas, for instance) and be the queen of the holiday rota, and wrangler of the bargain holiday website.

It's got so that I don't remember the days of going into a travel agent and booking a holiday.

It's all about surfing now, whether it's a beach holiday or not. In short order, I arranged a trip to Morocco at Easter, but in the cold light of day (do you, like me, stay up late into the night, hunched over a computer screen?) I realised the problem with spending money on the internet is that it's all too easy to lose sight of what exactly you are spending.

Flights from one place, hotels from another, car hire from a third, airport parking yet another... Oh dear. And I never have a pen and paper near to add it all up before those confirmation e-mails start rolling in.

However, the warm glow of a holiday - even in that cold light of day - to look forward to got me right in the mood, and before long I'd committed to a fortnight in Canada too. Well, it's something different, isn't it?

The website I used for flights to Canada gave me endless options - all of which cost more, but who's counting? Once I'd chosen flights, I could choose which seats we sit in - a good six months ahead of when we'll be using them. I could choose an extra five inches between seats (and I've got a feeling that's a real five inches of pleasure), and the option of unlimited "free" drinks during the flight.

Well, what's a girl to do but tick those boxes? Like I said, I've been busy spending money.

Unrelated to the forthcoming foreign adventures, ahem, is an entirely necessary new wardrobe. Despite getting my fingers burned with a less- than-speedy French website last year, I'm back for more because the clothes are so darned groovy. Buying in euros plus postage is still cheaper than on Bond Street. And since I work on Bond Street, last year's boot-cuts just won't cut it.

I thought I could enjoy waiting for my purchases to drop through the letterbox. But then I discovered that my other spending opportunities had been curtailed by the realisation, yesterday, that my debit card had gone missing.

I only found out that it was gone because I was wasting a few minutes idly checking my balance via my banking website (it was late and I'd had a few drinks). The most recent transaction was for pounds 30 in Somerfield. Now I'm as much of a bargain-hunter as the next person - OK, perhaps only selectively - but I don't use that particular dowdy grocery store.

I'm surprised that the bank didn't immediately spot that transaction as differing from my usual spending pattern. After all, it must be used to the 11pm flight, the wardrobe, the books, the music etc ...

lisamarkwell@mac.com

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