Thrifty Living: Help! I'm suffering from seasonal mini Boden disorder
Saturday 18 March 2006
And so, it shall come to pass that, just as the first jingle from the ice-cream van comes tinkling from the nearby park, the Mini Boden catalogue shall flop on to your doormat, and verily, the children of the household will take up their customary stance around it.
Aggressively positioned in the hall, that is, black marker-pen poised, ready to indicate which elegant summer garments from the aspirational pages they would like you to purchase. "But Mummee, we have no clothes," they wail. At this point, you have to stand firm. Not only against their pleading (which is more about having a nice big box arriving in the post than anything else), but also against your lowly wish to parade your child before other parents in Johnnie Boden's finest.
"But what is the alternative? Hooded tops and trainers!" says my friend Janie, aghast. "My children are not going to wear trainers." And why not, I ask her. Alright, it's taken me four children, eight years and a £40,000 overdraft to realise it, but £3 trainers from Woolworths are as good, or bad, for children's feet as Mini Boden Two-strap Sneakers (£19). Plus, you can try on Woolies stuff, which you can't with Boden, unless you take a day out of your life to visit the Boden shop, which is situated on a distant planet called the Hanger Lane Gyratory System.
So what if Janie's children are wholly clad in Petit Bateau, I say to myself as I throw the Mini Boden catalogue away. Since my financial "realignment", the Junior Millards have been almost wholly clad in Woolworths and the Gap sale rail. They have one "smart" outfit, ie, it doesn't feature a hood, held in clean readiness for Grandparent Touring Duties.
Child No 3 also has a wildly expensive sparkly shirt that I bought (at her request) in a moment of parental weakness. Parental Weakness is to be avoided as it bows to nothing other than the desire of the parent to show how much they love their offspring. It is what most children's outfitters depend on for their profit margin.
In my instance, however, Parental Weakness was justified. No, really. Child No 3, (who is, in fact, three), had leapt into the deep end of the Virgin Gym pool without her water-wings, and no one saw her do it. Apart, that is, from Tom the chunky lifeguard. Wonderful Tom, who jumped in and hauled her out. I bought Tom a bottle of brandy and Child No 3 her sparkly top. Once I'd stopped wailing hysterically.
Aha, I hear you say. Virgin Gym - that's no way to save money! Well, not if you don't use your membership. Or only use it intermittently. Then you're into the realm of the £70 swim, which is about as useful to your current account as Seasonal Mini Boden Disorder. No, to save money you must spend lots of time at the gym. Instead of going shopping. Then you'll save lots of money, and probably get slim into the bargain.
Anyway, gym membership comes under Treats, and you have to have treats. I got an e-mail this week from Julia Cazorla, who sounds like a bona fide Thrift Queen, and gave me lots of tips, one of which is to "include a sense of luxury in your life as an essential". The twist is that you have to find ways within your budget to afford it. Her approach is rather hardline, I must admit. It once included visiting a local mosque rather than going to Asia on holiday, which is creative budgeting on a scale I suspect even Alvin Hall could not have dreamt up.
Julia likes fresh flowers, but she buys them from the market at a knock-down price; she loves a good cup of coffee, so she forgoes public transport in order to get her caffeine fix. "I've walked countless miles over the years to save the bus fares that I've budgeted for, to finance the cappuccino habit I couldn't otherwise afford," she writes.
To indulgent parents, she advises getting out of the power struggle over pocket money and "sharing the bottom-line budgetary reality" with the children, which sounds a bit of a mouthful. I suppose it could work. Particularly as my "bottom-line budgetary reality", as far as the Junior Millards are concerned, is on a par with their taste, in other words, trainers from Woolies and hoodies from the market.
Thrift tip: get to know your public library rather than spending yet another £20 in Borders.
- 1 Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 4 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 5 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
iJobs Money & Business
£100000 - £120000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fi...
£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: Our client a leading investment bank is...
£70000 - £80000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A multi award ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...
Day In a Page
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar