I’ve learned a lot in the last few years. Mostly that I’ve disposed of a ton of cash. Thrown it out, given it away, lost it. Sounds like I actually have a ton of cash, doesn’t it? Well I don’t and never have. And when I use the word ‘disposed’ I mean it in the literal sense.
Now older and with occasional bouts of wisdom, I look back at how careless I’ve been with cash, and not just my own cash either. I’ve been quite happy to spend the Mad Moroccan’s very arduously earned cash too, creating excuses as to why I never seem to have any.
So how did I dispose of this money, you might ask. Was I robbed? Once – a thief got £50 on the tube. Bastard! Was it charity? Occasionally. Eating out? Copiously, when we couldn’t be bothered to cook or shop. I think the owners of the local kebab shop and Indian takeaway could retire on our custom. Not a problem. It’s perfectly fine to eat out and get takeaways after a hard day’s work. But then to throw away half of the fridge contents? Nohhhhh!
How many of us have bought bags of salad, eat a few leaves then watch it liquefy into black mush at the bottom of the fridge drawer along with a flaccid cucumber and some pocked tomatoes. My thoughts dwell guiltily on the vast number of airmiles used to transport the veg and salads that have ended up in my bin. The blueberries from Chile that never made it into the never-baked muffins; the french beans from Kenya that got overlooked and the Pineapple that sat blackened in the middle of a fruit bowl. We should be able to survive on the majority of food sourced from within 50-100 miles.
I am one of those who feel compelled to rock up to the big supermarket and, on a weekly basis, load up a trolley with pretty much the same stuff, then throw out the same uneaten stuff at the end of the week and start the routine all over again.
I then realised that vanity and maintaining appearances was also causing cash to pour out. I think my Irish Catholic roots can be partly to blame for this too. My mother’s first words to me after delivering her firstborn grandchild: ‘Darling, it’s important that you don’t let yourself go. Never leave the house without make-up.’ Really? Why? What could possibly go wrong? I’m not exactly Kate Middleton. Nevertheless, some of her tuition must have sunk in because I’ve given away sacks of clothing and spent hundreds on my hair to achieve that perfect colour and cut.
Here are some of my most wasteful spends:
- Acrylic Nails: Can’t type with them so pretty pointless. I wore them for three years.
- Badly fitting bras: Sssumed I was a particular size for years; turned out I wasn’t.
- Duvet Covers & Bed Linen: Show me a TK Maxx and I become a woman possessed. I can’t get enough duvet covers. I think because they can immediately transform a room. Have thrown out perfectly good linen just because it was slightly outdated.
- Handbags: I’ve gone through a herd of cattle leather in my search for that perfect shoulder bag, handbag, saddlebag.
- Wine: Not strictly waste, just expensive. It’s a necessity.
So now I buy the groceries we need for the evening in the local supermarket or farmers market and stock up on the essential items in one massive shopping expedition. I’ve become particularly good at devising a meal on whatever is leftover and we’ve eaten some of the greatest meals as a result.
I now know my bra size but can’t help looking for that perfect shape.
The acrylic nails destroyed my own nails, leaving me with a big split down one of them. I’ve got the hands of a farmer anyway so nothing is going to make them look good.
I’m down to two duvets per room. One on the bed, the other in the wash. I console myself with buying less but buying better. I still browse through magazines and drool over the beautiful bed linen.
Handbags: The search continues. Those cows better look out.
Wine: No change. I’ve come to terms that this is my only real vice in life.
As they say, ‘You can’t build Rome in a day’ and I’m not trying to but I think I’m beginning to achieve a balance. My greatest achievement is that I can shop with a friend now and not buy anything for myself.