Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The other day, the ex-partner-in-crime kindly informed me that I had too many clothes. I say 'kindly' as it was more a case of stating the bleeding obvious as any person who has visited my house will tell you.
The statement came about after we'd been discussing a friend of ours that has a serious problem with spending money; more specifically, money they haven't got.
Even being seriously in debt and without any regular income, they will quite happily trot to the shops and buy expensive food that will go to waste and designer clothes that promptly get shoved to the back of a wardrobe as soon as they reach the house. I would love to go to their house and have a serious sort out of all those carrier bags, a) to see if there's anything I could snaffle for myself, and b) sort out for either a car boot sale or a trip to a charity shop.
But as these clothes don't exist as of course they have never been purchased *cough*, I doubt I'll ever get the chance.
Now, this is where me and our friend differ completely.
Whereas they have all the clothes out of sight (and therefore out of mind!) I have nearly all my clothes on display, not in any artistic arrangement or so, but hanging off the front of my wardrobe and also draped all over my floordrobe.
Whereas the friend's clothes cost enough to keep me in food and electricity for a week per item, the average cost of an item of clothing I own, is about £3.50.
The reason for this is that I eschew most shops with the exception of Charity Shops. Even if I won the lottery I'd still go and do the rounds of the local ones, as not only can you get an absolute bargain, there's the thrill of finding something that the regular stores just won't have, and of course the money goes to good causes.
Over the years I've unearthed some amazing bargains; a fake fur, full length coat - £3, pair of designer Italian shoes - £4.99, various hats from 50p to £5, and any number of gorgeous dresses for about £2.99 each.
And it's not only clothing that I snag - orphaned Rubber Duckies and small fluffy aminals regularly turn up in desperate need of a good home.
Another reason I have so much stuff and hardly spent anything is that my friends and I swap things occasionally. That is why I now own some fabulous designer boots, and a pair of jeans that fit like a ... well... really excellent pair of jeans.
But of course, over the years I've also purchased some weird and wonderful stuff that 99% of so-called 'normal' folk would turn their nose up at, the most memorable of which was a ski suit that I got at a table sale.
At the time, my parents were alive, and also staying in the house were a couple of students over from America. Although it was winter at the time, the chances of any snow falling were very remote, and even if it had frozen, I didn't have any skis, let alone a nearby ski-slope on which to try them out.
They all laughed at me and my dad in particular ribbed me mercilessly about my 'ridiculous waste of money'.
Until a few days later when the temperature dropped to around zero and the boiler broke which meant that there was no central heating in the house for over a week.
I tried not to laugh at everyone shivering in as many jumpers as they could possibly wear at one time while I swanned around in my lovely warm ski suit.
I've still got it somewhere, just in case, and thanks to the rising cost of heating my home, I think I might try and find it.
What's the best ever bargain you've ever nabbed? Tell me all about it, your secret's safe with me.