Friday, 19 August 2011

Retail Therapy

I’ve been spending quite a bit just lately.  Well a bit of retail therapy never hurt anyone.

It started with a designer dress.  When I first saw it in the shop window all I knew was it was my size, in the sale, it was quirky and I liked it.  But I never expected to own it.

The price tag was £97.50 far more than I would usually spend.  I tend to buy second hand from the church shop and can usually buy a whole outfit for £9.75!

Anyway it was only a fleeting glance as I walked past the shop with a friend, we had the kids with us and they weren’t prepared to stop.

But it didn’t take a lot of persuasion from my friends to return later in the week and try it on.  Only it was no longer in the window.

I wasn’t going to let it go that easily so I pushed open the door of the rather posh boutique.  This happened while on holiday so I wasn’t in my “best” clothes for elegant shopping.  I was a fresh faced camper from a week of outdoor living who had showered less frequently than I would have liked!

I held my head up and asked the sales assistant, “You had a dress in the window the other day…?”

She directed me to the rail of sale dresses at the back of the shop and there I found it!  She came over to enquire how I was getting on and told me the dress had been reduced even further to half the “original sale” price, which now made the dress £80. 

Out of curiosity I flipped over the sale ticket to reveal the original value of £345!!!!!  Would anyone really pay THAT much?

“Would you like to try it on?”  I was led to a chic little fitting room with a white towelling robe so you could discreetly cover up between dresses!

It would have looked fantastic but the shoulder straps were a little long.  I was all prepared to let my dress go.  After all why did I need a beautiful new dress?  It wasn’t as if I had somewhere special to wear it.

“Oh nothing fits these days.” The assistant told me airily.  “That’s why we have a team of seamstresses upstairs.”  

I had entered a different magical world.  I tend to buy with the idea that I can fix things myself, a couple of stitches here and there, but I never do, then I never wear the item and it goes back to the charity shop!

So a seamstress was called and fitted the straps for my exact measurements.  I was treated like a princess and I loved it.  I am definitely going back for next year’s sale.

Both Andrew and I had the same attitude money.  We were both savers rather than spenders.  So what would he have thought about my extravagance?

Actually I think he’d be smiling.  It was rare I found something I really fell in love with and because of my frugality through most of the year he would encourage me to spend.  We discussed our own personal spending and even asked each other’s permission to buy things.  Letting each other know we both took care of our money and didn't take it for granted.  For me it was clothes and for him trains for his model railway!

The joke was Andrew earned the money and I spent it but it went much deeper than that.  He earned the money and I knew how much we spent on everyday things and could tell him how much money we had in the bank.  Or his favourite figure, the gradually reducing numbers of the mortgage!

He also used to tease that I would be a wealthy woman if he died.  I’d swap my whole bank account and new dress to have him back if I could!

I’m not rich like a millionaire lottery winner, or wealthy by the standard of the fat cat bankers in the city with their huge bonuses.  However Andrew has left us well provided for and with careful money management we can continue to live in the same manner as we always have.  I’m fortunate I don’t have to work and can still be around for the boys 24/7.

Buying a dress was, in the grand scheme of things, a small decision but then this week we made an even bigger purchase…..

…..we put down a deposit on a new car!

I say we because the boys were fully involved.  We’d been talking about it for ages so technically we’d already made our decision.  It’s acting on a decision that is by far the bigger step.

Our old car is ten years old and has done over 106,000 miles so it’s not an impulsive purchase but a much needed one.

We’d decided on a Skoda, well that fits into the principles of buying something “reasonably priced” and “being sensible”. TICK.  Also I had heard good reports about the local Skoda dealership, so that ticked the “reliability” and “peace of mind that I would get good service” boxes.

We decided on a Yeti because Jeremy Clarkson drove it through a burning building with an ice cream!

Eleven year olds have a different perspective on things but it did fit other criteria such as “size” and “style”. 
Also I have to agree with the boys it will be good to drive a car than even Top Gear thinks is cool!

Now I have never bought a car before – on my own.  It was scary to actually say “Yes” and agree to the sale.  Still there were doubts running through my head and no one there to hold my hand and deliberate with or justify such spending.
Beside me was an excitable eleven year old and pragmatic fourteen year old unable to see what all the fuss and indecision was about!

When I wrote my diary that night it didn’t strike me what a big step I’d made that day but I thought of the bigger decisions still to come.

One day someone will put an offer in for the house.  I will have to decide whether or not I accept or reject it, the sums of money involved will far outweigh the price of a new car.  Then I will have to find somewhere for us to buy and once more make a momentous financial choice.

In the end I alone have to do what’s right.  I will always listen to others but no one else can make all the decisions for me or even with me.  And although the boys have a say I won’t do anything I don’t believe is right for us all.

From next week I will enjoy driving round in my new car, well once the novelty has worn off and I relax about driving a brand new expensive vehicle!

But what of my new dress? I will drive the car nearly every day but when will I wear my new outfit?

My friend joked it should be my “first date dress” for when I meet a new man!  (Now there’s a momentous decision for the future!!!!)

Anyway “first date” could be a long way off and I am not leaving that dress in the wardrobe.  It’s too beautiful to never see the light of day especially when it fits so perfectly!
So I wore it out the other night for a friend’s birthday meal.  I felt amazing and I am going to wear it and wear it any chance I get.

Life is too short not to!


  1. Oh the dress is fab, can't wait to see you in it! Yes the new car is practical, reliable etc, but a new dress which fits and feels right is like having a song written just for you ! It good over and over again.

  2. Gorgeous dress Sarah! We need photos of you in it though!!
    You do have some omentus decisions to make in the future but you are already learning how to make them. You will do brilliantly!

  3. Hi Sarah, just calling by to say hello and send you lots of hugs. You are doing just fine and buying the dress was a great move, its gorgeous xx Love to you all.
    Maureen & Dennis xx

  4. Sarah,
    Thanks for your comment on my blog. Ellie and I have been reading're doing really well, and the dress looks fab!
    We will be praying for you and your boys tonight.
    Ps 34:18....He is close-by.
    Craig and Ellie x