Born to shop!- Susan Catford

I have in the past taken quite a bit of stick about my shopping habits, particularly with regards to shoes. I feel much of this is unjustified as there are many out there who could give me lessons!!
Apart from that, I was brought up to be quite careful with money and old habits die hard.
As children, we were given pocket money weekly, usually on a Friday night from our father. The amount was appropriate to our age and place in the pecking order. As each birthday came, there would be an increase ,very slight and not inflation linked, but much appreciated! Compared with the disposal income that some children have today, ours was quite minimal. It provided us with a couple of packets of sweets- fruit gums and pastilles were long lasting- and the occasional small chocolate bar. But once it was gone, it was gone. It had to last seven days till the next week, so we learned to spend wisely.
Sometimes we could boost our income by doing jobs such as car cleaning. Our father had the very highest standards in washing, chamoising and polishing. The car would be examined carefully before payment was made! These extra amounts were particularly needed for Christmas shopping. My sister and I (she became an accountant) came up with the idea of having pocket money in advance so that we would have a bigger purse for purchases. This worked quite well when we hit Woolworths for present buying but not so well when they were edible gifts. Sometimes they got eaten before they could be given! Also we then had several weeks without any money to fall back on. Lessons were learnt!
As soon as I could, I took on a paper round to earn some money. Not easy money. Long rounds and Sunday morning papers were very heavy. No shoppers on wheels or helpful parent to carry the bags. Trying to force hefty papers and supplements through letterboxes sometimes resulted in a rather damaged delivery. Enduring all weathers and completing a round before school made you tough! But the financial benefits were worth it, particularly around Christmas box time. When I was old enough to take on a Saturday job indoors, I leapt at the chance. The world of work began early but gave me a new independence, no more pocket money!
The result of this was that I continued to be careful with my money. Buying a few clothes and make- up was a luxury – shoes came later!! At least there was not pressure to buy ‘labels’; then. To be wearing fashionable clothes could be achieved quite reasonably from chain stores and high street shops. Hence my wardrobe did begin to grow and  I was beginning to enjoy shopping!
Inevitably, being a grown-up involves quite a different kind of expenditure, mostly bills! Shopping becomes a necessity to put food on the table and clothe the family. Essential items need to be bought and luxury ones a self-indulgence. Nevertheless, having an occasional shopping spree is a treat- my husband calls it a merry spend! There is, of course, an obligation to support the retail (clothing) industry as well.
Born to shop? – not really, but I will enjoy shopping over the next weeks ready for Christmas.
We also have a new grandson, so I have the perfect excuse to spend some money. I do promise not to buy edible gifts that might tempt me to eat them before they are delivered!! We all need a bit of retail therapy this year as I suspect we will be wanting to make up for last year’s non- Christmas. Let’s hope we manage to be together with friends and families as there can be no price on that. Happy shopping!

P.S. Just a quick reminder that, when you do your Christmas shopping, we have so many excellent shops on our doorstep here in Pershore that really need our support.