No matter how frugal you're trying to be, you need the occasional treat. Something to sweeten things a little. Maybe for you that's a literal thing (I remember as a child regularly being sent to the paper shop at the end of our row for a dark chocolate Walnut Whip for my mum). Maybe it's something else; my paternal grandmother always used to have fresh flowers in the house. She said, 'I don't drink or smoke. I don't buy a lot of things. But I always have fresh flowers on the windowsill.' My grandma had a little job sweeping up at a ladies' hair salon called Joyce's, and that was where her spending money came from; it also meant she had an account with a dress shop in town where she'd buy her smart clothes.
There are some things I class as luxuries, and maybe they shouldn't be. Nice underwear or new books or music. Some things I can't resist: notebooks, a bar of good chocolate. I do get the flower thing. And I treat myself to the occasional magazine too.
I find that flowers needn't be expensive. If you buy seasonal British blooms at the right time, they're cheap as chips. Daffodils, for example. Or Sweet Williams. Recently it was all about spring bulbs. You can pick them up for next to nothing when you're out buying groceries and I love having something not just cut but actually living and growing as it adorns the table.
Once upon a time I'd think nothing of going out and buying lots of clothes and coming home laden with glossy, rope-handled bags. To be fair, I do believe you get what you pay for and many of those items are still being worn now, years later. But at the moment that's not an option. And I don't really miss those sprees. Fortunately I've never been a shoe person either. Or a spa person.
These days I think - really think - about what I'd like. And frivolities are saved for birthdays and Christmas. It's my birthday on Monday. On my wish list: a flowering currant bush, a bottle of Demeter's Thunderstorm fragrance, any number of books...
But on a weekly or monthly basis I tend to pick up little things here and there. And the same goes if we take a holiday or visit a particularly lovely gift shop or gallery (yes, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, I'm talking about you. And you, Tate Liverpool). I do have a weakness for quirky design. And specific weaknesses for charity shop finds: vases, silk scarves, vintage books. Fortunately many of these things aren't expensive.
In fact, here's a little list of my favourite treats which each cost under a fiver.
A magazine (usually Country Living or Homes and Antiques - I'm in nesting mode)
A hot bath (having spent a few pounds on nice soap - another thing I'm partial to)
A walk alone
A coffee, a cake and some people-watching
A bunch of seasonal blooms
A bar of good chocolate
Some smoked salmon/a jar of artichokes/a packet of smoked almonds
An episode or two of comfort viewing (for me, Poirot or Marple or similar)
A new notebook
I've just arrived home from having my hair cut. It was all lopped off and I'm glad. I got to sit and read and relax for a few hours, having spent much of my free time last week in meetings with solicitors and social workers. The salon visit was something I don't really indulge in any more but I'm 40 next week so felt it was justified.
Also justified: a holiday. We're heading up to Scotland on Monday so all will be quiet here on the blog for the week. I have some birthday money to take with me and am looking forward to visiting lots of galleries and potteries and the like. You know, to indulge in those rare but now much-anticipated treats.
Wishing you a lovely weekend and following week...
P.S. Here's a very poor attempt at a selfie. You can just about see that my hair is rather short. I can't write a post and say my hair's been chopped off then not show you.