The UK budget deficit reached a staggering £155 billion in the last financial year. In other words, the government has spent £155 billion more than it has 'earned’ from taxation. That’s an awful lot of debt (plus interest) to pay back when there aren’t enough ‘customers’ paying into the treasury coffers to keep the country solvent.
This week’s spending review will tell us just how bad it’s going to get for individuals and businesses, many of whom are already feeling the pinch in these troubled economic times. There has been much speculation about where and how heavily the axe will fall across each and every area of government spending and the review will undoubtedly contain some very bitter pills. The only thing for sure is that frugality is well and truly back in fashion for the majority of us, and probably for a long time to come.
Almost without exception, we will have to learn to make do and mend as cuts in government spending will have far reaching implications, not just for public sector jobs but for the wider economy. Serious belt tightening is called for, and there are already signs of a ‘correction’ in shopping habits as former spendaholic impulse buyers are transformed by necessity into bargain seekers, and fashionistas adapt to the more realistic 'recessionista' mode .
It is vital to get a grip on personal finances in anticipation of the rainy days ahead, but it is entirely possible to shop on a shoestring and dress for less when needs must. Why not take a leaf out of the inspirational New Dress A Day blog, which follows frugal fashionista Marisa Lynch as she spends a whole year without going traditional clothes shopping?
As she explained at the start of her project, which now has just 42 days to run:
“The only shopping that I’ll be able to do is that of pieces that have been used and worn already. So long to mall trips and hello to sifting through piles of vintage pieces at flea markets and at neighborhood garage sales. Each day for the entire year, I’m going to introduce a new piece into my existing wardrobe that I’ve found from these places. On top of this, I’m giving myself a budget of $1 a day. One person’s trash is becoming my treasure this year.”
Now that’s what we’d call extreme shoestring shopping, but Marisa has done a truly amazing job of creating and reinventing outfits from other people’s cast offs and probably deserves a Nobel prize for services to textiles recycling!
If, however, making and altering your own clothes is beyond your skills set, and/or you simply haven’t the time to scour second hand stores and thrift shops for bargain buys, there is always the option of buying second hand or vintage from those of us who have done the sourcing for you. The financial savings from eschewing new in favour of preloved or vintage can be considerable, and so we feel obliged at this point to indulge in some shameless self promotion to remind readers of the benefits of online shopping at the Frockery, which is affordable, convenient and secure with a no quibble returns policy.
What is there to lose, apart from that overdraft?