I am a tightarse generally. I have been for years, but particularly so since we've had a spectacular mortgage. The list of things I don't buy includes books, CDs, DVDs, alcohol, toys for the kids, (of course alcohol for the kids), newspapers, magazines, and clothes.
I am not a snappy dresser - my resources in winter are essentially plain black and white t-shirts, some dark blue flannelette shirts with the collars removed, and jeans. I have one standard grey woolen sock x 12, one pair of shoes that gets worn almost every day. I get by with all that and a strict washing program.
I had one outstanding sartorial problem, and I dealt with it yesterday - I bought a truckload of underpants. I would like to here champion the cause of Alpha brand gentleman's undergarments. It is a K-Mart house brand, and they last a lot longer than a certain fancy brand that rhymes with Schmavenport. I was able to put a bunch of those in the rag bag yesterday.
I am a member of the trackpants-wearing community (I would never go visiting in them, but I am prepared to pop down the road for the milk). While in shopping mode I decided to upgrade my TPs. Unlike, say, a felt hat, academic gown or puffy pirate shirt, the tracksuit pant does not have higher status when it's obviously been through a lot. Mine have started sliding towards the "homeless person" or "recently dumped and mildly depressed" end of the TP spectrum.
Now that I look back, I realise I have been on a little spending spree this week. I have broken the shackles and participated in the cash economy. I think it started when I ran into an acquaintance I'll call The Fewst. I boasted to her that in 4 weeks down at Salamanca, a noted café strip, I have not paid for a single coffee. Her reaction was "Geez, can I give you five bucks?" I mentioned this to Elf, and she agreed with The Fewst, that rather than a straight edged hero of new-age small-footprint economical and simple living, I am in fact just a sad little man.
Since then I have bought myself a book. I bought myself a song (yes, one) on iTunes. I went out to dinner last night and did not order the cheapest thing on the menu. And one night on the way home from the supermarket, I decided I was sick of having an empty wine rack, so I bought four bottles and also two casks to keep around the kitchen and just, y'know, have a glass of wine when we don't even have guests. Wild.
Regarding underpants - I think this is what our prime minister-before-last had in mind when he commented that he wanted Australia to be a "relaxed and comfortable" nation. He wanted us to have good support, stretchy breathable fabrics and long-lasting elastic. A country that is constantly hitching up its daks is not a happy country. A land of people who are having to yank foundation garments out of their buttocks all day, is a land divided in half. Then there is the issue of fashion - how much youth crime is directly caused by low-riding jeans with exposed shiny boxers? I would say maybe three quarters.
So whoever wins the coming election, I think they should start by posting out some underpants vouchers to every man, woman and child in the country. And, once we are all comfortable, then we'll get some progress on the price of carbon, the dying rivers and paid maternity leave. And if that happens, I will celebrate by going out and paying a barista to make me a flat white.