I have always been good at shopping. I am the person who finds amazing bargains in the sales, or who takes an item to the till to discover that it's suddenly half price and no-one's got round to re-labelling it yet. I am also the person who blags a 20% discount for some barely visible makeup marks on the inside of a shirt. However, yesterday I impressed even myself with my ability to bag a bargain.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when I went into Debenhams to browse through their Christmas party dresses. I was immediately confronted with a wealth of beautiful creations, all of which I could have bought instantly given the money and all of which cost £100. Depressed by my inability to afford them, I trudged back to work and lamented being poor. Ever since then I've been doing sums in my head to work out how I could afford to treat myself in time for the work Winter Ball, and had just about become convinced that with a 20% off voucher from a colleague and a bit of extra saving here and there, I might be able to not entirely bankrupt myself.
Yesterday, having returned to work feeling bunged up, snuffly and not at all disposed to go outside for the rest of the day, a colleague casually mentioned in passing that Debenhams were holding a Christmas Spectacular with at least 20% off all clothes. Ignoring the pleas from my pounding head that I remain seated and stay calm, I legged it into town at lunchtime, grabbed the five most beautiful dresses and had a trying on spree which left me hot, sweaty and feeling a lot more ill. The effort was worth it however, as I narrowed down my choices to two. Now I only needed to find these two in different sizes to work out which fitted best, and I was away.
Returning to the shop at 5pm, I settled upon my favourite dress: a gorgeous black number covered in huge purple circles, with quite an unusual shape and netting in the skirt (I love netting in the skirt!). Proceeding to the till in the knowledge that I was buying a £100 item for £80 which I still couldn't really afford, I had the first of my sudden brainwaves. "I know", I thought, "I have a Nectar card in my purse with lots of unused points on". At the till, a second brainwave hit. I could open a store card for this one purchase only, and save 10%! Discounts galore later, I left the shop with a beautiful £100 dress that had cost me precisely £60.21. Bargain.
And, to top it off, I've saved £15 already this week through being ill and not going out or catching any buses for three days. Total amount I have to find from December's budget for my £100 dress? £45. Plus, as a new storecard holder, I have just finished the rather wonderful mini box of Lily O'Briens chocolates that I received free with my purchase. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why girls love shopping.
Now I just need to decide what jewellery to wear with it...