Thursday, 9 February 2012

Buy Cheap, Buy Twice

Not sure how much this has to do with being a smallholder, other than when you spend all of your money on animals of various types, you are always broke?I am in the process of a massive financial review lately (more tedious details to follow shortly) and one of the things I will be taking more notice of from now on is the clothing budget.

I am  a total scruffbag when I am not at work. With a grubby little dog to walk down muddy lanes, chickens to put to bed and mossy logs and ash to ferry about  for the logburner, there is just no point in wearing anything nice around the house. When I lived in a city, I was always relatively well dressed, in case someone ‘knocked on the door’. Well, living so rurally means that a) we are too far away for anyone to just ‘pop round’ or b) everyone else is just as scruffy so it doesn’t matter. In fact, my good friend and neighbour frequently walks around in her PJ bottoms and a jumper covered in dog hair. Because of this, I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes.

But in December, I broke, desperate for a taste of ‘normal life’  and went on a bit of a ‘spree’, buying various items, one being this jumper from Mango. It cost me £9.99, and as I only wear it to work, I haven’t washed it yet (should mention I do layer up, so it doesn’t smell, ok!). I put it on this morning and gasped –  it is covered in bobbles, is stretched out of shape where it had half fallen off its hanger and the sleeves are all misshapen and baggy when you wear it. I looked at the label – 78% Viscose, 28% Polyamide. I know you can de-bobble with one of those gadgets, or with a razor, but in my experience this doesn’t last long. I recon I can get a few more wears out if it before it will be consigned to the ‘gardening clothes’ drawer – but what a waste! Ten or so wears and it is redundant – price per wear almost £1.00.

Compare this with… lovely GAP jumper. It cost £50 back in 2006, when I had money to burn.
I LOVE it. The word comfort blanket doesn’t even get close. It is 100% wool.  I recon I have worn this at least once a week for seven years. Price per wear = who knows but it must be in the low pence – and it’s got years left in it. You can tip a cup of tea over its brightly coloured stripes and it doesn’t show. You can cook a smelly roast dinner in it, hang it by a window and the smell disappears. I have never de-bobbled it and have washed it several times. Over the years, like a trusty guardian angel, it has seen me through:

visiting grans who are now 90 (sorry gran);

cuddling babies who are now all grown up;

dirty jobs like bottle feeding lambs;

And many, many more things.

I know that you are thinking about Time Team, but I don't care!

Look, I have heard them all, OK?

So – lesson learned. From now on I am buying quality, not quantity. It is hard when you are skint and seemingly unable to save money, but I am going to try. Five months of buying the crappy Mango jumper would have bought me another GAP lifelong companion.  Even better to buy them from charity shops, where you can find bargains my other lovely, stripy, GAP jumper, which was £8. See a theme emerging here?


  1. completely agree with you - I too in the past have succumbed to the temptation of cheap fashion (thinking to myself, I must update my work wardrobe), and regretted it! Fewer, better quality pieces is definitely the way forward. It does take a bit more time to *find* the good stuff, but is worth it.

    1. Totally - and willpower, because while you are saving up for the good stuff you have to walk around like Worzel Gummidge! But I am going to try my best.

  2. You've gained a new follower...this post made me laugh out loud! I wanted to thank you also for presenting the opposite side of the "food ethics" argument on another blog we both read. You said a lot that I wanted to - unfortunately having had experience of that particular blogger's reaction when someone disagrees with her views, I'm afraid I decided not to comment. Well done, and thank you!

    1. Aww, thanks Robyn I am glad you agree. It is all very well saving the pennies, but it is the animals who pay the price. I think it is very much 'out of sight, out of mind'.

      Thanks for the moral support,


  3. Totally agree with you - much better to buy a few quality items.

  4. Hello Bonnie, can I please echo Robyn's comment. Very well done for telling it like it really is. I wanted to comment but have been on the receiving end of particularly harsh treatment before when making a valid comment.(not on that blog) I have been a follower of the other blogger for some time, but after that last outrageous post by her, I will stop following. I'm going to add you to my list instead.


    1. Thanks S&P -it is a shame that bloggers sometimes can't agree to disagree isn't it? But to be fair she did publish my comments, when she could have chosen not too.

      Great to have you following - I have just had a squiz at your beautiful blog. I am hoping to rennovate a house one day (the only way I will be able to live somewhere half decent!) so will follow with interest. Also love the whole vintage thing - we have a local auction house which auctions off all manner of old bits and bobs - I most recently picked up a lovely old tin bread bin from about 1950. I love it!

      Bonnie x