Monday, 2 March 2015

Fake it 'til you make it

When my now ex husband and I were first setting up home together and getting married, we spent a lot of time with another couple who it seemed had it all.  Their circumstances and life stage were almost exactly the same as ours, yet whereas everything in our home was either gifted or bought second hand, everything in their home was brand new and beautiful, from the furniture to the many stylish accessories.  Whilst the female of the couple was naturally a creative girl, with a flair for making things everyday things look gorgeous, it was still obvious from the moment you walked into their home that they had spent a LOT of money.  Much as I was deeply fond of our lovely friends, I couldn't help being more than a little envious.  We were all no more than 20 years old.  Why did they have so much more than we did?

Having never borrowed anything more than a library book from anyone in my whole life at that stage, it took a few more years before the answer became apparent.  There was me thinking that they had pots of money and just paid cash for whatever they wanted.  After all, that's what we did!  We didn't have credit cards, hire purchases, not even an overdraft.  I honestly thought everyone paid cash upfront for everything, just like we had for our hideous brown 1970's lounge suite and rickety washing machine.  It never occurred to me for a moment that all the gorgeous possessions our friends had were all on the tick and they had acquired them that way because they couldn't actually afford any of them.  Once I did realise, I stopped being jealous and actually felt sorry for them for being a couple of bloody halfwits and racking up such an enormous amount of debt from such a young age.

Except by then I wasn't really in a position to judge as with the passing of the years we were now guilty of doing the same.  We were driving around in brand new double cab utes which we upgraded every couple of years and went fishing in a brand new boat which matched the colour of the car. Other people's children came to play with ours and referred to the boys' playroom as 'Wonderland', thanks to the vast amount of toys they had, including many rare and never seen before ones I had sourced from overseas thanks to my magic credit card.  Not surprisingly most people in the town thought we were loaded.  Who was to know that the car and boat payments almost crippled us every month for five years?  And that when that five years had finished we would get an even bigger car and an even bigger boat to ensure we struggled for another five years?  Thank God I discovered Simple Savings when I did.  Mercifully my kids were too young back then to remember what it was like to have so much, or I shudder to think what they would have turned out like.

The thing was, I didn't actually like it when people thought we were rich.  Of course these days there's no danger of that!  Although it's still pretty easy to fake it so that nobody realises you're broke - it's just there are a lot smarter ways of going about it than racking up thousands of dollars on hire purchases and loans.  Which is just as well as nobody would lend anything to me anyway!  But I knew I was doing a good job when I even managed to fool my ex husband.  Now I don't mean that in a nasty way, as ex husbands go he is about the best anyone could possibly ask for.  We still have a great relationship and can talk about pretty much anything.  So when discussing my financial woes as usual a few months back he had no problem with telling me ever-so-gently while I sniffled,  'No offence sweetie but perhaps if you didn't buy so many clothes?  Every time I've seen you this summer you're in a different bikini and that's just for starters!'

Me on Melbourne Cup day in my $15 designer frock and $2 shop fascinator!

At which point I promptly burst out laughing through my tears.  Because my ex is one hell of a difficult person to trick but I had successfully managed to fool him with my brilliant selection of second hand or mega cheap clothes, including five bikinis for $20!  I have to say, I love my wardrobe and am very proud of it.  From my favourite cherry Element summer dress to my posh dress with black roses I wore for Melbourne Cup day  and my designer dress with gold brocade I wore to Liam's graduation dinner, I NEVER pay more than $20 for ANYTHING.  Some bargains I grab online from OnceIt, which is a website which offers different bargains at up to 80% off designer and other funky labels every day but mostly my wardrobe comes from good old Facebook Buy, Sell and Swap.  I can pick up as many as six or eight garments for $15, all in excellent condition.  Just one purchase like that takes care of pretty much all my clothing needs for a season and the funny thing is, I get far more compliments about my clothes now than I ever used to when I shopped brand new!

I never pay for haircuts either and sometimes it shows but the hairdressers in the local salons always tell me what great condition my hair is in when I go there to get my fringe trimmed for free.  The rest I've been cutting myself for years, layers and all.  It's easy when you know how!  As for skincare I shall share with you my secret cleansing elixir.  Water.  That's it - nothing else.  I know, shocking isn't it?  How can I not use ANYTHING else?  Simple - someone recommended it to me.  We both used to spend a fortune on skincare and could just about have had shares in Lush because we thought we HAD to put SOMETHING on our faces.  Then one day he just stopped and his sensitive skin problems stopped along with it.  He encouraged me to give it a go but I couldn't bring myself to do it until one day I ran out of my beloved Lush products and was too skint to get any more.  I had no choice but to give his method a go and whilst my skin went absolutely bonkers for a few days in protest at not getting slathered in gunk, all of a sudden it cleared up.  Pimples and other nasties are a thing of the past and now I wouldn't use anything else!  I just make sure to use a clean washcloth every day to rub my face with, I think that's pretty important.  This system works so well that my acne-prone 16-year-old abandoned his prescribed products and gave it a go instead.  The results were much faster and the improvement was far more noticeable than anything else he had ever tried!

For moisturiser I use rosehip oil and that's all.  It is a bit expensive at around $35 but one small bottle lasts so long that it's actually better value I think than most other alternatives.  The only thing I haven't been able to fake with much success is waxing.  I did try to wax my own eyebrows once and the local beautician still falls about laughing when she remembers how she had to come to my rescue. Even then I had to draw part of my eyebrows in with a ballpoint pen every morning for weeks.  So much for saving money!  And then there's the other waxing - you know, the South American variety. Apologies for too much information but ever since I heard first hand of a beautician's apprentice actually 'sticking herself together' trying to do her own with disastrous consequences and her boss actually having to close the salon to rush to her house and rescue her - well, I figured some things really are best left to the professionals.  I do hope neither of my children are reading this - for years I've been telling them I'm going for a facial.  Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to remain deadpan when you return home to your kids scrutinising your face and saying in all seriousness 'Hmph, I don't know why you bother Mum.  Your face doesn't look any different!'

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