This was quite a momentous week for me; it was the week I bought my first ever TV Licence (yikes, I hope they don’t read IMAGE.ie and can’t retrospectively fine). I’d like to say that it was a voluntary decision, but it was actually as a response to a very polite, passive-aggressive letter from them (with FOUR Freepost envelopes), asking me to complete a form where the first question was “have you a television licence?” and the second was “please fill in the registration number”… so I reckon I was one step away from being doorstepped.
Anyhow, I had to take to Facebook to let the world know of this huge occasion and was most amused by the various responses from my friends, mostly asking if my father, a former judge knew of my behaviour, but one slightly more serious one struck a chord. One friend wrote… “TV, water, garbage, property, USC, PAYE, VAT, VRT… the list of taxes we pay is never ending & we can’t even form a government…” She’s absolutely right; the demands that come from our monthly pay packet is cruel, especially when you then add mortgages/rent, property management fees, insurance (household, travel, pet, health and car), broadband, phone, utilities, Netflix, Spotify… you’d go into panic mode if you ever really stopped and thought about it; and in recent years, I know we’ve all had cause to get properly scared.
But, then, being a woman and converting the maths into something I care about, I immediately thought that it’s a wonder we can ever afford shoes, and then, the inevitable guilt we all feel when we splurge on ourselves. I know there are times when the money isn’t there, and we have to reign it in, but on the occasion we fall for those Louboutins, Aldos or whatever floats your boat (right now, I’d kill for some rose gold Stella flatforms and a pair of Charlotte Olympia kitty flats), why the guilt?
Women are notorious for hiding the boutique bags or getting that online splurge sent in “plain” wrapping, rather than a big fancy box because we’ve conditioned ourselves to view this sort of extravagant behaviour as akin to eating half a dozen crème eggs in one sitting. But… if we’ve worked for our money, and paid what we owe on the ‘boring” side of the outgoings column, why feel bad if there’s a bit left over for treats and we go for it? Or if we take to a bit of juggling and magic maths, to make those YSL sandals happen? Surely that’s a life skill? I can remember once buying said sandals, which were way out of my budget (but utterly stunning), and then putting a ban on blowdries until I’d “paid” back the balance.
I’m not saying we need to go spree-crazy, but when you consider all our financial obligations, and the extra work that’s involved in supermarket-hopping to get the best deals, then watch those figures drain from our bank account, surely whatever remains is truly there to be enjoyed? And thus, we should really do so with pride, and not be all Irish about it and consider a bit of spending as being flahulach. Buy the limited edition Converse… head to TK Maxx for some random, unnecessary treats… have that spa treatment WITH afternoon tea; whatever flicks your switch, just do it. God knows we’ve earned it.
And when the money’s gone? Well, you’re all invited round to mine to legally watch TV.