05th Nov 2023
Having to monitor the price of things like milk and petrol is not the Roaring Twenties fantasy Esther O’Moore Donohoe imagined. But if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s how to adapt...
I thought I’d tightened my belt enough over the last few months, but it looks like I’m going to have to pull that sucker in even tighter and maybe slip on a pair of Skims.
We know that brighter days are ahead, but in the meantime, many of us will have to cut our cloth according to our means. Because as rapidly as the temperature is dropping and leaves are falling, the price of everything continues to rise. So how do we negotiate the autumnal blanket of budgeting that lies ahead with a glass-half-full spirit? We hoist that blanket skyward and study every inch of it for our silver lining.
For autumn 2023, we’re merging Date Night with The Big Shop in a marriage of convenience and romance.
Silver lining number one: The New Date Night. For the foreseeable, classic “dinner and a movie” evenings are out. For autumn 2023, we’re merging Date Night with The Big Shop in a marriage of convenience and romance. And honestly, if you and your lover don’t swoon in the centre aisles of leading discount German supermarkets, then you need to take a long, hard look at yourselves. What could be more romantic than pushing a trolley alongside your beloved, whispering sweet nothings like, “Do you remember when they didn’t have security tags on the blocks of cheddar?” Just don’t forget to bring your Bag for Life – we don’t need the added expense of new ones when we already have 600 of them at home.
Silver lining number two: The Great Re-conkering. This season, I predict conkers making a big splash. For centuries, children have dominated the conker industry, but now it’s time for adults to get in on the act. Sure, we all want to continue our houseplant love affair, but who can afford a recreational spider plant in this economy? At peak pandemic, 15 fiddle leaf plants were sold every minute in Sligo alone. Conkers, on the other hand, cost you nothing. Next time you’re out on a walk, do yourself a favour – scoop up a handful and prepare for battle. If there’s a parent at the school gate that irrationally irritates you for absolutely no good reason, challenge them to a conker fight. If there’s a neighbour you suspect is the source of non-stop illegal dumping on your road, invite them to a duel. Mark my words, it won’t be long before Gwyneth has a sterling silver set of them on Goop retailing for circa US$350 (tax and shipping not included).
Silver lining number three: Cost Of Living Bingo (COLB). If conkers aren’t your thing, COLB is also tipped to entertain the nation this autumn/winter. Simply print out some cards with head-melting phrases like, “Who touched the thermostat?!”, “Get out of the shower!”, “Who left the immersion on?!” and “Did someone eat all the yoghurts already?!”. The first person in your household to tick them all off is the daily winner. Their prize is an extra three minutes in the shower. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll lock the hot press door.
So, you see, just like Cinderella, we shall go to the ball – it just might be held in the kitchen, catering will be limited, and it’s BYOB. You may also have to wear a coat over your ballgown because the heating goes off at 10pm but, sure, as long as we’re with friends and family, all will be well. Game of conkers, anyone?
This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2022 issue of IMAGE Magazine. Illustration by jcomp.