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Frugality. Simplicity. These are my new watchwords.A new, uncluttered, Zen-like life, in which I spendnothing. Spend nothing. I mean, when you think aboutit, how much money do we all waste every day? Nowonder I'm in a little bit of debt. And really, it's not myfault. I've merely been succumbing to the Western dragof materialism which you have to have the strengthof elephants to resist. At least, that's what it says in mynew book.

You see, yesterday, when Mum and I went intoWaterstone's to buy her paperback for the week, Isidled off to the self-help section, and bought the mostwonderful book I've ever read. Quite honestly, it'sgoing to change my life. I've got it now, in my bag. It'scalled Controlling Your Cash by David E. Barton, andit's fantastic. What it says is that we can all fritter awaymoney without realizing it, and that most of us couldeasily cut our cash consumption by half in just oneweek.

In one week!

You just have to do things like make your own sandwichesinstead of eating in restaurants and ride a biketo work instead of taking the tube. When you startthinking about it, you can save money everywhere.

And as David E. Barton says, there are lots of freepleasures which we forget because we're so busyspending money, like parks and museums and thesimple joy of a country walk.

It's all so easy and straightforward. And the best thingis, you have to start out by going shopping! The booksays you should begin itemizing every single purchasein a single normal spending day and plot it on agraph. It stresses that you should be honest and notsuddenly curtail or alter your spending pattern which is lucky, because it's Suze's birthday onThursday and I've got to get her a present.

So on Monday morning, I stop off at Lucio's on theway into work and buy an extra large cappuccino anda chocolate muffin, just like I usually do. I have toadmit I feel a bit sorrowful as I hand over my money,because this is my last ever cappuccino and my lastever chocolate muffin. My new frugality startstomorrow and cappuccinos aren't allowed. David E.Barton says if you have a coffee habit you should makeit at home and take it into the office in a flask, and ifyou like eating snacks you should buy cheap cakesfrom the supermarket. 'The coffee merchants are fleecingyou for what is little more than hot water andpolystyrene,' he points out and I suppose he's right.

But I will miss my morning cappuccino. Still. I'vepromised myself I'll follow the rules of the book andI will.

As I come out of the coffee shop, clutching my lastever cup, I realize I don't actually have a flask forcoffee. But that's OK, I'll buy one. There are somelovely sleek chrome ones in Habitat. Flasks are actuallyquite trendy these days. I think Alessi might evendo one. Wouldn't that be cool? Drinking coffee out ofan Alessi flask. Much cooler than a takeaway cappuccino.

So I'm feeling quite happy as I walk along the street.When I get to Smith's I pop in and stock up on a fewmagazines to keep me going and I also buy a sweetlittle silver notebook and pen to write down everythingI spend. I'm going to be really rigorous about this,because David E. Barton says the very act of notingdown purchases should have a curtailing effect. Sowhen I get into work, I start my list.

Cappuccino ?1.50

Muffin ? 1.00

Notebook ?3.99

Pen ? 1.20

| The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic | Magazines ? 6.40