Emma and I were sitting in the bar of the G one Friday afternoon a couple of months ago (no, we hadn’t been miraculously transported back to 2008) drinking €10 glasses of delicious NZ Sauv (Tyrells, I er, think …) and resolving to worry about the bills on Monday. 

We were on a jolly: the hotel was launching its new suite for banqueting, events and weddings and I’d taken her as my plus one. On the train on the way over, glugging a bottle of Prosecco and mightily pissing the couple across from us off (sorry you guys, we were off the leash) with our inane chatter about handbags and blogging, we got to discussing What Life Was Like Before The Great Recession.

I used to buy things. Like, you know, shoes that cost €250 a go. I find this a bit hard to believe now but the evidence is gathering dust under my bed so it’s obviously true.  And handbags! Fancy little ones to use for Events. Not just ones to lug about to work and boring places. And I think a lot of us got into that habit of spending when we got paid – because we had disposable income to do it.

Nowadays? Nah. Not so much. Sure, I’d love to be buying Merle O’Grady and Mawi on the 1st of every month and these days while I might get something lovely once – or at a stretch twice – a year, in between times, I can pretty adequately satisfy my inner magpie with a well-chosen bit of sparkle from the high street.

rhinestone costume jewellery earrings

Like these three lovelies. All pretty damn impactful, all super-sparkly and all under €20. What more do you want, eh?

  1. ASOS clip-ons – these were a pressie around Christmas time but I picked ’em: they were under €20. The top part sits up and around the ear, almost like a cuff.
  2. Miss Selfridge Deco-style diamante and glass drops, €15. Bought on a whim and I’ll probably avoid wearing them for a while because of Gatsby-mania but the colour combination is really nice.
  3. Another ASOS pair, again, around €15. Not amazingly well made but for the price, hey.

It’s worth pointing out with mass-produced costume pieces like this, they’re not built to last. Stones will drop, bits will break – if you look at the offerings in H&M for example, half the earrings and necklaces are missing their beads before they’re even bought – so you’ve got to expect that. Again, you’re not paying top dollar, so you’re not going to get a long life out of them. I

f I get four or five wears out of something that costs me €12-to-€15 then I’m happy enough. If I get more, that’s a bonus. We’ve all got costume pieces that have foxed all the odds and are going strong years later, eh?

What’s your favourite thing to buy on payday? Let me know in a comment!