If you’ve got it, why not use it to save money?

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I’VE been trying my hand at some serious budgeting over the last few weeks.

Frankly, the increasing mention of ‘Christmas’ is terrifying me, so I’m making an effort to put a few pennies aside so I don’t have the usual financial crisis come December.

But does anyone else think Christmas may be a wee bit different this year?

For example, I can’t count the number of people I’ve heard saying that they’ll be ditching Christmas cards this year, purely because of the price of stamps.

On the train last week, I overheard two women saying that very thing.

“Well, I won’t be bothering this year,” one said.

“I mean, I’m usually last minute with cards, so I normally buy first class stamps, but there’s no way I’ll be doing that this year.”

“I know what you mean,” said the other woman. “And will anyone really bother? Everyone’s in the same boat.”

I raised my eyebrows, wishing I was in the same boat as those two.

I mean, I could just tell by looking at them that they both had a working fridge, (don’t know if I mentioned it but my fridge freezer is on strike) and probably a working weekly budget.

So this month, I’m keeping my receipts in an attempt to discover where all my money is going.

Surely it can’t all be eaten up by essential things like food, mortgage payments and travel?

“As I’ve always said, Kate,” my mother proclaims every Sunday, “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.”

While I agree, there are other ways to save cash, and they’re not exactly written in budget books.

On Saturday night, I enjoyed an evening in Glasgow with my younger and far prettier friend.

She’s one of those friends who, when you see her dressed up for the night, you wish you had spent more time and effort getting ready.

Anyway, we set off on the train, me in a drab black trouser suit, and she in a summer cream dress and high heels.

“Tickets please?” the conductor chanted.

I paid him, noticing my friend wasn’t reaching for her purse.

The conductor turned to her, and she smiled sweetly and said, “Oh it’s somewhere I did buy one, but ...”.

“I’ll come back,” the conductor smiled, sneaking a peek at her legs.

As the night went on, I was getting the impression that she wasn’t really paying for much.

She would squeeze her way in at the bar beside some man, who, more often than not, bought her a drink.

She even managed to get us free snacks in a restaurant, simply by flirting with the waiter.

Perhaps the saying about looking after the pennies should be replaced with ‘If you’ve got it, use it to save money’?