Aisle be! More space for a bargain

It's the January sales

It's the January sales - Credit: Getty Images

It’s the January sales – next Christmas on a shoestring. Meanwhile, it looks like the white Christmas we never had has arrived.

There seems to be more floor space in Ipswich and other town’s stores than there has ever been – and I don’t mean the number of square metres available in empty shops.

Some of the big stores seem to have a lot more space between their standing displays than ever before.

There used to be a time when a woman with a pushchair found it almost impossible to negotiate the retail floors without (a) knocking over a mannequin; (b) getting entangled in a rack of knitwear or (c) reaching an impasse when you meet a super-wide baby buggy coming in the other direction. Now, woman with pushchair has easy passage.

I’m guessing, that some of our bigger retailers are not buying in as much stock as erstwhile.

This is not good when a shopper is entering the busiest birthday season.

I have two friends with birthdays in January and it is always a challenge to find them something that isn’t left over from Christmas. But I’m getting some bargains for me.

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In town on Tuesday, just before the snow, I bought an excellent pair of cushions each reduced from £30 to £9.

“Ah,” I hear you say, “but did you need them?”

The truthful answer is “not really” but, I can make a good case for two new cushions.

That’s the trouble with these austere times, not only have I become a more cautious buyer, I feel guilty when I do spend money. A few years back, in keeping with the rest of the nation, I tended to buy things without going through any sort of checks.

Now I ask myself:

1. Do I need it?

2. Can I afford it?

3. If I do buy it will I ever use/wear it?

4. Is it sustainably sourced?

5. Is it a product of child labour?

In order to justify the purchase I should be going for yes, yes, yes, yes and no or, at the very least no, yes, maybe, don’t know and no.

Oh, did I mention I also bought a pair of half-price boots? I had to mount a one-woman arctic expedition to Bramford on Monday night and was expecting conditions to be grim.

I put the shovel in the boot of the car and drove off in three layers of thermal clothing only to find it was quite mild out. That is to say, that weren’t too bad.

Now it is bitterly cold. I know this because on BBC2’s Winterwatch, on Tuesday night, Michaela Strachan said Rendlesham, near Ipswich, had nine centimetres of snow.

That’s a few more than we got in Ipswich, near Rendlesham. But I didn’t even try to get into my car yesterday morning, instead I walked into town through Christchurch Park and took a few snowy snaps before shopping.