* even though the word ‘ recession’ is now being used as this fail-safe excuse for everything. I can’t pay you more money—there’s a recession! I can’t go out tonight—there’s a recession! I wish I loved you more, but what can I do, there’s a recession. (okay, I made the last one up, but it’s possible.)
1) Dress cheaply but wear your clothes like they’re all designer labels. I’m serious. I went rummaging about on Hill Road and bought two dresses—cotton, one a simple box neckline, A-line fit (SO tight I have to sit up straight and not breathe in too deeply) and the other an ethnic print, strappy, low cut thing (beautiful and comfortable and soft and I want to wear it forever). I accesorised with nice shoes and some junk jewellery and, nope, no one could tell the difference. (And no one will, unless you tell them, which I always make the mistake of doing. (“Lovely outfit, eM!” “Oh thank you, I got this for a 100 rupees off Hill Road.”) Anyhoo, this way, you can go shopping whenever it pleases you and you have some nice outfits and you won’t feel so bad if they only last a few wears. The secret to this though is not to buy anything that looks like it’s been an export surplus thing. Avoid lycra or floral prints, avoid the top that you see hanging on almost every single shop, and only buy something you can see yourself spending REAL money on in a REAL shop.
2) Suss out all the openings and events in the city. At an art gallery opening, you’re bound to get a free glass of wine. Check out Facebook events, there’s usually something or the other on. You could also join a few Mumbai even mailing lists—I’m sure they’re out there—for up to date news on what’s going on where. For instance, the GQ thing I went to last week was open bar till 11 pm and was also open entry. Look like you belong (boys, wear shoes!) and nine times out of ten, no one’s going to ask for your invitation.
3) Almost every single bar has some sort of special night. Off the top of my head, ladies night happens at Zenzi on Tuesdays (one free glass of wine), Firangi Paani on Wednesdays (happy hours for girls between 8 pm to 10 pm), and Rock Bottom on Thursdays (All you can drink—all night long. Except water, you have to pay for that.) TGIF has happy hours till about 7.30, Janta is always cheap for pre-drinking, Banana Bar has loads of buy-one-get-one-free nights, all you have to do is keep track, and then you can whisk off to your next (more expensive) destination and be happy not drinking or just nursing one thing for the whole evening.
4) Bring back the fine art of the house party. I threw an EXCELLENT one last weekend, even if I do say so myself. A friend was leaving, a friend has just moved to Bombay and we had people all over the place. I told everyone to bring their own booze and I have loads of leftovers now. Plus, I think it might’ve been the seal-breaker on other parties, because I now have three to go for this weekend. And even if the ones you’re invited to are bring your own booze type, it’s still cheaper to get a bottle of White Mischief or even Smirnoff, than it is to have an equivalent night out.
5) Rediscover the ‘hobby’. FYI, the guy outside Toto’s? The DVD chap? Has some really, really good prints and pretty cheap too. I bought a whole bunch last week—boom, my week’s entertainment taken care of. If I could cook, I would be, right now. I’m spending more time writing and chilling than I ever have before, okay, so it’s out of necessity and not choice, but it’s getting easier to get used to.
Well, that’s all I can think of for the moment. Add your own money-saver fabulosity suggestions in the comments.
Ooh, and I almost forgot! This is my first post from my brand new laptop! It’s so pretty and shiny and wide-screened. I love him, I do, and his name is Holden. (As in ‘Holden’ all my information and Caulfield. I’m nerdy like that.)