Loukia Zigoumis: Shop Mummy


My Meeting With Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Giving Up Gucci For Some Fiscal Responsibility

It's no secret that I love to shop and spend a lot of money on things. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to you that I am also in debt. I know, hard to believe right? How can someone who uses a credit card for purchases and doesn't look at price tags be in debt? Shocking, but true. When Erica asked if I wanted to interview Gail Vaz-Oxlade (the money-maven Gail Vaz-Oxlade!) I had to say yes. I am without a doubt someone who needs help financially, and I fit the description of "Princess" to a T. The night before my interview, my mom and sister were watching an episode of Til Debt Do Us Part, and were saying how badly I needed to be on that show. Well, I think Princess is a much better fit for someone like me!

The show Princess is now in its second season, having just premiered on Monday, October 17th. (It's on every Monday at 8 p.m. on Slice.)

I told Gail about how much I love shopping, and how I have a hard time saying no to my children, and she told me: "Yup. You're a Princess!" She warned me to be careful, because I was raising "Princesses", too. She offered a suggestion that would make shopping with children easier: give them a weekly allowance, and when you're about to go shopping, ask them to bring their money IF they plan on buying something. She also told me to learn how to say NO. (I'm working on in Gail, I promise!) Deliver the message to your children, because everything you do is a lesson to them.

"Be consistent," Gail told me, "Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don't threaten, and then cave."

Gail also said that sometimes shopping can be used for substituting stuff in a person’s life. For example, we talked about how I love to shop, but that I also love to write. Shopping is just a superficial high, she told me, whereas writing is a positive experience. "We need to stop measuring ourselves by our stuff," she said. Rather than shopping, we can fill our lives with other things—volunteering with children or at an old age home, learning how to cook, or visiting the library. "Do something purposeful that feeds your soul."

Gail's no-nonsense attitude was seen first-hand at Blissdom Canada last week, as well, where she sat on a panel and made everyone in the audience laugh. Afterwards, when we met, she asked if I carry a balance on my credit card. When I looked at her like a deer in headlights, she said someone had to nominate me to be on her new show.

Seriously, with debt at record high, and with so many of us not knowing how to live with financial accountability, "Princess" is a must-see show this fall. From budgeting 101 to bursting the bubble that credit cards are free money (I know, that hurts to hear, doesn't it?) Gail helps people change their bad habits. And I for one need all advice I can get.