According to ‘Businessweek’ Americans alone spend a whopping $41 billion a year looking after their animals! And yes, it was BILLIONS, I had to check that.

Just the other day I was chatting to a mum about her pet bills. First her dog’s leg went wobbly so they spent $10,000 getting it fixed. Then the other leg went a couple of weeks later. Guess what? They spent another $6000 on getting that fixed too. The reason? They were halfway there and thought they may as well finish the job! Eeeek. That makes an incredible $16,000 being spent  on a dog. This lady had her heart in the right place with the kids loving the animal etc but how much is too much?

It has been reported that women may spend around $15,000 on make up in their lifetime! Jeepers, we better age well or we’re in trouble. I almost have a heart attack every time I see the average price of lipstick which is why I stick to the Aldi lip gloss and why my lips are not more obvious on my face. I just cannot spend $20 on a lipstick, especially when I have no idea what colour suits me. Then you have your mascara (that DOESN’T run), your eyeliner (if you’re brave and have a steady hand), your bronzer/ foundation / mineral brushy thing (what the…?) and the eyeshadow, green stick (oh magic green stick where have you been all my life?) and the lip liner, the moisturiser, the cleanser, the toner and the anti-aging miracle cure to make you look 25 forever!

That’s just for our lovely faces. Then there’s the clothes. In Australia around $14 Billion is spent every year on clothing (don’t you love my statistics today? Never had one lesson!). Oooo and shoes and accessories. Then there’s the time spent finding the right clothes. Apparently women spend an average of 8 years shopping. That’s a lot of cappuccinos – light/decaf of course! Every season, when I yank my seasonal clothes out of their boxes they seem larger, more stretched and unacceptable for today’s modern mother. So back to K-mart /Target I go. Yep, I am a simple soul with big dreams and an empty wallet.

We find ourselves now in the kid department of the western spending spree. You know the look, the wide eyes, the expectant expression. You’re in the toy department, or the stationary section, maybe the book aisle and your kid spots something sensational, tempting and something they just HAVE to have. What do you do? Well most times I say a loving but firm no, which gets a bit firmer and a little less loving the more they nag me for the same thing over and over. Sometimes I’m a big old softy mum and give in but then there’s the birthdays and the friends’ parties and the last but surely not least present giving season… Christmas! Spend, spend, spend!

It seems that my friend, Philip is right. The western economy IS driven by women. It is financed by our soft hearts and love for our animals, our kids and, let’s face it, ourselves. We like to be liked. We are effected by what people think of us, our self-image, our kids’ place in the world. We want success and perfection and buying stuff gives us that, if only for a minute. But I wonder, what is the true cost of this? It is one of those ethical conundrums, when is enough really enough, for us and our kids and the rest of the world? Something tells me it may come back to bite us on the butt if we’re not careful.

What are your thoughts?