Taxes paid. Check. Mortgage paid. Check. Bills paid. Um, mostly? Check. Spring shopping? Only in my dreams. I suppose there’s a lot to be said for keeping a roof over my head and the IRS off my back, but being broke really stinks right now. There are these absolutely-must-have-’em shoes sitting out there, calling my name. And I’m still working on mixing in those key spring updates that the chick magazines keep telling me will freshen up my wardrobe until at least… June, I think? Guess that silver metallic hobo back at Neiman’s will have to wait. (Like maybe forever.) In the meantime, Polly Pennypincher here has been scouring the town for cheap chic.

It may be hit and miss, but Buffalo Exchange is always a good spot to score cool stuff, so long as you’re not too proud to buy “recycled” clothing. My latest find was a great pair of Juicy Couture cropped jeans that actually make my ass look smaller — can you believe? — for only $17. They were marked $32, but I pointed out a tiny spot on the hemline and the nice gal at the register knocked it right down by 50 percent for me. (The spot came out with Spray & Wash on my first try, so I think they must have been previously owned by a very lazy launderer. ) For the truly vintage finds, hit Rare Bird over on 13th and Marion. Ian, the owner, stocks up on lots of vintage hats, bags, and shoes, and also carries more recent versions of tees, skirts, and tops. He has a decent selection of men’s clothing too, and practically everything in the store is under $20. In Highlands, pop into the Garnet Gecko for great deals on imported jewelry. Seems the shopkeepers bop off to Thailand and India on a regular basis, and head back laden with inexpensive sterling hoops and chandelier earrings, semi-precious stone pendants and rings, and plenty of oh-so-trendy turquoise and coral bracelets and beaded chokers. Of course, I could always make it easy on myself and just make the drive south to Nordstrom’s Rack, DSW, Ross, or TJ Maxx in the ‘burbs, where a little digging can go a long way toward saving a buck. Maybe I’ll save that for next weekend. For now, I just really need to find a great gypsy skirt, wedge espadrilles, an embroidered tunic, something in aqua… and… perhaps a cheaper hobby.