Push off, I saw those value fish fingers first

YOU know you're prematurely ageing when you get excited over a 42p stew pack in Morrisons.

And you know the problem is serious, possibly in need of intervention from a team of trained nightclub professionals, when you find yourself actually rifling through the boxes to reach the lower layers, in search of packs with a whole two days more on the use-by date.

I like to think the squad would swoop in at this point, leaping over displays of multibuy maltloaf to yank the offending item from my grasp, administer shots of crme egg flavour Corky's through a drip and set up a drum n bass night in the freezer aisle.

We'll call them the Squad for the Quashing of Unecessary Elderly Characteristics and Habits. Or, SQUELCH.

Unfortunately though, the fact stands thus: I am very broke. We are all very broke.

The kind of broke where you can hear people behind you in the cash machine queue sighing sympathetically when they accidentally-on-purpose have a look at your balance.

I've started paying for everything in coppers and applying to be used in medical research trials.

To think, I've been breathing and sleeping and producing bodily fluids for free all these years, when I could have been cashing in at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

So you can understand when one is in such dire financial straits ("one small soda water and five straws please"), thrift becomes a new leisure activity.

Who needs 20-a-pop Soho clubs when you can spend an evening cutting out coupons, steaming stamps off envelopes and making new bars of soap from all the slivers of old bars of soap?

It's like an ironic throwback to wartime spirit.

Except not ironic.

Maybe next we'll make a Christmas cake out of a hatbox and draw seams up the back of our legs in eyeliner. Pip pip.

And as we can't afford to spend our pennies on nights deciding which of the Geldofs we've just seen in the toilet queue, we flock instead to the big, yellow and black temple of the two-for-one and get our kicks fighting for the last box of value fishfingers.

I do admit to be something of a loose woman where supermarket loyalty is concerned — last year all my affection was for Sainsburys, their 8p packet noodles and ever-bountiful Reduced to Clear section giving meaning to the most hopeless of essay procrastination trips.

But now, fickle as I am, it is Morrisons to whom my heart belongs.

Morrisons is my new bar, club and kebab shop afterwards.

It satisfies all my needs, many I didn't know I had (3p Angel Whip, don't mind if I do), and houses only marginally more sweaty weirdos in overcoats than Moonlighting on a Wednesday night.

Who can be bopped over the head with a root vegetable if needs must.

Yes, such is my love for four for 1 soup that I've even forgiven them for that advert where Denise Van Outen said "fresh" every 0.45 seconds.

Now I do the same, tramping past the fish counter in my wellies and patting small kids on the head, as though it's a farmers market in Ponty Pandy and not Holloway Road on a grim Tuesday (where a drunk with a knife is being forcibly removed from the confectionary aisle).

I never spend over a tenner in Morrisons.

I physically can't even if I try, which I have on several occasions.

Mussels, foie gras, a bumper Kellogs variety pack… the total will always be 9.87. Always.

I'm beginning to think there may be a sort of value voodoo going on, or perhaps there was some kind of arrangement with a magic lamp and some kryptonite at my birth.

I can completely picture my parents, offered their free choice of supernatural wish for their newborn daughter, to decide against "ability to fly" or "extraordinary genius", and instead plump for "will always get her money's worth in economy canned goods".

One day I will beat the system — I'll find that elusive pound of black truffle that will push up my total to 10.52, and I will have broken the spell.

But not until next term, when the loan comes in — with my current finances, fighting against the magic seems a bit childish.

It might keep SQUELCH off my back, however, long enough to dig out the freshest stew pack.