Fatal attraction

A frequent complaint of men the world over is that they don’t understand women and, more specifically, don’t know what they want. The answer – and in fact some may argue the whole meaning of life for some of the fairer sex – lies in just one word…Shoes!

She’s got to have it

There is a probably not a woman on the planet who could not easily spend a full day in a well-stocked shoe shop without even a packed lunch to sustain her. Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz recently confessed to an "obsession" with shoes.

The 34-year-old actress said she loves them so much, she loves footwear so much, she owns pairs "in every shape and colour available – pointy toe, round toe, open toe, high heel, low heel – I’ve got them all".

Shoes and the city

And Cameron isn’t the only famous face to have this obsession. Sarah Jessica Parker – who claims to have spent 18 to 20 hours a day filming in high heels – says she loves her stilettos, although she adds that she "now spends a much shorter day in them".

Ms Parker’s shoes are so precious to her in fact, that they "are archived and stored like museum pieces. They’re in a temperature controlled vault". Not something most of us are likely to do, given the inevitable protests that would accompany a pair of stilettos being placed in the family fridge.

While shoe obsession is enough to bring females to the high street stores from far and wide, it is even more apparent in those more upmarket foot boutiques where the latest Choo and Blahnik ranges eye each other over racks of Christian Louboutin creations. Arguably the finest footwear on the planet and more of an obsessional product than an aspirational one.

But how to afford it all – what is a girl to do? Well according to one consumer group, whatever lengths they do go to for those latest must-have kitten heels, they should not be taking out store cards.

Store cards are an expensive option

Which? recently urged shoppers to think twice about their personal finances before getting a store card. According to the body, most store cards charge a rate of interest that is well in excess of that charged by credit cards – which are in themselves one of the more expensive forms of unsecured personal lending.

Many store cards offer an immediate discount for signing up, which can be an incentive for some. However, according to Martyn Saville, senior researcher at the group, customers that don’t pay off the balance of their store card in full could end up paying more in interest than the amount they have saved through the discount.

Which? advises against store cards

"Some retailers offer a discount of say ten per cent if you take out a store card at the same time as you make a purchase. However, the interest rates on store cards are often much higher than you can get on a normal Best Buy credit card," he explained.

He invited consumers to compare the APR of 29.9 per cent on a store card issued by GE Capital Bank – for stores such as Wallis, Burton and Dorothy Perkins – with the APR of "just 8.8 per cent on a Barclaycard Simplicity Visa card".

Compare standard rate credit cards

Using the Barclaycard means you lose the ten per cent discount, but if you don’t pay off your store card bill in full when you get your first statement, you could end up paying much more than that in the extra interest charged with the store card.

If you use a 0% purchase card you could pay even less in interest payments

Provider Purchase Rate/Period Typical APR (variable)
Halifax One 0% / 12 months 15.9%
Citibank 0% / 11 months 16.9%
Barclaycard Platinum 0% / 10 months 14.9%

Compare 0% purchase cards

Explore all credit options

Store cards were recently made the subject of a Competition Commission directive requiring providers to highlight particularly high levels of interest and inform consumers that cheaper credit options are available to them. If there is something that simply has to be bought, the savvy shopper would be better off exploring these options to make sure she is hot to trot without fear of getting tripped up when the bill arrives.

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