In 2010, there will be no more trying to buy a new belt for Mr. Bag Lady.

Brown leather, black leather, silver buckle, brass buckle, somehow it always ends up unworn in the closet, never good enough in some as-yet-to-be-elaborated-upon way.

So, no more! Let thy pants fall where they may.

Bag Lady is freeing herself from those shopping belts, er, chains for the next 12 months.

Shopping Siren solemnly swears to save more in 2010. In all senses. More money shuffled off to the bank, more coupons clipped and used (gotta remember expiration dates!), more pennies pinched on utilities, clothes and food.

She also vows to use all those savings to go to Florida.

Because if she’s going to turn the heat down to 60 this winter and forgo a spring purse, dammit, she wants a reward.

But it’s not just about us! In honor of the new year, we polled our shopping friends about what they’re vowing to do — or not do — in 2010. Their lists were funny. Fascinating. Inspiring. And they led us to come up with a few more of our own “I promise …” Because sometimes it’s all about us and sometimes it’s just a tiny bit about us. Really, though, that’s all for the best. Keeps our heads right-sized.

Right-size your shopping life by considering:

• “I will actively begin shopping for groceries on a specific day of the week again and hopefully avoid the several trips I’ve been making. Such a time suck.” — The Reluctant Shopper

• “One day I had a coupon for (Coldwater) Creek — $20 off $80 — then spent $50 at L.L.Bean to get a $10 coupon … It goes on and on. I have to break the cycle for the New Year and ignore all the ‘savings’!” — Shopper Fran

• “I’m staying out of the motorcycle stores unless I need something. I get into huge trouble just browsing in those places. Few people realize just how many accessories you can buy for a dual sport motorcycle.” — Mark LaFlamme

• “I’m done trying to shop for (my husband) when it comes to his hiking stuff and footwear. Only HE knows the specifics of what he needs to climb those mountains, and he needs to TRY ON shoes, sneakers, boots and so on. No more me trying to guess at the shoe store, only to have him try it on, then return….”  — Mrs. Footloose

• Some smart to-do’s, for any time: “Hit TJ Maxx every other week; that great sweater/plate/sheet set might have gone on sale. Always, always take a calculator when grocery shopping. Paper clips to attach coupons to the list are key.” — Coupon Cutie

• “I will avoid clothes shopping for the kids without them, as they have reached an age and clothing size that I can no longer ‘eyeball’ straight off the rack. That and they have each identified with their own style. Best to get them what they want (within reason) and save myself the aggravation and extra trip back to the store for returns.” — The Reluctant Shopper

• “I’m staying away from Victoria’s Secret because … well, you know. The restraining order.” — Mark LaFlamme

As for Bag Lady:

• In 2010, no more buying dog toys until all the other dog toys have been chewed to smithereens, no matter how cute, cuddly or have-to-have-this squeaky. They’re dogs; they don’t know last season.

• Lewiston-Auburn is lucky enough to have three discount bread outlets — Nissen in Auburn, and Freihofer’s and Country Kitchen in Lewiston. Every time I go in, I marvel at the prices. And every month, I forget to go back. Again, no more! It’s bulk carbs for me in the new year.

And for Shopping Siren:

• Taking a page from BL: In 2010, no more buying kitty toys until all current kitty toys have been chewed/destroyed/lost to the same void that eats socks, gloves and periodically, keys. They’re cats; they like crumpled-up paper as much as the $5 pack of mouse-shaped jingle balls.

• Buy less; buy better. Those cheap bookshelves I got just after college? Great for a girl just out of college. Now, not so much. (Plus they’re, quite literally, falling apart.) Realizing that cheap doesn’t always equal better, I will look for quality! And a heck of a deal.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who want to have a little discussion with Bag Lady about that squeaky toy moratorium) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected]

Various packages of products from bread outlets for bag lady shopping column.

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