Alice-Azania Jarvis: Can I really afford £65 for a seat at the ballet?
In The Red
Saturday 20 November 2010
So, I've paid my phone bill. It's one of those things: no matter how much you pretend it's not there, it lurks – big, fat and waiting to be paid.
To be honest, it was such a huge amount (so unlike any single bill that I've ever had to pay before) that it almost didn't seem real. And that's the way I want to keep it. Unreal, and dispatched straight to the back of my mind.
In some ways, it could be a good thing. After all, I've just been paid – an event which is usually accompanied by a sudden increase in my desire to shop. I start wondering why I have nothing to wear, and plan a trip to Topshop. I start hankering after a posh lunch at Whole Foods Market or M&S, instead of a hastily chowed-down chocolate bar at my desk. I start thinking that, perhaps, buying a weighty stack of glossy magazines and the latest Amazon bestseller might be a good idea. But now I can't. At least I can't if I want to make it to the end of the month.
It's all very good practice. After all, there is only one more payday before Christmas. By then I'll be a veritable expert at not spending. I'll be able to do all my festive gift-giving on a shoestring. There is one thing, though, that I do want a buy for myself. This year – for the first time in a good five years – I am determined to go to the ballet. It sounds like a luxury and, in many ways it is, but it is one I am going to allow myself.
Let me explain. At the age of two, I was signed up for dance classes, which I continued for the next 17 years. Every year, out of tradition, we went to see The Nutcracker. It all stopped, of course, when I left home and had to start picking up the tab myself. Then, this time last year, I resolved to go again. Happily, the English National Ballet is putting on a performance which should, by all accounts, prove ideal. There is only one catch: the price of the tickets. The Nutcracker, it transpires, is incredibly oversubscribed at this time of year (go figure). By the time I logged on to the ticket-booking website, all of the cheap seats had sold out. In fact, almost all of the posh seats had sold out too – only a few, in midweek, remain. And so it's decision time. Do I take a day off work and fork out £65? Or do I forget my plan for another year and hope to win the lottery. Somehow, I think it might have to be the former.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
iJobs Money & Business
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...
£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens