Alice-Azania Jarvis: I'm always so out of tune with the sales

In The Red

Rather late, it has come to my attention that the sales are on. The summer sales – or more specifically, the tail-end of the summer sales, a period affectionately known in my one-person household as Quick! Buy Something Decent For A Change.

Now is the moment I restock my wardrobe – the time at which, after months of sporting more or less the same series of washing-machine-stretched grey jumpers and sagging jeans, I inject a bit of novelty into my get-up. After all, I tell myself before heading off to the consumer hell hole that is Oxford Circus, you don't get 90 per cent off every day of the week, so you might as well take advantage of it.

The problem is that I don't. Yes, I top up my work wear. Yes, I'll pick out a few new things. But rarely do I do I take advantage of the sale. I blame the lighting. And the store layout. And the weather. I blame a lot of things, but really it's my fault: set against the infinitely more tempting backdrop of next season's shiny new attire, the summer's wilted blouses suddenly look a lot less appealing. And so it is that, once again, I find myself with a mini collection of new jumpers (all bought at full price) and a decidedly diminished bank balance – something that doesn't bode well for the next fortnight of activity.

I'm off festivalling, you see. For two weekends in a row. The question is, can I do it on a budget? Festivals are notoriously expensive beasts. It's not just the tickets. With their audience both captive and, not infrequently, inebriated, food and drink stands can afford to prop up their prices, charging what a city bar might while serving out of a caravan in a field. Then there are all the other expenses to consider: the cost of getting on-site, the last minute wellies/waterproofs/bottles of sunscreen.

But I am determined not to fall into this trap. First up is V and then Reading – and both can, I think, be tackled on a budget. I've experience with the latter and know what I'm doing. I could lead you blindfolded to the local Tesco (so much more affordable than the burger van, and nicer too). I've a list of things to pack saved on my computer from last year: my own cereal bars, fruit, bottled water. I've yet to make a foray into gas stovetop cooking, but let me warn you: I'm tempted.

V is territory unknown – but how hard can it be? The answer to that, my friends, I'll find out in precisely seven days.

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