Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'I've only spent £30 on holiday in Ibiza – result!'

In The Red

This has all gone rather better than expected. In fact, total outgoings have come to approximately £25, 24 of which were dropped in the bookstore of Stansted international departures. The remaining one went to my dad when he ran out of change. So, thirty quid in a week, not bad at all. All this, and I'm in Ibiza. Things, to put it modestly, could be worse.

Still, I'm worried. Worried for a number of reasons: my phone bill on returning, the inevitable post-holiday blues, the resumption of my regular spending patterns – but, most of all, the approach of August, a month which historically has proven my financial undoing.

It's unclear why. Late summer, a few public holidays but none so significant that they warrant significant financial outlay: on paper, at least, the going looks innocuous enough. Still, time after time I find myself running out of cash before payday is even close.

It could be the festivals. Though that great festive giant Glastonbury is out the way, August remains my preferred month for camping in a field with several hundred drunken strangers. It could also be to do with the fact that August is school holiday month and so, in some weird prepubescent throwback, it is in some way associated in my mind with ice-cream, shopping trips and big days out.

More than any of these, though, I suspect that my late summer broke-ness stems from one particular event: Mum's birthday. Usually a strong present-buyer, when presented with the challenge of buying a parental gift, my ability to choose correctly seems to evaporate entirely. I may have mentioned this before – it's an incident which still wakes me in the night with the scale of its horror – but I once bought my dad (South African, stern, not prone to popstrel ogling) a Kylie Minogue calendar. At the last minute, I decided it was insufficient and embellished it with a Norah Jones record. This is not an exaggeration.

So, come my mother's birthday I tend to take a one-track approach: throw money at the problem, and hope it goes away. The problem, not the money... though, judging by past experience, that will too. Sometimes this works; other times not so much. Fingers crossed.

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