In the red: A gift to myself is wrapped with guilt

Click to follow
The Independent Online

For once, the hate mail was not forthcoming. Given that any mention of non-essential spending in this column tends to be greeted with a flurry of "well aren't you jammy!" emails, I had thought that talk of a not-at-all-necessary, entirely indulgent, £65 ballet ticket would guarantee at least one negative response. Apparently not. Not so much as a peep.

This, I'm pleased to tell you, I have taken as a sign that going to see The Nutcracker when you are – let's face it – flat broke is an entirely sensible thing to do. After all, why not? Other than all of the obvious (read: boring) reasons like being able to pay your bills and not falling further into debt.

Consequently, I have booked the tickets. Two of them: one for me, and one for my even-more-flat-broke-then-me boyfriend, for whom I will, inevitably, pay.

It's too soon to regret it, of course. I only bought the things last week. Already, though, I'm getting that vague sense of panic that rises when I spend more money that I should. What, I wonder, will I need to go without in order to afford my frivolity? The new shirt I'd been eyeing has gone out the window, obviously. So, too, has the plumbing I needed done. Meals will have to be strictly regulated: lots of snack lunches and tuna salad suppers.

And, under no circumstances, are taxis acceptable – nights out end with the last tube or don't happen at all. Call them luxury, or call them my Christmas present to myself. Whatever, The Nutcracker tickets are bought and paid for.

On the subject of mail, though, another thing: I may not have received any of the chiding missives that I expected, but I did receive another kind of correspondence after last week's witterings: an invitation to another ballet. Cinderella, as it happens.

The production is the result of collaboration between the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Youth Service and Association of Youth Clubs and sounds as good – if not better – than what I had been planning. Making it even more attractive is the fact that it is a fraction of the price.

Unfortunately, I can't go: it is on 9 December in Birmingham – the day before I plan to host a Christmas party in London. Sorry, did I say Christmas party? I meant frugal huddle around a mince pie, the economic acrobatics of which will, of course, be a whole other story.

Looking for credit card or current account deals? Search here