Sunday, 10 October 2010

'Coping' without Child Benefit. A guide for the 'middle classes'...

There has been much hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing from Middle England this week, as news of George Osbourne's Child Benefit reforms hit the headlines.

The decision from the coalition government to stop paying £20.30 per week* to those earning an income of £44,000 or more per annum caused well-heeled Brits up and down the land to spontaneously spit out their organic fairtrade coffee and fling their Guardians down in disgust.

A number of commentators on the Daily Mail website wrote that they 'would not be able to cope' without this cash injection from the state coffers. Well no. I can see how they feel. I mean £20.30... that's Jemima's riding lesson paid for, isn't it?

Having fed and clothed my own family of four for around £20,000 per annum for some years now, I feel the charitable thing to do is to share a few tips with these soon to be poverty stricken souls. With my help, you should manage to make ends meet on £44,000 per year. Should there be much call for my budgeting brilliance, I might write a book.

Guide to 'Coping' on £44,000 per annum.

1. You must resist the urge to buy Cravendale milk. I know it's triple-filtered but I couldn't care less if it was octuple-filtered by virgin maidens in wild-flower meadows on the side of a Swiss hillside - it's milk. Just milk. Buy normal stuff like intelligent people do.

2. I realise you may need a support group for this one, but I'm going to have to ask you to be brave. Repeat after me: "I do not need to buy yoghurts with germs in." That's right my thrifty little friend, Yakult is not a necessity. People have lived long and healthy lives without adding to their good bacterias. Furthermore, given that stomach acid is stronger than car battery acid (fact) not many of the little critters survive the journey into your immaculate tummy anyway. No more Lactobacillus casei. I promise you, life will continue as normal without them.

3. Fabric conditioners that purport to smell of Black Diamonds no longer have a place on your shopping list. Buy the supermarket one that smells of synthetic lilacs. You may not realise this (and I realise it's going to be a shock) but diamonds don't actually smell of anything. Not even black ones. You've been had.

4. Your bottom will cope without quilted loo roll.

5. Mash your own potatoes. It's good exercise.

6. Chop your own carrots. They actually taste better.

7. Five tv channels is enough. You can even have around eighty channels of mind-numbing boredom for the price of a free-view box. You don't need Sky in your life. If there's nothing on... read a book.

Any others I've forgotten? Feel free to add your own below.


  1. I'm with you on everything but the TV. I've gotta have my rugby on ESPN/Sky! In an ideal world I would just have the sport and in fact no other channels, but sadly that's not an option.

    One more to add to your list could be:

    8: Gym/Health Club. Don't pay £100+ per month for you and your spouse to be members of a trendy and 'exclusive' gym, then barely ever go, and when you do spend most of the time in the Bistro reading a 'Totally' magazine and sipping a latte. Go for a run and then get home and make a Nescafe instant instead. Job done.

  2. 9. Camping holidays involve tents, a little gas stove that takes about 3 hours to boil enough water for 2 mugs of instant coffee and sharing showers, fancy semi-perminant shephards huts with wood burning stoves and four poster beds might be nice, but the kids will be fine in a sleeping bag, and waiting to clean their teeth will do them the world of good

  3. Ha ha - Hilly, I'd have added that myself, only I'm totally guilty of it myself. My current excuse is that I'm still not over the flu.

    Anonymous - I once did an awful temping job typing up the feedback forms for various travel companies. One of these was Keystone camping holidays. One woman complained that they were "most dissappointed to find no television in the tent".

    I kid you not.

  4. You could make some cakes and scones - slip them into a basket (yes one of those old fashioned things prior to supermarket carriers) - line with an attractive tea-towel and sell them door to door locally - charge 3 times the ingredients - you will sell out especially well at week-ends - so save your trudge till then - 2 baskets and hubby can sell em too! you should re-coup your child benefit and more. OK you have to do some baking - but for anyone who enjoys it - it is as easy to bake 3 cakes as one.