How to be Middle Class on a Budget

Not got the readies to quaff fine wine and posh cheese? Time to get thrifty then my dear. Get yourself down to Lidl and start up that home-school for Barnaby and Ashtanga. Chop chop.
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Not got the readies to quaff fine wine and posh cheese? Time to get thrifty then my dear. Get yourself down to Lidl and start up that home-school for Barnaby and Ashtanga. Chop chop.

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For David Cameron’s ‘squeezed’ middle classes, times are bloody hard. They’re so demoralised they’ve barely got the energy to write into Guardian Weekend to ask how to get toothpaste stains out of their Moroccan leather slippers. Poor Nigella is using VACUUM PACKED CHORIZO. And there’s not even enough cash in the kitty to buy a 7 bedroom house in Richmond. As austerity hits Britain, here’s how to stay resolutely middle class whilst languishing in the gutter holding a can of Tennent’s Super.

Embrace Lidl

Yes, Lidl may be full of poor people buying marrowfat peas and giant bottles of Pantene, but fear not – its Parma ham and parmesan is award winning. Walk boldly into Lidl wearing your civvies (Barbour jacket/Converse) and carrying a Waitrose bag for life. Get in, get out. Do NOT under any circumstances buy a massive pack of Pork Farms Scotch eggs and start picking your teeth with a scratchcard.

Start a ‘free’ school

Can’t afford to send Barnaby and Ashtanga to a private school? Can’t bear to send them to the local Knife Crime Academy where they might come into contact with reality and possibly a black person? Well do what ‘celebrity’ middle class maggot Toby Young did and start your own school. Call it something like ‘The Balsamic School of West Hampstead’ and fill it with a bunch of insufferable Charlie and Lolas who shit dried apricots and look like they live in the Boden catalogue. From the comfort of your kitchen table you can teach them the things that really matter, like Latin and being a dick at dinner parties.

"Get in, get out. Do NOT under any circumstances buy a massive pack of Pork Farms Scotch eggs and start picking your teeth with a scratchcard."

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

Remember that charming beach hut in Whitstable you paid 230 grand for back in 2005? Well, maybe it’s time to downsize to a simpler life by the sea. Ok, so the entire family will have to sleep on a carpet of seagull droppings in a tiny, creaky, freezing windswept room and wake up with barnacles stuck to their faces, but give it a lick of Farrow and Ball, stick a wooden heart on the door and it will be the height of shabby chic. So much so, that no-one will notice that you and your children are now working 20 hour days as cockle pickers.

Be green, not poor

Your annual trip to the Ligurian coast is out of the question, and since your architect cock of a husband decided to add that awful draughty glass box extension you’ve been barely able to afford the heating bills. So take the sting out of your financial ignominy by claiming to be eco warriors. That way, when your friends come over for dinner and find you trying to whittle a turnip in the dark, they’ll be jealous of your principles - rather than overcome by the stench of your shameful poverty.

Celebrate cultural diversity

There’ll be no more Diptique candles and ‘hilarious’ Keep Calm and Carry On merchandise for you this Christmas. Instead, why not have a working class themed festive season, fuelled by disappointment and White Lightning?  As long as you keep shouting, ‘this is so fabulously bloody ironic’ over and over again, your guests will be happy to eat prawn rings from Farmfoods while the dog pukes up semi-digested Quality Street all over the artificial Christmas tree.

So come on, chin up. Just because you lost your job, your home and your ability to afford vintage bus blinds from Pedlars doesn’t mean you have to give up the good fight. One day, you and your kind will rise again, to talk condescendingly about olive oil and catchment areas. And if you start getting withdrawal symptoms from your former lifestyle and find yourself scratching at the doorway of Jo Malone, begging for a hit of Pomegranate Noir, take comfort in this: at least the cardboard box you’re living in is recycled.

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