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Affluenza

IT seems that maybe, just maybe, we might all be in this together after all.

There have been signs this week that even the unfeasibly flush are having to tighten their belts.

Exhibit A: Michelle Young, the estranged wife of property tycoon Scot Young, who was awarded a mere £20 million in a court settlement despite telling the judge she'd be happy with £300m and a £25m mansion in Belgravia.

The mother of two daughters said: "It's been absolutely devastating for the girls. We have downscaled by a huge amount in our lifestyles, but that hasn't really bothered me so much because I am one of those people, I just face whatever comes along."

Exhibit B: Princess Michael of Kent, who bemoaned the fact that in these austere times she's "cut back dramatically".

"We never go to restaurants," she insists. "That's too extravagant. I cook. Well, if I'm having a dinner party I get in help."

Exhibit C: George Osborne ... no, I'm being ridiculous now. Don't suppose I fooled anyone. There is no Exhibit C.

Still, for the benefit of the princess and the peeved, and any others of the moneyed classes who may be having to tighten their cummerbunds at this time, here's a guide to some realities you may not have been aware of.

l Those signs above ATMs that say "Free cash" - don't get too excited. It isn't. All it means is the bank isn't charging you to take out your own money. Well, not upfront, anyway.

l Salt shakers and bottle openers aren't staff, they're objects. You can purchase them in Lakeland. This is a shop, not the country estate of your third cousin twice removed.

l Coke is a drink. Charlie is a person's name. A line is something you put on at a bookmakers. Just in case eavesdropping on other people's conversations gets too confusing.

l The reason the fellow driving the bus isn't wearing a hat is because he isn't actually a chauffeur. He tends to resent being asked to come back in a couple of hours once you've had your lunch.

l Millionaire shortbread is for everyone. Don't assume that Greggs has brought out a confection just for you.

l Take careful note of the ampersand in "H&M". It isn't, as you thought, a boutique run by Her Majesty.

l If all else fails, you can't order a delivery from moneysupermarket.com. Sorry to disappoint.

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