Life is tough without those city bonuses

Soaring debts of the middle class on working-class pay
Rosie Millard was living like a millionairess - without the money to pay the bills. The former BBC arts correspondent's spending ranged from a £4,000 flight to New York on Concorde to a £350 pair of Jimmy Choo shoes worn only twice. She also ran up a £1,000 phone bill while on a cruise and a £50,000 overspend when renovating the family home.

The resulting credit-card shuffle left her £40,000 in debt. "Frankly, London was so full of people on City bonuses that I had forgotten I was not on one myself," said mother-offour Miss Millard, who is married to a TV producer and quit the BBC to become a freelance writer. "Bounced cheques? A daily occurrence. Bank charges? I could have papered a room with the accompanying letters."

Her spending came to a "grinding halt" when she realised that it was not just the mortgage which she could not afford. She was also struggling to find the money for her children's school meals. She has since transformed her lifestyle and borrows books from libraries, never gets black cabs, throws away all mailorder catalogues and eats at home before going out to the cinema or theatre.

A quick squint at our bank statements prove that, in our case at least, it doesn't feel much different being working class on a middle class income :(