A few weeks ago I was gloating shamelessly over the size of my tax bill. After all, paying out just 5.26% of your income to the state comes as a welcome surprise at the end of the Summer.

What I failed to realise however, was that once your tax return is in the system – all the other bills tumble onto your doormat* in quick succession. Five weeks after paying the tax bill I’m faced with a new bill for pension contributions (slightly more than the tax bill), then a demand for health insurance contributions arrives (approximately the same amount as the tax bill), the following week our tax d’habitation arrives (equivalent to one month’s rent), and today the social security bill arrived (again, approximately the same as the tax bill).

It’s as if it is all timed to remind you to be prudent in the run-up to Christmas. Not a bad piece of advice given the recent goings on. But having already shelled out for train tickets and car rental for the Christmas break, I’m already feeling the pinch before having even paid any of these new bills.

We’ll be staying in Strasbourg next Christmas!

*doormat being a turn of phase. In reality this only applies if you live in a detached house in the UK. Our boit au lettres is actually in the main vestibule.