Amazon is the devil's tool. Despite that, I am a huge fan of its work, and an advocate of Prime. It still astounds me that I can sit wearing nothing but my pants, order a pair of underwater headphones or other item of complete and utter nonsense that I don’t need, and it will be delivered to my door within a few hours. It’s a business model that works for the consumer.

My over reliance on Amazon is driven by the household budget squeeze currently afflicting many of us. I find I am now penny pinching like never before. One recent acquisition to chateau Ellis is an electric smart meter. By the time I awake at 6am every day, the meter has already cost me £1 and I am starting to suspect my next door neighbour is tapping into my supply. On the plus side, it’s great exercise. I spend at least three hours every night running from room to room turning off lights and other devices that bring little but expense to the party. With a wife and two kids it is a never ending game of cat and mouse that I am resoundingly losing.

I feel at this juncture I should also commence a moan about the newly installed (against our will) water meter. It is a similar story, and only a matter of time before I come over all old school and ban daily showers and introduce the once-a-week bath in a tin tub in front of a coal fire.

It’s all expense and I honestly don’t know how the average earner survives in the current climate. With my council tax rate at over £1,700 for what, in effect, is having your bins emptied once a fortnight (by council operatives who have surely been on the Ryanair customer service programme), I fail to see how Mr Average, on around £26,000-a-year, can afford to live and enjoy the consumerist fruits on offer. Tight budgets have caused altered behaviours: I often go to a shoe shop, see something I like, try it on, then memorise the name and get on Amazon so I can save myself a few quid.

Charity shops are the only thriving high street businesses, as old timers are now nothing but glorified fitting rooms. A cost saving on clothes and the like is soon soaked up with income tax, fuel tax, road tax, VAT and countless others. The current date set for ‘tax freedom day’ is May 29. This means that, for the first five months of the year, everything an average UK resident earns goes on tax and you actually earn your first penny on May 30. This date is three days later than it was in 2017. At this rate, by 2088, the government will finally be able to lay claim to 100 per cent of our earnings.

I have often thought that the decline of the high street was solely down to greedy councils who are hell bent on enforcing parking restrictions to increase revenue streams, as opposed to helping the local entrepreneur. Although it is true that people don’t shop in the high street because it is not worth the risk of a parking ticket, in truth we simply have very little disposable income to be able to splash out on that new coat or pair of Levi’s, unless it comes second hand presented in an Oxfam carrier bag.

It’s time to tighten up your belts as things are getting worse. Stealth taxes are increasing, wages are stagnant and councils openly mug you with a smile on their face as the public servants have finally become the all-powerful masters. Thankfully though, I am writing this on payday and have just treated myself to a new Amazon bobble hat to keep me warm as I hold off putting the heating on until January 2020.