SMM blog

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Five money essentials every mum should have

I’m not into Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday. Perhaps I’m just trying to make excuses for junior who ‘might’ make me a card but there’s zero chance of flowers/chocolates etc. But I think the occasion does remind us of the value of mothers – and indeed, the huge cost of replacing us. Like most mothe...
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Do I need insurance for my pedigree dog?

Man’s best friend can be expensive: not only the food but the insurance too. I’m not usually a fan of having non-compulsory insurance cover (and I don’t have pet insurance for my non-pedigree cats) but if I had a dog there is no way I wouldn’t have it insured. Dogs are just more prone to injury. Cat...
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Do you need special cover for cruise holidays?

Around two million Britons go on cruise holidays every year. And not all of them are over 80. I know of at least two families with school age children who go on cruises. It’s not my idea of a good holiday but that’s because I am chronically seasick and also a bit claustrophobic. However, those who l...
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Which is better – an Isa or a pension?

There’s only a few weeks left of this tax year so now is a good time to decide what and where you should invest from the next tax year. For many years, I’ve put money every month into an Isa and into a pension via a Sipp (self-invested personal pension). But, work being hard to come by, I can’t real...
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False economies: when it’s better to replace than repair

Few things annoy me more than malfunctioning appliances. A computer which refuses to boot up or a dishwasher that breaks down mid-cycle can have me in floods of tears. I can’t fix them: I wouldn’t even try. But actually my reluctance to go through the hassle of repairing bust items might be sensible...
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Why you need an emergency fund

The past decade has not been much fun for savers. While low interest rates are great for borrowers they are not much good for savers – who after all massively outnumber borrowers. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that Britons are saving less. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that i...
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Where can you get cash when there’s no ATM in your town?

I was in the local mini-supermarket a couple of Sundays ago. In front of me was a man who bought a single bag of crisps with his debit card – and got £50 cashback. The lady behind the till told me there had been plenty of others that morning doing the same thing. There isn’t a single cash machine in...
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Should you switch your kids’ Junior Isas?

I have been neglecting my son’s Junior Isa. Not having the spare cash to put anything in at the moment is one reason. The other is that half of it is invested in the Neil Woodford fund Jane wrote about last month – see here - so it’s not performing well. Anyway, there isn’t much money in it – less t...
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Should you put in a PPI claim as deadline looms?

Payment protection insurance (PPI) was one of the great personal finance scandals of the past decade or so. This insurance was sold to those taking out personal loans, mortgages and credit cards. The idea of it was that it would cover repayments if you couldn’t make payments. But lots of those sold ...
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Should you get a 0% credit card deal?

You don’t get something for nothing is a good maxim. And it’s certainly true when it comes to borrowing money. Take 0% interest balance transfer credit card deals. These seem the best idea since sliced bread. If you’ve got a debt on a credit card, then you’ll be racking up interest of close to 20%. ...
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What every woman should know about pensions

I used to be scared of pensions. They seemed complicated, boring and too far in the distant future for me to worry about. But getting older has made me reconsider pensions. And you know what, there’s nothing complicated about them at all. Yet many women have rubbish pensions. Frankly, it’s time to f...
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How safe is your holiday?

The failure this weekend of airline Flybmi has thrown the plans of many travellers into disarray. The travel industry in general is having a hard time what with Brexit seemingly putting many of us off the idea of heading off to European sun spots this year. It seems unlikely that Flybmi will be the ...
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