SMM blog

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Is it worth investing in an all-year Alpine property?

Most people consider the Alps as a skiing destination but this is beginning to change. Many Alpine areas have figured out that they can complement the ski season with an array of sports, leisure and cultural activities throughout the year to attract summer visitors as well. Anyone thinking of a...
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How NOT to lose money on your savings

Do you know how much interest you’re getting on your savings? Given that interest rates have been so low for so long, you’d be forgiven for not knowing. After all, why bother finding out when the answer is only going to be depressing? With inflation at a shade under 2% and not a single easy-access a...
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How to drive down the cost of car insurance

It’s May so it must be time to renew my car insurance! The Minted mobile, my trusty Ford S-Max, is nearing its ten-year birthday. As it’s still going strong, I reckon I shouldn’t be punished for its advanced years, so I set out to find the cheapest policy available. Last year I couldn’t fi...
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What every self-employed person needs to know about money

I have been self-employed for nine years. And I’m part of a growing club: the number of self-employed Britons is now at its highest ever level with 4.93 million of us working for ourselves. There are many reasons why being self-employed is brilliant. You can usually fit your working day around your ...
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Get free flights and upgrades: air miles explained

For many years I turned up my nose at the idea of collecting air miles. What a con, I thought. How many decades would it take to earn a flight, even from London to Paris? It was simply a way of getting my contact details and targeting me with advertising forever. My opinion was changed a few years a...
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How to add ££££s to the value of your home

What have you got in your garage? Mine is home to lots of spider webs, half used cans of paint, old bicycles and scooters and lots of plant pots. The only things in regular use in the garage are the spare freezer and the lawnmower. Much of the rest of it could go to the tip. The car certainly has ne...
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Don’t splash out: how to save on water bills

What strange weather we’re having! It’s the beginning of May and we’ve still got the central heating on. Yet we’ve had so little rain that the garden is going bald and any passing sprinkle runs off without soaking in. While this hopefully signals a long, hot summer, I’m worried about my water bill. ...
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Pension freedom: should I take the cash?

It was my 55th birthday last week. It’s hardly a landmark age unlike 21 or even 40. But actually, reaching 55 is significant: it’s the age when you can take your pension and run off and spend the cash on a fast car. Or use the cash for more sensible things such as day-to-day living. Since 2015-16 an...
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Save on iCloud with a digital declutter

I’ve finally realised that Apple is charging me 79 pence a month for iCloud storage. Amazingly I have busted through my free space of 5 GB and now have to start paying. Or upgrade the payment plan, of course, to get even more gigabytes. Granted, it’s not a lot of money but I find this annoying. This...
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How to invest royally for a new born

Aren’t we all wonderful parents? According to a survey by Hargreaves Lansdown, two thirds of us save for our children. Given how expensive day to day living is, I think that’s amazing. And it’s not only parents. A third of grandparents put money aside for their grandchildren too. This generation of ...
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How to save for retirement if you’re self-employed

Being your own boss, more flexible hours or just pioneering your brilliant idea: there are many good reasons why people become self-employed. The flipside of working for yourself is giving up all those lovely benefits you receive from an employer. A company car, gym membership and even health insura...
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Why free cash machines are disappearing

It is 50 years since the first cash machine opened in the UK (it’s now painted gold to commemorate this). But it seems it will take far less than 50 years for free cash machines to disappear from our high streets. At the start of this year there were 52,000 free cash machines. According to Which?, 1...
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Do GCSEs really expire after five years?

The Team Minted collective jaw hit the floor over Sunday roast last weekend when Darling Son declared that his studies were worthless. According to the barber, where DS had been for a trim the day before, GCSEs expire after only five years.  As Dear Daughter kicks off said exams with Spanish or...
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Why every woman needs a pension

Here’s how to kill a conversation with a woman of a certain age. Mention pensions. They will either yawn with boredom or shrink with terror. But frankly a pension is far more useful and exciting than a ghastly overpriced handbag. Indeed, I’d go as far as to say that pensions are really quite interes...
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Family travel insurance: six pitfalls to avoid

It’s time to renew Team Minted’s annual travel insurance policy. Theoretically this should be easy: go to a comparison website such as Money Super Market* and press go on the options it gives you. However, as we all (including the children) get older and more adventurous, I discover that it’s not so...
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How to sort out your teenager’s money

Junior is now 13 and so it’s appropriate that he has his own bank and savings accounts. It’s all a bit silly really, as effectively it is just my money sitting in other accounts (bar the occasional cash present from friends and relatives which may come his way). But it’s an important step on the way...
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How to always get the best price for your shopping

Can’t believe that I had barely shaken the sand from my handbag after the blissful bank holiday weekend and I was shopping again. We returned from sunny Devon to find the fizzy siren had gone off. This isn’t some whizzy tech gadget: it’s my sister who keeps a keen eye on champagne deals and texts me...
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Happy Easter

We're taking a week's break for Easter. Need the extra time to get our fill of eggs...
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Happy Easter everybody!

I'm taking a week's break for Easter. Hope you all enjoy the holidays and that the Easter Bunny brings you lots of treats! My next blog will be Tuesday 30 April. See you then!
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What happens if you’ve ordered something from Debenhams?

The least surprising story this week was Debenhams. Seemingly in trouble for years, it’s now in the hands of its lenders. Although stores are still open, there will inevitably be closures: just what the high streets of the UK need. Our local Debenhams could be one for the chop. I must admit I only e...
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