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What to do with unwanted – or faulty – Christmas presents

Christmas is all about giving. But what happens if the gift you so lovingly bought doesn’t work – or the recipient really doesn’t like it? These are two separate problems governed by different rules. And consumer rights law is jolly complicated. It depends how you bought something – and how long it ...
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Prom dresses: how NOT to end up overspending

In a few weeks’ time, hordes of teenagers will be going to Prom parties – and that means a load of hassle and expense for parents. And it’s not just post-GCSE and A level students who may soon need formal wear. My 12 year old was invited to a school formal dinner because he was in the football team....
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Debit or credit card for shopping: which is best?

How do you shop? I’ve always assumed that most people, like me, would use their debit card to pay for everyday shopping. So I was intrigued to find out from Grandpa Minted that he puts everything on his credit card – and makes sure he pays off the balance in full at the end of the month. Because I’m...
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Back to school: at what a cost?

Next week school summer term begins: and we are ready for it, with the homework done and the uniform already ironed. Fortunately, junior has not yet undergone a massive growth spurt: unlike many of his 12 year old friends who surely must be eating Miracle Grow on their cornflakes. He still fits the ...
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PPI: why I’ve staked a claim

Call it the fear of missing out but I’ve just spent a few minutes filling in online forms to find out if I could be in line for a PPI payout. If you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years then you might not know about PPI. This was a kind of insurance that those with credit cards, personal ...
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New rules on credit cards: millions could pay less

Even though my finances are often under strain, it has been many years – possibly going on for 15 – since I had an outstanding debt on a credit card. And long may that continue. Unless you’ve got a 0% deal on your card, then if you don’t pay off the bill in full you’re going to be hit by a huge amou...
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Credit cards: a small victory for me

I did it. I have managed a whole month without using my credit card once. This came about after I got a big (for me) bill after Christmas which I paid off in full at the end of last month. I decided that the small amount of benefit I got from using my card for spending – gift vouchers – wasn’t worth...
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How to save money at Christmas

What is it about Christmas that makes you spend money like a toddler high on chocolate coins? Perhaps it says something about my rubbish parenting skills but when the school said kids could wear Christmas jumpers on Monday, did I refuse to shell out for some acrylic monstrosity that will get all of ...
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How to play credit cards at Christmas without going into the red

Overspending at Christmas can result in a debt hangover in the New Year. A hefty credit card bill could spoil January – and even the months after if you don’t clear the debt. But there are sensible ways to plan your spending at Christmas. For starters, you need to make sure you’re using the best pay...
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Debt: how to move from red to black

I am – obviously enough – not well off. But I am never in debt. I do have a credit card but I pay it off in full every month – even if it means dipping into savings. This does make financial sense but it also helps with my peace of mind: I have a real fear of debt. I’ve know people over the years wh...
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Would you credit card it? Only 108 shopping days until Christmas..

No sooner has your summer holiday tan faded but it’s time to think about Christmas – at least, the retailers would like you to. Department stores have had Christmas decorations departments open for ages. Of course this is totally insane. Your summer holiday spending has probably only just popped up ...
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How to avoid hidden charges on budget airlines

Exams are over. Holidays are around the corner. All I can think about though is the hassle of getting away ie the misery of cheap flights. I'm beginning to think I honestly wouldn’t mind paying £20 more to avoid it. It's a well-trodden road. You booked the cheapest flight you could find and pay usin...
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