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Black Friday: a bit of a grey area?

Only six weeks left until Christmas. As yet, I have bought junior two tiny stocking fillers and not a single present for anyone else. He is my major concern – and expense. While he would like endless iTunes or Xbox vouchers, I feel the need to get him something he can actually unwrap. Currently, I’m...
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Have I got my head in the clouds over clutter?

I hate clutter. I’m a regular at the local tip and periodically donate piles of paperbacks/toys and clothes to charity. The downside is, of course, that I later wish I still had something I’ve given away and end up buying it again: this happens fairly regularly with books. I also chuck paperwork. An...
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Get your Christmas (credit) cards now…

Let’s be clear on one thing. Borrowing money to pay for Christmas presents isn’t a good idea if you pay interest on that debt. But actually, credit cards can make Christmas cheaper as long as you have the right card. Given that it’s less than three months to Christmas, if you want a new credit card ...
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Ten things to put on your Christmas countdown list

The local supermarket already has several shelves of Christmas chocolates. Who on earth would buy them now? I know chocolate lasts for ages – but there is little chance of that in this house without them being ‘tested’. However there are ways of getting ahead for Christmas. Here’s my skinted top 10....
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Don’t be in the dark about debt

It’s not easy staying in the black these days unless you’ve a good income. I am lucky that I have (dwindling) savings which I can call on if I’m running short of cash or have an unexpected bill. But I also just try to keep spending under control. That means going without that new book, shirt or what...
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Can you actually make money from cards or accounts?

There’s no such thing as free money: or is there? But then there are rewards for moving your current account, spending on a credit card or a shop reward scheme. Surely they must be worth doing? Let’s take cashback and reward credit cards. According to experts Moneyfacts, shoppers using these schemes...
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In the red on Blue Monday

Blue Monday - which falls on 15 January this year - is meant to be the most depressing day of the year. There is a pseudo-scientific calculation on this (which wouldn’t stand up to any rigorous scrutiny) but basically it's a combination of bad weather/post-Christmas lows/broken resolutions and a mou...
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How to survive the office Christmas party

Over the next two weeks, restaurants, pubs and clubs will be no-go zones for normal outings: yes, it’s peak office Christmas party season. Don’t go near one of these any weekday evening until Christmas unless you really want to watch others getting drunk and being obnoxious. For those of us no longe...
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Cut up that #creditcard: debt will get more expensive soon

I found a strange business card on the table in a London pub the other day. It was advertising a venue where you pay to go into a room and break stuff: plates, crockery and so on. Only £19 for 30 pieces! It helps vent frustration, apparently. It seemed funny until I thought about it. There must be a...
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Why credit card debt could spoil your Christmas

Counter-intuitively, the less money I have, the more I dislike credit. My model of living – low income but low expenditure – works because I don’t have debts. And that includes credit card debt. This is partly because I am not organised or sophisticated enough to run my credit cards efficiently, so ...
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