SMM blog

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Car servicing: what really needs to be done?

I had a narrow miss with the car servicing last week. The Minted-mobile (our trusty Ford S-max) was due for its annual check and I readied myself for a massive bill. I know that I should find a more economic mechanic than the Ford specialist garage. I also know that I can’t rely on that old adage th...
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Best ski insurance to keep you on the piste

Planning a trip to the slopes at half-term? Better make sure you’re fully insured for all the activities you’re planning because it’s easy to miss the small print on what exactly is covered by your travel insurance and, more importantly, what isn’t. Many money-saving skinted and minted mums will hav...
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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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Why YOU should get breakdown cover

As far as my car is concerned, I have relied on keeping it on the road by having it annually serviced and MOT-d – as well as it being a solid, boring, Japanese-built tank. I didn’t have breakdown cover. I thought it was a waste of money. After what happened last week I do now. Said car refused to st...
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Why can’t I find cheaper car insurance?

Why, oh why, has my car insurance gone up by a massive £95.20? I’ve had no accidents, we’ve not moved house – everything is the same as last year. There seems to be no good reason to whack up my premium by over 40%. I am outraged. I should have a loyalty bonus for sticking with Churchill, not a pena...
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Five things you didn’t know about claiming on travel insurance

This is where I should be right now: a divine courtyard restaurant called Es Moli in Santanyi, south-east Majorca. The tapas is inspired, the service is attentive, the garden shady in the heat of the long afternoon and, best of all, the Aperol ice-cold. But I’m not there. I’m grounded in UK due to s...
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When the cost of private healthcare is cheap at twice the price

By the time you read this, I will be under the knife. Quite literally. Readers of my past blogs may remember a not-so-quiet moan I posted about out-of-hours doctors’ surgeries. Fast-forward a few weeks and it appears that what I thought was cystitis was actually something more serious. No need for a...
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Use standalone policy to avoid rip-off car hire insurance

I’d forgotten that getting ready for a holiday was such a palaver! I spent two hours packing my own bag yesterday even before tackling Darling Son’s luggage (no, you can’t take the duvet, what d’you mean none of your shorts fit?).  Clothing issues pale in comparison with the paperwork. Tod...
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Does my 12-year old really need an iPhone 7?

With half-term arriving in less than fortnight, Christmas now seems a lifetime away. But its legacy lives on at our school. It appears Santa was very generous to some of Year 7: they’re now toting around the latest iPhone 7. Such an injustice has not passed by Darling Son who has to suffer the daily...
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Schoolboy error not to insure kids' mobile phones

It’s the call that every parent dreads. It’s from an unknown number and there’s a sheepish voice on the other end: “Mum, I’ve lost my phone.” I got such a call from Darling Son last week. A two-hour hunt ensued. We went all around school, down to the changing rooms at the sports centre and then back...
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Trinklets and treats all need receipts

If you're lucky enough to have Santa put something small and sparkly in your stocking this year, make sure he leaves a receipt with it. Knowing the price of something does take away the romance of the gift-giving, admittedly. You might not want the realisation that your beloved has blown the best pa...
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It’s a sad day when Apple tries to flog you insurance

The humiliation of using my cast-off iPhone 5 has become a burden too heavy to bear for Dear Daughter. She has decided that all birthday and Christmas present spend must be directed to an upgrade: a gold iPhone 6. Whether tweenagers should carry around such expensive kit is debatable, especially whe...
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Because you're worth it: get a valuation

There was an article in the Mail yesterday about an unfortunate lady whose jewellery had been stolen. Her insurer would not pay out because she didn’t have receipts or photographs of the family heirlooms taken by the burglars. It seems mean but you have to look at it from the insurer’s point of view...
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Tearing it up with the Smax

A nasty surprise in the post. I want to say ‘this morning’ but our mail doesn’t arrive until lunchtime these days. It would’ve been bad news at any time of day – I’ve been done for speeding. Shame-faced, I told Mr Minted. He collapsed in hysterical laughter. Because I am, as friends and family know ...
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Raiding the responsible: why punish me for buying insurance?

Rain, rain, rain. Grey skies, zero sunlight and a dampness that gets into your bones. Along with a growing brown stain on the garage ceiling.  The leak which sends me scurrying off to check my house insurance. Buildings is up to date but contents (all my lovely junk which over the years ha...
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