Family finance tips for every budget

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Happy Easter

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

What happens if you’ve ordered something from Debenhams?

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...

How to get the best deal on your holiday spending

How to get the best deal on your holiday spendingIf you’re going away for Easter, then I’m sure you’ve got a great deal on your flight, car hire and accommodation. And no doubt you’ve sorted out your travel insurance. But what about your spending money? While in the UK, most of us probably rely on our debit cards for day to day spending. But accor...

Should you delay your state pension?

Should you delay your state pension?Usually, the proverb a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is good advice particularly regarding money. So, for example, a lump sum of cash now than the promise of a bigger one later is often preferable – after all, who can predict the future? But this isn’t always the case. Take the state pen...

Why you need to ditch your debt now

Why you need to ditch your debt nowFor the past 10 years we have had low borrowing rates. And isn’t it great that you can get a mortgage with an interest rate of less than 2% and a personal loan for not much more than that? Or maybe it isn’t good news. Even if it is cheap to repay, debt is a burden. Borrow money and you have to pay i...

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Happy Easter everybody!

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!

How safe is your cash Isa?

How safe is your cash Isa?How secure are my savings inside a cash Isa? Most people assume their nest-egg is safe as houses because cash is risk-free. For those Isas which are invested in cash, this is true. But what if, in fact, your cash Isa is invested in something else altogether? There is a certain sort of Isa on the mar...

Second-hand or fake for designer brands: which is best?

Second-hand or fake for designer brands: which is best?Just back from a weekend in London where I was thrilled to pick up a pair of Tory Burch Minnie Ballet Flats for £70. That’s just less than a third of their normal price of £215. I have coveted a pair of these shoes for several years now but, strangely enough, could never seem to find the money to pa...

Win a year’s worth of discounts on cinema, restaurants and family days out

Win a year’s worth of discounts on cinema, restaurants and family days outTo celebrate the Easter school holidays, we’ve teamed up with Kids Pass, the UK’s No.1 family discounts app for your chance to win a FREE Kids Pass annual membership. The Kids Pass app gives you instant access to thousands of offers, including up to 40% off cinemas nationwide (seven days a week, adu...

How to save on your broadband costs

How to save on your broadband costsLast year I wrote about the terrible broadband service  I was getting from BT. In a nutshell, I was paying £42.99 a month, including line rental, for a speed of 50 MBS when I was actually getting 25 MBS. Since then, BT have made some improvements to the cabinet at the top of Minted Avenue. When...

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Ten credit card tricks that WILL save you money

  1. Even if you don’t need to borrow money, get a credit card. Without one you’re unlikely to be able to hire a car overseas; you’ll miss out on valuable Consumer Credit Act protection; and, if you don’t have a credit card, it may affect your credit rating.
  2. That doesn’t mean you should run up big bills on credit cards. They work best if you miss out on the ‘credit’ bit and use them as a way to delay payment or to collect rewards.
  3. If you don’t need to borrow money, choose a card which rewards spending either in cash or in vouchers. We like Santander 123 for cash, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis for vouchers.
  4. For this card trick to work you MUST pay the balance back in full every month (set up a direct debit to that effect). Otherwise any benefit you get will be outweighed by the interest you pay on your debt.
  5. If you need to borrow, go for a card with the lowest APR (annual interest) you can get. Watch out if your credit record isn’t spotless: you won’t necessarily get the APR on offer.
  6. You can get 0% cards at the moment which means you pay no interest on your shopping as long as you make at least the minimum payment each month.
  7. Many credit card firms also offer 0% on balance transfers. These are a good idea if you’ve got an outstanding debt on another card. BUT you will often pay a transfer fee of around 2% to move money over. To make 0% balance transfers work, use the free period to repay all your outstanding debt and DON’T spend on it. Hide the card so you’re not tempted and check out our guide to giving your purse a break too.
  8. All good things come to an end, just like the special 0%. Then you have to pay interest. Make a note of the expiry period so you can move elsewhere once the deal finishes.
  9. If you can, pay more than the minimum monthly payment. Often this is set at 5% or less – so you’ll take ages (and pay huge amounts of interest) if you stick to the schedule.
  10. NEVER take out money from a cash machine on your credit card. See our guide to holiday money here. Even if you pay your bill off in full, you’ll usually still pay interest on your cash withdrawal and there could be a cash withdrawal fee too.

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