What to do with your credit card debt

January is meant to be the most depressing month because it’s cold and we are all broke. But if you’ve got a debt on your credit card after splurging on Christmas, what should you do? I have a few hundred pounds on my credit card most of it spent on our trip to Edinburgh last month. I’m hoping that ...
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How to save money on spring cleaning

It’s all very well to save money on food shopping – but what about the other stuff? I reckon that at least a third of my shopping bill each week is on non-foodstuffs. Admittedly we have three cats who will only eat expensive cat food: I buy three boxes of 12 pouches a week for £11 and that just abou...
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State pension: should YOU top up?

Do you know when you’ll get your state pension? And how much you’ll get? I know that I will get the full basic State Pension – currently £164.35 a week – on my 67th birthday. To get the full basic state pension you need 35 years of National Insurance contributions. I’ve been working since I was 21 s...
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How to diet cheaply

I’m gradually getting back on the dieting bandwagon. Last year I lost four stone, but what with Christmas and near-compulsory chocolate eating I’ve put six pounds back on. That means I still have nearly two stone to lose before I’m no longer considered overweight. That feels like a huge mountain to ...
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When is the best time to book a holiday?

It’s hardly original to suggest that this might be a bit of a challenging year. And January is always a month to be endured rather than enjoyed what with all that resolution keeping and breaking. So it’s a good time to think ahead to the spring and summer – and that means sorting out this year’s hol...
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How YOU can save money by losing weight

Over the last year I’ve lost four stone in weight (though given that the boy and I demolished three chocolate reindeers over the weekend it’s a little less than that now). I’ve cut my body mass index (BMI) from a gut-busting 36 or thereabouts to 27. I have another stone and a half before I manage to...
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How to stop spending at Christmas and avoid debt

This time of year it’s all too easy to let your spending get out of control. I’ve got a sizeable credit card bill thanks to Christmas spending – including our trip to Edinburgh – and it has to be paid by the end of this month unless I want to accrue interest. Which I don’t, obviously, so that means ...
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Do I need a will?

I have singularly failed this year to make one of my resolutions: namely, to update my will. And I feel really stupid about it. My current will was written not long after my husband died nearly 10 years ago. It’s a professionally-written, water-tight will which expresses my desires accurately (most ...
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The five savings lessons you MUST learn now

It’s been a long time but at last there has been some good news for savers. Even though base rate has not changed thanks to increased competition there are now some good deals out there. And now is a good time to get your savings strategy in place in time for 2019: here are five ways to ensure you’r...
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Be safe sending cash for Christmas

Unless you’ve got a turbo-charged sleigh, enabling you to make last-minute deliveries anywhere in the world, then the easiest Christmas present for friends and relatives overseas is cash. Indeed, it’s probably a good option for anyone you’re not going to see over the Christmas period even if they ar...
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How to save money on breakdown cover

Along with the rest of the country at least part of our Christmas holiday will be spent chugging up and down motorways visiting friends and relations. My car is a boring reliable Japanese tank but this time last year it refused to start - embarrassingly enough in the school car park. After that, I b...
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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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How to save money on a City break

Junior and I are off to Edinburgh for a few days before Christmas. We’re going to see the pandas at the zoo. I bet they will be hiding the day we go. We’re also going to do a bit of sightseeing. And we’ll tick off another Wagamama off our list: it will be the furthest north by a margin. The last tim...
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What’s your savings grace?

I was in the building society the other day, paying in a tiny amount of money in a futile attempt to replace some of the £1,800 I withdrew to pay for the new boiler. Next to me were a couple, probably in their sixties or seventies. They were signing up their savings into a three year fixed rate bond...
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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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Would you warrant it?

October was a bad month for appliances in our house. The dishwasher conked out – it was just 14 months old. Then the boiler died – just when the weather changed. When the boy’s Xbox started playing up I suspected poltergeists, but fortunately it fixed itself. The dishwasher was still under the two y...
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Would YOU share your finances with your partner?

Possibly the most controversial wedding vow (after obey, which surely no bride says any longer) is the bit where you promise to stick together ‘for richer or poorer’. There’s little more likely to widen the faults in a marriage than flaky finance, after all. Being married, or being in a committed re...
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Should YOU buy Premium Bonds for children?

You’d be forgiven for thinking nothing of any interest happened in the Budget this week and to an extent you’d be right. But hidden away in the details there was something: from March next year, anyone will be able to buy Premium Bonds for children. Currently, only parents and grandparents can buy t...
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Freezing point: why I’m getting a new boiler

Talk about bad timing. Sunday was freezing cold here – it’s still pretty nippy now. So, of course, our boiler has given up the ghost. We have our gas fire on the whole time and there’s also an electric heater – but that’s really expensive to run. And the immersion heater is inefficient – we went for...
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How to make money buying Christmas presents

There is less than two months to go until Christmas. For those of you with huge families and lots of friends (unlike me, I’m glad – and sad – to say) that means buying lots of expensive presents. That is, unless you’re sensible enough to arrange non-buying treaties with family members – the usual on...
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