Ghostly goings-on for half-term and Halloween

Half-term this year for most of us won’t stretch over Halloween which is a shame. All the fun will be on a school night for Team Minted which somewhat cramps our style. Never mind, there’s half term beforehand to make the most of the phantasmagoric fun with the kids. Most of which costs, of course. ...
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Five best apps to limit kids’ screen time

Most of the arguments in our house centre on how much time the mini Minteds spend on their phones. There’s nothing more depressing than seeing a teenager disengaged from family life (or any kind of life) sitting in a darkened room, plugged into Snapchat. But there are ways to fight back. There are l...
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I love animals but vegan food is too expensive

The Minted family has just completed what we called ‘Vegan Week’: a whole seven days of eating only plant-based meals. That meant no butter, no milk, no eggs or cheese as well as the obvious avoidance of meat and fish. Even certain types of chocolate were off the menu. Two of us completed the week 1...
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Good Money Week: could your investments make a difference?

Big business can’t seem to shake its reputation for ruthlessness or even downright evil. Whenever I think about the City or the stock market, an image of Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko still pops into my head (‘if you need a friend, get a dog!’). The reality is somewhat different. There are many fi...
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My tips to get the best mobile phone contracts for kids

Much as I resent the amount of time the mini-Minteds spend plugged into their phones, I’m also paying for it so I need to find the most cost-effective contract. Both of them have fully paid-up handsets which have a good few years of usage in them. That puts me firmly in the SIM-only market. We’ve be...
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Should you take a punt on the new Smithson investment trust?

A rare occurrence: a star fund manager is launching a new fund, Smithson. Private and professional investors are licking their lips but is it a good investment for skinted and minted mums? At first sight, the omens are good. The man behind Smithson is Terry Smith. He currently runs a global fund cal...
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SMM REVIEW: should you sign up to the Hargreaves Lansdown savings hub?

Finally a useful financial product. Hargreaves Lansdown has come up with an online cash savings hub called Active Savings. You simply put your money in the hub and then give instructions online to feed it into your choice of savings accounts offered by the hub’s partner banks. The advantage of being...
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Can you afford to send your kids to private school?

School open days are now in full swing as the new academic year gets underway. Of course, there are plenty of brilliant state schools where your child would thrive. But could you afford to educate them privately? At first sight, the answer is no. According to the Independent Schools Council, the ave...
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Specsavers v VisonDirect: which is cheaper for contact lenses?

Goggle-eyed from trying to find the cheapest contact lenses? Me too. Having seen a lot of promotions recently on trains and planes for websites with cut-price offers, I decided to see if I could get a better deal than my local Specsavers. Unfortunately I have astigmatism which means the lenses I nee...
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Six ways you can save on mobile phone bills

Apple is set to launch a new iPhone (or maybe two) tomorrow but I won’t be upgrading. My iPhone 7, which was cutting-edge when I got it just two years ago, is still going strong. So I’ve been looking at SIM-only deals (where you pay just for calls and data, not the handset) instead and I’ve managed ...
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Is your child due a windfall?

If your child turns 16 from 1 September this year, it’s likely they could be quids in as the first child trust funds (CTFs) mature. CTFs were a government initiative to encourage long-term saving. Children born between 1 September 2002 and 1 January 2011 were given vouchers worth between £50 and £1,...
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SMM REVIEW: Should you board the easyJet Isa paying 7.28%?

I was so startled to see this advert in the inflight magazine that I brought it home with the rest of my holiday reading. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind as a souvenir from Mallorca. A ‘lending account’ which pays 7.28% a year? From easyJet? It looked too good to be true so I checked it out. The ...
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Five free ways to beat post-holiday blues

Came back from the marvellous Mediterranean last night and woke up to rain. I put on my ‘given-up’ jeans, that comfy, baggy pair which are so unflattering, and slopped around Morrisons to refill the fridge. I only had euros in my purse so I went to the bank and – well, let’s not revisit that experie...
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Most insurers won’t cover mobile phones for under-18s: my solutions

If your child is starting secondary school next month, it’s more than likely part of the new kit will be their first ever smartphone. Whether it’s an ancient Apple or a brand new Galaxy, the phone will need to be insured. And here’s the problem. Most standalone mobile phone polices won’t cover kids ...
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Have a great summer holiday everyone!

I'm off on my hols now so I won't be blogging for a bit. Hope you all have a lovely break at home or away. See you back, refreshed and ready for the new term, at the end of August!
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Kids can’t even boil a kettle: did we do something wrong?

This is a poster in the kitchen of student accommodation at the University of Bristol. As you can see, it’s instructions on how to boil a kettle and use a microwave. When I saw this picture, I assumed the poster was there because the students weren’t used to industrial-scale machines in the shared k...
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SMM ALERT: is your under-18 properly insured when travelling independently?

There are plenty of reasons for your child to be travelling without you this summer. Off they trot (with the suitcase you have carefully packed) on the school trip or for a holiday with a friend’s family. Great for them to experience being away from home for a bit. But, travelling without you, are t...
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Are you paying too much for your broadband speed?

I’ve been totally mugged off, as they would say on Love Island, by BT. I’ve just found out how much I am overpaying for broadband. Worse, I’m halfway through an 18-month contract with them so that’s a lot of unnecessary cash spent already. I only looked into this because BT sent me some bumpf about ...
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Fun things to do that mums enjoy too

Have the holidays arrived already? With the UK nearly as hot as the Med, it feels like all we’ll need is a paddling pool and a few Magnums to keep the kids entertained this summer. Still, as there’s only so much fun you can have with a super-soaker, I’ve compiled a handy list of things to do that im...
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The real reasons why women don’t invest

We've all heard about the gender pay gap. Sadly it's not just an issue with salaries. The effect of men and women being on an unequal footing extends further than the workplace. By earning less, women can’t save as much as men into a pension. They also don’t get as much in employer contributions. Th...
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