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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Best deals on holiday money for kids travelling solo

The end of term is in sight and holidays beckon. Junior may well be packing his or her bag in anticipation of the school cricket tour or trip away with friends. The last thing on their mind is that a few euros or dollars might be handy. This is, of course, mum’s problem. The Minted household left it...
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Creative ideas for end-of-year teacher gifts

With the end of the academic year approaching, the race is on to finalise a thank-you gift for the teacher that's a bit more than a piece of fruit. Most parents will be happy to pool contributions to get something significant. And while this is a great idea, it’s actually fraught with bureaucratic c...
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Ten hacks and saves for self-catering this summer

It’s only a few weeks to go before the annual Team Minted trip to the land of Poldark. I’m preparing already and I’d like to share my top tips for making a self-catering holiday in the great British summer go with a swing. Hacks: 1. Take the first night’s dinner  You’ll probably have a spent a ...
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The mistakes which get your travel claim rejected

An essential item I’ll be taking on holiday is a travel insurance policy. I’ve claimed twice in the past two years, as regular readers will know: once for cancellation due to illness and once for a lost Kindle. Both times the insurer paid out. You can save by visiting comparison websites and picking...
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Ten ways to save money on car rental

Many of us will be renting a runaround this summer on holiday. It can be a major expense as well as a minefield so it’s worth taking the time to get the deal done properly. Following these ten tips might help you avoid the most common pitfalls while saving cash too. 1. Look early Booking in February...
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Five funds I’m fed up with

Are you invested in a laggard? While the kids swot, I’ve been doing my own revision – of my portfolio. I’ve earmarked for review a few investment funds which, when I bought them, were top of the pops but have since slid into mediocrity. Check out my list below because they were very popular at the t...
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5-4-3-2-1 brilliant ideas for Father’s Day

Should the third Sunday of June be renamed National Barbecue Day? It seems that everyone will be celebrating Father’s Day in this way. Apparently the UK held 135 million BBQs last year at an average cost of £41, says research by Equifax. That’s a whole lot of charcoal and charred sausages. Team Mint...
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Debit or credit card for shopping: which is best?

How do you shop? I’ve always assumed that most people, like me, would use their debit card to pay for everyday shopping. So I was intrigued to find out from Grandpa Minted that he puts everything on his credit card – and makes sure he pays off the balance in full at the end of the month. Because I’m...
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An easy trick to kickstart your financial planning

How far do you plan ahead? Other than earmarking dates and destinations for holidays or writing a shopping list, I don’t really think about the future that much. I’m not alone because apparently over half of us in UK think only days or weeks ahead. Such are the findings of research by Brewin Dolphin...
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Should your mum be your financial adviser?

I’m a superwoman, obviously, as a mum, but I didn’t know I had to be a financial adviser to my children as well as a caterer/driver/nurse/entertainer/homework guru and all the rest of it. Apparently the greatest proportion of the 18 to 35 age group ask their mums for tips on money (22%) rather than ...
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How I lost £360 being cautious on shares

Last week everything was sunny with the FTSE 100; today it’s distinctly overcast. Everyone’s taken fright due to problems in Italy at the weekend – slight issue with having no government. Many are murmuring that it’s the end of the euro, while others see it as a short-term blip. Whichever way it goe...
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How to avoid foreign currency fees when booking holidays abroad

I'm such a numpty. I've just been charged £27.50 by Lloyds Bank for booking three nights in a hotel in Amsterdam in euros. I should know better. I know perfectly well how to avoid these fees (which I’ll explain later so you don’t have to pay them). In my defence, I did think I was paying in sterling...
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Six alternative ideas for cheap half-term fun

Half-term is imminent – where does the time go? Mercifully it looks as if it will be mostly warm. Still, even when the sun shines, entertaining the kids can be pretty expensive if you go to theme parks or museums. I’ve put together a few alternative (and cheap) ideas for holiday family fun – suitabl...
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Last-minute London hotels: where to find budget beds

“Shared bathroom” is not normally a concept which strikes fear into my heart. Until you place it in the same context as “hotel room”. I needed an overnight stay in London at very short notice last week. It was too late to phone a friend and all the Travelodges and EasyHotels were full or in the wron...
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