Five fabulous (and alternative) ideas for end of year teacher gifts

Are you struggling to choose a gift for your child's teacher? Can't decide between booze, chocs or Chanel perfume? Maybe you have no money to spend or think you should give £100. It's difficult to know what to do. And then there's the rest of the class to consider.  Pooling a contribution from ...
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Start swotting up on student accounts

Assuming your child has passed enough exams to get a place somewhere, even if it’s not the first choice, you’ll be spending some of the holidays getting to grips with a whole new project: paying through university or college. It's mainly about loans and finding them. Once you've exhausted your quota...
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How to avoid hidden charges on budget airlines

Exams are over. Holidays are around the corner. All I can think about though is the hassle of getting away ie the misery of cheap flights. I'm beginning to think I honestly wouldn’t mind paying £20 more to avoid it. It's a well-trodden road. You booked the cheapest flight you could find and pay usin...
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Can’t afford a girls’ weekend away? Five alternatives

Fancy a trip away with the girls? If you're going abroad, it's going to cost 20% more than it used to because Brexit and all that nonsense means the buying power of the pound has dropped. For some, that’s going to make chillaxing with friends unaffordable this year. So here are some ideas from ...
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Father’s Day barbecue: fork that!

You can tell summertime is here. A fug of charcoal settles over every garden on Saturdays. Groups of men in brightly coloured shorts crowd around burning bowls on tripods, clutching beer cans, undeterred by the black, billowing clouds being produced. Yes, it’s barbecue season and what better excuse ...
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How you can future-proof investments after uncertain election result

Are you poorer or richer after the stalemate result of the general election? As I write, sterling has weakened so your summer holiday will cost more. But a cheap pound will help those large UK firms which sell abroad. If your Isa or pension is invested there, you are quids in this morning. So far, s...
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Can I save £1,000 on my energy bills this year?

As we've gone back to winter today, I thought I'd better hit the comparison websites for a new energy deal. Last year I managed to save around £1,000 by switching to Sainsbury’s from British Gas. Could I do the same again? Well, not by staying with Sainsbury’s. They’re more than keen to boot me off ...
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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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What really happens when you switch your energy supplier

I switched from British Gas to a one year dual fuel deal with Sainsbury’s back in June. I was thrilled at the time because, unbelievably, I was going to save over £1,000 a year on my gas and electricity. That actually works out as about 30% less because Minted Towers has many an echoing corridor to ...
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How to pay for school fees

What price education? Unaffordable – at least for a private one. It now costs over £204,000 to put a child through fee-paying school from nursery to Year 11 (Upper Sixth). And that’s just a single kid. What if you have two, or maybe three or four? Even breaking that figure down to annual payments do...
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91% of women missing out on thousands in lucrative investments

If you’re reading this, I’ll hazard a guess you’ve got a cash Isa. You’re not alone – 44% of all Brits have this tax-sheltered savings account. But only nine in one hundred British women have an investment Isa where the money goes into stocks or shares. The other 91 are massively missing out – to th...
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Make serious savings with wonky veg

Do you want to save on your shopping? It’s really easy: just buy the less-than-perfect fruit and vegetables at the supermarket. They are usually marked as being ‘ugly’ or ‘wonky’ and have hefty discounts because they’re a little misshapen, despite being just as fresh and tasty as their more beautifu...
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Should you make a (wardrobe) investment in PINK by Victoria's Secret?

Here’s a designer label which Dear Daughter and all her friends are utterly obsessed with – PINK, a brand owned by saucy American lingerie firm, Victoria’s Secret. Any excuse to snap up even the slightest trifle with the PINK logo on it and those teenagers are slavering like hungry hounds. And it’s ...
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Is this normal treatment on the NHS?

Last Saturday night I started getting stomach ache. In the early hours, I realised this was probably cystitis (such a horrible illness) and tried, without much luck, to get to sleep. Seeking medical help on Sunday was never going to be an easy task. At 8 am, bleary and in real discomfort, I called 1...
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Who could get your cash out or pay bills if you weren’t able to?

Here's a gloomy topic for an otherwise sunny Thursday: what would happen to your bills and bank accounts if you were run over by a bus and couldn’t use a cash-point or a computer? The same goes for elderly parents if they start becoming a bit forgetful or, worse, succumb to any one of a list of...
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Now champagne is cheaper than mouthwash, how to find the best bubbly bargains

Just off the return flight from Miami and I find I’ve landed into the middle of a champagne war. The supermarkets are vying with each other so hard that Tesco’s Louis Delaunay champagne is now on for £9 a bottle if you buy six. At that price, the Daily Mail has noticed, it’s £1.20 per 100 ml wh...
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The five hidden costs of a USA holiday

I’ve been in Florida for about two weeks now and I can confidently report that the US is no longer a cheap destination for British holidaymakers. In fact, I’m not sure it ever was. Friends would come back from New York with tales of shopping triumphs but whenever I went looking - which was not often...
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Cheap as chips US holiday just piled on the pounds

Look at what I got in my shopping trolley - or cart, as they say here. I confess, I let the kids go mad in a Florida supermarket and guess what, no vegetables came back. I think this little display probably entitles me to receive the Bad Mother of the Year award for disservices to child nutrition. I...
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