#Singleladies, put a ring on it (or at least sort the paperwork) this #Valentine’s Day

What’s the best treat for you this Valentine’s Day? Roses? Perhaps a candlelit dinner with champagne? Or how about an expression of wish that you should get your partner’s pension benefits after he or she dies? Well, it’s a tough choice I know. I’d be tempted by the bubbles but, having given it...
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How does anyone afford a family #holiday these days?

Will summer ever come? This unending, grey cold is making me ill, I swear. My normal antidote would be to book a family break somewhere hot (see photo of the Philippines above, yes please!). This year though it’s different – has anyone noticed how expensive flights are at the moment? I’m looking at ...
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Water load of nonsense with my bill

Bit of a cold shower moment yesterday: my six-monthly water bill was a whacking £417.09. That’s 23% more than the last one. Obviously Minted HQ is quite a large house and there are a few of us living here. The washing machine is on almost permanently and Darling Son likes to take very deep baths, mo...
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How to stop planning permission and the neighbours peering into your garden

I’ve spent the whole of this week buried in planning policy. Not by choice so please, I deserve the blue tights and the red cape. I’ve been defending the family home: the developers are coming! With Britain’s housing crisis continuing, this is a common problem. You read about the iceberg basements i...
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Does my 12-year old really need an #iPhone7?

With half-term arriving in less than fortnight, Christmas now seems a lifetime away. But its legacy lives on at our school. It appears Santa was very generous to some of Year 7: they’re now toting around the latest iPhone 7. Such an injustice has not passed by Darling Son who has to suffer the daily...
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Why not to invest in China this New Year

Happy Chinese New Year! On Saturday we leave behind Year of the Monkey and welcome in the Year of the Cock (or should that be the Donald?). Jokes aside, be sure that you’ve bought a new outfit, cleaned the house, eat fish for dinner and never, ever cut your noodles – you are shortening your life! It...
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Nothing is certain except #Drake and taxes

Have you ever wondered what kind of person submits their tax return on Christmas day? There’s a few thousand of them. Haven’t they got any friends or family to celebrate with? Are they such incredible multi-taskers that they can roast the turkey and file the figures? Or so time-starved that it’s the...
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Counting the cost of living

Here’s another piece of news to add to the January blues: the cost of living is going up. Great! Just as I’m starting to feel really stretched paying back Christmas, I’m told everything’s getting more expensive.  As well as our waistlines, prices were getting inflated during December, the exper...
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Why is the stock market going crazy and should I go in?

You probably didn’t notice that, in between getting back to school and clearing up after Christmas, the stock market has been soaring. In fact, it’s hit all-time highs over record-breaking periods. This is great news for anyone saving into shares: the value of your pension and/or investments has gon...
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How claiming delay repay will sort #SouthernRail

A House of Commons printed envelope plopped on to my door mat yesterday. At last, I thought, Theresa has recognised my talent and wants to make me Lord High Master of Everything! Thrilled, I opened it up to find it was actually a six-pager from our local MP on what he’s doing about the terrible trai...
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How to keep those resolutions on track

Happy 2017 everyone! By now you’ll all be well into your New Year resolutions. No chocolate, no alcohol, no fun, right? But here’s a thought. Staying on track might be easier if you save the money you would’ve spent on your guilty pleasure. Watching the cash add up might just be the incentive you ne...
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Merry Christmas to all!

Just to say we'll be taking a break over the festive season - back up to full speed on Monday 9 January 2017. Best wishes to all and hope this guy I met in Selfridges brings everything that you want and need!  
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How (not) to get children interested in shares

As part of the countdown to Christmas, the winner of Team Minted’s annual share-picking competition can now be announced. Bearing in mind all my accumulated knowledge gained through years of writing about investing, the results were utterly predictable: I came last. The idea was to pick three s...
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Schoolboy error not to insure kids' mobile phones

It’s the call that every parent dreads. It’s from an unknown number and there’s a sheepish voice on the other end: “Mum, I’ve lost my phone.” I got such a call from Darling Son last week. A two-hour hunt ensued. We went all around school, down to the changing rooms at the sports centre and then back...
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How the post office stole Christmas

Amazons, get ready to shop! The post office is going on a series of strikes from next Monday right up until Christmas Eve (seasons greetings to you too, Mr Postie). If you don’t order now, your package may most definitely not arrive in time for the big day. Even before this, we were getting a little...
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Zoopla makes me snoopa on Liam and Cheryl

I was standing outside Liam Payne's house the other Sunday. Not in a stalker way, I'd like to point out, quite by chance. We were staying with friends who live in a nearby road and were on the way to the village pub for lunch, actually. Liam was obviously at home. (You know, the singer with One Dire...
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Trinklets and treats all need receipts

If you're lucky enough to have Santa put something small and sparkly in your stocking this year, make sure he leaves a receipt with it. Knowing the price of something does take away the romance of the gift-giving, admittedly. You might not want the realisation that your beloved has blown the best pa...
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Team Minted's share portfolio is pants

We are halfway through Team Minted’s share-picking competition and the value of my investment experience is becoming clear. Twenty plus years of financial journalism and I'm second to last on the results table. Worse, I am 6.5% down. So of my initial stake of £3.00 (one pound per share, come on it’s...
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How much of a bargain is Cyber Monday?

I thought I’d do some Christmas shopping yesterday. In the old days I would’ve gone to the department store and spent a couple of hours buying everything in one place, helped by smiling, polite shop assistants ... well, that bit may be fantasy. I did, however, spend just as long at my desk, onl...
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Hammond's blue-sky budget won't benefit me

Blue-sky thinking is a great expression. It gives a lovely vista of endless sunshine and zero cloud. I've stuck a picture of what it might look like here. Pretty, isn't it? But before you get too wistful, look a bit closer. There's actually nothing there. In this photo, there's a tissue of light clo...
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