What does the Budget mean for Skinted and Minted Mums?

The end to austerity was announced yesterday by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, as he set out the spending plan for the UK for the year ahead. That means more money for schools, health, social care and even fixing potholes. But how will it affect those of us running somewhat sm...
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Living costs are the real obstacle to university – for parents

Dear Daughter is thinking about what to do when she grows up. Architecture is one option she’s considering: what a fabulous and exciting career. The only issue is that it’s about seven years of university tuition. Being a supportive parent, on Tuesday I took her to the Renzo Piano exhibition at the ...
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My shares are worth less so I can put more of them in my tax-saving accounts

Yippee! Share prices have slid more than about 10% from their peak at the end of May. On the surface, that doesn’t sound like good news. But for canny skinted and minted mums, it’s an opportunity to max out your tax-perk savings schemes eg Isas and pensions. I haven’t got any new money to put into m...
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Check your online investment money went into shares not cash

The real killer with investing is figuring out how to do it. The admin! Even as an investment nerd I’m regularly scratching my head over which website to use to get my money in the market. These days, if you want to invest, you’ll end up using a so-called platform online. These are a wonderful innov...
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These six simple steps are all you need to sort your finances

If you believed everything you read in the papers, we are all going to financial hell in a debt-fuelled handbag. We spend too much, save too little and will end up starving as pensioners rather than relaxing in retirement. Much as I love a sensational headline, I’m beginning to think that scare stor...
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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

rep 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 we...
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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?

o 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 c...
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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?

iva 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...
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Specsavers v VisonDirect: which is cheaper for contact lenses?

wo 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 ...
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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

s 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 exper...
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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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