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

While the kids swot for exams, 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 time and it’s likely y...
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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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Watch us live on Asset TV!

Lights! Camera! Action! Skinted Minted Mum is now coming to you on video. Our friends at Asset TV have very kindly helped us with our first moving image broadcast which they've also put up on their website. It's shot in the Minted kitchen and features my Skinted colleague Charlotte and myself&n...
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Insurers charge more than credit cards to pay monthly for car insurance

I was thinking about paying my car insurance monthly until I saw the cost on my renewal notice for doing so: 28.8% APR representative or 12% of my premium extra. Crikey, that’s more than most credit cards, I thought. Just to be certain I double-checked with Moneyfacts. According to their latest figu...
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Don’t miss this free government money for Club 18-39

Nice to get a gift, isn’t it? Those lucky savers who invested in the Lifetime Isa (Lisa) before 6 April this year have recently had a handout from the government of 25% of their savings. In total, 140,000 Lisa investors got an estimated £114 million bonus which, finance firm Hargreaves Lansdown (HL)...
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How to save on school dinners

Salad, salad, salad! Dear Daughter has saved £10s over the last fortnight by making her own packed lunch and taking it to school (see photographic evidence). Admittedly, the mango and pomegranate fruit pot is a bit more premium than the usual apple-choc-biccy combo. In my defence, both were yellow s...
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Car rental rip-offs and how to avoid them

Hiring a car at half-term? Make sure you buy your car hire excess insurance well in advance to avoid getting stung at the rental desk for overpriced insurance policies. Car rental can be an absolute minefield: witness the endless news reports of sharp practice, particularly in Europe. This ranges fr...
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SMM review: Hargreaves Lansdown’s Simply Invest for beginners

Simply Invest is, as the name suggests, quite simple. It’s really just access to one super-cheap investment fund with a few bells and whistles tacked on for novices. It’s an online facility so you have to visit http://www.hl.co.uk/simply-invest . I couldn’t find it through the main HL website which ...
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Get free emergency medical care travelling in Europe with EHIC

Team Minted is about 10 days back from Easter holidays and I’m only just getting over the stomach bug I picked up on the day we left. The one silver lining is that the tummy trouble prompted me to renew my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) more quickly than I might have done with a clean bill of...
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