Is it goodbye to cash machines?

Our last bank closed in the spring. This week, the last remaining external cash machine was shut down. I live in a smallish town that’s a big tourist spot. Now on a Sunday there is nowhere for anyone to get cash in the high street. There are internal cash machines in the Nationwide branch and in a s...
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Have I got my head in the clouds over clutter?

I hate clutter. I’m a regular at the local tip and periodically donate piles of paperbacks/toys and clothes to charity. The downside is, of course, that I later wish I still had something I’ve given away and end up buying it again: this happens fairly regularly with books. I also chuck paperwork. An...
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Are YOU sitting on a mortgage time bomb?

If you’ve got a mortgage and you always make your monthly repayments, then you probably think that when your home loan matures, you own your house and have nothing else to pay. And yes, for most of us – those who have repayment mortgages - that’s the way it works. But if you’re one of the estimated ...
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Old boiler? I hope it’s on the mend…

My boiler is being temperamental at the moment. It comes on, but then after a couple of hours switches itself off. I’ve tried putting the thermostat up to tropical levels to get it to work but no joy. While it is getting colder, at least we’re not knocking ice off the inside of windows at the moment...
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Is Marcus savings account a damp squi(d)b?

Savers have had it hard for the past ten years. With inflation higher than the rates on most savings accounts you are losing money. So why bother? The answer is that most of us only feel comfortable with cash sitting in a savings account. I have (dwindling) cash savings and thank goodness for that, ...
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Get your Christmas (credit) cards now…

Let’s be clear on one thing. Borrowing money to pay for Christmas presents isn’t a good idea if you pay interest on that debt. But actually, credit cards can make Christmas cheaper as long as you have the right card. Given that it’s less than three months to Christmas, if you want a new credit card ...
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Body blow for Jisas as Nationwide calls time on its account for new savers

Britain’s biggest building society Nationwide has pulled its Junior Isa (Jisa) from sale with immediate effect: a stunning snub to the government’s saving scheme for children. Nationwide says it’s dumped the Jisa in favour of an ordinary kid’s savings accounts after parents said they wanted to keep ...
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Ten things to put on your Christmas countdown list

The local supermarket already has several shelves of Christmas chocolates. Who on earth would buy them now? I know chocolate lasts for ages – but there is little chance of that in this house without them being ‘tested’. However there are ways of getting ahead for Christmas. Here’s my skinted top 10....
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Why you MUST put pensions first when divorcing

Divorce is undoubtedly painful, particularly if it becomes combative. So it is good news that the government is looking at introducing no fault divorces which should mean that splitting up becomes more civilised. So, fingers crossed that this bit of legislation goes through. I’ve never been divorced...
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Can you save £2,600 a year by remortgaging?

If you’ve got a mortgage, then it can be all too easy simply to make the monthly repayments and assume you are fine. After all, interest rates are low – so why would you bother to go to the hassle of switching deals? Actually, there are more compelling reasons than ever for sorting out your mortgage...
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Five ways YOU can be safe from online fraud

Here’s a sobering thought for you. Apparently one in four Britons have been defrauded when shopping online losing typically £608.The new Shieldpay Fraud Tracker also found that 8% of online shoppers who have been victims of fraud were defrauded more than once. Women, however, are either more careful...
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What’s the best bank account for your student offspring?

Well done if your child is off to university in a few weeks. But the work’s not over for you yet. Parents need to make sure their student children’s finances are sorted out – and that means ensuring they get the best bank account. By now, the student loan should be sorted (the first payment will go ...
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Victory for widowed mother: but are YOU protected?

You’ll have seen the good news that the courts have agreed an unmarried mother of four, Siobhan McLaughlin, should be entitled to the same widowed parent’s allowance as if she and her late partner had been married. The courts this week decided that denying her the same benefit as a married bereaved ...
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Why can't I get a deal on car insurance?

As Skinted Minted often points out, shopping around before renewing your insurance/utility contract is a good idea. So then why doesn’t it work for me? Actually, that’s not fair: I saved 30% by shopping around for my home insurance earlier this year – see here . But on car insurance, it’s a differen...
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Dreaming of moving abroad? Here’s the reality.

While the UK has been blessed with perfect weather for the past few weeks, somehow the sun is always brighter aboard: which is why this weekend marks the peak exodus of Brits to foreign holiday resorts. Because while eating fish & chips watching the English Channel is great, it doesn’t really co...
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Would YOU fix your mortgage for 10 years?

Ten years is a long time if you’re buying a home. Although more homebuyers are taking out mortgages with 30-plus year terms, most still are on 25 year terms. So if you fixed for 10 years, that’s 40% of your homeloan term at a guaranteed rate. Fixed rate mortgages are, I think, often a good idea – pa...
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Why YOU could be missing out on tax giveaways

Paying tax is annoying. Paying more tax than you need to is really annoying. Honestly, it’s easy to save tax: it’s usually a question of a quick emailed form. Here are some breaks you might not be claiming – and why you and your family should. 1. Granny’s own tax break . This is not a discount on We...
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Home insurance: five minutes research, 30% discount.

Is there anyone out there who automatically renews their household insurance? Surely there can’t be. My home insurance renewal has just come through. Last year it was £99.68 (fortunately the new rules mean insurers have to tell you what your previous premium was). This year they want £134.40. Bear i...
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Cheap airport car parking: is it worth it?

In just over a month’s time, we are off on holiday. It is expensive but worth it: I know the weather here is lovely now but I never feel as if I’m on holiday unless I leave the country. The downside is the seventh circle of hell – also known as Gatwick Airport in August. I hate the place: the queues...
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Why we need to teach school kids about money NOW

What are your kids doing at school at the moment? Mine seems to be playing a lot of rounders but not much else. It was the same when I was young: you don’t really do anything at school in the few weeks before the summer break. So why not fill the time with something actually useful: a skill that arg...
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