Treasured possessions: what would you save?

Apparently half of all Britons say that storing valuables at home is the safest option. The research by Metro Bank is that we mostly choose obvious places to stash the family treasures that wouldn’t outwit the dumbest burglar – such as drawers, safes and the wardrobe. Some are more inventive and lea...
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In debt? We’ll drink to that

  A friend of mine – she’s about my age – has just paid off her mortgage. It’s a great feeling when you know that your house really is all yours. I don’t have debt – frankly, I can’t afford to: after all, I would have to repay it. But apparently, my friend and I are bucking the trend. A report ...
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Economy - not gastronomy

The boy is away on a school trip this week. Of course I miss him – and with the horrific incidence in Manchester, the distance between us hurts: at times like this, you want to hold your nearest and dearest close. But the house is amazingly tidy and quiet; the books are in their cases, the stationer...
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Regular savings: building a nest egg easily

Savings rates are rotten at the moment: you’ll be lucky to get 1% on your hard-earned cash in most savings accounts. So why bother? The answer is that you can get four times this rate – and not only if you have huge amounts of cash. Regular savings accounts are the answer. Next week, Ford Money is d...
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My top tips for getting cheap glasses and eyecare

There are very few bargains to be had in this life. However, in my experience, eye care is one of them. Increasing age means I need glasses for reading or working on the computer. A couple of years ago I went to see an optician at the local supermarket. He told me that I just needed magnifying glass...
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How I got the pip with Apple

There are very few things that make me cry these days. But technology – failing technology, in particular – can have me in floods of tears. My poor son is used to my childish tantrums over computer glitches/useless mobile phones. Combine these with the hell of trying to get someone to help and every...
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School leaving parties: (don't) hang the expense

When I left my London primary school in the 1970s there were no celebrations I can remember: perhaps we had a game of rounders on the dog-**** covered school playing field. Or maybe someone brought in a bag of own brand crisps and a teacher thumped away on the piano so we could play musical statues....
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Save our banks: not just for the oldies

I might bank online but I need high street banks. And so do you. Research just out from Saga says that with nearly 500 high street banks closing this year, more than a quarter of the over 50s will ‘be forced’ to switch banks if their branch closes. As one of the over 50s (surprising, I know) I wasn’...
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Knickers to tumble dryer warranty

Just over a year ago I bought a new tumble dryer. I didn’t really want to as I was happy enough with the one I had and it was only a few years old. But it was one of those tumble dryers said to have a fault that had caused a number of home fires. I wasn’t really that concerned about it, to be honest...
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It's your funeral: but don't take cover

We bought our house more than six years ago from an elderly lady. It’s odd what you find out about the people you bought a property from – in London the former residents of our house left several bamboo canes in the main bedroom and we got some very dodgy adult-interest catalogues in the post. But t...
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Saving on shopping

I had a couple of hours to waste in London yesterday. I did think about going to the Michelangelo exhibition at the National Gallery. But then I decided that retail therapy in the West End was what I needed. I was wrong. First I went to John Lewis’ flagship branch in Oxford Street. I used to love Jo...
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Gardening: an easy way to lose money

Here’s an easy way to shed a few pounds (money rather than, or possibly as well, as weight). Take an interest in gardening. While I accept if you’ve got green fingers then you can probably make anything sprout, for the rest of us the garden is a money pit. Until we moved to the country six years ago...
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Investing: it's not just for the boys

All the women I know are super-capable; they run homes alongside working while having interesting hobbies and social lives. But how many of them know the first thing about investing? Hardly any, I’d bet. Apparently one in eight women don’t like making decisions about pensions and 90% say financial s...
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Easter egg hunt? Try pension nest egg hunt...

The boy is off at an Easter egg hunt today: is it just me or has Easter become much more of an event? Not being religious – so not needing to go to church – meant when I was a child Easter was just a long, boring four day weekend when it usually rained. We had one Easter Egg each and had to make it ...
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Saving: a three year commitment?

What will you be up to three years’ time? Will you be worrying about the general election on May 7 2020? Waiting for the start of the Olympics in Japan in the summer? I expect I’ll be doing just the same as now (i.e. very little) but with the added fun of living with a by-then teenage boy. One thing...
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Holiday prices: is it worth risking a fine?

One of my favourite ways of work avoidance is researching holidays: should we go to Mauritius or Morecambe? Bangkok or Bournemouth? Frankly, wherever you go is frighteningly expensive in the school holidays. But take your child out in term time and you risk a fine. Isle of Wight father Jon Platt too...
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Supermarket sweep: should I move my current account?

  I am a bit of a supermarket tart: I go to whichever suits my needs, finances or whereabouts. So, that means Sainsburys if it’s hot outside: our local branch is so cold it’s the place to be in a heatwave; Morrisons if I am feeling a bit poor and can bear negotiating the narrow entrance to its ...
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Why save? Buy cauliflowers instead

This is not a call to throw caution to the wind and raid your piggy banks to spend, spend, spend. Then again, it is tempting: because if you leave it in an account, you are losing money on your savings. The current inflation rate is 2.3% - the highest for more than three years. So if you hid £100 un...
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Bank branch closures: will the last one in my high street become another cafe?

When I moved down to the country six years ago, the local high street had a big post office, four banks and a building society branch: it was just as convenient as living in London, I thought. Today, the post office has migrated into the supermarket. The building society remains. But we are now down...
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Mobile phone insurance: not phoning but drowning.

I have had a few problems with water this week. Firstly, the washing machine is as leaky as a baby in pound-store nappies. Secondly, I managed to drop my mobile in the loo. It was only immersed in water (note: water, not anything yucky) for a couple of seconds. I buried it in a jar of rice straight ...
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