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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Lessons for parents on student loans

‘A’ level results are due on 16th August. If your child is planning to go to university in the autumn you will soon hear from the Student Loans Company. They will need information from parents to support their child’s application for student loans. As many parents will have studied in the halcyon da...
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Veterinary costs: a pain in the purse

Our eldest cat Maisie is adorable. She’s zero trouble (unlike the other two) and as well as being supermodel-level in the beauty stakes, she has the nicest temperament. One morning this week she came in from the garden limping. There was no obvious sign of injury and she didn’t seem that upset by it...
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Top tips for fighting wolves on the web

My computer is an essential part of my life. It’s on every waking hour. I do much of my shopping and nearly all my financial transactions are online. I use it to keep in (tenuous) touch with long-standing friends. My son would probably leave home if the broadband wasn’t working. Without it, we’d be ...
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Spare us the Facebook holiday photos – and stop the burglars

Do you remember having to go to Boots to pick up your holiday snaps? You handed your roll of film in then a few days later, got the prints complete with all the duff shots which you binned straight away. How great is it that you can now take photos with a phone and delete dodgy ones straight away. A...
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Prom dresses: how NOT to end up overspending

In a few weeks’ time, hordes of teenagers will be going to Prom parties – and that means a load of hassle and expense for parents. And it’s not just post-GCSE and A level students who may soon need formal wear. My 12 year old was invited to a school formal dinner because he was in the football team....
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Splash the cash to improve your home - or move?

Like most Britons, my most valuable possession is my home. Since I bought it seven years ago, it’s gone up in value by about 60% - which sounds great, but had we stayed in our London house then it would be far higher. I did spend money on it when we moved in – the artex had to (expensively) go and t...
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