Can you actually make money from cards or accounts?

There’s no such thing as free money: or is there? But then there are rewards for moving your current account, spending on a credit card or a shop reward scheme. Surely they must be worth doing? Let’s take cashback and reward credit cards. According to experts Moneyfacts, shoppers using these schemes...
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Food kits: are they worth it?

I’ve just spent more than £100 at Sainsburys: and I don’t think I’ve got enough for more than three or four complete dinners. Yes, I did buy non-food items – cat food, toilet roll - as well as lunch/breakfast stuff and (non-alcoholic) drinks. But the dinner choices are uninspiring and basically come...
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Are you losing your identity to a fraudster?

  I have had my bank account targeted by fraudsters twice. In both cases, my bank sorted it out quickly and I didn’t lose any money. These days, I am so conscious of being defrauded my banking activities are set back in the 20th century. I don’t do bank transfers unless I can possibly avoid it ...
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When some things are too cheap

I have had it with Poundland. I only ever went there to bulk-buy their £1 spectacles. But the last three pairs I had lasted – and this is no exaggeration – four days. The arm of one pair fell off as soon as I put them on. One lens of the next pair fell out after a day. The final pair managed to last...
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Eleanor Kiy
Great examples of some items where the cheap options are a false economy and others where it's not worth paying more. I benefited ... Read More
Monday, 30 April 2018 19:31
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Back to school: at what a cost?

Next week school summer term begins: and we are ready for it, with the homework done and the uniform already ironed. Fortunately, junior has not yet undergone a massive growth spurt: unlike many of his 12 year old friends who surely must be eating Miracle Grow on their cornflakes. He still fits the ...
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Charlotte is off for a week

I'm taking a week off from blogging to catch up on sleep.... back next week suitably refreshed.
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PPI: why I’ve staked a claim

Call it the fear of missing out but I’ve just spent a few minutes filling in online forms to find out if I could be in line for a PPI payout. If you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years then you might not know about PPI. This was a kind of insurance that those with credit cards, personal ...
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Cheap breaks abroad: do they actually exist?

We aren’t going anywhere this Easter. I did think about taking the boy on a road trip around the UK – the furthest north he’s ever been is Cambridge – but he didn’t fancy it. I think he’s worried they don’t have wi-fi north of the Watford Gap. However I’m hoping we can get away in the summer. Being ...
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Hatching a plan for Easter Egg alternatives

I’ve just shelled out £10 for an Easter egg: but I wish I hadn’t. Junior is not that bothered about chocolate. He’d rather have a smoky bacon crisp egg (sadly unavailable). That inevitably means I will have to help him eat the egg, which are calories I hardly need. It does seem as if the whole Easte...
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Should you be switching to save?

Some good news at last: inflation fell last month from 3% down to 2.7% thanks mainly to lower petrol prices. Falling inflation means there’s less pressure on the Bank of England to put interest rates up – so that’s good news for mortgage borrowers. And what could be better than paying less for food?...
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Food waste: my guilty secret

Throwing away edible food is bad news. Sustainability charity Wrap says UK households throw away about 7.3 million tonnes of food a year. I’m ashamed to say quite a bit of that comes from our house. A big part of the problem is there are only two of us (bar the cats) and we have vastly different tas...
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Pensions: feel the fear and do it anyway

Until I hit my forties, I didn’t take pensions seriously. When I was young there was an element of resentment about my employer deducting my contributions every month – I could think of better uses for the money then. Now I’m just relieved that I was made to contribute, even though I’m in a closed d...
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Mothers' Day: when cash is better than chocolates or flowers

So what will you get on Sunday? Breakfast in bed? Chocolates? Flowers? I’m not expecting anything and that’s fine: we never did Mother’s Day when I was a child so I’ve not come to expect it and cynically, think it’s another Hallmark Holiday – one promoted by the greetings card industries. But if you...
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Any birthday party ideas for the child who has outgrown them?

Marking junior’s birthday used to be fairly easy. In the past I’ve shelled out for the usual laser quest/Trampolining/football skills/circus games parties. All have been pretty expensive – around £200 for the Trampolining or laser quest, I think. But now the game’s changed. Junior is 12 on Friday an...
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Life expectancy falls: so why is state pension age increasing?

Here’s a cheery fact: apparently, we are not all living longer. Those fun-loving guys at the Continuous Mortality Institute - part of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries – say that life expectancy improvements between 2011 and 2017 were “significantly lower” than any other recent six year period....
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New rules on credit cards: millions could pay less

Even though my finances are often under strain, it has been many years – possibly going on for 15 – since I had an outstanding debt on a credit card. And long may that continue. Unless you’ve got a 0% deal on your card, then if you don’t pay off the bill in full you’re going to be hit by a huge amou...
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Is contactless really safe?

What a cool job Victoria Cleland has. She’s the chief cashier of the Bank of England and as such, her signature is on bank notes. She’s just been interviewed in The Guardian ( here’s the link ) just as the old tenners go out of circulation. Understandably, she’s a fan of cash – as am I. She is also ...
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Code breaking: what does your tax code mean?

I always open brown envelopes from HMRC expecting the worse. This morning I got my tax code notice for the 2018-19 tax year. Your tax code is important because it’s used by your employer(s) and/or pension providers to work out how much tax to take off your pay or pension – so if it’s wrong you could...
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Tax-free childcare: now for those with older kids too

Childcare is expensive: but if it’s good quality care, then it’s worth paying for. For most parents, the cost of childcare falls the older the children get. But that doesn’t mean it stops. If you’re a working parent then you know the difficulty of arranging enough play dates, courses and the lot to ...
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Why civil partnerships should be extended to mixed sex couples: it’s all about tax and benefits

St Valentine’s Day is probably not a big event in your diary (though your teenager might feel differently). But, frankly, if you are living together in unwedded bliss and your beloved pops the question today, then say yes: if for no other reason than being married means you get tax and benefits brea...
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