How safe is your holiday?

Even though it’s less than two months until the long summer holiday, I’ve still not sorted out where we are going. While a UK holiday appeals, the unreliable weather puts me off as does the expense: unless you are going away mob-handed, the cost of hiring a cottage in the West Country can be prohibi...
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How NOT to lose money on your savings

Do you know how much interest you’re getting on your savings? Given that interest rates have been so low for so long, you’d be forgiven for not knowing. After all, why bother finding out when the answer is only going to be depressing? With inflation at a shade under 2% and not a single easy-access a...
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What every self-employed person needs to know about money

I have been self-employed for nine years. And I’m part of a growing club: the number of self-employed Britons is now at its highest ever level with 4.93 million of us working for ourselves. There are many reasons why being self-employed is brilliant. You can usually fit your working day around your ...
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How to add ££££s to the value of your home

What have you got in your garage? Mine is home to lots of spider webs, half used cans of paint, old bicycles and scooters and lots of plant pots. The only things in regular use in the garage are the spare freezer and the lawnmower. Much of the rest of it could go to the tip. The car certainly has ne...
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Pension freedom: should I take the cash?

It was my 55th birthday last week. It’s hardly a landmark age unlike 21 or even 40. But actually, reaching 55 is significant: it’s the age when you can take your pension and run off and spend the cash on a fast car. Or use the cash for more sensible things such as day-to-day living. Since 2015-16 an...
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How to invest royally for a new born

Aren’t we all wonderful parents? According to a survey by Hargreaves Lansdown, two thirds of us save for our children. Given how expensive day to day living is, I think that’s amazing. And it’s not only parents. A third of grandparents put money aside for their grandchildren too. This generation of ...
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Why free cash machines are disappearing

It is 50 years since the first cash machine opened in the UK (it’s now painted gold to commemorate this). But it seems it will take far less than 50 years for free cash machines to disappear from our high streets. At the start of this year there were 52,000 free cash machines. According to Which?, 1...
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Why every woman needs a pension

Here’s how to kill a conversation with a woman of a certain age. Mention pensions. They will either yawn with boredom or shrink with terror. But frankly a pension is far more useful and exciting than a ghastly overpriced handbag. Indeed, I’d go as far as to say that pensions are really quite interes...
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How to sort out your teenager’s money

Junior is now 13 and so it’s appropriate that he has his own bank and savings accounts. It’s all a bit silly really, as effectively it is just my money sitting in other accounts (bar the occasional cash present from friends and relatives which may come his way). But it’s an important step on the way...
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Happy Easter

We're taking a week's break for Easter. Need the extra time to get our fill of eggs...
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What happens if you’ve ordered something from Debenhams?

The least surprising story this week was Debenhams. Seemingly in trouble for years, it’s now in the hands of its lenders. Although stores are still open, there will inevitably be closures: just what the high streets of the UK need. Our local Debenhams could be one for the chop. I must admit I only e...
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How to get the best deal on your holiday spending

If you’re going away for Easter, then I’m sure you’ve got a great deal on your flight, car hire and accommodation. And no doubt you’ve sorted out your travel insurance. But what about your spending money? While in the UK, most of us probably rely on our debit cards for day to day spending. But accor...
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Should you delay your state pension?

Usually, the proverb a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is good advice particularly regarding money. So, for example, a lump sum of cash now than the promise of a bigger one later is often preferable – after all, who can predict the future? But this isn’t always the case. Take the state pen...
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Why you need to ditch your debt now

For the past 10 years we have had low borrowing rates. And isn’t it great that you can get a mortgage with an interest rate of less than 2% and a personal loan for not much more than that? Or maybe it isn’t good news. Even if it is cheap to repay, debt is a burden. Borrow money and you have to pay i...
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Five money essentials every mum should have

I’m not into Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday. Perhaps I’m just trying to make excuses for junior who ‘might’ make me a card but there’s zero chance of flowers/chocolates etc. But I think the occasion does remind us of the value of mothers – and indeed, the huge cost of replacing us. Like most mothe...
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Do I need insurance for my pedigree dog?

Man’s best friend can be expensive: not only the food but the insurance too. I’m not usually a fan of having non-compulsory insurance cover (and I don’t have pet insurance for my non-pedigree cats) but if I had a dog there is no way I wouldn’t have it insured. Dogs are just more prone to injury. Cat...
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Do you need special cover for cruise holidays?

Around two million Britons go on cruise holidays every year. And not all of them are over 80. I know of at least two families with school age children who go on cruises. It’s not my idea of a good holiday but that’s because I am chronically seasick and also a bit claustrophobic. However, those who l...
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Which is better – an Isa or a pension?

There’s only a few weeks left of this tax year so now is a good time to decide what and where you should invest from the next tax year. For many years, I’ve put money every month into an Isa and into a pension via a Sipp (self-invested personal pension). But, work being hard to come by, I can’t real...
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False economies: when it’s better to replace than repair

Few things annoy me more than malfunctioning appliances. A computer which refuses to boot up or a dishwasher that breaks down mid-cycle can have me in floods of tears. I can’t fix them: I wouldn’t even try. But actually my reluctance to go through the hassle of repairing bust items might be sensible...
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Why you need an emergency fund

The past decade has not been much fun for savers. While low interest rates are great for borrowers they are not much good for savers – who after all massively outnumber borrowers. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that Britons are saving less. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that i...
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