Money Mensch

Money Mensch: Student loans: do your homework

By Martin Lewis, September 21, 2010

The halcyon days of interest-free student loans have just ended. And this isn't all about fresh faced 20-year-olds - if you're one of the 3.7 million graduates who haven't cleared their debt yet, even from 20 years ago, beware.

Last month, the official student loan company interest rate was, at worst, interest-free, and some were even shrinking. Yet, from September 1, what you actually pay depends on when you started your studies.

Pre-1998 student loans


Money Mensch: A hot new deal: free solar panels worth £10,000+

By Martin Lewis, September 16, 2010

It is possible to get free solar panels - from companies like Isos Solar and Home Sun - worth £10,000 and which can reduce your electricity bills by a sizable amount.

This may seem phenomenal at first but the free panels aren't quite as generous as they appear. If you get them fitted free, while you keep the estimated £100 a year saving, you can't remove them for 25 years, plus you forfeit your right to an £800-a-year payment from the government as a thank you for giving the national grid the excess electricity you have generated. Instead, the panel company gets to keep this cash.


Money Mensch: It's time to hang up on those cold-callers

By Martin Lewis, September 7, 2010

It's time to slam the door on unwanted doorstep sellers, close the letterbox on junk mailers and put the handset down on unsolicited sales callers. We have now more rights than ever to be left alone.

Britain's "big six" energy companies finally waved the white flag after a brilliant campaign by Trading Standards and Consumer Focus. They have promised that their doorstep selling teams will no longer cold call at any property showing a "No Cold Callers" sign in the window or door.


Money Mensch: Cash in on Amex's latest promo

By Martin Lewis, September 2, 2010

There is a promotion that is perfect for those with discipline planning to make big purchases, as you can bag huge cashback and spread repayments at no cost.

Accepted new American Express Platinum credit cardholders get a mammoth 5 per cent cashback (£5 per £100) on up to £2,000 spent during the first three months they have it. Plus, American Express Platinum has recently launched a 0 per cent deal on all spending for the first six months too.


Money Mensch: Score top points from your club cards

By Martin Lewis, August 26, 2010

Those of you with Tesco loyalty points cards need to get your skates on. The supermarket is offering some useful promotions.

But whether it's Tesco, Airmiles, Boots or Nectar, it's not just how many points you collect, it's how you redeem them too.

Tesco points boosting

If you are a Tesco Clubcard loyalty points holders, now is the time to make a decision. Until September 5, Tesco is allowing you to trade in points for twice their value in-store as part of its Big Clubcard Voucher Exchange promotion.


Money Mensch: How to save on travel insurance

By Martin Lewis, August 19, 2010

Forget the geo-politics for a second, I am talking money saving here. If you buy an annual travel insurance policy but don't go further afield than Israel, hold your horses - you may not need to plump for worldwide cover.

Many European policies cover some countries way outside the EU, including Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey and West Russia, and a few include Israel too. So choosing this option could save hundreds on the cost of a family's insurance premium.


Money Mensch: Got BT? You can call up big savings

By Martin Lewis, August 12, 2010

If you have a BT landline, the cost of a natter is set to soar. Having already hiked prices this year, BT is doing it again in October. And where BT leads, others follow. Yet, if you are prepared to ring in the changes now, you can beat it before it happens.

● How it all adds up

BT played a genius move in April, by shifting what counts as peak daytime hours from the old 6am to 6pm to the new 7am to 7pm.


Beating the new US entry charge

By Martin Lewis, August 4, 2010

Last year, the US introduced its compulsory Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) form that every UK traveller must complete (it is only available online) before entering the States by air. Don’t complete it and you can be turned back.

Now, a bill passed through the US congress means that at some point this year it will be able to start charging for the service. The amount is unconfirmed but it’s likely to be around $10 per person.


We can save savers from interest hell

By Martin Lewis, July 28, 2010

If you are a saver, I want to show you how to urgently accelerate your interest. The big warning is for anyone with fixed-rate savings. Over half a million are due to end this month, and when that happens banks tend to shift your cash into holding accounts paying dismal rates as low as 0 per cent.

Many go into fixed rates for long-term stability, and if you did that a few years ago you could still have been earning well over six per cent. Yet savings providers aren't stupid. They try and get another bite at your cash when the deal ends, leaving you suffering rate shock.


A cost cure for hayfever victims

By Martin Lewis, July 22, 2010

Suffering from hayfever isn't anything to be sniffed at - it can darken bright sunny days and put a downer on your wallet too.

But there is a way to seriously cut costs.