Money Mensch

Money Mensch: Don't piggy bank on it: parents' warning

By Martin Lewis, June 3, 2010

Banks have done nothing to protect children's savings interest rates. These dismal deals don't just deprive kids of cash, but also of the valuable lesson that your money needs to work for you.

I want to show you how children can earn up to 6 per cent interest, grab freebies and allow parents to save tax-free too.

Do children pay tax?

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Money Mensch: See how to get free eye tests

By Martin Lewis, May 27, 2010

We have seen lots of temporary "free eye test" promotions from opticians - but now Tesco has gone a step further. It is offering permanently free eye tests at 131 in-store opticians, which tend to be located in the larger branches.

Of course, for the under-16s or over-60s, or those with certain medical conditions, they are free anyway - and for everyone who lives in Scotland. But for everyone else, there is normally a £10-£25 charge. So this is perfect if you want to go for a quick check-up.

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Money Mensch: Big ways to save when borrowing small

By Martin Lewis, May 21, 2010

Interest rates may be at their lowest rate for over 200 years, but small loan rates have more than doubled. But there's a way to manipulate the finance market to get a loan at under half that cost.

Why rates have jumped

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Money Mensch: Join Weight Watchers for free

By Martin Lewis, May 13, 2010

No I'm not suggesting you need Weight Watchers – nor does your bum look big in that. However perhaps you've a "friend" who might be interested in a loophole to get a three-month subscription to the points-based weight-loss scheme for free.

Normally you pay a £30 registration fee and £11 a month but, by combining two current promotions, you can wipe those out.

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Money Mensch: It's time to spring clean your budget

By Martin Lewis, May 6, 2010

Spring's shown its face, which means it's time to rewrite your budget. April was the big price-change month for the NHS, local authorities, utility firms and more. Normally we see a host of prices rises. Yet, as prices often depend on inflation and last year that was negative, there are some ups and downs and, with inflation now booming, we can expect big rises in 12 months' time.

The winners

● The Basic State Pension - it's gone UP!

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Money Mensch: Cash in your iPhone for £200

By Martin Lewis, April 28, 2010

Millions of people bought iPhones from o2 when it launched a few years ago, and many of those phones are now out of contract.

Yet you could still be paying a hefty £30-£45 per month tariff. But there is a simple way to slash this.

Sign up to another year's contract, still with o2, and for £15 a month you get 300 any time, any network minutes plus unlimited texts and data - the same you would pay £35 per month for if you simply carried on with an old contract.

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Money Mensch: These really are the ISAs on the cake

By Martin Lewis, April 22, 2010

While ISA (individual savings accounts) rates have had a justifiably bad press recently, they still vastly out-pay the best savings accounts. My aim is to ensure you know what you are doing.

● The Basics

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Money Mensch: Saga is top for spending abroad

By Martin Lewis, April 15, 2010

The cheapest way to spend abroad is by using the right plastic, it can easily save you £100s on your holiday spend. Yet as it can take up to six weeks from applying to receiving a card, now's the perfect time to get organised in time for summer.

While banks themselves get an unbeatable exchange rate, use your credit and debit cards and they almost always add a 'load' of around 3 per cent, e.g. buy £200 worth of Shekels and you'd pay £206. What's more, many debit cards also add a fee of £1.50 every time you spend.

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Money Mensch: Don't waste your energy on ... energy

By Martin Lewis, April 8, 2010

If you saw someone feeding twenty five £10 notes into an open fire to keep warm, would you stop them? It is a ludicrous waste of cash, yet across the nation people are doing just that to keep warm, unnecessarily putting the notes into gas and electricity companies' coffers.

Now is the perfect time to switch energy providers.

Last month the final five of the big six energy companies cut their prices. That means that if you do a price comparison then there's a level playing between the providers.

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Money Mensch: Are you entitled to a free laptop?

By Martin Lewis, April 1, 2010

Help spread the word – especially to those not on the internet.

Any families on lower incomes with children in school years 3 to 9 (roughly aged 7 to 14) may be eligible for a grant of up to £528 to buy a computer and get internet access.

The initiative is designed to help those who don't already have the facilities at home, though it can also pay for just web access for those who already have a computer.

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