Money Mensch

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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Money Mensch: Card tricks for the credit-score game

By Martin Lewis, March 25, 2010

Who says politicians don't do anything for us? There's a general election coming and that's good news - it's a reminder to register to vote.

You may be asking: "What's this got to do with MoneySaving?" Appearing on the electoral roll also acts as a massive boost to your credit score. In fact, if you are not on the electoral roll, it almost completely stymies your ability to get new credit.

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Money Mensch: Receiving the wrong tax credit could prove costly

By Martin Lewis, March 18, 2010

If you work or have children you may get tax credits, though the name is a misnomer as it is nothing to do with tax, it is just a payout. Even those with family income of up to £60,000 can be eligible and it can be big money for some - £1,000s a year - especially for those who pay for childcare.

However, there is a hidden nightmare in the tax credit system. This is commonly called "overpayments", though a better phrase would be "tax credit debt".

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Money Mensch: Wise up to fantastic plastic

By Martin Lewis, March 11, 2010

I love credit cards. Without a doubt, done right, credit cards are the best way to spend. Unless there is no choice, I leave my debit card, cheques and cash firmly in my pocket and bring out the plastic whenever I want to pay.

Don't get me wrong, plastic can be pernicious but, used well, credit cards can make your life easier and cheaper. People often confuse credit cards with debt. But a credit card is simply a way to pay for goods which has an optional borrowing facility. It is this optional extra that is the problem, not the card itself.

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Money mensch: Tesco loophole on reward points

By Martin Lewis, March 4, 2010

As anyone who shops at Tesco should know, you never ever redeem your Clubcard vouchers in store, as there a fiver voucher is worth just £5. Instead, convert it into Tesco Clubcard Rewards for things like days out, RAC membership, air miles and more, and its value is quadrupled. So a fiver voucher is then worth up to £20. And that can open a loophole whenever Tesco gives away bonus points, as it means you can earn more in rewards compared to the buying costs. Currently one of those type of deals is on.

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Money Mensch: Don’t buy excuses: your shopping rights

By Martin Lewis, February 25, 2010

Too few people have a clue about what their consumer rights are, so stores trample on us and fob us off with cheap excuses. It is time to tool up your knowledge.

Remember your rights

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Money mensch: Call Israel for ½p a minute

By Martin Lewis, February 18, 2010

Don’t believe the Skype hype when it comes to making calls. If you dial a real phone number you will be charged. Standard rates for calling an Israeli phone from a PC are 1.4p per minute to a landline and 9p per minute to a mobile.

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Money mensch: Call in big savings on your mobile bill

By Martin Lewis, February 11, 2010

Be careful next time you spot a stunner with a gorgeously sleek body. See a sexy new mobile handset and often all you can think about is getting your mitts on it. Yet, when comparing phone deals, it’s the tariff that counts — ignore tempting distractions like handsets or cashback.

The number of phone package combinations out there is vast. There are over ten mobile networks, each with multiple tariffs, sold at different prices. The networks make cash from our confusion, leaving many folks paying more than they need to — and this is big money.

Before you start

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Money mensch: Cheapest home phone line rental

By Martin Lewis, February 4, 2010

There is a way for BT landline holders to slash the cost.

While even BT’s direct debit discount landline is £11.54/month, sign up to a 12-month telephony service Primus Home Phone Saver via a comparison site and you get line rental for £9.15 a month, including free evening and weekend calls to landlines.

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Money mensch: Keeping those cheap flights cheap

By Martin Lewis, January 28, 2010

With the feel of snow still fresh, a £1 flight to the sun sounds like a dream. Yet, while you will often see promotions advertised, unless you do it the right way, it is more like a nightmare. Budget airlines have more bolt-ons than Frankenstein; they have the bare-faced cheek to describe baggage, checking-in and even paying as “added extras”.

It no exaggeration to say that, get it wrong, and your £1 flight could have over £200 of extra charges.

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