Money Mensch

Money mensch: Being prudent may not be enough

By Martin Lewis, January 14, 2010

I once met a man with £80,000 in savings earning less than one per cent interest, while he had £80,000 outstanding on his mortgage. Yet he said he was good with money.

Like many, he thought being thrifty was enough. In fact, he even boasted how he didn’t let the little lady near the books. Both parties in a relationship should know the details of the finances, because death and divorce happen. The real problem is the fact that you need to learn to understand how money products work.

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Money mensch: Book a UK summer break - for £9

By Martin Lewis, January 7, 2010

If you are on a budget and staying in the UK this summer, there is a way to do it at seriously low cost — but only if you go quickly. Budget hotel chain Travelodge has 30,000 UK rooms at £9 for May to August, and a further 220,000 rooms for between £12 and £25.

These rooms usually cost between £29 and £59. Of course we are not talking super-glam 5* but the majority of the feedback I get on Travelodge is that it does the job.

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Money mensch: Deep in Amazon, there's buried gold

By Martin Lewis, December 29, 2009

There is a bit of high-tech wizardry that lets you uncover links to get 75 per cent off, buried deep within Amazon. In fact, there is a whole hidden rule book for Amazon, letting you slam dunk prices to smithereens and slash postage fees.

Don’t assume Amazon is cheapest

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Money mensch: Tune in to cheaper music

By Martin Lewis, December 22, 2009

Don’t pay £9 for a music album when you can get it for £4.50.

If you legally download music, it is likely you are paying vastly over the odds. For example, X Factor winner Joe McElderry’s single is 99p on iTunes, but head to Amazon or Tesco and it is just 29p. Lady Gaga’s album is £8.99 at iTunes — but £4.47 elsewhere.

To combat this, I have built a new free website, www.tunechecker.com, which lists nine million singles and albums, and lets you see which of the big nine download sites is offering the one you want cheapest. Simple as that.

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Money mensch: How to cash in on an old mobile phone

By Martin Lewis, December 17, 2009

Sitting somewhere in the back of a drawer is buried treasure. It is a by-product of our near annual “mobile phone upgrades”. We instantly jump to the newer sexier model, leaving our old mobiles dumped in drawers.

If you have got an ex-mobile lying around unwanted and unused, then you can ditch it for quick cash. Now this may come as no surprise, because there are plenty of adverts from firms offering cash for your mobile, but don’t just jump to the first you see.

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Money mensch: Protect yourself from cyber criminals

By Martin Lewis, December 9, 2009

Computer hackers are everywhere. It is more important than ever to protect yourself. If you don’t, and your bank account is defrauded, it can mean you are liable to pay for it. Luckily, you can get professional anti-virus software for free. This time of the year is one of the worst for viruses, as many of us are shopping and checking bank accounts online. Viruses are not easy to spot; they can be passed on in emails or even by visiting otherwise reputable websites.

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Money Mensch: Disney: No mickey mouse offer

By Martin Lewis, December 3, 2009

An adult ticket to Disneyland Paris is normally £45, so the latest promotion that Disney is offering, where you get up to two adults and two children’s tickets plus a return ferry place for a car and passengers from Folkestone to Calais for £70, is a serious bonanza. It would usually cost around £200.

You can go during most dates between 5 January and 31 March, including weekends.

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Money mensch: How to shoot down a car-park cowboy

By Martin Lewis, November 26, 2009

It’s time to declare war on private parking operators that slap unfair tickets on our windscreens in supermarkets, housing estates and hospital car parks. Often these are completely invalid, and the best advice is “don’t pay ‘em”.

There are two types of parking tickets. The first are those from public bodies, like local councils and the police. These are totally legit, so if you get one and think it’s unfair, your only option is to appeal it (full guide and template letters at www.moneysavingexpert.com/parking).

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Money mensch: Dial up for free X-Factor votes

By Martin Lewis, November 19, 2009

Whether you are an X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing fan, there is a way that you can vote for free. Normally, the X-Factor vote alone costs 35 pence, but new company Free2call.tv has set up a system whereby you dial its number (a normal 03 access number), you listen to an advert from one of its providers and then it puts you through to the reality show’s official voting lines. So, if you have free minutes on your landline or mobile package, you can vote at no cost, as many times as you like.

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Money mensch: How to get credit in a monster crunch

By Martin Lewis, November 12, 2009

How’s your credit score? Probably not as good as you imagine.

Since the credit crunch started, everyone has been knocked down a level. And with credit scores playing an ever bigger role in getting a mortgage, credit card, loan or even contract mobile phone, it has never been more important to manage yours.

You need to credit-build

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