Money Mensch

Money Mensch: When withdrawing cash abroad…

By Martin Lewis, August 14, 2008

If you are off to Spain this summer, watch out when it comes to getting money out of a cash machine.

The Spanish banks have started to employ a new trick: they ask you if you would like to pay for your euros in pounds. It sounds like a good deal - but it is not.

The rate you tend to get is often a lot less than the rate you would get if you let your own bank do the conversion. So just say no.

Even better, make sure you are using the most efficient card for when you are aboard.

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Money Mensch: Get free medical treatment abroad this summer

By Martin Lewis, August 7, 2008

If you are planning a trip to Europe this summer, there is one thing you should take with you - the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This gives you access to free or discounted medical treatment in any state-run European Union or Swiss hospital. It enables you to get treatment for the same cost as if you were a native in that country.

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Money Mensch: The cheapest way to spend abroad

By Martin Lewis, July 17, 2008

There is a new “cheapest” way to spend when abroad. In the past, I have recommended using Nationwide and Post Office credit cards. But a newcomer trumps them.

It’s called the Abbey Zero, and, just like the previous two, if offers the best possible exchange rate that you can get. However, whereas Nationwide and Post Office cards will charge you if you withdraw cash on them, this one won’t, meaning it’s a new winner for spending abroad.

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Money Mensch: Cutting the cost of calling abroad

By Martin Lewis, June 26, 2008

In the last six months, the cost of calling abroad has dropped considerably. Those with internet can use Skype to talk for free, but when it comes to making calls from a landline, you can get a massively cheap deal by using specialist overseas call providers’ access codes.

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Save money on hay-fever tablets

By Martin Lewis, June 19, 2008

It’s hay-fever time. This means that people across the country will be forking out money on hay-fever remedies. What you need to remember is that the four main brand names — Zirtek, Claritin, Benadryl and Piriton — each has its own active ingredient. Once you have discovered what the active ingredient of your usual remedy is, by looking at the packaging, you can save cash simply by buying the generic (shop’s own brand) version of it for a fraction of the cost. This excludes Benadryl, as there are no generic versions available.

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Tweaking your job title to save on car insurance

By Martin Lewis, June 5, 2008

You may not realise it, but your job title can affect how much car insurance you pay. And while there is not much you can do about the job itself, you can certainly save money by carefully selecting what you call yourself on the car-insurance forms. I have developed a tool to help. These days, many people fit into more than one category.

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Save money on electricity

By Martin Lewis, May 29, 2008

Energy prices are predicted to rise 15 to 45 per cent by the end of this year. This is a staggering increase on top of the 60 per cent we have already faced over the past three years, and could add around £200 your average bill. The rises are likely to come in two bursts: one in late summer, the other at the end of the year. So, your best bet is to get a fixed-rate energy tariff, where the rate you pay per unit of gas and electricity is fixed for two to three years.

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Get cashback from Barclaycard

By Martin Lewis, May 22, 2008

If you have a Barclaycard, you may be eligible for a hidden cashback deal that the bank is not telling many of its customers about.

I understand that when customers are threatening to cancel their Barclaycard and close it down, they are being offered cashback deals of two to five per cent, lasting three to six months.

Cashback is when you get paid back a proportion of the amount of money that you spend on the card. So, at two per cent cashback, you spend £100 and get £2 back.

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Cut the cost of texting abroad

By Martin Lewis, May 16, 2008

Here is a quick tip for anyone with a T-Mobile or O2 phone who wants to text abroad. Rather bizarrely, it is actually cheaper to send a picture message than a regular text message on these networks. For example, on T-Mobile, sending a text message from zone 2 countries (most of Europe) costs 40 pence, where as a picture message costs 20 pence. On O2, a text message can cost up to 49 pence, and a picture message 25 pence. What if you don’t want to send a picture?

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Check if your savings are safe

By Martin Lewis, May 8, 2008

In light of the credit crunch and global market turmoil, every sensible saver should be asking themselves: “Is my money safe?”

The most important thing to understand is that under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the first £35,000 you have in a British bank is protected.

When it comes to savings, savings accounts, cash ISAs and current accounts when you are in credit, the rules are a bit more complicated.

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