Money Mensch

Money Mensch: Cutting the cost of calling abroad

By Martin Lewis, June 27, 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 20, 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 6, 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 30, 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 23, 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 9, 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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Get more internet downloads for your money

By Martin Lewis, May 2, 2008

Do you download music, videos or television programmes to watch online? If so, great. However, it comes with a major cost. Most broadband packages have an inclusive monthly allowance of data to which you are limited. This tends to be around 1 to 5 gigabytes. Downloading music, software or videos eats up the allowance much faster; downloading a half-hour BBC programme from iPlayer will use around 300 megabytes. So some people will be busting their monthly allowance just by watching three TV programmes and face paying expensive charges for going beyond the limit. The solution?

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Should you fit a water meter?

By Martin Lewis, April 18, 2008

On April 1, water bills in England and Wales, increased by an average of six per cent. And, while the market is privatised, it is not open to competition, meaning you cannot switch provider. There is, however, one main way in which you can save money. You can opt to fit a water meter, which ties your bill to your consumption. It also recalculates the sewerage bill.

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Ditching and switching your gas and electricity suppliers

By Martin Lewis, April 11, 2008

Now is the perfect time to switch gas and electricity providers in order to save yourself some cash.

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