Money Mensch

How to drive down your petrol costs

By Martin Lewis, August 11, 2011

It is no longer safe to mention the cost of petrol and diesel in a public place.

The vapours of fury from everyone in earshot are enough to send even the most placid vicar into apoplexy.

For many households, putting fuel in the tank has become one of their biggest bills, costing thousands a year - up there with mortgage or rent, and gas and electricity.

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End that mobile menace - spam texts

By Martin Lewis, July 28, 2011

Spam texts are a real nuisance. They blight our handsets with unwanted adverts. What was once a trickle has now become a deluge. I asked over 4,000 of my website users and 95 per cent have received spam texts in the past sixth months. If you get them, here is what to do.

Put it in context

There are three different types of unwanted marketing texts.

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Going abroad?

By Martin Lewis, July 21, 2011

Using mobiles outside the UK can cost a fortune. Yet new rules in force mean calls in the EU are cheaper. The maximum cost to make calls is now €0.35/min + VAT (about 38p) and to receive is €0.11 (10p)/min + VAT, while texts will remain capped at €0.11 (10p).

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How to cope with price of parenting

By Martin Lewis, July 14, 2011

This is a wealth warning for all parents: the summer holidays are coming. And while the children get time off, that doesn't mean you do.

The cost of trying to ensure they are safe and supervised while you do your job can be prohibitive. Luckily, there are a number of childcare schemes that can help you cut the cost, even if you only use them during the summer.

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Cheapest loan to get

By Martin Lewis, July 7, 2011

You will see that almost every card or loan is now 'representative APR', meaning just 51 per cent of accepted applicants get the boasted-about rate, the rest pay more.

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The quick fix we all need

By Martin Lewis, June 30, 2011

Everybody needs to assess their energy bills - urgently. If you don't act soon, you will have missed the window to insure against price hikes.

My prediction of a big energy price hike this summer was correct. Scottish Power is doing just that. In August it will increase gas prices by 19 per cent and electricity by 10 per cent, hitting 2.4 million customers.

Yet make no mistake.

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A food faux-pas

By Martin Lewis, June 23, 2011

£14 billion worth of food was thrown out in 2010, unecessarily. One of the major reasons is the confusion between 'best before' and 'use by' dates.

'Use by' is a genuine health warning and once food has gone beyond that it should be thrown away. Yet with the exception of eggs, that is not true with 'best-befores'.

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Time to reclaim mis-sold insurance

By Martin Lewis, June 16, 2011

Billions of pounds are sitting waiting for millions of people who have been unknowingly shafted by their banks on credit cards and loans: roughly £1,500 per person.

Having given up defending their disgusting mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) last month, banks have now 'provisioned' enormous sums, waiting to be paid out in compensation.

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Secret hotels

By Martin Lewis, June 10, 2011

A woman approached me in the street the other day and said: "I've come to London and I'm staying in a £200 a night Hilton hotel for £70".

She got this discount by turning detective on sites that offer 'secret' hotel deals.

If you're staying in a big city, these secret hotels – where you aren't told the name till you've paid – can seriously undercut usual prices.

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Beat the brands

By Martin Lewis, May 26, 2011

Hayfever and allergy sufferers can beat big brand prices by grabbing remedies online that contain the same 'active ingredient'. Though of course, if you are eligible for free prescriptions, that is a cheaper route. Online pharmacy chemist-4-u.com has boxes of 28 Piriton-equivalent tablets for 80p, if you order a minimum of three.

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