Money Mensch

Money Mensch: Free credit reports

By Martin Lewis, January 6, 2011

It's time to check your credit files. The impact of credit scoring has grown massively since the global crisis and one small error can kibosh applications for mortgages, cards, loans, mobiles, or even paid monthly home insurance.

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Money Mensch: Ten tips to being a savvy consumer

By Martin Lewis, December 29, 2010

It is what you don't know that is really worrying. Apathy, ignorance and inertia are three of the biggest contributors to bank and utility companies' profits.

They make money by keeping us in the dark. That means the system is often complex, so it pays to learn how it works. And sometimes, you can even turn the tables on them. Here's how:

1. You can agree to a warranty to cut prices, then cancel it

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Money Mensch: Protect your buys

By Martin Lewis, December 22, 2010

Many shops try to scare us into buying pricey warranties for virtually all electrical goods, yet many are a complete waste of money. However, if you want peace of mind, there is a way to get them far cheaper than accepting retailers' jumped-up policies.

Use a special credit card to pay for your electrical purchase that gives you a year's additional warranty on top of when the one-year manufacturer's one ends. But make sure you repay the card in full each month so there is no interest.

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Money Mensch: Hang up on costly phone-line rentals

By Martin Lewis, December 16, 2010

Home phone users have been dealt a double blow this year, with price hikes in both April and October. Yet it isn't all doom and gloom - there are ways to cut costs. What's more, we have just seen the launch of the cheapest ever line rental deal (more on this later).

BT and TalkTalk's price rises have left many paying £150 to £160 a year for line rental alone. But there is no need to pay such sums. It is important to remember that whoever you pay for line rental, the actual wires remain the same.

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Money Mensch: It is flu jab time

By Martin Lewis, December 9, 2010

Don't shell out serious cash if you need the flu jab. First, find out if you are entitled to a free one from your GP's surgery. Many people are: if you are over 65, have diabetes, are being treated for cancer, have a long-term chronic condition and more.

If you don't qualify, head to either a Lloyds Pharmacy or a Sainsbury's or Asda branch that includes a pharmacy.

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Money Mensch: Act now to see if you're owed £100s

By Martin Lewis, December 2, 2010

In the past I have yelled about reclaiming bank charges, council tax, payment protection and more.But now millions of people can reclaim cash from Tesco or their old mobile, broadband or phone company. They just don't know about it. And we could be talking hundreds of pounds.

These new reclaims are much easier, and if you are eligible, the cash will come at speed.

● Reclaim cash from old mobile, broadband & phone companies

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Money Mensch: Maximise your Clubcard vouchers

By Martin Lewis, November 25, 2010

Tesco points collectors take note. You are about to be sent your latest batch of vouchers; yet there is an all-change in what you can redeem them for.

A voucher worth £10 for in-store spending can instead have its value quadrupled if you trade it in for things in the Clubcard rewards brochure, such as days out, magazine subscriptions and more. Yet from Monday 6 December, the conversion rate drops.

A £10 voucher will only get you £30 in rewards. So if you want items or services in the brochure, act fast.

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Ditch and switch energy providers

By Martin Lewis, November 18, 2010

Warning: gas and electricity price hikes are back. For the first time in two years, some of the 'big six' energy companies have announced major price hikes. British Gas will increase gas and electricity prices by an average of 7 per cent on 10 December, and Scottish & Southern (S&S) will hike gas prices by 9.4 per cent on average from 1 December. Industry insiders believe more will follow suit, blasting energy prices sky-high. This is an urgent plea to take a few minutes, save yourself £100s, and sort it now before it's too late.

What has happened?

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Money Mensch: Plastic fantastic

By Martin Lewis, November 11, 2010

Do you have a Nationwide debit card for the fee-free foreign transactions? It's time to dump it.

This month a raft of fees have been added so it's no longer cheap. Yet you can still spend cheaply abroad, getting the best exchange rate, by using a specialist overseas-spend credit card. Just ensure you repay the balance off in full every month.

Most cards add a hidden 2.75 per cent 'load' to exchange rates. Yet the Halifax Clarity is load -free worldwide and has no ATM withdrawal charge - though you pay 12.9 per cent APR on the cash withdrawn, even if you repay the balance in full.

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Money Mensch: Don't be left out in the cold this winter

By Martin Lewis, November 4, 2010

It is time to batten up the hatches. Winter is on its way, and if you want to keep the bills as low as the temperature, you need to act now.

That is not a flippant statement: many of the changes you need to keep costs low take time to set up. Those who knee-jerk react once their feet are buried six-inches-deep in snow are likely to lose out.

So follow my checklist below to ensure you are fully prepared for the costly months to come - and hopefully the extra cash in your wallet will keep it insulated.

● Cut £300 off gas and electricity bills before winter comes

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