Money Saving Expert website founder Martin Lewis has revealed a string of top tips – so we decided to collate them for you.
He has his own show on ITV, but in case you’ve missed any episodes, here are his best pieces of advice for money-savers.
Everything from eBay selling to making money without leaving the house, from passport mistakes and when to haggle for deals, he is the king of the savvy and can save you hundreds of pounds through minimal effort.
How to save money without leaving the house
Martin Lewis, moneysavingexpert, 45, appeared on This Morning to talk about how you can make money from your living room.
The financial expert, currently with his own show on ITV on Monday nights, had a very handy tip for us all.
He says, through doing a “personal stock take”, you can shift unwanted items and make money, on sites such as eBay.
“Finally, now’s the perfect time to do an annual personal stock clearance, and make some extra cash for 2018,” he advised.
“Walk around the house and examine everything; from books, CDs, DVDs, old mobile phones and clothes.
“If you’ve not used it since last January, consider flogging it.”
He used the example of one woman, Zoe, who said “I’ve made £200-£300 selling on Facebook, it works well – no fees, no trips to the post office.”
Martin continued: “Have a look on eBay to see if any of your bits are suitable for sale.
“There are also lots of recycling sites that will pay you for old mobiles and gadgets.
“Just make sure you do your research first to find the one that’ll give you the most.”
If you’re a regular gig-goer, the chances are you’ve missed out on those eagerly-anticipated tickets before.
This is a common problem when the hottest tickets for the latest music, comedy and theatre are released.
Thankfully for O2 customers, they don’t have this problem.
Anyone who has their phone contracts with the network knows they can be the first to get their hands on gig tickets and a whole range of other freebies, reports the Liverpool Echo.
It can be annoying for customers of other networks, but thankfully Martin Lewis – aka MoneySavingExpert.com – has revealed a loophole which means YOU can take advantage of O2 Priority.
O2 says anyone with an O2 mobile – including Pay and Go, Pay Monthly and business customers – is eligible to get it. So if you’ve ANY unlocked phone, it’s easy.
Here’s the four steps you need to follow, according to the website.
1. Order a free Pay As You Go Sim card from O2 and insert the Sim into your smartphone.
2. Connect to wi-fi and download the O2 Priority app.
3. Open the app and enter your O2 phone number (it should be on the Sim packaging). Then O2 will send you a text with your activation code, which you’ll need to enter in the app.
4. Now insert your normal Sim and (fingers crossed) the app should still work – it’s meant to disappear if you insert other sims, but we’ve tried it on a few unlocked handsets, and the app remained usable.
Mr Lewis appeared on the daytime favourite to lift the lid on a simple mistake which could potentially cost you.
Mr Lewis has warned travellers to renew their passports if they have less than six months validity left on them.
He spoke out to say people shouldn’t neglect to check whether their passport have enough expiry time on them for travelling, reports the MEN.
He recalled one case when parents had to return home from their planned trip because their child only had two months left on their passport.
Most countries require that passports should have at least six months of validity when traveling internationally and will not permit a traveller to enter the country unless their passport is set to expire at least six months after the final day of travel.
Martin said: “Check the expiry date and if it’s less than six months you need to go about renewing it.”
The new navy passports introduced after Brexit will be phased in slowly, but current British passport holders will able to continue using their burgundy passports until they expire.
Martin also urged people to check the expiry on their European Health Insurance Card, which gives travellers the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
The EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary and covers the treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care.
Travellers can apply for or renew an EHIC online free of charge at ehic.org.uk
Thinking about going away? Check out the latest deals for cheap flights on Skyscanner or see deals on where to stay at lastminute.com and there are deals on travel insurance with Worldside Insure
These are the best firms to haggle with
Martin Lewis has identified the best firms to barter with when you’re at the end of your household contracts.
Whether it’s your digital TV service, mobile phone or breakdown cover, there are bargains to be had for anyone brave enough to put aside their British reserve and indulge in financial flirtation.
Based on a survey of people who tried to haggle, Martin said the AA was top-of-the-pile, with a 90 per cent success rate.
From tenth to sixth were Virgin Media, AA Insurance, Vodafone, Plusnet, and Three – all with 70 to 80 per cent success rates.
EE was fifth, with a success rate of 80 per cent, Admiral fourth (82 per cent), Sky third (86 per cent) and the RAC second (87 per cent).
How and when do you haggle?
This is what he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett on his weekly financial slot.
“This is the real powerhouse place you haggle these days – when you’re coming to the end of your contract.
“Whether it’s your broadband, your digital TV, your mobile phone, your breakdown cover, you are holstering a huge weapon of loyalty.
“They are mature businesses desperate to keep you.
“They don’t want you to go elsewhere because everyone’s got their products so all they have got is to try to retain business.
“That means you are in a haggling world.
“The best time to haggle is when you are just approaching the end of your contract because you are free to leave without penalties.
“You do it with politeness and charm, never anger or aggression.
“Think of it as a form of financial flirtation.
“Your job is to win them on-side, to get them to help you, to get them to enjoy what’s going on, working together to get you the best price.”
Benchmark your prices – find out what is available from other providers.
Martin said: “Your business is taken for granted as an existing customer, it’s new customers whose business is fought for.”
Be honest about what you want to pay
“Get on the phone, tell them you are at the end of your contract and paying too much.
“If it’s TV, start with a channel audit – are you watching everything you’ve got, do you need to be paying for it?
“Tell them what price you want to pay and if it doesn’t work, say: ‘That’s too much, I’m going to have to leave’.
“That gets you put through to what’s publicly known as disconnections but is often known internally as customer retentions. They have the real power to negotiate.”
Don’t be afraid to walk away – and NEVER auto-renew
“Many people are telling me that, if they do leave, especially the big digital TV firms, a week later they get a letter with a new, far cheaper, offer.
“But, if you can get it cheaper elsewhere and the company you’re with isn’t willing to play ball, you should leave.
“Business models are predicated on drawing customers in with a cheap price for a year and then hoiking the price up afterwards in the hope that many customers, either through apathy or ignorance, will stick with them for the long term.
“They hope you won’t haggle because many people don’t.
“They just auto-renew, which is the great money-saving sin.”
How changing banks could get you £1k
MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis has also called on bank customers to re-evaluate their accounts.
The money-saving guru – with a show now on ITV – has recommended they ditch some popular high street banks.
The calls come in a bid to tell customers they can make more cash elsewhere.
People who regularly switch their bank accounts can get free money just by changing their account.
And, promisingly, some are getting up to £1000.
The best bank accounts to switch to
* Firstdirect.com gives £100 to switchers (or £125 via my mse.me/topbanks). There’s also a linked 5% regular savings account for up to £300/mth and you may get a £250 0% overdraft, reports the Liverpool Echo.
* Switch to hsbc.co.uk’s Advance account and you get £150 within 50 days and another £50 if you’re with it after a year. Plus there’s a linked 5% regular savings account you can put up to £250/month in.
* Natwest.com pays a £125 switch bonus on many of its current accounts. The standout though is its Reward account which, for a £2/month fee, gets you 2% bills cashback on direct debits for council tax, energy, broadband etc.
* New switchers to bank.marksandspencer.com get a £125 M&S gift card and a 5% regular savings account they can put up to £250/mth in. Unlike other banks you get this even if you don’t pay anything in, though put £1,000+/month (equivalent to paying in a £13,000+ salary) and you also get £5/month added to the gift card for the first year.
HOW TO SWITCH YOUR BANK ACCOUNT
The switching service is largely automated.
When you apply to the new bank, it will undertake its normal account-opening procedures.
It will confirm that it will use the new current account switching service backed by the Current Account Switch Guarantee.
You’ll be asked to provide two separate documents for proof of identity and proof of address.
Once your new account has been opened, you will need to complete a ‘Current Account Switch Agreement’ form and a ‘Current Account Switch Service – Account Closure’ form.
This is what happens next:
You will be able to choose and agree a convenient switch date for you with the new bank or building society.
It can’t be a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, and must be at least seven working days after your account has been opened.
Once this has been agreed, your new bank will provide confirmation that the switch has begun and will be completed on the agreed switch date.
You will continue using your old current account up until the agreed switching date. Your new bank will contact you if there any issues during this period.
On the switch date, your new bank will be responsible for moving your incoming and outgoing payments, and transferring any money to your new account, before closing the old account and sending confirmation that the process is complete.
If you run into any problems during or after the switching process, you should complain in the first instance directly to your new bank.
If you’re not happy with the answer you get or it doesn’t reply to you within eight weeks, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) .
MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis has revealed on his savvy website moneysavingexpert how you can try and bag supermarket bargains.
A top tip was that many staff have the authority to reduce prices at their discretion – particularly goods that are damaged/nearing their sell-by dates.
If you’re friendly, staff are more likely to help than when you’re rude.
Reduction times vary not just by supermarket but by store (and it’s particularly dependent on opening times).
As a rough guide, the first yellow stickers tend to appear mid-morning, and silly-price reductions begin early evening, when stores cut prices by 75% and more, reveals Martin Lewis.
Here’s when MoneySavers revealed to moneysavingexpert website the best times to bag these bargains.
Final reductions often start around 7pm – and most bargains have been snapped up by 9pm.
Discounts at Co-op very much varies by store. One former staff member told Martin Lewis items which expire that day tend to have a 50% discount and reductions increase around 5pm, though another MoneySaver said you have to wait until 8pm for 75% discounts.
M&S shoppers have revealed how they’ve seen final reductions at 6.30pm in stores which close at 7pm, and at 8pm in stores closing at 9pm. One person revealed that M&S often marks down items reaching their sell-by date “just after lunch”.
Shoppers said reductions tend to start late morning or lunchtime. Morrisons told m oneysavingexpert there’s no set policy though and it’s up to individual store managers to decide when and how to reduce items.
The official line from Sainsbury’s is also that the timing of yellow-sticker discounts is “completely store dependent”. MoneySavers told moneysavingexpert it’s worth starting scanning for yellow stickers around lunchtime .
Tesco also insists there’s no hard and fast rule on discounts, according to Moneysavingexpert. Previous reports from shop-floor staff suggest reductions start as early as 8am and big discounts materialise early evening – but much will depend on individual stores’ opening times.
MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis has used his ITV show to discuss the pitfalls of returning products.
Consumer rights are a minefield, with customers routinely unaware of what they can and, more importantly, CANNOT return.
Unfortunately, Mr Lewis revealed last night that shoppers actually have no rights to return items simply because a particular item of clothing doesn’t fit.
And, in even worse news, you can’t send it back if it’s the wrong colour or you’ve just changed your mind.
When putting the question surrounding returns policies to a vote, it was found many people believed as long as they had a proof of purchase they were eligible to return items, reports the Liverpool Echo.
Speaking during his ITV show, Martin Lewis said: “If goods are faulty then you don’t need a receipt you just need a form of proof of purchase that can be the receipt or can be a credit card statement, which is why I think people answered it with that one.”
Although when asked by co-host Angellica Bell why she is always able to return items, the money-saving guru cleared this up.
Legally stores do not need to offer this, with returns only allowed if a product is faulty or not fit for purpose.
He added: “That’s because many stores have return policies.
“During sales often they get rid of those return policies, now the only time you have a right to return in store is if goods are faulty, the fact that you got the wrong size it isn’t faulty.
“It has to be said it you bought something that was a size small and was clearly an extra large you could argue it was faulty in that case.
“But, generally if you haven’t tried it on or you don’t like the colour, it doesn’t fit through your door then it isn’t faulty and you have no right to return.
“Some stores do have published returns right in which case you have got the contractual right, but generally if you buy in a shop check out what your return rights are and do not assume you can take it back.”
He finished by adding it is at the discretion of each individual store to offer a returns policy.
Shoppers may be surprised by this, given the fact many high-street stores operate their own returns policy this may have never been an issue.