Martin Lewis: Why are energy standing charges so high? What can be done?

Outrageously, most people will pay £300 per year just for the facility of having gas and electricity, even if you don't use any. This is due to the high energy standing (daily) charges. These are a moral hazard and should, at the minimum, be substantially reduced – something I am, again, campaigning with the regulator Ofgem to change. So I wanted to bash out this blog to run you through it.

Martin Lewis: Is it time to ban unnecessary Christmas presents?

Update September 2017: It’s eight years since I first braved this subject, expecting a snowstorm of protest. Instead, year after year more join in, like Julia who recently tweeted me, “@MartinSLewis, finally took your advice and told my family I can’t afford Christmas presents. What a weight off my mind. Thank you.” One year even the Archbishop of...

Martin Lewis: Five things all new English university starters should know

The 2023 academic year is about to start, and it'll see the biggest shake-up to student finance in England for a decade. The changes are both subtle and massive. On the surface they look like a tweak, in practice they will increase the eventual cost of going to university by over 50% for many typical graduates. I recognise that isn't what you want to read, and it's tough for me to write it too…

Using plastic overseas? Always PAY IN EUROS (even if it says 0% commission)

Update 18 July 2023: I wrote this blog back in 2013, and uploaded a newer video in May 2022, so while the text is a little dated, and the rates in the video are slightly wrong, the logic is still exactly the same.

Martin Lewis: 80,000 teens' Child Trust Fund cash locked away. Government holds the key – my letter to the Children's Minister

Between 2002 and 2011, every UK child was given £100s in a tax-free savings Child Trust Fund (CTF) by the state, which parents could then add more on top. The money was set to be accessible when the child turned 18 – giving everyone some cash to start their adult life. Now many with CTFs have hit that age, but for 80,000 children in England and Wales with special educational needs or disabilities, their cash can't be accessed without a nightmare, costly, often unaffordable process for their parents.

Martin Lewis: The new mortgage 'forbearance' help – how big a change is it, is it mandatory?

On Friday, the Chancellor, regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and bosses of the UK's major mortgage lenders agreed a new package of forbearance measures to help some with mortgage troubles (this was updated on Tuesday 26 June with the mortgage charter).

Martin Lewis: A drugs bust - stop letting big pharmaceuticals rip you off!

Harry Potter's got nowt on the pharmaceutical industry. It's full of real wizards - both those who make drugs that help, and the marketers who have a raft of tricks to persuade us there's hidden magic in their brands. Drug companies spend millions promoting 'only-use-the-name-you-know' messages... but it's often marketing baloney, balderdash and any other 'b' words you can think of.

Martin Lewis: The one thing everyone aged over 66 needs to know

It is a national tragedy that getting on for a million pensioners, many of whom have been paying into the system for years, are missing out on a critical boost to their income. It's called pension credit, and this year it also means you get up to £900 extra to help with the cost of living.

Martin Lewis: Energy bill credit – how much is too much? Stop the rip-off and get back £100s, by understanding the monthly direct debit energy cycle…

Is your electricity and gas provider unfairly sitting on £100s of your money? Over 65% of us pay energy bills by direct debit – the cheapest way to pay. However, monthly direct debits give firms the chance to build up a reservoir of customers' cash. Yet interrogating an energy firm's data shows that right NOW, May, is the PERFECT TIME to stop the rip-off and get that money back!

Martin Lewis: An important warning to every employee in the UK

This is a warning for every worker in the UK. Have you turned down a pay rise without realising it? Millions have – around 10% of the workforce currently – and many others risk doing it, unaware of the consequences. It happens when your employer 'auto-enrols' you into a pension scheme, but you decide to opt out – in most cases, a huge mistake.