Can you put up a flat-pack easel in 10 minutes?
I was filming for Watchdog on Friday morning. All was going well, until they said they had a blackboard which they wanted me to do sums on during a piece-to-camera – easy peasy lemon squeezy I thought – but then the producer dropped the bomb: "by the way, the blackboard easel’s a flat-pack and we want to...
“Surprised to be contacted by the rudest, most aggressive human being in the world”
Some emails just make you laugh out loud. MSE was copied in on Gary’s complaint letter to his mobile provider below. While I should caution that this type of rhetoric isn’t as good as a polite, but firm letter – I suspect at least the sheer, cathartic release made Gary feel better and it reflects the frustration...
Consultation over the Gambling Introductory Offer Loopholes board
For the result of this consultation see the “Gambling Introductory Offer Loopholes board" feedback results blog. The "Gambling Introductory Offer Loopholes" board was originally set up to allow discussion on risk-free introductory loopholes. E.g. "Free £20 to play at an online casino". So you put £9.50 on red, £9.50 on black, £1 on zero and then took...
How good are your taste buds? – The Tic Tac challenge
It’s a game of skill, dedication, wits and nerve – a tantalising taste challenge that’s capable of splitting the Tic from the Tac. Oh, OK, it’s a silly filler game I made up during a long car journey – but you may just enjoy it. Equipment needed: One packet of lime and tangerine Tic Tacs (the green...
Beware ‘acting up’ pay rises, they may be fool’s gold
In a struggling economy, firms are extra careful about promotions. Many people find themselves acting up for maternity or other cover. If they’re lucky, they get a temporary pay hike too. While extra money is, of course, welcome, it can be fool’s gold – causing nearly as much pain as good if handled wrong. I was prompted...
I disagree with The Sunday Times’ call to ban savings bonuses
Once, introductory savings bonuses were rightly called a scourge. Yet with UK interest rates at 0.5%, these days they effectively provide a cast-iron rate guarantee. So while the sentiment of the Sunday Times’ call for banks to stop offering them is fine, I worry the timing is dire. The paper’s money section front page was emblazoned with...
I challenge you to pass the driving theory test
If, like me, you’ve been driving an age – 22 years for me – it’s easy to feel like you know most things about driving. So here’s a challenge – try taking an official practice theory test (links below), and see if you pass. Back in the day, when I took my driving test to get a...
“Wish I’d been stupid enough to get PPI in the first place”
Having PPI paid back doesn’t mean you’re stupid, yet there’s a growing attitude on the web of people feeling PPI payouts are rewarding stupidity. This is a damaging attitude, so I want to explain why… This morning I saw a classic Twitter example – I’d retweeted this: After reading Martin’s website I made 1 phone call to...
Surprise call from Ed Davey, Energy Minister – on collective switching
It’s rare (well it never happens actually) a Secretary of State calls me out of the blue, especially in his first week in the job. Yet Ed Davey, the new cabinet minister responsible for energy and climate change, has done just that. In a nutshell, it was all about him wanting MSE (and others) to launch a...
A warning to freelancers and the self-employed everywhere
Updated 22 January 2013 There is a lurking nightmare ready to strike many freelancers and the self-employed. Unlike employees, where tax is taken off before you receive your pay packet, freelancers are usually paid gross (pre-tax). But the psychology of this can cause financial havoc. It’s something every newly self-employed person (or those who’ve never realised) needs...
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Martin Lewis: Is it time to ban unnecessary Christmas presents?5 December 2022Update 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: The one thing everyone aged over 66 needs to know29 November 2022It 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 an extra £650 to help with energy bills.