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.
A couple of months ago I became a patron of the PSU charity, which helps those facing civil or family courts. I went along to the Royal Courts of Justice to explain why and to meet a superb collection of volunteers – who provide a mix of hand-holding of scared people, to providing excellent guidance to help them navigate the court system.
If there was a big red CANCEL CHRISTMAS button, would you press it? While the festive season is usually portrayed as unerringly joyous, not everyone feels that way. It can put stress on you and on your pockets. So, forgive me, but to relieve that pressure, and possibly increase happiness, it is worth considering going cold turkey.
Should loyal customers be charged more than new ones? On the surface the answer is a simple no – but nothing is that simple. Many consumer marketplaces function because only some people embrace competition, and we need to work out what happens if we change that.
The new energy price cap (following on from the prepay price cap) for millions of customers on a standard tariff will begin on 1 January 2019. It's already been wrongly reported, but there's a bigger worry that it will make the savings on comparison sites wrong.
Update January 2020: We now have a new how much should you save for your child to go to University calculator and my updated parental contribution briefing. Please go there as that’s more up to date than this blog.
This is a warning for parents of all teenagers. Now over 50% of our young people go on to university. And while you commonly hear that you don’t need to pay for that upfront, it’s no longer true - there is a hidden parental contribution.
I always suggest, when you’re doing an energy comparison, to enter the kilowatt hours (kWh) figure from your bill, if possible, as it gives a more accurate result than entering the cost. (Though the sin of inaction is far greater than the sin of inaccuracy – so if you’re unsure, don’t be put off.)
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12 September 2023
11 September 2023Update 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...
4 September 2023The 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.