As his hit ITV show returns, moneysavingexpert.com founder Martin Lewis sniffs out the best Black Friday deals, so consumers can have a cut-price Christmas… and reveals how people can hold on to more of their cash in 2016.
As your show, The Martin Lewis Money Show, returns to ITV on Monday (November 23), you’ll be offering advice on how people can save money this Christmas. What would be your top tip?
“Don’t spend money if you can’t afford it and let one day ruin your 2016. Christmas is about spending time with family, not spending money. The biggest mistake most people make is that they have a lust list of things they want and don’t think about what they can actually afford, which leads to debt or disappointment.”
So how can people avoid that?
“My message is simple: add up how much you’ve got to spend, then work out what’s the best Christmas you can have on that. Let the money lead.”
People can make substantial savings on their Christmas shopping on Black Friday (November 27) and its online cousin, Cyber Monday, on November 30…
“That’s right. These are the big shopping days where all the best deals have been concertina’d into that weekend. People always love a discount and to try and pick up a bargain and I’ll be telling you where all the best deals are.”
Do Black Friday and Cyber Monday really offer the biggest discounts in the run-up to Christmas?
“Black Friday isn’t necessarily the best time to buy – the deals aren’t as good as people think, so it’s important not to let yourself get carried away. There are other deals to be had in the run-up to Christmas and I’ll also be doing my Festive Forecaster where I’ll predict what deals will be coming up in December.”
How can people save money in other areas of their lives?
“In lots of ways. Millions of people are paying full rates on their credit cards when they could switch to a much cheaper card that could slash their bills. There are people who still buy train tickets at the station when there are cheaper advanced tickets available, and there are people who could obtain childcare vouchers to cut the cost of childcare. People should always ask where they can save.”
How have you made sure this show is really engaging?
“Each programme will have one big theme and it might be that I dress up and get a bit silly, asking people quiz questions. But these are not easy questions – they’re set up for people to get them wrong and designed for people to go: ‘Well, I didn’t know that’. We’re also launching a thing called ‘Savvy Shortcuts’. These are things people might not know how to do quickly to save them a few quid!”
This series runs well into 2016. How can people kick off the New Year with a much healthier bank balance?
“Gas and electricity is the big saving people can make in January. Seventy per cent of people are overpaying on their energy bills by 25 per cent. It only takes five minutes to sort out and the typical saving is £290 a year – it’s just bonkers not to do it!”
Do you think as a nation we’re getting better at haggling and shopping around to save money?
“I think we do haggle more that we used to but, while more people do, many people still don’t. It’s my job to get people to understand how the system works. It’s about being a bit clever and learning how to manipulate the system – that’s when people have real power.”
What feedback do you get from people you meet out and about?
“I get lots of thank yous. One person might tell me that my advice has impacted on their finances by tens of thousands of pounds – you can claim that on mis-sold PPI insurance alone. Someone else might say: ‘I was in debt and through your website I got out of it’. Some people are really quite emotional when they meet me, which is a difficult one for a British bloke. It’s a humbling experience and one I’m never quite sure how to deal with.”
Why have you made it your mission to help millions of people try and save money?
“I love what I do and I do it because I believe in it. This is what I was born to do. Some people can hear music and play it straight away; I can look at a credit card’s Terms & Conditions and tell you how companies are trying to shaft you. It’s not a glamorous gift – but it is a gift.”
The Martin Lewis Money Show starts on Monday November 23 at 7.30pm on ITV1.