Big increases for energy and petrol

September is the month when we should think seriously about the cost of heating and lighting our homes as nights draw in and the days are cooler.  There is yet another strong prompt in the form of a 12% increase in energy bills for 11 million households from October 1. The price cap on standard variable tariffs is going up to an average £1,277 from October 1.  Ofgem allows this increase because the energy companies have persuaded the regulator that wholesale prices have risen massively, even though many of the companies we pay for our gas and electricity buy their […]

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Energy bills unfair to all

The chancellor announced in his Autumn Statement that the domestic energy bills are to be looked in to by the Government to make sure they are fair to all.  It cannot come a day too soon….and no doubt it will not be soon at all. The company’s tell us that they are making minuscule profits on our energy bills because they have historically used the cheapest tariffs for their calculations.  They could then say their profits were only 4% on a typical customer.  But if they used the standard variable rate it would be much higher. And all this was […]

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The poor need help to get better deals

I met the personification of the spirit of Money Fight Club when I was a fellow panelist at the Money Advice Service’s Financial Capability Week at the QEII centre this week.  Vanessa Simao is a trainee with the Young Women’s Trust in London and an outreacher in Barking and Dagenham so she knows that to help clients in her work she has to share her own experiences as a single parent. She knows what it is like to take a loan to provide food or heating and then to get behind and agree to consolidate the loans into one payment […]

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Double charging the poorest borrowers

  It’s always the same. It’s the poor what gets the blame and are charged far more than they should be. At the end of September Wonga managed to charge customers twice leaving thousands without money to buy food or pay their rent over a weekend.   But that accident was resolved in days. When it comes to overcharging it is the establishment lenders that know how to double charge their poorest customers over many years and take their time to put their customers back. Poorest customers will be repaid The Financial Conduct Authority estimates that up to 750,000 mortgage customers, […]

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Why energy companies leave me cold

Lit the stove last night. Winter is coming fast. So what do the energy companies do? They set us up to fail when we try to get the best deal on our gas and electricity tariffs over the winter months. Until April energy companies could not exclude existing customers from cheap new deals. Ofgem had ruled in 2014 that new tariffs should be offered to everyone. Since then they have been working on new chart-topping tariffs that will not be available for all. From November the regulator will no longer make sure that the market is fair. If the companies […]

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Don’t ask, dont…

In advance of the Women At The Top Summit organised by the Financial Times this week – where Money Fight Club co-founder Lindsay Cook looks at women and pay – she blogs on the underlying premise – don’t ask… don’t get. From pay rises to energy bills – how to get what you want One of the few rules of Money Fight Club is that if you do not ask you do not get. It applies to asking for better prices on insurance, energy bills, mortgage rates and fruit and vegetables in the market. We recommend that you allow yourself […]

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Cut home insurance costs – in minutes

I’m worth £600 an hour My time became worth £597.84 per hour this week when I challenged the price that my home insurer was planning to charge for my contents and buildings insurance. The policy is due for renewal at the end of August. It would be renewed automatically (auto renewal). It’s not a bad thing to set up, just in case, say,  you were away on holiday and forgot to get the policy renewed before departing, or had a family emergency and were distracted. Auto renewal means you are never without cover. Don’t wait for your insurer But you […]

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Being human

Behavioural economics – no, don’t yawn yet While the rest of us get on with paying the bills and going to work, economists are slugging it out in grand intellectual style. What are they arguing about? Well, little old us, of course. At the centre of the fisticuffs is a big debate about whether we can be totally logical when it comes to money – weigh up the facts at hand and make coolly rationale decisions – or whether we are bound by our emotions and the merry dance they lead us across our personal financial landscape. Economic nudging This […]

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Blue Monday – good news about the most financially depressing day of the year

Blue Monday is coming up and so named because December’s pay cheque is often paid a day or two earlier and then January is a five week month, with many of us not seeing another pay cheque reach our bank account for another couple of weeks. When we worked out which day was Blue Monday we felt it fell on January 26. But the growing concensus is that it will actually fall on Monday, January 19. Sheeesh! You wouldn’t think people would be so keen to get there sooner, would yah? Why so blue, Monday? Credit card bills have landed […]

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12th night – money saving tips for the New Year

January 5 heralds the start of our post-Christmas battle plan Our money saving tips for the New Year First of all check what you owe on credit cards, overdrafts, personal loans, mortgage or rent arrears, gas and electricity bills, council tax arrears and compare with what your borrowings were a year ago. Nationally we’re getting further into debt so the chances are your personal borrowing will also look a little podgier than it did a year ago. Borrowing is a bit like how much you weigh… If you don’t keep an eye on things it tends to creep up year […]

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