Watching the pennies and pounds.
Money man - Martin Lewis
An increasing number of people are worried about debt with rising mortgages and fuel prices - and the credit crunch. We meet Martin Lewis - a North West man with a mission to tell people how to save money.
Remember the old proverb - "look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves"?
Martin Lewis is a man who lives by that rule. He's surely one of the most high profile financial expert in the UK.
Martin is seen by many as the consumer's champion and has an almost evangelical zeal:
"If you really want to change people's lives for the better, you put pounds in their pockets to enable them to do what they like."
Making money interesting
Born in Manchester but brought up in Cheshire, Martin started his career in the city and worked as a financial journalist.
He sees himself as a performer who can make money interesting. At one time he even appeared as a stand up comedian which might account for his showmanship.
Martin is just one in a line of financial experts who have appeared in the media. He has an extraordinary head for facts and figures.
At 18 he could recite detailed sporting world records and now he can reel off monetary facts and figures like a financial encyclopedia.
Martin Lewis and Jeremy Vine swap tips.
Today he is a regular contributor to the influential Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2.
Vine compares listening to his words of wisdom to hearing the Sermon on the Mount - consumers just can't get enough him.
When Martin talks, people listen to his advice.
Vine says that the key to Martin's success is his independence - he knows all the credit card rates, mortgage rates, ISAS, flight deals, and the minutiae of the financial markets.
Martin is also a financial activist. He has been a key player in the campaign demanding the refund of bank charges to customers.
According to Martin 1.8 million people downloaded his specimen bank letters and he has helped them get back an estimated £1/2 billion.
John Howard, Chair of the Financial Services Consumer Council, says:
"Banks should be afraid of him. The Internet has made a dramatic difference to things and the banks haven't recognised that. Martin has recognised that because his website is incredibly popular. It means he can very quickly get the message to people…"
Martin wants to galvanise the public to fight back where he sees they are being ripped off. He's also led the way in reclaiming council tax and mortgage insurance.
Dealing with debt
It is estimated that British people are in more debt than ever before and the economic outlook is bleak.
Martin has captured the change in the economic tide by picking up on people's anxieties and suggesting solutions.
Keeping a rein on personal finance.
He's most proud of his latest campaign to educate people about their finances, as he told Inside Out:
"The nation is financially illiterate… I'm lobbying the government to teach kids but nobody wants to take the nettle."
But Martin is a determined man - so watch out for his campaign as he pressurises those in authority for change.
And why not take a look at some of Martin's own financial money saving tips.
last updated: 29/02/2008 at 17:26