Maths anxiety holding back millions

It’s the first ever National Numeracy Day and urgent action has been called to address the nation’s poor numeracy levels amongst adults. Research has found that half of the adult population struggle at basic primary school maths.

The study has found that we could be earning and saving more if we get a better grip with our numbers.

Take our quiz below to test your maths skills.

If you want to improve your maths skills then visit the national numeracy website.

Reclaim your energy credit

Reclaim energy credit, get paid to shift debts to 25mths 0% NO FEE, free eye test, and an easy tip for selling on eBay. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.

Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.

First Direct switching incentive is back

New First Direct switching incentive, beware buying tickets through Viagogo, free £10 Amazon credit and free £5ish Lego. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.

Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.

Bargain insurance and flights in Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week

£700 worth of insurance for £150ish, urgent cheap easyJet flights, ‘free’ £24 Elemis cream, and cheap Thorpe Park pass. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.

Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.

£100 FREE cash for switching bank accounts

Last chance for free £100 First Direct switch bonus? free £5 off £25 Amazon, ‘free’ annual garden pass, free tennis sessions and beware FCA’s new PPI ad. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.

Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.

Claim marriage tax allowance to pocket £900

Free £900 for married couples, urgent cheap Easyjet flights, 25% extra Tesco Clubcard points and up 50% off ASOS. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.

Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.

Pay rise and cut for workers, free railcard and cheap Prosecco

A warning for every employee aged over 22, cash ISA deadline, £1.50 prosecco, and free railcard for job seekers. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.

Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.

Warning. If you’re over 21 years old and earn over £10,000 you’re about to get a pay rise and pay cut

On 6 April, most UK workers aged 22 or over are due a hidden pay rise which you may not know about. This is all about the ‘auto-enrolment’ scheme which simply means unless you opt out, you’ll automatically contribute towards pension saving (separate to the state pension) from your salary, and if you do, it must do so too. So do nothing and you’re saving.
Next week, when the new tax year starts, the minimum amount that both you and your employer must contribute will increase substantially. The effect, which you will see for the first time in your April PAYE statement, is a bit of a mind twist…

Everyone who is opted in effectively gets a pay rise… as your employer is giving you even more money you wouldn’t have got otherwise, even though it’s not immediately usable.Everyone who is opted in gets less take-home pay… to get the extra money, in most cases, you will have to contribute more now too; so your disposable income, the amount you can spend each month, is reduced.On 6 April, the minimum your employer has to contribute increases from 1% of your salary to 2% (so £200 a year per £10,000 salary), and the minimum total auto-enrolment contribution rises to 5% from 2% (that’s the total that you and your employer together must put in). So if your employer only puts the minimum in, that means currently it pays 1% now and you pay 1% too. Yet with the new minimums, it’d put 2% in and you’d put 3% in.

So if you’re on the minimum and you never opt out (or opted to put more in) if you do nothing you will see your take-home income drop because of this. However, I’d urge you, if at all possible to not opt out. In fact, if possible see what the maximum your firm will contribute is and opt to save more to get it, it means you’ll get more.

As pension contributions are from pre-tax salary, it’ll actually only cost a basic-rate taxpayer around £48 (£36 at higher rate) for £60 to be added to your pension saving and even at the minimum level your employer will then have to add £40 on top meaning you get £100.

It’s worth noting, some firms have more generous schemes so the minimum won’t apply. And those on ‘final salary pensions’ work a different way.

Urgent. You've one week to use your 2017/18 cash ISA allowance, but do you need to?

I used to shout at this time of year to use your cash ISA allowance (currently £20,000) or you’ll lose it. But as virtually everyone can now earn tax-free interest on normal savings, the choice between this and an ISA isn't as clear-cut.

An ISA is a normal savings account where you don't pay tax on the interest, but 95% of people pay no tax anyway. That's because the personal savings allowance lets basic-rate taxpayers earn £1,000 in interest tax-free (higher rate it's £500; top-rate payers get no allowance). That means a basic rate taxpayer would need over £70,000 in savings before paying tax at current rates. So the tax advantage of cash ISAs only matters for big earners and those with large savings

So for most, just stick your money in whatever pays the highest rate. Full details of those are in Martin’s top savings guide, in brief though…right now the top easy access deal is from Tesco Bank offering 1.3% for normal savings and Nationwide paying 1.3% for an easy access cash ISA (1.4% if you’ve got its current account for at least a year) – so all being equal you may as well put it in an ISA.

For fixed rates through normal savings smash ISAs. The top normal fix is from OakNorth Bank at 1.82% for 1yr and Paragon Bank at 2.09% for 2yrs. The top 1 year fix cash ISA is from Charter Savings at 1.46% and Paragon at 1.67% for 2yrs. So unless you’ve seriously large savings go for the highest rate. And check your current ISA rates to ensure they’re not dismal.

Martin’s Quickies:

Six bottles of prosecco for £1.50 each trick (not Scotland): This works best for newbies to Sainsbury’s shopping online, but go online to Sainsbury’s where its Sainsbury’s Prosecco Frizzante is £6 a bottle (this does work with other wines but it may not be as cheap), and until this Monday (2 April), if you order six bottles you automatically get a further 25% discount (this works in store too, but the following code doesn’t). So six Prosecco Frizzante cost £27 – that’s £4.50 a bottle. Then if you’ve never shopped online at Sainsbury’s before, at the checkout enter code SCSSEOMAR and you’ll get £18 off when you spend over £60.

But the T&Cs say the £18-off discount can’t be on booze, so just buy at least £33 of groceries that you need to buy there anyway to make it work (to get you over the £60 total spend, then you’re effectively getting six bottles for £1.50.

You’ll need to be quick if you want this though, as usually there’s heavy demand, and in the past incarnations of this deal Sainsbury’s has substituted it for a more costly version if it runs out. So select ‘no substitutions’ in your preferences to stop this happening (if you don’t, you can always reject delivery). Delivery is £1 to £7 (must be delivered by 11 April) or you can collect in store for free. And of course, please be Drinkaware. Note due to alcohol promo laws this doesn’t work in Scotland.

Jobseeker? You may be able to get a FREE railcard giving 50% off many rail fares. Some who are claiming jobseeker's allowance or who are job hunting and claiming universal credit may be able to get a free railcard from your local jobcentre, which gives you 50% off anytime day tickets, off-peak day tickets, and season tickets across England, Scotland and Wales rail journeys.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train firms, is writing to politicians to ask them for help promoting the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, after new stats showed huge regional variation in how much it's used. Between March 2017 and March 2018 there were almost 290,000 journeys made using the card in London, but under 2,000 in the North East.

To be eligible you need to have been receiving a benefit for at least three months and less than a year (less than 9 months if 18-24). In some circumstances, you might also be able to apply for a card if you have been claiming certain other benefits such as incapacity benefit, income support or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) for at least three months and are actively looking for work via a jobcentre.

Not everyone is guaranteed to get it though, as they are given out on a case-by-case basis, so ask your local jobcentre (eg if not many trains in your area you may not get one). The card can be valid for maximum up to three months, though the exact length is at the discretion of the Jobcentre you apply to.

Bag a few bargains with Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week

Beat stamps and passport price hikes, urgent mortgage interest benefit warning, 20% off Family and Friends railcard, Thornton’s Easter eggs and 25% off Ted Baker. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.

Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.