Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, is an award-winning campaigning TV and radio presenter, newspaper columnist and best-selling author.
An ultra-specialised journalist, focusing on cutting bills without cutting back, he founded MoneySavingExpert.com in 2003 for £100. It's now the UK's biggest money site, with over 13m monthly users and 7m receiving the Martin's Money Tips email – and he remains its full-time Editor-In-Chief.
He has his own prime-time ITV programme - The Martin Lewis Money Show and is resident expert on Daybreak, Lorraine, This Morning, Radio 5 Consumer Panel and Radio 2 Vine amongst others.
He's often credited as the "big gob in chief" behind campaigns to reclaim Bank Charges, PPI and Council Tax with over 10 million template letters downloaded and many £billions repaid. He's currently loudly campaigning to get financial education in schools.
In 2009 Martin was revealed as the UK's most searched person by the web analysts Hitwise (in 2010, the last time the research was released, he was second to Cheryl Cole). He's been Consumer Journalist of the Year, Citizens Advice Consumer Champion and topped The Grocer's 2011 Retail Power100 list.
Outside the world of money, he was a Celebrity Mastermind champion in 2012, won £150,000 on Celebrity Millionaire (going to CAB), regularly appears in Countdown's Dictionary Corner, averages over 400 points a game at Scrabble and, sadly, similar at golf. Bizarrely, he also had a featuring credit in a top 40 single, I Fought The Lloyds.
Martin is a governor of the London School of Economics and founder and patron of the MSE Charity, which so far has seens £100,000s of grants go to consumer finance education charities.
In 2012, MSE joined the MoneySupermarket group, and Martin used some of the proceeds to set up a £10m charity fund. The first £1m is being donated to Citizens Advice. The rest will be given over the next few years, and Martin primarily aims to focus on his passions for financial education and improving mental health and debt policy.
Surely that's enough info for anyone - but if you want really nerdy details - read on.
In this guide
Martin is 41 years old, was born in Manchester, grew up in Cheshire's Delamere Forest and now lives in north-west London with his wife Mrs MSE (Lara) and MSE Junior (Sapphire, who was born in November 2012).
He first moved to London to study Government and Law at the LSE, where he then spent a year as general secretary (president) of the students' union. After that he worked 'for the other side' as a City spin doctor in financial public relations while dabbling in stand-up comedy in his spare time to "relieve the tedium".
Then back to uni, this time a practical postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism at Cardiff University, which led to a staff job on personal finance and business programmes in the BBC's Business Unit. He spent time as a business editor at Radio 4's Today programme, and later reported for BBC1, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live.
Martin left the BBC on 31 December 1999 to go to a small, now-defunct digital channel called Simply Money Television, which is where he first became the 'Money Saving Expert'.
These days he's even done his own one-man West End show, MoneySaving Live, and just to get really silly, had a featuring credit in a top 40 chart hit, I Fought The Lloyds.
Outside of pure MoneySaving, Martin is a governor of the London School of Economics, has an average Scrabble score of over 400, tries to get his golf round under 90, does a bit of rock n roll-esque dancing supports Manchester City, loves The Big Bang Theory (Bazinga!) and tries to be an athletics track and field stats nerd. For more, see Martin's blog.
Watch Martin's 'life story'
Courtesy of ITV1's Lorraine
As well as creating, running and writing this site, Martin is phenomenally busy. His current portfolio of work includes...
The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV1. Martin's primetime show aims to save you £1,000s. Watch it on Tuesdays at 7.30pm.
Daybreak, ITV1. After a number of years with GMTV Martin carried straight over to the Daybreak team where he continues his resident Money Saving Expert role with regular slots every Tuesday as well as ad hoc news appearances.
- Watchdog, BBC1. During the Watchdog run, Martin regularly appears alongside Annie to report and work as Money Saving Expert.
- Lorraine, ITV1. Martin has his own Real Deals slot (formerly Deals of the Week) every Thursday on Lorraine, presenting top deals and ways to save.
- Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2. For six years Martin has had a regular hour-long Friday lunchtime phone-in on BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show.
- The Consumer Panel, BBC Radio 5 Live. Every Thursday at 12noon on Radio 5 Live Martin joins Shelagh Fogarty's team to form the Consumer Panel, chatting through the latest stories and giving them a MoneySaving spin.
- Sunday Post, Woman and other columns. Martin has a fortnightly column in the Sunday Post and Woman magazine, a monthly column in the Daily Telegraph and a syndicated column in a range of regional newspapers, including the Manchester Evening News and the Jewish Chronicle.
As well as these regular slots, Martin's constantly interviewed and appears on a range of news and current affairs programmes.
Outside the world of money Martin’s nerdy love of Scrabble means he regularly sits in Dictionary Corner on Channel 4's Countdown. He was Celebrity Mastermind champion in 2012 with “the Superman films” as his specialist subject, and in 2009 won £150,000 for charity alongside Angela Rippon on ITV1's Celebrity Who Wants To Be a Millionaire (playing for Citizens Advice).
Past TV & newspaper stuff
In the past Martin has had a number of TV series and newspaper columns of his own. These include...
- News of the World column. Martin had his own weekly campaigning page in the News of the World with his main column, plus tips of the week and a reader Q&A.
- Martin Lewis' It Pays To Watch, Channel 5. Martin presented three series of this prime time MoneySaving show on Channel 5 - in a live format the aim was to jam as much MoneySaving as possible into the half hour - at the speed he talks, that's serious content.
- Tonight, ITV1. For five years Martin was a regular presenter of ITV1's flagship Tonight current affairs programme, bringing detailed half-hour MoneySaving shows and exposes to a prime time ITV audience.
- Make Me Rich, ITV1. Martin's first TV series was Make Me Rich, a money makeover show where he was challenged to save families as much as possible in just one day. The average saving over the series was more than £5,000 per family.
Click here to find the MoneySaving books cheapestThe MoneySaving Books...
Martin's books The Money Diet, Three Lessons and Thrifty Ways have all been bestsellers.
The 2nd edition of The Money Diet followed in the footsteps of the first edition by topping the Amazon bestsellers list. This time it was number one for over two weeks, knocking Jamie Oliver and Sharon Osborne off the top spot.
Profiles and other stuff written about Martin
Many profiles have been written about Martin in the papers. Those still available online have been included here - though please don't believe everything you read. As always with these things, some are riddled with inaccuracies, though we've included 'em anyway.
- Philanthropy UK (Winter 2012) Money saving guru gives back with £10m
- The Financial Times (Sept 2012) Millionaire with a gift for thrift (you need register to read ft.com)
- The Jewish Chronicle (Sept 2012) Martin Lewis: the money expert who can save on anything except kosher meat
- House & Garden magazine (Sept 2012) Driving Passions
- Manchester Evening News' Business Week magazine (Aug 2012) 'I'm not motivated by money', says £87m advice expert Martin
- Press Gazette (Jun 2012) Martin Lewis: The journalist who broke the rules and hit the jackpot
- BBC (Jun 2012) Martin Lewis sells MoneySavingExpert.com for £87m
- The Guardian (Jun 2012) Martin Lewis sells MoneySavingExpert for £87m
- The Sun (Jun 2012) MoneyMakingExpert — Martin Lewis sells his website for £87m
- Daily Mirror (Jun 2012) Money making expert: Cash guru Martin Lewis flogs MoneySavingExpert website he set up in bedroom for £87million
- Woman magazine (Jan 2012) 'My wife's tighter with money than I am!'
- Tesco magazine (Jan 2012) Exclusive interview with Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert
- The Guardian (Jun 2011) Martin Lewis answers your money questions
- The Times (Aug 2010) Meet the MoneySavingExpert (you need to be registered to read thetimes.co.uk)
- The Guardian (May 2010) Pass notes No 2,778: Martin Lewis
- Yorkshire Post (Dec 2009) Take a tip from the expert
- The Independent (Nov 2009) Martin Lewis: Money Man
- The Scotsman (Apr 2009) Living by numbers
- The Observer (Mar 2009) This much I know
Hitwise most searched person in the UK (Feb 2009)
Martin Lewis most searched
The First Post (Dec 2008)
From GMTV's sofa - credit crunch star Martin Lewis
- The Guardian (Jun 2008) I feel ashamed. Very ashamed
- Manchester Evening News (Feb 2007)
Mr Supersaver's on a mission
- Sunday Herald magazine (Jan 2007) Lend me your arrears (PDF - it's big so may take a minute to download)
- The Guardian (Dec 2005) Cashing in on being a real nerd
- Metro (Dec 2005) 60 second interview
The stuff on his showreel...
A showreel is a tape sent to TV producers to show them how a broadcaster is on air.
It's been a long time since Martin sent one out, so this dates back to 2006, but it's an easy way to get a quick look at him on air. Also see MoneySaving Live, the MSE YouTube channel, funny money videos and the Daybreak Martin Lewis section.
Watch Martin's showreel (c.2007)
For more images and downloads see the Funny Money Gallery
If you ask him what he does for a living he says (March 2012):
I'm a broadcaster by training, a few years ago I'd have said that presenting programmes or talking about money on the telly and radio was my job. These days I'm just as focused on running the site and the financial justice campaigns like bank charges or council tax reclaiming that we work on.
I originally set MoneySavingExpert.com up in February 2003 for £100 as barely more than a home page. Yet soon, without spending on marketing or advertising, it started to take shape as the huge monster it is now.
To say I'd have been shocked that it'd end up a top 100 UK website, by far the biggest consumer site with over 10 million users a month is an understatement. For that massive thanks are due to many regular MoneySavers kindly recommending it to their friends.
What they say about him...
"Like Nicky Campbell with much bigger balls, Martin Lewis is a man who gets mad, then gets even. Tonight, the financial enforcer investigates the mis-selling of payment-protection insurance." - The Indie's Pick of the Week
"The Dumbledore of debt" - Paul Ross, This Morning
"The consumer champion behind this growing rebellion" - The Independent
"The UK's biggest financial anorak" - Paul Lewis, Radio 4's Money Box
"If anyone can help, it's this man. Martin Lewis knows more about credit cards than possibly anyone else in the country.'
- Justin Rowlatt, BBC1's Panorama
"The UK's tightest man" - Philip Schofield, This Morning
"A FINANCIAL revolution is here and it's all thanks to the money-saving genius that is MARTIN LEWIS." - The Sun
"A thorn in the corporate establishment's side" - Sunday Times
"A highly politicised, single-issue campaigner, working to correct the imbalance of power between companies and their customers"
- Daily Telegraph
"Mr Lewis is to financial institutions what Kryptonite was to Superman"
- Willesden and Brent Times
"A fiscal superhero" - Channel 4 Teletext
"Stripy-shirted tightwad money saving expert Martin Lewis"
- Michael Clarke, This is Money
"Martin can lead you through big decisions involving huge amounts of money as if they are laughably unscary. He is a modern day Robin Hood"
- Katy Guest, The Independent
- Sunday Times, critics' pick for Martin's ITV1 council tax cashback programme