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LATEST MONEYSAVING EMAIL

LATEST MONEYSAVING EMAIL

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Apr 15

This week: Over 50 ways to save, incl... free £20 mobile charger, benefits check-up, £50 off wine code, free Game of Thrones, Cap One cut cashback

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

"Hi. This free, spam free weekly email is the key way to save. We put all the latest deals, guides and loopholes in, yet many close within hours. Don't miss out, join the 10m who get it each week."

This week

Earn under £46k? Do a free 10-min benefits & tax credit check-up
Cap One slashing cashback - get 5%
Cheap pet ins, incl £50 Amazon vch
Free EE £20 mobile charger
FIGHT: Cash ISAs v Santander 123
Free £100 daily cash prize draw
Naked Wines £50 off £80 code
£10 food from 10,000 takeaways £5
Free pack of 2,000 wild flower seeds
Reclaim PPI for free - as bank fined
P&O £24 Dov-Calais & 6 btls wine
Free £14 Grand Designs Live tix
Easter catch-up: New ISAs, pension freedom, Sky 40% off and more
Watch all Game of Thrones free
Free gym passes, incl 7-day BMF
Student loan rates CUT to 0.9%
Easyjet 'get the difference back' trick
£110 Plain Lazy T-shirts £35
Free 500ml Coke, 2mth Tastecard
Codes: LK Bennett 25%, H&M 20%
Free pair £18 The Other Art Fair tix
10 Nectar pts/litre Sainsbury's fuel
Last chance: Register to vote
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs

MARTIN'S QUICK BRIEFING: For more tips, alerts & awful puns, follow Martin on Twitter

Cheapest-ever new borrowing, 0% for 20mths
Done right you can now borrow for free - if you choose the right tool

Yesterday we learnt inflation's hit 0% for the second month running - so little surprise, borrowing costs are hitting all-time lows. The whole point of the Bank of England's super-low interest rate policy is to discourage saving and encourage borrowing, in order to make people spend more, which boosts demand and the economy.

Yet what's important is you do what's right for you. Debt is like fire - it's a very useful tool, but get it wrong and you get burnt. Here are the 8 need-to-knows...

1. Is it worth borrowing? Unless you're a super financially savvy stoozer, only borrow if you really need to - it's far better to wait and save up for something instead. Most new borrowing falls into two categories...

- Just funding your ongoing lifestyle. This is the worst type as it means you're consistently living beyond your means and risk a debt spiral. Avoid it. Use the Free Budget Planner, stop spending and cut your cloth accordingly.

- For a needed, planned purchase. Eg, a car for a new job, or to pay annual car insurance as it's cheaper than monthly. Here you need to minimise the amount borrowed, repay quickly to keep interest costs down and ensure your repayments are comfortably affordable. If not, don't do it.
   
2. Cheap borrowingTest your credit-worthiness for free - will you get the best buys? It all depends on your credit history - sadly, usually the only way to find out is to apply. Yet that leaves a footprint on your credit file, and the catch-22 is too many of those, especially in a short space of time, hurt future applications.

To fight back, we've built the free credit card eligibility calculator and loans eligibility calculator. These use a soft search (so you see it on your file, but lenders don't, so there's no impact) to show your percentage chance of acceptance for each top deal - thus showing how credit-worthy you are. If the result doesn't look great, read 35 tips to boost your credit score.
   
3. BEST BUYS. 20mths 0% new borrowing credit card. With no interest and no fee, this is without doubt the cheapest way to borrow, provided a) you can pay for the purchase(s) on plastic; b) you can clear the debt within the 20 months; and c) you follow the golden rules below.

TOP PICK 0% SPENDING NEW CARDHOLDER CREDIT CARD DEALS
Use the 0% spending eligibility calc to see your acceptance odds for each card
Card 0% lasts Perks on spending Rep APR after
Clydesdale*/Yorkshire* 20mths None 18.9%
Halifax* 20mths (1) None 18.9%
M&S Bank* 19mths 1 pt per £1 in store, £2 elsewhere 18.9%
Sainsbury's Bank* 19mths 2 Nectar pts per £1 in Sainsbury's 18.9%
Santander 123* 23mths 0% yet £24/yr fee (2) 3% cashback on fuel/rail (max £9/mth), 2% department stores, 1% supermarkets 16.5%
(1) You could be offered fewer months at 0%. (2) Refunded in year 1 for Santander 123 bank customers. Full help & options in Top 0% Cards (APR Examples).

The 0% Spending Card Golden Rules:
1) Ensure you repay (or shift the debt) before the 0% ends or rates jump.
2) Pay at least the monthly min, or you'll lose special rates.
3) Don't withdraw cash - it's not at 0% and can harm your credit score
   
4. BEST BUYS. Cheapest-EVER loans 3.6% APR. If you can't pay on a card, need to borrow more or for longer, or want the discipline of fixed monthly repayments, personal loans win. Here are the current best buys for each amount (the Loans Eligibility Calc shows which you've best odds of getting).

- £2,500-£2,999: Hitachi* is 8% rep APR. Or for this level and lower (and sometimes higher), try Zopa* and Ratesetter* - their rates are more bespoke, and they can be cheaper.
- £3,000-£4,999: Hitachi* is 7.8% rep APR - far cheaper than any other.
- £5,000-£7,499: Cahoot* is 4.6% rep APR, Hitachi* 4.8% rep APR.
- £7,500-£15,000: Sainsbury's is 3.6% rep APR for 1-3yrs* with a Nectar card (avail free) or 3.7% rep APR for 4-5yrs*. Next is M&S Bank's* 3.8% rep APR.

There are two key need-to-knows though...

1) A 3.6% loan can charge you 20%. All loans are 'representative' rate, meaning only 51% of those accepted need get that rate. Our loans eligibility calc can't tell you your rate - but the higher your acceptance odds are roughly, the more likely you are to be given the advertised rate.

2) Borrow more, pay less? As rates decrease the more you borrow, at the borders you can play the system. Eg, borrow £2,499 and the cheapest's 14.9%, borrow £1 more and it's 8%. As our loan cost calculator shows, on a 5yr loan you'd then repay £540 less. Keep the extra cash for repayments.
   
5. BEST BUYS - 24mths 0% credit card loans. For smaller amounts, if you need cash or are buying something you can't pay for on a card then the winner - for a fee - is a specialist 0% money transfer credit card.

Here, if you're an accepted new customer, you can get money paid directly into your bank, so you owe the card firm instead. MBNA* (eligibility calc) offers 24mths 0% for a 1.94% fee and Virgin gives an extra year at 0% (36mths), but for a much larger 4% fee.

Ensure you clear the card by the time the 0% ends, or you'll pay 22.9% and 20.9% rep APR after, respectively. And never miss the min monthly repayments, or you can lose the 0%. Full help in Money Transfers.
6. BEST BUYS - 36mths 0% to cut existing credit and/or store card costs. If you're borrowing to cut existing credit card debt costs, use a balance transfer, where you get a new card that repays these debts for you, but at a cheaper rate.

The full top picks are in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples) - here are the headline 'new cardholder' deals, so if you already have one of these firms' cards, go for a different one. And crucially choose the card with the lowest fee in the time you can repay....

- Halifax* offers up to 16mths 0% for NO FEE (18.9% rep APR after).
- Lloyds* offers 28mths 0% for a one-off 1.5% fee (18.9% rep APR after).
- Halifax* offers up to 35mths 0% for a 2.7% fee (18.9% rep APR after).
- Barclaycard* is up to 36mths 0% for a 2.99% fee (18.9% rep APR after).

The 0% Balance Transfer Golden Rules:

a) Use the eligibility calc to find your best acceptance chances.
b) Repay at least the set monthly min, or you can lose 0% rates.
c) Always clear the card or shift again before the 0% ends, or rates jump.
d) Don't spend/withdraw cash on them. That's not usually at the cheap rate.
e) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool.
   
7. Struggling? Are you eligible for a Government 0% loan? If you're looking at horrid debts such as payday loans or store cards, these are a far better alternative. There's no credit check, but they will check you can repay.

- Local council support schemes: Typically for those in emergencies with no savings, these are administered by local councils, making it a postcode lottery as to whether support's available. Sometimes they’re grants not loans, or vouchers not cash (eg, for furniture, clothing). See full support schemes info.

- Budgeting loans: If you're on some income-based benefits, you could be eligible for a loan of up to £800 to help you meet essential living costs. See budgeting loan info.

- Alternatively, try your local credit union: These are small savings and loan mutuals, helping local communities. They usually lend from £50 to £5,000 - APRs are typically about 13% but can be higher (though they're capped at 42.6% APR). To find if you've a local union, see our Credit Unions guide.
   
8. In debt crisis? If you can't meet your minimum repayments or aren't sleeping due to worry, read my Debt Crisis Help guide and get one-on-one not-for-profit debt counselling from Citizens Advice, StepChange or National Debtline - or, if you're struggling emotionally too, CAP.

These agencies are there to help, not judge. The most common thing I hear after is: "I finally got a good night's sleep." Read some inspiring stories in our Debt-Free Wannabe forum and also my Mental Health & Debt guide.
 

Blagged for MoneySavers

Did you miss?

Reclaim PPI for FREE
Claims handlers aren't more successful.
Free help & templates: Reclaim PPI

MSE News

Top story: Clydesdale Bank to review PPI claims after record £20.6m fine
Recent home movers need to register to vote: check now
Fraudsters con holidaymakers out of £2.2 million: protect yourself
EE customers without signal can have calls connected via wi-fi
Get friends on board the MoneySaving bandwagon
If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via moneysavingexpert.com/tips
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 15 Apr 2015
Earn under £46,000? Free 10-min benefits & tax credit check-up calc
Far more people than they think are entitled to benefits or tax credits, yet millions fail to claim and miss out

We've just started a new tax year, which has seen some changes to the benefits and tax credit system. Use our 10min benefits & tax credit calculator to ensure that you're not missing out. Quick info...

  • benefits check Don't assume 'I earn too much'. In rare cases, families with many children and high childcare costs could still be entitled to tax credits with earnings as high as £73,000/yr. Yet as a rule of thumb do a check IF....

    - You're a family with kids at home and household income up to £46,000/yr.
    - You're a couple with no kids and income up to £18,000/yr joint.
    - You're 62+/a carer/have disabilities.

    Of course we're not saying this means you're entitled, just that it's worth using our Benefits & Tax Credits Calc which asks questions to show what you're likely to be entitled to. As John tweeted us: "Thanks to your calculator we found we were entitled to backdated housing benefit." It can be complex, so if confused, your local Citizens Advice is great for 1-to-1 help.
  • Over 1.3 million state pensioners are missing out. Millions of pounds go unclaimed, often by people who've paid into the system all their lives, but haven't claimed. Those of state pension age especially are short-changed, with 1.3m missing out on pension credit (it's worth checking if you're aged 62 or more).
  • Employed? Check your tax code too. Our Income Tax Calculator can show your likely new 2015/16 take-home pay but remember it's your responsibility to check your tax code is correct. The code looks something like 1060L & tells your employer how much tax to take. Our tax code calculator will help you check if it's right.

PS, while we're talking benefits, it's worth everyone taking a few minutes to read this: I'm on benefits, but I'm no scrounger.

EE customer? Get a 'free' £20 portable mobile charger from Thurs. Available for contract and PAYG mobile as well as broadband customers. You just get a code to use in-store. Full info in EE charger.

FIGHT: Cash ISAs v Santander 123? Skipton's top easy access cash ISA pays just 1.6%, even Coventry's 4yr fix is only 2.25%. Yet Santander's 123 bank account pays 3% and from next year you can earn £1,000 interest tax-free. Don't write off cash ISAs though, there are 6 reasons they can still be winners - see Martin's new Cash ISAs v Santander 123 guide.

Totally free £100 daily cash prize draw. Sounds too good to be true, but it's legit. The prize has gone up to £100 & forumites love it - purple45 says: "I won a couple of months ago, nearly £500." (The draw rolls over). Free Postcode Lottery.

Naked Wines £50 off £80 newbies code. MSE Blagged. Gets 12 btls for £50 del at Naked Wines. Pls be Drinkaware.

£10 food at your local takeaway for £5. Works at 10,000+ takeaways/pizza places etc. Ltd vouchers. Hungry House

Capital One slashing cashback - get up to 5% elsewhere
A month ago we predicted new 'EU interchange cap' may hit cashback & rewards cards. Sadly Cap One's now proof

We've been swamped with Cap One customers angry that it's killing or slashing their cashback - many've made £100s/yr. We predicted this when the EU decided that from later this year it'll cap the interchange fees retailers are charged when credit & debit cards are used. This may be a lose-lose for consumers as retailers likely won't pass on the gain either.

  • Top cashback credit card cards: These pay you to spend on them, in the hope that you'll rack up interest. Yet repay IN FULL each month and as there's no interest, your credit card is now like a debit card that pays you.
Top cashback credit cards
Use the FREE ELIGIBILITY CALCULATOR before applying to see which you're most likely to get
Card Annual fee Cashback Rep APR
Amex Plat Everyday* - good for big, one-off planned purchases as huge intro cashback. None 5% for 3mths up to max £100 back, tiered up to 1.25% after. 19.9%
Santander 123* - best for those who drive big mileage so petrol cashback covers fee. £24 (1) 3% on petrol/trains (max £9/mth back), 2% depart stores, 1% supermarkets. 16.5%
Aqua Reward* - for poorer credit scorers. None
0.5% on all spending. 34.9%
(1) Refunded in first year for Santander 123 bank account customers
  • Will these cards keep the cashback? Amex-issued Amex cards like the one above are unlikely to be hit by the cap - so it's unlikely to change. Santander 123's cashback is integral to its offering, so we suspect it's unlikely to go and Aqua uses it to target poorer credit scorers, so we're hopeful (no certainty) it'll stay. See Cashback cuts.
  • The Cashback Credit Card Golden Rules. Full help & options in Top Cashback Cards (APR Examples). In brief...

    a) Don't just apply in hope, that marks your credit file. Use our Eligibility Calculator to find your best chance first.
    b) Always repay IN FULL, preferably by direct debit, to avoid interest - if not, then go for a 0% spending card.
    c) Never withdraw cash. You don't get cashback, you pay interest even if repaying in full & it hits your credit score.
    d) Use the card for ALL normal spending to max gain (within your limit), but it's not an excuse to overspend.
    e) Pay for goods costing £100 - £30,000 on a card, and under Section 75 laws, the card firm is jointly liable with retailers if something goes wrong (or retailer goes bust). A hugely powerful extra protection.

Free packet of 2,000 wild flower seeds. Click & it gets sent. Packets vary, 100,000 avail. Kew Gardens

Bank fined £20m for mishandling PPI claims - don't let 'em keep your cash, reclaim for FREE. Clydesdale has just been fined £20m for poor PPI complaints handling. This proves yet again the idea banks play fair is a fallacy. Don't just accept your bank's answer - if you're wrongly rejected take it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service. Remember you don't need to pay to reclaim. Full help & free template letters in Reclaim PPI for Free. Related: Clydesdale £20.6m PPI fine

P&O £24 Dover-Calais car day return & 6 bottles of wine. Travel until 10 May. See P&O. Pls be Drinkaware.

5,000 FREE £14ish Grand Designs London Live tix. At Excel London from 5-10 May. Grand Designs

Hot tips, tricks and deals you may've missed if you were away over Easter

benefits checkWe notice our traffic drops over Easter, so here's a quick catch up to ensure you didn't miss key savings. Last week we told you how to use your new £15,240 cash ISA allowance, we found a Sky TV 40% off and £100+ bill credit newbies deal, gave 20 extreme couponing tips and saw a new 16mth 0% NO FEE balance transfer deal launch. See last week's email.

The week before, we had Martin's Pension Freedom 5-minute briefing, a new free £125 for switching to the No.1 cust service bank account, a hot mobile Sim deal for BT customers, plus 50+ tips on cutting motoring costs as petrol prices creep up again. For the full kit & caboodle see the 1 April email.

Watch ALL Game of Thrones via free 2mth Now TV (norm £14). Newbies only, 5k avail, watch online. Now TV

FREE gym passes: 7-day BMF, 5-day LA Fitness, 3-day Fitness First. See our full Cheap Gyms guide.

Good news: student loan interest rates to drop to 0.9% for 4m+ former students from Sept. Every Sept the student loan interest rate is changed based on March's RPI (inflation) - yesterday we learnt RPI was 0.9% (2014, 2.5%). So while not confirmed, from Sept the new rates will likely be... Pre-1998 starters: Drops to 0.9% from 2.5%. 1998-2011 starters: Drops from 1.5% to 0.9%. 2012+ starters: Drops from 5.5% to 3.9%. Full info in Student Loan Repayments.

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
36mths 0%, 2.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

No fee 0%: Halifax*
16mths 0%, no fee

(18.9% rep APR)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...
Compare The Market
Moneysupermarket*

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*
Aviva*
Admiral MultiCar*

Cahoot* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.6% rep APR



Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.6% rep APR


Skipton BS 1.6% AER
Min £1, clean rate
Online. Allows transfers.


Coventry BS 2.25% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till May 2019


See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Easyjet money back if prices drop: SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Just rang Easyjet and got a credit voucher for £48 as prices have come down. Without MSE I'd be £48 worse off." Full instructions in Easyjet get the difference back.

£110 Plain Lazy T-shirts £35 code. MSE Blagged. Lucky dip of 5 men's/women's T-shirts (norm £22 each). Plain Lazy

Cheeeep pet insurance - incl £50 Amazon voucher bonus
Vet bills have risen around 5% in 3 yrs. Pet owners should consider insurance. If you are insured, can you cut costs?

Even a cat's broken leg costs £2,000 at some vets. You can say neigh to pet insurance, but do examine the financial impact if your pet's as sick as a parrot. Our full Cheap Pet Insurance guide can keep a leash on prices. Here are quick tips to avoid a cat-astrophe...

  • Pet InsuranceDog or cat? Three steps to find the cheapest cover
    1. Combine comparison sites: Our top picks GoCompare* and CompareTM give a wide range of quotes in a short time - combine them as they cover different insurers. For multiple pets compare via Confused* and MoneySupermarket* (up to four furry friends).
    2. Bonus £50 Amazon voucher. Once you've found the comparison sites' cheapest, click this specific MSE Blagged L&G dog or cat* policy by 30 June. If it's cheapest, or not much more costly, use code PETMSE to get a policy and you'll be sent a £50 Amazon vch within 75 days of the start date. IMPORTANT: If you use ad or cookie-blocking software, turn it off or vouchers may not track.
    3. Check sites they miss. If time, also get quotes from Direct Line*, Aviva* and Leisure Guard* (currently 45% off).
  • Got other pets? You can't use comparison sites. You'll need to mane-ually get quotes. Horses & ponies: Petplan Equine*, Animal Friends* and NFU Mutual. Snakes, tarantulas, etc: Exotic Direct* (as the name suggests) is the specialist. Rabbits/budgies/chinchillas: Exotic Direct*, Petplan*.
  • Pet Insurance Golden Rules. For full info, see Cheap Pet Insurance, but let's gallop through them...

    1) Do you need pet insurance? You could instead 'self-insure' by saving each month to cover vet fees. Yet be honest with yourself about what you'd do if your pet was ill and you couldn't pay. See Should I insure my pet? for more.
    2) Need cover but can't afford it? If you're on benefits, the charity PDSA may help with vets' bills.
    2) Got a dog? You need 3rd-party cover. Cats are 'free spirits', so you're not liable if they injure people or damage property. Dogs aren't, so check your pet policy for 3rd-party cover. Don't have it? £25 third party insurance.
    4) If your pet's had treatment, beware switching. Most insurers won't cover your pet for any illness they've already been treated for unless you pay a huge hike in premiums. See pre-existing conditions for full help.
    5) Don't forget routine jabs. If you do, it could invalidate your insurance. See annual injections for more.

FREE 500ml Coke, 2mth Tastecard, hotel codes & more via footie app. See Premier League app blog.

DISCOUNTS: M&S 20%, LK Bennett 25%, Debenhams extra 10% off £30...
M&S 20% off flash online sale Mon | LK Bennett 25% off code | H&M 20% off £20 in £4 mag | Wallis 20% off in 99p mag
D'hams extra 10% off £30 code | Poundshop.com 10% off £15 & free del MSE Blagged. | ALL Codes & Vchs

FREE The Other Art Fair tix - 500 pairs (norm £18). Unsigned artists display work in London, 24-26 Apr. Art Fair

10 Nectar pts/litre on Sainsbury's fuel (usually 1pt/L). Until 10 May. For this and more see Cheap Petrol guide.

Last chance to register to vote for the General Election. The deadline's 20 April. Voter registration


Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines

Compare, get £30 dual fuel cashback & alerts if your deal's no longer cheap. Go via the free MSE Cheap Energy Club Top Pick Fixes Comparison.

The savings can be huge. Someone with typical dual fuel usage on a big 6 standard tariff pays £1,159 a year, the cheapest deal's £913.


First Direct*
£125 bonus and top cust service


Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...

GoCompare*
MoneySupermarket*

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Direct Save Telecom*
with weekend calls
£11/mth (pay a yr upfront)



Post Office*
with weekend calls
£12/mth (pay a yr upfront)


Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner MSE car sticker £13 Travel Insurance
Show Vouchers and Top Deals

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers & sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
Show Money Saving Community
The MoneySaving Community

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA
Should my friend contribute to vet bills for injured dog?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... A friend was walking my dog Nutmeg last week when Nutmeg ran into some barbed wire no one knew was there. The vet's bill was more than £300, but my attitude is, she's my dog, so my responsibility. However, my friend feels guilty and has offered to pay half the fees. What should I do? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my friend contribute to vet fees?| Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE GREAT HUNT
Tips and tricks to slash the cost of hotel stays
Hotel prices can be through the roof, so we want to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge on bagging a room for less. We bang on about checking comparison sites and booking at less busy times, but what are the really clever ways you cut costs? Do you grab free stays via a loyalty scheme? Do you know where to find hidden opening rates? Or do you avoid hotels entirely and use apartment rental sites like Airbnb instead? Share yours/read others': Tricks to cut the cost of hotels Past topics: View all

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT
Airline: Jet2* Offer: 10% off all flights Ends: Wed 22 Apr
Our pick this week is Jet2's* 10% off all flights sale (incl taxes, excl some charges and extras) until 30 Apr 2016. It flies from seven UK airports to more than 50 European destinations. There is no code, the discount appears automatically. Excludes bookings of 10+ people. Extra charges warning: Avoid payment and check-in charges - see the Budget Airline Fee Fighting guide. Related: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's appearances (from Wed 15 Apr onward)

Thu 16 Apr - Good Morning Britain, Deals of the Week, ITV, 7.40am. Watch previous show.
Fri 17 Apr - This Morning, Martin's 90 Second Savers, from 11am. Watch previous show.
Mon 20 Apr - This Morning, ITV, Money Monday, 10.30am. Watch previous show.
Mon 20 Apr - Consumer Panel, BBC Radio 5, 12pm-1pm. Subscribe to podcast.

MSE team corner

Regular team appearances:

Wed 15 April
MSE Jo G, BBC Radio Manc, 4.50pm
Fri 17 April
MSE Steve, BBC Radio Manc, 4.50pm
Tue 21 April
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.15pm

Discussion of the week

Bizarre delivery
This week, one of our forumites received a random delivery of cash through her letterbox, which she doesn't think is hers. Join the bizarre delivery thread and share your theory on the mystery package.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 137.36 123.62
US Flag $ 145.76 131.18
Turkish Flag TL 376.20 325.38
Rates correct at 3pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Which coalition would you vote for?

The opinion polls suggest we'll have a hung parliament - if so, we could find ourselves with a coalition government again. So for fun, we want to know if you could pick a coalition instead of a party, which would you pick?

Which two-party coalition would you pick (order based on seats in last parliament - the one listed first isn’t necessarily the majority party)?

Poll results

How old were you when you bought your first home?
The majority of people - 67% - bought their first home when in their 20s. Unsurprisingly, it was younger people who were less likely to have bought a home, with 19% of under-40s never having bought a home, compared to 4% of over-40s.

37,881 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: I want to buy return flights from London to Athens in June on BA, paying with Avios points. I know the scheme is changing from 28 April - am I better off waiting until after? Katie, via email.

MSE Sally’s A: You could be - as you're travelling in June, which is largely off-peak, the changes are likely to be good news for you.

If you book now, under Avios' current flat-rate redemptions you'll need 20,000 points. But after 28 April, Avios has introduced peak/off-peak bookings. Book a return off-peak flight to Athens after then and it's 17,000 points (in peak times it's still 20,000 points). Taxes on top for peak and off-peak bookings remain at £35 per return.

However, you need to balance the points saving with availability. Avios-booked tickets are limited so by waiting you're taking a gamble on seats still being available when you want to travel.

And while you're likely to benefit from the changes, some will be worse off (eg, many will earn a quarter of the current miles on an economy ticket). See our rundown of Avios changes winners and losers.

Please suggest a question of the week (we can't reply to individual emails).

 Sam's free game of the week: Brain Builder

What's (probably) the best advert in the world?

That's it for this week, but before we go, this week Carlsberg broke the mould with a billboard advert which gave you free beer. To check that out and also suggest the ads you love and hate, see Probably the best ad in the world?  

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

Important. Please read how MoneySavingExpert.com works

We think it's important you understand the strengths and limitations of this email and the site. We're a journalistic website, and aim to provide the best MoneySaving guides, tips, tools and techniques - but can't promise to be perfect, so do note you use the information at your own risk and we can't accept liability if things go wrong.

What you need to know

  • This info does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it's right for your specific circumstances - and remember we focus on rates not service.

  • We don't as a general policy investigate the solvency of companies mentioned, how likely they are to go bust, but there is a risk any company can struggle and it's rarely made public until it's too late (see the section 75 guide for protection tips).

  • We often link to other websites, but we can't be responsible for their content.

  • Always remember anyone can post on the MSE forums, so it can be very different from our opinion.

Please read the Full Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, how this site is financed and Editorial Code. Martin Lewis is a registered trade mark belonging to Martin S Lewis.

More about MoneySavingExpert and Martin Lewis

What is MoneySavingExpert.com?

Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with more than 10 million people getting this email and about 13 million using the site every month. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: saving cash and fighting for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 80 full time staff, more than a third of whom are editorial – researching, analysing and writing to continually find ways to save money. More info: See About MSE

Who is Martin Lewis?

Martin set up and runs MSE, and still writes this email each week (unless it says so). He's an ultra-focused money-saving journalist and consumer campaigner with his own ITV prime-time show The Martin Lewis Money Show and weekly slots on Radio 5 Live, This Morning and Good Morning Britain, among others. He’s a columnist for publications including the Telegraph and Woman magazine. More info: See Martin Lewis' biography

What do the links with a * mean?

Any links with a * by them are affiliated, which means get a product via this link and a contribution may be made to MoneySavingExpert.com, which helps it stay free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference; the links don't impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things we write) isn't changed due to it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in the same way. More info: See how this site is financed.

As we believe transparency is important, we're including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for content too:

Unaffiliated web-addresses for links in this email

cbonline.co.uk, ybonline.co.uk, halifax.co.uk, bank.marksandspencer.com, sainsburysbank.co.uk, santander-products.co.uk, hitachicapital.co.uk, zopa.com, ratesetter.com, mbna.co.uk, barclaycard.co.uk, lloydsbank.com, americanexpress.com, aquacard.co.uk, gocompare.com, confused.com, moneysupermarket.com, legalandgeneral.com, directline.com, aviva.co.uk, leisureguardpetinsurance.co.uk, petplanequine.co.uk, animalfriends.org.uk, exoticdirect.co.uk, petplan.co.uk, admiral.com, firstdirect.com, directsavetelecom.co.uk, postoffice.co.uk.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Note

Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FCA regulated activity. For this reason, pages with links which take you to the sites of insurers or insurance intermediaries are hosted by MoneySavingExpert.com Limited on behalf of MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC. MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC and MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited is MoneySupermarket House, St. David’s Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ.

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