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MARTIN'S MONEY TIPS EMAIL

MARTIN'S MONEY TIPS EMAIL

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Apr 29

This week: Over 50 ways to save, incl...Beat Sky hikes, compare PMs, 3yr 0% + 15, 10 off petrol, 40 eBay tricks, line & b'band 12/mth

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

Shift debt for 3yr 0% + £15 back
Line rent & b'band £12/mth - simple
40 eBay tricks: '£20 for false teeth'
Beat Sky TV's price hike
20,000 FREE Ideal Home Show tix
Compare the PM candidates - The MSE Leaders' Debate 2015
'£1.71 for year's 2for1 cinema' trick
Top easy-access cash ISAs closing
Reclaim U12s' Air Passenger Duty
Free wine with new cheapest energy
£109 of Nails Inc polishes £25 del
Buy euros now at €1.39 pre-election?
'I got £250 compensation 30mins after using your complaints tool'
2 petunia hanging baskets, etc £20
£10 off £50 petrol (Amex custs)
Warning: Get DVLA code to hire car
Discounts: Homebase 15% off, Body Shop 40%, Bonmarché 20%
£80 M&S vch with cheap home ins
£85 Wild About Beauty box £20 del
Three audiobooks £3, eg, Gone Girl
3mths Now TV streaming £10
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

Warning: Remortgage ASAP or lose chance?
RATES AT HISTORIC LOWS, EG, 5YR FIX 1.99% - SAVE £1,000s a YEAR
Yet new EU rules due soon may kill many people's ability to switch

The world downturn has a silver lining for existing mortgage holders as remortgage rates (where you switch mortgage to save) are rock-bottom. EVERYONE check now if they can save, as changes are afoot. This is most crucial for the four in 10 who pay the SVR (standard variable rate). These average 4.9% but can be 6%. Savings can be huge as MoneySavers have found...

Damian: "Followed your remortgage tips & formula; now pay £431/mth less."

Jan: "Thank you. Reduced payment by £600/mth and now paying that extra into mortgage so we'll be clear in 15 years, reduced from 20 years."

Sarah: "We saved £500/mth by remortgaging to a new 5yr fix. Saving £30K in 5 years. It was a painful experience but would recommend the pain."

Yet don't linger, as I explain below, it is far from certain the availability of cheap deals will be around in future times...

1. Check your current deal. A mortgage is the biggest expenditure most people have, so I'm always slightly surprised that when asked not everyone knows their rate and details. So check now that you know...

a. The current rate: And monthly repayment & amount outstanding.
b. Type: Is it a fix, discount, tracker or on an SVR?
c. Deal deadline: If it's a short-term deal (eg, a 2yr fix), when does it end?
d. Term: How long is the term, eg, 25yrs, and when will it be fully repaid?
e. Penalties: Are there any early-repayment penalties?
f. Your loan-to-value (LTV): The proportion of your home's current value you are borrowing. Eg, £80,000 outstanding on a £100,000 property is an 80% LTV. The lower the LTV, the better deal you can get. So if your home has increased in value you may gain. See LTV help for full info.

Everyone should check, but not everyone can save by remortgaging (shifting to a better deal). Yet armed with information, you can then see if a better deal is available. For more help, or if you don't understand this, get my FREE 60-page MSE Remortgage Booklet 2015, (either instant PDF or order printed copy.
   
2. MortgagesNew EU rules may create mortgage prisoners. It's now a year since new 'affordability checks' were introduced. In general, I'm a fan, as they ensure people don't push their finances too far to get a home, and end up repossessed.

Yet for a year now I've had tweets from people such as mcrhyshammer, whose cheap remortgage was rejected, because they fail affordability checks: "Circs hadn't changed. No missed payments. No debts bar new cars. £90k equity. Yet no one'd give us a mortgage." In other words, ridiculously, people are being told YOU CAN'T AFFORD A CHEAPER DEAL. Tweet me if this happened to you.

Lenders can currently waive affordability criteria on remortgages where you're not increasing the borrowing, but only a few smaller lenders do (see point 7 for how to navigate that).

I've lobbied against this already, yet soon it gets worse, the new EU 'Mortgage Credit Directive' won't allow lenders to waive affordability checks. It officially starts in March 2016, but can be brought in from Sep. While the EU has given us some good financial protection, this is bonkers and needs reversing. See EU remortgage rules could create mortgage prisoners.
3.

Benchmark your cheapest deal at speed. Mortgage rates are at historic lows. Yet many factors affect your cheapest deal. To help we've our...

Mortgage Best Buy Comparison Tools
Remortgages | Moving home | First-time buyers

The table shows the type of rates out there. I've added in the average SVR so you can see the savings possible.

What's out there right now? Some example deals
Deal Rate Fee Annual cost during deal term (incl fee) on £150k (i)
Typical SVR rate (for comparison) 4.9% N/A £10,416
FIX 2yr at 65% LTV 1.18% £1,499 £7,686
FIX 2yr at 85% LTV 2.14% £1,675 £8,590
FIX 5yr at 60% LTV 1.99% £1,499 £7,920
FIX 5yr at 85% LTV 3.19% £1,675 £9,047
TRACKER 2yr at 60% LTV 1.09% £1,995 £7,862
TRACKER 2yr at 85% LTV 1.75% £995 £7,902
(i) Fee spread across the deal period plus the repayments, assuming 25yr term

4. It's not just about the rate - how to factor in the fees. The smaller your mortgage, the bigger the impact fees will have, especially for mortgages under £100,000. This can totally skew which is cheapest for you.

To assess this, spread the cost of the fees over the fixed or tracker period (as after that you may shift again to another new deal). To help, use the MSE Mortgage Total Cost Comparison within our best buys comparison, which factors in both fee and rate so you can see which really adds up.
5.

How much can you save? Now you know your rate and what's out there. Our mortgage calculators allow you to work out the potential savings...

Ultimate Mortgage Calculator
Nine tools to home in on the right answer for you, including...
Basic Mortgage Calc | Compare Two Mortgages | Mortgage Overpay Calc Compare Fixed Mortgages | Ditch Your Current Fix?

   
6. Two things that kibosh applications. The days when lenders flung out deals to all and sundry are long gone. Getting accepted is now a challenge, and when possible you should start preparing months ahead.

- Is your credit score good enough? Key tips include: a) Never withdraw cash on credit cards; b) Avoid payday loans; c) Avoid other applications, eg, credit card, contract mobile, just before applying; and d) Check your credit file for errors. This is the tip of the iceberg. See 35 Credit Boosting Tips.

- Affordability checks. As noted above, for the last year, lenders have had to stress-test whether your mortgage is affordable, even if rates were 6-7%. So you might not have been affected by it when you first got a mortgage, but now they'll want evidence of income, big bills, expenses - even eating out. So being frugal in advance helps. See affordability help.
7. Mortgage brokers can help boost acceptance. You can, and often should, use a broker to help you find the right deal. They've info that's not available to consumers, eg, lenders' credit and affordability criteria. So a good broker can ease acceptance by matching you to the right deal - and the mortgage interview's quicker too. See Top Mortgage Brokers for full info.

Some lenders, such as Yorkshire BS, Tesco Bank and HSBC, mainly only sell mortgages direct to the public, cutting brokers out. Thus brokers are allowed to exclude them, and some do, hence why using a broker in conjunction with our mortgage comparison, which includes all these deals, is the right route.
8.
Should I get a fix or tracker/discount? With a fixed mortgage, the amount you repay is, er, fixed so it's like buying an insurance policy against possible rate rises. Variable deals move with UK interest rates (sometimes just at the provider's whim). Currently you only pay a touch more to fix.

It's very difficult to predict future interest rate moves. Even top economists are singing a different tune now from a year ago, and there's even the possibility they may fall before that. So focus on your own situation.

The more crucial the security of knowing exactly what you'll pay, the more you should edge towards fixing (& fixing longer). If cracking the rock-bottom deal's your driver, edge to short-term trackers. Fix v Variable help.
9. Got savings? They could get you a better mortgage. At every 5% LTV threshold from 95% down to 60%, deals tend to get better, so a little savings can have a big impact on your mortgage rate. For example...

Imagine you've a £150,000 home, and want a £128,500 remortgage. That's a 85.7% LTV, so the top 5yr fix is 3.59%. Yet if you use £1,100 of savings to reduce the borrowing needed, you'd cross a threshold and be at just under 85%, where the top 5yr fix is 3.19%. This would save almost £400/year in mortgage payments alone.

See should I overpay my mortgage? for more and use the mortgage overpayment calc to see how much regular overpayments can help.
10. FREE remortgage, first-timers & buy-to-let booklets 2015. Mortgages are a big transaction, and the best thing to do is to make sure you really know what you're doing. To help we've three totally free 40+ page printed guides, and they've all been updated for 2015.

- Remortgage booklet 2015: Download instant PDF | order printed
- First-Timers' mortgage booklet 2015: Download instant PDF | order printed
- Buy-to-Let mortgage booklet 2015: Download instant PDF | order printed

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Free help & templates: Reclaim PPI

MSE News

Top story: Court defeat shouldn't stop you appealing unfair parking tickets
Tesco shopper? Beware buying or selling Clubcard vouchers on eBay
Major price hikes coming for TalkTalk customers
Guest news: How we're working with claims firms to improve standards
Spread the (MoneySaving) love.
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 29 Apr 2015
New. 3-YEAR 0% debt shift plus £15 cashback
The top card just got better. Take advantage of a PRICE WAR to slash debt costs by £100s or even £1,000s

A balance transfer is where you get a new card that pays off old card(s) for you, so you now owe it at a lower rate. Therefore more of your repayments clear the actual debt, getting you debt-free far more quickly & cheaply.

  • New. Improved longest 0% deal. Accepted new Barclaycard* (eligibility calculator) cardholders can shift debt to it for up to 36mths 0% for a one-off fee of 2.99% of the amount transferred. Yet apply by 4 May and it gives £15 cashback if you transfer £1,000+ within 60 days. This effectively reduces the fee to 1.49% on £1k, or 2.49% on £3k.

    We say 'up to' 36mths as, like many other cards, it gives some who are accepted a shorter 0% period (based on credit score). Sadly, the only way to know is to apply. Anecdotally though, it seems the higher your score in our eligibility calculator (which doesn't affect your credit score), the more chance you have of getting the headline 0%.
TOP PICK NEW CUSTOMER BALANCE TRANSFER CREDIT CARDS
Get the lowest fee card within the time you're sure you can clear it.
To find which card you'll most likely be accepted for, first use the balance transfer eligibility calculator
Card Intro offer One-off fee (1) Rep APR after
Barclaycard* Longest 0% card + £15 cashback deal Up to 36mths 0% (2) 2.99% 18.9%
Halifax* Longest if got Barclaycard Up to 35mths 0% (2) 2.7% 18.9%
Tesco* Long, low fee deal 28mths 0% 1.49% 20.6%
Virgin Another long lower fee card 26mths 0% 1.25% 18.9%
Halifax* Longest NO FEE deal Up to 16mths 0% (2) None 18.9%
Santander* Slightly shorter NO FEE deal 15mths 0% None 18.9%
1) % of the amount transferred. 2) Some get a shorter 0%. FULL INFO: Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples)
  • The Balance Transfer Golden Rules. It's not just about picking the right card, it's about using it the right way...

    a) Don't just apply in hope as that marks your credit file. Use our Eligibility Calc to find your best chance first.
    b) Never miss min monthly repayments, or the bank can end your 0% deal and charge far more.
    c) Clear the card or transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to the rep APR.
    d) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate & cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
    e) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. Full help in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

BEAT Sky TV's price hikes. It's hiking prices for TV customers on 1 June by up to £54 a year. Yet we've a way for you to fight back that has already helped many get their prices reduced by more than the rise. See How to beat Sky's hikes.

20,000 FREE Ideal Home Show Manchester & Glasgow £12ish tickets code. For 22-25 May in Glasgow & 4-7 June in Manchester - 10,000 tix for each. Plus see Martin speak at the Manchester show. Free Ideal Home Show tix

The MSE Leaders' Debate: Energy, savings, inheritance, mortgages, student fees & more. We questioned Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Sturgeon, Wood, Farage & Bennett. They often focus on the big things when we really want them to fix day-to-day problems. So we've held our own leaders' debate. Read & compare answers (and if you think they deliberately evaded the question - feel free to hold that against them). The MSE Leaders' Debate 2015

'I paid £1.71 for A YEAR's 2for1 cinema tickets' - manipulate Meerkat Movies. Since last week's guide we've been swamped with successes like that. Another's Fiona: "Amazing, I only paid £2.03. Thank you." See Meerkat Movies trick

Top cash ISA ends 5pm Wed. The top easy-access tax-free savings ISA, West Brom BS's 1.55% variable, is closing to new customers at 5pm Wed. For alternatives including Newcastle BS's 2.02% (only for regular savings), see Top Cash ISAs.

New. Line rent AND broadband £12/mth (with BT, line rent alone's £17/mth)
Save £100s a year on the cheapest SIMPLE deal in a long time. Just pay £12 each month for line rent and b'band

Cheap deals are often convoluted & complex, eg, pay a year upfront, voucher reclaims etc. This is simple, you pay £12/mth. So costing £144 over a year, it compares well to BT's standard line rent & b'band at £360/yr, or Virgin at £410.

  • Broadband New. Pay £12/mth get line rent & broadband. SSE is known as an energy firm, but like British Gas, it's been stretching its 'home services' reach into telecoms for years. Now it's launched a rip-roaring deal to gain market share. Its Everyday Broadband + Talk Weekend* package is dirt cheap until 16 Sep. Here are the key details...

    - Line rent:
    You pay £12/mth on a 12mth contract.
    - 'Free' unlimited broadband (avail to 95% of the UK): For TWO YEARS it's 'free' if you pay line rent but you can cancel after 18mths. Cancel between 12 and 18 mths (ie, when the line rental contract is up) and it's £4/mth until the 18mth point.
    - Calls: Unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines (max 70mins per call), and up to 1,000 'free' mins/mth to 0845 & 0870 numbers. Other call costs to UK phones are a touch lower than BT. Full call cost info. Rack up £200+ of unbilled call charges it'll stop you making calls.
    - Need line installation? This works via a standard phone line. If you don't have one or only have a cable one (or in a few cases other lines), installation's £37. It'll tell you before you commit.
    - 'Free' internet security software. Incl antivirus & firewall. After 18mths it's £2/mth if you don't cancel.
    - It's easier if you have your MAC code. At some stage you'll need give it your Migration Authorisation Code - you'll need to call your existing provider to get it. It's easier if you do that at sign up, but you can leave it till later if you choose.
    - How's its service? It's always been a small player, so we've little data - not necessarily a bad thing as if people were screaming about it we're likely to have heard - so a bit of a leap of faith is needed. Yet this is a very sizeable firm with serious resources. The underlying line used is 'BT Openreach'; the same as most firms so that shouldn't be an issue (well, no more than others). You have a 14-day cooling off period from sign-up if it goes wrong.
  • Cheap alternative: Pay £288 for 18mths and get a £75 high st vch with TalkTalk. SSE is £216 over 18mths, while this TalkTalk Simply Broadband 18mth deal is £288 all-in over 18mths but you get a £75 Love2Shop voucher back (spendable at Argos/Boots etc). More options incl superfast in Cheap Broadband.

Air Passenger Duty scrapped Fri for U12s - reclaim. Get £13-£97 per child if already paid. Reclaim APD

New cheapest energy fix PLUS free case of wine. Uswitch has launched a 'collective switch' - a special 12mth fix from E.on. For someone on typical dual fuel use it's £876/yr, next cheapest fix is £899, compared with £1,160 for someone on a big 6 standard tariff. Use our Uswitch wine* link and you get a code for 6 free bottles from Naked Wines (you don't get this going direct). Full info in Cheap Gas & Elec. PS: we don't include this in Cheap Energy Club as it's only avail via Uswitch. Yet Uswitch does give you a comparison; just ensure you select its 'show me the whole market' options.

£109 of Nails Inc polishes for £25 delivered. MSE Blagged. 10 full-sized 10ml polishes. 1,600 avail

Buy euros now at €1.39 in case election hurts pound? Read Martin's pound v euro election analysis.

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic).
"Thanks for the Resolver complaining tool* Barclays gave me compensation for a poor mobile insurance policy this morning. Followed instructions, it rang within 30 mins and offered £250."
This is due to the complaints revolution we launched with the Resolver* tool last week. It drafts letters to banks, shops, energy firms and more for you then sends it, monitors reply and escalates to the Ombudsman if needed.

2 petunia hanging baskets + 12 plants £20 del (norm £38). MSE Blagged. 2,000 avail. Jersey Plants Direct

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



M&S Bank* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.6% rep APR


West Brom BS 1.55% AER
Min £1,000, clean rate
Online. Allows transfers.


Coventry BS 2.1% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till May 2019


See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Amex cardholder deals, incl £10 off £50 Shell petrol spend. Limited number, see all Amex deals.

Warning: You need a DVLA code to hire a car in UK or abroad. From 8 June, new rules mean if you're hiring a car, they may ask you for a DVLA code (to check endorsements, akin to paper licences). Ridiculously, once you request this online or by phone from the DVLA, it only lasts 72 hours, so time it right. See DVLA code help. Cheap Holiday Car Hire: Compare via Kayak*, Carrentals* & TravelSup* then slash insurance costs with cheap excess cover. See Cheap Car Hire.

DISCOUNTS: Homebase 15% off, Body Shop 40%, Bonmarché 20%, Poundland £2 off £12...
Homebase 15% off this weekend | Body Shop 40% off + free del Ends 10am Thu | Bonmarché 20% off Ends Thu
Poundland £2 off £12 with 55p paper | Warehouse 25% off with £2 mag | ALL Codes & Vchs

Last chance. £80 M&S voucher with cheap home insurance. MSE Blagged. Three insurers currently offer an £80 M&S voucher if you get their policies. The Age UK* (min age 50) & Together Mutual* deals end Thu, Policy Expert* on 6 May. Vouchers should arrive within 120 days from start date. Important: We're not saying they're cheapest, just worth checking against combined result of Gocomp*, MoneySup*, Direct Line*& Aviva*. Full info in Cheap Home Insurance guide.

40 eBay insider SELLING tricks - "I even got £20 for my false teeth."
Do a spring clean, and if you don't use it, flog it. One (wo)man's rubbish is another (wo)man's treasure

If you've got it, either flaunt it or flog it. Walk round your home asking: "Have I used it in the last year?". If not, why not get rid? Our 40+ eBay Selling Tricks also helps you sell anything. Even your broken old lawnmower may contain key parts someone else needs. Forumite Leezed also told us: "I sold my false teeth, got £20." See things you never thought'd sell.

  • ebay eBay selling tricks & tools. The 40+ eBay Tricks are the key shortcuts, etiquette and hidden tools that turn you into a powerhouse seller. Here are 5 opening bids...

    1. Create multiple listings in advance. With bulk-upload tools, you can save and edit draft listings at your leisure making it far easier to schedule when they go live.
    2. Time it right.
    You want auctions to end at times of peak traffic, eg, Sunday eve. This means more bids at the crucial moment. See eBay's busiest time info.
    3. Find key search terms. This eBay pulse tool, shows you what terms buyers search so you can hone your listings.
    4. Avoid 1- or 3-day auctions.
    The longer your ad's up, the more people will spot it, so opt for longer auctions.
    5. Tweak start prices. Modest start prices can spark more bidding, but the risk is it'll sell for the knock-down price.
  • eBay isn't the only fruit. Auction sites eBid and CQout* are smaller but allow users to list items for free, instead taking a cut of the sale price. Plus many MoneySavers rave about local classified sites, Preloved* and Gumtree.
  • Tips for eBay buyers too. Try our eBay local deals mapper tool & app and 40+ tricks for eBay buyers guide.

£85 Wild About Beauty box £20 delivered. MSE Blagged. Incl bronzer, eyeshadow & blusher. 1,000 avail

THREE Audiobooks £3, eg, Gone Girl & The Girl on the Train. MSE Blagged. This is a 3-mth Audible newbies' trial at 99p/mth. It's £8/mth after, but you can cancel after the 3 months and keep the books. Ends Thu. Audible Deals

3mths Now TV (Sky's streaming service) £10 (norm £21). MSE Blagged. Newbies get box sets, eg, Game of Thrones & channels such as Sky Atlantic (not films) on a 3-mth Entertainment Pass*. Cancel after or it's £6.99/mth. Now TV


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 £1,160 a year, the cheapest deal's around £900.


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

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
Show Money Saving Community
The MoneySaving Community

Does your charity want an MSE charity grant for consumer/finance projects? The latest funding round for charities and groups involved with financial and consumer education projects opens on 1 May. Only the first 40 applications that meet the criteria will be considered. See full criteria: The MSE Charity. Related: MSE's Charity Fund, How This Site's Financed

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA
Can I ask parents not to bring kids to my wedding?
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I’m getting married next year and we’re currently drawing up the guest list. The only problem is so many of our friends have kids, and as much as we love them, it’s going to be very expensive inviting them. Is it unfair to ask the parents to leave their little ones (except babies) at home? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Kids or no kids at my wedding?| Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE GREAT HUNT
What are the best value ready meals?

We want to know what the cheapest and healthiest ready meals are out there. Tell us your favourites - which offer good value, taste the best and feed the most people? (PS: we know it's cheapest to make your own, but that's not what we're asking about this time.) Share yours/read others': Best value ready meals? Past topics: View all

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT
Airline: Monarch* Offer: Sun & City sale - 10,000 seats at £32.99 one-way Ends: midday Fri 8 May
Our pick this week is Monarch's* offer for selected flights between 9 May and 9 Jul 2015 with 10,000 seats available. The sale ends midday Fri 8 May and includes taxes and most charges. Credit card fees apply. There is no code to enter; the price appears automatically. 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 blogs

Martin's appearances (from Wed 29 Apr onward)

Thu 30 Apr - Good Morning Britain, Deals, ITV, 7.40am. Watch last week's
Fri 1 May - This Morning, Martin's 90 Sec Savers, ITV, 11am. Last week

MSE team corner

Team blogs:
No team blogs this week.

Regular team appearances:

Fri 1 May
BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm
Tue 5 May
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.15pm

Discussion of the week

Holiday withdrawal symptons...

The countdown to your next trip is probably a common theme when you've returned from holiday. Share your next destination plans in the Holiday withdrawal symptons discussion.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 138.01 124.20
US Flag $ 150.41 135.36
Turkish Flag TL 395.50 350.48
Rates correct at 1.30pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Do you feel better off now than five years ago?

A simple question - how do you feel about your finances now compared to the time of the last General Election?

Poll results

Would you buy shares in a Lloyds Bank sell-off?
It seems the younger you are, the more likely you'd be tempted to buy discounted shares in Lloyds Bank, with 72% of under-40s inclined to buy. Those 40+ were most against it on principle, with 25% objecting.

11,841 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: I'm a couple of years into my mortgage. I've paid more than £35,000, but my debt has only come down by a few £1,000s. I know there's interest, but why have I not made much inroad into the actual debt? Deirdre, via email.

MSE Guy's A: On a repayment mortgage, in most cases at the start, your lender calculates a monthly payment for you that’s the same for every month of that introductory offer period (eg, 2 years on a 2-year fix). It then calculates the remaining payments which are the same for all remaining months of the full term (eg, 25 years).

In the early years, your outstanding debt is larger so there's more interest charged, so more of your monthly repayments go towards paying the interest. As the debt reduces, so too does the interest charged, and as you pay the same each month it means more of your repayment goes towards paying off the debt.

Look at this example. On a 25 year, £150,000 mortgage at 3%, you pay about £710/mth (so £8,520/yr). In the first year your debt only reduces by just over £4,000, but in year 10 it falls by about £5,400, while in year 20 it falls by about £7,200. See our Ultimate Mortgage Calculator for how much a mortgage costs and how the interest is paid off over the term.

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

 Nick's free game of the week: Balls in Space

Have you saved this week - why not donate some of it to Nepal?

That's it for this week, and as always, we hope you've saved a fortune. Yet with a tragedy of mammoth proportions going on in the world, we thought perhaps if you have saved this week you could donate 5% - 10% of the saving to the Nepal Earthquake Disasters Emergency Committee website. Up to you, though (do always remember to tick the Gift Aid box if you're a UK taxpayer).

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

barclaycard.co.uk, halifax.co.uk, tescobank.com, santander-products.co.uk, sse.co.uk, uswitch.com, resolver.co.uk, moneysupermarket.com, directline.com, aviva.co.uk, admiral.com, bank.marksandspencer.com, kayak.co.uk, carrentals.co.uk, travelsupermarket.com, ageuk.org.uk, togethermutualinsurance.co.uk, policyexpert.co.uk, gocompare.com, cqout.com, preloved.co.uk, nowtv.com, firstdirect.com, directsavetelecom.co.uk, postoffice.co.uk, monarch.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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