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Jul 23

This week: Over 50 ways to save incl... 1p razor, free £125 ending, ‘Corfu £193’, £4 school uniform, free Specsavers eye test

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"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 8m who get it each week."

This week

Top 10 credit cards for EVERYTHING
Halve gadget/homeware costs via Tesco new Clubcard Boost offer
Quick: Free £125 for bank switch
New: Save £190/yr energy deal
"Corfu 3-star + flight £193" hol tips
1p King of Shaves razor + 3 blades
Free Specsavers eye test voucher
£5 for £10 Starbucks & Tesco cards
Earn £15 Amazon doing surveys
Beat mobile blackspots?
Free meat marinade to your door
New heating oil fixed tariff
Full school uniform £4 (go quick)
Top graduate accounts 2014
£10 champagne
Nectar double-up starts today
"I got £1,600 bank fees back"
10,000 free Doncaster races tickets
Sales codes: Topman 15% extra off, Evans 10%, F&F 10%
Body Shop £10 off £25 code
Sainsbury's 10p/L off fuel with £60
Tweet us your travel questions
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs
What should credit unions offer?

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

The top 10 credit cards for EVERYTHING
In the hottest market we've ever seen, what is the most fantastic plastic?

Credit cards AREN'T ALWAYS ABOUT BORROWING. They're a way to pay, and often the best and cheapest way to do it with a raft of perks. Of course, they have a debt function too - which can be a devil or an angel depending on the card or the use. Yet, then again, so can debit cards if you're overdrawn.

The key is to use the right card for the right purpose, honed to precision for maximum gain. And right now the market is the hottest I've ever seen it, with record deals in many categories. So here are my top 10 cards...

1. The Santander 123 card - pays you up to £9/mth for filling up your car. Santander 123* pays 3% cashback on spending on fuel & train fares (max £9/mth back), 2% in department stores and 1% supermarkets. It has a £24/yr fee (refunded for the first year if you have the best buy Santander 123 bank account, which gives cashback on bills), so it's best for big drivers.

Alternative. If you don't want to pay an annual fee, the AA Rewards card gives AA members 1% back on fuel spending, 0.5% on anything else. Non-members get cashback at half the rate.

Just ensure you pay off IN FULL every month to avoid the 12.7% interest (16.5% rep APR incl fee) on the Santander, and 16.9% rep APR on the AA card. Full info: Petrol Credit Cards
2. The Post Office card - shift debts to 18mths 0% for just a 0.7% fee. A balance transfer card lets accepted new applicants shift debt to it from other cards, so you owe it instead at cheaper rates. My top pick, especially as it's soon to close to new customers, is the Post Office's* 18mths 0% deal.

There are far longer 0% deals out there but the one-off fee here's just £7 per £1,000 transferred. So if you can pay it off in 18mths, it's a corker. The rule's always go for the lowest fee possible, providing you can repay in time. So you may need longer or could get away with shorter. Check these...

Card Intro offer Fee Rep APR after
Barclaycard* 33mths 0% (1) 2.79% 18.9%
Lloyds 28mths 0% (1) 1.5% 18.9%
Ends 31 July. Post Office* 18mths 0% 0.7% 17.8%
Barclaycard* 6mths 0% None 19.9%
All are new cardholder deals. 1) With these cards, some get shorter 0%.

Always obey the Balance Transfer Golden Rules:

a) Don't just apply.
Use the Balance Transfer Eligibility Tool to see the cards you've best odds of getting, thus cutting down credit file application marks.
b) Always pay at least the minimum. If not, you risk losing the 0% deal.
c) Clear the card or shift again before 0% ends. Or the rates jump to the APR.
d) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these cards. It usually isn't at the cheap rate.
e) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. For full help & more options, see Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).
3. top credit cardThe Halifax Clarity card - get cheapest exchange rates in every country. The Halifax Clarity* has no foreign exchange load charge, so spend on it and you get the same near-perfect rate the banks do (most plastic adds a 3% load). It also has the lowest overseas ATM costs. Just ensure you repay it IN FULL each month or the 12.9% rep APR interest dwarfs the saving.

Alternative. If you've poor credit, the easier-to-get Aqua Reward card* is also load-free abroad, and gives 0.5% on all spending, but ATM charges are high. Plus, fail to fully repay and it's 34.9% rep APR.

Again though, don't waste applications seeing if you can get one. Use the Travel Cards Eligibility Tool to see which you're most likely to get. For more info and options, see the full Cheap Travel Cards guide (APR Examples).
4. Tesco Clubcard credit card - borrow interest-free for 19mths (and it rewards you too). The Tesco* 19-mth 0% card is about new borrowing, not shifting debts, so spending on the card is interest-free within that time (and it's the market's longest). Provided you repay by then, you can spread the cost of purchases at no extra charge.

It also gives Clubcard points on all spending: 5 for every £4 spent in Tesco (so 1pt more than just the loyalty card), and 1 for every £4 elsewhere. Yet always be careful with new borrowing. Plan, budget and ask "do I need it?".

Alternatives. The next longest fee-free cards with rewards are Sainsbury's* 16mths 0% and M&S Bank* 15mths, which also give Nectar or M&S points.

Always obey the 0% Cards Golden Rules:

a) Don't just apply.
Use the 0% Spending Eligibility Tool to see the cards you've best odds of getting, thus cutting down credit file application marks.
b) Clear the card before 0% ends. If not, it jumps to the representative APR, which is 18.9%, 16.9% & 16.9% rep APR on the cards above.
c) Always pay at least the monthly minimum. If not, you may lose the 0% deal.
d) Never withdraw cash. It's not cheap and can hurt your credit file.
For full help and more options, see 0% Spending Cards (APR Examples).
5. The Flybe card - 'free' return flight when you buy salt & vinegar crisps. The Flybe card gives you a voucher for a return flight on most of its routes (you still need to pay taxes & charges) as soon as you spend anything on it.

As there's no minimum amount, just buy an apple or S&V crisps (don't choose cheese and onion, because they taste horrid - yuck - and thus you don't deserve a 'free' flight). Do of course repay the card IN FULL to avoid the 18.9% rep APR. More info: Credit Card Freebies
6. The MBNA card - pays cash into your bank at 31mths 0% (4% fee). The MBNA Platinum* card is one of the few allowing money transfers. Here, accepted new cardholders can get it to pay cash directly into their bank account, and then owe it instead, at 31mths 0% for a 4% fee (the fee's 2.88% for normal balance transfers). This can then be used to clear overdrafts, or give yourself a cash loan that beats most loans on the market.

Always obey the Money Transfer Golden Rules:

a) Don't just apply. Use the Money Transfer Eligibility Tool to see the cards you've best odds of getting, thus cutting down credit file application marks.
b) Always pay at least the minimum. If not, you risk losing the 0% deal.
c) Clear the card before 0% ends. Or the rates jump to 22.9% rep APR.
d) Don't spend/withdraw cash on this card. It usually isn't at the cheap rate.
e) Unsure about this? Money transfers are complex. It can be costly if you get it wrong, so get step-by-step help in Money Transfers (APR Examples).
7. The ?????? card - gives valuable extra protection. One big boon applies to all credit cards (so replace the question marks above with a card you already have). Buy something anywhere worldwide costing £100 - £30,000 and pay, even part-pay, on it and Section 75 laws mean the card's jointly liable with the retailer for the whole amount.

So if an item's faulty, or the retailer goes bust before delivery, you can go to your card provider to get your money back. This doesn't apply with debit cards (though then there are lesser chargeback rules), cash or cheques.

It's hugely valuable, as if you're turned down by a credit card you can go to the Financial Ombudsman (which looks at fairness as well as just the law), rather than court. (See the Section 75 Guide.)

Extra tip: Some credit cards, including many Amex and Capital One (check yours), voluntarily offer 'purchase protection', in which if goods bought on the card are lost or stolen within a set time - usually around 90 days - you get your money back. It can pay off.

A few years ago, my bicycle was stolen. Having bought a new one to get to work, I cycled to the police station and D-locked it to the railing while I got a crime number to claim on my purchase protection. While I was inside, my new bike was stolen (grrrrrr). I turned around, went back in, reported it and thankfully was compensated twice.
8. The Halifax All-in-One card - lets you shift debts and borrow at 0%. The top all-round borrowing card (doing both together minimises applications) is Halifax All-in-One*, which gives accepted new applicants 15mths 0% (17.9% rep APR after) for new borrowing & for a 0.8% fee on shifted debts.

Alternative. Sainsbury's Nectar's* a longer 16mths 0% (16.9% rep APR after) but the fee for balance transfers is a much higher 3%. Do follow the spending and balance transfers golden rules above. To see your chances, use the All-Round Cards Eligibility Tool. More in Top All-Rounder Cards (APR Examples).
9. The Amex Everyday card - pays 5% back on your spending for 3mths. The Amex Everyday* card gives accepted new cardholders 5% cashback (up to £100) on all spending in the first 3mths and up to 1.25% after that. This is a huge boon if you've big purchases planned. Just ensure you pay it off IN FULL every month, to avoid the 19.9% rep APR. See full Amex Cashback Info.

Alternative. The easier-to-get Capital One Classic Extra* gives 0.5% cashback on all spending, plus £10 a year, as long as it's used correctly (ie, no min repayments missed). But it's a big 34.9% rep APR, so always repay IN FULL.

Always obey the Cashback Cards Golden Rules:

a) Don't just apply.
Use the Cashback Cards Eligibility Tool to see the cards you've best odds of getting, thus cutting down credit file application marks.
b) Always repay IN FULL. If not, the cashback gain's dwarfed by interest cost.
c) Don't withdraw cash. That's expensive and can hurt your credit score.
Full info & more card options in Top Cashback Credit Cards (APR Examples).
10. The Lloyds Avios card - spend £7,000 on it & get 2 flight upgrades. The Lloyds Avios* card is great for Avios collectors, it gives 2.5 Avios points per £1 spent on its Amex in the first six months (1.25 after that). You also get a Mastercard in case Amex isn't accepted, it gives 1.25pts per £5.

The big perk, though, is spend £7,000+/yr on it (doable with all your spending on it) and you get two flight vouchers to upgrade you one cabin level. Do that and it trumps the card's £24 annual fee, provided of course you repay IN FULL to avoid the 17.9% interest (22.7% rep APR incl the fee).

Alternative. The fee-free BA Amex* card gives 1 Avios per £1 spent plus 3,000 extra if you spend £500 within the first 3mths. Yet its strength's for big spenders, ie, £20,000+/yr. Then you get a 'free' companion ticket so that whatever ticket you redeem in points, even first class, you get a second free. Of course, do repay IN FULL each month to avoid the 15.9% rep APR.

As always with Avios, you pay taxes & charges though. More information and options in Top Airline Cards (APR Examples).

PS. Don't jump to apply for all of these cards at once. While they're great, too many applications in a short space of time can hurt your ability to get other credit. So treat applications like money and spend them wisely. If you don't need anything, then great, nab a perks card or two - but if you're about to get a mortgage, beware. See 35 Tips To Boost Your Credit Score for more info.

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MSE News

Top story: NatWest and Halifax caught sending misleading debt demands
Flying with Ryanair? New app skips check-in hassle
Current account market faces full competition inquiry
Deferring your pension set to be worth less from 2016
Provident is latest firm caught sending misleading demands
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Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 23 Jul 2014
Halve gadget costs via Tesco's Clubcard DOUBLE-UP - eg, Kindle Tablet £45
Check now if you've Tesco vouchers (don't worry, you can reclaim old ones too) to see if you can take advantage

If you're one of the 16m members of the retail giant's Clubcard scheme, its new summer Clubcard Boost may enable you to get seriously cheap electricals, as it works on Tesco Direct - basically its equivalent of the Argos catalogue:

  • tesco doubleFind £100s of lost Tesco vouchers. If you've got all your vouchers (they're sent every 3mths), great. If not, you can reclaim 2yrs lost/unused Tesco vouchers. This can really work, as forumite Youneverknow told us: "Just found £60-worth I didn't know I had by following your instructions. What's made my day is with the Boost, I can turn it into £120."
  • New Tesco Clubcard Boost - includes Tesco Direct. Until 8 Sept, online or in-store, swap £5 of Clubcard vouchers for £10 Boost vouchers to spend in its clothes, back-to-school or opticians' departments. Plus this also works on ANY item sold via Tesco Direct (excluding partner retailers), incl electrical goods, home furnishings, toys & games and lots more. See full Boost at Tesco info.

    You don't have to pay solely in Boost vouchers. You can make up the rest in cash, but if you do, use the MegaShopBot tool to check it wouldn't just be cheaper to pay straight elsewhere. Things we think are bargains via this incl Kindle Fire Tablet £99 (so £45 in vouchers), iPad Mini £249 (so £125 in vouchers), Moshi Monsters kids' scooter £19.99 (so £10 in vouchers) and Tefal 5-piece saucepan set £40 (so £20 in vouchers).
  • Check if you can QUADRUPLE rewards. Before doubling in-store, check Tesco's Clubcard Partner Vouchers brochure. You can get up to 3x or 4x points' value, eg, £10 of vouchers becomes £40 at Ask, £30 at Goldsmiths, or £20 on train tickets. We've analysed their true value in our Top 10 Clubcard Partner Vouchers.

1p King of Shaves Hyperglide razor + 3 blades code. 6,000 codes to pay 1p for the first month's, usually £6, razor subscription service (can be cancelled any time). Plus 6,000 codes for £1 off EVERY future month. King of Shaves

Free £20ish eye test vouchers for Specsavers & Optical Express. Just click to download a free Specsavers* or Optical Express* voucher, or go to Tesco Opticians (always free). Full info: Free Eye Tests. Of course, in Scot all are free.

Pay £5 get £10 Starbucks and/or Tesco card. Both via daily deals site, see Starbucks Deals & Tesco Deals

Earn £15 M&S/Amazon vch doing quick online surveys. MSE Blagged. A popular site with MSEers where you fill in surveys & polls to earn. We've a special newbies' link - accrue £5, then get a bonus £10-worth. Swagbucks Boost

Quick. Free £125 for switching to no.1 bank
It's won every service poll we've ever done (92% rate it great) - but First Direct's record free £125 is about to end

Yes, it's a bribe - but as it's to switch to a top account, pocket it. £125 is the biggest switching cash we've ever seen, a decent chunk towards clearing an overdraft or boosting holiday spend. So unless you love your current bank...

  • first directFree £125 & 6% linked savings. Sign up via this specific First Direct* link by 31 July and accepted switchers get £125 (it drops to £100 after), a £250 0% overdraft and a linked 6% regular savings account. You need to pay in a min of £1,000/mth (ie, pay a salary of £13,300+ in as that's £1,000/mth for most after tax) to keep the account fee-free and get the bonus - if not, don't bother. See the full First Direct review.
  • Get 3% on savings + up to 3% cashback on bills. Alternatively, Santander 123* pays accepted switchers with £3,000 - £20,000 in it 3% AER (double the top easy-access savings). Plus pay phone, broadband, council tax, energy & other bills by direct debit and get up to 3% cashback. Many earn over £10/mth, dwarfing its £2/mth fee. You need to pay in a min £500/mth (£6,000/yr salary). See full Santander 123 review.
  • Top 'non-bank' bank account - a year's 5% interest and 0% overdraft. In year 1, Nationwide* BS's FlexDirect pays 5% AER up to £2,500 and has a 0% overdraft (min £1,000/mth pay-in). See the full FlexDirect review.
  • Don't let myths put you off switching. Despite the huge bribes to switch, only 3% of account holders do so each year. So much so, a competition inquiry's been launched. Let's bust some common myths...

    - Myth 1: All accounts are the same. There's huge variance in service & rate. See best buys in Top Bank Accounts.
    - Myth 2: It takes ages. Not any more. "Seven-working day" switching was launched in Sept 2013.
    - Myth 3: I'll have to move all my direct debits. No, the new bank now moves these and standing orders for you.
    - Myth 4: I may lose payments sent to my old bank. These are now auto-forwarded for the first 13mths.
    - Myth 5: I can't switch, I'm overdrawn. You can. And see our How To Cut Your Overdraft help.

The trick to access every network's signal from your mobile. To find out how, read Martin's UK roaming blog.

Free £1ish 45g meat marinade. Sample delivered to your door. Flavours incl BBQ, Mexican, piri-piri & mint. Flava It

New fixed HEATING OIL tariff. It's the first we've heard of that lets you lock in for 12mths. See New Heating Oil Fix.

Full school uniform £4. Incl jumper, 2x shirts & skirt/trousers. Go quick though. Full round-up in School Uniform Deals.

New. Top graduate accounts 2014 - 3-yr £2,000 0% overdraft. Don't just stick with your student account, we've evaluated all the best offers for those leaving university. See the full Top Graduate Bank Accounts 2014 guide.

£10 champagne. Louvel Fontaine at Asda or Veuve Monsigny at Aldi. £10 champers. Be Drinkaware.

New. Save £190/yr on energy with 2014's cheapest deal (only takes five mins)
It may be hot outside, but now's the PERFECT time to switch, as providers try to create demand with special deals
Counter-logically, because people don't switch energy tariff in the summer, it's often the best time to do it as providers want custom. So they launch cheap short-lived deals - and we've just seen the new cheapest of the year...

  • Save typically £190/year and ensure no price hikes. Co-op Energy's* new Fair & Square tariff's the cheapest we've seen in 2014. The rate's fixed till Sept 2015 (of course your bill will still rise if you use more). You need to get dual fuel (ie, both gas & elec, which is cheapest anyway) and give regular meter readings (always wise).

    Important: The table below is based on typical prices. You need to see how it stacks up compared to what you pay, so please take 5 mins to do our Cheap Energy Club Top Fixed Picks Comparison to get bespoke prices first.
How it compares - cheapest fixes based on Ofgem typical usage
Elec only? Dual fuel? Fixed until Exit fee Cost/yr Service feedback (1)
Average big six standard tariff         £1,180 (can be up to £1,300 (2))
Co-op Energy* No Yes 30 Sep '15 £50 £989 68% good
First Utility* Yes Yes 30 Sep '15 £30/fuel £992 45% good
Flow Energy (3) Yes Yes 31 Aug '15 None £1,010 61% good (few votes)
EDF Blue+ Price Promise* Yes Yes 29 Feb '16 None £1,050 55% good
EDF* Blue+ Price Freeeeze* Yes Yes 31 Jul '17 None £1,210 55% good
Varies by region, source 1) MSE Apr 2014 poll of 5,820 people by provider.
2) Npower, non-direct debit, unlike others. 3) Direct debits taken in advance.
  • What about the early exit fees? We prefer tariffs without, but if the savings compared to the fee are strong, and it's unlikely you'll leave before the fix ends, it's not such a biggie. Let savings from your comparison guide you.
  • Fix long or short. You'd need a crystal ball to truly know as it depends on worldwide energy prices (which reflect political instability) and Government policy. But what you can predict is your behaviour. Going short for bigger savings only works if you'll switch again as soon as the deal ends. If not, go for longer-term price certainty. Full help, many more options and questions answered in Cheap Gas & Electricity.

Nectar double-up starts today (Wed). Till Tue 12 Aug, Nectar redemptions increase for certain items. 1,000 points will get you £10 at PizzaExpress, £15 at Go Ape, £20 at Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, etc. Full list in Double Nectar.

Success of the week: (Send us yours)
"I read on your site about being mis-sold a bank account that came with benefits I already had, so decided to complain. A week later, I had my account credited with £1,613."
Fiona's was one of many mis-sold packaged accounts. If you pay a fee or used to, read Reclaim Packaged Accounts.

10,000 free tix to Doncaster race night, with code. For Thu 24 Jul. Normally £7.50. Doncaster Racecourse

SALES CODES: Topman extra 15% off, Evans and F&F extra 10% off...
Topman 15% off sale and non-sale | Evans 10% off sale only | Tesco F&F Clothing 10% off sale only | All Discount Vouchers

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*
33mths 0%, 2.79% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Post Office*
18mths 0%, 0.7% fee

(17.8% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
5.3% rep APR

Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
4% rep APR

BM Savings* 1.55% AER
Min £1, incl bonus
Postal. Transfers allowed

Coventry BS 2.75% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till May 2018

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples
'Corfu 3-star & flight £193' - last-ditch booking tricks
We're in the summer holiday 'lates' market - serious deals are available if you know how to play the system...

Some of the very cheapest foreign holiday deals come from booking at the last moment. Yet choice is limited, so it's a market for those with flexibility. It's all about deciding which route is right for you...

  • last minute holidaysBag bargain package holiday 'lates'. Tour operators have paid to reserve plane seats and hotel rooms. If they're unsold by c.8 weeks before travel, they start to discount heavily. Each subsequent week, prices and availability drop. So the longer you leave it, the better for price, the worse for choice, eg, to go next week we found...

    A week in Corfu 3-star self-catering for two at £204pp (we haggled it to £193), and a family (of four) Costa Brava half-board £295 (we haggled it to £252pp - so a saving of £170 total).

    To do this, first find the package you want using TravelSup* and searches, then follow our step-by-step holiday haggling tips which can bring down prices further. As you can see, we managed it on both.
  • Want a DIY booked flight and holiday? Prices tend not to drop late. In fact, sometimes they rise. Yet they can still win...

    - Cheap flights:
    Use Skyscanner* for ease, Kayak* for gizmos, TravelSup* for range (see Cheap Flights).
    - Charter flights: Find operator flights to traditional resorts with empty seats via TravelSup*, Avro*, Flights Direct*.
    - Cheap hotel rooms: Know the hotel you want, then use Trivago* & TravelSup* to see if you can pay less.
    - Uncover secret hotels: Push down the price of 4-5 star deals, if you do a little work - see Secret Hotel Tricks.
    - Go for a villa: If there's lots of you, it can be far cheaper and better quality. See Cheap Holiday Rentals.

    Plus, book both a flight & hotel and Expedia*, Travelocity* & Ebookers* may give extra discounts. As long as you book both from the same travel site within 24 hours, you'll get the same ATOL protection you get with packages.

Body Shop £10 off £25 or £25 off £50 code. Online code or in-store with smartphone. Ends Tue. Body Shop

Sainsbury's 10p/L off fuel with £60 spend. Starts Thu. Joins mega-popular Tesco up to 20p/L off. Cheap Petrol

Off on hols? Tweet us your travel MoneySaving questions Thu 1-1.30pm. Whether travel money, insurance, airport parking, car hire or more, we promise to answer all sent to @MoneySavingExp at the time using #MSETravel.

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

Our club ensures you're always on the cheapest tariff.

Join free: Cheap Energy Club

Up to £30 cashback for dual fuel, £15 for single switches.

First Direct*
£125 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get quotes in this order...*
Compare The Market*
Direct Line*

Post Office*
with weekend calls
£10/mth (pay a yr upfront)

TalkTalk Value Line Rental*
£11.75/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

What would you like to see credit unions offer?

These not-for-profit financial organisations have been around for over 50 years, but only a million people are members. How can they grow? The Treasury wants to hear your ideas in the British Credit Unions At 50 consultation. What services would you like to see? How can they reach more people? Share your views by Mon 1 Sep. Related guide: Credit Unions

Should I report my fare-dodging colleague?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I work with someone who's bragging about dodging the fare on his train to work in the morning. He thinks it's very clever, but some of us are getting irritated - after all, we pay our way, why shouldn't he? A couple of us are tempted to report him anonymously - should I? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I report my fare-dodging colleague? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

Help for those thinking about self-employment
Many people dream of packing in the day job and working for themselves, but not as many make a success of it. If you've done it, what tips or warnings do you have? From dealing with tax to staying motivated, we want to tap into freelance MoneySavers' collective wisdom. Share yours/read others': Self-employment tips Past topics: View all

Airline: Thomas Cook Offer: Outward flights from £39.99 to Balearics Ends: Ongoing
Our pick this week is Thomas Cook*. The sale's ongoing and it includes taxes & most charges (you'll pay extra for hold luggage). It's for flights until Oct 2014 to Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca from 11 UK airports. 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

What bargains have you picked up on holiday?

have picked up bargain jeans and trainers in the US, posh wine in several countries and cut-price jewellery in India. And if you're heading to Turkey this summer, keep an eye out for super-cheap stock cubes.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

24 July
Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.30am-7.45am
Deals of the Week

28 July
This Morning, ITV, 11am-12pm
Subject TBC

MSE team corner

Discussion of the week

My husband needs a social life

If you've got a family, it's hard to strike a balance between work life and social life. Help forumite Nicolefury get her other half out and about in the Want my husband to have a social life thread.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 125.36 112.82
US Flag $ 169.01 152.10
Turkish Flag TL 343.00 306.30
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Who are the best and worst train operators?

We can tell you how to save the most from Cheap Train Tickets, but to find out if they're any good, we need your help.

Taking into account your whole experience - price, speed, reliability, comfort and service - pls rate the operators you've used regularly over the past YEAR.

Options include (we've 24 in total)...

Abellio Greater Anglia Chiltern Railways
CrossCountry East Midlands Trains
First Capital Connect First TransPennine Express
Merseyrail ScotRail
South West Trains Virgin Trains

If your provider's not above, check the full list and vote.

Poll results

How common are free flight upgrades?
Of those who have had the chance, 16% of flyers - or 18% of non-budget airline flyers - have had a free flight upgrade in the past two years. Of those who got one:

- 43% got one, no questions asked
- 24% used frequent flyer programmes to get them
- 8% simply asked, or talked them into it
- 3% were on honeymoon, getting married or celebrating something

Some 49% of those who'd flown a non-budget airline never asked and didn't get one.

5,004 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: How do you change a stocks and shares NISA into a cash NISA? Elizabeth, via email.

MSE Amy's A: On 1 July this year, ISAs became NISAs (see Top Cash NISAs and Top Shares NISAs guides). As well as the limit jumping to £15,000, another rule change means you can now also move your stocks & shares NISA into a cash NISA.

To do this, you’ll usually first need to sell your investments within the ISA wrapper. Then you’ll have cash in your stocks and shares account. At this point you need to ask a cash NISA provider (a new one or your existing one, but do of course go for the best cash NISA transfer rate) to transfer the money across (check your existing provider doesn’t levy transfer-out fees). Never just sell your investments and withdraw the cash - that’d mean it’s no longer in a NISA.  

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

 Charlotte's free game of the week: Virus Wars

Clean your bathroom with a power drill

That's it for this week, but before you go, have you tried cleaning your bathroom with a power drill, using a cola can to boost your wi-fi or getting your dog to carry your keys? Try these surprising yet handy short-cuts to make your life easier.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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