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WEEKLY EMAIL 10/10/2012

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10th Oct 2012
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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

Free £10 on trains
Winter sports travel insurance
Are you missing out on a pay rise?
40 eBay buying secrets
FREE £17 Gourmet Society app/card
£10 De Vere Hotels | £20 Ramada
Warning 9% energy hikes hit Mon
1,000 Boots pts boost
Reclaim uniform tax for FREE
Plain Lazy kids £26 goody bag
New 5.6% loan: cheapest since 2006
Tesco.com grocery code
2 comedy tickets and burgers £9
Lenor 1.4L 50p with voucher
New cheapest line rent £7.49/mth
Body Shop £25 code | Clarks 20%
Free can of Red Sq vodka
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

5% cashback on ALL spending - great for Xmas
EARN £100s. Perfect time to get cashback credit card (even if poor credit)

Cashback credit cards PAY YOU to spend on them. Done right, many can earn £100s annually just by changing plastic. Take this by big spender Paul Ashurst...

"I put virtually everything on my card and got £1,458 cashback this year. Pay the balance off in full and do some basic budgeting to earn a significant amount." So with Christmas coming, carpe diem. Here are 10 need-to-knows:

1. First, neuter its interest-charging ability. Cashback cards are only worth it if you set up a direct debit to repay IN FULL each month. That way you avoid any interest, so it's all profit (also, never withdraw cash).
2. Now, it's a DEBIT card that pays you, so use it for everything. The direct debit means it's like a debit card, paid monthly from your bank account. So provided you can always clear in full, use it for ALL normal spending (not an excuse to overspend) and possibly expenses.
3. cashbackBIG 5% cashback over Christmas & Jan sales. Capital One* Aspire pays newbies 5% back for the first 99 days (max £100 in that time). So now's the time to apply to get 5% for the high-spend Xmas & Jan sales period. Fail to repay IN FULL and it's 19.9% rep APR.

After the 5% ends, the rate's 'up to 1.25%' depending how much you spend. You need to own a home, have a decent credit score & earnings of £20k+. Already got Capital One? Barclaycard 6% Cashback and Amex Plat 5% are good alternatives. Full info: Top Cashback Cards, Official APR Examples
4. Poor credit score? 3% cashback. Most cashback cards require a top credit score. Yet Aqua Reward* offers 3% cashback, max £100/yr, and as it's primarily a card to rebuild your credit, even some with past CCJs/defaults can get it. Only do if you can afford repayments. Fail to repay IN FULL each month and it's a hideous 34.9% rep APR. More info: Credit Rebuild Cards
5. Best for motorists: 3% back on fuel spend. Santander's 123* credit card pays 3% on up to £300/mth petrol, diesel, rail & Tube spending; 2% department stores & 1% supermarkets. Yet a £24 annual fee means it only wins for heavy drivers/commuters. Another big plus, unusually, this card pays cashback monthly. Full info: Petrol Cashback Cards. Fail to repay IN FULL and it's 18.9% rep APR.
6. Up the gain with a partner. In a trusting relationship? Janet applies for 5% cashback making John the 2nd cardholder. When her deal ends, John does the reverse for a further 5%. After, both use one card, as cashback rates are tiered. As Chris Ross tells us: "I share cards with other family members - five mths, £171 cashback. Splitting it four ways at year-end."
7. How's the cashback paid? It's usually taken off the statement annually (you owe £400 and have £200 cashback, so you're charged £200). Most cards pay on the account opening anniversary, Capital One every January.
8. The impact on your credit score. It's applications, not acceptance, that matter. One application has no real impact. The problem is when you make lots in a short period, so avoid. Full info: Boost Credit Rating
9. Free consumer protection. By law, buy anything from £100 to £30,000 and pay, even in part, on any credit card (not debit) and Section 75 laws mean the card firm's jointly liable with the retailer for the whole amount. If an item's faulty, or the retailer goes bust, go to the card provider for refunds.
10. Cashback on council tax, mortgages, energy bills & more. With the Santander 123 bank account* (not the credit card) you get 1% back on water, council tax, Santander mortgage payments; 2% on gas & elec; 3% on mobile, broadband, phone and TV bills. Plus tiered interest up to 3%, beating savings.

There is a £2/mth fee (£24/yr), but for many pelicans (those with big bills) this is a winner, worth £100s/yr. See the Is Santander 123 For Me? review.

Do us a favour. If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via moneysavingexpert.com/tips

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: Buy now to beat insurance hikes?
ING savers to get UK protection
Nationwide axes interest-only mortgages
Government caps rail fares rise
£10bn welfare cuts
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 10 Oct 2012
FREE £10 train ticket voucher
Plus it's the PERFECT time to bag Christmas and New Year super-cheap train tickets

These days, many people let the train take the strain on their wallets. But right now we can unclasp it a little...

  • train ticketsTotally free £10 for trains. MSE Blagged. We've 30,000 £10 e-vouchers for train ticket booking site RedSpottedHanky. Get one: £10 Train Tix
  • Cheapest time for Xmas & NY tix. Rail operators launch tickets 12-ish weeks ahead when lots of super-cheap advances become available. Now, most have released tickets for 28 Dec, with NY due any day. Full help: Slash Train Costs
  • Free split ticket app. Counter-logically, buying 2 tickets for one journey can save large. A London-Wolverhampton single is £83. Yet buy London-Milton Keynes, where the same train stops, then MK-Wolves, and it's £53, saving £30. To find quirks, use the TicketySplit iPhone app or TicketySplit Android website.

FREE 3mth restaurant 2for1s / up to 50% off discounts (worth £17ish). MSE Blagged. Free Gourmet Society app (or 75p for card) works at 6,000+ restaurants. RRP £70/year. Full info: Gourmet Society

Hot hotel sales (incl Xmas) - De Vere £10 rooms | Ramada £20. Mid-range hotels at budget hotel prices. 11,000 De Vere rooms (starts Thurs), 100,000 Ramada (with voucher). Hotel Sales

Warning. 9% energy price hike Monday: FIX for 2 winters to beat it
On 15 Oct, SSE's price hike hits. The other big six suppliers are likely (not guaranteed) to follow. Many on standard tariffs can save £200+/yr locking into a cheap fix now, ensuring no hikes for two winters. Full info: Cheap Energy.
Cheap fixes: Until 31 Mar '14. Cheapest: First Utility* | No exit fees: Scottish Power* (so no risk).
Compare & check savings: Energyhelpline* £15 cashback per switch. Dual fuel only: MoneySup* £30, uSwitch* crate of wine (via these links).


Urgent. Boots pts boost - 1,000 extra on £50 spend. Wed-Fri. Good for starting Xmas shopping. Boots Deals

Cheapest winter travel insurance - sort ASAP
Get it when you book or you're uncovered | Travel insurance price drop | Annual cover incl winter sports now £27

travel insuranceIf you book to travel, but flights/hotels are cancelled before you buy insurance, you're not covered. Many Best Buy Travel Insurance prices have been cut, the guide has 'em all. Some winter highlights...

  • Annual cover with winter sports £27. Our cheapest picks are FSA-regulated policies hitting our min cover criteria. Our top value picks also incl past payout record and feedback. For single trips use MoneySup* (can also beat the below if you take the time to do a full comparison).
Annual Travel Insurance - incl basic winter sport cover
Cheapest Europe Cheapest worldwide Top value picks include
Individual 18-44 Protect Yr Bubble* £27-£33
Age 45-
65 HolidaySafe* £34-£38
18-44 Protect Bubble* £33-£40
45-65 HolidaySafe* £54
Top pick: Direct Travel*
Europe £42-£62 World £65-£95
Add £20 for catastrophe cover
Family / Couple 18-35 Protect Yr Bubble* £48
36-64 Diamond £57
18-44 Protect Bubble* £58-£69
45-64 Diamond £70
Top pick: Direct Travel*
Eur £80-£117 World £124-£180
Add £40 for catastrophe cover
  • Going on the piste? Unless it's got winter sports, you won't usually be covered for ski/snowboard accidents, never mind gear & cancelled passes (double-check, even if you already have a policy). Plus, in the EU, always carry an EHIC for emergencies. Those going off-piste/extreme sports, try BMC for cover (though it's not cheap).

Don't pay to reclaim £100s in uniform tax. As often happens when we start a campaign, claims firms try to leech on the back. That's now happening with uniform tax rebates. Just DIY, like this MoneySaver: "Just received a £410 cheque after seeing Martin. Helps to ease the Christmas pressure." See Reclaim Uniform Tax for FREE.

£26 Plain Lazy kids' goody bags (worth £83). MSE Blagged. Forumites requested & got it. Plain Lazy Deals

New. 5.6% APR personal loan - cheapest since 2006. Rates for £7,500 to £15k loans are plummeting. Derbyshire BS* (part of Nationwide) has dropped to 5.6% representative APR. Sainsbury's* (need Nectar card) has matched it (for loans under 3yrs). Only get a loan if you've budgeted & can afford it. Full help, pros & cons in Cheap Loans, (Official APRs).

Tesco.com 1,000 pts + £10 back on £50 groceries. Newbies only. Ends Sun. Via cashback site code. Tesco Deal

Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
23 mths 0%, 2.8% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Barclaycard*
16 mths 0%, 1.5% fee

(18.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

MoneySup*
Confused*
Direct Line*
Aviva*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.1% rep APR
(Need Nectar card)

Derbyshire BS* (£7.5k - £15k)
5.6% rep APR

Manchester BS 3.06% AER
Min £1,000. Incl bonus.
Postal only. Transfers allowed.

Cheshire BS 3% AER
Min £1,000. Incl bonus.
Transfers not allowed

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Comedy tix for 2 + burgers £9 (RRP £52). MSE Blagged. Fri & Sat, incl Ldn, Birm, Leeds. Highlight Deals

Lenor 1.4L fabric conditioner 50p. In-store with voucher, 1.4L including Infusions range. Supermarket Coupons

Are you missing out on a pay rise?
New laws force employers to contribute to your pension | 15 pension need-to-knows

Starting now with big firms, auto-enrolment means virtually all employees will get a pension (retirement savings) unless they actively opt out. Our new 15 pension need-to-knows guide explains the pros & cons. Here's a few...

  • pay riseA pay rise? Really? Yup. Under auto-enrolment, if you start a pension, employers must contribute, gaining many £1,000s of old age savings. Even though it means a little less income now as you contribute too, for most it's worth it. If you pay £50/mth, and your employer matches, with basic tax relief, you get £112.50 of savings. Our Pension Widget does the sums.
  • Haven't pensions been pants? Yes & no. Pensions are a form of tax break on investments for old age. They got a bad rep when many were advised to get with-profits pensions (such as endowments) which performed poorly. Their investments went wrong, not the pension.
  • When to start? The sooner the better, to avoid a cold baked bean future. You'll put more in and it has longer to grow. A very rough rule of thumb: halve your age when you start, and contribute that % of your income for the rest of your working life, so start at 20 and it's 10%; at 40 it's 20%. If that's scary, do what you can.

Cheapest line rent cheaper: £7.49/mth. At half BT's price, Primus Line Rental Saver* is £7.49/mth (norm £7.99) until 8 Nov. For inclusive eve & weekend landline calls, its Home Phone Saver* is £8.69/mth. Cheap Home Phones

Codes for £25 off Body Shop, 20% off Clarks & more...
Body Shop £5 off £15, or £25 off £50 code | Clarks 20% off code & voucher | Ocado 25% off £50+ new custs code Oasis extra 20% off sale code | Warehouse extra 10% off sale code & in-store. Full list: Discount Vouchers

BMI frequent flyers warning. Transfer miles to BA by 27 Oct, or they'll be worthless. See BMI Diamond news

40+ eBay buying tricks
How to hunt out hidden bargains | Exploit spelling mistykes | Win auctions with sniping tools and more

It's the now-ubiquitous online auction site, a mammoth marketplace with millions of goods. Most people just bid, but to really track down uber-bargains, learn the tricks & etiquette with our 40+ eBay Buying Secrets. Here are three to start:

  • ebay trickseBay local bargains. Pick-up only deals have fewer bids, so can be far cheaper. Just tell the Local eBay Deals Mapper how far you're prepared to schlep to find them.
  • Exploit speiling mishtakes. Spelling errors mean fewer bidders. Mistake spotters find listings with errors, which can result in cheaper goods.
  • Learn to snipe. Free sniping tools let you auto-bid to cheaply seal deals.

Forum Hottie! Cheap stamps for benefit recipients. From 6 Nov 2012, many benefits recipients will be able to get up to 36 stamps at 2011 prices. See Stamps Deals.

Free Red Square Reloaded can (vodka). Like Facebook page, get from Tesco, Asda. Hot bargains & Drinkaware


Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines
Compare, switch & get cashback

Energyhelpline*
£15 per switch

MoneySupermarket*
£30 dual fuel

uSwitch*
6 bottles of wine

First Direct*
£100 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

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

Confused*
CompareTM*
Direct Line*
Aviva*
Get quotes in this order...

Primus Line Rental Saver*
£7.49/mth


BT Line Rental Saver*
£10.75/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner MSE car sticker £16 Travel Insurance

Restaurant vouchers

High street sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
The MoneySaving Community

THE GREAT HUNT | What you wish you'd known when you had a baby
After Martin mentioned fitting a car seat on his Facebook page (MSE junior is due in 3 weeks) one follower posted him tips such as "pin a 'baby sleeping' sign on the front door to stop disturbance". So we thought we'd use all MoneySavers' collective wisdom to help new parents everywhere - including our Martin. Read/add yours: Newborn Baby Tips Past topics: View all

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK | Report spam calls and texts
The Information Commissioner's asking everyone to report spam calls or texts. Whether for PPI reclaiming, payday loans or personal injury, your reports will help the ICO investigate firms or individuals who may've broken the law. Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support money-based work by other organisations. Send us a campaign of the week suggestion.

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA | Should student daughter contribute?
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
My 18-year old daughter just started uni and lives at home. She gets £60/wk grant and has a part-time job on about £50/wk. I've asked for £20/wk maintenance, since I've lost my child tax credit and am a single parent. She's refusing as she believes HER grant's for her to spend. I don't want to kick her out, but how else can I make ends meet and teach her money's value? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should she contribute? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

BOOK GIVEAWAY RESULT | When a Middle-Aged Bloke Discovered Rugby. 25 blagged for MoneySavers. Check your inbox to find out if you got one.

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT | Airline: Monarch Code: Up to £20 off returns Ends: ongoing
Our pick this week is Monarch's up to £20 off return flights with the code GETAWAY. Includes some taxes & charges. It's for flights to 26 Oct 2013 to various destinations from six UK airports, eg, Manch to Venice £50. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on an £80 return max search. 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 Ins

SPILL THE BEANS... REVEALED | Shop assistants, what's your haggle policy?
We received some great tips from MoneySavers who work(ed) in retail on the best way to bag a bargain. Apparently, different Waterstones branches have different offers on the same titles, so it's worth ringing round first, whereas at Apple, "hagglers get nothing". Contrary to popular belief, asking to see the manager is a no-no - just smile instead.

Quick forum tips

Andrea's freebies

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

Thursday 11 October
Shelagh Fogarty, Radio 5, 12-1pm. 
Consumer Panel.
Listen to past shows.

Tuesday 16 October
Daybreak, ITV1, between 7am & 8.30am. Subject tbc.

Ps. If you've missed any episodes of The Martin Lewis Money Show watch them here.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 123.06 117.10
US Flag $ 159.06 150.76
Turkish Flag TL 282.50 258.89
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Is it fair to discriminate on age, gender or race in insurance pricing?

In December the European Court of Justice 'gender equalisation' rule hits, meaning insurers can no longer charge men and women different prices (other things being equal). It'll mean hikes in car and life insurance for women, and lower annuity rates for men.

Select ALL below which you think insurers SHOULD BE ALLOWED to factor in?

Poll results

Is it wise to borrow £10,000 to travel the world?

When one of Martin's followers on Twitter asked for advice on whether she should borrow £10k to go travelling, she had no idea she'd get 11,367 responses. Almost half (48%) said it was silly and she shouldn't do it, 34% reckon it's silly, but they'd do it if it was their one chance and 18% voted 'do it - live now, worry later'. See Full Results.

Question of the week

Q: Should I pay to get my EHIC quicker via a 'fast-track' service?

MSE Rose's A: No, no, and no. A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is worth having if you're going abroad, as it can get you free or discounted medical care in any EU country, plus a few others. Yet there's no such thing as an EHIC 'fast-track' application, so don't get caught out.

Google "EHIC" and you'll find websites charging about £15 to process your application, with some offering a 'fast-track' service for an extra fee. Yet the fastest way to get your EHIC is via the official website, www.ehic.org.uk. Go via this route so there's no cost - see the Free EHIC guide.

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

Board of the week

Local MoneySaving: The Scotland Board

Share offers and tips on moneysaving in Scotland. Discussions include Which tattoo studio is best in Scotland?, Looking for a knitting/sewing/mending group and Made to measure kilts.

 Archna's free game of the week: Office Sneakout

Name and shame... your dog

Here at MSE Towers, we believe in naming the culprits of misdeeds. Yet an oversight in the past means we've missed out some naughty and destructive pooches. No longer - eg, the dogfession: "I eat stinkbugs and throw them up on the nice clean floor." Name and shame your dog.

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).

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  • 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. MSE, Money Saving Expert, MoneySavingExpert and Moneysavingexpert.com are registered trade marks belonging to MoneySavingExpert.com Limited.

More about MoneySaving Expert and Martin Lewis

What is MoneySavingExpert.com?

Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with over 6 million people getting this email and nearly 10m using the site. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: how to save cash and fight for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 30 full time staff about half 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, he's an ultra-focused money saving journalist and consumer campaigner. He has regular slots onDaybreak, Lorraine, Radio 2 Vine, BBC1 Watchdog, Radio 5 Consumer panel and presents ITV Tonight. He is a columnist for amongst others the Sunday Post as well as an author. More info: See Martin Lewis' biog

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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

santander-products.co.uk, capitalone.co.uk, energyhelpline.com, moneysupermarket.com, uswitch.com, scottishpower.co.uk, first-utility.com, protectyourbubble.com, holidaysafe.co.uk, direct-travel.co.uk, sainsburysbank.co.uk, nationwide.co.uk, barclaycard.co.uk, directline.com, confused.com, aviva.co.uk, admiral.com, homephonechoices.co.uk, firstdirect.com, comparethemarket.com, productsandservices.bt.com, aquacard.co.uk.

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Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FSA 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 which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services 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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