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WEEKLY EMAIL 17/10/2012

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This email was sent
17th 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 This info may be out of date.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

Cheapest Samsung Ace, S3 & Note
Council tax & energy bills cashback
6% children's savings
Death happens - plan for it
Glitch: £6.55 Cathedral City for £1
B&Q instant print vouchers
2 x branded specs £29
Huge £66 hardback photobook £19
Domino's £10 off | Pizza Hut 50% off
Hilton Hotels up to 40% off
Free Velvet Balm tissues
Free £2 Amzn MP3 voucher
25% off Uggs code
P&O ferry + 3 bottles of wine £24
Free petrol - extreme couponing
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

You can still beat energy price hikes
British Gas UP 6% | Scottish Power UP 7% | Npower UP 9% | SSE UP 9%

Every electricity & gas bill payer who hasn't acted should check NOW. Since Fri, 3 of the big 6 have announced price rises due soon. Act now to save £100s and LOCK IN FOR TWO WINTERS, NO HIKES. Here are the key 10 Q&As:

1.

Is my bill going to rise? All the hikes apply to both billed and prepayment meter customers. Only those currently on fixed tariffs won't see a change.

Avg rise From when? Avg rise From when?
SSE (1) 9% This week Npower 9% 26 Nov
British Gas 6% 16 Nov Scot Power 7% 3 Dec
EDF Not announced, but energy firms are sheep, so expect it soon.
Eon Promises no hikes this year, so expect it in Jan. See Eon hike?

(1) Includes Atlantic, Scottish Hydro, Swalec & Southern Elec.

2. How do I beat the price hikes? Grab a CHEAP fixed tariff - this locks in the rate for a set time. Even though the cost of fixing's risen since I first yelled about it, most on standard tariffs can still save £200+/yr and guarantee no price hikes for two winters. But go quick, they could be pulled any minute.

Avg/yr Exit fees
Standard tariff (i) £1,310 N/A
Std after hikes (ii) £1,380 N/A
First Utility fix* £1,090 £30/fuel
Scot Power fix* £1,140 None
For medium user, dual fuel, mthly DD. (i) Big 6 avg. (ii) of announced rises. Source: Energyhelpline
Cheapest fix: First Utility 31 Mar 2014* is cheapest, but it has £60 (dual fuel) exit fees (due to end any min). NOW ENDED

Cheapest no exit fee fix. Scottish Power 31 Mar 2014* costs more but lets you leave penalty-free, to cheaper deals elsewhere. EDF's 31 May '14* is a bit more again, but the lock-in's longer.

If you're not fixing, stick. If you compare now, the cheapest's likely to be a provider that's not risen yet, so best wait until they've all hiked to compare.
3. If those are the cheapest anyway, why compare? They're average prices, the exact winner depends on where you live & your usage. So compare and select fixed tariffs in the results to find your savings and check you're not on a cheaper tariff already. Plus the links below pay cashback after 3 mths. All the hikes are already factored in comparison results (except Scottish Power, it'll be added Wed). If possible, pay by fixed monthly direct debit to get a discount - then do regular meter readings to keep it accurate. Full switching info: Cheap Gas & Elec & cashback.
4. Can I just call my existing provider and fix? Yes, but unless you're with a cheap one listed above, why would you? You're just locking in at a higher price (often by £100s). Do a cross-market comparison. Plus, when you shift supplier it's the same gas, same electricity, same safety. Only customer service and price change.
5. I'm on a prepayment (key) meter, can I still save? Yes, though there are no competitive fixes for prepay customers. Yet as typical prepay costs are up to £1,400/yr and the cheapest deal's £1,200, you can still save big.

You can do a prepay comparison via MoneySup*, Energyhelpline* and uSwitch*, though beware moving to EDF or Eon as their prices are yet to rise. Plus, try to move to a billed meter as there's more competition & paying by monthly direct debit's much cheaper. See Cheap Prepay Energy.
6. bright ideaI only use electricity, can I still fix? Yes, the cheapest electricity-only fixes are Ovo and new, tiny firm iSupply 1 year - but they have exit fees.

EDF 31 May 2014* is fee free, so if things get cheaper you can leave. Always use a comparison site to find your cheapest.
7. I may move house, can I take my fix with me? First Utility's* fix can move with you, Scottish Power's can't. If you've just moved home, you'll need to connect to the past occupier's supplier first before switching. If you don't know your home's usage to compare, uSwitch* can estimate it for you.
8. Is it worth fixing if it means exit fees? If a comparison shows you'll save more than the fees by moving, then yes. Though if your lock-in period ends soon, you may want to risk waiting until you can leave fee-free and hope the cost of fixing won't rise too much.
9. I'm in debt / credit, can I still move supplier? If you're in credit, yes, you can switch and they should pay it back promptly. Currently, if in debt on prepay meters you can only switch if that's less than £200 - from 1 Nov, it rises to £500. Those on bills who owe will usually be asked to pay it off.
10. It'll cost me more to fix, is it still worth doing? If it's only a touch more, then it's likely you'll save after the hikes, so yes. If it's a lot more, then it's all about whether you're prepared to risk paying more for the surety of guaranteed rates. Do factor in exit fees on your existing tariff too.

Less energy use cuts bills too, check out our Free £300 of Insulation guide. Plus check out the Energy Saving Trust for more tips on cutting use.

Want to ask me an energy Q? Tweet @martinslewis, Thurs 10:30-10:45

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: Sky 18% phone price rise
Mortgage rates down
Directgov website replaced
Benefits up just 2%
Better financial regulation promised
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 17 Oct 2012
Cheapest Samsung Galaxy
New tool | Find cheapest S2, S3, Note & Ace | Or find best within your budget, eg, 'free' S3 on £21/mth contract

You wanted it, so we've developed a new Cheap Samsung Galaxy Tool to sit next to our Cheap iPhone Tool and indeed it proves the highly-rated Android smartphones are far cheaper. For other phones, see Cheap Mobiles guide. Headlines...

  • samsung toolNew Samsung Galaxy tool. It has two functions: 1) Compares Ace, S2, S3, Nexus or Note prices to find best min, text & data packages, or 2) Finds phone for your budget where you choose a phone and set the max upfront cost and monthly fee.
  • Top 'free' (no upfront cost) picks. The popular budget Ace smartphone* is £7.50/mth (250 mins, 5,000 texts, 500MB data) on T-Mobile. The new top-end Galaxy S3* is £26/mth on T-Mobile (600 mins, 3,000 texts, 250MB data). The Galaxy Note* phablet (giant phone/tiny tablet) on Orange is £20.50/mth (200 mins, 3,000 texts, 100MB data). (2yr contracts).
  • Need big data? For high use, consider a 12-mth contract (see cheapest in comparison tool) so you can soon leave and shift to a cheap Sim-only deal. If not, on 2yr contracts get a Galaxy S3* for 600 mins, 3,000 texts and 500MB data for £160 upfront then £21/mth, or a Galaxy Note* for 'free' then £25/mth, same usage (deals via various retailers).

Urgent. Glitch gets £6.55 Cathedral City cheese £1. Likely a Tesco mis-price, so may end any time. Hot Bargains

B&Q 20%, Dotty P 15%...
B&Q 20% off £20 voucher | George £5 off £40 code
Dorothy Perkins extra 15% off sale code | Whittard £5 off £20 or £10 off £40 code Full list: Discount Vouchers

2x branded specs £29 delivered. Incl Benetton, worth up to £110, with frames & lenses. Full how-to: Cheap Glasses

Get paid to pay council tax, mortgage & energy bills
Earn 3% interest on savings, plus cashback when you pay your bills with a unique bank account

For £2/mth you can get a bank account that pays cashback on everyday bills (now incl some mortgages) and more interest than the top easy access savings. You must pass a credit check and pay in £500+/mth income. Here are the pros & cons:

  • santander Up to 3% cashback on bills (can be £300+/year). Santander 123* pays 1% cashback when you pay water and council tax with it; 2% gas & electric; 3% phone, b'band and TV. It's just added 1% back on up to £1,000/mth of Santander mortgage repayments. For typical bills, it pays around £115/yr but really pays for pelicans (those with big bills).

    Kelly Jackson tweeted us: "I have a 123 account, getting about £18/mth back after my fee. £6/mth just for paying mortgage." Sadly, in our customer service polls, Santander is always bottom, though the 123 account's new.
  • And 3% AER in-credit interest. Usually we say "shift excess bank account cash into savings". But if you've £3,000 to £20k, it pays 3% on the whole amount, beating the Top Easy Access Savings. Avoid its £1/day overdraft though.
  • Or... free £100 and top customer service. If you earn over £23,500, First Direct* pays £100 when you switch and has won every customer service poll we've done. Full help on this and Santander in Best Bank Accounts.

Top 90-page hardback photo book £19 all-in (RRP £66). MSE Blagged. 2,000 codes avail. Photo Book Deals

Takeaway codes. Pizza Hut 50% off £35 | Domino's £10 off £30. Available all week & wknd. Pizza Deals.

Hilton Hotels up to 40% off | 50% code for 57 posh hotels (min 2 nights). UK & worldwide. Hotel Sales

Free Velvet Balm tissues. Forum Hottie! 45,000 free samples (small packs) available. See Velvet Tissue Deals.


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 months 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

Post Office 3.01% AER
Min £100. Incl bonus
Post/branch. Transfers allowed

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

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Free £2 Amazon MP3 code. Ends midnight tonight (Wed). Totally free code, limited number. See TuneChecker.

25% off Ugg boots code. MSE Blagged. Cuts classic short Uggs to £124 and classic talls to £150, incl del. Ugg Deals

6% children's savings
It's the gift that keeps on giving - don't just give your kids cash, teach them how to get the best rates too

Kids' savings aren't immune to dire rate cuts. Yet there are gems amongst the crud. All listed have UK £85k savings safety.

  • child savings6% kids' savings. Pay in £10-£100/mth for a year (no withdrawals), and Halifax Kids' Regular Saver pays 6% fixed AER. To lock cash away, Halifax is 3%-3.2% AER fixed for 3-5yrs. To save a lump sum, withdrawable any time, Virgin's Little Rock is 3% variable, a great lesson in rate monitoring & switching if it drops. Full help: Top Kids' Savings.
  • Top junior ISA/child trust funds. Under-18s born before 1 Sep 2002 or after 3 Jan 2011 can save £3,600/year in junior ISAs: the top payer's Coventry BS's 3.25% AER. Other under-18s, with child trust funds, can transfer and add cash to Furness BS 3.05% AER. Full help: Top Junior ISAs and Child Trust Funds.
  • Kids' savings v junior ISAs. Unless they earn over £8,105/yr, kids pay no tax, limiting the tax-free benefit of saving in junior ISAs - so go for the highest rate regardless. Two exceptions: 1) If money's a gift from parents (not grandpa, aunty, etc) and earns £100+/yr interest, put it in a junior ISA or it's taxed at the parent's rate. 2) At 18, junior ISAs turn to normal ISAs, so if you'll have big savings more of them stay tax-free. Full info: Junior ISA FAQs.
  • Saving for their 'uni fund'? If cash is in their name, it's theirs, not yours. At 18, they can spend junior ISA cash on a boozy holiday if they choose, so it may be better in your name. Plus... beware paying tuition fees upfront.

P&O ferry £24 day rtn + 3 bottles wine | Eurotunnel £22 day rtn. A car and up to 9 passengers can go on a Dover-Calais ferry for £24 and get free wine. Or £22 Eurotunnel Folkestone-Calais day return. Cheap France Day Trips

Free petrol? Big spenders' extreme couponing boosted. Buy gift vouchers for any of 38 stores (now incl TK Maxx, Oasis, Debenhams) in Morrisons to get 1p/L off its fuel. £100 gets 10p off, £1,400 gets it free. If you're about to buy pressies at these stores, buy gift cards to pay for them, and slash petrol costs. Full info: Cheap Petrol

Buy £50 gift cards at Tesco, get 150 pts (worth up to £6). Buy £50 gift cards for 59 retailers incl iTunes, Next, House of Fraser, etc (not Tesco itself) to get the points. It beats buying direct. Full help (& cons): Tesco Deals

Death happens - plan for it. New guide
Checklist to minimise the financial trauma when you die | Free 'n' cheap wills | Have the 'unpleasant issues' chat

Death causes financial tragedies as well as grief. Hopefully you live happily to 120, but there are ways to lessen the impact when it happens. Our new Death Happens - 20 Things To Plan For checklist should help. Here's a taster...

  1. death planningMake a financial factsheet with key family need-to-knows.
  2. Discuss & make arrangements for who'd care for kids and pets.
  3. 1 in 3 die with dementia. Sorting a Power of Attorney now as a preventative measure can save £1,000s in court fees if you later lose faculties.
  4. Consider Inheritance Tax Planning. If you've substantial assets then the earlier you do this, the more assets can be passed on to your dependants.
  5. Nov is Will Aid month. Book a Free & Cheap Will now via this and other schemes.

Also see Over-50s MoneySaving. We're working on funeral planning and 'what to do when a loved one dies' guides.

'My credit card hiked my rate to 24% - what can I do?' REJECT IT. MoneySaver Kate tweeted: "Barclaycard just put my card interest up to 24%?" Quite simply, provided you don't borrow more, you can Reject Rate Hikes.

Ideal Home 2for1 & Taste of Xmas deal. MSE Blagged.
Ideal Home Xmas 2for1 Nov in Ldn | 2 Taste of Xmas tix £28 (RRP £42) Dec Ldn foodie festival. More: Cheap Days Out

Did you try for a free £10 train ticket voucher? All 30,000 codes went in minutes, so our site struggled. Some (not all) who tried the Captcha word entry tool last week may've got a code, but not seen it - if that's you, please check.


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 Free Budget Planner Free MSE car sticker £16 Travel Insurance

Restaurant vouchers

High street sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
The MoneySaving Community

THE GREAT HUNT... REVEALED | What you wish you'd known when you had a baby.
If only there was enough space to include all the great tips from last week's hunt. As a taster, here are three we thought useful: put a bicycle bell on your pushchair to save your voice, use a worn item of your clothing as a cot sheet - the smell will help your baby settle, and ban the word "should" when talking about your baby, since each is unique.

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA | Whose glitch is it anyway?
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... My friend agreed to get me some currency for our holiday, so I transferred him the £200. When we got back, he found he had £200 extra in his account as the bureau mistakenly didn't charge him for my euros. I asked him for the cash back, but he said it was rightfully his. Should I ask for it back, confess to the foreign exchange or let him keep it? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Whose glitch is it anyway? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

GREAT HUNT | Dinner party for 4 for under £10
A challenge, MoneySavers. Could you put on a glam, glitzy dinner party, for four people, for less than a tenner in total? What would you serve and make? Let's tap MoneySavers' collective wisdom to help with ideas, recipes and tips. Read/add yours: sub £10 dinner party Past topics: View all

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK | Protect yourself from ID fraud
It's ID Fraud prevention month. This crime's often massively over-hyped to scare people into buying unnecessary insurance, yet it's still important to take basic protection measures. So have a look at the facts, resources and tips. Related: Free ID Protection. Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support money based work by other organisations. Send us a campaign of the week suggestion.

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT | Airline: Ryanair Sale: £18 each way Ends: Thu 18 Oct
Our pick this week is Ryanair's £18 each way 'sale'. Includes some taxes & charges. It's for flights to Jan 2013 to various destinations, eg, Leeds Bradford to Malaga £55. 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 Insurance

Quick forum tips

Andrea's freebies

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

Thursday 18 October
Shelagh Fogarty, Radio 5, 12-1pm.
Consumer Panel.
Listen to past shows.

Tuesday 23 October
Daybreak, ITV1, between 7am & 8.30am. Subject tbc.

PS. If you've missed any episodes of The Martin Lewis Money Show you can watch them on ITV Player.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 123.06 112.34
US Flag $ 160.06 145.94
Turkish Flag TL 283.00 254.83
Rates correct at 4.30pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Have you put your heating on yet?

We're heading into winter, the energy companies are announcing price hikes. So have you turned your home heating on yet?

Poll results

Is it fair to discriminate on age, gender or race in insurance pricing?

Out of 6,971 votes, there were 4,769 votes (68%) for factoring age into insurance pricing. There were 3,479 (50%) supporting including gender, and 2,466 (35%) for disability. Taking race into account got 922 votes (13%), sexuality 657 (9%) and religion 503 (7%). 1,819 (26%) thought insurers shouldn't be allowed to discriminate. See the full results.

Question of the week

I've a £66,000 pension and savings of £25,000 with a bank that's part of the same financial group. This adds up to over the £85,000 savings safety limit. Does this mean that some of my money isn't protected if the group goes bust? Pete, by email.

MSE Helen S's A: Savings accounts come under the 'deposits' part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), and the first £85,000 per person per UK regulated institution is safe.

Protection for most - but not all - money in personal pensions comes from a different part of the FSCS, which means it doesn't count towards this £85k limit. How its protected, how much, and what percentage is safe depends on the type of pension (see Is My Pension Safe?).

The one exception to this is if you have a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) - a special type of pension and you'll know if you've got one. Then, if you've opted to keep money in cash, this does count as a deposit for the FSCS, and if this bank matches the one your savings are in, the £85,000 limit is shared with your savings. See the Safe Savings guide for more.

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

Board of the week

Local MoneySaving: The Wales Board

Share advice and tips on MoneySaving in Wales. Discussions include Nice restaurants in Newport, Women's netball teams in Swansea area and Splott, Cardiff.

 Archna's free game of the week: Minim

Champagne, darling... if you predict the top 6 in The X Factor

Every year Martin and Mrs MSE do a sealed envelope with their X Factor top six predictions in. Now you're invited to play too, and he'll send a bottle of bubbly to the winner. To enter, see The X Factor predictions contest. Good luck.

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

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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

first-utility.com, scottishpower.co.uk, edfenergy.com, energyhelpline.com, moneysupermarket.com, uswitch.com, isupplyenergy.co.uk, carphonewarehouse.com, onestopphoneshop.co.uk, dialaphone.co.uk, mobilephonesdirect.co.uk, santander.co.uk, firstdirect.com, barclaycard.co.uk, confused.com, directline.com, aviva.co.uk, admiral.com, sainsburysbank.co.uk, thederbyshire.co.uk, postoffice.co.uk, comparethemarket.com, homephonechoices.co.uk, bt.com.

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