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WEEKLY EMAIL 31/10/2012

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Weekly Email
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This email was sent
31st 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 This info may be out of date.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 8m who get it each week."

This week

Now it's time to SWITCH energy
Tesco 2x exchange on, incl toys
Sub-2% mortgage fix
Need fast cash for Christmas?
2for1 pizza PLUS free Ben & Jerry's
Warehouse 25% code | Office 20%
Free Dover-Calais car ferry
Sample sales 90% off DKNY, Reiss
Free £5 Bonusprint credit
Premier Inn £29 rooms (incl Xmas)
3.36% top fixed savings
Free £15 eye test
Flash FCUK gift set reduction £22
Free £11 Nails Inc in £2 mag
Designer sunnies 25% off sales code
Starbucks 2for1
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

10 ways to cut the cost of your debts
Don't leave it till January, cut debt costs NOW for a better new year

If you want a worry-free Christmas, don't follow the well-worn path of leaving debts until January to sort. Right now, we've rates near their best ever, even if you've poor credit, and often quieter call centres if you need to talk. Of course, the key start is don't borrow any more. All new cards require a credit check.

1. Debit cards can be worse than credit cards. Spending on debit cards may feel better than credit cards. But if you're overdrawn, the interest rates can actually be higher. Go beyond the limit, and there are charges too.

So treat overdrafts as a debt. Use the Budget Planner to work out how you'll repay. Shift Overdrafts To 0% Cards to see if you can cut costs.
2. Cut the cost of existing card debts to 0% for 23 mths. If you've a decent credit record (if not, see point 5 below), the Best Balance Transfers let you shift debts to a new card at a much lower rate (the new card pays off the old one, so you owe it instead). The cheap rates don't apply to new spending on the card, so avoid that. Here are the top new cardholder deals:

Longest 0% deals
0% length One-off fee (1) Rep APR after
Barclaycard* 23 months 2.8% (2) 17.9%
Barclaycard* 22 months 2.6% 17.9%
Tesco* 22 months 2.9% 18.3%-24.2%
Lower-fee 0% deals
Barclaycard* 12 months 0.9% (2) 19.9%
NatWest*/RBS* 13 months 1% 17.9%
MBNA Platinum 14 months 1.25% 18.9%
Full help & card info in Best Balance Transfers, see APR Examples. (1) % of amount shifted (2) A higher fee's taken, then part-refunded within 28 days.
3. Repay sooner? Go for a lower-fee 0%. As shown above, the choice is between a long 0% and a lower fee. If you'll definitely repay within the shorter 0% period, the low fee's a no brainer. If not, go for a longer deal for safety. On the cusp? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool to help decide.
4. xmas debt freeLock in credit card debts at 5.9% FOR LIFE. New cardholders shifting debt to MBNA Rate for Life* get 5.9% for life, for a one-off 1.5% fee.

This means it stays at that rate until all the shifted debt is repaid, so it's perfect if you need longer to repay (you must make at least the min monthly repayment). Don't spend on the card, as that's at 18.9% rep APR. More info & options in Long Term Balance Transfers.
5. Poor credit score? Shift debts to 0% for 6mths. The Capital One* Balance card lets even some with past CCJs/defaults shift debts for 6mths 0% (3% fee). After the 0% ends, it's a big 34.9% representative APR, so either clear by then, or if the cards you shifted debt from have a lower APR, move it back to them. As this card's tricksy, read our Capital One Safety Help.
6. Don't just repay the same on each card. If you've several cards, put all spare cash towards repaying the highest %-rate one, as debt grows faster, and just the minimum on others. Once that debt's clear, focus on the next highest. So you'll be debt-free quicker. See the Credit Card Shuffle.
7. Pay off debts with savings. £1,000 in savings at 2% after tax earns £20 a year. The same debt on an 18% credit card costs £180 a year. Use your savings to repay debt and you're £160 up. Even if it's your emergency fund, often you should still pay it off. See Repay Debts Or Save? for full help.
8. You've a right to reject rate rises. If your card company says it'll up the APR on existing debt - provided you agree not to borrow more - you've a right to Reject Credit Card Rate Rises.
9. Set up a direct debit to avoid credit damage. Even if it's just for the minimum, then you'll never be late, plus you'll avoid fines, black marks and losing your 0% deal. However, always try to repay as much as possible. So if you're paying the minimum, keep making manual payments on top.
10. Haggle with your plastic provider. If you've room within your credit limit, many credit cards have hidden deals allowing you to shift debts to them cheaply, eg, MoneySavers have found Barclaycard at 6.9% for life and Halifax 9mth 0%. This lets you use your existing credit more efficiently and protects your credit score. See Existing Customer Balance Transfers.

As a final thought, if debt's taking over your life, bringing sleepless nights and panic, I promise I've never seen a case of unsolvable debt. While it may not be quick nor easy, there's ALWAYS a solution. If you need Debt Crisis Help, make an appointment with a non-profit debt counselling agency:

Citizens Advice | CCCS | National Debtline | CAP (if emotional problems too). And take inspiration from our Debt-free wannabes and their Debt-free diaries.


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: Orange faces customer revolt over free broadband axe
British Gas boss: Why I put your energy prices up
How cheap is the iPad Mini?
TalkTalk raises line rental AGAIN
PPI reclaiming bill tops £6bn
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 31 Oct 2012
It's now time to SWITCH energy and save £300+
As EDF becomes the fifth of the big six to hike prices, we're changing our call to SWITCH NOW (but beware Eon)

The story so far: SSE, Npower, British Gas, Scottish Power and EDF have all now announced 6%-11% price hikes. We were saying 'fix but don't switch', but as last Friday EDF became the 5th of the big 6 to announce, and yesterday the last cheap long fix deal was pulled, it's all change. Full help: Cheap Gas & Elec and Cheapest Prepaid Energy. Key tips...

  • cheap energySwitch now and save £300+/year. The hikes are now factored into comparison sites, so there's a level playing field. A standard tariff with typical use costs £1,390 a year (after hikes). Use the same amount on the cheapest that's already hiked, Npower Online Energy Jan ‘14*, and you'd pay an avg £1,070 a year - £300 less.

    These deals are variable, so prices can change. If Eon's your winner, be aware it hasn't announced hikes yet and we think an Eon Jan rise is likely. It's the same for some smaller firms, eg, First Utility. Then again, if you save 10%+, you're almost certainly on a winner whatever happens, so go for it.
  • Always compare & get cashback. As your exact cheapest depends on postcode, usage, and whether you're bills or prepaid, plug your info into a comparison site (some on already cheap tariffs may not save). Plus, via these special links, get cashback after c.3 mths. Top comparison: Energyhelpline* £15/ switch. Dual fuel: MoneySup* £30 cashback, uSwitch* a crate of wine.
  • Is it worth fixing? The super-cheap fixes have gone, but EDF Blue March 2015* ensures no hikes for THREE WINTERS. It's £1,250/yr on typical usage, so if you want certainty, it's good. But you'll pay more short-term and if prices elsewhere drop, there are early exit fees. Pick 'fixed tariffs' on comparison sites for a bespoke price.

Papa John's mega-code: 2for1 pizza AND free £4 Ben & Jerry's. Available until Sunday. Papa John's Deals

Warehouse 25% off, Boots extra 1,000 pts, Office 20% off and more...
Warehouse 25% off + free del code | Kurt Geiger 25% off code & vch | Deb'hams 10% off code | Poundland £2 off £12 vch
Office 20% off + free del code | Boots 1,000pts on £50 in-store & 500pts on £1 Treat Street code | All Discount Vouchers

FREE Dover-Calais ferry - urgent. 3,000 codes for car day rtn (until Fri) for 1p (refunded later). Cheap France Trips

Sample sales - up to 90% off DKNY, Jimmy Choo, Reiss, etc. Elbows ready, it's bargain mayhem. Designer brands offload stock this way - many are on now. New Guide: Sample Sales Revealed Related: Web Outlets, Secret Sales

Tesco Xmas DOUBLE exchange starts Thurs - incl toys
Reclaim £100s of lost vouchers, then ensure you get maximum value by doubling or even quadrupling them

Many stash points on Tesco Clubcard's rewards scheme, waiting for its 'double points' in-store promo. It's back...

  • tescoStep 1: Find £100s of lost Tesco vouchers. There's a way to check 'n' reclaim unused or lost Tesco vouchers online at speed. Many find £100+, eg, "Better off by £142. Can't believe it. Christmas was looking dismal" (please report successes).
  • Step 2: Check if you can QUADRUPLE rewards. Before doubling in-store, check Tesco's Rewards brochure, as you can get up to 3x or 4x points value (so £5 becomes £20). For example, £5 gets £20 at Cadbury World, or £10 becomes £40 at Ask, £30 at Goldsmiths, £20 on train tickets. To help, we've analysed their true value in our Top 10 Tesco Rewards.
  • Step 3: New. Double vouchers IN-STORE, incl toys & frozen food. Starting Thurs, its Christmas Exchange lets you swap each £5 voucher for £10 to spend in-store or online in selected departments. Crucially at this time of year, these include toys 'n' bikes, frozen food, Christmas trees, lights & decorations and Finest wine & champagne (please be Drinkaware) and much more. See the full Tesco Exchange info.

Free £5 at Bonusprint. MSE Blagged. £5 no-min spend credit means free photo keyring (c.£2 p&p) Photo Deal

Premier Inn £29 room sale, incl Xmas & NY. 50,000 rooms for Dec & Jan stays. Full info in Hotel Sales.

Top fixed savings - up to 3.36% AER. The top fixed-rate savings (no withdrawals) include: 3yr Vanquis* 3.36% | 2yr Coventry BS* 3.25% | 1yr FirstSave 3%. Full info & more in Top Savings. Rates are at all-time lows, but locking away can boost them. If rates rise in the meantime, though, you can't take advantage. All have full UK £85,000 savings safety.

FREE £15 eye test. Just print an Optical Express* voucher to use before 31 Dec 2012. This and more in Free Eye Tests.

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*
12 months 0%, 0.9% fee

(19.9% 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.
Postal only. No transfers

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Urgent. £22 FCUK handbag gift set (norm £45). Flash reduction this weekend only. Boots Deals

Festive Fivers contest - £500 for best sub-£5 Xmas pressie idea. Got a clever, weird, romantic, thoughtful or practical present idea to make or buy, for a kid or grown-up under £5? Enter the festive fivers contest. We've run this contest twice before, past winners include a dinner date, sand art brownies and vinyl record bowls.

Heads up. Free £11 Nails Inc polish in £2 mag. Out Thurs, limited stock, one of four colours. Beauty Deals

Mortgage fixes under 2%
As new supposedly 'tougher' lending rules are announced, rates hit all-time lows | Help for mortgage prisoners

If you read elsewhere that draconian new lending rules mean no-one will ever get a mortgage again, take it with a pinch of salt. Things aren't getting tougher, they're already tough, and that's being codified. Here's what you need to know...

  • mortgage fixesFix now? The joint lowest-ever 2-year fix has been launched by Tesco Bank, at 1.99%, though you can only borrow a max 60% of your home's value. Rates could go lower, but David Hollingworth, from broker London & Country, says: "Holding off in the hope of better rates is risky as the best deals come and go quickly."
  • New rules bring 'mortgage prisoners' hope. The new 2014 rules will mean to get a mortgage, you must prove you can repay it. Yet this reflects today's tough criteria anyway, it'll only hit when things bounce back. One bright spot is lenders can relax remortgaging affordability criteria, hopefully helping those trapped at high rates. See what new mortgage rules mean for you.

Designer sunnies 25% more off sale code. MSE Blagged. Gets £61 Ray-Bans, £53 Oakleys. See Cheap Glasses.

Free £70 M&S vouchers with home insurance. MSE Blagged. Use the code MSX70 with Legal & General* to get a buildings & contents policy and you get £70 M&S vouchers. DON'T read this as us saying it'll always be cheapest, always compare with Confused.com* & CompareTM*, then check Aviva* & Direct Line*. More help & tips in Cheap Home Ins.

Starbucks 2for1 this weekend. Tax the coffee giant (someone should) for BOGOF Xmas drinks. See Starbucks Deals.

House of Fraser 25% off brands 2-day flash sale. Stop press. We saw this late, just as we were about to send this email - starts online 5pm today (Wed). House of Fraser

Need fast cash for Christmas?
Flog it. Make £100s from old mobiles, cameras, CDs, games, DVDs & books | 40+ eBay selling tricks

If a few quid more in the Xmas fund will really help, act now. See our 60+ Boost Your Income tips. Here are the quickies...

  • boost incomeFlog it 1: eBay prices are highest. Flogging owt via eBay usually pays best. Our 40+ eBay Selling Tricks guide is a crash course, from cutting eBay fees by tweaking start prices and using no-charge listing weekends, to adding extra pics with special tools. Plus there are tools to create multiple listings in advance and bulk-upload them.
  • Flog it 2: Speedier & less hassle. £100s for old mobiles, CDs, DVDs, books. If you prefer speed and ease rather than max price, several sites let you enter details, they offer a price, and you post goods free. Full info in our Flog It section, but the biggies are:

    Mobiles:
    MobileValuer.com speedily finds top prices for old handsets, iPods, cameras etc (can be £200+).
    CDs, games & DVDs: Declutter via Music Magpie*, WeBuyBooks.co.uk, Zapper (newer Theo Paphitis-backed site).
    Books: WeBuyBooks.co.uk & Amazon*. But Amzn* Marketplace and Green Metropolis win if you've more time.

Sainsbury's Tu clothing, 25% off EVERYTHING. All items reduced in-store from today. Sainsbury's Deals

New big 5% cashback credit card. The new Amex Everyday* has no annual fee, but also gives 5% cashback for the first 3 months (max £100) and up to 1.25% afterwards. ALWAYS repay this in full, or it's pointless due to the 19.9% representative APR. Full help: Top Cashback Cards, APR Examples

Child benefit cut for £50,000+ earners. HMRC is sending letters now - full Q&A on what to do.


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

Discount vouchers & sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
The MoneySaving Community

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK | Christmas for over-55s
Charity for the elderly Abbeyfield provides free Christmas dinners and overnight stays between 24 Dec-4 Jan for over-55s who will be alone over Christmas. Search the 100+ houses in England & Wales to find one near you. Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support money-based work by other organisations. Send us a campaign of the week suggestion.

FREEBIE SUCCESS TOOL | Bagged a forum freebie? Tell others you've 'got it'
MSE's Freebies Board's awash with info, but the key is... do they actually arrive? Our new Got It button lets you report successes to help others decide if it's worth it. More info in Click the Got It button.

BOOK GIVEAWAY RESULT | Thailand Travel Guide. 25 blagged for MoneySavers. Check your forum private messages to see if you got one.

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA | Secret Santa standoff
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... Our office is doing Secret Santa again this year with a limit of £15, however, the girls in our office are notorious for over-spending. Last year, I was called a Scrooge for sticking to the agreed limit when nobody else did. I know I can get something decent with £15, especially with the help of MSE, but I'm scared I'll get teased again if I don't spend more. Should I overspend to keep up or risk seeming cheap? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I overspend? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

THE GREAT HUNT | Cheap and easy Christmas pudding recipes
We know it's early, but making the pudding in advance buys you time for all the other festive exploits and allows the spirit (Christmas and brandy) to soak in. So we're tapping MoneySavers' collective knowledge on Christmas pudding recipes. Share yours/read others': Cheap and easy Christmas puddings Past topics: View all

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT | Airline: Flybe Price: From £24 each way Ends: Wed 31 Oct (TODAY)
Our pick this week is Flybe. The sale's on till 11.59pm Wed 31 Oct and includes some taxes & charges. It's for flights from Sat 1 Dec until Sun 31 Mar 2013. We found flights from Birmingham to Amsterdam for £31.09. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £50 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

THE GREAT HUNT... REVEALED | Best and worst shop returns policies.
The shop that came out top for returns and customer service was Lakeland, while Avon and John Lewis fared well for long returns policies. A few MoneySavers have reported spats with staff at B&Q and Sports Direct, while a great tip was to stow your receipt in your purse to avoid accidentally chucking it.

Quick forum tips

Andrea's freebies

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

No appearances this week.

PS. If you've missed Tuesday's episode of The Martin Lewis Money Show you can watch it on ITV Player.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 123.06 112.70
US Flag $ 159.56 145.77
Turkish Flag TL 281.25 257.43
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Is it time to renationalise energy firms?

Until 1986, all energy utilities were Govt-owned. After that, they were privatised into companies with shareholders to try to boost competition. World energy prices have gone up enormously and demands for green investment add to costs, though many are angry at rising household bills.

Which of the following is nearest to your view?

Poll results

Are you richer than your parents were?

There's a generation gap - older MoneySavers fare better.

- 65% of over-65s much better off than parents at same age.
- Only 26% of U30s felt the same.
- 15% of U30s feel much worse off, compared to 3% of over-65s.

14,553 voted - see full results.

Question of the week

Q: Do I have any rights if I transfer money to someone, but put the wrong details in, so the money is lost? Gavin, by email.

MSE Sally's A: You don't have rights as such, but that doesn't mean the money is gone forever. Contact your bank, not the recipient's as under the Payment Service Regulations, it must take reasonable steps to try to recover the money. It should be able to trace the payment and return it to you, but can charge for this - check the terms and conditions.

According to the Payments Council, it's like putting the wrong address on a letter. Often, it'll be returned to the sender. But if that doesn't happen and the letter is ignored, issues can occur. Similarly, if requests to return money are ignored or refused, there can be problems.

The Payments Council is reviewing the system to come up with better solutions and reduce the chance of errors. It wants to hear from anyone who has made a mistake sending money. If it's happened to you, tell it.

Suggest a Question of the Week (we can't reply to individual emails).

Board of the week

The Christmas & Other Yuletide Festivals Board

Share advice and tips on festive MoneySaving. Discussions include Curry hamper, Adolescent/teenage boy's stocking and Advent calendar filler suggestions.

 Archna's free game of the week: Hexep

Warning - seriously addictive trainspotting challenge

That's it for this week. But first a warning - there's a new image where hidden in a picture are the names of 75 London Underground and Docklands Light Railway stations. At points this week it risked destroying the productivity in MSE Towers, so we suggest you stay clear of the Look for Longer game.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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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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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 on Daybreak, 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

barclaycard.co.uk, tescobank.com, natwest.com, rbs.co.uk, apply.mbna.co.uk, capitalone.co.uk, npower.com, energyhelpline.com, moneysupermarket.com, uswitch.com, my.edfenergy.com, opticalexpress.co.uk, highyieldaccount.co.uk, coventrybuildingsociety.co.uk, confused.com, directline.com, aviva.co.uk, admiral.com, sainsburysbank.co.uk, nationwide.co.uk, legalandgeneral.com, comparethemarket.com, musicmagpie.co.uk, amazon.co.uk, americanexpress.com, firstdirect.com, santander-products.co.uk, homephonechoices.co.uk, productsandservices.bt.com.

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