The MoneySavingIdiot reclaims £80 – by going through old emails

Right, some of you know the drill by now, but if you don't, here it is. While being a writer at MoneySavingExpert means I help other people save money, when it comes to my own cash, I'm usually in a right muddle. But now I'm looking to unmuddle myself and, in the process, motivate fellow MoneySavingIdiots. Previously, I've covered train delaysoverseas travel and credit scores. This week: reclaiming cash (kind of).

How to get an easy pay rise... plus other tips to boost your pension for FREE

Pensions don't have to be boring, maybe we just need to think about them in a different way. In the more than 20 years I've been writing about pensions, I've heard them described as dull, complex and a rip-off. But what if I told you that having a workplace pension can amount to an easy pay rise? And that there are ways to boost your retirement nest-egg for free – without paying in more of your hard-earned cash?

Plastic straws will be banned from April 2020 in England – so what are the cheapest alternatives?

The Government has just announced that the sale and distribution of disposable plastic straws will be effectively banned in England from next April, in a bid to reduce the amount of plastic we throw away. Yet many of us like (or even need) to use some form of straw – whether due to disability or simply wanting to protect our teeth. So what are the cheapest reusable or eco-friendly alternatives?

Tesco mustn’t create mortgage prisoners

This week Tesco announced it’s going to stop lending new mortgages, and it’s also going to sell on the mortgages it already has with its customers, so that they’ll be owned and managed by a different firm. Although Tesco promises the original T&Cs will remain the same, this decision to offload the loans is sounding off alarm bells.

The MoneySavingIdiot checked his credit score – and this is what he found

Did you miss the first two sure-to-be-award-winning MoneySavingIdiot blogs (on train delays and travelling abroad)? If so, then here's the idea. Although working at MSE means I help people save money, I suck at doing the same for myself. So I'm attempting to improve my cash-related competence and help inspire other non-natural MoneySavers. This week: credit scores.

How to blag a FREE hotel from your airline on a long-haul stopover

Over Easter, I made a mammoth 23,318-mile return trip to New Zealand – with two stopovers in China, for 12 and then a whopping 18 hours. While I can handle a few hours in a departure lounge, this time I was fully prepared to pay for a proper bed and shower. But when I searched for airport hotels, I discovered my airline China Southern – like many others – would put me up at no extra cost...

Grab top-secret theatre tickets from £4, including West End shows... but only if you can keep your mouth shut

It's the top-secret trick that theatres don't want you to know exists. Welcome to the hush-hush world of last-minute seat-filling, where it's possible to watch a show from as little as £4. Theatres do it because they quite literally need bums on seats – but you must agree not to say what you get so you don't upset people who pay full whack.

13 ways to use less plastic AND save cash

Plastic waste continues to make headlines, with Scotland planning to charge a 20p deposit for plastic bottles and Morrisons doubling the price of reusable plastic bags. And it's with good reason – shockingly, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.

How I built my own DIY pensions dashboard

What's the best way to work out if you'll have enough pension when you retire? Start by finding out what your retirement nest eggs are currently worth. It can be a challenge keeping track of the different pots of pension cash you accumulate over your working life, so here's how to use a simple spreadsheet to see at a glance how much pension you've built up so far.

We test eBay vs Facebook selling prices – which wins?

Second-hand selling used to be all about eBay, but now local Facebook selling groups and the social network's Marketplace are hot on its heels. With Facebook, the best bit is there are NO fees, so you keep all the profit. Yet with eBay, you've a wider audience, as most Facebook sales are local.