How to switch your parents in 10 minutes – and make an energy saving

Last week, I switched my mum in under 10 minutes flat. Don’t worry, this isn’t a rather public display of parental disownment, I’m talking about switching energy providers. Ever since I joined MSE last year I’ve been dropping larger and larger hints to my parents that they should review all household bills, as I was pretty sure...

‘I returned a used toilet brush’ – what’s the most extreme thing you’ve taken back to the shop?

“So I returned a toilet brush at the weekend,” said my friend as we were watching TV. “Because it broke after one use. I told them it wasn’t fit for purpose.” I don’t know who was more shocked – me, that she had returned a used (albeit clean) toilet brush and successfully argued her point, or her, that...

Designer retail outlets – are they worth the schlep?

If you live near Bicester, Gretna, York or any of the UK’s other outlet villages and have a penchant for designer goods, it’s likely I’m preaching to the choir. If you can’t resist a bargain, maybe it’s time you planned a trip to one. Designer brands are by definition not MoneySaving. But if you’re a slave to...

Skewer your spuds, and 15 more common-sense ways to cut energy use

Winter, as every Game of Thrones fan knows, is coming. And as temperatures fall and energy consumption climbs, now’s the time to start thinking about how to tackle your unnecessary energy usage. We were inspired to put together this list, somewhat randomly, by MSE Jenny’s electrician Steve. He compiles and sends round a list of simple energy-saving...

Halloween MoneySaving and the scary spider that kept coming back

Parents, do you loathe having to spend money on a costume for your kids for an event that happens just once a year? On a costume they’ll probably have grown out of by the next year? I love my girls to bits but I really begrudge spending the money shops and supermarkets try to convince us to...

Help to Buy and other mortgage schemes – make sure you have all the info

My boyfriend and I are hoping to buy a house in the not too distant future, and have begun making enquiries after many discussions about where and how we would do it. We live in a flat on a new development that is still being completed. And when we saw houses available there that fit our criteria,...

Toys R Us’s Xmas layaway scheme – is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Toys R Us’s layaway scheme is hugely popular on Facebook and in the papers as a way to spread the cost of Christmas presents. With Take Time to Pay, you choose your toys in store, pay a 20% deposit and then make payments in store every four weeks, over a period of four, eight or 12 weeks. (For...

Beware paying more for Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Programme – it’s £100s cheaper to do it yourself

Despite the absence of a headphone jack and a lack of ‘new’ features – and the fact that you could fly to Australia for what it costs – I will be getting a shiny new iPhone 7 in a few weeks. I’ve upgraded to the latest model every two years since my first smartphone in 2010. Now of...

Airport parking warning: How being too precise can cost you £££s

Airport parking can be cheap if booked ahead. But you risk big charges if you overstay due to a delayed return flight – though there’s a trick to get round this. Update 4 July 2017: Although this was first published in October 2016, the principles in this blog still apply. The problem, as I found last week, comes when...

App-based banking – is this the future?

“The future of banking, available today.” That’s the bold message adorning the homepage of newly-formed Atom Bank. ‘Challenger’ banks such as Atom have sprung to life in recent years, thanks in part to the Financial Conduct Authority lowering the amount of capital required to form a new bank, in 2013. We regularly feature a number of challenger banks in our...