Stoozing, sublets & summer sips – this week's MSE Forum highlights
One day, we might be able to beam our money-related thoughts straight into the MSE Forum. For now, though, keyboards, swipe pads and dictation will have to do. Here's a selection of this week's highlights.
We're always scouring for useful, interesting or cheering threads. A few that caught our eye this week:
- Watch and discuss Martin Lewis's Q&A with chancellor Rishi Sunak about the Government's cost of living support
- A developer wants to demolish our semi-detached house. If we refuse to sell, can they knock down the house next door and leave our home intact?
- I found forgotten wine at the back of the cupboard. It isn’t off but it tastes a bit musty. How can I disguise the taste and turn it into a quaffable summer drink?
- Is it worth stumping up for one of those DNA ancestry tests?
- With energy prices the way they are, is anyone else planning ahead for winter?
Got any ideas for turning musty old wine into a refreshing summer beverage?
- We’ve just received a surprise £8k invoice from a local builder… for work done on our home 13 years ago
- Got any holiday suggestions for a family of five with a three year old with special needs?
- Please help me decode the confusing wording of my lease so I can understand how much of the loft I own
- Cheap versus expensive porridge – what's the difference, really?
- My tenant of seven years gave notice and left the property, but I’ve now discovered he’d been subletting to nine other people, and they all refuse to leave
Meet one of our Ambassadors
Simply put, we would not be able to keep the MSE Forum running smoothly without the assistance of our volunteer Ambassadors. They're experienced, knowledgeable members of the community, and each of them takes particular care of a select few boards. Among them are several Senior Ambassadors, who help with supporting the rest of the volunteers when needed.
This week we're introducing you to Senior Ambassador Misslayed, who focuses on Marriage, Relationships & Families, Site Feedback and Competitions Time.
I first became a fan of Martin Lewis back in the early noughties – I remember the celebration when he reached 100,000 followers! I've saved so much money over the years – I've reclaimed a mis-sold endowment, switched bank accounts, saved interest on my mortgage by 'stoozing', developed the habit of checking comparison sites when insurance is due, and no doubt many more!
I drifted away for a while due to pressure of work, but then after I retired my sister-in-law was showing me the prizes she'd won and I remembered the thrill of comping – my first big win was two tickets to see Michael Jackson in Cardiff! So naturally I found Competitions Time and I've won some more amazing prizes. I answered the call for volunteer Board Guides a few years ago, and now I'm very proud to be a Senior Ambassador.
Photo of the week
The Greenfingered MoneySaving board continues to yield plant ID requests. These two left us stumped, but MSE Forumites were able to solve the mystery. You can read Day of the Triffids by maggiesoup and Another "is this a weed?" thread by droopsnoot to find out what these leafy protrusions are.
Please note: We love seeing your photos in the MSE Forum, but if you're uploading one, make sure it doesn't include any personally-identifiable information such as your face or address.
Success of the week
We spotted Joannetringham's highly encouraging post on the Reclaiming Mortgage Fees, Council Tax, etc board, detailing a massive £4,557.22 payout from getting their council band reassessed.
Use MSE's Council tax bands guide to see if your home is in the correct band, and if you could reclaim anything on your council tax.
We have lived in our house for 15 years. I didn't know what tax band we were in, never really took any notice, just the amount they wanted each year/ month. After Rishi Sunak announced the £150 paid to households in January for those in bands A-D I decided to look ours up. I was surprised to find we were in Band F and most other houses in our street who were similar to ours in size, land plot and recent prices were in band E. I thought I'd give it a go to get ours re-assessed.
I looked up the prices of my house using the comparison calculators recommended by Martin and the team, the same for my neighbours' property prices. I gathered my evidence and filled in the online form in February 2022. Took an afternoon to do this.
The review took longer than they said but by end of April I had an email saying my banding had been re-assessed as Band E.
Today, about 15 weeks after my initial email to VOA I had £4,557.22 paid into my account. Not only have I had this lovely amount back but I will be saving each year moving forward and I'm going to use the money to pay off two credit cards so I can save even more to cope with all the rising prices.
So thank you Martin and everyone at Moneysavingexpert!
Money Moral Dilemma
Every week, the Money Tips email features a real-life Money Moral Dilemma (MMD for short). They're intended to encourage debate and, as such, they're usually among the most discussed threads each week.
I'm crashing on a mate's sofa - can I tell him to stop eating my food?
I'm crashing on a mate's sofa after falling on hard times. He wasn't keen on the idea, but I'm desperate - I'm paying him £160 a month to cover bills and the inconvenience. We do our own food shopping, yet I often find him eating my food, which I can't afford to replace. He says he's busy at work and doesn't have time to go shopping. Should I say something and risk rocking the boat or let it go as I don't really have other options if he decides he's had enough of me staying there?
You can find out what our MSE Forumites think and add your own two cents on the Money Moral Dilemma discussion thread. Remember the MSE Forum rules: keep it kind and keep it clean. Remember, there's a real person behind every Money Moral Dilemma.
Got a Money Moral Dilemma of your own? Email us at MMD@moneysavingexpert.com and it could be featured.