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Weekly Email
This email was sent
01st Oct 2014
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 This info may be out of date.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 12m who get it each week."

01 October 2014

This week

Free Wills
'Save £226 in 5m 10s energy switch'
Halve mobile insurance costs
10 fast cash for Xmas tips
15,000 free Xmas Ideal Home tickets
£10 specs with special code
URGENT CODES: 50% off Urban Outfitters, 25% off Gap
£103 case of wine for £43 code
Top 10 Xmas toys for less
New 25mth 0% low fee debt shift
Ending. 5 Odeon tix £20 or 2 for £10
£50 half term week for 16/17 yr olds
Elemis £15 magazine beauty freebie
£99 Dyson & other quick deals
FREE Greggs hotdog or pasty
"I took your advice & received a free business class upgrade to Delhi"
Coming soon? Best iPhone 6 deal
MSE job opportunity
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs
Have you used Brighthouse, PerfectHome or Buy As You View?

MARTIN'S QUICK BRIEFING: For more tips, alerts & awful puns, follow Martin on Twitter

Got a car? 10 MoneySaving need-to-knows
It's all change - paper tax discs are dead - comparison site fight brewing

It's enough to make even Clarkson wince. The average yearly 'bill' for motoring is now £4,600 and that doesn't include buying the car in the first place. Yet as we pay piecemeal rather than it coming through the letter box it's easy to forget the cost. Winter's coming, so it's time to financially kick some tyres...

1. Ditch your paper tax disc. From today the police will only use reg cameras to check if cars are on the 'taxed' database. So you can take your tax disc off the windscreen (though in NI you still need to display your MOT disc).

Plus there's a new 'monthly direct debit' payment alternative to the 6mth and cheaper 12mth options. See our full tax disc help.
2. "I got £100 back on fuel spending." The top petrol cashback card is the Santander 123* (free eligibility calc) credit card. Spend on it and it gives 3% cashback on fuel (max £9/mth) plus 2% in department stores and 1% in supermarkets. And, unusually, the cashback is paid each month - you don't need to wait a year for it.

However, always ensure you repay it IN FULL each month to avoid the 16.5% representative APR. There is a £24/yr annual fee (though Santander 123 bank account holders get this wiped in the first year) but serious drivers should easily offset it with cashback earned, as Glenn Hobbs tweeted...

"I have so far had £100.53 cashback mainly for diesel and a few groceries. Better than nowt." Full info in Petrol cashback cards and Official APRs
3. Now you MUST combine comparison sites. Last week the competition authorities ended their investigation into car insurance comparison sites. They were investigating cases where insurers had agreements not to do cheaper deals elsewhere as a condition of being listed. They are moving to ban this.

This was most used by Comparethemarket, which scoops up the lion's share of motorists thanks to its meerkat dolls, so was happy to have all the comparison sites have similar prices - rather than competing on price.

This means these sites will start to morph from pure comparisons to marketplaces - with different sites cheaper for different insurers. So to ensure you're getting the very best deal, it's even more important you follow our 'combine the comparison sites' rule to get a wider spread of quotes.

Each month we analyse the right order. Right now our ranking's MoneySup*, Gocompare* and Confused* (see full list). If you can, do all three.

Extra tip: Open the sites in a few browser tabs and fill them in at the same time by copying & pasting info. To copy, just highlight the text and press CTRL 'C'; to paste press CTRL 'V' (on a Mac replace CTRL with CMD).
4. Drive costs downAlways check the big deals comparisons miss. There are a number of insurers that don't allow themselves to be listed on comparison sites. The big three you should check directly are Aviva*, Direct Line* and Zurich.

It's also worth noting that comparison sites only check one car at a time, so you miss out on multi-car discounts. The big one's Admiral Multi-car* but also Churchill*, Direct Line*, Privilege* do it. They don't always win but they can for some, Forumite Trixxibell says: "Our renewal quote was just over £2,000 and I shopped around and got a multi-car deal for £980".

Plus some deals are only available direct, eg, Sainsbury's* car insurance gives £30 to spend in store & free Green Flag breakdown cover - and is 25% cheaper if you've a Nectar card. See our deals comparisons miss info.

Secret 'no repairs' centres can mean fewer fails. MOT costs aren't the big worry, it's the £100s or £1,000s in repairs. More than 40% of cars fail and while repairs for safety are needed, you could be fleeced if they're not.

- 1 in 5 fail due to lights not working. Avoid fails because of broken windscreen wipers or tyre checks. Use the DIY Pre-MOT Checklist.

- Mint motor? Find the cheapest price. If your motor's like new find the cheapest test and always get several quotes for repairs. See MOT help.

- Use secret council MOT centres. If your car's on the cusp of needing repairs and you're unhappy with your current centre, check council-run MOT test centres. They don't do repairs so have no interest in failing you. We've had lots of anecdotal feedback, eg, "Huge thanks. Previous year got ripped off for £400 repairs, today passed at council centre with only the test fee to pay". Find yours in our list of 90+ UK Council MOT Centres.
6. You'll get a £1,000 fine if your licence photo has expired. Photocard licences need renewing every 10 yrs and more than 2m are out-of-date. There's a £1,000 fine if you're caught - so check the date printed on section 4b of your card now. Don't worry, you won't be fined for renewing late though, just if you're caught driving, see our Driving Licence Guide.
7. Three counter-logical car insurance savings. Common-sense doesn't always do the job. There are times you must throw the logic book out.

- Third party's not always cheapest. Merely selecting comprehensive makes some insurers see you as a lower risk. So always check both.

- Adding a responsible 2nd driver can cut your costs. This can bring down your risk average and price - of course it must be someone who may drive your car. As Mazzyb5 tweeted: "Took your advice and added mum - saved £500".

- Tweaking your job description can cut costs. I'm not saying lap dancers should call themselves cabinet ministers (or vice versa, heaven forbid). But these days many people have such specific job descriptions car insurers don't list them, as Fabsternation tweeted: "Thanks. Changing from creative director to marketing manager saved £300". Try our fun job-picker tool.

For these & many more tips see the full Cheap Car Insurance, Cheap Young Driver Car Insurance, Cheap Motorbike Insurance & Van Insurance guides.
8. Cut fuel costs by a third. Of course driving less or getting a less thirsty car makes a huge impact. Even if you can't change those, there are other ways...

- Soup DOWN your car.
It's all about making it more efficient, so it uses less petrol to push it. Check tyre pressure, dejunk your trunk to get rid of excess weight, take off roof racks. See how to soup down your car.

- Change driving technique to save up to 30%. It's less about slowing down, more about gradual acceleration, shifting up a gear sooner and using road positioning to reduce braking. See drive better, pay less tips.

- Find the cheapest forecourt.
This is about tools to find the cheapest station near you - there can easily be a 9% difference in an area - plus ensuring you know which supermarkets have vouchers. See our Cheap petrol guide.
9. Cheapest way to buy a car - often it's a credit card. Surprisingly, done right, credit card borrowing, esp for sub-£5,000, is the cheapest route. So if you need a loan to fund a car purchase (I'm assuming it's used/nearly new as MoneySavers don't buy new due to depreciation) and have budgeted and know you can afford the repayments, here are the cheapest routes:

The MBNA* credit card (eligibility calc) lets newbies pay cash into their bank account for 32mths interest free, if you pay a 4% fee. Therefore you can use it as a super cheap loan for a car. Just ensure you repay before the 0% ends or it's 22.9% rep APR. Full help in Money Transfers.

If you need a loan, check peer-to-peer lenders Zopa* and Ratesetter*, which give bespoke rates and allow early repayments. Otherwise, for £5,000 - £15,000 Sainsbury's is cheapest, at 5.3% rep APR* up to £7,500 and 4% rep APR* for higher. Full info and best buys in Cheap Personal Loans, plus see Loan APR Examples.
10. Fight unfair parking fines. If you get a ticket you believe is unfair whether due to bad signage, or over-zealous attendants, you don't have to accept it. The key things to know are...

- Private parking firms CAN'T fine you.
Tickets from supermarkets, hospitals or other private car parks do better impressions than Rory Bremner. Dressed up like fines, some are even called Parking Charge Notices to mimic council Penalty Charge Notices. THEY'RE NOT FINES, JUST INVOICES.

So if you get an unfair one like any invoice, reply explaining why and that you won't pay. It can't "hit your credit record" or "send bailiffs" without the time and expense of court action. See Fight Unfair Private Parking Tickets.

- Unfair council tickets can be appealed. The key is to persevere if right is on your side. Of those whose appeal is turned down by the council at first, 50% win if they keep going to the final stage. See Appeal Council Parking Tickets.

- Arm your car against parking tickets. Print our Free Glovebox Parking Aid to put in your car, with full help on what to do at the scene if you get a ticket.

Blagged for MoneySavers

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Get constantly cheap energy
Our club ensures you're always on the cheapest tariff.
Join free: Cheap Energy Club
Reclaim PPI for FREE
Claims handlers aren't more successful.
Free help & templates: Reclaim PPI

MSE News

Top story: Got a secondhand mobile? Insuring it may prove tricky
Phones 4U falls into administration: Updated Q&A on your rights
Pension inheritance penalty tax to be axed
Sainsbury's and Tesco to slash petrol prices by up to 5p/litre
Former Sky customer? You may be in line for a refund
Get friends on board the MoneySaving bandwagon
If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 1 Oct 2014
Free wills - and big changes to what happens if you don't have one
Two charity schemes are launching that give solicitor-drafted wills for less. Go quick before they're booked up

If you die will-less it's not you who decides where your assets go, the 'intestacy' rules do, and these change today (1 Oct)...

  • Free WillsNew 'who gets what if you go' laws. In Eng and Wales if your estate (incl home) is worth under £250,000, your spouse (incl civil partners) gets everything - kids nothing. If it's more, it all goes to your spouse unless you've kids in which case the first £250,000 goes to your spouse and half of the rest to your kids, half to your spouse.

    If you're not married, just co-habiting, YOUR PARTNER GETS NOTHING. It all goes to any children, if no kids to the closest blood relatives. See detailed who gets what help.
  • Oct is Free Wills Month. Run by charities that hope you'll leave them a bequest, if you're over 55, you can get a free solicitor-drafted will in 28 locations across England & Wales eg, Preston & Cornwall. See Free Wills to book.
  • Will Aid is in Nov (but book now). Will Aid's a bigger scheme, operating in more places, and anyone can do it. Here you get a solicitor-drafted will, and they hope you'll make a donation to one of nine big charities. The suggested donation is £95 (£150 couples), which is about half the usual price of paying a solicitor. See Will Aid.
  • Which? Wills £50 code. For fairly simple affairs this lets you draft a will online, then it's checked by a solicitor. It's £89 (couples' wills £149) but we've a code to get it for £50 in Oct (couples £70). Full info in Which? Wills code.
  • DIY template wills. There are basic templates at Lawpack* for £10 or CompactLaw has free downloadable templates. Yet only do this if it's very straightforward and you're confident with making a legal document.

Full info: Free wills help Related Articles: Inheritance tax cutting | Over 50s tips | Have the 'unpleasant issues' chat.

15,000 FREE pairs of £12 Christmas Ideal Home Show London AND Manchester tickets. We've 10,000 pairs for London (19-23 Nov) and 5,000 for Manc (14-16 Nov). Usually £26 a pair (incl booking fee). Free Ideal Home

£10 specs code, incl lenses & delivery. MSE Blagged. The codes work on prescription glasses & sunglasses; you can also get discounted designer versions too; then there's £34 Bench, £71 Ray Ban & £82 Prada specs. Glasses Deals

URGENT CODES: Urban Outfitters 50%, Gap 25%, French Connection 20%
Pre-Sale Code: Its sale starts Thur, but we've an Urban Outfitters 50% code that gets you in TODAY.
Urgent Codes:
Gap 25% ends Wed | French Connection 20% code/vch ends Sun | Debenhams 10% ends Wed
Other Codes: Bonmarché 15% | Body Shop 40% off 5 products | Tesco 10% off iPads | See ALL Discount Vouchers

£103 Laithwaites case of wine £43 via LivingSocial 15% off code. MSE Blagged. LivingSocial's a huge daily deals site (eg, local beauty & restaurant offers). Until Thu, we've a code to get 15% off ALL its deals, incl a £103 Laithwaites case (12 bottles) it's selling for £49, so you get it for £43. Other deals incl £33 Android tablet and more. LivingSocial Code

'Save £226 in a 5 minutes & 10 seconds energy switch'
Plus CHECK NOW: Has your energy fix ended? 13 of the big fixes end this month, meaning big hikes for many

The clock's ticking. Winter's only two months away - and it takes that long to switch supplier. Yet as we always say the process of comparing and activating a switch is far quicker. So for fun, we put a stopwatch on four MSE Towers team newbies trying the Cheap Energy Club - the quickest took 202s, the longest 376s. The avg was 310s with a £226 saving...

Top picks incl (typical usage) - varies by region
Find YOUR actual price via a top fix comparison
Fixed till Exit fee Cost/yr
Costly standard tariff (1) £1,205
Avg big 6 standard tariff £1,190
Cheapest - but new provider so little feedback
Extra Energy 30 Nov 15 £25/fuel £990
Cheap short fix - 40% rate service as great
First Utility* 31 Oct 15 £30/fuel £992
Overall top: Longer fix, still cheap (48% great)
EDF Price Promise* 31 Mar 16 None £1,040
Cheapest very long fix (48% great)
EDF Price Freeeeze* 31 May 18 None £1,210
Source: MoneySupermarket. All monthly direct debit, dual fuel, unless stated. (1) Npower.
  • Compare, switch and save (& get £30 cashback). Your cheapest deal depends on your usage and where you live. Better still, all the market's current cheapest are fixes - where the rate is locked in for a set time - guaranteed not to rise. Plug your details into our Top Pick Fixes Comparison to find your cheapest and see if you can save. It also includes our new full pros & cons for each tariff to make choosing easier.

    Also, switch through it, and you usually get £30 dual fuel (£15 single) cashback you wouldn't get going direct - and we will then alert you when it's time to switch again.
  • Urgent. Is your current fix ending? More than 20 fixes have just ended or are about to, so check yours now, and don't worry about exit penalties - you can't be charged them within 49 days of a fix ending. Tariffs ending incl EDF Blue+ Sept 2014, Scottish Power Online Sept 2014 and Npower Energy Online Oct 2014. Do nothing and you'll be put on a pricier standard tariff, so compare now.
  • Switching isn't such a big deal. Change supplier and it's the same pipes, the same gas, the same meter, the same safety scheme - the only difference is price and customer service. You can compare and switch whether you pay by monthly direct debit (the cheapest way), a card or key meter, have electricity only (no gas) or even if you are on Eco 7. For more key info and full help see our Cheap Gas & Elec guide.

How to get the top 10 Christmas toys for LESS. Two big toy sales mean the predicted big 10, including My Friend Cayla and LeapTV, are available for less. Our Deals Hunter has the full lowdown toy-by-toy in Top 10 toys for less.

New 25mth 0% LOW fee balance transfer. Accepted new MBNA* cardholders (eligibility calc) can shift debt to it at 25mth 0% for a fee of 1.45% of the amount shifted. A good mix of long 0% and fee. Need longer? Barclaycard's* 34mth 0% (2.99% fee), Sainsbury's* 33mth 0% (2.89% fee). Repay quicker? Tesco* is 12mth 0% with no fee. Will you be accepted? Try our 0% balance transfer eligibility calc (for all cards but Tesco). Key warning: Clear the debt before the 0% ends or they jump to 20.9%, 18.9%, 18.9% and 18.9% rep APR respectively. FULL HELP: Best balance transfers, (APR Examples)

Ending. Odeon 5 tickets £20 (or 2 for £10). Can be up to £16 a ticket. Deal ends Sat, but you've got until Fri 19 Dec to use the tickets and DON'T have to use all in one go. Incl 3D films. Odeon

Half term activity & volunteering week for 16-17 year-olds £50 or less. This Eng & NI scheme gets 'em rock climbing, kayaking & learning life skills in Oct half-term. Includes 3-night activity trip away. See National Citizenship

HALVE smartphone insurance costs
It's possible to cover even the latest models, like the iPhone 6, for £65 a year but many pay more than double

Knowing most people'd prefer to lose their purse than their mobile it seems the networks are happy to take big bucks for insurance. Network policy prices are costly, eg, O2 & Vodafone c. £150/yr, EE £120, plus they're often 'handset blind', ie, it costs the same for a cheap phone as a hot smartphone. Our Cheapest Mobile Insurance guide slashes costs. In brief:

  • Mobile phone insuranceTop pick mobile insurance deals. These are the cheapest policies which incl cover for accident, loss & theft, with decent feedback (smartphone cover limits are £750).

    - Any iPhone (incl 6 and 6 Plus). Using code in this link Insurance2Go* £65/yr. Excess: £50 (£75 for loss).
    - Any Samsung. Using code in this link Insurance2Go* £57/yr. Excess: £25 (£50 loss).
    - Other smartphones. Using code in this link Insurance2Go* £60/yr. Excess: £25 (£50 loss).
    - Thick (non-smart) phones. Gadget Cover* is £27/yr or just £16/yr if you only cover damage/theft (not lost phones). This covers you for up to £150 though there's a £25 excess.
  • Couple/family? Cover ALL smartphones + world travel insurance + car breakdown for £120/yr. If one of you switches to the Nationwide FlexPlus* bank account, which has a £10/mth fee, then each family member's (must live in the same home) mobile is covered up to a huge £1,000 limit (so more than the policies above) and it has car breakdown cover and worldwide family travel insurance. Full help in Best Packaged Accounts.
  • The Mobile Insurance 3 Golden Questions. Before plumping for a policy ask yourself...

    1. Are you a loser? Do you really need a policy? Self-insuring wins for some, read our mobile loser? info for more.
    2. Are you already covered? See how to check your home insurance policy and fee paying bank accounts.
    3. Need a super-quick replacement? If every minute counts, then network's cover is oft fastest.

'Free' £15 Elemis products & £7 L'Occitane hand cream in £4 mags. Cheaper than buying directly. Beauty

Quick Deals - including £99 Dyson, Disney DVDs & Tastecard, stop smoking freebies
Dyson handheld vacuum £99 | 2 Disney DVDs £13 normally £13 each | £30 annual tastecard restaurant discounts RRP £80 (start can be delayed so it's a Christmas gift) | Stop smoking freebies incl stress toys, nicotine replacement products.

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash NISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
34mths 0%, 2.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Lloyds
28mths 0%, 1.5% fee

(18.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
5.3% rep APR

Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
4% rep APR

BM Savings* 1.55% AER
Min £1, incl bonus
Postal. Transfers allowed

Coventry BS 2.75% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till May 2018

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Greggs free hotdog or cheese & onion pasty (normally up to £2.50). Download free app and register for Greggs Rewards by Fri 31 Oct, then get freebie in store within one month. Greggs

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I received a free business class upgrade on a flight to Delhi last month by following your advice. The experience was amazing."
- see 20 Flight Upgrade Tips for how to boost your chances of bagging a better seat.

10 ways to make fast cash for Christmas
Never borrow for the big day. Instead, if you want to spend more, there's still time to boost your coffers

Typical family spending is a huge £840 on Christmas - far too much from December's income alone. One way to fund it is to make more in advance. Our 60 boost your income tips has lots of ways to do that, here's 10 for speed...

  1. Cash for XmasGet paid £100+ to switch bank. The top-rated bank for customer service First Direct pays switchers £100 (within 28 days). M&S Bank offers a £125 gift card to spend online & in store.
  2. Flog old mobiles for £100s. Eg, an iPhone 5 16GB is worth £197. MobileValuer finds best payers.
  3. Do a personal stocktake. Look at your possessions and ask 'have I used it since last Xmas?' If not, flog it. See Sell old games, CDs, DVDs and books and our 40+ eBay Sellers tricks.
  4. Switched energy in the last 5yrs? Many suppliers only gave you your credit back if you asked, and you can still ask them now, see Get energy credit. After reading this forumite skaterdude said: "I'd switched from Npower, one phonecall later I had £215 back."
  5. Get £100 M&S/Boots vch. While cashback cards let you earn now, but pay in a year, the Amex Gold charge card could net you £100 of M&S/Boots gift cards in time for Christmas (or at least the Jan sales) if you hit the spending trigger.
  6. Flog old gold. Gold-buyers can be dodgy, so we've done research to get you the best gold price for old jewellery.
  7. DemoHOHOtivate yourself. Do you have a daily (£2ish) coffee on the way to work? Quit it and pocket that cash and you'd have £170 in time for Christmas - see the DemoHOHOtivator to calculate other savings too.
  8. Get paid for your opinions. Sign up to a focus group and get paid between £20 and £160 for a few hours talking about anything from your driving habits to your thoughts on chocolate. You never know, you might get a pre-Xmas booking.
  9. Claim back PPI. Don't think 'it's not me' - if you've had a loan or a credit card in the past, this policy could've been added without you knowing. At best some get £1,000s back in weeks. Use our Reclaim PPI for free guide
  10. Become a mobile market researcher. Install apps on your phone to become a market researcher & do easy tasks.

Best iPhone 6 deal - errr, hmmm. We've number crunched the new iPhone 6 & 6 Plus tariffs and frankly can't find a stand-out deal. You can view our current iPhone 6 top deals and cheap iPhone tool but better hold off; we think the price will drop soon (we'll of course let you know when a doozy launches). Already got one? Get a free iPhone 6 screen protector.

MSE job opportunity. We need a full-time product manager for Energy Club. Based in London. MSE Jobs
Show Best Buys

Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines
Get constantly cheap energy.

Our club ensures you're always on the cheapest tariff.

Join free: Cheap Energy Club

Up to £30 cashback for dual fuel, £15 for single switches.

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...*
Compare The Market*
Direct Line*

Post Office*
with weekend calls
£10/mth (pay a yr upfront)

TalkTalk Value Line Rental*
£14.35/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner MSE car sticker £13 Travel Insurance
Show Vouchers and Top Deals

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
Show Money Saving Community
The MoneySaving Community

Have you used BrightHouse, PerfectHome or Buy As You View?

These sell household products on a rent to own basis, where you pay for something weekly, until you eventually own it. But it usually costs far more than buying outright. If you've used one, what did you like/dislike? Were the costs clear? A group of MPs is concerned consumers aren't getting a good deal and wants to find out if more regulation is needed. Email them your experiences by Fri 24 Oct and see the MSE forum for more info.

Should my mate pay for his own pricey drinks?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I regularly meet up with a group of friends in the pub to watch football. While most of us drink beer and wine, one of our group drinks expensive spirits, which makes the cost of our rounds skyrocket. Should we ask him to buy his own? Should my mate pay for his own pricey drinks? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

What's the best way to arrange a work Xmas do?
I've been asked to organise my employer's annual Christmas party but it's a daunting task as there are many people in the company that I don't know very well. How can I come up with an idea everyone will be happy with? Share yours/read others': What's the best way to arrange a work Xmas do? Past topics: View all

Airline: Aer Lingus Price: Flights to Ireland from £19.99 one-way Ends: Mon 13 Oct
Our pick this week is Aer Lingus'* offer for flights from 1 Nov 2014 - 31 Mar 2015 to five Irish destinations from 13 UK airports. The sale ends Mon 13 Oct and includes taxes and charges. There is no code to enter, the price appears automatically. 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

Your best foraging finds

Autumn's here so we asked you about the best things you'd foraged for out in the open and what you'd made with them. You said Rock Samphire was good for seafood dishes and dandelions made nice wine,
but one user took it to a whole new level by using free wood to heat their home all winter.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

2 Oct
Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.40am.
Deals of the Week.
2 Oct
Shelagh Fogarty, Radio 5 Live, 12pm-1pm.
Consumer Panel.
Subscribe to podcast
3 Oct
This Morning, (time TBC).
Martin's 90 Second Savers.
6 Oct
Radio 5 Live, 12pm.
Subject TBC.
6 Oct
This Morning, (time TBC).
Subject TBC.

MSE team corner

Discussion of the week

Make £10 a day challenge

Everyone likes a bit of extra cash in their pocket so our forumites have set themselves the challenge of making an extra £10 every day. From surveys to mystery shopping, why not join the £10 a day challenge and see how much you can make?

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 127.41 114.66
US Flag $ 160.86 144.77
Turkish Flag TL 358.30 312.18
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Have you finished your Christmas shopping?

The countdown has started: we've now fewer than 90 days to go. Are you a Christmas pre-planner or do you leave it until the last minute?

How much of your Christmas shopping have you done so far? Please choose the option CLOSEST to your situation.

Poll results

Should Ofcom prevent firms giving 'retention' offers?
You told us, by a two to one ratio, that you do not want Ofcom to stop firms offering deals to lure back customers intent on leaving.

- 64% think it's a bad idea as providers should fight for your business

-36% think it's a good idea because retention offers give an unfair advantage to more confident consumers

See our haggling guide for confidence-boosting tips.

5,350 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q. We're remortgaging to buy a second home. But completion's been delayed, so we have £20,000 to save for a few months. Where's best to save it, and what accounts can we open without it affecting our mortgage application? John, by email.

MSE Sam's A: To tackle your second question first, opening a standard savings account will not affect your mortgage or any other credit application, so you don't need to worry about that.

If you haven't taken advantage of your tax-free NISA allowance this tax year, your best bet would be to open one as it allows you to stash up to £15,000 per person with the top easy-access NISA paying 1.55%. If you've already used your NISA allowance for the year then your next best option is an easy-access savings account. Though the rates are pitiful (the current top account only offers 1.4%), it's still better than leaving it earning nothing. Full details in our Top Savings guide.

Ordinarily, we'd point out you can get up to 3% on your savings if you change current account. But as you only need a home for your cash for a few months, that might be too much of a hassle. Also, you'll be credit checked, which'll have an impact on your credit file. This won't affect your current mortgage offer as you've already got it, but could affect you if you want to look around for a better deal. Full info in Credit Scores.

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

 Charlotte's free game of the week: 360 Smash

Are you better at maths than the internet?

That's it for this week, but before we go, how good are your maths skills compared with everyone else on the internet? Find out with this quick quiz.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

Important. Please read how 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).

  • We often link to other websites, but we can't be responsible for their content.

  • 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.

More about MoneySaving Expert and Martin Lewis

What is

Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with over 9 million people getting this email and nearly 13m 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, and still writes this email each week (unless it says so). He's an ultra-focused money-saving journalist and consumer campaigner with his own ITV prime-time The Martin Lewis Money Show, weekly slots on Radio 5 Live, This Morning and Good Morning Britain, amongst others. He’s a columnist for publications including the Telegraph and Woman magazine. More info: See Martin Lewis' biography

What do the links with a * mean?

Any links with a * by them are affiliated, which means get a product via this link and a contribution may be made to, which helps it stay free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference; the links don't impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things we write) isn't changed due to it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in the same way. More info: See how this site is financed.

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,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Note

Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FCA regulated activity. For this reason, pages with links which take you to the sites of insurers or insurance intermediaries are hosted by Limited on behalf of Group PLC. Financial Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both Group PLC and Financial Group Limited is MoneySupermarket House, St. David’s Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ.

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