Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

The MoneySaving Forum: join to chat & swap tips with other MoneySavers. Learn how in the Forum Introduction Guide

WEEKLY EMAIL

Share on:

0

facebook
Weekly Email
Archive
This email was sent
02nd Jan 2015
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 This info may be out of date.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."

02 January 2015
         

This week

Cheapest energy in over a year
New 35mth 0% debt shift
Free gym passes or £10/mth gyms
Analyse your finances: Free Budget Planner tool
Spotify Premium 3mths 99p
Mulberry handbags up to 50% off
Hotpoint extra 30% off code
£12 for 3 Odeon cinema tix
Winter sales incl £19 KG shoes
Cheap chocs incl 50p After Eights
Travelodge rooms £29 or less
Eurostar £59 returns
West End tix from £10
800 free Open University courses
Flog your old mobile for £100s
Train misery? Know your rights
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank accs
Apply for an MSE Charity grant

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

10 New Year's resolutions to save you £1,000s
New Year - new you? Set yourself the challenge to save large in 2015

I vow to eat less, use the stairs more & be nicer to traffic wardens. New Year’s resolutions are a mixed bag, and tend to last about as long as Big Brother contestants' media careers. So for 2015, I've designed some financial resolutions - if you do them now, the benefits should last throughout the year.

Now take a deep breath, 'I resolve to...'  

1. ...finally ditch my crap bank account and earn up to £150. If you didn't switch in 2014 and don't regularly sing your bank's praises you're missing out. Many banks now PAY YOU TO SWITCH with a blatant bribe of free cash.

Switching now only takes seven days and it's easy - they move direct debits and standing orders for you and auto-forward any cash paid into your old account. Here are my top picks, full info in Best Bank Accounts.

- Free £125 and top customer service. 92% rate First Direct's* service great, plus it has a £250 0% overdraft & a 6% linked regular savings account.
- Free £150 & 2% interest.
Clydesdale's* £150 switching deal also gives 2% in-credit interest on up to £3,000 (you need to phone to get it) but cust feedback isn't superb.
- Free £100 and £5 every month. Halifax* pays £100 for switching, then £5 every month you're in credit - do avoid its overdraft though.
- 3% on savings & 3% cashback. Santander 123* pays 3% AER on balances of £3-£20k, and its £2/mth fee is usually easily covered by the up-to-3% cashback it pays on bills. If you've less, see Top Interest Paying Accounts.

Shire Piskie tweeted us saying he found switching easy: "Got £125 from First Direct. Used it towards debt. Really easy & pleasantly surprised."
2. ...stop putting off making a will and power of attorney. If you die will-less the 'intestacy' rules decide where your assets go and can mean your long-term partner gets nothing (see who gets what). Hollie emailed us: “Two years on I'm dealing with the fallout from Mum not having a will. Pls get one." So consider making a will - see our Free or Cheap Wills guide.

Plus 1 in 3 aged over 65 die with dementia. If you lose your faculties, then it can be a financial nightmare, as it's a hugely difficult and expensive process for someone to take control of your finances.

As forumite Norma Desmond found out: "It's a very long, drawn-out and quite intrusive process. It's also expensive. I just wish we'd managed to get power of attorney instead, when Dad was more capable."

Get a power of attorney now, it's far easier. Don't worry, it doesn't mean you lose control; it will only kick into place if you lose your faculties.
3. cashback...earn cashback every time I spend and get £100s/yr back. Cashback credit cards pay you each time you spend on them. Set up a direct debit to repay them IN FULL each month (and never withdraw cash) and there's no interest - it's effectively a debit card that pays you.

After that do all normal spending on them and you're quids in. The Amex Everyday* card (eligibility calc) pays a big 5% back (max £100) on ALL spending in the first 3 months, then up to 1.25% after (it's 19.9% rep APR if you fail to fully repay). See Top Cashback Credit Cards (APR Examples).

MrBoomBastic tweeted: "I pay for everything on my card, so usually get about £250 a year (paid in November), which I put towards some Xmas food.". Plus combine this with using a top cashback site to earn even more.
4. ...urgently check all direct debits, standing orders & recurring payments. Millions are letting cash unnecessarily drip from their bank accounts paying for things they neither want nor need. It can be obvious things, as with this from David: "So annoyed with my wife, she signed up to a free month of Netflix and direct debits have now been coming out for four months but we've only watched two movies - so that's £12 per time."

Or it can be worse, Here's what forumite Tuftyhead accidentally did: “We'd been paying insurance for our daughter's old phone - she upgraded four years before but the direct debit wasn't cancelled. The insurer didn't flag it up and kept taking the money by DD every three months, amounting to nearly £400."

Check out our step-by-step Do a Direct Debit Audit guide which shows how to check, plus what and how to cancel (including the nasty 'recurring payments' which aren't listed anywhere).
5. ...spend 5mins to ensure the best exchange rate EVERY time I go abroad. Forget ever going to a bureau de change again. Instead get a specialist travel credit card and you get near-perfect rates in every country, every time you go, at no cost - smashing all other methods.

Most credit & debit cards add a 3% load, so spend £100 of euros and it costs £103. Yet specialist cards are load-free worldwide, so you get the same near-perfect rate as the banks.

Our top pick specialist card is Halifax Clarity*, which as well as offering fantastic rates on spending also has the lowest ATM charges. Yet the differences are minor so use our overseas card eligibility calc to see which card you're most likely to be accepted for.

Just ensure you repay IN FULL every month to minimise interest (Halifax is 12.9% rep APR). More info/best buys in Cheap Travel Cards (APR Examples).

Nick Roper tweeted: “We saved around £100 using a Halifax Clarity card on our month-long trip around Europe. It's staggering how the 3% stacks up.”
6. ...stop myself wasting cash buying on impulse. Take a look around your house at how much stuff you have that you've hardly used and wasn't worth it. If you could cut that out in advance, you'd be much better off.

I've two money mantras, which have become known as 'Martin's Money Mantras' (isn't alliteration great?) and which are designed to help.

- If you're skint:
Before you buy anything ask yourself: "Do I need it? Can I afford it? Have I checked whether it's cheaper elsewhere?"

- If you're not skint:
Before you buy anything, ask yourself: "Will I use it? Is it worth it? Have I checked whether it's cheaper elsewhere?"

IF THE ANSWER TO ANY QUESTION IS NO - DON'T BUY IT

Many wonder why there's a mantra for those who aren't skint. The key there is "Is it worth it?". After all you may use a £200 pair of shoes, but if they’re worn twice, that’s £100 a wear. Full explanation in Money Mantras or get a Free Wallet Size Mantra Print Out, to see 'em every time you spend.
7. ...snatch back my cash my old energy firm kept when it shouldn't have. If you’ve switched energy in the last five years your old provider may still owe you credit - this can be £100s. Many operated a ‘don’t ask, don’t get’ policy, yet you're still entitled to it.

So just call your old provider up and ask for the money back - all the numbers and what to do if they refuse are in Reclaim old energy credit. As forumite Azwilson says: “A 10-minute call on Sat morning after watching Martin’s Friday night show and Scottish Power paid back £270... Kerching!”
8. ...check my mortgage rate immediately, it could save me £1,000s. We're in a weird time. Mortgage rates are still at all-time lows, yet many believe UK interest rates will rise this year. So everyone with a mortgage should check right now if they're on the right deal before the market starts to shift.

This is especially true if you're one of the 4 in 10 mortgage holders paying your lenders' SVR (standard variable rate). These now average 4.9%, but can be up to 6%. Current remortgage deals can be 3% cheaper - if you got one that'd save £2,700/yr on a £150k mortgage. Here's the key info...

1) Our new mortgage best buys tool includes all deals available to brokers plus direct deals they can't service and has a unique 'total cost calculation'.
2) The free 60-page MSE remortgage booklet takes you through what to do step-by-step, either get an Instant PDF or Order a free copy.
Also available: First-Time Buyers and Buy To Let guides.
3) See our guide to Top Mortgage Brokers for how to get help.

Gem says: “I went from 3.99% SVR to 1.89% - cut payments by a third.”
9. ...become a haggler every time I renew a contract. Whether car insurance, broadband, home phone or roadside recovery, if you auto-renew you’re likely paying too much. Companies often just raise prices each year hoping you’ll be apathetic and do nothing. You've two choices:

1) Switch. The best deals are usually reserved for new customers as firms push their marketing budgets into promos. For those see our broadband, car insurance, home phone, digital TV and cheap breakdown cover guides.

2) Stick but haggle. If you're happy with the service, haggle. The powerhouse trick is to threaten to leave so you get put through to disconnections, known internally as ‘customer retentions’, as their job's to keep you. In our poll last month, 86% of Admiral, 86% of Sky and 84% of AA customers who tried to haggle succeeded. For help see our How to Haggle guide.

Forumite Ma3140 says: "Called Sky and said I was looking at leaving and taking my TV, broadband and phone to BT or TalkTalk. I was offered a saving of £23.55 per month for a year - a total saving of £283."
10. ...start shopping and saving for Christmas NOW (seriously). Wrapping paper, Xmas cards, decorations and even presents are probably the last things you want to think of right now. Yet real MoneySavers are already on the case, buying dirt-cheap in the Jan sales and putting things in a back cupboard for the key time to save a mint.

Plus while Christmas comes once a year, it costs on average £840 per family - too big an expenditure for one month. So put cash aside throughout the year (eg, if you spend £840 it's £pound;70/mth) to avoid the debt or disappointment that not planning in advance often causes.

Forumite Madvixen says: "I start my next year's Xmas shopping in the Boxing Day sales and pick up as many presents as I can throughout the year."

PS. A huge happy New Year - from me and all at MSE Towers. And don't worry, next week this email returns to its normal Wednesday send day.

PPS. New. The Martin Lewis Money ROADshow ITV1 Fri 8pm. This time you get to set the agenda. In the first programme, the unmissable story of the mum who's kept her kids' savings secret and a huge car insurance warning.

Blagged for MoneySavers

Did you miss?

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: Government gives green light to school savings clubs
Peer-to-peer lending to move into the mainstream in 2015
iSupplyEnergy to stop making it difficult for customers to switch
Erudio's arrears mail-out leaves graduates confused
Government pledges £6 billion to fix roads 'blighted by potholes'
Help someone make the perfect MoneySaving New Year's resolution
If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via moneysavingexpert.com/tips
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
January Money Makeover FRI 2 JAN 2015
Urgent! Cheapest energy tariff deals in over a year - only 10,000 avail
An energy price war's kicked off - but only for switchers. Compare & switch ASAP. Many can save £250/year
Two energy firms have launched new deals with the lowest prices for an age, yet they're only for switchers. Our top fixes comparison shows your prices for them. Switching can take just four weeks, so your cheaper price should kick in soon.
Top Picks (based on typical usage - varies by region)
TO APPLY FOR THESE: Do a comparison to find YOUR actual price then apply & get £30 dual fuel cashback
Cost/yr
Avg 'Big 6' standard tariff paid by direct debit £1,184
  Fixed until Exit fee
Cost/yr
Top pick - V cheap & strong cust feedback (63% great)
Co-Op Energy 30 Mar 16 £30/fuel £938
Smidgeon cheaper but new provider, so little feedback
Extra Energy 30 Mar 16 £25/fuel £937
Cheapest NO exit fee fix (55% great)
EDF Blue+ Price Promise 31 May 16 None £999
Cheap LONG fix with NO exit fees (55% great)
EDF Blue+ Price Fix 31 Jan 17 None £1,054
Source: MoneySup. All monthly direct debit, dual fuel, unless stated. Customer feedback from our Dec '14 poll

  • Urgent. Top energy fix. Co-Op Energy's launched a new dual fuel fix available to just the first 10,000 switchers. At £938/yr for someone with typical usage, it's seriously undercutting the prior cheapest. The rate's fixed until Mar 16, so that means you're ensuring no price hikes for over a year.

    Responding to this, Extra Energy's dropped its price so it's a further avg £1/yr cheaper. We still plump for Co-Op though as our poll rated its customer service a v strong 63% great, while Extra's a newish firm so feedback's limited.
  • How to get these? Never just switch, use our Cheap Energy Club comparison to see if and how much you'll save with a bespoke price for both these tariffs and how they compare to the rest of the market. Plus do it this way and...

    - You also get £30 (£15/fuel) cashback you wouldn't get going direct (paid after 3-5 mths).
    - We'll then monitor the tariff and alert you when the deal is no longer cheap and you need switch again.
  • Six gas & electricity need to knows. It's not just about finding the cheapest tariff...

    1) If you're on a key or card meter you can still compare, switch & save. See Cheap Prepayment Meters.
    2) To get the lowest price pay by monthly direct debit, just ensure you then give regular meter readings.
    3) If you don't want to regularly switch go for a longer fix, which gives a long-term decent rate with less hassle.
    4) We normally favour 'no exit fees.', yet if, as now, savings from the v cheapest outweigh this, it's a small issue.
    5) If you're in credit when you switch, the provider should give money back to you. Do ask if it doesn't.
    6) Cut your usage too - see our Free Insulation, Green Deal and Energy Mythbusting guides.

    More info & cashback options: Cheap Gas & Elec.

Spotify Premium 3 months for 99p (norm £10/mth). Newbies only. Full info in Cheap music streaming.

Mulberry up to 50% off handbags sale. Not MoneySaving but if you'll buy one anyway and can afford it, get it when it's cheapest. Rare sale, incl Mini Alexa bag £525 (was £750) & Bayswater bag £770 (was £1,100). Limited stock

Hotpoint/Indesit large appliance clearance EXTRA 30% off code. MSE Blagged. On its white goods online clearance, incl cookers, fridges & more. Eg, Indesit twin cavity cooker £232 (was £331, next cheapest £439). Hotpoint

£12 for 3 Odeon cinema tix (norm up to £10 each). Excludes London. Can be used by more than one person and on more than one visit. Must get by 11.59pm Sun, use 5 Jan-1 Feb. Odeon

New. Longest-EVER 35 months 0% debt shift
Slash the cost of existing credit card debts by £100s or £1,000s by shifting them to interest-free for almost 3 years

Don't wait for January's bill to deal with credit card debts. Balance transfer NOW - which means you get a new card that pays off old card(s) for you, so you now owe it at a lower rate - to get yourself debt-free more quickly & cheaply.
  • New top balance transfers. Accepted new Barclaycard* (eligibility calc) cardholders can now shift debt to it for a new record 35mth 0%, and it's lowered its one-off fee to 2.49% of the amount shifted (was 2.99%). This is a once-unthinkable 0% period. Yet long isn't always best - aim for the lowest fee card, ensuring you've enough time to clear it.
Top pick new cardholder 0% balance transfer deals
Find the card you're most likely to get with our ELIGIBILITY CALC (protects your credit score)
Card Intro offer One-off fee (1) Rep APR after
New Barclaycard* - longest-ever 0% 35mth 0% (2) 2.49% (3) 18.9%
Halifax*- longest if shifting from a Barclaycard 34mth 0% (2) 2.8% (3) 18.9%
Barclaycard* - long 0%, lower fee 24mth 0% (2) 1.25% (3) 18.9%
MBNA* - also lets you money transfer cash to yr bank 32mth 0% (2)(4) 2.2% 20.9%
Santander* - longest 0% NO FEE 15mth 0% None 18.9%
New Halifax* - 2nd longest 0% no fee-card 13mth 0% (2) None 18.9%
1) % of amount transferred. 2) Some get a shorter 0%. 3) You pay a higher fee initially & they refund you the difference so you pay the lower fee. 4) 24mths for money transfers, rep APR after 22.9%
MORE OPTIONS & FULL INFO: Best Balance Transfers, (APR examples)
  • The Balance Transfer Golden Rules. It's not just about picking the right card, it's about using it the right way...

    a) Don't just apply in hope, that marks your credit file. Instead use our Eligibility Calc to find your best chance first.
    b) Never miss the min monthly repayments, or the bank is allowed to end your 0% deal and charge far more.
    c) Ensure you clear the card or transfer again before the 0% ends or the rate rockets to the rep APR.
    d) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate & cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
    e) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. Full help in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

£19 Kurt Geiger shoes, £99 Kindle Fire HDX, Levi's from £40. The sales are in full swing. We've details of 60+ retailers (incl M&S up to 50% off, Asos up to 70% off) AND whether discounts are likely to be boosted. Jan sales

50p After Eights, Ferrero Rocher - can you find super-cheap chocs? Stores are trying to flog stock they didn't shift by Christmas on the cheap. We've rounded up the best bargains at Superdrug, Morrisons & more. Deals Hunters

Travelodge has more rooms at £29 or less (£49 London). More discounted rooms just added to this ongoing room sale, for selected Jan-Mar stays. 500,000 rooms now available spread across 500+ hotels. Travelodge

Eurostar £59 rtn. Rare £10-off discount (usually £69+) for Paris, Lille, Brussels from Jan to Mar. Eurostar

Free gym passes or £10/mth membership
Are you paying £270 a swim? Don't be a gym turkey - use these tips to shed the pounds, rather than waste them

Every January gyms fill up with what the pros call 'turkeys', new joiners who won't last too long after Christmas. Good intentions can be expensive - far too many lock themselves into costly unbreakable contracts, like this tweeter: "Paid £270 for a year's membership, went for one swim. Most expensive swim ever." Full help in Free & Cheap Gyms - here's a warm-up...

  • cheap gymsFree gym passes. First, check if the gym fits. We've blagged 7-day British Military Fitness passes, 3-day LA Fitness passes and more. See the full Free Gym Pass list.
  • Use PAYG gyms - incl FREE £5 credit. No need for a contract, the site Pay-As-U-Gym allows you to buy one-off passes for lots of different gyms, plus click the link and we've blagged you £5 credit. Full info on this & more in One-time Gym Passes.
  • No-frills £10-£20/mth gyms with no contract. If you can live without a pool (though you don't even need to sacrifice that sometimes) and sauna, see our full list of exercise-only No-Frills Gyms.
  • Going for a year-long contract? HAGGLE, HAGGLE, HAGGLE. If you're a gym regular, whether renewing your contract or joining a new place, January is when many premium gyms have big deals on. Don't accept standard or even 'promo' prices, negotiate hard (but politely) to get a hot deal. 'Membership execs' may be paid on commission and have room to negotiate. Yet be careful, see our Gym Contract Rights help.
  • Do you really need a gym? DIY workouts. Running shoes and dumbbells (used carefully) can offer a great workout. Try our MegaShopBot tool or Amazon Discount Finder, which finds running gear at 75%+ off*, gym equipment 55%+ off* and sportswear 75%+ off*. Plus check if there's a free outdoor gym near you.
Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
35mths 0%, 2.49% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Barclaycard*
24mths 0%, 1.25% fee

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

MoneySupermarket*
Confused*
Direct Line*
Aviva*
Admiral MultiCar*

Cahoot* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.9% rep APR



Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.8% rep APR


Post Office 1.5% AER
Min £100, incl bonus
Postal. Transfers allowed


Coventry BS 2.4% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till Nov 2018


See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

£10-£40 tickets to 70 Jan/Feb West End theatre shows. NOW ON. Incl Cinderella (£10), Wicked (£20), Lion King (£30) & Matilda (£40). For 1 Jan - 13 Feb shows. Best seats sell out fast, so go quick. Get Into London Theatre

800 free Open University short online courses. Incl bookkeeping & beginners' Spanish. Distance learning

Got a new mobile for Xmas? Make £100s flogging your old handset. Your old handset or tablet may be worth cash. Use our free MobileValuer tool to find who’ll give you the most money for it - eg, iPhone 5S 16GB £185 and Samsung S5 £180.  For your new mobile, check out our Cheap mobile insurance guide too.

Free Budget Planner - do you spend more than you earn?
Most budgets don't work. Our FREE tool analyses your FULL year's income and outgoings, not just a typical month

Do you know how much you earn? Of course. How much do you spend? Errrrr. To balance your finances you need to know both. If not, at best you eat up savings, at worst you build up debt. That's why a forensic budget is crucial, calculating what you spend, and what you can afford to. Our Free Budget Planner analyses your finances to do just that, here's the key info.

  • sort debtsFree Budget Planner. The Free Budget Analysis tool is designed to fix the problems with most budgets: a) They focus on one 'typical' month. That isn't enough, it misses Xmas, holidays or even a new sofa; b) It's not about 'motoring'. It's about MOTs, tax, petrol, insurance, breakdown, etc. We've incl 90 spending areas. Prepare for a shock.
  • Give yourself a money makeover to save £1,000. Follow our step-by-step guide to slashing all bills without lifestyle change. Our Give Yourself a Makeover guide takes you through it, then if you're still overspending move on to our 20 Tips To Stop Spending.

    Tweeter Nexus Rob decided to give his family a money makeover. "Decided to @MartinSLewis our lives this yr. Saved £2,300 without really trying. Now setting myself the task of saving even more in 2015."
  • Piggybanking helps you stick to a budget. Once you know how much you can spend, try Martin's Piggybanking budgeting technique. Then combat the fact that bank statements lie. They're just a snapshot of your finances, ignoring what's already gone out, and what's due to. Many people swear by it (some at it)...

    - Select main spending categories. As well as a main account, everyone should have a bills account (overestimate how much you'll need), then others that reflect key spends, eg, holidays, kids' clothes, Xmas, new kitchen.
    - Set up separate accounts for each of them. See Best Piggybanking Accounts for how.
    - Use standing orders to feed them. Set them up for two days after payday to shift the assigned amounts to them.
    - Now they tell the truth. Now your main account tells how much you can really spend. Plus, if you see a £700 holiday, but there's £400 in your holiday account, you now KNOW you can't afford it. Spend within your means.

    Please share your piggybanking experiences.

Hit by the cold snap or suffered train misery? Parts of the UK hit -10°C this week - many lost electricity or suffered travel delays. We've rounded up what you need to know on power cuts, train and flight delays & more. Know your rights


Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines

Compare, get £30 dual fuel cashback & alerts if your deal's no longer cheap. Go via the free MSE Cheap Energy Club Top Pick Fixes Comparison.

The savings can be huge. Someone with typical dual fuel usage on a big 6 standard tariff pays £1,180 a year, the cheapest deal's £940.


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.com*
Compare The Market
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Direct Save Telecom*
with weekend calls
£11/mth (pay a yr upfront)



Post Office
with weekend calls
£12/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

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK
MSE Charity community grant applications

The latest funding round for charities and groups involved with financial and consumer education projects opened on 1 Jan. Only the first 40 applications that meet the criteria will be considered and those with an annual income below £500,000 will get priority. Full info at The MSE Charity. Related: MSE's Charity Fund, How This Site's Financed

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA
Should I spend my gift voucher despite cancelling my contract?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I recently signed up to switch my broadband to a new provider after seeing a great deal, which included £100 of vouchers for a 'successfully connected contract'. Due to a number of mistakes I cancelled the order. Despite this, I've just received the voucher. Should I spend it or send it back? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I spend my gift vouchers even though I cancelled my contract? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

THE GREAT HUNT
New Year's resolutions that hit your wallet hard
We want to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge on the most financially disastrous New Year's resolutions you've ever made. Have you entered a previous year with a gung-ho dedication to something that had a negative impact on your finances? Share yours/read others': New Year's resolutions that hit your wallet hard Past topics: View all

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT
Airline: Thomson Price: £30 off return flights Ends: Ongoing
Our pick this week is Thomson's ongoing sale, which is £30 off the total price of return flights (including taxes & charges). It's for all flights till 31 Jan 2015. There's no code to enter, the discount 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

THE GREAT HUNT... REVEALED
Creative ways to use leftover Xmas food

We asked for your top tips on avoiding wasting all the Christmas food that remains after the big day. One poster suggested leftover stuffing and turkey were great in a pie or pasta bake, while another forumite said Pinterest was a great source of inventive recipes. If you're all cooked out, other tips included freezing leftover goodies and getting a dog.

Quick forum tips

Freebies

Martin's blogs

No blogs from Martin this week

Martin's appearances

2 January
The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm
5 January
This Morning, ITV, time TBC
Subject TBC.

MSE team corner

Discussion of the week

What is the most stingy thing you do to save cash?

Are you always picking up loose change or cutting tubes to get the last dregs of product out? Hop over to the What's the most MoneySaving thing you do post in the forum for more frugal tips and to share your own tricks for watching the pennies.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 127.51 114.57
US Flag $ 154.61 139.14
Turkish Flag TL 347.00 306.02
Rates correct at 4pm Thu
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Did you go shopping-mad in the 'January sales'?

The so-called 'January sales' seem to be getting earlier every year, with many starting online well before Christmas. With the sales now in full swing, did you or will you take advantage?

Choose the option that's closest to your situation...

Poll results

What's your favourite Xmas song?
It seems the nation enjoys a mix of golden oldies and new songs when it comes to Christmas tunes. But ahead of the pack by a long way was Fairy Tale of New York by The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl, which got the nod from 40% of voters. Here's the rest of the top five.

- 20% chose I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
- 18% chose Merry Xmas Everybody
- 18% chose All I Want For Christmas Is You
- 17% chose Last Christmas

8,637 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: If I miss a health insurance payment, am I still covered? What is the grace period for being late? Gary, via email.

MSE Leigh’s A: As health insurers, like all businesses, want to keep your custom, most will give you a grace period to clear your debt before your cover is cancelled.

Axa PPP, for example, will send a reminder 30 days after a missed payment, a second two weeks later. If payment is still not received, the cover will be cancelled after a further two weeks. BUPA, meanwhile, sends a letter asking for payment within seven days, followed by two further reminders at seven-day intervals. If payment is not received within 14 days of the final reminder, cover is cancelled.

Despite the grace period, you cannot make a claim until you have caught up with payments. Typically, this doesn't mean if you develop a medical condition while you are in arrears it isn't covered, it means your insurer will not pay for treatment until you've paid up - but always check. To avoid missing payments, set up a direct debit - just make sure you diarize the renewal date so that can actively decide whether you want to continue with the cover. See our Cheap Health Insurance guide for more.

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

 MSE Nick's free game of the week: Age of Wonder

Do you know your its from your it's?

That's it for this week, but before we go, how good are you at using apostrophes? Take this quick quiz to find out.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

Important. Please read how MoneySavingExpert.com 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 MoneySavingExpert and Martin Lewis

What is MoneySavingExpert.com?

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 Daybreak, 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 MoneySavingExpert.com, 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

firstdirect.com, halifax.co.uk, santander-products.co.uk, americanexpress.com, barclaycard.co.uk, mbna.co.uk, amazon.co.uk, moneysupermarket.com, confused.com, directline.com, aviva.co.uk, admiral.com, sainsburysbank.co.uk, sales.talktalk.co.uk, .

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 MoneySavingExpert.com Limited on behalf of MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC. MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC and MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited is MoneySupermarket House, St. David’s Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ.

To change your E-mail or stop receiving the weekly tips (unsubscribe): Go to: www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips

Get The Free Weekly Moneysaving Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out

Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out