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Weekly Email
This email was sent
03rd Oct 2012
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 This info may be out of date.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."

03 October 2012

This week

Wine Discount Finder
16 mths interest-free borrowing
Clamping ban: fight unfair tix
Stop spam texts & calls
Free Ideal Home tix (10,000 pairs)
Free wills
£60 designer specs £23
Day's train travel £15 (Ldn Midland)
Hidden 1p supermarket deals
FitFlops 50% sale
'Free' Benefit blusher & mascara
A3 photo calendar £12
Free £20 Whittard gift on £10 spend
£5 Edinburgh hotel rooms
M&S Outlet 10% code, BHS 25%
£1 cross-country coach tickets
M&S 50% off sale
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs

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

Are you a tart or do you want commitment?
Knowing your money personality can save £1,000s on the right deals

No, you're not reading the lonely hearts in error. After catching the MoneySaving buzz, many vow to disloyally tart from deal to deal to cling to perfect rates. Yet fail to keep on top of it and hot intro deals turn minging.

Then, often a stable relationship with long-term good value saves more. So ask yourself: deep down, are you organised enough to tart? Examine your past behaviour. If not, settle down. Here's when it pays & when not...

1. Slash existing credit card costs... Tarts: 23mth 0% Stable: 5.9% for LIFE.
Balance transfers let you shift debt to a new card to slash interest. A good tart can keep at 0% for years, but forget to switch in time and it costs large.

Tart Deals: Shift debts to Barclaycard's 23 mth 0%, 2.8% fee* or Tesco 22 mth 0%, 2.9% fee*. Poor credit score? Some with past CCJs can get Capital One 6 mth 0%, 3% fee*. Yet fail to shift debt again or if you don't repay before the 0% ends, and rates jump to 17.9%, 18-24% or a huge 34.9% rep APR respectively.

Stable Relationship: MBNA's 5.9% for LIFE (1.5% fee)* rate lasts until all shifted debt's repaid. FULL help: Balance Transfers & APR Examples
2. NHS prescriptions (England)... £7.65 a pop or £104/year. Little-known NHS pre-pay certificates let you pay upfront for 3- or 12-month certificates for £29 or £104. Use two a month and you save £80/year, but use one a month and it's a touch and go decision.
3. tartBank accounts... Free £100 to switch or £5/mth. Top customer service account First Direct* gives £100 to anyone who signs up with a monthly income of £1,500, though it pays no in-credit interest.

Alternatively, Halifax* pays £5 every month if you've a monthly income over £1,000. So stay with it over 20mths and it wins. Plus if you have big bills, Santander 123 can pay large cashback.
4. Travel money... Lock into long-term unbeatable exchange rates. Bit of a no-brainer, this one - as here a stable relationship is cheaper than tarting.

Most debit & credit cards charge a 3% load on spending abroad, so £100 of euros costs £103. Yet a few specialist credit cards give near-perfect rates, as they're load-free worldwide: Halifax Clarity*, Post Office*, Saga* (over-50s) & Select* (Nationwide custs ONLY). So pocket one for overseas travel.

They're less hassle and offer better rates than bureaux de change - if you set up a direct debit to repay cards IN FULL every month, or the gain's lost by 11.9%-16.9% representative APRs. See: Top Overseas Cards.
5. 275 free photo prints for tarts. Lots of photo developers offer newbies between 10 & 75 free prints. These are collated in our Cheapest Photo Print Finder - if you manage it carefully you can combine offers to get 275 free.
6. If you travel more than once a year... get annual travel cover from £16. Tarting each time for the cheapest travel insurance policy can cost regular travellers large. Trip just twice a year and annual policies are cheaper, plus give cover for unexpected weekends away. Here's a taster of the cheapest...

Europe: Individual Travel Guard* from £16 (age dependent), family £30
World: Indiv Protect Yr Bubble* from £28 (age dependent), family £48

Full info, top value policies, winter sports & over-65s in Cheap Travel Ins.
7. Pay BT £15.45 a month, or £129 a year. If you're with BT, its standard line rent is £14.60/mth, rising to £15.45 in January. Yet its Line Rental Saver* lets you lock in for a year if you pay £129 upfront - equivalent to £10.75 a month (the only difference is evening calls aren't inclusive). Then again, real tarts would ditch BT and pay as little as £7.99/mth line rental.
8. PAYG or mobile contract? The days where pay-as-you-go was only cheaper for low users are gone. Now contract-style bundles via Giffgaff* and more can slash costs. But for hot new handsets, contracts win. See Cheap Mobiles.
9. Savings... 2.8% easy access or lock-in up to 3.75%. Sadly, savings rates have plummeted further. The top account where you can access cash whenever you want is Halifax at 2.8% AER, but it includes a year's bonus so you'll need to tart to another account in a year to keep rates high.

If you've £25,000+, Investec High 10 matches the average rate of the top 10 accounts (currently 3.08%), but needs 3mths notice to withdraw. Otherwise you need to lock cash away in a fix, eg, Norwich & P'boro 18mths 3.35%. With rates so low, think twice before locking away longer. See Top Savings.
10. Free gym passes, or membership? Many gyms give free passes for up to 7 days, plus PayAsUGym lets you buy passes when they run out. Alternatively for cheap membership, check out £10/mth no-frills gyms.

Do us a favour. If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via

PS. Ta for all the nice comments about my new ITV show (and yes, we'll make the camera zoom less). Episode 2's next Tue 7.30pm, watch episode 1. To those asking about split ticketing, download the free split ticket app.

Blagged for MoneySavers

Did you miss?

Reclaim PPI for FREE
Claims handlers aren't more successful.
Free help & templates: Reclaim PPI

MSE News

Top story: What pensions auto-enrolment means for you
Vodafone to raise prices
Car insurance faces probe
Eon simplifies energy tariffs
Beware pre-selected travel 'extras'
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 3 Oct 2012
Wine Discount Finder. New Tool
Uncovers hidden sales at Tesco Wine, M&S, Slurp, etc | Decent Sangiovese £4/bottle delivered

As you seem to love the Amazon Discount Finder and eBay Local Deals Finder, we've created a way to dig behind online wine sellers' virtual shelves for hidden mega-discounts. We hope you pay less, not drink more - be Drinkaware.

  • wine toolFind 50%+ wine & champers crate discounts. Whether red, white or a country or grape, tell our Wine Discount Finder to find the biggest discount or cheapest crate at Tesco Wine, M&S, Majestic & Slurp (eg, biggest red wine discounts sub £5.) We plan to add Waitrose & Naked Wines soon, want more? It's a new tool, please feed back.
  • Special codes get 25% off on top. We also list codes to save you more. Currently, Tesco Wine 25% off (no min spend) or £10 off £50 (both newbies only). Plus Naked Wines newbies' £40 off £70. See Wine Discount Codes.
  • Hot discounts we've found. The MSE sommelier's (well, our webmaster Brendan - he's from Oz and likes vino) favourites using the tool are La Piazza Nero d'Avola Sangiovese* £4/bottle all-in (next cheapest similar £6.50ish) & Palais des Anciens Côtes du Roussillon Villages* £4.70/bottle all-in (cheapest similar £7ish) both using the Tesco code.

Quick. Free & cheap wills. Nov is Will Aid month, allowing anyone a solicitor-drafted will for donating to one of 9 charities, but it gets booked up so go now. If over 55, October is Free Wills month. Full info: Free & Cheap Wills

£60 luxury lens designer specs £23 with code. Gets Bench frames, coatings, anti-glare, case & cloth. Frames alone £50 elsewhere. See Cheap Glasses.

Unlimited London Midland train travel £15/day for half-term. 63,000 printable vouchers let you pay £15 to go anywhere on its network off-peak (eg, Lon-Liverpool, often £75 return) & get on and off when you like. Trains Deal.

Can you find hidden 1p supermarket deals? Incl L'Oreal eye cream and Oral B toothpaste. Hot Bargains

16 mths INTEREST-FREE if you need to borrow
If you've a big one-off purchase, eg, kitchen/TV or need it for Christmas, get the longest fee-free 0%

If you need to spread the cost of a planned purchase, used right, a 0% credit card lets you do it for nowt. We strongly caution against borrowing for Christmas, but if you'll do it anyway, at least plan now and do it cheap. All cards require a credit check.

  • interest free 16 mths 0% and rewards. The longest new spending no-fee 0% deal is Tesco 16mths*, plus it pays one Clubcard point per £4 spent. A close 2nd's M&S 15mths*, plus 0.5% back in vouchers. Clear before the 0% ends or they jump to 16.9 and 15.9% representative APR.
  • Poor credit? 0% til Jan. The Luma* card's 0% till January's statement, and even some with past CCJs & defaults can get it. Be very careful with this card, as the go-to after the 0% is a huge 35.9% representative APR. Please read our Using Luma Safely help.
  • Warnings. 1. Only use for planned purchases with planned repayments to clear before the 0% ends; never to fill the gap if you're short on income, that leads to a debt spiral. 2. Always set up a direct debit to repay at least the monthly min, or you lose special deals. 3. Full help & options in 0% Credit Cards (also see Official APR Examples).

FREE 10,000 pairs of Ideal Home Show Christmas tix (worth £37). MSE Blagged. Code from Thurs gets free tickets for any day at the 14-18 Nov Earl's Court show. Will go like hot (Xmas) cakes. See Free Ideal Home Show.

FitFlop up to 50% sale. 'Toning footwear' sandals from £22.50 incl del (were £45) & trainers £45. See FitFlop Sale.

'Free' £8 Benefit blusher AND £7 mascara (in £4 mag). Cover freebie and voucher. See Cheap Beauty Deals.

70% off photo calendar code (A3 £12). MSE Blagged. A4 £10 delivered (was £24). See Photo Deals.

Private clamping banned - fight unfair tickets
A touch of regulation hits the Wild West of private parking firms. Know your rights to beat the cowboys

Hoorah. Already banned in Scotland, clamping or towing by private firms is now largely illegal in England and Wales too (not NI). This is one of a host of changes to private parking rules. Full help in Fight Unfair Parking Tickets, here's a taster:

  • clamping bannedBeware disguised tickets. Supermarket/housing estate car parks' private ticket firms do better impressions than Jon Culshaw, feigning officialdom by mimicking council Penalty Charge Notices with Parking Charge Notices. They're not fines, just invoices.
  • Don't just pay unfair tickets. If you think the invoice is unfair - eg, no signage - write back saying why it's unfair and that you won't pay. Meanwhile an appeal service for 160 approved operators (out of 1,000s of total firms) has laucnhed. For full tactics, see Fight Unfair Tickets.
  • Free Glovebox guide. If you get an unfair ticket - whether private or council - to best fight it, act at the scene. Print our Glovebox Guide instructions and put it in your car, just in case. Related: Council Parking Appeals

Code for 'free' £20 Whittard gift set on £10 spend. 750 avail, you get 4 mugs nicely wrapped. See Whittard Deal.

£5 Edinburgh hotel rooms (usually £25). Only 1,000 avail, starts noon Wed, Jan-Apr '13 stays. See Hotel Sales.

M&S outlet 10% code, BHS & Burton 25% off & more...
M&S Outlet 10% off Online code | Burton 25% off In-store vch & Online code | BHS 25% off Online code
Debenhams 10% off Online code | Vertbaudet 35% off Online code. Full list: All Discount Vouchers

£1 cross-country coach tix (50,000 avail). Via links in 45p paper, 50p booking fee. Cheap Train & Coach Deals

Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
23 mths 0%, 2.8% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Barclaycard*
12 mths 0%, 1% fee

(19.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5K)
7.1% rep APR
(Need Nectar card)

Clydesdale Bank* (£7.5k - £15k)
5.7% rep APR

Manchester BS 3.06% AER
Min £1,000. Incl bonus.
Postal only. Transfers allowed.

Cheshire BS 3% AER
Min £1,000. Incl bonus.
Transfers not allowed

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Forum Hottie. Posh Orla Kiely scarves £10. Forumites loving 'em for Xmas gifts. Uniqlo Deals

M&S up to 50% sale. Just started in-store & online. Limited stock range, though. More info: M&S Deals

Free £2 personalised postcard anywhere in UK (via iPhone). MSE Blagged. Download free app. Free Postcard

Say "hasta la vista" to spam texts
Terminate spam texts, calls, mail & door-knockers | Whether PPI or ambulance chasers, ensure they won't be back

Finally, some moves to clamp down on spam texts - two culprits face potential £250,000 fines. While there's no definite solution, things can be done to reduce spam, and collectively hit back at spammers. PS. If you get a text saying "our database shows you're owed £3,250 PPI", it's nonsense. There are no databases - see Reclaim PPI for Free instead.

  • spam textsForward texts to 7726 (spells 'spam'). If you get spam texts (ie, from unknown senders), don't reply 'stop' - it shows you're real. Forward the text to 7726 (87726 on Vodafone). If enough people do that, it can be blocked. FULL help: Stop Spam Texts.
  • Free 'no cold callers' signs. Print one of our approved 'No Cold Callers' signs. They have legal force on energy salesmen and should deter others.
  • Stop spam calls and mail. Register home AND mobile numbers with the Telephone Preference Service, then it's illegal for UK firms to spam call. The Mail Preference Service isn't as enforceable, but substantially cuts junk mail. FULL info, incl stopping silent calls and spam calls/mail to deceased relatives, in Stop Spam Calls & Junk Mail.

3% cashback on train tickets & Oyster cards. As well as petrol spending, the Santander 123* credit card now gives 3% cashback (max £9/mth) on National Rail and TfL spends - plus 2% on department stores & 1% on supermarkets. It has a £24 annual fee, and ALWAYS fully repay or it's 22.8% representative APR. See Cashback Cards.

Urgent. £15 off car hire code. MSE Blagged. Use Car Rentals* & Kayak* comparisons to find the cheapest. Then see if code MSEOCT15 at Holiday Autos* for £15 off worldwide 5-day hire till 16 Dec beats it. Book by Fri. Cheap Car Hire

Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines
Compare, switch & get cashback

£15 per switch

£30 dual fuel

6 bottles of wine

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...

Direct Line*
Get quotes in this order...

Primus Line Rental Saver*

BT Line Rental Saver*
£10.75/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Free Budget Planner Free MSE car sticker £16 Travel Insurance

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers/sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
The MoneySaving Community

SPILL THE BEANS | Work(ed) in a shop? Are you allowed to give hagglers a discount?
Do you work/have you worked at a shop? If so, how much discretion do you/did you have if someone haggled. Were you automatically allowed to give 10% off if someone asked? If possible, tell us the store. Spill 'em: Shop assistants, what's your haggle policy? Related: See the Haggle on the High Street guide. Past topics: View all

BEWARE | Scammers pretending to be us. Fraudulent firms are calling saying they're from MSE and want bank details for reclaiming. Beware, we NEVER call, mail or knock on doors. Also see the 25 Ways to Stop Scams guide.

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK | Do consumer rights need simplifying?
The Government is planning to update our rights when buying goods and services so both consumers and retailers find the process easier to follow. One idea's to give 30 days to legally accept goods (instead of a 'reasonable time') before losing the right to a full refund. Take the Simpler laws, stronger rights survey before Fri 5 Oct. Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support money-based work by other organisations. Send us a campaign of the week suggestion.

BOOK GIVEAWAY | When a Middle-Aged Bloke Discovered Rugby. 25 blagged for MoneySavers. Want one?

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA | Should expenses count as donation?
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I organised and completed a sponsored walk for charity with around 20 others. We'll have raised around £1,200. I had to spend around £50 on raffle prizes, ticket books, poster printing, fuel, etc on top of my donation. Is it morally wrong to ask for the £50 back from the total?
Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should expenses count as donation? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

THE GREAT HUNT... REVEALED | Hidden disability discounts.
There were some interesting additions to the 'What discounts can I get when I'm disabled?' thread, including zoo discounts and free tickets & parking for carers at Buckingham Palace. When it comes to MoneySaving, it never hurts to ask for a discount, as many successful forumites can prove.

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT | Airline: Flybe Price: From £20.99 each way Ends: This Sun 7 Oct
Our pick this week is Flybe's from £20.99 each way flights. The sale ends Sun 7 Oct 2012 and includes some taxes & charges. It's for flights from 1 Nov 2012 - 31 Jan 2013 to various destinations from 16 UK airports. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £50 one way max search. 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

Quick forum tips

Andrea's freebies

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

Thursday 4 October
Shelagh Fogarty, Radio 5, 12-1pm.
Consumer Panel.
Listen to past shows.

Friday 5 October
Jeremy Vine, Radio 2, 1-2pm.
Should genders be equal? (Insurance prices).

Tuesday 9 October
Daybreak, ITV1, between 7am & 8.30am. Subject tbc.

The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV1, 7.30-8pm. Haggling, work uniform tax rebates, cheap MOTs.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 124.75 118.37
US Flag $ 160.56 151.78
Turkish Flag TL 281.50 257.83
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Is it wise to borrow £10,000 to travel the world?

This poll is inspired by the following tweet we received...

"Is it a seriously silly idea to get a £10k loan to travel the world? I'm 23 with no responsibilities."

Which of these would be closest to your advice?

Poll results

Self-service supermarket tills - love them or loathe them?

The 15,216 votes in last week's self-checkout poll were pretty evenly split, though the 'dislike but still use' option claimed the top spot with 25% of votes. 22% of MoneySavers love 'em compared with 16% who hate 'em. 16% don't use them on principle and the remaining 21% are neutral. See Full Results

Question of the week

Q: My daughter has a student account on which she is overdrawn within her interest-free limit. If she applies for a mobile phone contract, will the overdraft count against her in a credit check? Julie, by email.

MSE Helen's A: This will depend on how she has managed the overdraft and whether she has other credit. Banks usually share details of overdraft size and whether you have gone past the limit with credit reference agencies - which mobile phone companies consult when doing their credit checks.

As it's unlikely your daughter has held any other credit, the mobile provider will almost certainly look at the overdraft. But the key will be whether it feels your daughter can afford the repayments, so if she's stayed within the limit that's a very good sign. If she hasn't, there may be a problem. Get a copy of her credit record to check everything's correct - see the Credit Rating guide.

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

Board of the week

Local MoneySaving: The England Board

Share advice and tips on MoneySaving in England. Discussions include Towns to live within an hour of Manchester Airport, Leeds West Yorkshire, need local knowledge and Topshop clearance shops .

 Archna's free game of the week: Blast Billiards

Martin's comedy history...

As he's got a new TV series, we thought we'd make the boss blush. He once trod the boards as an amateur stand-up, and his early MoneySaving days even incorporated financial comedy characters (including Austin Powers). And he thought it was hidden...

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).

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  • 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. MSE, Money Saving Expert, MoneySavingExpert and are registered trade marks belonging to Limited.

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 6 million people getting this email and nearly 10m 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, he's an ultra-focused money saving journalist and consumer campaigner. He has regular slots onDaybreak, Lorraine, Radio 2 Vine, BBC1 Watchdog, Radio 5 Consumer panel and presents ITV Tonight. He is a columnist for amongst others the Sunday Post as well as an author. More info: See Martin Lewis' biog

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Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FSA 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 which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services 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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