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Weekly Email
This email was sent
04th Mar 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 This info may be out of date.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."

04 March 2015

This week

£92 for YEAR'S b'band & line rent
Cash ISA 1mth deadline: earn 2.25%
Flight delay compensation NEWS
Free UK parcel delivery code
'Free' £11 Nails Inc varnish in mag
Free wills
15mth 0% NO FEE debt shift
If I offer you a coin toss bet, you win you get £100, I win you give me £1...
Mother's Day deals: 62p photo cards, £3.50 photo mug, £22 canvas, £18 couriered flowers
Don't redeem Nectar pts this week
Free £125 or earn 5% interest or free travel insurance
P&O £24 Dover-Calais & 6 btls wine
EDF Blue+ Mar 2015 cust? Switch
5 Odeon tickets £25
"I saved £40/mth on my mobile bill"
3 Cape Aloe plants £10 delivered
Crabtree & Evelyn 40% off £20 code
EE & O2 price hikes
Codes: Habitat 25%, Kurt Geiger 20%, Brantano 20%, Whistles 25%
2,000 free pairs of Homebuilding & Renovating Show tickets
Are you registered to vote?
We're hiring - 3 jobs avail at MSE
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs
Do you trust online reviews?

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

12 things they don't want you to know
Flight workarounds, reclaim years of lost music, energy saving & more

A company's job is to make money, nowt wrong with that - our job is to keep it in our pockets. One technique getting more common is 'price differentiation', ie, aiming to charge each customer as much as they'll pay - often done using what's called 'white labels', where the same thing is sold under different names.

Another is to keep schtum about terms and conditions they're legally required to offer. So here's a dirty dozen tricks to turn the system around...

1. British Gas customer? It also operates under the name Sainsbury's Energy but there it's £200/yr cheaper. British Gas has 9m UK gas & elec customers, yet it also operates & runs Sainsbury's Energy for the supermarket, and there you pay it far less for the same thing. Based on typical dual fuel usage...

- On BG standard tariff you pay an average £1,156/yr
- On BG Price Promise Mar 16, its cheapest deal, you pay avg £1,099/yr
- On Sainsbury Fixed Price Mar 16, you pay avg £949/yr (£30 exit fees)

So if for some reason you're brand loyal and want to stick with British Gas, huge savings are still possible. Yet it varies by region & usage, so do a personal comparison (+ £30 cashback) to check, and see if others are cheaper. The Sainsbury's brand doesn't offer prepay tariffs though.

Sainsbury's Energy does have separate call centres, but it's still operated by BG and in our poll 43% rated its service 'great', British Gas 37%.
2. Zara sells its clothes at a fraction of the price... If you plan to go to Spain (not France, not Germany), it's Zara's home country and it sells its clothes at vastly lower prices there. Better still, you can compare before you go. Read my Zara on the cheap tricks for full details.
3. If a loan's advertised at 3.9% rep APR, they're allowed to charge 20%. Every loan these days is listed as a 'representative' or 'rep' APR - that means by law only 51% of accepted applicants need get that rate. The rest can be and usually are charged more, and there's no cap on how much more. Worse, the only way to know is to apply, and that leaves a footprint on your credit file.

Our loans eligibility calc helps somewhat, as it tells you your odds of being accepted. It can't (yet) tell you what rate you're actually likely to get. But the lower risk you are, the higher your acceptance odds and the more likely you are to get the advertised rate - so it’s a rough guide.
4. reclaim lost musicAmazon shopper? You're entitled to music going back 16 yrs. If you've bought CDs or vinyl, you're entitled to the downloads for nowt back to 1999. Here's how to check Amazon music player to recover 16yrs of lost music.

As JHL1959 told us: "Crikey, it's given me 182 albums, that's 2,367 tracks. Amazingly, I still like a lot of them - cheered me up."

GingerJuice however said: "Just did this - thought it was brilliant then realised I'd bought the mother-in-law the Susan Boyle CD last year... ugh."
5. Cut school holiday flight costs by booking the wrong date on Easyjet. Its 'flexifares' let you switch dates by a few weeks without paying more. So bag cheap term-time flights, then swap for your chosen school holiday dates. Pros & cons (and there are some) in Easyjet Flexifare Trick, and read MSE Steve's "I saved £431 switching flights" blog.
6. Only get good mobile signal with one network? Switch to a piggyback. When we talk about shifting mobile provider to save, many reply saying something like: "I wish I could but only Vodafone/EE works in my home." Yet there's a way to switch provider but keep the same signal...

Only EE, Vodafone, Three and O2 are actual mobile networks, yet there are many cheap virtual networks piggybacking on the same signal. Eg Giffgaff* is O2, Asda* is EE, TalkMobile* is Vodafone, Shebang is Three. For full pros & cons and many more see our full mobile piggyback guide & list.
7. I can't believe it's not better - who makes your butter? You'd expect Jaffa cakes, Dairylea or Weetabix to be unique (and indeed these specific ones may be) yet many people tell us they worked in factories where they make both branded goods & supermarket own brands, and the main difference is packaging. So taste with your mouth not your eyes.

10 years ago I started our 'disguised' own brands’ hunt in the forum - and it’s still revealing many people's stories. Remember there's no surety these tips are legit, but you may uncover a bargain. As fishbiscuits said: "Manor Bakeries makes cakes for Mr Kipling, Cadburys; and also Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons." Also see the Downshift Challenge tool.
8. Applying for credit cards to see if you'll get 'em hits your credit file. Applications, not rejections, mark your file. All other lenders see is that an application search has been made. Make too many, especially in a short time, and it can make you look like you're desperate for credit.

We've campaigned against this anti-shopping around system - I've even given evidence in Parliament. No joy. So instead we built our credit card eligibility calculator which shows which cards you're most likely to get, with no credit score impact, so you can home in and minimise applications.
9. Play the codeshare trick - where two airlines sell the same flight. Airlines don't shout that their partners often sell their flights too, sometimes for less.
If you're going on popular long-haul routes this can be a way to save.

Eg, a return Delta flight from Heathrow to New York over Easter costs £631 - but the same booked as 'Virgin Atlantic' is £549. For full help and a list of partners, see the codeshare trick section of Cheap Flights.
10. Energy firms can't charge exit penalties within 49 days of a fix ending. On a cheap fixed energy deal? You needn't wait to the last day to avoid exit fees as rules state that 49 days before your fix ends, you're allowed to switch without penalty. If that's you, use the Cheap Energy Club to compare.
11. Don't assume you're stuck on a fixed rate mortgage. If you're on a fixed rate, it's made to seem like you're stuck, especially because you'll likely have early repayment charges (typically 1%-5% of the balance) if you switch.

Yet mortgage rates have plummeted so much now - eg, a top 5yr fix is 2.19%, even six months ago it was 3.19%. For a few the saving may beat the penalty, especially nearer the end of the fix when penalties get lower.

So check the mortgage best buys comparison, then use the ditch your fix calculator to see if the penalty outweighs any saving. As Aston tweeted: "I'm remortgaging next week, saving £45k in interest, £249 a month, even after a £4k penalty."
12. Getting a mobile handset on contract can secretly cost you 44% APR. Many say "I'd never get a loan for a mobile" but then happily get their handset via a network contract. Yet get a contract and they credit check you, put defaults on your credit file if you miss repayments and often charge far more than buying the handset straight and getting a Sim-only deal.

So if it looks like a loan, and it smells like a loan, let's call it a loan. In some cases it's cheaper to buy the handset direct with a 44% APR 2-year loan (typical contract length) than to take a contract. Full info in Cheap Mobiles.

Of course, it's far better to save up than do that, but if you're going for a contract anyway, check if it's cheaper to put it on Clydesdale's* (eligibility calc) or Halifax's* (eligibility calc) 20mth 0% cards - totally free if you repay within the 20mths (and never miss a min repayment), though after that they jump to 18.9% rep APR. See APR Examples.

PS. Energy secretary Ed Davey made a policy announcement today at MSE Towers. See what he said.

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: Price of stamps set to rise next month
Revised Erudio deferral form now available
First Direct tops the table and Barclays gets the wooden spoon
Government to get tough on companies making nuisance calls
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 4 Mar 2015
£92 for YEAR'S b'band & line rent (after £100 cashback) - equiv £7.66/mth
Many can save over £200 a year. Broadband and line rent from BT-owned Plusnet for a fraction of the usual cost

BT standard line rental alone is £16.99/mth - add its standard broadband at £13/mth and you're paying more than £350 a year, other big firms are in the same ball-park. The real way to slash costs is grabbing short-lived promos...
  • cheap broadbandPlusnet £192/year broadband & line rent with £100 cashback. MSE Blagged. New customers to BT-owned Plusnet (72% rate its service as good) going via this specific unlimited broadband & phone* link by Sat 14 March, get a year's contract with...

    - Line rent: We suggest you opt to pay £155.88 upfront for the year (equiv to £12.99/mth) during the sign up process, or it's £15.95 a month.
    - Unlimited b'band:
    £2.50/mth so £30 for the year (it'll rise after). Avail to 90% of UK.
    - Calls included? None with the upfront line rent option. Weekend calls to landlines if you pay monthly. Call costs are roughly on a par with BT - see Plusnet call cost info and our call cost-cutting tips.
    - £100 cashback. This is the bit we've blagged - use the link above, and it'll send you a £100 cheque within 60 days of your broadband going live. Warning. If you use ad or cookie-blocking software, please turn it off or it may not track the cashback (if you don't know what it is, it's likely you're not using it. For more info see cookie blockers).
    - £5.99 router. Optional, but we've included it as most are likely to get one - it's 'free' but you pay p&p.
    - Need a new line? If you don't have a line (or only a cable one or, in a few cases, Sky custs), installation's £49.99.

    Cost analysis - how good is it? Pay for line rent upfront (excl calls), b'band and the router and it's £191.87 for the year (pay line rent monthly, £227.39), cheaper than BT standard line rent alone. Then there's the £100 cashback, bringing the net cost down to £91.87 for the yr, equiv to just £7.66/mth (pay mthly £127.39/yr; equiv £10.62/mth).
  • Check your speed. First do a speed test*, then check neighbours' speeds* for different firms.
  • Cheapest fibre-optic. Fibre-optic is super-fast broadband (best for gamers, downloaders, streamers & homes where many people use it at once). The cheapest is £293/year for fibre broadband & line rental.

FREE UK parcel delivery or cheap world delivery with £10 off code (great for Mother's Day). Parcel2Go has a £10 off (no min spend) newbies code for delivery via Parcelforce, UPS, TNT, FedEx & more. As most smaller UK parcels are under £10, they'll be free. Book by 27 Mar. Parcel2Go

Forum Hottie: 'Free' £11 Nails Inc varnish in £4 mag. Four different full-size colours available. Nails Inc

Over 55? It's Free Wills Month. Solicitor-drafted wills in 21 areas across England in March, but go quick. Free wills

15mth 0% NO FEE credit card debt shift. Three top 0% cards now let accepted newbies shift debt to them without a fee: Santander* (eligibility calc) for 15mths, Halifax* (eligibility calc) for 13mths & Tesco* for 12mths. Clear before the 0% ends (and never miss min repayments) or they jump to 18.9%, 18.9% and 20.6% rep APR. Full help and longer 0% with fees in Top Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Suppose I offer you a bet on a coin toss, if you win you get £100, if I win you give me £1... would you take the bet? Read Martin's secret to avoiding bad financial decisions blog.

Warning: ISA 1-month deadline - earn 2.25% tax free
If you don't use it, you lose it. You are allowed to save £15,000 tax-free, but the big question is, should you?

Don't be scared by cash ISAs, they're just savings accounts where your interest isn't taxed. You can put in £15,000 in the current tax year before it ends on 5 April, and once in an ISA, the money stays tax-free YEAR AFTER YEAR. If you've savings and not used your ISA this tax year (ie, since 6 Apr 14) consider it ASAP. Full help in Top Cash ISAs, here's the key info...

  • ISAsEarn 1.5% & withdraw any time. Your money isn't locked away in a cash ISA. NS&I pays 1.5% for new cash and lets you withdraw any time. The Post Office is also 1.5% & unlike NS&I accepts transfers from existing ISAs too - it also allows unlimited withdrawals. This easy access means if rates improve you can ditch, switch & transfer.
  • Top 2.25% fixed cash ISA and you can withdraw. Unless you'll definitely need the cash soon, fixed ISAs pay more and give assured rates. Better still, unlike fixed normal savings, by law fixed cash ISA providers must let you access your cash, but can charge interest penalties to do so. Coventry BS's 2.25% Nov 2018 fix lets you close it to withdraw with just a 120-day interest penalty. So close it after a year and you'd still effectively have got 1.51% - beating easy access accounts. After 2yrs it's 1.88%.

    If you'll definitely need access before, then fix for shorter to earn more. Top 1yr fix: United Bank UK 1.65%. 2yrs: Post Office 1.95%. 3yrs: State Bank of India 2.3%. However, you may pay a larger penalty to withdraw early.
  • Does 3% bank account beat a cash ISA? The Santander 123* current account pays (a taxed) 3% if you've £3,000 to £20,000 in it - there is a £2/mth fee but that's usually easily covered & often more by the cashback it pays on bills. So if you'd switch bank does it beat cash ISAs? Sometimes... see Martin's Santander 123 vs ISA analysis.
  • Am I better off with a stocks & shares ISA? In the long run, stocks & shares have historically outperformed cash. But there's no certainty they'll do so in future. Less than 5yrs to save, no cash savings or hate taking a risk? Then you should prob stick to cash. See our Stocks & Shares ISAs guide for more.

MOTHER'S DAY DEALS (it's on Sun 15 March)
Of course loving your mum doesn't have to cost money, so beware the Hallmarkisation of the day - you could just use one of our free time gift vouchers. Yet if you're going to spend, our Mother's Day deals page has full info.

Mother's Day62p photo cards: 62p delivered via smartphone app | 99p card delivered via Truprint code

£3.50 photo mug & other personalised gift codes: £3.50 photo mug | 60 x 40cm canvas £22 | 100 x 50cm canvas £28 | BOGOF photo magnets

£18 couriered flowers: Asda bunch £18 on Sun 15th | Debenhams bunch £20 on Sat 14th

Gifts: £30 Thorntons hamper £16 via 22% off code | Sanctuary Spa 2for1 gift sets code (TODAY only)

£100 pearl set £14.50: John Greed pearl set £14.50 norm £100 | H Samuel necklace & earrings set £10 code, norm £20

Don't redeem Nectar points this week. From 18 Mar, you can exchange them for double value. See Nectar boost.

Free £125 or 5% interest or travel insurance. Last week 1,000s switched bank after we told you of the huge boons. If you missed it, Halifax Reward* pays £125 to switch, then £5 each month you're in credit. No. 1 rated for service First Direct* pays £100 to switch, gives a £250 0% overdraft and has a linked 6% savings. Nationwide* has free European travel insurance up to age 74. TSB* pays 5% AER interest on up to £2k. FULL info in Martin's 10 bank switching must-knows.

P&O £24 Dover-Calais car day return & get 6 bottles of wine. Travel until 25 Mar. (Be Drinkaware.) P&O deals.

EDF Blue+ Mar 2015 customer? Compare & switch now. This was a huge tariff, many are on it, your fix ends this month. Do nothing and you'll be put on the standard tariff which is on average £265/yr more than the cheapest deals at the moment. There are no early exit penalties so compare tariffs + get £30 cashback ASAP.

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
36mths 0%, 2.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

No fee 0%: Santander*
15mths 0%, no fee

(18.9% rep APR)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...
Compare The Market

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Clydesdale* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.7% rep APR

Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.6% rep APR

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

Coventry BS 2.25% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till Nov 2018

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Odeon 5 tickets £25 (or 2 for £11) voucher. Usually up to £15 each. Multiple people can use them and you don't have to use them in one go, so great for families or couples. Incl 3D films. Odeon

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Just followed Martin's 10 tips to halve your mobile bill on phone contract vs SIM-only... now saving £40 a month." That's £480 a year.

3 Cape Aloe plants £10 del (next cheapest £30). MSE Blagged. Indoor or outdoor. 3,000 avail. Jersey Plants Direct

Crabtree & Evelyn 40% off £20 code. MSE Blagged. Online & in-store code off full-price items. Ends Sun. C & E

"I got £900 compensation for my delayed flight"
Flight delay compensation NEWS. Another attempt by some airlines to avoid paying out fails in court

If your flight was delayed 3hrs+ or cancelled since 2009, under EU reg 261/2004 you may be entitled to up to £440 per person. Many airlines play fair and pay out, a few don't, but again last week a court thwarted their avoidance tactics. Our Free Flight Delay Compensation guide has full help & template letters. Here's a quick briefing...

  • flight delaysFlight delay compensation - the basic rules....
    - You can claim for recent delays or dating back to 2009.
    - You must've arrived more than three hours late. See how to check past delay lengths.
    - Any flight from an EU airport counts, or to an EU airport but only if it's an EU airline.
    - Compensation's fixed, based solely on delay & journey length. See what am I due?
    - It must be the airline's fault - so bad weather doesn't count. See what counts as fault.
    - Some airlines offer vouchers as compensation. You're entitled to cash. Ask for it.
    - You DON'T need to pay to claim. We've free template letters in our guide, making it easy to do it yourself.
    - Is it fair to airlines? In some cases probably not, see Martin's 'is flight delay compensation fair? for pros & cons.
  • "I got £900 for my delayed flight." Every day lots of people send us successes, eg, Cornel & Sue, by email on Monday: "Thrilled to receive £900+ cheque on Sat from Thomson for 17-hr delay five years ago. It had originally refused, but we didn't give up. Thank you, MSE." See airline-by-airline success rates & report yours.
  • News: Court stops airlines putting 'technical fault' claims on hold. Last year the Court of Appeal ruled airlines must pay compensation for 'non-extraordinary' technical problems, then the Supreme Court said it wouldn't allow an appeal. That should've ended it, but a few airlines, esp Jet2, Ryanair & Wizz Air, still sat on claims arguing a case in Europe was pending. Last Thu Liverpool County Court (which specialises in this) ruled they had to deal with them. For full info and what to do if your case was on hold see flight delay Liverpool ruling.

EE & O2 increasing the cost of mobile contracts. Full info on the hikes in our EE & O2 price rise help.

CODES/VOUCHERS: Habitat 25% off, Kurt Geiger 20% off, Brantano 20% off etc...
Habitat 25% code & in-store | Kurt Geiger 20% code & vch | Brantano 20% code | Whistles 25% code & vch in £2 mag
French Connection extra 10% off sale code | Poundland £2 off £12 vch | Dorothy Perkins 25% code | ALL codes & vchs

2,000 FREE pairs of Homebuilding & Renovating Show tix. Norm £26 a pair. 26-29 Mar at NEC Birmingham

It's the biggest consumer decision you get to make - are you registered to vote? The election's 2 months away and you need to register by 20 April. Check now, it can also boost your credit-worthiness. Voter registration help

We're hiring - 3 jobs available at MSE. We want analysts to join our money and broadband/phone teams plus a researcher to find and write about deals. All three based in London. See all MSE Job Opportunities.

Show Best Buys
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 £1,154 a year, the cheapest deal's £918.

First Direct*
£100 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...


Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*

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

What products or services have you been forced to get? Eg, use estate agent's solicitor
Ever made an offer on a property only to be told you had to use the estate agent's solicitor? Or had your mortgage lender force you to take out its buildings insurance? Firms should not do this but we want to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge on the ones that employ these shyster tactics, and whether you've had any success in refusing. Share yours/read others': What products have you been forced to get? Past topics: View all

Do you trust the views in online reviews and blogs?
The competition regulator is looking at how people use information from online review websites. From TripAdvisor to Amazon and video blogs to social media, which sources of info do you think help and which do you think hinder your online shopping decisions? Fill in the quick consumer response form to share your views or let us know what you think in the MSE forum.

Should I have to subsidise others' meals?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I had a gastric bypass four years ago and can only eat small amounts. When I go out with family or friends I only have a starter whereas they'll have three courses. I'm then expected to pay an equal amount. When I challenged one friend she said it was my choice to eat so little, but I think it's unfair. What should I do about it? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I subsidise others' meals? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

Airline: Ryanair Price: Flights from £24.99 one-way Ends: Mon 9 Mar
Our pick this week is Ryanair's sale ending Mon 9 Mar, which includes all compulsory taxes & charges. It's for flights until Thu 30 Apr on selected routes and you must book at least 14 days in advance. While marketed as from £24.99 we found one-ways for less, such as Stansted-Dortmund for £9.99 on Tue 24 Mar. 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

Freebie of the week

Martin's appearances (from Wed 4 Mar onward)

Mon 9 Mar - This Morning ITV Martin's Money Monday from 10.30am. Watch last week's
Mon 9 Mar - Consumer Panel BBC Radio 5 12pm-1pm. Subscribe to podcast

MSE team corner

Regular team appearances:

Fri 6 Mar
BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm

Tue 10 Mar
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 3.15pm

Discussion of the week

How to be diplomatic
When a family member undertakes a new venture, you want to show as much support as you can. If you don't agree with it, how can you express this without coming across as unsupportive? Help this week's MoneySaver by sharing your hints and tips in the How to be diplomatic discussion.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 136.21 112.58
US Flag $ 152.26 137.03
Turkish Flag TL 373.60 327.17
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Are you the senior financial partner in your relationship?

Is looking after your household's finances a shared job, or is one of a couple the senior financial partner - taking charge of decisions about insurance, energy bills, investments, debts and more?

Choose one option closest to your circumstances:

Poll results

Which of these services do you pay cash in hand for?
After Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls attracted criticism for asking for a receipt from his gardener for a £10 hedge trim paid in cash, we wondered what you'd happily pay cash for. Here are the results:

- 96% would for a taxi driver
- 90% would for a window cleaner
- 82% would for a gardener
- Only 51% would for a builder

8,728 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

As my wife does not use all her tax allowance, can I offset some of my tax using her allowance? Steve, via email

MSE Sam's A: Unless you're over 80 and qualify for the Married Couple's Allowance, the answer currently is no, but that changes for the new tax year, starting 6 April 2015.

From then, as long as you're a basic rate taxpayer your wife can transfer 10% of the unused amount of her personal allowance to you.

I think an example will help. Next year the basic personal allowance for most is £10,600, so if she didn't work at all you could move 10% of that, which is £1,060, and you'd save 20% tax on it - so a gain of £212. Or let's say she earns £6,000 - her unused allowance is now £4,600 and you can have 10% of that so £460, which means your tax gain is £92.

To clarify, if you're a higher or top rate taxpayer you can't do this, and you need to be married or civil partners - just living together isn't enough. Full information: Shift unused tax allowances.

 Nick's free game of the week: 3D Field Goal

Compare cities - where in the world is cheaper to live?

That's it for this week, but before we go, how do living costs in your city compare with those in other places around the world? Some results may surprise you - check out this compare city stats widget.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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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 show The Martin Lewis Money Show and weekly slots on Radio 5 Live, This Morning and Good Morning Britain, among 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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