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 This info may be out of date.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

04 April 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

Save £1,000 in a day
Spring clean your finances and sweep up the cash

The long Easter weekend's coming, so it's the perfect time to spring clean your finances. Just one day's worth of effort can pay you back £1,000s. Here are 10 things to try... (for inspiration, payattentionpls tweeted: "Saved £2,000+ switching card and £370 on internet, phone, TV. Gas and Elec next.")

1. "I got £338 back because I wash my work uniform". This great success came after a MoneySaver saw our Uniform Tax Rebates guide. Most won't be this big, but if you wear a work uniform and wash it yourself, check. You can get six years back (though do it before this Thurs to max the reclaim).
2. £100 for switching to top customer service bank. First Direct* pays £100 if you switch, has won every customer service poll we've done, and has no fee if you earn £23,000+. Santander 123* charges £2/mth and pays cashback up to 3% on bills and up to 3% interest - but service feedback is poor (min £6k salary). Comparison in Best Bank Accounts.
3. finance spring cleanReclaim mis-sold PPI for FREE (record's £82,000). Banks now MUST pay back mis-sold loan, credit card or store card insurance, even from years ago. Over £440m was paid out in Dec alone. Check if you had it. If you're not sure, have lost docs or need help, our PPI Reclaiming guide has a full FAQs & letters (don't pay a claims firm). Plus be inspired by the £82,000 reclaim.
4. Act now to slash cost of summer spending abroad. Most credit & debit cards add a hidden 3% load, so £100 worth of euros costs £103. Yet four load-free credit cards: Halifax Clarity, Post Office*, Saga* (over 50s) or Select* (for Nationwide FlexAccount holders) give PERFECT rates worldwide. Full help in Top Overseas Cards. ALWAYS fully repay every month or the 12.9%, 16.9%, 11.9% & 12.9% rep APRs cost large, see official APR examples.
5. Reclaim £1,000s of forgotten savings, investments & premium bonds. Sounds bizarre, but there's £bns people have forgotten (could be cash from deceased relatives) in old accounts — often it just requires plugging details in a website to check. See Lost Savings & Premium Bonds, Lost Pensions and Life Insurance & Investments.
6. Cut credit card interest to 22mths 0% (saving £100s). If you're racking up interest, get a NEW card balance transfer. It pays off other debts so you owe it instead, at a lower rate. Then aim to clear before the 0% end or you pay the APR. Full help: Best Balance Transfers (APR examples).

Longest 0% balance transfers


22mths 0%

2.9% fee

17.9% representative APR after

22mths 0%

3.5% fee

17.9% representative APR after


20mths 0%

2.9% fee

17.9% representative APR after

Lower fee if you can repay quicker


16mths 0%

1.6% fee

18.9% representative APR after


16mths 0%

1.99% fee

16.6% representative APR after

Poor credit scorers (be careful - read do it right first)

Capital One*

7mths 0%

1.7% fee

34.9% representative APR after
7. Get £1,000s council tax rebate. Up to 400,000 homes are in the wrong bands. Everyone should check 'n' challenge wrong band. Forumite Rosiecc did this in Feb, had her bill cut by £350/yr and got £2,470 rebate.
8. Try the back of the sofa cash challenge. Research says over £40m may be down the back of our sofas alone, never mind car seats, trouser pockets, old handbags, winter coats and more. So have a spring clean rummage and let us know what you find. Find an old mobile and flog it to the best payer by comparing mobile buying sites.
9. Easy £250 saved on gas & elec. Dead easy. A typical home on standard bills pays £1,320 a year, the same on cheapest tariff £1,020 - so switch. This week a corking new deal's launched. See the no price rise note below.
10. Reclaim £100s in lost Tesco vouchers. Many lose or forget 'em. But it's now easy to claw back unused vouchers. Takes 2 mins - see Reclaim Tesco Pts. ANeelK says: "£402 back in vouchers. Thought I'd check in case, glad I did."

If you've more time, see the full Save £1,000 in a Day & Boost Income guides, plus we’d love to hear how much you’ve saved - tweet us at @MartinSLewis and @MoneySavingExp.

Free way to make a friend love you

Well maybe - please tell them about this email and suggest they
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Use the Money Mantras If you're skint, ask - do I need it, can I afford it If you aren't, ask Will I use it, Is it worth it?

The Ones Not To Miss

4 Apr 2012

New cheap 'no price hike guarantee' energy tariff
Price fixed until Sept 2013 | No exit penalties | It'll email you if others launch cheaper

Energy costs are both high and overly complex. Deliberate bills confusion puts many off saving. If that's you, plaudits to a simple, innovative new tariff that may appeal. Full help via Cheap Gas & Electricity plus cashback. Here's a summary.

Typical annual bills
Standard tariff £1,310
EDF Blue £1,054
Cheapest tariff £1,027
Ofgem medium consumption
Source: Energyhelpline
  • New EDF Blue Price Promise tariff. The new EDF Blue +Price Promise* tariff is roughly £250 a year cheaper for those on standard tariffs with typical bills, only a little more than the cheapest. It has three big advantages:

    1. The price is fixed until Sep 2013 - so there won't be a hike.
    2. If you leave before the fix ends, you won't be charged exit penalties.
    3. It promises to always email within 10 days if anyone launches a tariff £52+/year cheaper.
  • Compare and get cashback. It doesn't always win, so to see how it stacks up for you (varies by region) or to find your very cheapest, use a comparison site (via special links below you also get cashback/freebies after about three months). If possible, opt for 'monthly direct debit' to cut bills further.

    Top comparison:
    Energyhelpline* pays £15 cashback per switch for gas, electricity or dual.
    Dual fuel:
    MoneySupermarket* pays £30 cashback or Uswitch* gives a crate of 8 bottles of mid-range wine.
  • New collective Huge Switch launched. The theory is collective switching should result in a better price, though the jury's very much out on whether it'll work. The latest is Energyhelpline's Huge Switch*, which promises to compare a top deal it picks to its own top comparison result in case it's not cheapest. Plus sign-up via this link and you get £15 cashback. This joins Which?'s Big Switch, which launched last month.
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3,000 FREE £8 Maybelline mascaras. From Sun. First come, first served. See Maybelline Deals


Domino's pizza
35% off £25

Loch Fyne
£10 off £30


Ember Inns
2 mains £8


Online code
All Weekend

Register 'n' print
Fri, Sun, Mon

Print voucher
All weekend

Walk-in offer
Fri, Sat, Mon till 5pm

Print voucher
All weekend

See all Easter Bank Holiday Restaurants

Homebase 15% off EVERYTHING (code & in-store). This bank holiday weekend only. Plus limited discounts at Wickes, B&Q and Argos. See full Cheap DIY deals

New 5-minute 2012/13 benefits check-up
Huge changes hit on Friday | Free tool checks you're getting what you're entitled to

The new tax year starts on 6 April, and with it there are huge benefits and tax credit changes. Some get more as benefits are uprated by 5%, but many, especially tax credit recipients, are eligible for less. So make sure you get your entitlement.

  • benefitsBenefits check-up tool. Our detailed Benefits & Tax Credits Calculator, powered by benefits specialist Entitledto, has been updated for the new tax year. It takes five minutes to input your info, then it'll list your likely entitlements.
  • Family income up to £40,000? (sometimes up to £72,000). In rare cases, families with £72,000 income are eligible. More typically, it's those under £39,000 with kids, over-60s, under £18,000 with no kids, or with disabilities.
  • Check likely take-home pay too. To see if you're likely to be better or worse off overall, use our Income Tax Checker to calculate your take-home pay for the new tax year. Then use the Budget Planner to ensure you're not overspending.
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Free pack of tomato seeds (online) | Free dried fruit snack (Asda)


New Look
20% off

15% off

20% off & free del

Body Shop
30% off + freebie

25% off

Online code
Ends TODAY - Wed
Online code
Ends 9 Apr
Online code
Ends 7 Apr
Online code
Ends 30 May
Online code
Ends 5 Apr

See All Vouchers

iPad 2 £284-£290 refurbs (£330 new). From Argos/Apple, or £10 code for new. See Cheap iPads

Ends Thurs. Last min 2011/12 cash ISAs
The cash ISA year ends on Thurs | Use it or lose it - here are the best remaining buys

A cash ISA's just a tax-free savings account to put up to £5,340 in, which stays tax-free year-after-year. If you've any savings, it's a no-brainer. Full help in our Top Cash ISAs and Top ISA Transfers guides — all listed have £85k UK savings protection.

  • ISA last chanceHow important is 5 Apr deadline? Once midnight bongs, this tax year's allowance vanishes like Cinderella, though many best-buys may have already closed. Though the next day you get a new, bigger £5,640 allowance, so if you can't fill that anyway, it's less of a panic. To play safe, get it now, in case of an unexpected windfall next year.
  • Top online applications (up to 4.5%). The only true best buys not already closed are Halifax's* (min £500) fixed rates at a set 3.7% AER for 2 yrs and 4.25%-4.5% AER for 3-5 years, but like most fixes it has hefty interest penalties if you withdraw early. The top easy-access deal left is Principality BS's 3.1% AER, yet put £5,000+ into Selftrade's* 2.62% AER to get £50 Amazon vouchers - factored over a year that's 3.6%. Interest on both plummets in a year, so diarise to transfer.

    While their websites accept applications until Thurs at 11.59pm (Principality 11.59am), the cash MUST BE IN then, so do a 'faster payment' ASAP. In-branch, take 2 forms of ID (one with address) and have the cash available.
  • Warning — stop any ISA direct debits now, or you'll auto-start one next year. Cancel any regular payments into this year's ISA unless you want to be subscribed for next year with that provider.
  • Everyone gets a new £5,640 allowance from Good Friday. The slate's wiped clean, so all over 16s can open a new cash ISA. Our Top Cash ISAs will be up-to-date (we hope) by 12.05am.
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Can you escape TalkTalk & T-Mobile price rises? Both telecom providers are hiking prices. It's easy to avoid TalkTalk's price rise, though it's much more difficult with T-Mobile.

Free Optical Express eye test (worth £15). Possible £5 profit too. See Eye Test Deals

Watch Johnny English Reborn, Contagion & more for 99p. Some new films 99p each streamed this weekend see Watch Movies Online.

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans 0% Spend Cards
22 mths 0%, 2.9% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

22 mths 0%, 3.5% fee

(17.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.8% rep APR
(Need Nectar card)

Derbyshire BS*
(£7.5k - £15k)

6% rep APR

Tesco* 15 mth 0%
16.9% rep APR

M&S* 15 mth 0%
15.9% rep APR
See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

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Forum Hottie

George at Asda £5 or less kids' clothes & shoes sale. In-store & online on selected items, till 11 Apr (or stock runs out). Incl £3 t-shirt & £4 sandals. See Asda Deals

Beware. Axa Sun Life over-50s plans (don't just cancel). See Martin's Over-50s warning

20% off Ugg boots code. Reduces classic short Uggs to £120, tall £152. From Thurs. See Uggs Deals

'I saved £970 on car insurance'
Don't be bullied into costly renewal | New top comparison sites plus renewal beater

Never auto-renew without comparing the market, and never just use one comparison site. Combine them for the widest coverage, then add those they miss. Our updated Cheap Car Insurance guide slices through it. Mark Hague used it: "From £1,700 with Co-op to £730. Really pleased as £1,700 would have meant getting rid of my car". Here's key snippets.

  • car insuranceDon't assume 3rd party is cheapest. Even though it covers less, it can be pricier than fully comprehensive, as choosing it indicates to some insurers you're a higher risk. If you want the very cheapest, always get quotes for both.
  • Correctly combine comparison sites. Our latest monthly analysis of the right orders...
    For most:
    Combine Gocompare* & Confused* + add the missed Aviva* & Direct Line*.
    4+ points: Combine Gocompare*, MoneySupermarket* then add Aviva* & Direct Line*.
    Multiple cars: First try Admiral's* multi-car, Gocompare* &* then add Aviva* & Direct Line*.
  • Guarantee to beat renewal. If these don't beat your existing renewal, MoreThan* promises to beat it if you're over 30 and have four years no-claims bonus, please feed back if it works.
  • Cheap 17-24 year-olds' car insurance. Check adding older 2nd drivers. As Zack Fernandez tweeted: "£1.600+ on my own, just £550 with 2 named drivers. 20-yr-old male." Combine Confused*, MoneySupermarket* then Coverbox* (pay-when-you drive) and Co-op* (pay-how-you-drive). See the Young Drivers' Car Ins guide.
Back to top ^

Cut petrol costs by 1/3 (now £1.50/lt). 1. Easily make your car more efficient. 2. Small driving technique changes slash usage. 3. Find cheapest forecourt. 4. Use petrol cashback card. Plus read Martin's panic-buy theory.

Easter hols

Free Disney tix

Odeon 40% off

2for1 Alt' Towers

Free treasure hunts

£1 Easter eggs

Sky custs only
Ends 30 Apr

O2 custs only

Ends 10 May

Ends 17 Apr

Outdoor fun

Various stores
While stocks last

See all Easter holiday deals

6% savings for HSBC customers. If you have its Bank Account, HSBC's Regular Saver now pays 6% AER (was 4%). It lets you save £25-£250/month, but no withdrawals for a year. See full Regular Savings info.

'Water meter cut my bill from £52 to £15 a month'
Water bills UP 5.7% this week - yet many can save £100s and grab freebies

The annual water bill increase hit England and Wales this week (Scotland's are frozen, NI bills are included in rates). They're up an average 5.7% (but could be up to 8.8%), yet our Slash Water Bills guide can save you large. Here's a taster...

  • Water billsStep 1: Save £100s with a water meter. Simple rule of thumb — if you've more or the same bedrooms in your home than people, switching to a meter measuring usage can mean big savings (use a water meter calculator). As Andy2uM tweeted us: "In 2010 I paid £52pm water, now in 2012 with a meter, it's just under £15pm" - £450 a year less.

  • Step 2: Not allowed a meter? Get an assessed bill. Water firms must fit meters for nowt (except Scotland) unless it's impractical, such as in flats with shared pipes. If you want one, but are refused, ask for an assessed charge, which bills you based on likely usage, eg, Richard's: "I read your 'single occupier tariff' assessed charge tip, filled in the form, and today I got a note saying I'm £286 up."
  • Step 3: Showerheads & other freebies (not just for meter users). Water companies currently give away scores of items, such as showerheads for higher pressure. See the Water Saving Freebies for where you live.
  • Step 4: Water saving tips. From the radical "if it's yellow let it mellow" to "while running the tap, catch it in a pint glass to water plants," see our full list of Water Saving Tips.
Back to top ^

Champagne (Pierre Darcys) £12. See a full list of Champagne Deals

2for1 on 9 x Nouvelle £4.50 soft toilet rolls. On-bog BOGOF till Mon. See Morrisons Deals

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

£15 per switch

£30 dual fuel

8 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*
£6.79/mth (pay year upfront)

Plusnet Broadband*

Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner Free MSE car sticker £17 Travel Insurance

the moneysaving community

Book Giveaway RESULT. Amsterdam travel guide. 25 blagged for MoneySavers. Check your inbox to find out if you got one

Back to top ^
Cheap Flight Sales

Airline: Ryanair Sale: £10.99 each way Ends: Thu 5 Apr
Our pick this week is Ryanair's from £10.99 each way flights. It's on various routes for travel Mon-Thu, 1 to 31 May, and includes some taxes and charges. Flights include Leeds Bradford to Venice or Pisa for £17 each way. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £50 return 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

spill beans

Spill the beans... on cutting the cost of haircuts
Do you use a bowl? Go to the local hairdressing school or just let it all hang out? We'd love you to share your haircut cost-cutting tips. Spill 'em: Cutting the cost of hairdressers Past topics: View all

Money Moral Dilemma

Should I rat on my ex?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
My ex asked his mum to buy him a car so he could pick up our kids for visits. She agreed and chose the car herself to make sure it was reliable. Now he has traded in the car (worth about £3,000) for an old banger (£400) and pocketed the difference. She lives miles away so has no idea. He hasn’t offered any money to help out with the kids. His mum is a good friend of mine, should I tell her? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I rat on my ex? Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

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Campaign of the week

Beware 'bogus bag' collectors - check the charity number
Jumble bags going to bogus charity collectors cost UK charities up to £15 million a year in lost income. Some commercial collectors use similar bags to charities and sell clothes you think are being donated. So the Fundraising Standards Board's BogusBags campaign says "CHECK FOR A CHARITY NUMBER", via the Charity Commission website or calling the charity. If you’re not sure, take it to a charity shop or drop it at a re-use bank. Suggest a campaign: This space is for MSE to support the work of other charities, community groups and campaigners. Send your Campaign of the Week suggestion.

Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 119.75 105.08
US Flag $ 157.57 138.69
Turkish Flag TL 279.00 244.17
Rates correct at 6pm Tues
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Which UK companies can you haggle best with?

Have you ever haggled with the AA, Sky, Talk Talk or even Barclaycard to reduce your rate?

Which companies have you haggled with?

Poll Results

What should the maximum income tax rate be?

Over 19,000 MoneySavers voted and the most popular top rate was 50% (22% of voters), although an overall majority thought it should be lower than 45% (the new rate from 2012/13 announced in the Budget). 311 (2%) of MoneySavers would be happy for some to give 100% of extra earnings away. See Full Results

Question Of The Week

My daughter's bought a repossessed flat and wants to find who the gas supplier is. How does she do it? Diane Hook, by email

MSE Archna's A: When you move into a new property, the gas and electricity supplier of the old tenant automatically becomes your supplier.

If you don't get a letter, just call the National Grid (formerly Transco) on 0870 608 1524, give your address details and it should tell you your supplier.

For electricity, you need to contact the electricity distribution company for your area. Use the National Grid list to find the right number.

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

Board Of The Week

Local MoneySaving: Northern Ireland

Share local offers and tips. Recent discussions include Cost of a new build in Northern Ireland, Budget energy and Curry sauce...

Back to top ^
Game Of The Week

Pirates of the Silly Seas

How (globally) well paid are you?

That's it for this week, but before we go, do you beat the average £900 a month someone gets paid in Macedonia - or live up to the world pay league's table-toppers Luxembourg at £2,550 a month? How globally well paid are you?

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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