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WEEKLY EMAIL

Weekly Email
Archive
This email was sent
04th Nov 2009
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email
04 November 2009
         
Sent: Wednesday 4 November
Highlights below include ...
Free wills by solicitors

1yr travel ins. £28 inc. ski

Piz Exp £10 meal & wine Free £100 bank acc ending
B&Q 15% vouch, X-factor result, Digi TV mega deal

Will you be sold too when banks are split?
RBS, Lloyds & Northern Rock branches being sold off

Yesterday afternoon, the Chancellor announced mammoth changes to the banking sector, including the planned sell-off of huge slices of the Govt-backed banks to new players. The famous brands the trio must dispose of include ...

  • Lloyds / Halifax. It's to sell Cheltenham & Gloucester, Intelligent Finance, TSB, Lloyds TSB Scotland, and some Lloyds TSB branches in England and Wales. Over 600 branches will be sold by 2013.

  • RBS Natwest. By 2013, it'll sell off NatWest Scotland and its English & Welsh RBS branches, which were once called Williams & Glynís. Plus its insurance business, including Direct Line & Churchill.

  • Northern Rock. It'll be split immediately, with much of its existing mortgage and loan book forming one half, while the sold chunk will include its savings arm and new mortgage lending.

Will you stay or be made to go?

The question for existing customers is 'which bank will you belong to?' Eg, will those banking with RBS in England, where all its branches are being sold, automatically move to the new bank?

Yesterday morning at GMTV, I saw the Chancellor getting in the lift with his staff, so jumped in to ask him exactly this (much to the chagrin of his press minder). He said: "We canít compel a customer to move banks. Weíll be writing to customers and giving them a choice about what happens for each product."

So, when it happens, ensure you select the better rate; of course, we'll let you know which one then. See my Chancellor in the lift blog and the Customers 'to get choice' after sell-off MSE News story for more.

LATEST MONEYSAVING NEWS
Greenbullet

Orange dashes iPhone price war hopes

Greenbullet Refunds for thousands of GMAC mortgage customers
Greenbullet House prices still rising
Greenbullet Beat the air fare tax hike
Greenbullet Spike in financial complaints revealed by FSA
This week's full MSE News list

TOP 5 GUIDES

Week of Tue 27 - Mon 2 Nov '09
(Last week's position)

1. Top Savings (3)
2. Freebies, Freebies (1)
3. Top Cash ISAs (5)
4. Cheap Digital Cameras (New)
5. Stop Spending (New)

The above excludes daily deals notes

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The Ones Not To Miss
MSE

Free and cheap wills. It's Will Aid month, get a solicitor-drafted will at low or no cost
Letís be brutal, weíre all going to die. Yet if you're will-less, those left behind's grief could be compounded by a host of practical & financial issues, as severe as banks locking access to money. Who needs a will? Regardless of age, consider a will if you've assets (eg, a home, savings or business), and people you'd like to look after. Nov's Will Aid month: Over 1,100 solicitors UK-wide are part of the Will Aid charity scheme, where they'll draft you a free will, hoping you'll donate a non-compulsory £75 (less than it'd usually cost privately), which goes to the NSPCC, Action Aid, Red Cross & others. More free wills: Many charities, eg, Cancer Research, have free solicitor-based will drafting services for the over-50s, in the hope you'll leave them something. FULL info and more options in the New Guide: Free Wills Related: Inheritance Tax, Cheap Life Insurance

10% off code for dirt-cheap 'best before' date online food seller, eg, 10 Doritos £1. Until 11 Nov, the code cuts costs at the online clearance and beyond best before retailer (only beyond use by's a health issue). See the Updated Guide: Cheap Supermarket Shopping Related: Supermarket Coupons

Get Tiscali's Sky+ style box, digital TV, broadband and phone line rental for equiv of £16.66 a month! Ends soon
Until 13 Nov, sign up for Tiscali's digital TV, broadband and line rental package via comparison site Simplify Digital*, and you get £70 cashback and a free '+Box'. How good is it? The standard price is £19.99/mth, but add the £30 connection fee & subtract the cashback, and you're paying the equivalent of £16.66/mth over the year's contract - only around a fiver more than BT's standard telephone-only line rental, but of course with broadband and digital telly box too. What's Tiscali TV? Now owned by TalkTalk, it provides 70 TV channels, with the + Box that you can record, live pause and rewind. Can I get it? Only 55% of the country can get Tiscali; it'll tell when you when you order. You need a BT phone line installed . FULL details, plus Sky alternatives in the Deals Note: Cheap Digital TV Deals

New Vouchers! B&Q instant 15% off and Jane Norman 20% off (with £2.50 mag). Joins New Look 20% off in-store voucher and Barratts £5 off £40 spend code in the Daily Deals List: Shopping Vouchers

Holiday Cash Boost

MSE exclusive: who polled the most X Factor votes? We've been given an exclusive look at which acts polled the most votes via the 'free votes' system last weekend. See the MSE News story: Top X Factor act Related: Free X Factor votes

Last Chance!
Free £100 & travel insurance with top account (inc. 0% overdraft).
This Sun, Alliance & Leicester's* closing its free £100 for new customers promo on its fees-free Premier bank account. How good is it? It's close to unbeatable in the first year; as well as free travel insurance, you get a year's 0% authorised overdraft, and for those in-credit, the £100 usually dwarfs the interest earnable elsewhere. After year 1, its ranking depends on how you use it (see the guide). Who qualifies? You need earn £6,000+, and pay your salary into it, though, as always, you must pass the credit score. Alternatives: Earn over £23,300, and First Direct* also gives a £100 sign up bonus, plus 0% overdraft on the first £250. FULL explanations, pros, cons & more alternatives in the Updated Guide: Best Bank Accounts Related: Budgeting, Reclaim Bank Charges

New Vouchers! Pizza Express £10 meal 'n' wine, La Tasca 50% off & Giraffe 2for1 for £1. Join 2for1 at Prezzo (valid everyday!) and GBK two burgers & fries for £10 in the Daily Deals List: Restaurant Vouchers

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£20 for TWO La Senza ladies' flannel pyjamas (usually c. £30 each). In-store & online. Top (and bottom) Xmas pressie. See the Forum Note: La Senza Pyjamas

Cheapest Annual Travel Insurance with basic winter sports c. £28. Updated Guide
With winter hols approaching, here's a rundown of the cheapest annual travel insurance with basic winter sports cover, meaning you're insured for all ski and sun holidays over a year. What's included? Most annual policies only cover basic skiing & snow-boarding; go off-piste, enter competitions or do certain sports and you're often not covered, so check before buying. Top picks (Europe only): Flexicover* is £28 for singles or £35 for couples for 183 days away inc. 17 winter sports (21 day trip limit), yet this price is only via comparison site Moneysupermarket (MSM) not direct; the link takes you there. Top picks (worldwide): For single travellers, Flexicover* is £36 with decent cover levels but limited trip length, and for families Protectyourbubble* costs £50. Again, both are only available via MSM. Adventure sports: For super-robust policies, try the BMC, which'll cover most activities at a higher cost. FULL info & cheaper non winter sport options in the Updated Guide: Cheap Travel Insurance Related Travel: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad

Has your Capital One credit card interest rate been hiked? Many are getting letters saying their rate'll be jacked in Dec, yet you can REJECT this rise. See the full Guide: Fight Rate Jacking Also Feedback: Has your rate been jacked?

M&S champagne half price at £13 (starts Thurs). This and full supermarket-by-supermarket deals in the Deals Note: Champagne Deals

Pension Credit increase for 100,000s. Millions of eligible pensioners don't claim
Pension Credit is a payment that tops up the state pension and other income to guarantee over-60s a min. £130/week (couples £198), or pays extra to some savers, to reward them for their prudence. This week's change: The Govt. calculations assume you earn £2 of income a week for each £1,000 of savings (equiv to a huge 10% interest), but while it used to ignore the first £6,000 of savings, now it'll ignore the first £10,000, so those with bigger savings can still get pension credit. Claim yourself & pls help elderly relatives: While it's complicated, for those already claiming, it'll be recalculated automatically. Yet over a million eligible pensioners DON'T claim this credit, which can be worth £1,000s. Even someone with over £30,000 savings could get something; to see if you're eligible, call 0800 991234. More in the Full Guide: State Pension Boosting Also see the MSE News story: Pension Credit Boost Related: Benefits Check Up, Top Savings

Alton Towers £10 online tickets (normally c. £37) ends Sat. The season's ending, so this week it's super-cheap 10-4pm opening hours. See the Deals List: Cheap Theme Parks

Get 5% off EVERYTHING for Xmas & Jan sales spending. Tool of the Week. Cashback Calculator
The Amex Platinum* credit card gives new cardholders 5% cashback on all spending up to £2,000 for the first three months. So apply now, and itís perfect timing for the 5% rate to cover the high-spend Christmas and Jan sales periods. After the 3 mths, the cashback is tiered up to 1.25%, though you need a combined family income of £30k+ to get it. Warning: It's ONLY worth doing if you repay the card in full each month, so you never pay any interest; otherwise interest costs dwarf the cashback. Cashback Calculator: Find out whether you'll earn £100 or £500; use our special Amex Platinum cashback calculator to reveal the cashback you'll earn. For FULL info & alternatives, see the Full Guide & Calc: Top Cashback Cards Related: Credit Cards Rewards, Rewards Checker

Have you had a Swinton home or car insurance policy in the last three years? If so, for specifically between Dec 06 & Mar 08, it's been fined for misselling PPI on its monthly insurance policies; 350,000 are due money back. See the MSE News story: Swinton PPI Refunds Related: PPI Reclaiming

https://images6.moneysavingexpert.com/images/cashbacktotw.jpg

Urgent! £9 e/w trains on the Lon - Edin / York / Glasgow / Newcastle etc. line. National Express is offering £9 single fares to and from anywhere along its East Coast line if you book by Wed. See the Deals Note: Cheap Train & Coach Deals

Help us catch lying energy salespeople. MSE does not recommend ANY suppliers!

Weíre hearing growing reports of energy salespeople on the phone or in shopping centres saying that Martin Lewis or MoneySavingExpert.com ďrecommends usĒ, while a few others berate our info and call us liars. Neither are true; we don't recommend individual companies, but instead suggest people compare, and itís time these nasty sales spiels were stopped. We need your help: If this happens to you, donít argue, be polite, but please do help us by noting down when and where, and trying to get the salespersonís name & and contact info. Then report it to Energysaleswatch@moneysavingexpert.com, and weíll take it from there. Cheapest energy: If you do want to find the cheapest energy & switch, see the Cheapest Gas & Elec guide

Reminder: 3.95% totally safe fixed savings or 3.3% easy access. If you can lock your cash away for a year, Govt.-backed NS&I's pays a fixed 3.95% AER; otherwise Citibank is 3.3% AER easy access (inc. a 1yr bonus). Full info: Top Savings

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The Big & Easy Ways to Save Checklist
Quick links or click the titles for full pros, cons, alternatives & more savings



More MoneySaving
MSE


Urgent. £3(ish) Europe flights. Ends midnight Weds 4 Nov. Ryanair's 80% off fare promo means flights for 17 Nov- 31 Jan can be had for £3 e/w (inc. some charges), from various UK airports to over 50 European destinations. Speedily find them using the Updated Guide: £3 Flights, then beat the scores of add-on charges with the Budget Airline Fee Fighting guide. Related: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels

500 free £5s for doing a car insurance survey. A marketing group is paying £5 to 500 MoneySavers for filling in a short survey on car insurance renewal. See if you qualify in the Forum Note: Price Increase?

Free winter flu jabs if you're eligible; £8 if you're not.
Supermarkets are offering flu jabs for £8, but first check if you can get one for free. More info in the Forum Note: Winter Flu Jabs

Warning! Did you cap with EDF or E.ON last summer? Switch urgently NOW!

In summer '08, to beat the ensuing 30% plus price hikes, 100,000s capped ... now EDF's Energy Price Protection 2009 and E.ON's Fixed Price 2 have just ended. Act now: You've probably already been shifted to an expensive standard tariff, so switch now. Capped comparison: Most comparison sites only use your capped rate to compare, but more important is the rate the cap goes to. Energyhelpline* & Uswitch* incorporate the new rate too (& give £15 cashback or free wine via these links). FULL info & explanation in the Guide: Switching From a Cap. Main Guide: Cheapest Gas & Elec plus cashback

'University Scholarships Awards & Bursaries' book giveaway result. 25 copies were up for grabs; find out if you got one in the Forum Note: Student Money Book Giveaway

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA. Should Serena pay twice for Blair's bridesmaid dress?
Serena's getting hitched, and asks her friend Blair to be a bridesmaid. The frocks are all picked out and paid for. Yet two weeks before the big day, Blair goes on holiday and eats so much, she puts on a stone. Blair canít squeeze into her outfit anymore, and the dressís structure means it canít be taken out. They need to buy a new dress, but Serena thinks Blair should pay for it. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should Serena pay twice for Blair? Previous MMDs: View All

Great 'Free UK Museums' Hunt. Tell us about free-entry museums & art galleries across the UK
On chilly, rain-lashed winter weekends, thereís nothing better than an inspiring day inside a museum. So we want to tap MoneySavers for their favourite free UK museums and art galleries. Donít just think London; weíd like to hear about free museums and art galleries across the UK, especially in big cities. Just free entry for kids, not adults, is fine too. Add your ideas/read other people's: Great 'Free UK Museums & Galleries' Hunt Past Great Hunts: View all


QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q. I'm 24 & thinking about starting a pension. I donít earn loads. My sister suggested buying bonds, but I think a pension's better? Where do I start? Eimear by email

Martinís A. By the time you retire, those relying on the state pension, may need to get used to eating cold baked beans. So well done for considering this early.

Do understand a private pension isn't a product, itís a tax-free wrapper that allows you to lock away money for retirement from your PRE-TAX income. So investing £100 as a basic rate taxpayer costs less than £80 from your pay packet.

Your sister suggested bonds, yet that's not an 'either or' situation with a pension. Depending on which type, it's possible you could get those within your pension anyway, and get the tax benefit.

A very rough rule of thumb to work out how much to put in is take the age you start your pension and halve it. Thatís the percentage of salary you should put in for the rest of your life to retire on 2/3 of your final salary. As youíre 24, that means 12% of what you earn Ė hence why earlier is better.

See the Pensions MoneySaving and State Pensions guides. If youíre unsure, consider getting a Financial Adviser.

Discuss: Where to start with pensions?
Suggest: A question of the week

(big general issues not personal qís pls)


Quick Forum Tips
Warning! Bargains listed here tend to sell out quickly


Great 'Amazon Shopping Tricks' Hunt Result

Itís not always cheapest, but most people with the web have bought something from shopping giant Amazon. So, last week, we asked MoneySavers for their sneaky Amazon tricks & loopholes. There were some fab suggestions, including Ingenious discount hack, Collect Nectar Points and Amazon iPhone app

Board of the week: eBay, auctions, car boot sales & jumbles
Flogging your old gear is a quick way to raise cash, but it can be hard to know where to start. The eBay, auctions, car boot & jumbles board's full to bursting with top tips on buying cheap and selling dear. Discussions include Seller not replying to my emails, Help, I've been ripped off! and Can I get compensation? Related Guide: eBay Buying Secrets

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Toblerone, French Novel, Desktop Post-It Notes, Chocolate Recipe Book Download
Stereophonics Download, Congestion Charge Tax Disc Holder



Odds and Ends
MSE

Martin's Appearances ... Weds 4 Nov - Tues 10 Nov
These are scheduled appearances, though other ad hocs may happen. See the appearances list for updates.

  • Thurs, GMTV, ITV1, sometime between 8:30 & 9:30am. Deals of the Week.
  • Fri, Jeremy Vine, Radio 2, between 1 & 2pm. TBC
  • Tues, GMTV, ITV1, sometime between 7:20 & 9:30am. The topic's news reactive.

This week's Martin's Blog: Just got a box of 48 free Kit Kats
"RBS, Lloyds & Northern Rock: new mini-bank, but what for customers?" and "Chancellor (in lift) says customers can choose which bank theyíll belong to". Read m'blogs (or RSS users access)

Ever been given a different rate to the credit applied for? This week's poll. Vote and Credit Rates discussion.

Men use disposable razors for two shaves more than women. 16,251 voted last week. The average amount of shaves that men use disposable razors for is 16, while women throw them out after a slightly less thrifty 14. Though the most picked option for both genders was a much lower 3-5. See Razorlife poll results.

Archna's Free Game of the Week! Collect the particles in the correct number of rings. Obechi

Aha's real lyrics! Thatís it for this week, but before we go, check out these cracking literal videos, where folks replace cheesy pop videos' lyrics with their own literal interpretations. Very funny ... literally

We hope you save some money

Martin & the MSE team

Explanation of * Links

FSA NOTE: Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances require FSA authorisation. For this reason, Martin Lewis of Shepherd's Studios, Rockley Road, Shepherd's Bush, London W14 0EH is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

How this site is financed. Any links with a * by them are affiliated. That means go via this link and a contribution may be made to MoneySavingExpert.com, which helps it stay ad-free and free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference, the links don't impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things I write) is NEVER impacted by it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in exactly the same way. As I believe transparency is important, I'm including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for the same things: simplifydigital.co.uk, alliance-leicester.co.uk, firstdirect.com, flexicover.co.uk, protectyourbubble.com, americanexpress.com, citibank.co.uk, energyhelpline.com, virginmoney.com, gocompare.com, alliance- leicester.co.uk, love2recycle.com, envirofone.com, mopay.co.uk, talktalk.co.uk, tiscali.co.uk, uswitch.com . Read more about this in how this site is financed.

MoneySavingExpert.com is the free to use Consumer Revenge website focused on how to save you cash. Itís owned, and run by ultra-focused journalist and bestselling author Martin Lewis. On TV amongst other things Martin is GMTVís Money SavingExpert and presents money programmes for ITV1 Tonight. On Radio Martin has regular slots on Radio 2 Vine and Radio 1 Whiley. Heís also a columnist for the News of The World, Moneywise and the Sunday Post. Find out more: About the site and its funding.

Disclaimer: This e-mail is based on journalistic research. It does not constitute financial advice. Any information should be considered in regard to your own specific circumstances. All tips are followed at your own risk and should be followed up with your own research Full Terms & Conditions.

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