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Weekly Email
This email was sent
07th Jan 2015
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

"Hi. This free, spam free weekly email is the key way to save. We put all the latest deals, guides and loopholes in, yet many close within hours. Don't miss out, join the 12m who get it each week."

07 January 2015

This week

Shift debts to 35mths 0% - cut card, overdraft, loan & payday loan costs
Last chance. Hot energy deal ending
Act NOW to beat car insurance hikes
Are your savings earning 6%?
'I said no to PPI yet just got £7,000'
Free YEAR Tastecard (full price £80)
£20 spa sale + 10% extra code
2for1 restaurant vouchers: Carluccio's, Prezzo + pud & more...
Free £125 if you switch to no. 1 bank
TWO pairs specs £23 delivered
Quickies: 5L paint £16, buy 12 Krispy Kremes get 12 free, free ebooks
£90 Tassimo coffee-maker £35
The news got it wrong... train ticket machines WON'T sell cheapest tix
Free Wedding Show tickets
Guinness Book of Records £2
Sales boost: Topman, M&S, D'hams
Hyacinth Basket £7.50 del
Xmas present return rights
Payday loan costs capped
MSE job opp - campaigns officer
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs
What would make you vote?

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

Shift debts to 35mths 0%

In January, many worry about Christmas spending coming home to roost. Yet don't wait until bills come through the letter- or in-box to sort it. The sooner you act, the less you pay. Take advantage of the record best buys that have been launched, which cut your interest rate so more of your repayment clears the actual debt, so you're debt-free far quicker, saving you £100s or £1,000s...
1. Stop borrowing. If you're struggling, borrowing to make ends meet just elongates the problem - making it even costlier and more difficult. The tips below will help, but if you keep adding to the debt nothing will fix it.

So take a deep breath and use our Free Budget Planner to try to balance the books - our Money Makeover guide will help. If it's impossible to make it work, see point 10 for how to get free debt crisis help.
2. Got credit or store card debt? Shift it over to a new record 35mth 0%. A balance transfer is where you get a new credit card that repays debts on the old credit or store card(s) for you, so you owe it instead at a lower rate.

The longest 0% deals for those new to the card company now last nearly 3 years (a year ago they were 30mths), but as with many things in life longest isn't always best. Aim for the lowest fee card, ensuring you've enough time to clear it.

Top pick 'new cardholder' 0% balance transfer deals
Find the card you're most likely to get with our ELIGIBILITY CALC
Card 0% intro offer One-off fee (1) Rep APR after
New Barclaycard* longest-ever 0% 35mth (2) 2.49% (3) 18.9%
Halifax* longest if shifting from Barclaycard 34mth (2) 2.8% (3) 18.9%
Barclaycard* long 0%, lower fee 24mth (2) 1.25% (3) 18.9%
Santander* longest NO FEE 0% 15mth None 18.9%
Halifax* 2nd longest no fee 0% 13mth (2) None 18.9%
Capital One* poor credit 0% (see point 5) 6mth 3% 34.9%
1) % of amount transferred. 2) Some get a shorter 0%. 3) You pay a higher fee initially & they refund you the difference so you pay the lower fee.
MORE OPTIONS & FULL INFO: Best Balance Transfers, (APR examples)

Always follow the five 0% Balance Transfer Golden Rules...

a) Repay at least the set monthly min, or you can lose special rates.
b) Always clear the card or shift again before 0% ends, or rates jump.
c) Don't spend/withdraw cash on them. That's not usually at the cheap rate.
d) If you need longer go for a long-term low rate debt shift instead of 0%.
e) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool.
3. Sort debtsNever just apply. It marks your credit file. Use the free Eligibility Calcs. The only way to know if you'll get a product is to apply. Yet that leaves a footprint on your credit file, and too many of those, especially in a short space of time, can hurt future applications.

I've given evidence to Parliament on how this makes the system 'anti-shopping around', but little's been done. So to fight back, we've built free eligibility checkers. These use a soft search (so you see it on your file, but lenders don't so there's no impact) to show your odds of acceptance for the top deals, so you can hone and minimise your applications and rejections.

The free Eligibility Calculators include:
0% Balance Transfer | 0% Borrowing Cards | Cashback Credit Cards
Travel Money Cards | Poor Credit | Plus we're testing Loans Eligibility

It can really work. One poor credit scoring MoneySaver found it showed the only balance transfer she had any hope of getting was Halifax, with odds of just 20%. Yet she went for it, and got a 26mth 0% card with a £1,500 limit.
4. Shift your overdraft to 0% too. Debit cards can be debt cards too - if you're in your overdraft it's often more costly than credit cards, especially if you bust your limit. So there are two ways to get out of this.

a) Switch to a 0% overdraft: Top bank for customer service First Direct* offers a £250 0% overdraft (you must pay-in £1,000/mth) and for accepted new switchers a free £125 - which should help reduce the overdraft straight away. For some Nationwide's* 0% overdraft may be bigger but it's only for a year and is 50p/day after. Full info: Best Bank Accounts

b) Shift it to a 0% 'money transfer' credit card. A few balance transfer cards also let newbies 'money transfer'. This is where it pays a lump sum into your bank account, which can then clear your overdraft so you owe it instead. Top pick is MBNA* (eligibility calc) which gives 24mths 0% money transfers for a one off 2.2% fee (though it's 22.9% rep APR after the 0% ends). Yet be careful, for more picks and help see Money Transfers (APR examples).
5. Can you cut the cost of existing loans? It's complex, as you need to factor in that most loans charge up to two months' interest to repay them early.

- Who should try? Those who can get a substantially lower APR loan (eg, more than a fifth off, so from 10% to 8%), and have a while left to repay.

- What are the cheapest loans?
For accepted customers getting £3,000 - £4,999, Hitachi* is 7.8% rep APR; for £5,000 - £7,500, Cahoot* is 4.9% rep APR; £7,500 - £15,000, the AA* is 3.8% rep APR (via this link only, plus you get a year's free breakdown cover). Full options in Cheap Loans. PS. We're also testing our new loans eligibility calc if you want to try it - it works, but be warned it's not 100% finished yet.

- How much can I save? Someone who is 2yrs through a 5yr 12% loan for £5,000, paying it off with a 4.9% loan, could save around £1,000. Use our Cut Existing Loan Costs Calc to find out.
6. Top 0% deals for credit 'rejects'. If you normally get rejected, there are a few cards designed for those who've had old CCJs, defaults or bankruptcy. Which card is right for you depends on the purpose...

- Cut existing credit card costs: Capital One* (eligibility calc) allows 6mth 0% balance transfers for a one-off 3% fee. Yet as it's a huge 34.9% APR after, only shift debt you can clear within the 6mths (or shift it back to your existing card if it's cheaper when it ends). Always check first on the balance transfer eligibility calc if you could get a better deal.

- Clear payday loans or bank charges: Barclaycard Initial* (eligibility calc) gives accepted new cardholders 6mths 0% on spending though it too has a huge 34.9% rep APR after. The aim here isn't to do new borrowing, but to use it for respite from even more expensive charges. To do this...

Do normal spending on this up to the credit limit, so your unspent income builds up in your bank account. This can then be used to reduce your overdraft or repay lenders. Now the debt's on the card & you've 6mths to clear it (ensure you do). See full Barclaycard Initial Help for more info.

PS. For help in the future see my 35 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score guide.
7. Don't pay all debts equally - attack the highest APR.Once your debts are as cheap as possible, list them all, including overdrafts, in order of APRs. Focus all spare cash to clear the highest APR one as it grows fastest, and just pay the min on the others. Once that's clear, move to the next highest.

The only exception is if there are penalties for overpaying (there never are on credit cards, but there can be on loans). Once down to one debt, Beware Minimum Repayments. They're a percentage of debt, so they fall as your debt does, taking you longer to repay. Repay a fixed amount instead.

PS. Some cards allow 'existing customer balance transfers', which can help you get lower rates without new credit. See Credit Card Shuffle.
8. Set up a direct debit to protect your credit score. Forget, or make late repayments, and you risk losing 0% deals, a fine and a credit score hit. An easy tip to stop this happening is to set up a direct debit to cover at least the monthly minimum. Then call up to pay more on top manually.
9. Don't save if you've costly debts. If you've got both debts and savings, STOP. A £1,000 credit card debt at 18% costs £180/year, while the same amount saved in top paying savings only earns you £11 after tax (1.4% top payer). Pay debts off with savings and you're over £169/yr better off.

If you're saying "but I need some savings for emergencies", this is often false logic. Read my Repay Debts or Save? guide for full help.

I've never seen a debt crisis that isn't solvable - don't give up hope. The solutions above are for cutting debt costs. Yet for some, often at this time of year it's much worse than that. Do any of these apply to you...

- You can't meet even just the minimum monthly payments.
- You have non-mortgage debts bigger than a year's salary.
- You have sleepless nights or serious depression/anxiety over your debts.

If so then you're likely in a debt crisis and that means the solution you need is totally different. The most important thing I can tell you is I've never seen a debt crisis that isn't solvable. It may not always be quick or easy, but there is a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

The first step is to go for free, one-on-one debt counselling help from Citizens Advice, StepChange, National Debtline, or, if you're struggling emotionally too, CAP. Full info in Debt Crisis Help.

These agencies are there to help, not judge. The most common thing I hear after is: "I finally got a good night's sleep." Read some inspiring stories in our Debt-Free Wannabe forum and also my Mental Health & Debt guide.

PS. New. The Martin Lewis Money Roadshow, ITV1, Fri 8pm. This week it's all about taking on big energy companies, both cutting bills and getting justice for those who've been mistreated. Plus, are premium bonds worth it and how to fight for your consumer rights. Watch last week's.

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Our club ensures you're always on the cheapest tariff.
Join free: Cheap Energy Club
Reclaim PPI for FREE
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Free help & templates: Reclaim PPI

MSE News

Top story: Energy price cuts unlikely, despite tumbling oil price
Bank Fashion in administration, but stores remain open
Fallout of PPI scandal to continue for years, says ombudsman
One in nine worried they can't pay for housing costs after Xmas
Further petrol price cuts bring predicted £1 a litre closer
Be a MoneySaving hero.
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Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
January Money Makeover WED 7 JAN 2015
Last chance! Hot Co-Op Energy deal ending imminently
Likely to end by Mon lunchtime. Take advantage of the cheapest deals in over a year - many can save £250/year
Last week Co-Op launched the cheapest energy deal for over a year, but said only 10,000 switchers could get it. Over half has gone, but it's pledged to keep the deal open until Mon 12pm. So do our top fixes comparison for full details of how it stacks up for you. The switch-over can be as quick as 3 weeks (longer for some), so the cheaper price should kick in soon.

Top Picks (based on typical usage - varies by region)
TO APPLY FOR THESE: Do a comparison to find YOUR actual price then apply & get £30 dual fuel cashback
Avg 'Big 6' standard tariff paid by direct debit £1,184
  Fixed until Exit fee
Top pick - V cheap & strong cust feedback (63% great)
Co-Op Energy 31 Mar 16 £30/fuel £938
Smidgeon cheaper but new provider, so little feedback
Extra Energy 31 Mar 16 £25/fuel £937
Cheapest NO exit fee fix (55% great)
EDF Blue+ Price Promise 31 May 16 None £999
Cheap LONG fix with NO exit fees (55% great)
EDF Blue+ Price Fix 31 Jan 17 None £1,054
Source: MoneySup. All monthly direct debit, dual fuel, unless stated. Customer feedback from our Dec '14 poll
  • Urgent. Top energy fix. Co-Op Energy's dual fuel Fair & Square tariff, at £938/yr for someone with typical usage, easily undercut the prior cheapest. The rate's fixed until Mar 16, so you're ensuring no price hikes for over a year.

    Extra Energy responded with a tariff £1/yr cheaper on average (avail dual fuel or elec only). We still prefer Co-Op though as its cust service feedback in our poll was a v strong 63% great, while Extra is a small, newish firm so feedback's limited.

    PS. Since we sent this email, further tariffs have launched which are slightly cheaper on average. Co-Op remains our overall top pick though - see the top picks comparison for full details.

  • How to get these? Never just switch, use our Cheap Energy Club top fixes comparison to see if and how much you'll save with your own bespoke price for both tariffs and how they compare against other tariffs. Do it this way and you'll also get £30 (£15/fuel) cashback which you won't get if you go direct.

    Plus switch via Cheap Energy Club, and we'll alert you when your tariff's no longer cheap. Full info & cashback options in Cheap Gas & Elec, here's 3 quick need-to-knows...

    1) If you're on a key or card meter you can still compare, switch & save. See Cheap Prepayment Meters.
    2) To get the lowest price pay by monthly direct debit, then ensure you give regular meter readings.
    3) We normally favour 'no exit fees'. Yet if, as now, savings from the cheapest outweigh this, it's a small issue.
  • Martin's predictions on prices: Wholesale prices (the price energy firms pay) have plummeted, yet I'd be surprised to see mainstream price cuts as 1) big firms buy ahead so it takes time to filter through and 2) providers don't want to cut prices now and lose the ability to put them up if Labour wins the election and puts a price freeze in place. So my guess (and it is only that) is that if any prices are cut, it'll be after the 7 May election.

    Meanwhile, we'll likely see more cheap fixes launched like those above for switchers. Yet I wouldn't hold out for prices to drop much further, as the gain from switching and saving during the winter months will likely outweigh any cuts. Read other energy pundits' views in our Energy price cuts unlikely story.

Free 1 YEAR Tastecard (£80 full price), 2,015 available. MSE Blagged. Ends Mon. 2,015 free restaurant discount cards, getting 2for1ish in 7,000 eateries (eg, Pizz Exp, Strada & independents). Those who miss out get 2mths. Tastecard

Hidden £20 spa experiences sale + 10% extra off code. MSE Blagged.'s launching one of its spa sales (incl massages, facials, treatments) for 20+ venues Thur, but we've got you special access on Wed (so you get first dibs), plus a 10% extra off code. Lastminute spa sale

Carluccio's 2for1 EVERY DAY, Prezzo 2for1 & free pud, PizzaExpress 40% off vch & more...
The Christmas rush is over. Restaurants want customers, so they're pumping out some hot vouchers right now.
Carluccio's 2for1 (every day) | Prezzo 2for1 & free pud (Sun-Fri) | PizzaExpress 40% off (Sun-Thu) | Papa John's 50% off £15
Beefeater 50% off till Fri | Strada 2for1 (Sun-Fri) | Zizzi 50% off (days vary). Full list: Restaurant Vouchers

Now FREE £125 for switching to no. 1-rated bank. It's won every customer service poll we've ever done (92% rate it great). Now First Direct's* giving a boosted £125 for switching (normally £100). It also has a £250 0% overdraft & linked 6% regular savings account. Full eligibility info & alternatives in Best Bank Accounts.

Act NOW to beat 10% car insurance price rises
Huge hikes are predicted this year, but you can lock in today's prices EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT AT RENEWAL

Car insurance prices have dropped 40% over the past two years, according to the AA. But bumpy roads could lie ahead as, due to more whiplash claims, its latest index predicts an increase of up to 8% in 2015; others think 10% is possible. Check now to grab a deal before the surge.

  • car insurance price riseThe 5 key steps to cutting car insurance costs. There's no one cheapest insurer, so you need a method to discover your winner. Our full cheap car insurance & cheap young drivers systems have every trick in the book. Yet if you just want it quick & dirty, here are the key five.

    1. Combine the right comparison sites. They don't all cover the same insurers, so combining them gives a wider coverage spread. We currently assess the top order as a) MoneySup* b) Confused* c) CompareTM. See full combine comparison sites info.
    2. Check insurers comparisons miss. Biggies Aviva*, Direct Line* & Zurich are missed, as are special deals.
    3. More than one car at home? Check Admiral multicar* & other discounts at Churchill*, Direct Line* & Privilege*.
    4. Three counter-logical savings - use trial & error. a) Try adding a responsible 2nd driver - insurers can see it as reducing risk; b) Use the car insurance job picker to tweak your job description; c) Don't assume 3rd party's cheapest, the mere fact you select comprehensive cover can lower your risk profile and possibly your price.
    5. Beware paying monthly.
    They usually just loan the cash at a high APR. Often paying by 0% card's cheaper.

    As @surleydev says: "Just renewed, saved £1,232 by adding parents, changing supplier & paying for the year."
  • Lock in a price even if you're not at renewal. Those renewing can just follow the tips above. If not, with price rises predicted, check anyway if a better policy's available. If one is, unless you've claimed, for a c.£50 fee you can usually cancel existing cover and get a refund for the rest of the year, though you won't earn the year's no claims.

    - Renewal within 2mths? Cancellation fees would likely eat any savings, yet there's another trick. Aviva*, Post Office* & LV* quotes last 60 days, so grab them now in case they rise. More policies with long quotes in lock in a rate.

Code gets TWO pairs of specs £23. MSE Blagged. We've a £36 off code on Glasses Direct's existing 2for1 on £55+ glasses offer so you get 'em for £23 all in. Glasses Direct

Quick Tips - cheap paint, doughnuts and classic literature
£16 for 5L emulsion paint | Krispy Kreme buy 12 get 12 free | Don't pay for the classics on your Kindles

£35 Tassimo coffee-maker (RRP £90ish). Discounted in sale. Next cheapest £44. Limited stock. Posh coffee

The news got it wrong... train self service ticket machines WON'T tell you cheapest price. The news told us from March train ticket machines will tell you the cheapest fare. NOT TRUE. 1) They just have to warn you they may not be cheapest. 2) They ignore split ticketing, which on some routes halves costs. Use our free Tickety Split tool to check.

FREE £16.50 Wedding Show tix Manchester & free £6 Newcastle tix codes. We've blagged 3,500 free £16.50 tickets for Manchester (Sun 8 Feb) and 1,500 free £6 tickets for Newcastle (weekend of 24 Jan). Wedding Shows

Are you earning 6% on your savings?
Don't let cash drip away in 2015 - check your rates NOW. Speedy tips to earn max interest on every single penny
Savings rates have been depressingly depressed for the last year and there's no sign of that abating. Yet there are few chinks of light - you CAN earn more if you know what you're doing. Check what you're getting then compare it to...
  • earn 6% on your savings 3%-5% AER easy access via 'bank account' savings. To entice you to switch, a few bank accounts' in-credit rates smash standard ISAs & savings. Santander 123* pays 3% on £3k-£20k (there's a £2/mth fee but it's usually covered by bills cashback). For lesser amounts TSB Classic* is 5% on up to £2k. Full list in Best Bank Accounts or read our 5% savings loophole guide for how to open multiple accounts to max it.
  • 6% if you save every month. If you stash away cash each month, some 'regular savings accounts' pay very high interest but on relatively small sums. New & existing First Direct customers (you get £125 to switch) can put £25-£300/mth in at 6% fixed for a year (you can't withdraw). The top 'available to all' deal is Leeds BS's 3.05% fixed until Oct on £50-£250/mth (you can make one withdrawal and keep it after). Full help in Top Regular Savings.
  • Top cash ISA - 2.4% AER tax-free. An ISA is just a savings account where you don't pay tax on the interest. You can put up to £15,000 in every tax year. Once in, it stays tax-free year after year. Our top pick's Coventry BS's 2.4% - while it's fixed till Nov 2018, you can withdraw money early by closing it and lose just 120 days' interest. Which means after 1yr you'd have earnt equiv 1.6%, after 2yrs 2% and after 3yrs 2.1% - strong rates. Alternatively, the Post Office is 1.5% & you can withdraw any time without penalty. Full info Top Cash ISAs & Cash ISA Transfers.
  • Top 1.85% AER normal savings. If you can lock cash away, ICICI Bank pays 1.85% fixed for a year (min £1k) or Secure Trust Bank is 2.33% fixed for 2yrs. If you need access Tesco Bank pays 1.4%. Full options in Top Savings.
  • Over 65? Earn 4%. Pensioner Bonds launch later this month, read our Pensioner Bonds - good for me? guide.

Scholastic £1-2 kids' book sale (& £3-£5 teachers' books). Starts 9am Mon. Incl SpongeBob & Guinness World Records. Tends to be popular, so here's an early heads-up as stock will be limited. Min £10 spend. Scholastic

January sales boosted... Topman now up to 73% off, Debenhams 70%, M&S 60%...
The stores are trying to push harder to clear their excess stock, so upping the discounts of the remaining sales goods. up to 70% off | M&S up to 60% | extra 10% off up to 70% off | Full January Sales Updates

Hyacinth basket £7.50 del (norm £20) MSE Blagged. Next cheapest £12. Ends Thur. 2,800 avail. Plants

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
35mths 0%, 2.49% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

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

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

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Cahoot* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.9% rep APR

The AA* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.8% rep APR

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

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

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I can't believe my old energy provider owed me money. I rang it, it 'ummed' and 'aahed' a bit, then the lady on the other end eventually found my old account and it was in credit by £119!"
- see our Are you owed old energy credit? guide to get your money back.

"I always turned PPI down - yet just reclaimed £7,000"
Reclaim PPI for FREE. It's huge money, don't assume you're not eligible, don't delay, there's a risk it'll end

The Financial Ombudsman's said this week PPI reclaiming has years to run. Yet while there's no deadline, banks lobby for one to try to cap the gargantuan £20 BILLION+ they've had to set aside to repay money they took through systemic lies & mis-selling. So join the 5.7m who've used our free template letters. See our full Reclaim PPI for Free, in short...
  • reclaim ppi for free 5 FALSE reasons people think they aren't due PPI payouts.

    1. I definitely didn't have it. If you've had cards, loans, a mortgage, overdrafts or catalogue debt in the last 20 years you may have had PPI even without knowing, as one way it was mis-sold was if firms adding it without telling you. As JP tweeted us, "I thought I'd always turned PPI down. Checked anyway & received £7,000."
    2. I don't have any paperwork/know who the lender was. To find old lenders check your credit file. If you don't have any documents you've a right to request PPI paperwork.
    3. It was over 6yrs ago. There's no time limit. As Deb tweeted us: "Delighted to receive £4,000 from 1989." Yet lenders only need keep paperwork for six years, so for claims beyond that you'll usually need the original docs.
    4. I don't know which firm to use. No, no, no, no. No need to use a 'no win, no fee' claims handler, it'll just take 30% of what's yours. Use our Reclaim PPI for free info, you're often just filling in the same form as with a firm.
    5. I tried but the bank said no. If mis-sold, go to the free Ombudsman, it upholds 50% of claims. Barry emailed: "I was told I was owed nothing. Sent your template to the Ombudsman and paid in my cheque today: £17,900."

    This is just the tip of the iceberg, see our 60+ frequently asked questions (obviously, we give answers too or it'd be pointless). Eg, can I claim if the debt's repaid? (Yes). Can I claim for a deceased relative? (Yes).
  • How do I know if I've been mis-sold? When you were sold/given PPI the seller had to ensure it was right for you. Common mis-selling categories include... 1) They lied that it was compulsory. 2) They added it without asking. 3) They sold unemployment cover when you were self-employed/a student/retired. 4) They failed to warn that pre-existing conditions were excluded. Full help in our Mis-selling Checklist.
  • Free PPI reclaiming help. Follow our step-by-step Reclaim PPI for Free guide. Related reclaiming: Bank Charges, Council Tax, Packaged Bank Accounts, Flight Delays, Energy Mis-Selling, Pothole Damage.

Don't like those new socks? Know your unwanted Xmas presents return rights. Our guide explains what you can take back (you've more rights if you bought online) and how to flog it if you can't give it back. Xmas return rights

Finally, payday loan costs are capped - but they're still HIDEOUS. Rates of 1,000%+ APR are still common. Avoid them like the plague. See alternatives and the nearest we can get to best-buys in Payday Loan Least-Worsts.

Want to work on campaigning for MoneySavingExpert? Into public service and public policy? We're hiring an External Affairs and Campaigns Officer to help champion the rights of the consumer. See MSE Job Opps.

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 £1,180 a year, the cheapest deal's £940.

First Direct*
£125 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get quotes in this order...*
Compare The Market
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 would make it easier for you to vote?
Only around 65% of people chose to vote in the last election and with the election year upon us, a group of MPs is looking at ways to convince everyone that it's worth having a say. Take this quick survey (by 9 Jan) to tell them what you think. Should voting be made compulsory? Should 16-year-olds be able to vote? Would you find it easier to vote online or at weekends? Discuss your views in the MSE Forum.

Should I remind tradesman to cash my cheque?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... Over two months ago a tradesman came to my property and did a good job, for which I gave him a cheque for £69. So far the cheque has not been drawn on my bank account. Should I get in touch and remind him, or trust that he will find it and deposit it before it expires? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I remind tradesman to cash my cheque? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

Breathing new life into otherwise worthless items for use around the home
We want to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge on ways you've turned things you no longer need and can't sell (think CD racks, cassette tapes, items you've ripped out of a property you're fixing up, etc) into useful things you use around your home or perhaps even pieces of furniture. Share yours/read others': Breathing new life into otherwise worthless items for use around the home Past topics: View all

Airline: Ryanair Price: Flights from £19.99 one-way Ends: Sun 15 Feb
Our pick this week is Ryanair's sale that ends Sun 15 Feb, with prices including all non-optional taxes & charges. It's for flights until Tue 31 Mar on selected routes. You must book 14 days in advance of travel. We've found flights for even less than £19.99; for example, London Stansted-Tours for £14.99. 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 blogs

Martin's appearances

8 January
Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.40am
Deals of the Week
9 January
This Morning, time TBC
Martin's 90 Second Savers
12 January
This Morning, ITV, time TBC
Subject TBC
12 January
Radio 5 Live, 12pm-1pm
Consumer Panel
Subscribe to podcast

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Discussion of the week

Return to this thread in December

Whether your New Year's resolution is to shift that bit of weight, to unfriend everyone saying 'New Year, New Me' or to finally catch up on 2014's resolutions, our forumites are helping each other stick to this year's pledges in the Return to this thread in December 2015 discussion.

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This week's poll: Should restaurant menus tell you the calories?

It's a new year and a great swathe of the nation is on a diet. In some US cities it's a requirement that menus tell you how many calories are in their dishes (and other nutritional info) - would you welcome that information being compulsory here or would you prefer not to know?

Please choose the option CLOSEST to your opinion:

Poll results

Did you go shopping-mad in the 'January sales'?
The majority of voters have avoided the sales the so far, with only 38% shopping or planning to do so. Here's the full breakdown:

- 62% avoided the sales
- 17% braved it online & in stores
- 14% stuck to online only
- 7% ventured into stores only
7,498 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q. I paid a £500 deposit using my credit card for a breast enlargement operation. I discovered I had the faulty PIP implants and I am trying to claim the cost back from the card provider under Section 75. It has refused to pay out as it's not my card account, I'm only an additional cardholder. Is it legally entitled to do this? Christine, via email

MSE Helen's A: Although we have heard of successful Section 75 claims for faulty PIP implants, you can't usually make a Section 75 claim if you're an additional cardholder - it's listed as one of our 'When you can't use S75' points in our guide.

You ask if this is legal? Well, while it's not written into legislation, it's based on a ruling the Financial Ombudsman made back in 2007. It ruled this way because for Section 75 to work, there has to be a clear link between the lender, the borrower and the supplier. And because there's no such thing as a joint credit card, it means when either card is used, it's the primary cardholder who is provided with credit, so that chain isn't present.

However, there may be one avenue to explore, although don't hold out hope. The Ombudsman would look at what is "fair and reasonable". If it is minded to believe that the breast implants provide some benefit for the primary cardholder, it could find in your favour. However, as they're your implants, you may find this difficult.

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

 Nick's free game of the week: Abstract Sea

pepper pig'12 important questions I have for Peppa Pig' - Martin Lewis

That's it for this week, but before we go, Martin has some burning questions for Peppa Pig. After six months of serious watching, he has been, well, perhaps overanalysing. A must read for parents - 12 important questions for Peppa Pig.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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