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WEEKLY EMAIL

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Weekly Email
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This email was sent
08th Apr 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 This info may be out of date.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."

08 April 2015
         

This week

New £15,240 ISA allowance - 2.25%
Shift debt to 16mths 0% no fee
'I got £67 of shopping for 11p'
Hot home ins comparisons miss
Sky TV 40% off & £100+ bill credit
Switch CTFs to 3.25% Junior ISAs
£25 of Touche Éclat make-up £15
Easyjet refund trick - check NOW
FREE eye tests
Daphne 'Perfume' shrub £10 code
90 hayfever tablets £4 del
Codes & vouchers: Ralph Lauren 20% off, Nike 10% & much more
Ciaté 10 nail polishes £25 del
Free Ben & Jerry's ice cream
Cheap outdoor kids' toys: £160 trampoline £80, £100 bike £50
£18 Clarks school shoes code
£1.60 Thorntons Easter eggs?
'I split my train tix & saved £33'
'I got £850/yr off small biz energy'
Chiltern Rail £2k+ off some season tix + Lon Mid & SW Trains £15 rtns
2for1 at Alton Towers, Legoland
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 36mth 0% debt shift | 3.6% loan | Cheap car insurance
Best Buys: Slash £300 off gas & elec | £125 bank bribe | Home insurance

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

You've a NEW £15,240 ISA allowance - get 2.25%
Happy New Tax Year. Everyone 16+ has a new tax-free savings allowance

New tax yearMSE Towers is strewn with party popper debris, (own-brand) Cava corks and bunting after our New (Tax) Year do on Sunday night. Well, OK, it was just MSE Helen who ensured the new ISA guide was uploaded & working at 12.01am. But for savers there is at least a little more to celebrate.

EVERYONE aged 16 or over now has a brand-new £15,240 cash ISA allowance. Even if you opened one last week, the slate's wiped clean and you can do it all again. Here are my 10 need-to-knows... and if you think it looks similar to the top of last week's email, what do you mean? That was so last year...

1. Cash ISAs are really simple. Don't be scared of ISAs. I wish I could hypnotise people reading the words 'cash ISA' to instead just see:

"IT'S A SAVINGS ACCOUNT YOU DON'T PAY TAX ON."


Know this and it all becomes clearer. People wrongly say "I don't use a cash ISA as I don't want to lock my cash away," but you don't have to lock away cash in an ISA.

- What's the tax gain? Earn £100 interest in a normal savings account and, if you pay basic 20% tax, you'd only receive £80 (£60 on 40% higher rate tax). In a cash ISA, as there's no tax, you keep the whole £100. So, as long as rates are similar, ISAs win and top ISA rates tend to be higher anyway.

- How long is it tax-free for? Once in an ISA, it's tax-free, YEAR AFTER YEAR. So if you've big savings, you can gradually protect more of your cash from tax. If you'd started saving when ISAs were first introduced in 1999, you could now have £100,000+ (including interest) in tax-free savings.

- Do I have to keep the money in for a year to get the interest?
No. While the rates quoted are annual, interest accrues daily, so whenever you withdraw you earn interest up to that point (though if you withdraw early on some fixed-rate ISAs you may get a little less interest as a penalty).

- Is my money safe in an ISA? Like all UK-regulated savings, cash ISAs have the full £85,000 per person per institution savings safety protection.
2. Top 1.5% cash ISAs if you know you need to access your cash. As cash ISAs are just a savings account you don't pay tax on, like normal savings, there are easy-access cash ISAs where you can put cash in today and withdraw when you want. Here are the top payers...

Both Skipton BS and NS&I pay the top rate of 1.5%, but both are only for new money. If you want to transfer old ISAs to easy access, the Post Office pays 1.41%. All these rates are 'variable' so watch in case they drop.

Many ask "will better rates launch later?". Well, if you can wait till Thu, West Brom BS is launching a 1.55% ISA (three withdrawals/yr) which allows transfers. We'll have full details in our Cash ISA guide then, but it's unlikely (not impossible) rates'll get much better.
3. Most people should grab up to 2.25% cash ISAs. Unless you KNOW you'll need the cash soon, fixed-rate deals pay more, give set interest rates, and the ISA rules mean (unlike normal fixed savings) providers can't lock your cash away - all they can do is levy early withdrawal penalties.

- Coventry BS's 2.25% fix until May 2019 (no transfers) is a corking deal. It allows you to withdraw cash by closing the account, costing you just 120 days' interest - roughly a third of a year. Withdraw after a year, and you'd get 1.51%, beating the top easy-access deals.

- Virgin Money's 1.65% 1yr fix is for new money & transfers. You can make partial withdrawals and lose 60 days' interest on them.

Leeds BS's 2.1% 2yr fix is for new money & transfers (min £15k). You can withdraw 25% penalty-free, but lose 150 days' interest after.

- Santander 123 bank customers can get its 123 2% 2yr fix for new money & transfers (min £500) with a 120-day interest early closure penalty.
4. 5% taxed, if you're willing to switch bank account. Cash ISAs easily beat normal savings, yet a few bank accounts pay far better rates, as loss leaders to promote switching. Interest is taxed, but it still usually beats top cash ISAs, and as they're bank accounts, you can withdraw whenever.

- For bigger savers, 3% AER interest + up to 3% cashback: Santander 123* is the only one which pays strong rates on a decent whack. You get 3% AER variable interest if you've £3,000 to £20,000 in it. That's 2.4% after tax for a basic-rate taxpayer and 1.8% for a higher-rate payer.

It has a £2/mth fee, but for most that's more than covered as it also pays cashback on direct debits from the account. You get 3% on mobile, phone, TV & b'band, 2% on energy and 1% on water & council tax - as Hannah tweeted us: "I get £260/yr and £504 since I opened it."

- 4% AER on £4k-£5k: Club Lloyds* (3.2% after basic tax, 2.4% higher).
- 5% AER up to £2,000:
TSB* (4% after basic tax, 3% higher).
- Get £100 + £5 each month you're in credit: Halifax Reward* pays this regardless of how much you've got. As it's after basic-rate tax it beats TSB for most averaging under £1,500 in their account, even before the £100.
- Want to save monthly, not a lump sum? Two 'free switching bonus' bank accounts - First Direct* (free £125) and M&S* (free £100 M&S gift card) - have linked 6% regular savers where you can save up to £300 & £250/mth.

There are still some long-term reasons to open cash ISAs - read a full analysis of the pros and cons in my Santander 123 v Cash ISAs blog.

The 'using bank accounts as savings' need-to-knows...
1) Not everyone can get 'em. Most require... a) you to pass a credit check b) a minimum monthly deposit c) you set up a couple of direct debits.
2) The rates are variable. So keep your eyes open in case they change.
3) You can open more than one. This lets you save larger sums, but it can be tricky. For full help see the 5% Savings Loophole.
5. Over 65? Have you opened a Pensioner Bond? While the interest is taxed, NS&I 65+ Guaranteed Growth Bonds (known as Pensioner Bonds) pay 4% fixed for 3 years or 2.8% fixed for a year, so after basic tax it's 3.2% and 2.24%. That beats all ISAs. For higher-rate taxpayers at 2.4% and 1.68% they beat most ISAs. Full help, pros & cons in Pensioner Bonds.
6. Check old ISA rates - many are pitiful. Then boost them. Many old ISAs pay tiny rates, eg, the Halifax ISA Saver Online pays just 0.25% (it paid 3% in 2012) - check yours. You've a right to transfer to a new provider, while combining makes transferring in future (when rates change) easier.

All the above ISAs allow transfers (unless stated) and while you can add money to one where you've also transferred in, you don't have to. There's a full rundown in Top ISA Transfers.

To transfer, don't just withdraw the cash, as it'd no longer be in an ISA. Tell the new provider to transfer it for you instead.
7. Want a Help to Buy ISA? Don't open a cash ISA. Last month's Budget announced the creation of a first-time buyers' Help to Buy (H2B) ISA to launch this autumn, where for every £200 you contribute, the Govt adds £50 (on top of bank interest). See our new Help to Buy ISA guide.

In simple terms you can't open an H2B ISA and a cash ISA in the same tax year so it's safer to avoid the combination. If you only want a cash ISA for a few months, there is a way to do both. For a full 'how to', read H2B ISA & Cash ISA info.
8. If your income's sub-£15,600/yr all your savings are tax-free anyway. Since Monday, most people with total incomes under £15,600/yr can register to not pay tax on savings. That's because as well as the normal £10,600 personal allowance (where you don't pay income tax on earnings) you can now earn another £5,000 of savings interest tax-free too.

If you've earned income (ie, not from savings) above £10,600 though you lose a pound of savings allowance per pound earned. An example helps...

If you earn £12,000 you're £1,400 above the standard personal allowance, so the £5,000 savings allowance falls by that sum, giving only £3,600 more tax free. (For more info incl how to get it, see 2015 tax-free savings.)

In a year, every basic rate taxpayer will be able to earn £1,000 interest per year tax-free (higher rate £500) due to the new personal savings allowance. Yet don't let that sway you now - and even when it hits there will be times when ISAs win, see the Personal Savings Allowance guide.
9. New Junior ISA & Child Trust Fund (CTF) year too. All under-18s have a new 2015/16 tax-free savings allowance of £4,080. Most get it in the form of a Junior ISA, yet those born between 1 Sep 2002 and 2 Jan 2011 instead have a Child Trust Fund (which you can now convert to a Junior ISA).

Yet getting these accounts for your kids is less clear-cut, as children tend not to earn enough to pay tax anyway. Full info in Top Junior ISAs or Top Child Trust Funds, plus also see Top Children's Savings.
10. The tip of the ISAberg. There's lots more info in our cash ISA guide that can help you. Here are just a few more pointers...

- Don't forget stocks & shares ISAs. While I've focused on cash ISAs as that's our specialty, you can also use your ISA allowance for stocks & shares ISAs.

- 16-17 year-olds can open standard AND Junior ISAs. Weirdly they get both the Junior ISA allowance and the main cash ISA allowance.

- ISA withdrawal rules change in autumn. Now, you can only put in £15,240/yr. Put in £10,000 & you've £5,240 left even if you later withdraw. Flexible ISA rules mean you'll be able to withdraw cash and replace it.

PS, I've a few days off this week. So having done some writing for this email, I've handed most of it over to the capable hands of the MSE team. Martin.

Blagged for MoneySavers

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MSE News

Top story: Sentinel redress scheme moves one step closer
Capital One cashback card holder? It's axing the perk for some
It's the start of the new financial year, so what's changing?
E.on to pay refunds and give £7.75m to charity after overcharging users
Got life insurance before March 1984? The price you pay may rise
Spread the (MoneySaving) love.
If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via moneysavingexpert.com/tips
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 8 Apr 2015
New. 16mth 0% NO FEE debt shift - the longest 0% no fee card this decade
Slash £100s or £1,000s off the cost of existing credit & store card debts as the balance transfer price war rages

A balance transfer's when you get a new card that repays debts on an old card(s) for you, so you owe it, but at far lower interest. A price war means we've already got the longest-ever 0% card and this week the longest NO-FEE 0% card we've seen for at least 5 years has launched. It'd save someone owing £3,000 on a typical card £435 over the 16mths.

  • New. 16mth interest-free NO-FEE card. The new Halifax* card (eligibility calc) lets accepted new cardholders shift debt to it for 16mths 0% without the usual one-off fee (though as with many cards, some poorer credit scorers get less - in this case nine months). Clear the debt before the 0% ends and there's zero cost. Here's how it compares. Always aim for the lowest fee card possible that you're sure gives you enough time to clear the card..
TOP PICK 0% BALANCE TRANSFER DEALS
These are new cardholder deals, so if you already have one of these firms' cards, go for a different one
To protect your credit file, find the card you've best chance of getting with the balance transfer eligibility calc.
Card Intro offer One-off fee (1) Rep APR after
Halifax* Longest 0% no-fee 16mths 0% (2) None 18.9%
Santander* Previous longest 0% no-fee 15mths 0% None 18.9%
Tesco* Decent no-fee option 14mths 0% None 20.6%
Lloyds* Longer 0%, still relatively low fee 28mths 0% 1.5% 18.9%
Barclaycard* Longest 0% card 36mths 0% (2) 2.99% (3) 18.9%
MBNA* Longest 0% if you've a Barclaycard 35mths 0% (2) 2.79% (min £3) 20.9%
1) % of the amount transferred. 2) Some get a shorter 0%. 3) You pay 3.5% and B'card refunds the difference.
  • The Balance Transfer Golden Rules. It's not just about picking the right card, it's about using it the right way...

    a) Don't just apply in hope, that marks your credit file. Instead use the Eligibility Calc to find your best chance first.
    b) Never miss min monthly repayments, or the bank can end your 0% deal and charge far more.
    c) Clear the card or transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to the rep APR.
    d) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate & cash withdrawals hit your credit file.
    e) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. Full help in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Sky TV packages instant 40% off & £100+ bill credit for newbies. MSE Blagged. Sky newbies (ie, if you haven't had it for 12mths) who go via this specific Sky link* get 40% off a year's contract on all its TV packages (excl HD upgrade fee) plus a £100 bill credit (£125 on Family/Complete packages). A one-off £10 set-up fee applies. First year costs are £13/mth to £48/mth depending on the package. You can get half-price broadband if you get its landline. Sky 40% off

Child Trust Funds can now be converted to 3.25% Junior ISAs. Finally those trapped in old accounts can escape. But while cash CTFs should be switched, some investment CTFs shouldn't. Full pros & cons: Top Child Trust Funds

£25 of make-up for £15, eg Touche Éclat, Benefit, Urban Decay. Via daily deals voucher. Feelunique.com

Easyjet flight refund trick. Get difference back if price drops - check NOW. If an Easyjet flight you've booked later falls in price (excl sales), you can grab a vch. MSE Guy got a £16 vch for a Sept flight. Easyjet trick

Free eye tests. Free £30-ish Optical Express* vch or Tesco Opticians is always free, as are tests in Scotland. Eye Tests

Extreme couponing 20 tips: 'I got £67 of shopping for 11p'
We reveal secret tricks top coupon stashers use - can you save £100s with coupon-cutting or clicking techniques?

Extreme couponers source, gain & hoard 100s of product and store coupons, then combine them for huge code-stacking discounts. If it sounds gobbledygook our new 20 Extreme Couponing Tips guide tells all - we've clipped the key info...

  • Extreme couponing How much can you save? Many have astonishing success, eg, forumite Purple Sarah: "I got £67 of shopping for 11p after offers and coupons. I used £39.50 of Clubcard coupons, £5 off 40, a price promise and other coupons." See Coupon Successes.
  • How to find coupons. Start with our Supermarket Coupons page and check for discount vouchers for those stores. To take it up a notch, go through official sources such as mags & papers, then go further with dedicated coupon groups.
  • Take couponing to the max. It's not just about collecting coupons. Use more clever tricks to boost savings, eg:

    - Get stacking. Here's where you combine a range of offers in one go - see how to stack.
    - Decode the jargon. "DD's posted a great MFR MOC." If you're serious about couponing, learn the lingo.
    - Glitch-spot on Wednesdays. Supermarkets often change deals mid-week, so errors appear. Glitches
    - Divvy up your trolley. Separate bargains from full-price branded items to make the most of price match policies.
    - Do your homework first. To go extreme takes work & knowledge, so spend time through all 20 couponing tips.

Daphne 'Perfume Princess' shrub £10 del code. MSE Blagged. Norm £25, next cheapest £20. Ends Fri. 5,000 avail

Achoo... 90 hayfever tablets, £4 deliv. It's spring, and we've found 3 months of legit generic equivalents to Zirtec and Clarityn for £4 - nothing to sneeze at. Branded versions from Boots are up to £25. Cheap, legit hayfever tablets

CODES: Ralph Lauren 20% off, Nike sale extra 10% off, La Redoute BOGOF, Space NK £10 off £40...
Ralph Lauren 20% off MSE Blagged | Nike extra 10% off sale | La Redoute BOGOF cheapest item free
Space NK £10 off £40 | Boden extra 10% off sale | ALL Codes & Vchs

Ciaté 10 nail polishes £25 deliv (norm up to £9 each). MSE Blagged. Online code, 10,000 available. Ciaté

FREE Ben & Jerry's ice cream. UK-wide for one-day only. See our Deals Hunters' Free Cone Day blog for the scoop.

Cheap outdoor toys - eg, £80 trampoline (was £160), £50 kids' bike (was £100)
Argos up to 50% off, incl trampolines | Tesco Direct 25% off Little Tykes & Plum toys | Halfords 50% off kids' bikes
Get ready for summer with our toys deals.

£18 Clarks school shoes, £28 men's Nike trainers, £29 women's Skechers code. MSE Blagged. Code gets one-day early access today (Wed) to Brantano's 40% off everything online sale, which ends Sun. Del £2.50. Brantano

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%: Halifax*
16mths 0%, no fee

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

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

Cahoot* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.6% rep APR



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


Skipton BS 1.5% AER
Min £1, incl bonus
Online. No transfers.


Coventry BS 2.25% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till May 2019


See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

5 Cadbury Creme Eggs £1, £4 Thorntons Easter eggs £1.60, 6 hot cross buns 50p. Can you find 'em? Stores have slashed prices to flog un-sold Easter stock. See our Easter clear-out blog for what we've found.

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I split my train tickets last week from Bristol to York and saved £33."

'I haggled £850/yr off my small business energy deal.' You can save too. Business energy tariffs are bespoke so there's huge potential to haggle. First benchmark prices online - we like Energylinx for this. Then hit the phones and barter with big brokers such as Make It Cheaper* (we've blagged £30 cashback) and Business Juice* (£30 cashback or a £50 J Lewis vch if you go via our blagged link). One small office business we spoke to cut its renewal price from £3,500/yr to £2,650/yr in a few mins. For full help, see our new 60-second guide to Cheap Small Business Energy.

Hot home insurance deals comparisons miss - incl £80 Amazon/M&S vch
Comparison sites give a good broad brush but they miss many one-off promos that may scythe down your costs

Whether you've a studio flat or a mansion, there's no single cheapest insurer. So comparison sites are good, but they don't catch every offer - we aim to net the deals they miss. Full help in Cheap Home Insurance, here are the foundations...

  • Home InsuranceGet the right cover - don't over- or under-insure. There are two elements:

    Buildings - normally for freeholders. You don't need to cover your home's market value, just the lower cost of rebuilding it if it's knocked down. Rebuild calc.

    Contents
    - for all. Many under-insure thinking: "I'd never claim £20k". Yet if you've £20k of stuff but only buy £10k of cover you may get less back than you thought. Say you claim for a £2k sofa, you may only get £1k. Contents calc.
  • Never auto-renew - combine comparisons at speed. Many just auto-renew, which lets insurers chunk up prices knowing there's no consequence. Instead, grab lots of quotes at speed by combining comparison sites (they don't cover identical insurers). Our current order's GoCompare* then MoneySup* (see full comparison site order). As Tony tweeted us: "Auto-renewal inertia tactics from Santander - £426. Did comparison, got it for less than £200".
  • Home in on the HOT deals comparisons miss. Two biggies, Direct Line* & Aviva*, aren't on comparison sites so always check them too. Plus compare your best quote to the following MSE Blagged deals for combined buildings & contents policies. Vouchers are auto-sent, and while they can take up to 120 days to come, they're usually quicker. IMPORTANT: If you use ad or cookie-blocking software, turn it off or vouchers may not track.

    - £80 Amazon voucher with Policy Expert. Use this Policy Expert* link by Wed 15 Apr.
    - £80 M&S vch with Together Mutual. Use this TogetherM* link by 30 Apr (little feedback on it, let us know).
    - £75 M&S voucher (£30 contents only) with Age UK. Use this Age UK* link by Tue 14 Apr.

All aboard. Cheap train deals...
Chiltern Railways £2k+ off season tix till Thu 30 Apr | London Midland £15 rtns (norm up to £56) unlimited off-peak travel
South West £15 rtns (norm up to £69) till Fri 17 Apr. See ALL Train Deals

2for1 at 28 attractions incl Alton Towers, Legoland & Sea Life centres. Just spend £3ish. Merlin deals


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 £1,159 a year, the cheapest deal's £913.


First Direct*
£125 bonus and top cust service


Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

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

GoCompare*
MoneySupermarket*

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*
Aviva*

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 & sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
Show Money Saving Community
The MoneySaving Community

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA
Should my housemate pay for the dress she ruined?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... One of my housemates borrowed a dress of mine for a wedding and then shrunk it in the wash. It's not new but it was expensive and it's now unwearable. Should I ask her to give me the cash for it and risk having an awkward living situation? Or let it go as it was an accident? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my housemate pay for my dress? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT
Airline: Aer Lingus* Price: Flights to Ireland from £19.99 one-way Ends: Sun 12 Apr
Our pick this week is Aer Lingus'* offer on flights from 15 Apr to 30 Jun to six Irish destinations from 16 UK airports. The sale ends Sun 12 Apr and includes taxes and charges. There is no code - the price appears automatically. 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 8 Apr onward)

Mon 13 Apr - This Morning, ITV, Money Monday, 10.30am.
Mon 13 Apr - Consumer Panel, BBC Radio 5, 12pm-1pm. Subscribe to podcast.

MSE team corner

Team blogs:
What happens in Vegas, doesn't always stay in Vegas

Regular team appearances:

Fri 10 Apr
BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm

Discussion of the week

Inappropriate reading for an 11-year old

Should my child be reading a book about pregnancy, violence and relationships at 11? Join the discussion and let us know what you think in the Inappropriate reading for an 11-year old thread.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 135.71 121.95
US Flag $ 147.66 132.89
Turkish Flag TL 370.29 355.91
Rates correct at 12pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: How old were you when you bought your first home or have you never bought one?

The Government has announced a new Help to Buy ISA where it'll add 25% onto the deposit savings for first-time buyers. So with this in mind, we wanted to see if the age people buy their first home has changed over the years.

How old were you when you bought your first home?

Poll results

The MSE Leaders' Debate - pick the key subjects for PM candidates
The Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, UKIP, Green, SNP & Plaid party leaders have agreed to answer your consumer finance questions. The top three subjects you wanted them to answer are:

- Pensions - chosen by 43%
- Petrol costs - 39%
- Savings rates - 38%

8,046 voted. Soon we'll publish the party leaders' responses. In the meantime, see the full results.

Question of the week

Q: I've been given a gift of foreign currency hard cash - what's the most cost-effective way to transfer this back into sterling? Sarah, via email.

MSE Helen S's A: Don't automatically take it to your bank as rates are likely to be awful. Instead, it's best to look at buy-back rates at bureaux de change. For this, use our Buyback TravelMoneyMax to see where you'll get the best deal. For example, the best rate we found yesterday converting euros to pounds was 73p to a euro, but some bureaux would only pay 67p, showing it's vital to compare.

The other option is to hold on to it if it's a well-used currency such as euros or dollars that you might use on holiday in the future. Of course, you're taking a gamble either way by keeping it or exchanging it, as currency values can change.

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

 Nick's free game of the week: Face Chase

Do you have a nickname for your car?

That's it for this week, but before we go, apparently more than a third of us have a name for our motor with Bessie, Monty and Sybil in the top 10, according to Sainsbury's research. Do you have a nickname for yours? Let us know in the forum.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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More about MoneySavingExpert and Martin Lewis

What is MoneySavingExpert.com?

Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with more than 10 million people getting this email and about 13 million using the site every month. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: saving cash and fighting for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 80 full time staff, more than a third of whom are editorial – researching, analysing and writing to continually find ways to save money. More info: See About MSE

Who is Martin Lewis?

Martin set up and runs MSE, 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 MoneySavingExpert.com, 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

santander-products.co.uk, lloydsbank.com, tsb.co.uk, halifax.co.uk, firstdirect.com, bank.marksandspencer.com, tescobank.com, barclaycard.co.uk, apply.mbna.co.uk, sky.com, opticalexpress.co.uk, moneysupermarket.com, directline.com, aviva.co.uk, admiral.com, sainsburysbank.co.uk, makeitcheaper.com, businessjuice.co.uk, gocompare.com, policyexpert.co.uk, togethermutualinsurance.co.uk, ageuk.org.uk, directsavetelecom.co.uk, postoffice.co.uk, aerlingus.com.

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 MoneySavingExpert.com Limited on behalf of MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC. MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC and MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited is MoneySupermarket House, St. David’s Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ.

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