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WEEKLY EMAIL

Weekly Email
Archive
This email was sent
08th Jul 2009
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email
08 July 2009
         
Sent: Wednesday 08 July 2009
Highlights below include ...

New top 3.15% savings

Free £17 Aveda Shampoo
Ocado 15% off code Beat Budget Airline Fees
32” HDTV £249, Max Travel Cash, Yo! Sushi 40% off

Haggle down the cost of your existing mortgage
Cut mortgage costs even if you're locked in?

A MoneySaver recently fed back to me how he asked for a rate reduction on his fixed deal (during the lock-in period), and got around 1% off, that's £80 a month cheaper per £100,000 of mortgage. There's no way to tell how widespread this is, and it’s UNLIKELY to work for most, yet there's no harm trying.

What to do...

  • Check your current contract. Don't assume you’re automatically locked in; some fixed and discount rate deals are penalty free, meaning you can leave at any time. And those paying standard rates are usually free to move anyway (see the remortgage guide or speak to a whole-of-market broker).

  • Be polite but have an argument ready. If you are locked in, before you call to haggle, check what your lender currently offers new customers, and prepare an argument for why you should get a reduction. E.g. “I’ve been a loyal customer for years, but my rate's way above everyone else's, what can you do to help?”

  • Use the 'should I ditch my fix?' calculator. If your lender won’t let you move penalty free, and you’re on a fixed rate, it's UNLIKELY to be worth ditching, though you can do a rough calculation with the ditch my fix? calculator.

What not to do...

  • Don’t lock in when there’s little time left. Those who get a reduction close to a mortgage deal's end may be missing out on the opportunity to see what better deals are available elsewhere, and potentially paying over the odds. See the cheap mortgage finding guide for full info.

  • Don’t forget fees. If you're given any options, always check whether there will be penalty fees for leaving and setting up a new deal, then see whether with those incorporated you'll still save.

  • Don’t think cheaper is always better. If your existing lender offers you a new cheaper rate with a longer lock-in, you may be trading in short-term gain for long-term pain. It may be better waiting until your deal ends and you’re free to move.

  • Don't forget to feedback & share info. If you get anywhere, or discover a good technique, please report it in the forum thread mortgage haggling.
TOP 5 MOST READ GUIDES

Week of Tue 30 June - Mon 06 July '09
(Last week's position)

1. Supermarket Coupons (New)
2. Cheap Ryanair Flights (ended) (New)
3. Top Savings Accounts (2)
4. Freebies, Freebies, Freebies (5)
5. Childcare: Save £1,000s (New)
6. Cheap & Free Flights (7)
7. Top Hotel Sales (8)
8. Cheap Car Insurance (New)
9. Bank Charges Reclaiming (3)
10. Cheap Travel Money (6)

The top two work rather well in combination, who'd have thought the savings on toilet tissue and Canderel may've been enough to pay for a return trip to Venice in Ryanair's £5 sale?

Yet the really big money came in fifth place. The average childcare tax credit payout is £3,500 a year, and yet 100,000s of working parents miss out, hopefully last week's updated guide has gone a step towards helping to improve that.

The above excludes daily deals notes

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The Ones Not To Miss
MSE

New! Find cheapest holiday cash & buy-back rates with MSE's TravelMoneyMax.com.
You get over €50 more converting £500 via the top bureau de change compared to airport rates, smashing even established players like M&S and the Post Office. Instantly find top deals. You can now compare rates for any amount of ANY currency from 24 providers, inc. all commission and delivery charges. We've supercharged the unique Travel Money Maximiser tool, so much so it now has its own site. Extra functions: These include a 'buy back' rate comparison for changing leftover currency back, and a quick currency converter. For more, use the New Site: TravelMoneyMax.com or read the Full Guide: Cheap Travel Money Related: Cheap Travel Insurance, Cheap Flights,

Magazine Beauty Freebies! £13 Biotherm moisturiser, £17 Aveda shampoo, haircuts & manicures. Plus Body Shop clearance & Avon 99p sales. Some of the freebies have limited availability so go quick, see the Daily Deals List: Beauty Deals

BIG Rate Boost. New Top Easy-Access Savings 3.15% AER (min £1). Updated Guide
Two just-launched top easy access accounts pay nearly half a percentage point more than recent highs. Both include once frowned-upon short-term bonus interest hikes, yet when rates are low that acts as a min. rate guarantee. Top Accounts (min £1): The Alliance & Leicester* Online Saver pays 3.15% AER inc. a year's 2.65% point bonus; B'ham Midshires' rate's identical, but it's phone only. Got £10,000+? Ulster Bank offers 3.21%, inc. 0.5% bonus for 6 mths, yet withdraw during that time and the rate drops. Got £25,000+? Investec cleverly matches the top 5 accounts' avg rate & currently pays 3.13%, yet it needs 3mths' notice to withdraw. All these accounts have the full UK £50,000 per person per institution safe savings protection. FULL details & more best buys in the Updated Article: Top Savings Related: Safe Savings, Top ISAs

New 15% off £60+ spending on Ocado code. Once just Waitrose, Ocado's grocery delivery service now sources elsewhere too and guarantees to price match Tesco for branded items, so this isn't just for upmarket spenders. See this plus £10 off £50 Tesco online spend in the Daily Deals List: Shopping Vouchers

BEAT Ryanair, Easyjet, BMI Baby etc payment fees with a prepaid card.
While budget airlines advertise flights for pennies, there are hideous add-on costs; now there's a way to beat the nastiest. What they charge: Pay by debit & credit card and Ryanair charges £10 per person return, Easyjet & BMI Baby as high as £7.50 return. How to beat them: Paying with the little-issued Visa Electron cards is free. I suspect this is so they can still call the other charges "add-ons". Yet anyone can go to Travelex*, select its prepaid card, which is an Electron, and pay on that for free. How it works: You load it up with cash, and can spend anywhere that takes Electron (inc. the airlines). Specifically order the UK pound version online and it's totally free to top up. FULL info in the Forum Note: Avoid Flight Booking Fees Related: Budget Airline Flightchecker

New! Yo! Sushi 40% off & 2for1s at Strada, Giraffe, Prezzo & Cafe Rouge. These join Pizza Express, Zizzi & more in the Daily Deals List: Restaurant Vouchers plus new Dim T in the List: London only vouchers

Got friends who'd like to save? Please tell them about this email

32" HD-Ready LCD TV now £249. Cheap if you can afford it. Plus more HD telly bargains in the Deals Note: Cheap LCD HDTVs

New top 'quick balance transfer' cards. 0% for 6 mths & 1.5% fee, 12mths & 2.5% fee
Balance transfers let you shift existing debts to a new credit card to get a much cheaper rate. Longest 0% Deal: Virgin* is 0% for 16 mths with a fee of 2.98% of the debt shifted (18.6% APR after the 0%), however if you can definitely repay more quickly, then go for a shorter deal with a lower fee. Repay in 6 months? Play.com is 0% for 6 mths with a 1.5% fee (17.9% APR). A year? Barclaycard's 12 mth 0% deal has a 2.5% fee (12.4% APR). For a FULL explanation, and more best buys see the Updated Guide: Best Balance Transfers Related: Free Credit Check, Problem Debt Help, Top Cashback Cards

Urgent! BA & Virgin Sales. New York £259, Dubai £299 etc ... but often beatable. A range of flights but limited dates. Some good deals, others beatable. FULL info & how to check in the Forum Note: BA & Virgin Sale Related: Cheap & Free Flights

Mortgage holders hit with excessive arrears fees urged to reclaim. See the MSE News Story: Excessive arrears fees

New July Premium Bonds Odds. Tool Of The Week. Find out what you're likely to win.
While premium bond interest rates are currently 1%, that only tells a fraction of the story; what really counts is how prizes are distributed. Premium Bond Probability Calculator: It took us six months to build, with a post-doctoral cosmology statistician working on the underlying algorithm. You tell it how many premium bonds you've got and it works out what you're likely to win. Sadly for most people the answer's a lot less than you think. Example. Someone with £1,000 over a year has a 72% chance of winning nowt and a 95% chance of getting less than a top savings account pays (inc. tax). Tool of the Week: Premium Bond Calculator Updated Guide: Premium Bonds: Are They Worth It? Related: Top Savings, Top Cash ISA

Premium Bonds

Tesco restocking the wine loophole! Buy £6 bottle get £6 of Tesco Rewards Vouchers. Over 300,000 viewed this last week, and Tesco ran out. More's now on its way, and while the deal's now not quite as good it's still loophole-able. See the Forum Note: Tesco Wine Loophole News Story: MoneySavers swamp Tesco

Instantly Find Top Deals! Rank bargains, freebies & competitions by sheer Likeability!
The deals section of the MSE forums is jam-packed with top spots posted by 100,000s of MoneySavers; yet with so many, honing in on the best can be tough. New Tool: You can filter the forum by a range of factors including ranking by 'likeability factor' - based on how many registered users have recently pressed their "like it" buttons. Unsurprisingly all the super deals tend to come top. Try it: The new function is in the grabbit, freebies, competition time and other shopping forums Current most liked: The top threads include Home Bargains Finds, Goodies From Woolies, Next Sale, and Win A Nokia 5800 Every 10 mins

Extra £50 cashback on already top home phone, line rental & broadband deal. Get an automatic £50 cashback until 13 July on TalkTalk's Essentials package via comparison site SimplifyDigital*. Over the 18 mth contract, it avgs £16.60/mth inc. line rental, broadband & free local calls anytime, normally £19.40/mth. See the Guide: Cheap Home Phones

Teach MoneySaving to Teens. FREE Teen Cash Class booklet & MoneySaving IQ Quiz
Disgracefully the UK's a nation that educates its youth into debt when they go to uni, but has no compulsory debt education. Now that exams are over, a reminder that if you want to educate them (or yourself), we've free resources to help. Free Teen Cash Class PDF: The printable free Teen Cash Class is 40 pages of Martin's MoneySaving lessons including debt. MoneySaving IQ Quiz: After the class anyone can try the super-tough MoneySaving IQ Test, which analyses strengths and weaknesses, showing you how to boost your consumer power. Related: £1,000s Free Childcare, Adult financial education grants from the MSE Charity

E.on cuts gas price by 3.3%... but still time to switch. This is a price shave rather than a cut, but it's the right direction. To compare, ditch & switch, see the Updated Guide: Cheap Gas & Elec plus cashback MSE News story: E.on cuts prices

Last chance! Grab 2for1 Thorpe Park & The Dungeons voucher now, use until 31 July. The voucher's only online until 13 July, but can be used most Mon-Fris. This plus free cricket festival and more in the Daily Deals List: Cheap Days Out

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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


Great 'Courier Flights' Hunt: Have you succeeded or is it more myth than legend?:
Newspaper travel supplements often cite courier flights, where you get cut-price tickets in return for delivering a parcel, as a way to snap up bargains. Yet finding them’s virtually impossible. We want to know whether you've actually managed to get a courier flight, what price you paid and how you did it. Add your ideas/read other people's: Great Courier flights Hunt Past Great Hunts: View all

Free Kelloggs cornflakes and milk! Buy 3 packs of Kelloggs cereals, submit the codes online and you'll get a voucher for a free pack of Corn Flakes plus a pint of milk. More info in the Forum Note: Free Brekkie

Heating fuel users have your say. Take part in Consumer Focus' report. For those using heating fuel in their homes loose regulation means it can be much harder to switch to cheaper suppliers. The statutory watchdog Consumer Focus is launching an investigation into the market. Full info in the Forum Note: Heating Fuel Investigation

Warning! Avoid auto-added airline travel insurance. Some internet booking firms automatically add expensive insurance to holiday bookings, yet it's far cheaper to buy cover elsewhere. See the MSE News Story: Travel insurance trap

CHEAP FLIGHTS SALES ALERT Airline: Ryanair. Price: sub. £10 e/w. Ends: Midnight Thurs 9 July.
Our top pick budget airline sale this week is Ryanair's, with flights to a host of European destinations, from a range of UK airports, for under £10 each way (including some taxes and charges). Tickets are at this price until midnight Thurs 9 July, on selected flights travelling between July and October '09. How to quickly find the sales flights: Don't go direct, instead use the Budget Airline FlightChecker and ask it to find all flights under £10. Non-Budget Airline Tools: These are listed in the Cheap Flights guide. Related Travel MoneySaving: Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance, Mobile Roaming

Don't miss the 31 July tax deadline. Millions of self-assessment taxpayers need to make their second 'payment on account' by the end of the month. Miss the deadline, and you'll be charged. See the News story: Tax deadline

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA. Should Fearne stump up for Reggie's music collection?
Fearne’s in a pickle; she has a week left to finish her dissertation and her computer’s gone kaput. She begs her friend Reggie to lend her his flashy laptop. He’s not happy, but as she’s desperate he gives in, yet the moment she leaves his flat it gets pilfered from her bag. While he’s got insurance to cover the stolen kit, there’s no cover for the unbacked-up £400 worth of music stored on it, so he wants Fearne to buy it again. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should Fearne stump up for Reggie’s music collection? Previous MMDs: View All


QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q. With the recession house prices have dropped, so surely home insurance should too? Mine's gone up this year... Pat Cossey, by email

Martin's A. By far the most likely reason is you've hit renewal, and therefore the insurer has upped the price, hoping you won't compare and it can profit from your apathy. In fact, apply to current insurers as a new customer, and often you'll get a much cheaper price.

Some people actually get PAID to take out home insurance, by getting more cashback than their policy costs, see the Cheap Home Insurance system guide.

As for the specific recession impact, do remember you don't cover the house's market value (the amount it could be sold for), but the ‘rebuild value'; simply the cost of rebuilding the property if it were knocked down. Therefore house prices are less important than the value of materials, labour and architects' fees.

Due to the recession those costs have gone down, meaning should you need to rebuild, it'll cost less now than before. Therefore the sum you insure buildings for should be less.

Discuss: Home Insurance Prices
Suggest: A question of the week

(big general issues not personal q's pls)


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

Board of the Week! Digital TV: Discuss everything from Virgin Media to Freeview boxes
The Digital TV board is the place specifically to discuss pros & cons of Sky, cable, freeview & more, plus the cheapest way to set it up once you've decided. Current discussions there include Sky box problems after cancellation, Cut through Sky cable and I can't afford to pay my Virgin Media bill this month

Great 'Cheap Holidays & Excursions' Hunt Result
Last week we asked for your top bargain holiday tips, and the cheapest ways to book outings upon arrival. There were some great suggestions, including Cheaper Booze on the Costa del Sol, Disneyland Orlando tips, Greek Island Guide.

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Dove Go Fresh Burst, Vagisil Wipes, Black Crowes Download
Clipper Tea, Eco Building Show Tickets, Jersey Zoo Entry



Odds and Ends
MSE

Martin's Appearances... Weds 08 - Thurs 16 July
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.
  • Tues - Thurs, GMTV, ITV1, sometime between 7:20 & 9:30am. Holiday Special. Mobile Roaming, Holiday Currency, Q & A.

This week's Martin's Blog: "New consumer advocate... sounds like all puff, no pastry to me"
"Is this the summer of Love?" and "I almost went to France". Read m'blogs (or RSS users access)

How much is in your bank account? This week's poll. Vote and Current Accounts discussion.

Magnum is king of the lollies! 9,739 voted last week. Classic and white chocolate Magnums topped last week's fave lolly poll, taking 14% and 11% of the total vote respectively. Next most popular were Twister (9%) and Solero (9%), closely followed by Feast (also 9%), then Fab (6%). See the Ice Cold poll results.

Archna's Free Game of the Week! Slice up the shapes and keep the balls in play. Fat Slice

I wanna be like you-oo-oo! That's it for this week, but before we go, check out these amazing 25 extremely expressive primates. It's bananas!

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: alliance-leicester.co.uk, americanexpress.com, energyhelpline.com, gocompare.com, halifax.co.uk, moneysupermarket.com, plus.net, simplifydigital.co.uk, tescofinance.com, virginmoney.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. It's owned, and run by ultra-specialised journalist and bestselling author Martin Lewis. On TV amongst other things Martin is GMTV's Money SavingExpert and presents money programmes for ITV1 Tonight. On Radio Martin has regular slots on Radio 2 Vine and Radio 1 Whiley. Heb's 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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