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Weekly Email
This email was sent
08th Aug 2012
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

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

08 August 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

Lock in cheap energy for TWO winters
Cash in on price war | Save £250+/yr and guarantee no hikes

It may be summer, but act now and due to a raft of new deals it's possible to sort your energy bills for the next two winters. Here are the 10 must-knows...

1. Do nothing and you'll pay massively over the odds. Millions overpay for energy. A typical home on a standard tariff pays £1,310, yet switch to a cheap tariff and it can drop to £1,040 for the SAME gas, SAME electricity and SAME safety. Only customer service and price changes.
2. New. Fix prices cheaply for TWO winters. The new version of EDF's Blue* tariff is almost cheapest but it has three killer features it's important not to miss when using comparisons:

A. It's fixed until April 2014, so no price hikes for a long time.
B. Unusually, it has no exit penalties, so if things change you can leave.
C. It promises to email if anyone launches a tariff £52/yr cheaper.
  Avg cost/yr Exit fees
Standard Tariff (1) £1,310 N/A
EDF Blue £1,058 None
Scottish Power Fix £1,050 None
First Utility Fix £1,040 £60

For med user dual fuel mthly direct debit. Varies by region. (1) Avg of big 6 tariffs. Source: Energyhelpline

Urgent: £70 cashback on cheap fix. Alternatively, Scottish Power's Nov '13 fix is 2nd cheapest. But sign up via this link to MoneySup's* comparison by midnight Sunday and you get the usual £30 dual fuel cashback plus an extra £40, paid after 3mths. All-in, it's by far the cheapest and again has no early exit penalties.
4. First Utility's cheapest, WITH exit penalties. On tariff price, for most, First Utility* slightly undercuts those above. It's fixed until Dec 2013, but if things change and you want to leave, it has £30 gas & £30 elec exit penalties.
5. Compare (and get cashback) to find your cheapest. Your winner depends on your region and usage. So use a comparison site to check the deals above actually save you money. Plus, use the special links below & if they switch you, after 3mths, you get cashback or rewards. See Cheap Gas & Elec.

Top comparison: Energyhelpline* pays £15 per gas, elec or dual switch
Dual fuel: MoneySupermarket* pays £30 cash
Want wine? uSwitch* gives a mixed crate of 6 bottles on dual fuel
6. Worth fixing now? Unusually, these cheap fixes don't cost more than the cheapest variable deals, and as neither EDF nor Scottish Power have exit penalties, if things change, you can ditch. So why wouldn't you fix?

As for price predictions, industry insiders are split: some say up, some down, some no change. If you can't afford a hike, fix. See energy predictions.
7. Got electricity only or moving house? You can still save. If you don't have gas, don't think the rules are different, you can still compare, switch & save (use links above) although cashback's lower. If moving home, you'll first need to connect to the past occupier's supplier. After, you can switch. uSwitch* can estimate your home's usage if you don't know.
8. Prepay meter users can save too. Step 1: A credit meter (where you get bills) is cheaper, so try to convert. Some don't charge. Step 2: If unaffordable, compare & switch prepay provider. MoneySup*, Energyhelpline* and uSwitch* have prepay comparisons. Step 3: When switching, favour companies that convert to bills for nowt. See Cheap Prepay Energy.
9. Direct debit saves 5%-10% more. If possible, pay by fixed monthly direct debit to get a discount. Do regular meter readings to keep it accurate.
10. FREE £300 insulation (some even get paid). Installing loft & cavity wall insulation can reduce bills by £300/yr (along with being energy efficient). Each normally costs about £150, but right now some energy firms give it away to fulfil efficiency obligations. Some on benefits even get paid to take it, see Free £300 Insulation.

Say it loud, say it proud - I AM A MONEYSAVER

If this site or email has ever helped you, spread the word, pls forward this to friends and suggest they get it via

Use the Money Mantras If you're skint, ask - do I need it, can I afford it If you aren't, ask Will I use it, Is it worth it?

The Ones Not To Miss

Wed 8 Aug 2012
Last chance 22-mth 0% LOW FEE balance transfer card
Ends Mon: Go quick to shift costly debts to the longest 0% deal, with half the usual fee

If you've credit card debt, now's the time to sort it. A balance transfer means you get a new card that pays off other card(s), so you owe it instead. Some of the best deals we've ever seen close in the next week. All require a credit check.

  • Top 0% deal ending. Accepted new customers shifting debt to Barclaycard 22mth 0%* pay a fee of 2.9% of the amount transferred, but apply by midnight Mon and it refunds half after a month, so it's just 1.45%, saving £45 on a £3,000 transfer. If you can repay quicker, the fee on its 21mth 0% card* halves to 1.3% until Mon. Repay before the 0% ends or the representative APR jumps to 17.9%. If you need longer, see the 5.9% MBNA card below:




Representative APR once deal ends

balance transfer
Barclaycard* 22 mths 0% 1.45% 17.9%
NatWest* / RBS* 22 mths 0% 3.2% 17.9%
Barclaycard* 21 mths 0% 1.3% 17.9%
MBNA 20 mths 0% 2.5% 18.9%
MBNA* 5.9% for life 1.5% Lasts until shifted debt repaid

  • Important must-knows. 1. Balance transfer deals usually only apply to debt shifted in first 60/90 days. 2. Repay at least the monthly minimum or you can lose the 0% rate. 3. Avoid spending on cards, it isn't usually at the cheap rate. 4. With 0% deals, always try to repay in full before the 0% ends. 5. For help deciding, use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. 5. For step-by-step help, see Best Balance Transfers & Official APRs.
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£1 posh Stila cosmetics. In-store, incl moisturiser, foundation, powder and dry shampoo. See Stila Deals

50p/L off petrol - extreme couponing. Until Sun at Tesco, buying Tetley tea, certain cereals (eg, Alpen, Weetabix), Andrex, Whiskas or Finish tabs may get you a 10p/L off coupon. You can combine up to five for 50p/L off. Does it add up? Yes, bulk buy, they're non-perishables & a £30 Tesco spend can save £30 on fuel for a 60L tank. Step-by-step in Cheap Petrol

£56 of plants for £15, including delivery. 17 autumn plants till Thursday. See Garden Deals

Urgent Travelex 2hr FLASH currency sale
Boost airport rate on euros, dollars & others | Or get unbeatable rates for ALL future trips

It's peak summer holiday season, and while many watch the Olympics gold rush, millions more are still due to go abroad. The pound is at a three-year high against the euro, but even so, you can lose if you don't grab cash the best way...

  • currency saleTravelex 2-hr flash sale. The big boon of this temporary rate boost is it allows airport pick-up as well as delivery. This is good as buy-at-airport rates are usually dire. Past deals have been strong, but to be sure, our Travel Money Comparison rates will update during sales.

    SALE TIMES: All bar € (incl US $): Thurs 11am-1pm, €: Fri 11am-1pm.

  • Bag unbeatable rates for ALL trips. Most credit & debit cards add a hidden 3% load, so spend £100 worth of euros and it costs £103. Yet a few specialist cards don't charge this worldwide, giving unbeatable rates (far better than bureaux): Halifax Clarity*, Post Office*, Saga (50s+) & Nationwide Select* (its custs ONLY). Yet ALWAYS fully repay each month or the gain's lost by 11.9-16.9% representative APRs.
  • Unbeatable rates with a poorer credit score. If you think you won't get accepted, Aqua Reward* is also load-free and gives 3% cashback (max £100/yr), though if you want hard cash its overseas ATM fees are high. Yet BEWARE, as fail to fully repay, and it's 34.9% rep APR. See Top Overseas Cards (APR Examples).
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Starbucks 2for1 voucher. Hot & cold drinks (not bottles). Espresso yourself: Starbucks 2for1

New. MSE 'flash your phone' discounts page
Includes Strada 40%, £6 off £10 at 1k+ takeaways, Toni & Guy 20%, Gap & Banana Republic 15%
Full of no-print restaurant & discount vouchers. Bookmark our mobile-optimised flash your phone deals ( page on your smartphone.

MSE Blagged

Free £3 Fairy non-bio washing powder (800g). We've blagged 2,500 coupons (needs Smartphone), Fairy-nuff

What'd happen to family finances if you die?
New Cheap Life Insurance guide, save £1,000s | Women act soon - prices set to rise

Around 1 in 20 lose a parent before growing up. The grief can be compounded by financial crisis or lack of income, even if the deceased is not the main earner. We've updated our cheap life insurance guide, read that in detail, here's a taster...

  • life insurance Cover what you can. While covering 10x the main breadwinner's income is typically suggested, if you need, just say: "I can afford £10 a month, what will that buy me?"
  • Level term assurance is cheapest & certain. Here you pay an amount each month and it pays out when you die. As it's 'level' the payout is fixed, such as £200,000. 'Term' means it only pays out if you die within a set time, such as 18 years.
  • Women's prices set to rise. From Dec, EU laws mean gender can't play a part in insurance pricing. As women get term assurance cheaper (they're less likely to die in the time), equalisation means women's costs will probably rise. Yet get it now, with fixed costs, to beat that.
  • Quit smoking? Get a new quote. Non-smokers pay less, as they're a lot less likely to die during the term. If you quit over a year ago, you're a non-smoker and prices drop. Requoting may save you, worth a check.
  • Save £1,000s with 'execution-only' brokers. Brokers find you the cheapest life insurance, but take commission. If you don't need advice, there are ways to pay a fee (about £35) and get commission rebated. On one £200,000 20-year policy this cut costs from £26/mth to £15, saving £2,500 over the policy life. Best-buys in Cheap Life Ins.
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London Eye 2for1 voucher. As tickets are £19, it's a big saving, but can be fiddly, see London Eye deals.

£30 M&S or Amazon credit card freebie. Via this link, accepted new Amex Rewards* cardholders get 16 mths 0% on spending. To get the £30 gift voucher you must spend £500+ per month for 3 months, so do normal spending and clear it before the 0% ends or it's 19.9% representative APR. You need £30k+ household income and must pass a credit check. Never miss minimum repayments. Full info: Credit Card Freebies & APR Examples

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
22 mths 0%, 1.45% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

0% BTs & Spend: Barclaycard*
14 mths 0%, 1.45% fee

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

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

M&S* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.3% rep APR
(Must be 30+ or a homeowner)

Sainsbury's* (£7.5 - £15k)
5.8% rep APR

(Need Nectar card)

Manchester BS 3.06% AER
Min £1,000. Incl bonus.
Postal only. Transfers allowed.

Santander* 3% AER
Min £500. Incl bonus.
Transfers allowed

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Mortgage rates at record lows. Three lenders now offer the unthinkable: 5-year fixes below 3% (need big equity). Can you save? See the MSE Remortgage Booklet. Also see Mortgage Falls news.

Magazine beauty freebies (all in/on £4 mags)
£14 Jemma Kidd eyeliner | £10 Murad cleanser | £6.50 Lancome mascara | £7 Shiseido moisturiser

Fri/Sat top Blood Brothers tix £14 (Ldn). RRP up to £62, you get best avail. See Cheap Days Out

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Top student accounts 2012/13
The best deals for new & existing students | Up to £2,000 0% overdrafts + cash

Banks salivate over new students, desperate to bag custom for life. Their new academic year packages are now out, in time for this week's Scottish Higher & next week's A Level results. Full help in the Student Bank Accounts guide. For now...

  • Top student accountsIt's all about the 'guaranteed' overdraft. Sadly, most students need an overdraft (these allow you to spend more than you've got). For safety, the biggest & longest 0% overdraft wins. Banks such as Halifax promise up to £3,000 but usually give far less, so our picks focus on where accepted, whether you get the amount stated.
  • Top student bank accounts. It's close between the Co-op Bank (with a 0%, £1,400 yr-1 overdraft, £1,700 yr-2 and £2,000 yr-3) and Santander (which gives £50 cash, a 0% £1,500 overdraft each year and 1% in-credit interest on up to £500).
  • Need-to-knows. 1. A UCAS offer letter's enough to open an account. 2. Existing students can often switch and gain. 2. An overdraft is a loan, it needs repaying on graduation. 3. Never bust the agreed overdraft limit, it costs up to £25 a pop and can cripple your finances. 4. Forget loyalty. At graduation, switch to the new best deal.

Key student resources: 20 key facts on student finance 2012 | 50+ Student MoneySaving tips | Parents' Student Fin Guide

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'Free' £3 personalised greeting card (needs iPhone). You pay 60p p&p: Card Town Deals

New cheapest loan: M&S 7.3% for £5k-£7.5k. If you're a homeowner or 30+, the M&S* loan's now 7.3% rep APR, the cheapest at this level for 3 years+. See the Cheap Loans guide. Official APR examples.

Hotel booking magic - absurd savings
Tricks to help you beat the system. Eg, NYC listed at £302/night for £75

It ain't where you stay, it's the way you book. Whether for trips now or later, hidden tricks can get you 5-star rooms at 2-star prices (but the magic doesn't always work). Full help in Cheap Hotels, but for starters...

  • cheap hotelsThe basics. Never assume one room, one price. If you've found a nice hotel, use comparison sites Trivago and TravelSup* to see where you can book it cheapest (though check taxes are included in final price). Savings can be huge, eg, we found Barcelona's Alimara hotel ranged from £52 to £179 for the same room, same night.
  • Turn detective to uncover secret 3-5 star discounts. For big cities worldwide, Lastminute* and Hotwire* sell secret hotels, where you only learn the name after paying. Use our tricks to uncover secret hotels to find their identity to see if it's a bargain worth staying at. One MoneySaver got the 4-star Millennium Hotel, London, for £35/night instead of its £143 list price.
  • BIG savings, complex trick, the Priceline US hotel loopholes. Giant US site Priceline lets you bid daily to set your price. If it's accepted, you get it. If not, you must wait a day. Our Priceline Bidding tricks guide has legal, multiple-bid techniques, so you can finesse the perfect price. One MoneySaver got the 3.5-star Helmsley Hotel, New York, for £75/night, not the £302 list price.
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50% more Avios for Tesco pts. If you swap Tesco for Avios, in Aug, £10 gets 3,600: Boost Tesco pts

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

£15 per switch

£30 dual fuel

8 bottles of wine

First Direct*
£100 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills
(£2 per month fee)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Get quotes in this order...

Primus Line Rental Saver*

BT Line Rental Saver*
£10.75/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner Free MSE car sticker £16 Travel Insurance

the moneysaving community

Campaign of the week

Donate clothes to charity and get £5 shopping voucher
Until 30 Sep each large bag of clothes, shoes, belts and bags donated via the NSPCC's partner Clothes Aid (call 08450 722 780 to arrange collection) will earn you a £5 BHS voucher (min £25 spend). Oxfam and M&S also offer a £5 voucher, with a £35 min spend, for M&S-branded clothes and soft furnishings. Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support the work of other charities, community groups and campaigners. Send us a campaign of the week suggestion.

Book giveaway. Foraging: The Essential Guide to Free Wild Food. 40 blagged for MoneySavers. Want one?

Money Moral Dilemma

Should I up the rent and risk losing a great tenant?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
I've had the same tenant for ten years and haven't increased the rent, but I recently learned the tenants next door pay £250 a month more, in similar condition. My tenant works in a low paid (but, to my mind, valuable) job and doesn't have much money so can't afford this rise. Do I ask for market value or carry on giving an essential worker and nice person a break? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I up the rent? Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

spill beans

Spill the beans... on cheap ways to get in shape this 'summer'
Granted, we've not had much cause to bare our bods on the beaches this summer, but plenty are getting in shape for when the sun finally decides to stay. However, dieting and keeping fit can be expensive. We've had reports of juice diets costing £40+ a week, so we want to know how you stay trim without breaking the bank. Spill 'em: cheap ways to get in shape Past topics: View all

Cheap Flight Sales

Ryanair Price: From £17 each way Ends: Thu 9 Aug
Our pick this week is Ryanair's from £17 each way flights. It's on various routes for travel Mon 3 Sep-Wed 31 Oct 2012, and includes some taxes and charges. Flights include London Stansted to Barcelona for about £35 return. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £60 return max search. Extra charges warning: Avoid payment and check-in charges. See the Budget Airline Fee Fighting guide. Related: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance

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Free ways to keep the kids entertained. Spill the beans... revealed
Last week's topic proved MoneySavers are an imaginative lot, with some brilliant suggestions for cheap activities with the kids. Garden Olympics is both topical and educational and baking and crafts are great for rainy days. We also loved the alphabet days idea, especially Day C, which includes cod and chips after a walk along the Cumbrian coast.

Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 125.16 113.95
US Flag $ 155.36 141.54
Turkish Flag TL 271.50 244.54
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Would you press a 'cancel Olympics' button NOW?

We asked this two weeks ago, and want to know if minds have changed.
Would you press a magic button to cancel the Olympics from happening in the UK, as if we'd never got them?

I live in London/SE

Yes. Cancel it.

I'm not too into it, but others are, so it's fine

No, I'm loving it - great to have it in the UK.

I live in Wales

Yes. Cancel it.

I'm not too into it, but others are, so it's fine.

No, I'm loving it - great to have it in the UK.

I live in the rest of England

Yes. Cancel it.

I'm not too into it, but others are, so it's fine

No, I'm loving it - great to have it in the UK.

I live in Northern Ireland

Yes. Cancel it.

I'm not too into it, but others are, so it's fine

No, I'm loving it - great to have it in the UK.

I live in Scotland

Yes. Cancel it.

I'm not too into it, but others are, so it's fine

No, I'm loving it - great to have it in the UK.

Poll Results

Would you buy cheap, child-sweatshop-made clothes?

10,900 voted, with the biggest bunch (35%) saying they'd never knowingly buy these. 29% would avoid, but only if a cheap alternative existed. 23% would continue with a clear conscience, while 11% feel trapped as 'they're all the same'. See Full Results.

Question Of The Week

Q: If you've a perfect credit score, but your partner's is bad, should you avoid a joint account in case the bad affects the good? Mike, by email

MSE Dan's A: This depends on the account you're after. Having a joint current account can lead to the account holders becoming 'financially linked', but having two names on a savings account or a second credit cardholder does not. So the former is a problem, the latter is OK.

Once linked, a poor history can impinge (though there are no hard rules) on the other's ability to get a loan, mortgage, credit card and more. So if you are mismatched, it's worth avoiding.

If you split up with someone you've joint finances with, once the accounts are separated and no longer active, write to the credit reference agencies and ask for a notice of 'disassociation'.

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

Board Of The Week

The In my home (includes DIY) MoneySaving Board

Share tips on home improvements, etc. Recent discussions include bending white 40mm waste pipe, home alarm system and best option for flea ridden room?

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Game Of The Week

Super Adventure Pals

How much better is Bolt than the 1896 100m winner?

It's a bit American - 'gee whiz look at them go' - but after Usain Bolt's 9.63 Olympic record, this cool New York Times infographic shows just how far ahead of the gold, silver and bronze winners from history he is: One race, every medalist, ever.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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