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WEEKLY EMAIL

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This email was sent
08th Oct 2014
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 This info may be out of date.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 October 2014
         

This week

Christmas credit cards that pay you
Pay £168 for a year's bband & line get £120 Amazon vch
Home improvement grants are back
£80 Karcher washer with home ins
30 supermarket shopping tips
50% off Thorntons hamper code
Help us ban payday loan kids ads
16-25 railcard - code gets it for £18
Bake Off deals: £9 Mary Berry book, 50% off Waitrose baking range
Hi-Tec waterproof boots 60% code
CODES & VCHS: 20% off Miss Selfridge Extra 10% off Nike sale
Were you mis-sold CreditExpert?
Cheapest ever loan 3.9% APR
M&S Outlet EXTRA 25% off code
'Saved £400 in 20min energy switch'
40% off Odeon cinema voucher
Post Office flash Euro & dollar sale
Photo deals: £19 photobook, 80% off XL posters, A2ish canvas for £15
2for1 Alton Towers & Thorpe Pk tix
Farepak reclaim - are you owed?
Free £18 The Other Art Fair tix pairs
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs

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

Christmas cards that pay you
Debt free? Get PAID 5% on all shopping. If not, get up to 34mths 0%

In January millions decide to tackle their credit cards to find the perfect plastic. Yet that's too late. Do it now before the high spend period starts or you rack up debts. So here's how to perfect your plastic, for borrowers or the debt-free.

PS: What does 'eligibility calc' mean below? Any application, whether you get it or not, leaves a mark other lenders can see on your credit file, which has a minor negative impact. Our eligibility calc shows your odds of getting a card pre-applying so you can zone in on the right card and protect your credit score.

1. Earn 5% cashback on Xmas & Jan sales spending + extra protection. Cashback credit cards pay you to spend, so provided you repay IN FULL each month to avoid interest, you're up. Now's the perfect time...

- 5% cashback for 3mths. The Amex Everyday* (eligibility calc) gives accepted new cardholders 5% cashback (max £100) on the first 3mths spending, up to 1.25% after. Apply now and you get the boost in the high-spend period.

- Top for drivers. The Santander 123 card* (eligibility calc) gives 3% cashback on fuel, rail & tube travel (max £9/mth), 2% in department stores and 1% in supermarkets. Cashback is paid monthly; most cards pay annually. It has a £24/yr fee, so it's best only for those who drive a decent distance.

- Poorer credit scorers' cashback. The easier-to-get Cap One Classic Extra* (eligibility calc) pays a flat 0.5% cashback on all spending. Plus it pays you £10/yr provided you never miss repayments or bust your credit limit.

The other unique advantage of using a credit card is if you pay for goods costing £100+ (max £30k) the card provider's jointly liable with the store. So if the retailer goes bust, you can go to the card firm. See Section 75 info.

The Cashback Credit Card Golden Rules:

a) Always repay IN FULL, preferably by direct debit.
If not, the cashback gain's dwarfed by the 19.9%, 16.5% and 34.9% representative APR cost.
b) Use for all spending. Forget cash, cheques & other plastic, they don't pay you to spend, but ensure you can afford to fully repay it.
c) Don't withdraw cash. It's expensive and can hurt your credit score.

Full info & more options in Top Cashback Credit Cards (APR Examples).
2. Got existing debts? Shift to up to 34mths 0%. A balance transfer is where you get a new card that repays debts on old cards (for a one-off fee) so you owe it, but at a cheaper rate. Current deals are at record lengths.

Go for the lowest fee, provided you can repay it in that time. Check these...


Top pick balance transfer cards
Card Intro offer Fee Rep APR after
Barclaycard* (eligibility calc) 34mths 0% (1) 2.99% 18.9%
Halifax* (eligibility calc) 33mths 0% (1) 2.8% 18.9%
Lloyds* (eligibility calc) 28mths 0% 1.5% 18.9%
MBNA* (eligibility calc) 25mths 0% 1.45% (min £3) 20.9%
Nationwide* 15mths 0% 0.65% 17.9%
Tesco* 12mths 0% None 20.6%
All are new cardholder deals (1) With these cards, some get shorter 0%.

The Balance Transfer Golden Rules:

a) Always pay at least the minimum. If not, you risk losing the 0% deal.
b) Clear the card or shift again before the 0% ends. Or rates jump to the APR.
c) Don't just apply. Use the Balance Transfer Eligibility Calc to see the cards you've the best odds of getting, cutting credit file marks.
d) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate.
e) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. For full help & more options, see Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).
3. Christmas CardsFree £100 gift card in time for Christmas. The Amex Rewards Gold* (eligibility calc) charge card gives accepted newbies who spend £2,000+ on it in the first 3 months 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points - enough for a £100 M&S, Boots, PC World, etc gift card; or get BA/Virgin points and more. The stores may change before you redeem, but last year many people raved about it.

Just use it for all possible daily and Xmas purchases (it's not an excuse to spend more). If you spend less than £2,000, you still earn points worth about £5 per £1,000, you just don't get the bonus points.

The T&Cs only promise the bonus after 3mths, but Amex says in practice it's often once you hit the trigger. So those who hit that quickly should be able to get the gift card in time for Christmas. If not, the January sales.

The Amex Gift Card Golden Rules...

1. This is a charge card, not a credit card, ie, one designed to be fully repaid each month - so no interest is charged. Yet miss repayments & it's a £12 charge & credit file default. So only spend if you can afford to repay.
2. There's a £125 fee from year 2. So if you don't want to pay, get the gift card then cancel before the end of year one.
4. Pay 32mths 0% cash into your bank account, eg, to clear an overdraft. A money transfer is when you get a 0% card to pay cash directly into your bank account. Few cards allow it, but it can be very powerful for clearing overdrafts (or even for a cheap cash loan). The top pick is...

The MBNA Plat* (eligibility calc), which allows accepted new cardholders to do it at 32mths 0% for a one-off 4% fee (2.69% for balance transfers).

The Money Transfer Golden Rules:

a) Always pay at least the minimum. If not, you risk losing the 0% deal.
b) Clear the card before 0% ends. Or the rate jumps to 22.9% rep APR.
c) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate.
d) Unsure about this? Money transfers are complex. It can be costly if you get it wrong, so get step-by-step help in Money Transfers (APR Examples).
5. Need to borrow for Xmas? You can get 20mths 0%, but beware... I always wrestle with this. I think borrowing for Christmas is usually a mistake. It's just one day, don't let it ruin your new year, far better to save up (and if you can't afford the cost, ask how you can afford to pay it back after).

Yet on the other hand if you are going to do it, I want to show you how to do it as cheaply as possible and that's with a 0% spending card.

Top pick 0% spending cards
Card Intro offer Spending Perks Rep APR after
Halifax* (eligibility calc) 20mths 0% (1) - 18.9%
Tesco* 19mths 0% Clubcard points 18.9%
Amex Everyday* (eligibility calc) 18mths 0% Up to 1.25% cashback 19.9%
BA Amex* (eligibility calc) 18mths 0% Avios points 15.9%
Sainsbury's* (eligibility calc) 18mths 0% Nectar points 18.9%
M&S* (eligibility calc) 15mths 0% M&S points 16.9%
All are new cardholder deals (1) With this card, some get shorter 0%.

The 0% borrowing cards Golden Rules:

a) Always pay at least the minimum.
If not, you risk losing the 0% deal.
b) Clear the card before the 0% ends. Or rates jump to the APR.
c) Don't withdraw cash. It's expensive and hurts your credit score.
d) If borrowing for Xmas, repay in fewer than 12mths.
Don't still be paying for this Christmas next Christmas.
For full help and more options, see 0% Spending Cards (APR Examples).

Blagged for MoneySavers

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Claims handlers aren't more successful.
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MSE News

Top story: More pensioners can now claim the Warm Home Discount
Cheshire savers become Nationwide customers
Wonga busted by the FCA: 330,000 to have their loan wiped
Booking train tickets at RedSpottedHanky? It now charges
Drivers struggle to renew road tax online
Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.
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 Oct 2014
Pay £168 for a year's b'band & line rental and get a £120 Amazon vch
Super-hot deal, but only avail UNTIL MON. Plus it'll pay your costs (max £100) to break your existing contract

If you're on a standard Sky, BT or Virgin package, you'll pay £300+ a year for broadband & line rental and that's before calls. The trick is to hold out then bag a short-lived promo deal like this EE one (full options in Cheap Broadband).

  • broadbandEnds Mon. £120 Amazon voucher code on HOT deal. MSE Blagged.
    Until Mon 13 Oct go via this special EE deal* link, enter the code 'HBB120' and then your contact details. After that you can sign up for a 1yr contract that includes...

    - Compulsory line rent: You pay £132 for the year upfront (you must opt for this at sign-up); equiv to £11/mth. If you've not got the cash you can pay £15.75 monthly.
    - Call costs: Weekend calls to landlines included, others mostly on a par with BT, and they'll be slightly cheaper after BT hikes prices on 1 Dec (unless EE follows & raises too).
    - Unlimited broadband: You pay £2.50/mth, so £30 for 1yr (avail to 95% of UK). The price'll rise after contract ends.
    - 'Free' router. The kit that provides you with wifi. Yet you have to pay a one-off £6 to cover p&p.
    - You're sent a £120 Amazon voucher after 3mths. It's automatic as long as you follow the instructions here: go via this EE deal* link and enter code HBB120 (the same code also gets the voucher on costlier superfast deals).

    Analysis: Paying line rent upfront, broadband monthly + router p&p (excl calls), the year's cost's £168, equiv to £14/mth (pay line rent monthly it's £225 or equiv £18.75/mth), plus the £120 Amazon voucher. If you'd spend that at Amazon anyway, factor it in and it's effectively £48 over the year, equiv to just £4/mth (paid monthly, £105 or equiv £8.75/mth).

    Need line installation? If you don't have a line (or for those with a cable one or, in a few cases, Sky custs), it's £60.

    Still in contract? Get up to £100 to cover switching costs. If you're in contract elsewhere and subject to switching charges, pay to get out of your deal and EE will give you up to £100 back. See switching rebate.

Full help and more options in Cheap Broadband. Related: Cheap Home Phones, Digital TV Deals

50% off Thorntons hamper code - great for Xmas. MSE Blagged. Eg, £50 hampers £25. 6 to choose. Thorntons

Help us tell the Lords to BAN payday loan ads from kids TV. Last year we started our campaign to ban financial grooming - our poll showed 1/3 of under-10s have repeated payday slogans, and 14% nagged parents to get one when they've turned down requests (for toys etc). While kids can't get the loans, it normalises this dangerous lending for a new generation. If you agree pls help: The Children's Society's organising a lobby of Lords to amend the Consumer Rights Bill. Click Lobby A Lord to read more, then 'Take Action' to send an (amendable) template email. Discuss this

16-25 Railcard £18 (norm £30). From Thurs. Cheapest we've seen - 1/3 off train fares. Railcard Deal

Bake Off Deals... Mary Berry book £9 (RRP £25), 50% off Waitrose homebaking range etc
The final's tonight, and the nation's got Bake Off fever. To rise to the occasion, we've donned our apron to find you some showstopper deals.
Top celebrity cookbook deals incl Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect £9 | £1 Jane Asher Bakeware blog
25% off Dr Oetker baking | £80 KitchenAid alternative | 50% off Waitrose baking | See ALL Baking Deals

Heads up: Scheme that paid up to £7,600 to improve your home coming back
In Nov the Govt will reinstate hugely popular 'Home Improvement Fund' with £100m - after its closure shambles

In June the new 'Home Improvement Fund' element was added to try and kickstart the Govt's flagging Green Deal energy efficiency scheme. Unsurprisingly, as it was effectively a cash handout of £1,000s, it was massively popular and the money ran out at speed. This was badly handled, we kicked up a fuss. Now another £100 million has been put in...

  • green dealWhat is the Green Deal? It provides help for more than 40 energy efficiency measures. You pay for an assessment and if you qualify you can pay upfront or apply for a Green Deal loan, where repayments are from predicted energy bill 'savings' (eg, your usage may be £200/year lower, but your bill stays the same). FULL HELP: Green Deal Mythbuster. The Home Improvement fund was an addition to this scheme, giving cash grants on top:
  • Last time it paid up to £7,600 in cash grants per home - this time? You'll be able to apply for a grant for the new Home Improvement fund by the end of November. The Govt hasn't said exactly when it'll open for applications, but we're warning you to prepare now due to the rush last time. LAST TIME THE SCHEME WAS....

    - Install 2+ measures, get up to £1,000
    : Incl cavity wall ins, boiler upgrade, double glazing.
    - Up to £6,000 for solid wall insulation: Up to 75% of the cost of solid walls.
    - £100 of the assessment cost covered: If you qualified for either of the above you got this.
    - Up to £500 bonus if you moved in the past year. As long as you qualified for one of the first two schemes.

    The Govt says it'll be different this time and we expect it'll be less juicy (full info via this email once it's announced). We suspect the structure'll be similar but with lesser amounts. To qualify you need a Green Deal assessment to see if you're eligible, which can cost up to £150 (a few firms offer it free), so do a free online assessment first.
  • Already paid for an assessment? You CAN still apply. The closure of the fund last time was a shambles, as many paid upfront for assessments to do this, then weren't able to apply for the cash. We campaigned (and Martin ranted on TV & radio) about this and asked the Govt to re-open it. This new money is good news as those assessments are valid for two years, so if you had one done, you can use it to apply when the fund re-opens.
  • On a low income? You may be eligible for even better schemes. For households on sub-£16k/yr incomes, or anyone needing solid wall insulation, see if you can get energy company funding to pay for the whole lot.
  • Free insulation for everyone. Anyone in a suitable home can currently get free loft and cavity wall insulation.

Hi-Tec waterproof boots 60% off code, eg, £24 women's/£16 kids. MSE Blagged. Incl snow boots. Hi-Tec

  CODES & VCHS: Miss Selfridge 20%, Argos toys £5 off £35, Nike extra 10% off sale
Argos £5 off £35 on toys donate old toy, get vch | Nike extra 10% off sale code | Body Shop £25 off £50 code/vch
Miss Selfridge 20% off code | Clarks 20% off (excl kids) code & in-store | All Discount Vouchers

Did you pay for CreditExpert? It may've unfairly sold you ID fraud insurance - become a reclaim pioneer. We've launched a pilot guide on Experian's CreditExpert ID fraud insurance as we believe it may've been unfairly sold to huge numbers. We want people to try our technique to see if it works. You could get £100s back. Read the Reclaim CreditExpert guide.

New. M&S offering cheapest-EVER loan 3.9% APR. M&S Bank's* new deal for borrowing £7.5k-£15k unusually gives the same 3.9% rep APR rate to new & existing customers. Cheapest £5k - £7.5k: Sainsbury's* is 5.3% over 1-3yrs (5.4% over 4-5yrs*) - you need to have/get a Nectar card for these. Full help & 'should I borrow?' info in Loan Best Buys.

M&S Outlet EXTRA 25% off code. MSE Blagged. 24hr code starts 9am Wed. For items already up to 50% off. M&S

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Cheap Energy Club is easy to use. Just switched my dad's tariff. Took 20 mins and saved £400."
- try our Cheap Energy Club and see if you can save £100s by switching.

7 days left. Odeon 40% off voucher (re-usable until 16 Oct). Works daily on most 2D/3D showings. Odeon

'Free' £80 Karcher or £75 Amazon vch with home insurance
We've made it our job to bring you the hot home insurance promo deals you won't find on comparison sites

Comparison sites are great for getting a wide range of quotes, but their spread isn't universal. We aim to track the deals they miss, to help you get even better cover. Full help in Cheap Home Insurance, here are the basics...

  • Home InsuranceFirst combine comparisons at speed. They don't cover the same insurers, so to grab as many quotes as possible, combine them. Our current order to get the max spread is 1) Confused.com* 2)  Compare TM* 3) GoCompare*. Do as many as you've time for. See our full order for more and the rationale behind our ranking.
  • Then check the HOT deals comparisons miss. Now you've a price benchmark let's try to smash it. Check Direct Line* and Aviva*, which aren't listed by comparisons. Plus even some insurers that are listed have promos that aren't. Check these too and factor in the promo's value...

    All these deals are for combined buildings & contents policies - vouchers usually sent after 60-90 days.

    - £75 Amazon vch with Policy Expert. MSE Blagged. Use this Policy Expert* link by 14 Oct.
    - Karcher pressure washer/£70 Amazon vch with Legal & General. MSE Blagged. Use this L&G* link and the code KARCHER3 until 31 Oct to get a Karcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer (RRP £79.99 - cheapest we've seen it £67) or this L&G* link and the code MSEDEAL until 31 Dec to get a £70 Amazon voucher.
    - Karcher window vac with Co-Op. Use this Co-op* link by 31 Oct to get a WV50 Cordless Window Vac (RRP £59.99) with its cover.
  • "We'll beat your buildings, contents or joint renewal by £50." If you've still not got a good deal, the Post Office* promises to beat like-for-like renewals (ie, cover level & excess) by £50+ or you can claim cashback to make it up to £50. So if you qualify and the above haven't come up trumps, your worst result is £50 up. You must send your renewal quote as proof. Cashback is sent after 60 days.
  • Home Insurance Golden Rules. For full info on picking the right policy, see Cheap Home Insurance.

    1) Usually only freeholders need buildings cover but contents cover is for everyone. See what's covered.
    2) Buildings cover is only for its rebuild cost if knocked down, not for its market value. See buildings estimator.
    3) Don't underinsure contents or any claims may be paid out in proportion - use a contents calculator to estimate.
    4) Know your locks. The right security could slash premiums meaning better locks pay for themselves.
    5) Beware paying monthly - it's just a loan for the annual cost. See insurers APRs. A 0% card is usually cheaper.

Post Office online FLASH euro and dollar sale. It's temporarily boosting rates Wed 8am - Thurs 8am. Check our Travel Money Comparison which'll include the updated rate to see how it compares. Not going yet? Then grab a Halifax Clarity* credit card. It's load-free worldwide, meaning it gives you near-perfect exchange rates, smashing bureaux de change, and has low ATM fees. Do pay off IN FULL each month to minimise interest or it's 12.9% rep APR. FULL info in Cheap Overseas Cards (APR Examples).

Personalised photo gifts incl £19 photo books, £8 XL posters & BIG £15 canvas
£19 100-page photo book was £80 | 80% off XL poster prints so £8 | BIG (A2ish) £15 photo canvas was £55
£8 photo blocks were £16. Great for Xmas. See ALL Photo Deals

2for1 vouchers for Alton Towers, Thorpe Park & more. In 40p-70p papers from Saturday. Theme Parks

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash NISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
34mths 0%, 2.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Lloyds*
28mths 0%, 1.5% fee

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

MoneySupermarket*
Gocompare*
Direct Line*
Aviva*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
5.3% rep APR



M&S Bank* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.9% rep APR


BM Savings* 1.55% AER
Min £1, incl bonus
Postal. Transfers allowed


Coventry BS 2.6% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till Nov 2018


See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples
30 ways to save on supermarket shopping
Morrisons unveils its loyalty scheme, yet a supermarket's job's still to make you spend, ours is to save you cash.

Supermarkets are cathedrals of consumerism - their aim is to target our impulses and make us spend. Offers tend to be a rash of complexity, but if you can figure your way through what they're doing you can really start to slash the cost.

  • Supermarket shoppingMorrisons launches price match. If your basket's cheaper at Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Sainsbury's or Asda you get 10 pts per 1p difference on its new loyalty card, to be redeemed against future shops (5,000pts gets you £5 to spend at Morrisons). The trick is to separate shops into items likely to be cheaper elsewhere to max the discounts. For more, see how to exploit price match policies and new Morrisons Match & More card info (it's in 11 stores now, all main stores by Xmas).
  • 30 ways to slash costs. Take on the supermarkets with our 30 supermarket tips incl:

    - Know when to shop for today's food.
    Use our yellow ticket timings table to see when supermarkets discount.
    - Don't chuck 'best befores'. While 'use by' is a health warning, 'best before' is just the manufacturer's view of optimum quality. Goods are usually fine to eat after (use eyes & nose to check). Print our Free Best Before poster.
    - Take the Downshift Challenge. Use our
    calc to see what you could save dropping a brand level.
    - Don't use a basket on pick-up shops. If you're popping in to the supermarket for a pint of milk, don't take a basket, you'll just fill it. If you have to carry everything in your hands, you're likely to buy less.
    - Compare supermarket prices offline with online. If you're buying offline, the MySupermarket* online price comparison provides a good indication of the price you'll pay in-store - so save your 'typical shop' to compare each time.
    - Find recipes to combine leftovers. Plug your leftovers into a free online recipe generator to find what they'll make.

Farepak: 11,000 haven't claimed £1m put aside for them. The Xmas saving club went bust in 2006. Farepak

FREE The Other Art Fair tix - 500 pairs (usually £18). Unsigned artists, London 17-19 Oct. Art Fair


Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines
Get constantly cheap energy.

Our club ensures you're always on the cheapest tariff.

Join free: Cheap Energy Club

Up to £30 cashback for dual fuel, £15 for single switches.

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...

Confused.com*
Compare The Market*
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Post Office*
with weekend calls
£10/mth (pay a yr upfront)



TalkTalk Value Line Rental*
£14.35/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

We've updated our terms & conditions. Just to clarify the difference between our normal site and our personalised tools (such as the eligibility checker) where we have to ask you for personal details as part of the process. See MSE T&Cs, Privacy Policy & Cookies Q&A

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA
Is it moral to churn bank accounts?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I have a friend who opens current accounts purely to get 'new customer' bonuses from banks or cashback sites. As soon as he gets his bonus, he switches account to get another bonus. He has raked in a couple of hundred pounds so far. Is this moral?
Enter the Money Moral Maze: Is it moral to churn bank accounts? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

THE GREAT HUNT
Tell us your UK weekends away on the cheap secrets
London, Edinburgh, Liverpool... these are all great places for a weekend break but they can be pricey. So we want to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge on places you've discovered with loads to do but also with a smaller price tag. Share yours/read others': Weekends away on the cheap Past topics: View all

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT
Airline: Monarch Price: £32.99 or less sale Ends: midday Thu 9 Oct
Our pick this week is Monarch's* offer for selected flights from 23 Oct 2014 till 23 Mar 2015, with 25,000 seats available. The sale ends midday Thu 9 Oct and includes taxes and most charges, though credit card fees apply. There is no code to enter, the price appears automatically on Monarch's website. 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

THE GREAT HUNT... REVEALED
Best way to arrange a work Xmas do.

We asked about the best way to arrange a work Christmas party that would keep everyone happy. Some recommended a vote, while others pointed out this doesn't always work.
Suggestions ranged from bowling nights to curry cookathons, though some said the casual approach was best.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

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

MSE team corner

Discussion of the week

Who should pay for kids to go to uni? Kids or parents?

Should it be up to parents to support their children through university or should they be teaching them how to fend for themselves? We've been asking on the forum and Twitter this week so let us know your thoughts in the Who should pay? poll and discussion.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 126.36 113.72
US Flag $ 159.46 143.51
Turkish Flag TL 350.01 309.55
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Would you vote for less tax or more spend?

We're just 30 weeks away from a general election and already battle lines are being drawn. The Conservatives are pushing tax cuts, while Labour is focused on increasing public spending and introducing new taxes.

Let's take the straightforward premise that to be able to increase public spending taxes also need to rise (which of course is an oversimplification). Which of these options is CLOSEST to your views?

Poll results

Have you finished your Christmas shopping?
Some clearly think it's too early to talk Christmas as 51% haven't done any planning. Yet 16% have done a decent amount or more, with 6% having pretty much finished. So the nation is split - bah humbug.

15,577 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: I'm now divorced from my wife but we took out a joint personal loan. It still has several months until it's repaid. What is my responsibility towards paying it back? Am I still 'financially associated' with my ex-wife? Paul, via email.

MSE Eesha’s A: Unfortunately, even if your joint debts were explicitly resolved as part of a divorce settlement, in the world of finance you're still very much joined together. When you take out a joint financial product, be it a bank account, a mortgage or a loan, you will be financially linked to that person on your credit file. In some circumstances you can be removed from a joint product, although you'll usually need the other account holder's agreement.

In your case you still have several months until your loan comes to an end, so until then you are both equally responsible for making the repayments and paying it off. It's not as simple as just splitting the outstanding loan in half with you being responsible for one half and your ex-partner the other half. If either you or your ex-partner decide not to pay, your lender could come after you both to get its money back, and both your credit scores will be hit equally. Once the loan has been fully repaid, you'll need to write to the credit reference agencies and ask for a notice of disassociation so you'll no longer be linked financially. See Credit scores for full info.

 Charlotte's free game of the week: Button Hunt 3

An ode to Poundland...

That’s it for this week, but before we go - a few days ago we got a tweet from Terry Christian, plugging comedy poet Marvin Cheeseman’s ode to Poundland. It suggests our Martin likes it a little too much... check out the ode to Poundland video - WARNING foul language.

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