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11th Jul 2012
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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11 July 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

New tool finds dirt-cheap budget flights
10 must-know tricks to jet anywhere worldwide for less

1. New Tool: Find WHEN to go to get super-cheap flights. The new Budget Airline FlightChecker tool's massively more powerful than its predecessor. It uses a mix of scrapers & live feeds for European budget airlines and BA to...

- Find super-cheap flights. Tell it what you're willing to pay, and it finds when that's available, eg, Lon - Barcelona 3nts sub-£50 in Sept. Sub-£50 returns are usually possible, though that jumps in school holidays.
- Or say "I'll go anywhere". If you just want to get away cheaply, select "I'll go anywhere" (or anywhere in Spain/France, etc) to reveal the winners.
- Include baggage and payment fees. We've added an estimator of budget airlines' added extras, so you can search with/without those.
2. Top comparisons if you know when & where you're going. If you're going further afield or have exact specifications, then the top comparisons are Skyscanner* for ease and speed, TravelSupermarket* for extra breadth and Kayak* for gadgets and filters. See Cheap Flights for full info.
3. flightcheckerCheck charter flights too for traditional holiday destinations. Charter flights are unfilled seats on package holiday operators' planes. So if you're going to a traditional tourist resort, eg, Majorca, it's worth checking them too. Comparison sites Flights Direct*, Avro* and TravelSup* search them.
4. Ethnic travel agents can find special deals. The UK's a melting pot of different communities, and niche travel agents catering for those can sometimes get cheaper deals to linked countries, eg, Israel experts via the Jewish Chronicle, or Caribbean specialists in London's Shepherd's Bush.
5. Booking a hotel too? Extra protection with a flight broker. Book flights & hotels together and travel brokers like Expedia*, Travelocity and Opodo* often give discounts. Better still, since April, buying both from one site (within 24 hrs) gets you ATOL protection too (cover if airline/hotel goes bust). Though pricewise you may beat them using separate cheap flight & cheap hotel tricks.
6. Get a year's travel insurance for £16. You can often get a year's cover for less than airlines sell 'one trip' insurance. It's possible to bag annual policies as cheap as £16 for individuals and £36 for families. For all prices see the full Cheap Travel Insurance guide.
7. With flights it's early booking that counts. It's usually cheaper to book early, otherwise you're competing with biz travellers who'll go at any cost, unlike packages where there's a hot lates market (see Cheap Package Hols).
8. Think carefully about how you pay. The safest way for flights over £100 is on a credit card (fully repaid so there's no interest) - then you get Section 75 protection, meaning the card company's jointly liable if anything goes wrong. Yet airlines often charge a credit card fee, so you need to balance the risk versus the cost.

Cashback credit cards can mitigate that somewhat, and currently 3% cashback is available for even poorer credit scores. See Top Cashback Cards.
9. Don't fall for budget airline 'added extras'. The OFT's announced from Aug airlines must display debit card prices , helping end the 'you must pay extra just to pay' horror. Yet there are still more catches than a straitjacket. See Beat Budget Airline Fees to unbuckle 'em.
10. Can you get upgraded - or at least the best seat? Free upgrades do happen, but they're rare and tough. Lone, reasonably dressed frequent flyer club members have the best chance - see Free Flight Upgrades. If not, use Seatguru to see the seating plan in advance to bag the best spot.

Many more tips in our Cheap & Free Flights guide. We hope it helps you fly more cheaply, not necessarily more often - do think of the environment.

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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 11 Jul 2012
New 22mth 0% LOW FEE balance transfer
Got costly debts - shift them to a new card at nearly 2 yrs 0% with half the usual fee

If you've costly existing credit card debt, a balance transfer means you get a new card that pays off your existing card, so you now owe it instead. This week, one of the best deals we've ever seen landed. All applicants require a credit check.

  • New. 22mth 0% with half the fee. Accepted new Barclaycard* customers shifting debt to it get 22 mths 0% with a 2.9% fee, but until 9 Aug it'll refund half this fee after a month so you pay just 1.45%, saving £45 on a £3,000 transfer. Once the 0% ends the rate jumps to 17.9% representative APR so try to repay before that.
  • Already got a Barclaycard? Here's the full top 0% deals list (including Barclaycard for comparison).




Representative APR once 0% ends

mental health
HSBC* (bank acc holders only) 23 mths 0% 3.3% 17.9%
Barclaycard*  22 mths 0% 1.45% 17.9%
NatWest* / RBS* 22 mths 0% 3.2% 17.9%
Halifax* 22 mths 0% 3.5% 17.9%
MBNA* 20 mths 0% 2.85% 18.9%

  • Important warnings. 1. Repay at least the minimum each month, or you can lose the 0% deal. 2. Spending isn't usually at a cheap rate. 3. Always try to repay in full before the 0% ends. 4. To see exactly how it stacks up, use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. 5. Confused, need help or longer term deals? See Balance Transfers & Official APRs.
Back to top ^

Last chance! Lock in £6.29/mth line rental. At half BT's price, Primus Line Rental Saver* is the UK's cheapest, but jumps on Fri to £7.99/mth. Sign up now and get a year at £6.29/mth. See Cheap Home Phones

Big brand beauty freebies (all in £4 mags).
£16 Ren cream (on cover) | £5 St Tropez (on cover) | £7 Armani Mascara (voucher)
£5 Shiseido cleanser (voucher) | £13 Neom hand cream (on cover) | £10 Avon mascara (on cover).

2 x prescription specs £29 (incl sunnies) code. Full info on how to get them in Cheap Glasses

Free Mental Health & Debt 2012 booklet - you're not alone
Mental health and debt are a marriage made in hell | Info & tips to help you and your family

Mental health issues can cause severe debt, and severe debt's a catalyst for mental health problems. When we first launched our booklet, many told us of their relief realising they weren't alone. Annually, one in four have mental health issues and Mind reports 75% say it makes their debt worse. So we believe it needs treating as a mainstream money issue.

  • mental healthNew free Mental Health & Debt booklet - updated for 2012. Download the 44-page
    Mental Health & Debt Help 2012 PDF booklet (thanks to charities Mind, Rethink, CAPUK & others for help). It's crammed with info on handling debts when unwell, working with banks, where to get help, whether to declare a condition to your bank & more.
  • Who's it for? Individuals, families, carers, caseworkers of those with anxiety, depression, bipolar and more.
  • Struggling with debts but not mental health? Then you'll find lots of useful info and free non-profit help in the Debt Problems Help Guide.
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Rumour: Next 50% off sale starts Sat Confirmed: M&S sale 8pm Wed. Strong rumours of Next and Matalan. M&S online confirmed, in-store likely to follow. Full info & updates: High Street Sales


Toys 'R' Us
£40 gets £10 vouch

The Body Shop
£10 off £20

Urban Outfitters
20% off

Dorothy Perkins
15% off and £1 del

Instant voucher
Ends Sun 15 Jul
Instant voucher
Ends Sun 15 Jul
Online code
Ends Sun 15 Jul
Online code
Ends Sun 15 Jul

See All Discount Vouchers

New. Lock in savings at 3.8% for 2 yrs. This new AA* fixed savings (exclusive via MoneySup) pays a guaranteed 3.8% AER for 2 yrs. You need to put cash away without access though. Still, as even the best 5-yr only pays 4.2%, it's a strong deal. Full info: Top Savings. It has the full UK £85,000 savings safety.

Travelex 2hr FLASH currency sale
Boost airport rate on euros, dollars & others | Though EASY-TO-GET plastic smashes it

Summer's nearly here (not that you'd notice), the pound's at a 3-yr high against the euro, and there's a flash currency sale from one of the biggest providers, though even that's beatable.

  • currency saleTravelex 2-hr flash sale. Order for delivery or airport pick-up (useful as buy-at airport rates are dire). We don't know Travelex's exact rates, but its sales oft hit the best buys.

    All bar $ or € (eg, UAE dirham): Wed 11am-1pm US $: Thurs 11am-1pm, euros: Fri 11am-1pm.

    To see how it stacks up, our Travel Money Comparison will update rates during sales.

  • The VERY cheapest spending abroad (easy-to-get). Most credit & debit cards add a hidden 3% load, so spend £100 worth of euros and it costs £103. Yet some specialist cards are load-free worldwide, so you get unbeatable rates in every country. Ensure you FULLY REPAY each month or interest costs dwarf the gain.

    The Aqua* card is load-free and gives 3% cashback (max £100/yr) on all spending, and is designed for poor credit scores so it's easier to get accepted, though fail to fully repay and it's 34.9% representative APR.
  • Cheapest spending AND cheap cash withdrawals abroad. Aqua's not cheap for overseas ATM withdrawals, so if you've a better credit score the following load-free spending credit cards have low overseas ATM fees too. Halifax Clarity*, Post Office*, Saga* and ONLY for Nationwide FlexAccount holders, its Select* card. Yet again, ensure you FULLY REPAY or they're 11.9-16.9% representative APR. Full info: Cheap Travel Cards, also see APR Examples.
Back to top ^

Hampton Ct & Alton Towers 2for1s | Cadbury Wld kids free. Instant prints in Days Out

Forum Hottie

Argos toy clearance. Zinc T-Motion scooter £15.99, Megatron £8.75. In-store & online sale, big discounts on 100s of toys, jewellery, clothing & home ents. See Argos Deals

Horrible Histories & Gruffalo £1 - kids' books sale. Up to 80% discounts. Scholastic Deals

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*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.5% rep APR
(Need Nectar card)

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

(Need Nectar card)

Santander* 3.3% AER
Min £2,500. Incl bonus.
Top for transfers

M&S 3% AER
Min £100. No bonus.
Transfers allowed

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Paaarty! 50 FREE UK summer festivals & carnivals. A big free party - what's not to love? See what's on near you, eg, Tramlines Sheffield, B'ham Jazz & Blues, Bristol Harbour - then just turn up. Free UK Festivals

Free Angry Birds Seasons 'full' version. Download by Thurs on iPhone, Android. Hot Bargains

Tell friends about us. They can get this free every week.

RBS/NatWest/Ulster: How to reclaim costs
If you were (still are) affected by the RBS Group computer screw-up - get your money back

The computer crash left millions with unfair charges or costs as money didn't show in their accounts. This week, RBS Group boss Stephen Hester apologised to MSE users and we've full info on how to get a refund on all costs. In summary:

  • yyyRBS will cover direct costs and credit score issues. It'll auto-refund all charges and interest due to this on overdrafts, mortgages, loans and credit cards. It will also sort other banks' charges and try to ensure your credit file's unaffected. This applies to:
    - RBS, NatWest, Ulster and Think Banking (not part of RBS but uses its system) customers.
    - All others indirectly affected, eg, whose employers couldn't pay wages via RBS.
  • It will cover knock-on costs too. For example, the woman who couldn't check out of a hotel, so missed a flight and had to buy a new one. If anything like this has happened to you, keep receipts, paperwork and any proof.
  • You could ask it to pay for time too. The Ombudsman can award up to £10/hr for time if it's been an extreme hassle, though this isn't guaranteed. If you've spent many hours, it is worth asking (no promises).

FULL Q&A on all this in New: How to get an RBS/NatWest refund. Related: Financial Ombudsman Guide, Credit Rating

Back to top ^

Urgent £25 off car hire code. Use Car Rentals* & Kayak* comparisons to find the cheapest then see if the code MSESUM25 at Holiday Autos* to get £25 off worldwide 7-day car hire till 30 Sep beats it. See: Cheap Car Hire

Can you find £2 Xbox games? Unboxed in-store deals, incl Call of Duty & Fifa. See Xbox Deals

Warning! Are you planning to pay your kids' tuition fees? A new survey from HSBC says many more parents are due to pay high fees. Be careful - read Martin's You Could Be Throwing £1,000s Away guide.

Urgent Big £55 cashback on UK's cheapest energy tariff
Ends midnight Thurs | Many will save £300/yr | Takes 5 mins | Perfect time to switch

Many are overpaying by £300+/yr - now's the perfect time to switch, as prices are stable so comparisons are fair.

  • cheap energyEnds Thur: £55 cashback on UK's cheapest tariff. Until midnight Thurs, switch to any Scottish Power (SP) tariff via comparison site Energyhelpline* to get £40 dual fuel (£20 per fuel) cashback plus £15 on top via this MSE link. This includes SP's Online Energy Saver 19 which, on average, is the UK's joint cheapest deal at £1,055/yr for typical use. The discount lasts until Aug 2013 (£50 exit fee if you leave early). Cashback's paid 3 mths after switching.
  • Or... a cheap deal that guarantees no price hikes. A fixed deal means you lock in to a price. The cheapest is EDF Blue* which is fixed until Sep 2013 and is roughly £250/yr cheaper than standard tariffs with typical bills. Plus it's no risk, as leave before the fix ends, and you won't be charged exit penalties, and it'll email if anyone launches a tariff £52+/yr cheaper.
  • Compare to see how it stacks up and get extra cashback. Use a comparison site. Top Pick: Energyhelpline* pays £15 cashback per switch (plus £40 for Scottish Power until Thur) Dual Fuel: MoneySup* £30 cashback. uSwitch* 8 bottles of wine. (Cashback only via these links, paid after 3mths). See Cheap Gas & Electricity guide for full info.
Back to top ^

30 toiletries £23 incl soap, razors, etc. With web code & multi-buy. Worth up to £80. Co-Op deals

Halifax ending £100 switching bonus. Earn over £23,000, and First Direct's* free £100, top cust service, 0% overdraft up to £250 wins out. Alternatively, until Sun, switch to Halifax (min salary £14,000) and it gives £100 bonus & pays £5/mth, though its service ain't great and it has big overdraft charges. Full options: Top Bank Accounts

Free Zizzi pizza and Nero coffee for O2 custs. Full info on how to bag them in O2 Deals

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 Free Budget Planner Free MSE car sticker £16 Travel Insurance

the moneysaving community

Free book giveaway. French Lessons. 40 blagged for MoneySavers. Voulez-vous lire avec moi, ce soir?

Cheap Flight Sales

Ryanair Price: £13 each way Ends: Thu 12 Jul
Our pick this week is Ryanair's from £13 each way flights. It's on various routes for travel Wed 1 Aug-Wed 31 Oct 2012, and includes some taxes and charges. Flights include East Midlands to Milan for about £65 return. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £80 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

spill beans

Spill the beans... do you give teachers end-of-term gifts?
It's a fast-growing tradition to tip the teacher. So we'd like to know what you give Mr Smith or Ms Jones, if anything at all. And teachers - what do you think the best way of handling this is? Spill 'em: Gifts for teachers Past topics: View all

Money Moral Dilemma

Are my parents dividing the will fairly?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
My parents are writing their will. My dad has two children from a previous marriage, plus my sister and I. Their proposal is my dad splits half their assets four ways and my mum half two ways. Thus I'd get 37.5%, but my half-siblings only 12.5%. I think this is fair - it's their money and they can do what they want with it. But my half siblings aren't happy (I suspect, partially as there's little chance of inheritance from their mother). Should I encourage my parents to split assets equally between the four of us to keep the peace, or keep well out of it? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Are my parents dividing the will fairly? Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

Back to top ^

Getting deposits back from landlords. Spill the beans... revealed
It's clear from the responses that deposits can be a headache for both tenants and landlords. However, in among the stories of deposit success and (more often than not) deposit woe, there were some good tips, including ensuring your deposit is in a protection scheme in the first place and checking the reputation of the letting agency. The advice that cropped up most, though, was to always take photos before, during and after your tenancy.

Campaign of the week

The Supermarket Price It Right pledge
Supermarkets need to give unit prices to help shoppers compare like for like, but it's often not clear or consistent and can be listed by kilo, 100g, litre, 100ml or item depending on the food. Consumer group Which? is campaigning for shops to 'Price It Right' and wants you to sign its clearer unit pricing pledge if you agree. Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support the work being done by other charities, community groups and campaigners. Send us a Campaign of the Week suggestion.

Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 125.56 114.20
US Flag $ 154.36 140.86
Turkish Flag TL 275.00 246.79
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Do you play by the rules?

Poll Results

Do you care more about your bank's ethics, or its rates?

3,380 ranked their priorities in last week's poll. Despite being in the midst of a huge banking scandal, MoneySavers only ranked ethics as their second least important factor when choosing a bank account. Customer service was the most important, followed by facilities (either a nearby branch or good online banking) and competitive rates and interest. MoneySavers were least fussed about brands. See Full Results

Question Of The Week

Q: Our car was insured in my spouse's name for over a decade. Can I now insure it, and use the 10-years no claims bonus we built up? Sheila, by email.

MSE Tony's A: The no claims bonus (NCB) won't automatically apply, but with a bit of work you can manipulate the system to your advantage.

For two-car families, try getting a quote for the second car in your name from the same insurer. Explain the situation and many companies will match the discount the NCB would give you. Though be aware this still may not be the cheapest possible quote - use our full Cheap Car Insurance system to compare.

If your spouse is no longer driving (or has passed away), it may be possible for them relinquish the NCB and transfer it to you by writing a letter to the insurance company. But be warned, this is difficult to reverse if circumstances change. Don't wait too long to try though. NCBs usually expire unused within 2 years.

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

Board Of The Week

The House Buying, Renting & Selling Board

Share offers and tips. Recent discussions include Am I too impatient or is it realistic to drop price, cheap conveyancing solicitors quotes and new build negotiation tips please?

Back to top ^
Game Of The Week


Dancing around the world - a tear in the eye

That's it for this week. But continuing our series of schmaltzy endings, how about this? Remember Matt, who danced around the world in 2005, '06 & '08? He's back with another video to make you shed a tear of joy - Where the Hell is Matt?

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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