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11th Nov 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 This info may be out of date.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."

11 November 2015
         
 
THE TOP TIPS IN THIS EMAIL
Martin's Briefing: 43 online shopping trix: hidden deals, discounts & tools
Top fix savings for years: 18mth 2.4%
Free £100 Amazon / M&S for Xmas
'Home ins renewal £866, I got it £183'
Secret password to grab a totally free £4 Piz Exp dessert takeaway
'Saved £320 switching British Gas to British Gas' on new hidden tariff
Starbucks 2for1 festive drinks vch
Virgin Media price hike - how to beat it
Tesco Wine 500 Clubcard pts code
Totally free £6 personalised poster
Top Chanel smell-alike just £1.99
Shift debts to 22mth 0% NO FEE
£110ish of Ciaté nail polish £25
Warning: Many 60ish-yr-old women'll be hit hard by new flat rate pensions
'Free' Star Wars Lego
Top iPhone 6s deal - £35/mth
50% off Thorntons bundle codes
 

Martin's Weekly Briefing: For more tips, alerts & puns, follow Martin on Twitter

43 bits of online shopping magic

Hidden deals, discounts & tools. Now you see 'em, now you don't


At this time of year minds (& web traffic) shift from real finance to bargain-finding, leaving me torn. Many will ruin their 2016 due to overspending for just one December day. Yet if there are things you'd buy anyway, for yourself or your loved ones, I want to help you slash the cost.

Our 43 online shopping tricks guide shows how to cut down prices - below I've 18 to tease you in. And these are just the tip(s) of the iceberg. Also see 13 tricks shops don't want you to know | 20 Amazon tricks | 40 eBay buying secrets.

1. Abandon your online basket to score a discount. Fail to finish your online order and companies often send you codes to tempt you back. We've data on 15 retailers that give abandoned basket discounts.

2. Free 'Amazon delivery trick' tool. You used to get free delivery if you spent £10. Now it's a minimum of £20, but a handy tool provides a way around this - without paying for Prime. Free Amazon Delivery Tool

3. There IS a way to haggle big discounts online. While buying online is usually cheaper, the one advantage with buying in-store usually is you can haggle. Yet now even there the web's catching up - if you get a window offering a live chat, don't dismiss it. See how to haggle with online chats.

4. Buy 20% off gift cards NOW to use in Jan sales. Gift cards are rarely discounted, but currently Tesco has 20% off on a range incl Monsoon, iTunes & New Look. As these are all valid at least 12+ months, you can buy now, then use in the Jan sales for effectively a double discount. Full info: Gift Card Trick

5. Bag 5% off all shopping for three months. Cashback credit cards pay you when you spend on them. The Amex Everyday Plat* (eligibility calc) is the top payer, giving a huge 5% for the first three mths (max £100) and up to 1.25% after. Of course always repay it IN FULL each month to avoid the 22.9% rep APR interest.

Now's perfect timing as the 5% is at the high-spend Xmas & Jan sales period. As Anna told us: "Glad I read about the Amex cashback card last year - I'll get over £200 in time for Xmas." Full help in Top Cashback Cards. PS: To get rewarded by THIS CHRISTMAS see the Amex Gold note below.

6. Codes: Ted Baker 20%, FCUK 20%, La Redoute 50%ish... If you're going to buy, always check if there's a discount code. This week, biggies incl till Fri - Ted Baker 20% off; till Sun FCUK 20% | Debenhams 10% off £50 incl sale | F&F £10 off £50, and till 27 Nov La Redoute £25 off £50. See ALL codes.

7. Use the MegaShopBot to find the cheapest online price. A shopbot, or shopping robot, compares a range of e-tailers in seconds to find the cheapest price. As different sites are good for different things, our MegaShopBot instantly finds the right shopbots for your item.

8. Grab hidden local eBay bargains. eBay sellers often specify items - from designer sofas to PS3s - as 'collection-only'. You can't search for 'em on eBay, so we built the Local eBay Deals Mapper (also iPhone & Android apps) to help you out.

9. You've a right to change your mind online - you DON'T in store. I get often angry questions when stores refuse to refund gifts that are the wrong size or colour. Yet before getting angry it's worth knowing the law...

- In-store purchases: You've NO RIGHT to change your mind: you can only return faulty goods. For the definition of fault see my SAD FART rules. Some stores do allow no-fault returns, but it's not the law.

- Online purchases: You DO HAVE a right to change your mind and have 14 days to tell 'em & 14 more to send it back. See Web rights.

10. Hidden Amazon 75%+ bargain basements. The Amazon Discount Finder uses web wizardry to manipulate Amazon links to create pages, eg, toys 50%+ off* and decorations 30%+ off*. We've collated them all on our Christmas top discount pages.

It's worth using in conjunction with CamelCamelCamel's Amazon price history graph so you can see if it's really a deal. We found a Logitech Gaming Headset with "27% off" at £40 - but it was £30 last year.

11. Get a virtual yell when your lust list drops in price. There's a price drop service covering 100s of online retailers that lets you input what you want and emails you when an item drops in price. We tested it on a La Redoute dress: priced at £39, target price £31, bought for £27.30 - a 30% saving.

12. The best day to bag deals for your shop. We number-crunched more than 50 vouchers' terms and found half started on Tue or Wed, so it’s always worth checking then. See our Vouchers, Hot Bargains and Sales pages.

13. Don't bother going to an out-of-town outlet - there are 20ish web outlets. Many drive miles to outlet villages to snap up end-of-line bargains. Yet lots of big names like Argos, Mothercare and Tesco offer up to 70-80%+ off unsold lines via online outlets. Our Outlet Store Discount Finder lists & searches almost 20 outlets for huge toy, clothing & other discounts.

14. No code for the store you want? Get clever. Don't just check for the store you want for a discount code - department stores may provide a workaround. Eg, Clarks Orinoco boots, £60 at Clarks, no code, yet last week's 40%-off-everything Brantano code meant you got the same boots for £36. See a list of major department store codes.

15. Pay just 1p on credit card to protect £100s. Buy goods costing over £100 and even if you pay just 1p on a credit card - the rest any other way - the card company is jointly liable with the retailer for the WHOLE amount. It's the veritable financial superhero, especially if a firm then goes bust. See full Section 75 Protection.

16. Is Amazon Europe cheaper? Eg, we found a Sonos Playbar speaker from Italy for £460 - saving £139 on the UK price, even with delivery. There's a cheeky Amazon EU tool that checks for you.

17. Can you get cashback to cut the cost? Once you know where what you want's cheapest, check the best cashback sites for further boons.

18. Add an item to get free delivery. Always check what you need to spend to get free delivery - if you're just below it, it can be cheaper to add an extra item than pay. Eg, we found a £49 John Lewis shirt, delivery £3.50, but instead added a £1.50 bauble which pushed it over the £50 free delivery threshold.

Coming next week. The Xmas Deals Predictor calendar 2015. Here we predict what big discounts are coming this Christmas at all major stores, eg, Selfridges, Asos & Asda, and for events such as Black Friday. You can then use it to plan when to pounce to bag the best deals...

Last year we were 94% correct in terms of retailers doing deals similar to our predictions and 81% right on the day. We're doing this year's final assessment and it'll go here in my next weekly email. So do suggest interested friends sign up, and we'll be listing the top codes, vouchers & deals here every week.

 
 
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.

 
 
 

18mths fixed savings 2.4% - highest since May 2013

Is it THE time to lock in to fixed savings? Rates are improving but Bank of England warns it may be a false dawn


Six months ago the best sub two-year fixed savings deal was 1.9%, now it's 2.4%. This rise is likely due to new 'challenger' banks boosting competition & the view UK rates were on the up. Yet last Thu Bank of England Governor Mark Carney shifted his stance to say rate rises could be as far away as 2017 - just 4 mths ago he was predicting this winter. That could (it's not certain) dampen fixed rates, so locking in now may be a winner. Here are the need-to-knows...

 

Shhhh. Password gets totally FREE £4ish Pizza Express 'snowball' dough balls. Thu only. Pizza Express


'Just saved £320 switching from British Gas to British Gas' - don't miss the hidden tariff. We're drowning with successes, like this from Fiona, since we revealed the hidden British Gas £270+/year cheaper tariff (Nov only). And savings aren't just for BG/Scot Gas customers, eg, "Ta Martin, you just saved me £475/yr. Not bad for a few minutes." Do a Cheap Energy Club comparison to see if you can save.


Starbucks 2for1 festive drinks voucher. Valid Thu-Sun 2-5pm. Just print/show Starbucks vch - not too taxing.


Virgin Media's hiking prices by 5.4% - can you beat it? 4.4m customers will face hikes in Feb. Fight Virgin hikes


Tesco Wine code: Spend £60, get 500 Clubcard pts (new & existing custs). MSE Blagged. We've blagged 3,500 codes for new & existing Tesco Wine* customers - just enter XXLRTY by Sun (or till codes run out if sooner). The 500 points are worth £5 in stores or up to £20 via Tesco Boost. Full info: Wine Deals. Pls be Drinkaware.


 

BLAGGED FOR MSE

- Tesco Wine spend £60, get 500 pts. 3,500 codes available

- £110ish of nail polish £25 in Ciaté calendar. 2,300 available

- iPhone 6s deal, nowt up front, then £35/mth. Ends: 26 Nov

- 50% off Thorntons chocolate bundles. Ends: Saturday

- Evans Cycles up to 30% off. Ends: Wed 18 Nov

DID YOU MISS?

- M&S loans 3.5% rep APR plus £40 gift card

- Term-time holidays without being fined?

- Two canvas prints for £16 (normally £84)

- First-time buyer? New Help to Buy ISA info

- 'Free' £8ish Clinique make-up in £2 mag

 
 

Free £100 Amazon/M&S gift card in time for Xmas/Jan sales

And all you have to do is shift your spending onto a charge card and it'll give you a £100 gift card at speed


Most cashback cards give rewards after a year. Yet with this charge-card promo they come far sooner, in time for Christmas or the Jan sales (depending on your spending). Many, like Karyn, raved about last year's deal: "Nice one MSE. Just by putting my normal shopping & fuel on, I got a £100 M&S gift card + £5 of vouchers in time for Christmas."

  • Free £100 gift card. The Amex Rewards Gold* charge card (eligibility calc) gives accepted newbies who spend £2,000+ on it in the first three months a 20,000 Membership Rewards pts bonus. This is convertible into a £100 M&S/Boots/Amazon etc gift card (exact stores can change, but they're usually good) or BA/Virgin etc points.

    While £2,000 spending sounds a lot, just use it for ALL normal daily and Xmas spending (it's not an excuse to spend more) replacing other cards, cash, cheques, etc. If you don't hit the £2,000 you'd still earn points worth c.£5 per £1,000, just no bonus.

    When'll it arrive? The bonus is usually added soon after you hit the trigger £2,000 spend (though the T&Cs only promise it after three mths), then you can choose your reward. Those who hit it quickly may make it for Xmas - if not, hopefully January.

  • Important - do follow the Golden Rules: Full info and more options in Cashback Cards but in brief...

    1. This is a charge not credit card, ie, designed to be fully repaid each month - so no interest is charged. Yet as normal, don't miss repayments or it's a £12 charge & credit file default. Only spend if you can afford to repay.
    2. There's no annual fee in year one - after it's £140/yr. If you don't want to pay, get the reward & CANCEL.
    3. You need a min £20k family income & you will be credit-scored; use the eligibility calc to see your chances.
    4. You can boost your points (not the bonus) with some foreign and travel spending (eg, flights, Amex Travel).

 

Totally FREE personalised poster (norm £6). 15x10in (between A4 & A3). 5,000 avail. Free poster


Lidl Suddenly Madame Glamour £1.99. Sat & Sun. 1/2 price Chanel Coco Mademoiselle SMELL-A-LIKE. Perfume


Shift debts to 22mth 0% NO FEE - the longest ever. Accepted new AA card* customers get a 22mth 0% balance transfer, without any fee - slashing £100s off existing debt costs. Can you get it? Use our eligibility calc. Never miss min repayments & clear the debt before the 0% ends or it'll charge 19.9% rep APR. Info: Balance Transfers (APR Examples).


£110ish of nail polish £25 in Ciaté advent calendar. MSE Blagged. 23 polishes. Cal norm £49. 2,300 avail. Ciaté


Warning: Many 60ish-yr-old women'll be hit hard by the new flat-rate pension. See state pension fail news.

 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS
 

Free Star Wars Lego with 90p paper. Small 'TIE Fighter' kit (£5+ online), free via Sat newspaper. Free Lego


Top iPhone 6s deal - nowt upfront then £35/mth. MSE Blagged. New iPhones are never MoneySaving but if you'll do it, do it cheaply. EE newbies pay £34.99/mth for unltd mins, texts & 4GB of 4G data (2yr contract) for a 16GB iPhone 6s* via Direct Mobiles, and till 26 Nov use code MSE6S16 and the £68 upfront's wiped - making it £840 for two yrs all-in, a top heavy user's deal. A 64GB model's* £100 upfront (from £148) using code MSE6S64. Full options in Cheap iPhones.


50% off Thorntons chocolate bundle codes - stock up for Xmas. MSE Blagged. Eg, £40 bundle £20. Thorntons


Ends SUN: John Lewis & Debenhams up to 25% off (plus extra 10% D'hams code). D'hams has a 25% cross-store sale (some depts, eg, beauty, 10%) and J Lewis is matching an, ahem, "unnamed competitor's" 25% off sale. Plus if you're shopping at D'hams, boost it further with a 10% off £50 code valid on most items, incl sale. Sales on now


Free wine with £1,000+ balance transfer. Ends Sun. New cardholders shifting debt to Virgin Money get a top 37mths 0% (2.59% fee, min £3) plus till Sun, shift £1,000+ and you get £50 case of wine. More: Virgin Money wine deal.


 

'Home insurance renewal £866, got it for £183. Thanks'

Home insurance prices down 6.3% over a year. URGENT hot deals comparison sites miss - can you slice costs?


Buildings & contents policies are at their cheapest for five years, down 6.3% in the last year alone (source: AA Index). Yet if you just auto-renew you'll likely miss the savings. Our full Cheap Home Insurance system shows how, as fifitrollydolly tweeted: "@MartinSLewis, just saved £683. Renewal quote was £866, got it for £183." Here are the key three steps...

  1. Combine comparison sites to get the lowest standard deal. They don't cover the same insurers, so combine them (do at least two). Our current order's CompareTheMarket, Confused.com*, MoneySup*, GoCompare* (see full comparison order and why).

  2. HOT deals comparisons miss. Comparisons don't cover all insurers, and even when they do, can miss special deals. We try to list these in our home insurance promos section. As Ken emailed us: "Renewal increased to £404. Using the MSE link, I got it down to £170 plus an £80 M&S voucher - so a total saving of £314." Here are the biggies (freebies/vchs can take up to 120 days to arrive):

    - £75 M&S voucher with combined buildings & contents via this Age UK* link.. NOW ENDED.
    - £25 M&S voucher with buildings or contents-only via this Age UK* link. NOW ENDED.
    - Ends 30 Nov. £80 M&S voucher with combined buildings & contents via this Together Mutual* link.
    - Ends 30 Nov. £70 M&S voucher with combined buildings & contents via this L&G* link using the code GIFT17.

    Plus always check the two big firms Direct Line* & Aviva* which aren't on comparison sites.

  3. Check you're covering the right amount. There are two elements to home insurance:

    a) BUILDINGS: usually just needed by freeholders. Don't insure your home's value. Just use a rebuild calc to see the cost of rebuilding if it were knocked down - cover that.
    b) CONTENTS: for all. Some under-insure, thinking they'd never claim it all. Yet with £20k of stuff, cover £10k and if your claim's £1k you may only get half - contents calc.

 

Evans Cycles up to 30% off bikes code incl Hoy, Dawes. MSE Blagged. Avail on Xmas orders. Evans Cycles


100+ Carnaby St stores FLASH 20% voucher incl Benefit, Levi's. Thu 5-9pm, Ldn shops & restaurants. Carnaby


SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"@MoneySavingExp, just got back £600 from packaged bank accounts using your Resolver tool. Sent details Monday night, refund in bank two days later."


Ends SUN: 4% boost to your Asda Xmas shop. Top up Asda's savings card with £144 by 5pm on Sun and on Mon you'll have £150. Co-Op, Iceland & Tesco have schemes too - see Supermarket Savings Schemes.


MSE job opps: incl Assistant Ed & Money/Insurance Writers. Want to work with us? MSE Job Opps


 
 

THE GREAT HUNT

Where have you had most success complaining? If you've ever had to complain, with which companies have you had most success? How did you do it? Did you send an angry tweet, fire off an email or just opt for snail mail? We want to tap into MoneySavers' collective experiences. Share yours/read others': Where have you had success complaining? Past topics: View all
 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Should the NHS pay for IVF treatments? Currently couples who struggle to have children may be able to get up to three cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS. Yet some regions are discussing cutting that to one cycle or even stopping it altogether. Should the NHS fund IVF treatments - which of these is closest to your opinion?




Last week 15,889 voted on how many unique passwords they had. Paradoxically the more accounts you have, the more likely you are to use different passwords for each. It's probably not a case of elephantine memory though - 49% of those with more than 100 accounts use a password manager app. See the full results.

 

MONEYSAVING NEWS

- Top story: Parking campaigner fails to challenge 'excessive' charge at Supreme Court

- Beware Just Eat phishing scam asking to rate the takeaway service

- Barclays Premier Life or First Additions package account customer? Beware price hikes

- Economy Energy to pay £250,000 to charity for mis-selling

- QuickQuid and Pounds to Pocket to refund £1.7m to 4,000 payday loan borrowers

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I contribute to my mum's broadband? My mum's got BT broadband and I know there are much cheaper options out there - however, she gets BT Sport as part of the package and I use her login details quite often. She knows this and says she doesn't mind paying the extra so I can do that. Should I contribute to her bill? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I contribute to my mum's broadband? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES
- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: I've just paid off my...
- Competitions thread of the week: Holiday to Mexico
- Old-style board thread of the week: The KonMarie Method
- Game of the week: The Red Button
- Discussion of the week: Homemade Christmas
- Freebie of the week: Free 2016 Year Planner
 
 

MARTIN'S BLOG

- Becoming a patron of bereaved children's charity Grief Encounter is uncomfortable

- Warning: Your child's savings will still be taxed like they're yours, even after April's changes

MSE TEAM BLOG

- How the Government wants to encourage pension saving

 
 

MARTIN APPEARANCES (FROM WED 11 NOV ONWARD)

Thu 12 Nov - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch previous
Fri 13 Nov - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. Watch previous
Mon 16 Nov - This Morning, ITV, Money Monday, from 10.30am.
Mon 16 Nov - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, 12noon. Subscribe to podcast

TEAM APPEARANCES

Thu 12 Nov - Share Radio, MSE Amy and MSE Helen K, 11am
Fri 13 Nov - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm
Tue 17 Nov - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.30pm

 
QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: My son and his partner got a mortgage while both working, but now his partner's a full-time parent. They're on a fixed rate but understand they can't remortgage as there's only one earner. Is this correct? Vicki, by email.

MSE Helen's A: There's nothing stopping your son and his partner from trying to remortgage. However, this is a case of 'do the sums add up?' Any remortgage application they make will be assessed on current household earnings, so it will mean it's only your son's income that counts.

Since April 2014, new mortgage regulations mean that lenders need to 'stress test' mortgage applicants to find out if they can afford repayments, not just at the fixed rate, but at 6-7% too. So your son and his partner need to work out if their income's enough to cover this, taking into account other expenses. If not, it's unlikely they'll be able to remortgage.

Having said that, there's no point accepting defeat without looking at the options. Speaking to a fee-free mortgage broker will give your son and his partner a better idea of where they stand, and if there are lenders who can help them.

If they can't remortgage, they'll go onto their mortgage lender's standard variable rate when the mortgage ends. These are usually between 3.5% and 5%, and can rise and fall at the lender's whim. See the free Remortgage Guide for full info.

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

 

HOW SCROOGE ARE YOU?

That's it for this week, but before we go, it's just over a month till Christmas. We know many of you don't like the spending frenzy that comes with it, so we want to know - who's the most Scrooge-like MoneySaver out there? Let us know in the forum how you avoid parting with your pennies. Bah humbug...

We hope you save some money,
Martin & the MSE team

 
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