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12th Oct 2016
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 This info may be out of date.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."

12 October 2016
Martin's message for ALL: I've something unpleasant to tell you
LOCK IN 5% regular savings
Free £100 Amazon/M&S vch for Xmas
Beat airport currency rip-offs
Huge Halifax, Lloyds & TSB cuts
Sky Q incl sports & movies £30/mth
New Facebook selling tool
Get PAID £20 to shift debt to 0%
Beat up to £33/yr TalkTalk price hike
Up to 70% off M&S - eg, £3 skirt
Can you really get paid to walk?
It's back - Ikea's free prize draw
2for1 Bear Grylls live tix
Free Cake & Bake tix
MSE's message to the Chancellor
Stop GPs charging those in debt crisis up to £150 to sign mental health form

'I've got something unpleasant to tell you'

Martin's important message, that every grown-up needs to read...

Protect yourself and loved ones from the 3Ds - Death, Divorce & Dementia

Bank switch I'll never forget three women coming to speak to me, by chance one after another, after an Ideal Home Show talk. All were in their 40s-50s, all had lost their husbands in the last few months, and all were desperate: "I'm in dire straits, where do I start?"

Their partners had 'saved' them from dealing with the finances, but that kindness was now a curse, heaping financial misery on grief, leaving them unequipped for a future on their own. One, whose husband was will-less, couldn't access 'his' money to pay the mortgage. And this isn't a gender issue - it happens to all.

What I'm writing isn't pleasant, but is important. Ignore it and the potential financial and emotional cost to loved ones can be dire. So whether with parents or children, I'd encourage you to have the 'unpleasant issues' chat. Of course, don't frame it that way, but often being candid, blunt & unemotional makes it easier. And if there's the odd tear in the eye, carry on - it just means they love you...

1. Bank switchFREE WILLS - you're going to die, protect your family. If you've assets such as a house, savings or a business, and people you'd like to look after when you're gone, consider a will. If not, as Hollie emailed: "Two years on I'm dealing with the fallout from mum not having a will. Please get a will." The gold standard is a solicitor-drafted will usually costing £100s, but right now:

- October is Free Wills Month (over-55s). Free Wills Month runs in over 50 locations across Britain (not NI), yet act quick as appointments are scarce. It's totally free for simple wills for single over-55s or couples doing 'mirror wills' (those that are nearly identical), where one is 55+. It's run by charities in the hope you'll leave them a bequest (something in your will).

- November is Will Aid month (all ages). Will Aid month runs across the UK. Solicitors give time in return for a suggested £95 donation (£150 for couples) to one of nine charities, eg, the NSPCC and British Red Cross. This is cheaper than normal. If you can't afford it, you can give less, but don't game it as it is for charity.

Far more help, options & guidance in our full Cheap and Free Wills guide.
2. Live together but not married? Get a will, a contract or tie the knot - your relationship means nowt in law. I don't care if you've been together 37 years and have 6 children, if you're not married or in a civil partnership, your relationship usually has no status under inheritance law. So if your partner dies, the other one may not get the house.
3. Dads, if you're not married, don't assume custody of the kids. Some unmarried fathers don't automatically have parental responsibility, which means if the mother dies, custody of the children may go elsewhere. To check and for help, see Who has parental responsibility?
4. One in three over-65s will develop dementia - a Power of Attorney is just as important as a will. I'm 44 - thankfully I can't foresee losing mental capacity, but I do have a Lasting Power of Attorney set up, in case.

Without a Power of Attorney, if you lose your faculties through dementia, a stroke or accident, sorting your finances is less clear-cut than if you'd died. Don't assume relatives can walk into the bank & access your money - not even to pay for your care, or the mortgage.

To take charge of your affairs, someone would need to apply via the Court of Protection - this is a hassle and costly. I've heard many nightmares, like forumite Norma, who said: "My mum is now responsible for my dad, who has advanced dementia. It's a very long, intrusive and expensive process. She'll have to pay hefty yearly fees too. I just wish we'd managed to get Power of Attorney instead, when dad was more capable."

With a Power of Attorney, you nominate a trusted friend or relative to look after your affairs if needed. This DOESN'T mean giving up control now - you can opt for it only to come into effect if you're no longer capable. Full help & costs in Lasting Power of Attorney.

NB. There's also a Health & Welfare Power of Attorney for authority over your treatments, and a living will (officially 'an advance decision'), where you can refuse certain medical treatments if you lose capacity in future.
5. Are you hurting your partner by looking after the finances? Over 60% of couples say one person deals with all the home's money issues. If you're reading this, you may be that one. Yet, as I explained in the intro, if you were hit by one of the three Ds (death, divorce or dementia), it can be a disaster.

So why not create a financial factsheet naming all product providers - from roadside recovery to investments, boiler cover to bank accounts. Keep it somewhere safe, but don't put too many security details in, just in case. Then have a kitchen table briefing every few months to update and discuss. I'd love to know how you do it, via this financial couples tips forum discussion.
6. Is your house your only real asset? Don't leave it too late. Those in their 60s living in large homes with kids who've long since left the nest often plan to downsize "one day" to release money as they're asset rich, cash poor. But as time ticks on, I often hear "it's still a few years away" and then finally"we're too old to move".

It's usually far better just to bite the bullet early. If not, the main option is an equity release product - a way to borrow from your home's value while living there. However, interest rates of c.5.5% are far higher than many mortgages.

And more significantly, as it's usually paid from your estate or the sale of your house on death, you often don't make any repayments, which means that, unlike with a mortgage, you're subject to vicious interest compounding.

While I've never been a great fan, if you don't have dependants who need the money, equity release can work, but be careful. See equity release quick tips.
7. One in 29 children lose a parent before they grow up - are yours financially protected? It's a sobering statistic. I was one of them. It's why whenever friends who have children ask me "where should I save for their future?", I first check if they've got life insurance. It gets me a few funny looks, but it's worth it. Families already in dire unexpected grief can risk losing their income, standard of living or even their home if unprepared.

For most people wanting a fixed payout, the cheap and easy way is level term life insurance, which pays out a fixed sum if you die within a set term. Yet how you pay for it can make a huge difference.

Take a £200,000 level term policy to cover your kids until they leave full-time education, so 21 years. Buy direct and a 40-year-old smoker would pay £35/mth, but an often identical policy bought via an 'execution-only broker' can be as little as £23/mth, saving over £3,000 over the life of the policy.

And as the payout is fixed, and there's little argument over whether you've died, as long as the firm's legit, cheaper is better. Full help and best deals in our Cheapest Level Term Life Insurance guide.

NB. Beware over-50s' life insurance plans (eg, Axa's, famously advertised by Michael Parkinson) - they work in a very different way. For many these are a waste of cash. See my Beware Over-50s' Plans guide.
8. Want to pay for your funeral now? Even the most basic funeral can cost over £5,000 all-in. And if you want a more lavish send off, the costs can soar. So if you're worried about what kind of funeral you'll have once you pass, one option is to buy a funeral plan. Our brand-new Funeral Plans quick guide will take you through it.
9. Do debts REALLY die with you? It's often said that "when you die, your debts die with you". But it's a little more tricky than that.

If you owe more than your assets are worth, your debts do die with you (your beneficiaries will get nowt, but they won't be asked to pay the rest of the debt). But if you owe less than your assets are worth, anything you owe has to be paid first before any assets can go to your beneficiaries.

Even worse, if your inheritors are JOINTLY responsible for a debt (eg, a joint mortgage), they'll have to make up the shortfall and become responsible for the WHOLE amount. If you're concerned about the impact this may have, contact Citizens Advice or consult a lawyer.
10. Just to let you know, if someone close dies, we've help. If someone you know passes away, even if it was expected, it can be a very difficult time. To take the stress away, it's worth you knowing that we've a What to do when someone dies checklist, which helps you through the practicalities step by step, from how to register a death and check for a will to how to cancel someone's outstanding mobile contract or stop mail going to them.
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Earn 5% on your savings before it's too late

Regular savers are the joint highest-paying accounts on the market, but after a spate of cuts it's time to LOCK IN

Regular savings accounts let you squirrel away money each month at super-high interest rates (as you can't put too much in them). Yet in recent weeks HSBC, First Direct and M&S Bank have all cut rates from 6% to 5%, and more may come. The key is that the rate is usually fixed for a year from the day you open them. So do it soon and you lock in at these high rates. Full info in Regular Savings. However it's important to understand most of the top payers can only be opened IF you have their bank account too. Luckily they're usually best buys as well - here are the accounts...

  • Bank switchFree £100 + no.1 service bank account with 5% regular saver. You can earn a linked 5% AER fixed if you save £25-£300/mth when you get the First Direct* account. And as its bank account also pays a £100 bonus to switchers and has won every customer service poll we've ever done, that's not a bad move. Just ensure you pay in £1,000/mth to avoid the £10/mth fee. Full eligibility info.

  • Free £150 + £50 with 5% regular saver. You can get a linked 5% AER fixed saver if you save £25-£250/mth when you get the HSBC Advance Account*. The bank account pays £150 to switch & another £50 if you stay for 12mths. Make sure you pay in £1,750/mth or you'll be downgraded and can only get the 3% regular saver. Full eligibility info.

  • Free £100 M&S gift card + £10/mth with 5% regular saver. Save £25-£250/mth in the 5% AER fixed regular saver when you get the M&S Bank* account. Bank switchers also get a £100 M&S gift card, and an extra £10/mth gift card for 1yr if you pay in £1,000/mth. Full eligibility info.

  • Don't want to switch? Check your existing bank. You may be pleasantly surprised. Nationwide offers a regular saver of 5% AER fixed on up to £500/mth; Santander offers current account custs 3% AER variable on up to £200/mth. Lloyds offers 3% AER fixed on £25-£400/mth to Club Lloyds customers; TSB offers 2% AER fixed on £25-£250/mth to current account custs.

  • Get 2.3% regular savings without switching. Some regular savers are open to all:
    - Leeds Building Society pays 2.3% AER (incl a 1.8% bonus if you make no more than one withdrawal) on £50-£250/mth - though crucially the rate's variable, meaning it could change at any time.
    - Virgin Money pays 2.25% AER on £1-£250/mth and the rate's fixed for 1yr.
    - If you're a parent, Halifax pays 4% AER fixed for a year on its branch-based kids' account, though you can only save £10-£100/mth.

Related info: How to Start Saving | Top Savings Accounts | Best Bank Accounts

Halifax to slash rewards, Club Lloyds & TSB to chop rates in latest hit for bank customers. Should you ditch? Read our analysis: Halifax/Lloyds/TSB cuts.

New. Sky Q incl HD sports & movies £30/mth - 35,000 codes. MSE Blagged. 12mth contract - only if you've not had any Sky in past year. 60% off (norm £80/mth) + £15 installation. Or £42/mth + £60 installation to watch in 2nd room too. Hot Sky deal. Already got Sky? Haggle

Flogging on Facebook? It's got a new Marketplace selling clothes, books, toys etc. See how it works in 29 Facebook Selling Tips.

Ending. Get PAID £20 to shift debts to 23mths 0% with NO FEE. Apply by 11.59pm on Sun. Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) offers up to 23mths at 0% & accepted new cardholders also get £20 cashback if they shift £500+ to the card within 60 days. Clear the card before the 0% ends or it's 18.9% rep APR. Full info in Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Beat TalkTalk up to £33/yr hikes. Over 3m face phone, TV & broadband price rises from 4 Nov. Beat TalkTalk hikes

M&S up to 70% off sale, incl £3 skirt, £4 men's shirt. Ltd stock. See M&S sale & other mid-season sales.


- Full Sky TV £30/mth, incl HD sports & movies 35,000 avail

- 2for1 'Bear Grylls: Endeavour' tour tickets Limited availability

- 47-piece meat bundle £29 via code (norm £51) Ends 18 Oct


- Clarks shoes extra 25% off already discounted items

- Last chance: 'Free' 500 Tesco Clubcard pts in parts of UK

- Bag cheap Xmas train tickets now

- Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme to close

Free £100 Amazon/M&S voucher in time for Xmas

New. Two cards will pay you to spend, with a £50 or £100 vch up for grabs

If you're planning to spend for Xmas, there's a way to get paid for doing it by using the right plastic. Two cards are paying big rewards if you reach a certain spend and the best bit is you can get 'em in time for Christmas or the Jan sales. Just use 'em for normal daily and Xmas spending (it's not an excuse to spend more) replacing other cards, cash, cheques etc, and remember to repay IN FULL or you'll get hit with a hefty APR or charge.

  • Free £100 gift card. Spend £2,000+ in the first three months and the Amex Rewards Gold charge card (eligibility calc / apply*) gives 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards pts. You can swap these for a £100 Amazon/M&S/Boots etc gift card (exact stores can change) or BA/Virgin etc points. It's a charge card, ie, designed to be fully repaid each month - so there's no interest. Yet miss repayments and it's a £12 charge & credit file black mark (it also has a £140 annual fee, waived in yr1, so if you don't want to pay this, diarise to cancel).

  • New. Free £50 gift card. If you won't spend that much in the first 3mths, then the new Amex Rewards credit card (eligibility calc / apply*), via this link, gives 10,000 bonus pts for a lower £1,000+ spend, so you can get a £50 Amazon/M&S/Boots etc gift card. Don't repay and you face a 22.9% rep APR.

Points on both cards usually come when you hit the min spend (T&Cs say max 1mth). Then pick your reward.

  • Get 5% back on ALL shopping for 3mths. If you don't need your rewards by Xmas, the Amex Plat Everyday credit card (eligibility calc / apply*) is a winner, giving a huge 5% for the first three months (max £100) and up to 1% after (though you need to spend £3k/yr to get any cashback). Again, repay the card IN FULL to avoid a 22.9% rep APR.

  • The Golden Rules. Full help & options in Top Cashback Credit Cards (APR Examples). In brief...

    1) Always repay IN FULL, preferably by direct debit, to avoid interest or charges.
    2) Don't withdraw cash - you don't get cashback, with credit cards you pay interest & it can hurt credit scores.
    3) Don't go over your credit limit. You can be charged.
    4) Protect your credit score by using our quick eligibility calc to see your chances of getting a card. Or join our Credit Club to also get a free Credit & Affordability Score.

Can you really get paid to walk? We first covered this clever idea 9mths ago: Bounts, the free app that rewards you for steps. Now some love it, some loathe it. So we've a full update: Get paid to walk? Went premium & want refund? Go quick

It's back - Ikea's 'free prize with any purchase'. From hot dogs to Sweden trips, EVERYONE gets something. Maureen won big last time: "I won a Sweden holiday for four with £500 spending cash. Cannot stop smiling." Ikea freebies

2for1 'Bear Grylls - Endeavour' arena tour tickets. MSE Blagged. Are you tough enough? Various cities across Eng this October. Bear Grylls

FREE £14 Cake & Bake Show Manc tix - also gets Ideal Home Show access. Get tips on tackling your soggy bottom and rising damp - 10-13 Nov. Full info and loads more free tickets.

What we're telling the Chancellor should be in his Autumn Statement. We've put in two submissions: 1. Unfreeze the student loan repayment threshold - stop the retrospective hike and 2. End ridiculous affordability rules for those remortgaging.

Stop the charge. NHS GPs are charging those in debt crisis up to £150 to sign mental health form. A campaign from the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute (set up by Martin) - see Stop the charge. Related: Mental Health & Debt Help guide

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Beware currency rip-offs - the terrible rates they're trying to hide

£1 now gets less than €1 at airports - so plan ahead and save £££s

This week Martin snapped a photo of shockingly poor airport exchange rates - just €0.97 to the pound. He tweeted: "No wonder they shouted at me 'you're not allowed to photograph that'. Disgraceful exchange rate profiteering at Moneycorp Gatwick." And there are worse - MSE Will took the photo below of €0.958 to the pound at Stansted, while at Southampton Airport the rate reportedly hit a miserly €0.88. That's why we always say: never buy at airports. Here's how to beat 'em...

  • Travel money rip-offsFind best travel cash rates from across 30 bureaux. Our Travel Money comparison site compares 30 bureaux to find you the cheapest travel cash - eg, £100 got us €109 preordering and collecting, instead of the €97 Martin saw at the airport. Tell it how many euros, dollars, ringgits, etc and it finds cheapest cash, incl any delivery fees. There's also an app version for iPhone and Android.

  • Get specialist plastic for near-perfect rates everywhere, everytime, on cash and spending. Specialist credit cards have no exchange fee, so you get the same near-perfect rate banks get. Simply pocket one, only for use abroad, and use it for every holiday, ensuring you repay IN FULL each month to minimise interest.

    Our usual top picks are the Creation Everyday Mastercard (apply*) and the Halifax Clarity Mastercard (eligibility calc / apply*) as they're fee free for spending and ATM withdrawals, and have low cash withdrawal interest rates. But if you'll withdraw a lot of cash abroad, the Barclaycard Travel Visa (eligibility calc / apply*) has no exchange fees till 31 Aug 2018. And, also, it doesn't charge a cash-withdrawal fee but unusually it doesn't charge interest on overseas cash withdrawals, if you pay your bill IN FULL. While the card providers may not charge an ATM fee, you cannot stop some ATM providers themselves from doing so.

    If you fail to repay these cards in full you'll be charged 12.9%, 18.9% and 11.9% rep APR on spending (more on cash) - see Top Travel Credit Cards (APR Examples).

  • Don't want cash or a credit card? Try a top prepaid card. Prepaid cards are available to all. The best ones' rates compete with and can even undercut the cheapest credit cards, but you load cash on them in advance, so you usually get the rate when you load it, not when you spend. Top picks are WeSwap and Revolut. Or, if you're buying £600+ of euros or dollars, FairFX adds an extra £20 worth of currency on top. Full info & more options in Cheap Prepaid Cards.

  • A trick to buy cash now AND protect against currency swings. If you're not going away for a few weeks and are worried about falling rates, we've a trick to help. While you won't get the very best rates on the market, a few bureaux's T&Cs will let you order currency in advance and lock in at that rate, but then cancel before you travel if the rate gets better. See which bureaux do this and full help in Buy travel cash now trick.

Save up to 87% on branded medicines. Eg, £1.98 for pack of 16 Nurofen - 25p when bought as ibuprofen. With winter coming, see how to spot cheaper versions - plus how to get free or cheap flu jabs - in our 21 Medicine Savings.

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"My renewal quote for buildings and contents insurance with Nationwide was £1,036. I found a quote for £316 online so phoned Nationwide again and it beat it by 35p, saving £720. Thanks for your encouragement to shop around and save my hard-earned cash."

47-piece meat bundle for £29 via code (norm £51). MSE Blagged. We've done our research and it's cheaper than the supermarkets. Incl chicken, steak, mince, meatballs & sausages. Muscle Food

Go gadget go, or no? From iPads to Kindles to cameras, firms shout about their gadget insurance but we play inspector to analyse if cover's really worth it.


Would you live at a murder scene to bag a house price discount? If living in a house where someone died or which is allegedly haunted or in serious disrepair doesn't faze you, you could snag a bargain. But would anything put you off?

Do you think Brexit would be good for your finances? It (still) depends how you voted... When we last ran this poll immediately after the referendum, 73% of leave voters were optimistic about their finances - just 6% of remain voters were. Three months on, last week's poll of 16,638 users revealed there's still a huge divide - but both camps are marginally more positive, with 78% of leave voters and 8% of remain voters optimistic. See full Brexit finances poll results.


- Top story: First Direct customers locked out of their bank accounts after voice ID system fails to recognise them

- Mobile networks agree to scrap unlocking charges

- Money Advice Service and pension advice services to be replaced by new single body

- Current account complaints fall 10% in first half of 2016

- Top pick overseas debit card closes to new customers


Should we increase our son's pocket money? Our son's been complaining he gets less pocket money than his friends. We've told him if he wants more money he should get a part-time job - he says he's working hard for his GCSEs and so hasn't got the time. Should we relent or stand firm? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we increase our son's pocket money? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Finances as a couple
- Competitions thread of the week: Win an unbelievable spa break
- Old-style board thread of the week: When did dinner plates become so big?
- Discussion of the week: How much do you budget for groceries?


- Buy £2 of cheese and get a free bottle of wine worth £6


- Under 26? Nab theatrical bargains galore for a tenner or less


Thu 13 Oct - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Fri 14 Oct - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. View previous
Mon 17 Oct - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 17 Oct - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast


Wed 12 Oct - Share Radio, 11.20am
Thu 13 Oct - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm
Tue 18 Oct - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm


Q: I claimed for a delayed flight and was told by the airline that they will pay compensation, but as yet we've had nothing - who can I turn to? Rosalinda, via email.

MSE Megan's A: If you've claimed from your airline and it's sent you a final written response you disagree with - or if it's been eight weeks since you've heard anything - you can appeal. So long as your flight left or arrived in the UK, you can escalate your complaint to either the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme, depending on whether your airline has signed up to one.

Your airline should have told you if it's signed up to an ADR scheme, but if you're not sure you can check in our Flight Delays guide. If it has signed up to one you must use that scheme - if not, you'll need to go to the CAA. Bear in mind that with one ADR scheme, which covers four major airlines, there's a £25 fee if your appeal's unsuccessful.

For full help - including a free complaints tool which helps draft, manage and escalate your claim - see our Flight Delays guide.

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


That's it for this week, but before we go, check out this thread from the forum: Money Wasting Expert? Our forumites have been owning up to some of their MoneySaving fails, from buying the wrong size shoes online and losing bus tickets to flying a brand-new remote control plane straight into a tree. Why not join them and share your best (well, worst) MoneyWasting examples.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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