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Weekly Email
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12th Nov 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 This info may be out of date.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."

12 November 2014

This week

Boost your savings to 6%
Free £30 M&S voucher
Warning: Beware mortgage SVRs
Get paid to get 6% M&S cashback
Boiler cover 50% off code
Free UK parcel delivery code
Avios flight sale - pay just £1 taxes
Big FLASH sales: Ted Baker 20%, M&S Outlet 25%, Boden, Carnaby St
£100 pearl jewellery set £14.50 code
Remortgage reject?
£45 Sanctuary Spa gift set £22
Shift cash to your bank account at 24mth 0% for just 2.69% fee
M&S hampers 15% code | Thorntons hampers 50%+ code
Tesco 25% off 4+ bottles of wine
FREE Friday London tube & bus tix
Eurostar £59 return sale
J Lewis 'sale matching' Debenhams
£10 off console games code
"I saved £240 a year on Sky bill"
60k save £10m in collective switch
Want to work at MSE?
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs
Do you use Bitcoin or Litecoin?

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

Boost your savings to 6%
Time to become an aggressive saver - put every penny where it's best

Savings rates are spit-worthily low. Worse could be to come, as the UK base rate doesn't look likely to rise till late 2015 and 'swap rates' - which influence fixed saving rates - have plummeted in the last month. Yet there are weapons in a saver's arsenal - most don't use them, our savings fountain teaches you how.

Before we start... do you have any debts? If so, and the interest rates are higher than savings pay after tax, then they cost you more than savings will pay. So you're likely better off clearing them rather than saving. See the Repay debts with savings?, Overpay my mortgage?, and Clear my student loan? guides.

The Savings Fountain

Different types of savings have different rules on how much you can put in and when. To max your interest, you need to pour money where it'll pay best. Think of it like a champagne fountain - put your cash into the best-paying savings vehicle possible, then when that's full and overflowing, fill up the next best, and so on.

 Savings Fountain
1. The top tier... earn up to 5% easy-access via 'bank account' savings.
Bizarrely, some bank accounts' in-credit rates now smash easy access savings accounts & ISAs. They're done as a loss leader to entice banking customers - yet if you're prepared to switch account, you gain. Don't just focus on the peak rate, aim to cover as much as possible at decent rates.

- Earn 3% AER on £3,000-£20,000: With Santander 123. There's a £2/mth fee but this is usually more than covered by the cashback it pays on bills.
- Earn 4% AER on £4,000-£5,000: With Club Lloyds bank account.
- Earn 5% AER for a year on £2,500: With Nationwide FlexDirect account.
- Earn 5% AER on up to £2,000: With TSB Classic Plus bank account.

Click each link for full account rules - for those who want to game it to open more than one see 5% savings loophole.
2. Next trickle into regular savings... save monthly to earn up to 6%.
Regular savings accounts often pay high interest as it's only on a small amount for a short time. While the top rate's slightly more than bank accounts, because you need to put cash in each month you'd need to trickle it across from your top savings account anyway - hence why it's second.

- Bank linked 6% regular savings.
No.1 bank for service First Direct currently gives new customers £125 to join it, plus new & existing custs can get a linked FD regular savings account at 6% AER fixed for a year - you need to put £25-£300 in per month and can vary that each month. The Lloyds current account has a similar linked account at 4%.

- Anyone can earn 3.05%.
Leeds BS Regular Saver pays 3.05% AER variable, including 1.8% bonus if you pay in between £50 and £250 every month (for 12 months).

For more info & calcs see the Top Regular Savings Accounts. Also some get confused and argue these accounts don't pay the rate promised, see Don't believe the bad regular savings hype for where that confusion comes from.
3. Got more? Pour it into a cash ISA fix... 2.6% tax-free with access.
Cash ISAs are just savings accounts where the interest isn't taxed (so you keep all of it). Anyone over 16 in the UK can put up to £15,000 in an ISA each tax year (6 Apr - 5 Apr) and once in, it stays tax-free year after year.

With fixed-rate cash ISAs, unlike normal savings, you can access the cash within the term - though you'll lose some interest in penalties. Yet even if you withdraw early, these can still be winners.

- Top fixed-rate cash ISA: Coventry BS pays 2.6% AER fixed for four years, but close the account early and the penalty is just 120 days' interest. So withdraw after 1yr and you'd get 1.75%, after 2yrs 2.18%. and after 3yrs 2.32%. This means as long as you keep cash in for 10 months, you'd earn more than the best easy access deal anyway.

- Top for cash ISA transfers:
All those that allow you to transfer old cash ISAs in as well as new money have heftier penalties. So here the aim should be to fix for a length you need. Top 1yr is Post Office at 1.7% AER, 2yr is Virgin at 2.1% AER, 3yr is Virgin at 2.25% AER.

Full help, calculators and more options in Top fixed-rate ISAs.
4. If you need access to your cash... get a 1.55% tax-free cash ISA.
If you know you'll need access to your cash go for an easy access cash ISA (see how ISAs work info above) with no withdrawal restrictions.

Top easy access cash ISAs: BM Savings allows new money and lets you transfer in old cash ISAs. It pays 1.55% AER variable. Of this, 1.05% is a bonus for a year, which effectively ensures you get a minimum rate, but diarise to ditch & transfer after a year as the rate will plummet.

For more choice & calculators see Top Cash ISAs. If you've old ISAs, check their rate now - if they're pants, see Top ISA Transfers to boost them.
5. Now consider locking cash away - earn 2.5% in fixed rate savings.
If you've still money, next consider whether you're prepared to lock it away without access - if so, you can fix with a locked-in rate that's usually higher. Do bear in mind if rates rise over the term you can't switch, so at the moment we don't list fixes longer than 3 years.

Top fixed-rate savings: Kent Reliance 1yr fix pays 1.9% AER, min £1,000. The top 3yr fix is Investec (min £25,000), which pays 2.5% AER unless the Bank of England base plus 1% is higher, in which case you get that. If you've less, Shawbrook Bank is a 3yr fix at 2.5% AER (min £5,000). Full help, calculators & options: Top Fixed-Rate Savings.
6. Got any left? Earn 1.4% in the top easy access normal savings.
Now we're down to the bog standard easy access payers. Here you can put in big amounts and withdraw cash at leisure.

Top normal savings: Post Office pays 1.4% or over-50s can get 1.55% with Saga (min £1,000). Full help: Top Savings.

Quick savings tips.

  Before you rush off to pour cash in the fountain, a few key tips...

a) You pay tax on savings interest (if not in an ISA). Higher rate taxpayers lose 40% of their interest to the taxman, basic rate 20%.

b) Non-taxpayers - cash ISAs may still be worth it. There's no tax gain, but they often pay higher rates than equivalent savings, cash ISA fixes have more access and if you become a taxpayer again, the cash will then be protected.

c) Part of a couple? Put savings in name of the lower-rate taxpayer. If one of you pays tax at a higher rate, providing you trust each other put non-ISA savings in the name of the lower taxpayer and you'll take home more. For those who aren't married/civil partners, there is a tiny risk if one of you died within seven years of this that there'd be inheritance tax on it.

d) Know your savings safety. Provided your money is in a UK-regulated savings account, the first £85,000 per person, per financial institution is Govt guaranteed. If you've got more, spread it. See Are your savings safe?.

e) Higher-rate taxpayer? Consider Premium Bonds.
It's not a straight like-for-like, the Premium Bond 'interest rate' is 1.35% tax free, but someone with typical luck gets less. To decide if it's right for you see the Premium Bond Probability Calculator and the Are Premium Bonds worth it? guide.

f) Check your local credit union. On rare occasions these beat the rates above, check if there's one near you. See Credit Union Finder.

g) Bigger savers, it can be worth filling your ISA first for the long term. The fountain above is based on current rates, but if you max your cash ISA allowance each year you're protecting an ever bigger pot of cash from tax. If cash ISA rates rise you'll be very glad they're covered.

h) Kids get better rates. Under-16s can often earn more, though if you're saving in their name, as they're not usually taxpayers, there are limits. See Top Childrens Savings, Top Junior ISAs and Top Child Trust Funds.

i) Consider investing too. With savings, your money is safe, with investing the aim is to get potentially higher returns but at the risk of losing money. Yet in the long run this can win - see our Top Shares ISA guide for more.

Blagged for MoneySavers

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MSE News

Top story: Payday loan costs to be capped by watchdog
Tube fares to rise 2.5% next year, but daily usage caps will fall
Three Mobile moving out-of-contract users to new deals
Customers being 'ripped off' by banks on Faster Payments limits
Switching 'hassle' must be eliminated, as bank probe launched
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If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 12 Nov 2014
FREE £30 M&S voucher - just get its best-buy 19mth 0% spending card
Get 0% credit card and buy anything on it, even just a banana, and you'll get a £30 M&S vch (excl food & drink)

There's no cheaper way to borrow than for free, which, used right, a 0% 'for purchases' card allows you to do. And the new card from M&S effectively pays you to get it, with a £30 voucher. Full options in 0% cards, here's the key info...

  • M&S voucher New. 19mth 0% borrowing with £30 M&S voucher. Accepted new M&S credit card* (eligibility calc) cardholders via this specific link can spend on it for 19mths and the borrowing is interest-free (18.9% rep APR after). Plus spend even 1p on it in 2014 and you get a £30 M&S voucher (no min spend). So you could buy a banana & repay it to grab the freebie.

    - £30 M&S voucher details. It's sent via email by 24 Jan 15 and valid until 28 Feb. It can be spent on clothing, home, lingerie, beauty, furniture, footwear & accessories. Food, drink & flowers are excluded, see full t&cs. The voucher's valid in stores or online using a unique code.

    - How does its 0% compare? It's only just shy of leader Halifax's 20mths* (eligibility calc). You also get 1 M&S point per £2 spent (per £1 in M&S). Each point's converted to 1p to spend in M&S, sent as quarterly vouchers (min £1).
  • ALWAYS follow the 0% spending cards golden rules. If you're looking to borrow, follow these rules...

    1) Want to cut existing card debt costs? You don't want this card, go for a top 0% balance transfer card instead.
    2) Don't borrow willy-nilly.
    Only for needed, planned, budgeted expenditure you can clear within the 0% time.
    3) Don't just apply.
    Use the 0% Spending Eligibility Calculator first, which shows the cards you've the best odds of getting, thus cutting down credit file application marks - and protecting your credit score.
    4) Clear it or shift again before 0% ends. If not, both the cards above jump to a costly 18.9% representative APR.
    5) Always pay at least the monthly min.
    If not, you may lose the 0% deal - paying by direct debit is safest.
    6) Never withdraw cash. It's not cheap and can hurt your credit score.

    Full help in the 0% Spending Cards guide (APR Examples).

£10 off code gets free UK parcel delivery and cheap world delivery. MSE Blagged. Parcel2Go has given us 100,000 £10 off (no min spend) codes, it uses Parcelforce, UPS, TNT, FedEx & more. So if your delivery is £10 or less, as many smaller UK parcels are, it's free. If it's more, eg, £20 to France, it's £10. Book by 30 Nov. Parcel2Go

Avios flight sale, pay just £1 taxes & charges return. Avios has a sale on until Mon 17 Nov for economy flights from London till 31 Jan. Use points to fly to 10 destinations incl Venice & Barcelona for £1 in taxes & fees or 35 long haul destinations for 25%-50% fewer points than usual. Avios Sale

FLASH Sales: Ted Baker 20%, M&S Outlet 25%, 100 Ldn shops incl Diesel, Levi's, etc
Some big FLASH sales & codes available this week, but be ready to pounce - some last just 4hrs. See All Codes & Vouchers
Wed: M&S Outlet 25% code 9am Wed - 9am Thu | Cloggs 25% off incl £13 Havaianas, £19 Converse ends 11:59pm Wed
Thur: Carnaby Street offers 5-9pm, up to 20% off at 100 Soho stores & restaurants incl Diesel, Levi's, Benefit, Am Apparel
Wed-Thurs: Boden 25% + free del code | Asos 10% code | Matalan 20% off £40+ code
Other codes:
Rare Ted Baker 20% 5pm Wed-11:59pm Fri code/in stores | Body Shop £25 off £50 | Bonmarché £5 off £25

£100 pearl jewellery set £14.50 delivered. MSE Blagged. 10,000 avail. Incl necklace, 2 pairs of earrings & bracelet. A similar deal in Sept sold out - this time there's more stock. Ends Fri. Good Xmas gift. See John Greed jewellery

On your mortgage lender's standard variable rate? Stop. You're paying too much
...probably. Most people paying an SVR, with a decent credit score and 10%+ equity, can now ditch, switch & save

As many as 4 in 10 mortgage holders just pay their lender's SVR - the go-to rate lenders put you on after a deal finishes. These now average 4.9% but can be up to 6%. Current remortgage deals (ie, simply switching mortgage to a cheaper one) are now far cheaper - see our comparison. Even a 1 percentage point rate cut saves £900+/yr on a £150k mortgage.

See expanded list of lenders' SVRs
Lender Main SVR (i) Cost/yr on £150k (ii)
HSBC 3.94% £10,850
Barclays 3.99% £10,900
Halifax 3.99% £10,900
Lloyds 3.99% (iii) £10,900
Nationwide 3.99% (iii) £10,900
RBS 4% £10,910
Santander 4.74% £11,630
Kent Reliance 6.08% £12,980
(i) Standard variable rate. (ii) Assuming 20yrs remaining and SVR doesn't change (it will if base rate goes up). (iii) These have different SVRs for older mortgages - so check.
Find your best using our MORTGAGE COMPARISON tool
Best-buy rates LTV (i) Admin fee Cost/yr on £150k (ii)
2yr tracker currently 1.44% 65% £345 £8,900
2yr fix 1.54% 60% £999 £9,300
2yr tracker currently 2.34% 80% £0 £9,475
2yr fix 2.44% 80% £199 £9,660
5yr fix 2.95% 65% £99 £10,060
2yr discount currently 2.9% 90% £599 £10,260
2yr fix 3.54% 90% £195 £10,800
(i) LTV = Loan to value - the % of your home's value you borrow. (ii) Over initial term at current rates, including admin fee, plus estimated £150 for other fees - most of these deals have free legal & valuation fees for remortgages. Assumes a 20yr term & rates don't rise.
  • "I saved £500 a month." Sarah emailed us on Monday: "I saved £500 on our monthly mortgage payments by remortgaging to a new 5 year fixed repayment rate, saving £30k in 5 years. It took time, but the effort paid off."
  • Martin's free 60-page printed remortgage booklet: If you're looking to remortgage, it's worth ensuring you know exactly what you're doing, so get an Instant PDF or Printed version of our remortgage booklet.
  • The smaller the mortgage, the bigger the impact of fees. Our Mortgage Best-Buys Total Cost Comparison combines rate & admin fee to assess which mortgages are actually cheapest for you. Then there can be exit, legal & valuation fees, so do check, then compare the winner to your current deal with our Compare Mortgages Calc.
  • Fix or variable rate? The advantage of fixing is your repayments are locked in, giving budgeting certainty for a set time. Variable deals move with UK interest rates (or the lender's whim). Currently you pay a little more to fix, but if safety is what counts for you err on the side of fixing, and fixing for longer. See full Fixed v Variable guide.

Other Mortgage Help: Mortgage Calc | Mortgage Overypay Calc | DitchMyFix Calc | First Time Mortgage Booklet | Buy-to-Let Mortgage Booklet | Mortgage Problems Help | Boost your credit score

Are mortgage affordability rules stopping you getting a cheap remortgage? See Martin's Blog.

£45 Sanctuary Spa gift set £22 | £67 CID make-up bundle £20. The Sanctuary bath goodies set is the one our forumites've been waiting for, incl body wash, lotions & scrubs. The CID set incl eyeshadow, primer & more. Beauty deals

New. Shift cash into your bank at 24mth 0% for just 2.69% fee. The new MBNA* (eligibility calc) card allows accepted new cardholders 24mth 0% money transfers for a one-off 2.69%, cheapest for ages. This means it'll pay cash into your bank acc - great for clearing overdrafts or as a cheap small loan. Need longer? Fluid* is 29 mths 0% with 4% fee (eligibility calc). ALWAYS clear before the 0% ends or they jump to 22.9% rep APR. FULL help: 0% money transfers

M&S 15% off selected Xmas hampers code | Thorntons over 50% off hampers. MSE Blagged. If you're planning to buy an M&S hamper (chocs, cheese, wine, etc) our code (ends Fri) cuts the cost on four specific ones. Or the Thorntons code gives a £100 chocolate hamper for £45. For full info see Hamper Deals.

Tesco buy 4+ bottles wine/bubbly get 25% off (can mix & match). Stock up for Xmas in stores (superstores and Extras) or online at Tesco Grocery*. Incl already discounted wines. Excludes Scotland. Full info on this and more at Wine discount deals. Please be Drinkaware.

Free Friday London tube, train & bus travel if you've a contactless Mastercard. Pay TFL trains, tube or bus fare with the card on Friday and you'll be refunded up to £21.80 within 28 working days. Don't use PAYG Oyster on Friday

New. Free cash and 6% M&S cashback
Put £10 on a 99p prepaid card and you get £15 credit. Great for giving to teens or to get M&S cashback and more

Prepaid cards let you load cash on them to spend. Some are designed for spending abroad, others as a way to give kids pocket money. This deal's the latter type, but its stonking M&S cashback deal means it can be a boon for grown-ups too.

  • Pockit Card Free money - load £10 get £15. MSE Blagged. Get the 99p Pockit* prepaid card via this specific link by 31 Dec - there's no credit check - load it with £10+ within a month and you'll get an extra £5 so you're £4.01 up. There's 2,000 £5 bonuses available.
  • It's free to use and you get 6% M&S cashback and more. There are no fees for spending on it or topping up (via debit card/bank). Avoid ATM withdrawals and PayPoint top-ups though as they cost 99p. Currently if you use it to spend at M&S in stores or online you'll get 6% cashback on all spending (incl food & wine) within 60 days. There's also 2% at RedSpottedHanky, 7% at New Look and more. These offers could change in future, but should work at least for this Christmas.
  • Can be given to over-13s. You must be 18 to apply, but you can get two additional cards (99p each) for over-13s to allow them to spend in stores/online. You can manage the account and check what they're spending & where.
  • How safe is the cash? By law, prepaid cards are 'e-money' - any cash you put on the card is ringfenced at the bank, in this case Barclays, so you wouldn't lose out if the card issuer went bust. However, in the very unlikely event Barclays went bust too you would. For alternative prepaid card options see our Prepaid cards guide.

Eurostar £59 rtn - sale starts Thu. Rare discount (usually £69+) for Paris, Lille, Brussels in Jan-Feb. Eurostar

John Lewis 'sale matching' Debenhams up to 25% off ALL DEPARTMENTS. Till Sun, D'hams has a 25% off sale (some depts, eg, beauty, are 10%) and J Lewis is matching an, ahem, "unnamed competitor's" 25% off sale. Sales Info

£10 off games code gets £33 Halo or £32 Call Of Duty. MSE Blagged. £10 off £40 code at Rakuten means it undercuts anything else we can find for the two big games. 2,000 codes available. See all Console & Games Deals.

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
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...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Santander* (£5k - £7.5k)
5.3% rep APR

Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.8% 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

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I rang Sky to cancel as I was paying £27 a month. It offered me 12 months at £7/month as I had been a customer for a long time. £240 a year saved, thanks Martin & team."
- See Haggle with Sky, AA & more for how to haggle and the top 10 service companies it's easiest to do so with.

Save big on boiler cover including 50% off deal
Winter's coming and many costs boil over. Don't stick with your energy provider's cover. Switch & save

Many energy providers use your fear of losing your heating or hot water to charge hefty costs. One provider charges £18/mth but for similar service, cover from a standalone provider can be as low as £9/mth - a £108 annual difference. See our Cheap Boiler Cover guide to insulate your wallet from mega costs, here's a warm up...

  • Boiler coverStep 1: Establish what cover you need. There are three main types, cheapest first...
    1) Boiler insurance. It provides parts and labour to protect your boiler and controls.
    2) Boiler and central heating cover.
    We hear about two thirds of claims are for boilers, the rest for heating, so weigh up whether to pay extra for the added cover.
    3) Home emergency. Broad cover - boiler, central heating, pest infestation and more. Yet payout limits for each can be low, eg, £500 for boiler compared to £4,000 on a standard policy. So if your boiler is the main concern this mightn't be for you.
  • Step 2: Quickly compare prices. uSwitch* gives the widest comparison, six providers for all policy types. If you have time also check Energyhelpline* and MoneySupermarket* - these add a few more to your search.
  • Step 3: Hot deals the comparisons miss - incl 50% off. Once you've got a quote via comparisons, use that as your benchmark, then check Swinton, which isn't on comparison sites, plus the following MSE Blagged promos:

    - Homeserve 50% off. We've a special link that gets you 50% off its standard prices for boiler breakdown with home emergency, which can make it very cheap for some. FULL INFO, pros & cons: Homeserve deal.
    - Home Energy Services 10% off code. Buy boiler & central heating cover (using the code MSE1) or boiler, central heating, plumbing & electrics cover (using the code MSE2) and you get 10% off.
    - 'Free' £35 Vax handheld vacuum with Npower cover. With Boiler & Central Heating cover.
  • Boiler Insurance Golden Rules. Again a reminder, full info in Cheap Boiler Insurance. For now...

    1) Don't buy it if you rent. It's the landlord's responsibility to carry out repairs. See Who needs boiler cover?
    2) Consider self insuring. If you've new reliable kit, saving monthly to build a cash fund to pay with may be cheaper.
    3) Get an annual boiler service. Most policies won't pay if your boiler's not been properly maintained.
    4) Insurance & service agreements are different. With insurance if the insurer goes bust you're protected by the FSCS. With service cover, you've less recourse it the firm goes bust. So check What if my insurer goes bust?.

60,000 of you switched & saved £10m with our energy collective switch. Thanks to all who spread the word. It had substantially more switchers than the next biggest-ever - even Energy Secretary Ed Davey was impressed: "Fantastic news - 10 days and a staggering 60,000 people have taken action, it shows the power of clubbing together to demand a better price from suppliers." Read more on UK's biggest collective switch and even though it's over check now if you can save.

Want to join the MSE editorial team? We're recruiting an insurance writer & energy product analyst. See MSE jobs.

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines
Compare, switch & get cashback

Cheap Energy Club
£30 dual fuel

£15 per switch

£30 dual fuel

£40 wine voucher

First Direct*
£125 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get quotes in this order...*
Direct Line*

Direct Save Telecom*
with weekend calls
£9.95/mth (pay a yr upfront)

Post Office*
with weekend calls
£10/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

Do you use Bitcoin or Litecoin?
The Government wants your views on digital currencies so it can look at making improvements. What draws you to using them? What are the risks? Do you think they should be regulated? Email your views by Wed 3 Dec and discuss in the forum.

I've got a mortgage. When my partner moves in, should she pay?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I own my place - though I've got a mortgage - and my partner is moving in. We are not married and I've no idea what the fair thing to do is regarding her contributing towards living expenses. Should I charge her rent or ask her to pay towards the mortgage? Should I just ask for a contribution towards bills? Enter the Money Moral Maze: What should my partner pay? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

What are your top tips for downshifting on beauty products?
We're looking to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge on how to save cash on beauty products. Have you found something in the budget aisle of the pharmacy/pound store/supermarket that's a dead ringer for a famous product? What are your top tips for substituting brand names for cheapies without sacrificing quality? Share yours/read others': Downshifting on beauty products Past topics: View all

Airline: Jet2 Offer: Flights from £27 one-way to seven ski destinations Ends: ongoing
Our pick this week is Jet2's* ongoing ski sale, which offers flights from £27 one-way to seven ski destinations (includes taxes, but not some charges and extras) between Dec-Apr 2015. The flights are from seven UK airports to seven European destinations. There is no code to enter, the discount appears automatically. We found a return flight from East Midlands-Geneva for £27.20 each way in Feb. 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

Selling property via online estate agents

We asked users about their experiences with online estate agents. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with one forumite having sold two properties via one last year, and another having received an asking price offer within 48 hours. The savings possible compared with using traditional agents can be huge, with one user saving £10,000. While feedback was good on most aspects though, some reported issues using conveyancers linked to online agents.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

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

MSE team corner

Discussion of the week

How do you know they love you?

Whether it's a huge bouquet of roses or just a simple, kind gesture, what does your partner do to let you know they love you? Join in with our How do you know they love you? thread and share your stories.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 126.51 113.85
US Flag $ 158.17 141.48
Turkish Flag TL 346.30 302.29
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
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This week's poll: When your change is just a penny (or pennies) do you bother taking it?

There’s an old adage that says: “Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.” But does it still ring true? Reports suggest many people just leave their change if it’s only a penny (or pennies). What do you do?

Please choose the option closest to your USUAL way of behaving:

Poll results

How much is your typical monthly mobile bill?
Across the different tariff types, over a third of you pay between £5 and £15 for your monthly mobile bill.

Here's the full breakdown:

- 16% pay £0-£5
- 38% pay £5.01-£15
- 25% pay £15.01-£30
- 18% pay £30.01-£50
- 2% pay £50.01-£100
- 0.2% pay £100+
- 0.8% don't know (employer pays)

24,808 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: Can a company pension I took out when I was younger and no longer pay into be accessed in any way to help me out of financial difficulty now? Emma, via email.

MSE Amy’s A: Before we get into the rules, never take out your pension cash without careful consideration as it is your retirement pot that you may need later. If you're in debt, there are often many alternatives you can try before taking your pension cash.

Whether you can access it depends on how old you are. If you're under 55 you cannot withdraw from it other than in very rare circumstances. At 55 you can take a 25% lump sum of your pension pot tax-free. With the rest you’ve got three options: you can buy an annuity that converts your pension into an income for life, go into something known as 'drawdown' which lets you draw an income while the rest of your pension remains invested, or take the rest as cash but you’ll have to pay 55% tax on it (but this percentage will drop to your tax rate next April).

In the meantime, avoid fraudsters who say you can get hold of your pension before you legally can. Read the Pension Liberation guide, and for more pension tips see our Pension need-to-knows guide.

Regardless of your age, if you're struggling, then you need to do a Money Makeover as there are many ways to raise cash - whether by flogging old stuff, getting cheaper bills, grant-grabbing or making tough sacrifices. Also see our Debt Help guide if you're really in the mire.

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

 Nick's free game of the week: 10 More Bullets

Word pedants' top 10 - it's specific not pacific, you didn't just literally die

That's it for this week, but before we go, does it drive you up the wall when people 'literally' die laughing? Or what about those who give 110%? Having ranted about this during the week, we thought you may like Martin's word pedants' top 10. Let us know if you've got any to add.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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