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Weekly Email
This email was sent
13th Jun 2012
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 This info may be out of date.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."

13 June 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

Can you double your savings interest?
Use the 'savings fountain' to earn up to 8% interest

It sounds like weirdy-beardy nonsense, but the savings fountain's my concept to more than double many savers' interest. Pour as much cash as possible into the best-paying savings vehicle until it overflows, then fill up the next top, & so on.

1. Repay expensive debts before saving. Most debts cost more than savings pay. So if you save £1,000 at 3% and owe the same at 18% on a credit card, repay the card with the savings and you're £150/yr better off. Still not convinced? Read the full Repay Debts With Savings? guide.
2. Start with cash ISAs — 4.25% AER tax-free. Every over-16 can save £5,640/yr in a cash ISA, simply a savings account where you receive more, as the interest's not taxed. Better still, once in an ISA, the savings stay tax-free year-after-year.

Top fixed deals: If you can lock cash away, the top payers are Halifax 3-5yrs* 4-4.25% AER; Santander 2yrs* 4% & 1yr* 3.5%; Saga 1yr 3.6% (over-50s).

Top easy access: Cheshire BS pays 3.35% AER, though it's got a bonus so the rate'll plummet in a year, diarise to transfer then. Full info in Top Cash ISAs.
3. Check old cash ISAs urgently — is your rate 0.1%? Tax-free's pointless if the rate's pants. Sadly, if your ISA's over a year old, the interest's likely to have dive-bombed. Check NOW, and if so, transfer to a new top payer. The fixed ISAs above (not Saga) allow transfers, and top easy-access is Santander's* 3.3% AER, but transfer again in a year as the rate'll plummet. Full help: ISA Transfers.
4. savings fountainUp to 8% AER in a regular saver. If your ISA's full, regular savings accounts, which require monthly contributions, are next. Yet they're taxed, only allow limited amounts, only last a short time, and the best are linked to bank accounts.

Until tomorrow, First Direct* gives £125 to those opening its top-rated customer service bank account and paying in £1,500/mth. Plus, its customers can put £25-£300/mth in its 8% 1yr fixed saver. A 6% regular saver's available for HSBC customers. The best non-linked accounts pay 4%, see Top Regular Savers.
5. Fix at up to 4.4% AER if you're prepared to lock cash away. If you've more, you'll now need normal savings. High guaranteed rates are possible if you sacrifice access. The longer you lock away for, the bigger the risk other rates will rise and you'll be stuck. Pundits think a few years is fine, though.

Top fixed rates: Secure Trust 5yrs 4.45% & 4yrs 4.1%; BM Savings 3yrs* 4%; Nottingham BS 2yrs 3.8%; Cahoot 1yr* (min £25k) 3.6%. See Top Fixed Savings for full info.
6. New top easy access — 3.2% AER. The catch-alls are easy access accounts. Santander's* 3.2%, followed by the Post Office* at 3.17%. Both include year long bonuses, so diarise to ditch & switch then. Full options in Top Savings.

A halfway house if you've £25k+ is Investec's High 10, currently 3.17%. It will match the top 10 accounts' average, but needs 3mths' notice to withdraw.
7. Got a partner? Save in lowest taxpayer's name. Outside ISAs, interest is taxed at your income tax rate. So if one partner pays 40% tax and the other 20%, provided you trust each other, put it in the lower taxpayer's name to get more. For non-married couples (except civil partnerships), be aware if one dies within 7 years of moving the cash, there could be inheritance tax to pay.
8. Save £10,000s by overpaying your mortgage. If your mortgage rate's higher than the after-tax savings rate, it's better to overpay than save. First ensure there are no redemption penalties and you've got a cash emergency fund. Full step-by-step help in the Should I Overpay My Mortgage? guide.

The impact can be huge. Our Mortgage Overpayment Calc shows overpaying £100/mth on a £100,000 mortgage at 4.5% saves you £18,000 interest.
9. Don't leave money in your current account. Most pay pitiful or even zero interest, so don't use it to store cash. Sweep money into a high-paying savings account at the end of the month.
10. With a financial crisis across Europe — are your savings safe? The first £85,000 per person saved in UK-regulated institutions (all biggies except Dutch-protected ING Direct) is guaranteed by UK Govt. If you've more, consider spreading across a few providers. Full help in Are My Savings Safe? guide.

If you're asking about Santander due to Spain's troubles, it's fully covered by the £85k guarantee. See my recent Is Santander UK Safe? blog for a briefing.

Money for nothing, and your tips for free

That's the way to do it. If this site's ever saved you cash, please forward this email to friends & suggest they get it themselves via

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 13 Jun 2012
New tool. Take the Downshift Challenge
Can you save £1,000/year on supermarket shop? | New tool calculates downshift savings

Who says 'Finest' is finest? The supermarket flogging it. Don't believe brand hypnosis, you could cut costs by £1,000s...

downshift challenge
  • Take the Downshift Challenge. The challenge is to TRY dropping one brand level on everything you buy. Then see if you can tell the difference. If not, switch to the cheaper one. To inspire you, try our fun new Downshift Challenge Tool. Tell it where you shop, how much you spend and the proportion of each brand you buy (premium, manufacturers', own brand or basic) and it'll crunch the numbers. Many can save £1,000s.
  • Taste with your mouth, not your eyes. Don't let brand snobbery make you think more expensive is always better. [In TV blind tests I've done, most can only tell the difference on half the stuff, and many prefer some lower brands. Personally, I love basic Jaffa cakes but wouldn't wipe my bum with basic loo roll - ML.]
  • 30+ tips to cut supermarket costs. For how to compare your trolley online, maximising gains from Tesco and Asda's price check policies, timing trips to bag the best yellow sticker reductions & more, see 30 Ways To Cut Supermarket Costs. Plus download instant click 'n' print Supermarket Coupons.
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Code gets 500 free Boots pts with £1 spend. New Treat Street customers only. See Boots Discounts

Father's Day (this Sun)

Restaurant Deals


Table Table
Buy 3 courses get 3 free

Café Rouge
25% off food

Chiquito Mexican
Free main with one main

Beefeater Grill
'Free' steak with one main

£10 pizza & Peroni
Bella Italia
25% off food
20% off entire bill
Miller & Carter
'Free' starter/pud

See All Restaurant Vouchers

'Free' £2.60 personalised Father's Day card. 2,500 codes available, order now & pay 60p p&p to get it sent to your dad's door in time for Sunday. See Photo Deals

Warning. You NEED car insurance, even if not driving
Got a car? You can be fined if cover lapses | Don't auto-renew for ease, save £100s instead

You've always needed cover to drive. Yet for a year now, the Continuous Insurance Enforcement rules mean if your car, van, motorbike or motorhome's uninsured, you're breaking the law whether you drive it or not. It's easy to forget and risk a fine.

  • car insuranceEven lapses for hospital or holidays can get you in trouble. The rules are designed to clamp down on uninsured drivers. Anyone who has a vehicle and no insurance can be fined £1,000. After that, after a warning letter, they can clamp, seize or DESTROY it. Only those with a valid Statutory Off-Road Notification (Sorn) who keep their motor off-road (garage or driveway, not roadside or grass verge) don't need cover.
  • Check NOW when your renewal's due, don't auto-renew for ease. This law's a boon for insurers. They love it when you let cover just roll on, as they can seriously jack up the price with no competition. Check your renewal date now, and diarise SIX WEEKS beforehand to give yourself time to ensure you've the cheapest and best deal.
  • How to slash costs. In a nutshell, combine comparison services in this order to find your cheapest quote: Gocompare*, MoneySupermarket*, Tesco Compare, then add the ones they miss: Direct Line* and Aviva*. To really slash costs, see the bespoke info and help to find the cheapest insurance for:

    Typical Driver | Young Drivers | Driver With Points | Past Claims | 2+ car Homes | Van Insurance | Bike Insurance
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Free entry to 300 farms — pig racing and Lamb National. Sun only. One day a year, farms open up, and put races and events on, eg, tractor rides, scarecrow making, sheep shearing etc. Full info in Open Farm

Summer Sales
Large discounts on selected ranges

Kurt Geiger
up to 50% off

up to 50% off

up to 50% off

up to 50% off kids'

House of Fraser
up to 50% off

In-store & online
Incl £9 shoes (were £85)
In-store & online
Incl £3 top
(was £8)
Incl £30 silk duvet cover (was £100)
In-store & online
Incl £10 canvas shoes (were £20)
In-store & online
Starts Thu 14 Jun

See All High Street Sales

Last chance. Free £125 with top bank acc. Top customer service bank First Direct* normally pays £100 if you switch to it (min £23k salary), but until THURSDAY, via this link, you get an extra £25. See Best Bank Accounts

Sky TV £100 M&S voucher & £100 cashback deal
Existing customers can get £100 M&S for upgrading to HD | Not eligible? HAGGLE

Subscription TV ain't cheap. After all, even £20/mth is £240 a year. But with no football to draw in the crowds, Sky has some sizzling deals on at the moment. Get the full lowdown in our Digital TV Cost Cutting guide. Here's a snippet...

  • sky New to Sky £100 M&S vouch & £100 cashback. Sky's* currently giving £100 M&S vouchers 45 days after you sign up to any new TV package (plus free set-up & box). Better still, sign up via a cashback site to get £100 cashback on HD packages or £50 for normal Sky+. Full how-to & warnings in Sky cashback deals.
  • Existing customer? £100 M&S plus £25 cashback. Upgrade* to Sky+ HD (£10.25/mth more) to get £100 M&S vouchers from Sky and £25 from a cashback site, so it covers a year's cost. Full how-to & warnings in Sky HD Upgrade.
  • "I said we'd move to Virgin & got half price for 6mths." A 5-min call to haggle could save you £100s. Here's one of many recent successes: "Got half price for 6 months, then later half price for another 6 months after that! All because I suggested we were moving to Virgin." Of course, if you're with Virgin or BT, it works the other way too. See Digital TV Haggling. Report successes/failures or tweet them to @martinslewis.
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£5 kids' summer day camp (usually £37). We've blagged a big code for 39 day camps across the UK for 5-14s from 23 Jul-31 Aug. Activities include tennis, street dance, etc. Full info in Summer Camps Deals

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans 0% Spending Cards
22 mths 0%, 2.9% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

22 mths 0%, 3.2% fee

(17.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.6% rep APR
(Need Nectar card)

Sainsbury's* (£7.5 - £15k)
5.9% rep APR

(Need Nectar card)

Natwest* / RBS* 18 mths 0%
17.9% rep APR

Tesco 16 mths 0%
16.9% rep APR
See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

£29 Premier Inn Sale | £19-£25 London Tune Hotels sale. Full info: Hotel Sales

£20 Kodak waterproof camcorder? | £58 Fuji camera? Can you find Cheap Cameras

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

New cheapest loans — from 5.9% APR
If you need to borrow, rates dropping | 7.6% APR for £5k to £7,500 or 5.9% APR for more

Rates for bigger loans are dropping. Only borrow if needed, keep it to a minimum, budget to ensure affordability and repay ASAP. Full help in Cheap Loans, here are the new best buys. All require credit checks (see Loan or Card APR examples).

Cheapest representative APRs for standard loans
£5k - 7.5k Sainsbury's* (1) 7.6% for 1-3yrs or 7.7% over 4-5 yrs. Tesco* & Derbyshire BS* (2) are 7.8%
£7.5k - 15k Sainsbury's* (1) 5.9% for 1-3yrs or 6% over 4-5yrs. Tesco* & Derbyshire BS* (2) are 6%
£15k+ Sainsbury's* (1) 7.6% for 1-3yr or 7.7% over 4-5yrs. Clydesdale Bank* is also 7.7%
(1) Requires Nectar card (2) Exclusive via MoneySupermarket (link goes there)

  • Get a quote without hitting your credit file. These are 'representative APRs' so only 51% of accepted applicants get those rates; others can pay more. Worse, you must apply to find out, which marks your credit file. Yet for £7.5k+ loans, Nationwide's* 6.8% rep APR (6.3% for FlexAccount customers) gives a quote without formal application.
  • Don't use loans to pay off credit cards. A balance transfer credit card deal's usually cheaper. New Barclaycard* Platinum customers can shift debt to it at 22mths 0% with a 2.9% fee. Repay in full or shift again, or it jumps to 17.9% representative APR. Full help in Best Balance Transfers.

For more options, including peer-to-peer borrowing, and how to borrow for under £5,000, see the Cheap Loans guide.

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£1 Top Gear mag (usually £3.99). We've blagged a voucher you can't a-Ford to miss. Top Gear Deals

Cineworld 2 for £8 anyday code. And Vue 2for1 What To Expect When You're Expecting. Cinema Deals

Free healthy snack box. Delivered to your door, usually £3.79. Code ends Sat, newbies only. Graze Deals

Warning: Avoid tax credit overpayment hell
Don't ignore your review form | If anything's changed... TELL 'EM, TELL 'EM, TELL 'EM

Over 7m tax credit review forms are being sent out. Most should have arrived. Ignore yours and payments can STOP, or you could be forced to repay cash already spent. Full info in Tax Credit Help, here's a summary:

  • tax creditsHow to review. If you ONLY get a renewal form (brown envelope), just check the info's correct. If so, do nothing. If wrong, or to report past or future changes, call 0845 300 3900 or post back. If you get a declaration form (white envelope) check and return by 31 July.
  • Don't delay, do ASAP. The deadline is 31 July, but don't leave it till then. If you've issues, the official hotline for help gets mega-busy. Sort sooner to make your life easier.
  • Avoid overpayment hell. Being overpaid sounds a dream. But it's a nightmare, as you must pay back the cash, even if already spent. It often happens because people don't tell the tax credit hotline when their circumstances change (eg, move in/out with partner, income, kids, childcare costs). So if anything changes, or has changed, TELL 'EM ASAP. Unsure? Call anyway. Unfair overpayment claw-back? See our Tax Credit Overpayments guide to fight it.
  • Are you missing out on tax credits? Use our 5-Min Benefits/Tax Credits Checkup tool to check.
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Photoworld 'free' £5. For personalised goodies, eg, bags & stickers, but p&p £1.99+. Top Photo Deals

Tesco 2x pts in-store ends TODAY. Swap vouchers today (Wed), spend til 19 Jun. Boost Tesco Pts

Had Sony credit card? Use or lose your points. Redeem by Fri 29 Jun. See Sony card news

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*
£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*
Get quotes in this order...

Primus Line Rental Saver*
£6.29/mth (pay a yr upfront)

BT Line Rental Saver*
£10.75/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Free Budget Planner Free MSE car sticker £14 Travel Insurance

the moneysaving community

Money Moral Dilemma

My £1 charity shop vase is worth £750 — should I split the profit?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
Our family are big fans of charity shops. On a recent visit, my daughter bought a pretty vase for £1.50. On getting it home and cleaning it up, she noticed it was a rare signed original, and took it to a local dealer for verification. It's now to be sold at auction, with a reserve of £750. If it sells, should she give all or part of her profit to the charity shop? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Split profits with charity shop? Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

Free book giveaway. Quick Cook: Budget Meals. 25 blagged for MoneySavers. Want one?

spill beans

Spill the beans... on cheap airport parking at Gatwick, Manch etc
Official airport car parks can charge through the nose, though discounts are possible, see Cheap Airport Parking. Yet locals often rent out space on drives, farms etc for far less. Share your tips for cheap airport parking at Heathrow | Gatwick | Manc & L'pool | B'ham & Mids | Edinburgh | Glasgow | Luton | Stansted | West/SW | North East.

Campaign of the week

Donate old books to charity
With summer around the corner (hopefully) Oxfam has launched a drive asking people to donate more books to cover increased demand for holiday reading. Of course, you can flog books for cash (then possibly donate to charity) but if you won't get around to it, give to your nearest Oxfam or other charity shop. Suggest a campaign: This space is for MSE to support other charities', community groups' and campaigners' work. Send your Campaign of the Week suggestion.

Supermarket staff, tell us reduction policies. Spill the beans... revealed
£45 worth of meat for 3p? That'll take some beating. Last week we asked you to share tips for bagging big reductions, and we had some helpful responses. It seems Waitrose is known for huge reductions, and most think bargain bread is where the savings are at. You could try asking staff to reduce sell-by date items. Remember, politeness goes a long way in that.

Cheap Flight Sales

Ryanair Price: £12.99 each way Ends: Thu 14 Jun
Our pick this week is Ryanair's from £12.99 each way flights. It's on various routes for travel Mon-Thu, 2 Jul-30 Aug 2012, and includes some taxes and charges. Flights include Manchester to Milan for £12.99 each way. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £40 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

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Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 123.81 111.16
US Flag $ 154.66 138.73
Turkish Flag TL 275.00 240.54
Rates correct at 4pm Tues
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: How do you rate your telecoms provider's service?

Provider Rate its Rate its
BT Home phone Broadband
O2 Home phone Broadband
Orange Home phone Broadband
Plusnet Home phone Broadband
Post Office Home phone Broadband
Primus Home phone Broadband
Sky Home phone Broadband
TalkTalk Home phone Broadband
Utility Warehouse Home phone Broadband
Virgin Media Home phone Broadband

If your provider is not listed, check the full list and vote!

Poll Results

How many products do you have with your main bank? 13,000 voters

26% just bank account
26% two products
22% three
13% four
12% five+ (1% have more than 10)

See How many bank products? results

Question Of The Week

Q: I want to change bank. Will it hit my credit rating? Stef, via Twitter.

Martin's answer: In fact, there's no such thing as a credit rating. Each lender scores you differently based on its own wish-list of what makes a profitable customer.

Changing bank can impact it, though generally it's not a worry. The first minor issue is the application for a new bank will go on your credit file, and if you make lots of applications in a short time, that can be detrimental.

Plus, if you've had the bank account a long time, closing it can wipe out a strong history. Having said that, unless you're imminently about to apply for a mortgage or major loan, the impact is likely to be negligible and going for the Best Bank Account is right.

For more information, see the Boost Your Credit Score guide.

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

Board Of The Week

The UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments Board

Ask questions and share tips on days out offers and UK getaways. Recent discussions include What's your best camping tip?, Holidays for dog owners and Food and drinks in Olympic Park.

Back to top ^
Game Of The Week


How to pack 10 days of clothes in a carry-on case

That's it for this week, but before we go, if you're looking to beat budget airline fees, a US air stewardess shows how to cleverly pack to maximise hand luggage: packing secrets.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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