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Weekly Email
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14th Jan 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 This info may be out of date.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."

14 January 2015

This week

E.on cuts prices - save £200 more
Pay £260 for 18mth b'band & line rent, get £90 Argos/Boots voucher
New 3.6% loan - cheapest EVER
Petrol £1/litre - save even more
Hi-Tec £12.50 trainers
Martin threatens Govt over potential student fee repayment U-turn
Freebies - £10 diary & £7 Cocktail
Longest EVER 0% balance transfer
£50 Ciaté nail polish set £19
Free dry cleaning for unemployed
Ocado triple code: 25% off £40+, 10% off brands, 1yr free del code
Boots sale boost to 70%
'£9.50 Sun hols' are back
Quickies: £7 Jamie Oliver knives, 20% off M&S Outlet
£110 Plain Lazy T-shirts £35 code
FREE 30 minute financial advice
'I got £835 back on cancelled flight'
MSE Charity grants available
WARNING: 18 days to file tax return
Domino's feast for £15 (norm £25+)
Did your Sky M&S voucher arrive?
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs

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

10 tips to slash overseas holiday costs
Cheap flights, packages, hotels, car hire, insurance, travel money & more

In the cold, dark days of winter, many dream of summer, so it's no surprise January is the year's biggest holiday-booking month. However don't let travel lust destroy your wallet. Here are my top 10 tips to do what you want for less, though you can find far more in our 50+ travel tricks...

1. Slash flight costs using the RIGHT comparison. For scheduled flights, don't wait till the last min as flight costs soar. See Cheap Flights, in brief...

- Cheapest price on normal flights: Here, use flight comparisons. We like Kayak* (for gizmos), Skyscanner* (for ease), & TravelSup* (for breadth).

- Check cheap charter flights comparisons too: Flying to a traditional package holiday destination, eg, Majorca? Check for spare capacity being sold on tour operators' own flights via TravelSup*, Avro* & Flights Direct*.  

- Find the perfect time to book
: Use the Flight Insight tab on comparison site Momondo*, eg, on average 59 days ahead is the perfect time to book but it varies by destination, so worth a check.
2. holidaysFlight booking - the clever stuff to cut costs. Once you've found the cheapest price via a comparison, if you want to push harder, let's get clever.

- Book the wrong date trick. Easyjet's Flexifares let you switch dates by a few weeks without paying more. So bag cheap term-time flights, then swap for your chosen school holiday dates. One MoneySaver saved £700 on her family's break. Pros & cons (and there are some) in Easyjet Flexifare Trick.

- The codeshare trick. Sometimes two or more airlines sell the same flights and booking via one partner is cheaper, eg, a United flight from B'ham to New York can be cheaper via Lufthansa, see Codeshare Savings Trick.

- Ethnic travel agents trick. If you're going somewhere with a big UK ethnic or immigrant community, check out niche travel agents catering to them. Eg, London's Shepherd's Bush has some Caribbean specialists, or the Jewish Chronicle advertises cheap flights to Israel. See Ethnic Travel Agents Trick.

- The credit card flight freebie trick. You can get a 'free' Flybe flight anywhere or a BA European flight (you pay taxes) just by signing up to a fee-free credit card, and doing normal spending on it. For a full list & help see Airline Credit Card Trick
Cut the price for your hotel room (incl 15% off codes). Forget the star system. There's no world standard and it's often about facilities, not quality. To find the hotel you want to stay at read reviews on TripAdvisor* but always ignore the best and worst 10%. To cut the price see our Cheap Hotels guide, key tips...

A) Check comparison sites: Both Trivago* and TravelSup* allow you to see who's selling your hotel room for less.

B) Use 15% off promo codes. Compare the comparison sites, then check against 15% off Hotels4U and 15% off
4. Tricks to uncover 5-star hotels at 3-star prices. If you've time to play and want the really big discounts, then there are two naughty (but legal) routes.

- Uncover secret hotels. sells secret hotels at big discounts, where you know the star rating, description and rough location, but aren't told the name till you've paid. Yet we've a method to uncover them before you book, see Uncover secret hotels + 15% off code. Hotwire does similar.

Eg, we uncovered a 5-star Edinburgh hotel on sale for £89/nt with code. It was the Sheraton Grand - booking direct it's £185/nt.

- HUGE discounts with the Priceline bidding loophole.
Priceline is a huge US booking site (it works for some European cities too). The Priceline Loophole trick is fiddly, (too complex to explain here), but devastatingly lucrative as forumite 5*dealhunter found: "Got the 5* Renaissance Barcelona Hotel for £59 a night for 3 nights instead of £310 - a saving of 81%."
Posh villas often undercut posh hotels. If you're going as a family or with friends, our Cheap Villas guide shows you can massively undercut similar quality hotels. Eg, a 4-bed Algarve villa is £400/wk compared to £800 in a similar quality hotel. Nick tweeted us about eight staying in Majorca: "Free car and pool included. Super posh. Saved £1,200 for the party. Wonderful :-)."

Alternatively, consider renting rooms in homes - eg, £35/nt for a room in Barcelona, compared to £80/nt for a similar hotel. Be safe though.
6. Package holidays can undercut DIY web bookings... especially for 7, 10 or 14 days in a traditional resort like Majorca, Mykonos or Malia (and some that don't start with an M) as shown in Cheap Package Holidays. In brief...

When to book?
Massive savings are possible in the late market, where deals are done within eight weeks of travel, yet of course there's restricted choice & you may need to be flexible. So if you need special facilities (eg, for families) you need to book now and try to cut prices down.

How to cut prices?
Remember tour operators make holidays, travel agents sell them. So one operator's holiday may be on sale at many travel agents - the aim is to find who'll sell it cheapest.

There are two ways to do this: 1) Look for discounts, eg, Thomas Cook is offering £100 off £1,000+, see package holiday discounts. 2) Haggle down the prices, see How to haggle holiday prices.
7. Best euro rate for 5 years - buy now? For the last month or so, the pound's at its strongest against the euro since 2009, with the spot rate over €1.28 and the top travel money rate €1.27. So many are asking "is now the time to buy for summer"?

I'm afraid I don't know. Nor does anyone else. Currencies move - it could get better or worse. Even professional currency speculators don't always get it right. However, the euro right now is decent, so if you decide it's good enough, you could lock in now for safety and not worry if it gets even better.

To do that use our Travel Money Comparison or get yourself a top prepaid travel card where you get the rate when you load, not when you spend.

Bag the perfect rate EVERY time you go away. My preference isn't to play the market, just to get the best rate whenever I go. The easy way is to pocket a bureau-busting, specialist travel credit card giving near-perfect rates on spending every time in every country, unlike most cards they don't add a 'load' - instead you get the same great rate the bank does.

- Top pick card (no annual fee): 
Halifax Clarity* wins, due to lowest ATM fees. Ensure you repay it IN FULL though to minimise the 12.9% rep APR. There are easier-to-get cards, so use our free Overseas Card Eligibility Calculator to show which of the specialist cards you're most likely to be accepted for.  
8. You don't only get package holiday protection with package holidays. Package holidays have long been protected under the ATOL scheme, so if something goes wrong you get your money back (or help coming home).

Yet book a flight plus separate hotel or car hire together (or within 24 hours) from the same travel (not airline) website, and since 2012 you've also got ATOL protection, just like with a package.

So check if it's not much more expensive compared to booking the cheapest flight & hotel separately. Also bear in mind Expedia*, Travelocity, Ebookers* &* often give extra discounts for flights and hotels booked together.
9. Book car hire early to save big bucks. If you're hiring abroad, generally early booking is far cheaper. What can be £9/day months ahead can be £34/day just before you go and far more when there, adding £100s overall. 

- Find cheapest via comparison sites: Use Kayak*Carrentals* & TravelSup*.
- Check stealth fuel charges. Hire for 3+ days and some make you pay for a full tank & return it empty - that can be £100 extra if you don't drive far. Both AutoEurope* & TravelSup* let you filter by fuel policy.
- Get cheap excess insurance before you go. The hire firm will want you to get up to £20/day excess cover on top of the included insurance. Instead, get Cheap Excess Insurance for as little as £2 before you go.
10. Buy travel insurance as soon as you book (cheapest £6). If you book but don't have travel insurance, then if you get ill or need to cancel you won't be covered, so buy it straight away. Yet often holiday firms' own insurance is a massive rip-off, and our Cheap Travel Insurance guide shows how to undercut their prices.

- Cheapest annual policies (under-65s): If you'll go away 2+ times a year (incl weekends), it's usually cheaper to get an annual policy, eg, a year's Europe cover for a 25-yr-old costs just £13, a couple worldwide aged 45 costs £46.

The exact winner depends on age and number travelling - Holidaysafe Lite* often wins, but Coverwise* and Protect Your Bubble* can beat it in some combinations. Full help & options in Cheap Annual Travel Insurance.

- Cheapest single policies. The cheapest meeting our min cover levels is Protect Your Bubble Economy* for under-45s (from £6 for 1wk Europe) and Holidaysafe* for over-45s. Full info in Cheap Single Trip Travel policies.

- Over 65? Pre-existing conditions? See our specialist cheap over-65s travel insurance and cheap pre-existing conditions travel insurance help.

- Check your FREE EHIC is valid: 
These give you treatment at state-run EU hospitals at the same cost as a local. Yet many don't realise they have an end date. Check yours now and renew FOR FREE (never pay). Full help in our Free EHIC guide.

PS. New. The Martin Lewis Money Roadshow, ITV1, Fri 8pm. This week it's all about taking on credit card debts, slashing the cost, boosting your credit score, and even how to get a 0% loan.

Blagged for MoneySavers

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Join free: Cheap Energy Club
Reclaim PPI for FREE
Claims handlers aren't more successful.
Free help & templates: Reclaim PPI

MSE News

Top story: E.on cuts gas prices (slightly), but you still need to switch to save
Young drivers save on car insurance thanks to telematics
Free pension guidance service branded 'Pension Wise'
Supermarkets cut fuel prices again after one Birmingham station goes under £1/litre
Travelling outside Europe? You could incur hefty voicemail charges
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
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 14 Jan 2015
E.on cuts prices (just) - but you can still save £200+ more
NEW CHEAPEST FIX. There's a price war on but only really for switchers. Don't wait, do it now while it's cold

E.on's just shaved its standard gas tariff (not elec, not fixed) down by 3.5%, cutting a typical bill by £24/yr. Yet compared to the 20%-30% drop in wholesale prices and the 10% cut in cheap switchers' deals over the last year, it's trivial. Those on it are typically still paying £200+/year more even than E.on's own cheapest deals. So do a top fix comparison asap.

Top picks (based on typical usage - varies by region)
TO APPLY FOR THESE: Do a comparison to find YOUR actual price then apply & get £30 dual fuel cashback
Avg 'big six' standard tariff paid by direct debit £1,180
E.on standard tariff £1,145
Fixed until Exit fee Cost/yr
Top pick - V cheap & strong cust feedback (53% great)
E.on 12 mths £5/fuel £923
Cheapest NO exit fee fix (55% great)
EDF Blue+ Price Promise 31 May 16 None £999
Cheap LONG fix with NO exit fees (55% great)
EDF Blue+ Price Fix 31 Jan 17 None £1,054
Source: MoneySup. All monthly direct debit, dual fuel, unless stated. Customer feedback from our Dec '14 poll.
  • New. Cheapest energy fix. As well as cutting its standard deal, E.on's entered the cheap fix price war, with a new 12-month fixed-rate deal at £923/yr (if you get the £10/yr dual fuel paperless billing discount) for someone with typical usage. This makes it the current market's cheapest.
  • How to get it? Never just switch, use our Cheap Energy Club top fixes comparison to see if and how much you'll save with your own bespoke price and comparison of other tariffs. Do it this way and you'll also get £30 (£15/fuel) cashback which you won't get if you go direct.

    Plus switch via Cheap Energy Club, and we'll alert you when your tariff's no longer cheap. Full info & cashback options in Cheap Gas & Elec - here are three quick need-to-knows...

    1) If you're on a key or card meter you can still compare, switch & save. See Cheap Prepayment Meters.
    2) To get the lowest price pay by monthly direct debit, then ensure you give regular meter readings.
    3) We normally favour 'no exit fees'. Yet if, as now, savings from the cheapest outweigh this, it's a small issue.
  • I've just switched, should I cancel? Assuming you compared and got a cheap deal then why would you? The new cheapest's a few quid a year lower, but delaying means you'll get fewer high-use winter days at that rate, which likely balances it out.
  • Martin's predictions on prices: The rest of the big six energy firms may follow E.on's lead and dribble standard prices lower, but that still leaves them over 20% more expensive than the cheapest deals. Even with the huge drop in wholesale prices, big cuts are unlikely because big firms 'buy ahead' so have less flexibility, and they’re scared of a Labour price freeze if it wins on 7 May, which would lock them in even if wholesale prices bounce back.

    I do expect more and slightly cheaper fixes for switchers to keep launching. Yet holding out is a risk, as it can take 3-6 weeks to move over and the gain from switching and saving sooner during high-use winter months will likely outweigh any slight reductions. Of course as with all crystal ball predictions this is just a guess, not a fact.

Hi-Tec £12.50 trainers & £18 waterproof boots. MSE Blagged. Via 50% code on up to 40% sale. 34 styles. Hi-Tec

Martin's threat to Govt: "U-turn over £21,000 student fee repayment & I'll organise mass protest" See Martin's Govt student fee uprating blog and if you agree (or not) please comment there.

FREE... £10 WHSmith diary, £7 cocktail and 75p snack bar
£10 WHSmith diary free via O2 app | £7ish mojito free via voucher | 75p Nakd snack bar voucher limited number

Longest EVER 35mth 0% balance transfer (2.49% fee) or 15mths NO FEE 0%. Accepted newbies can shift credit card debt to Barclaycard* 35mth 0% (2.49% one-off fee). Next longest's Halifax* 34mth 0% (2.8% fee). Or if you can clear it sooner, go for the Santander* 15mth 0% NO FEE or Barclaycard's* 24mth 0% (1.25% fee). Never miss repayments or you can lose the deal & clear the debt before the 0% ends or rates jump to 18.9% rep APR. Which will you be accepted for? Find out with our balance transfer eligibility calc. Full info: Top Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Pay £260 for 18mths b'band & line rent & GET £90 Argos/Boots etc, voucher
Some can nearly halve their broadband and line rent costs by locking in for 18 months. Check what you're paying

If you're on a standard line rent & broadband package, before calls you're paying £360/yr for BT, £410/yr for Virgin, and similar prices for other big providers. We list the top deals in our Cheap Broadband guide, but right now as firms know lots of people are working through their finances, they're not as cheap as a few months ago. Our current top pick...

  • BroadbandPay £260 for 18mths b'band & line rent, get £90 Love2Shop vch. MSE Blagged. Until 11.59pm on Thu 22 Jan, anyone who doesn't already have it, going via this specific TalkTalk link* on an 18-month contract, gets...

    - Line rent: Usually £16.70/mth, it's reduced to £8.35/mth for six months. After that we suggest you save £20 by selecting to pay £180.36 upfront for the year, rather than the £16.70/per month (it can up this, but if it does you've a right to break the contract).
    - Unlimited b'band (avail to 97% of the UK): Pay nowt for 12mths, then £3.50/mth for six. So £21 over the 18mths.
    - You're sent a £90 Love2Shop voucher within 28 days. Once the broadband's live, the voucher will be posted to you automatically within 28 days. Love2Shop can be used at Argos, Boots, Debenhams, M&S, etc.
    - Call costs: None included (though you can pay for 'boosts' which add some) - costs are a touch more than BT's standard. If you rack up more than £50 in unbilled call charges it'll stop you making calls until this is reduced.
    - Need line installation? If you don't have a line or only have a cable one (or in a few cases other lines), installation is free but you WON'T get the voucher. It'll tell you before you commit.
    - Compulsory 'free' wi-fi router. Yet you pay a one-off £6.75 to cover p&p.
    - Feedback's mixed. Better than it used to be. In our June survey 51% said TalkTalk is good, 27% OK, 22% poor.
  • Cost analysis - how good is it? This is a frustratingly complex tariff, with lots of temporary price reductions, yet overall it's still hot. Add up line rent (with a year paid upfront), b'band & router and it's £258.21 for 18mths (pay line rent monthly and it's £278.25). PLUS you get the £90 Love2Shop voucher.

    If you'd spend that at one of those shops anyway, factor it in and it's effectively £168.21 for 18mths, equiv to just £9.35/mth (paid monthly £188.25 equiv to £10.46/mth) - cheaper than many standard line rent only prices.

Forum Hottie. £50 Ciaté nail polish 'advent calendar' £19. Christmas is over but there's £100+ of nail polish (if bought separately) in this set - so it's still a good buy. 23 minis + 1 full-size polish. £15+ £4 p&p. Ciaté

FREE dry cleaning for your interview outfit if you're unemployed. For how and where, see Deals Hunters Blog.

BIG grocery savings: Ocado triple code - 25% off £40+, 10% off brands, 1yr free delivery code. MSE Blagged. Used cleverly this newbies code can mean big savings, it gets: 1) 25% off a £40-£100 spend; 2) A free 1yr midweek delivery pass (norm £70); 3) 10% off 800+ brands (& Ocado already price-matches Tesco). See Ocado newbies

Boots sale boost to up to 70%. Was up to 50%, boost cross-store but stock limited. Boots

New. Cheapest EVER personal loan - 3.6% APR
A price war means if you need to borrow, rates for bigger loans have just dropped to all-time historic lows

Before we talk rates, a warning... just because borrowing's cheap, it doesn't mean you should do it. Yet for needed, planned spends, eg, a new car or kitchen, where you've budgeted and repayments are affordable, a cheaper APR saves.

  • Cheap LoanNew 3.6% loans. Apply by 17 Feb, borrow £7,500 to £15,000 over 1-5 yrs and M&S Bank* is now just 3.6% representative APR. Sainsbury's Bank* today (Wed) dropped its rate to 3.6% rep APR (for 1-3 years) if you have/get its free Nectar card.

    Cheapest £5,000 - £7,499:
    Cahoot* & M&S* both offer 4.9% rep APR over 1-5 years.

    Cheapest £2,500 - £4,999: Hitachi is the easy winner of standard loans at 8% rep APR for £2,500 - £2,999 (next cheapest is 14.9%) and 7.8% rep APR for £3,000 - £4,999 if you borrow for 2-5 years. Peer-to-peer lenders Zopa* and Ratesetter* may be cheaper (as low as 5.7% rep APR for £3k, but rates are personalised, so not always), plus they also have the advantage of flexibility, letting you overpay or clear early without penalty. See Peer-to-peer loans.

    What does 'representative APR' mean? Sadly only 51% of those accepted must get that rate - the rest could pay more.

    Will you be accepted? We're testing our new loans eligibility calc if you want to try it - it gives correct answers, but be warned the usability isn't 100% finished yet. Full loans help: Cheap Loans Best Buys (APR Examples).
  • Get a 0% credit card loan. For smaller amounts, (as it's credit limit dependent), money transfers undercut loans. Here you get a new specialist card that pays cash into your bank account, like a loan, then you owe it instead.

    Accepted new MBNA* (eligibility calc) cardholders can get 2yrs 0% for just a 1.94% one-off fee (min £3), or Fluid* (eligibility calc) gives a longer 29mths 0% but a bigger 4% fee (min £3). Ensure you never miss a repayment and clear it by the end of the 0% or they jump to 22.9% rep APR. FULL help on this complex issue in our Money Transfers guide.

All applicants require a credit check - see our Boost Your Credit Score Guide. And if struggling with debt, see Debt Help.

'£9.50 Sun hols' are back. Collect 10 tokens/passwords for 337 parks across UK & Europe. '£9.50 Sun Holidays'

Quickie deals incl £7 Jamie Oliver knife set, M&S Outlet 20% off code...
£25 Jamie Oliver knife set £7 | £5 off £20 Rakuten code books, games & DVDs
M&S Outlet extra 20% off MSE Blagged. Via code | Urban Outfitters 25% off up to 75% off sale via code

£110 men's Plain Lazy T-shirts £35 code. MSE Blagged. 900 avail - lucky dip of 5 T-shirts (norm £22 each). T-shirts

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*
35mths 0%, 2.49% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

No fee 0%: Santander*
15mths 0%, no fee

(18.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Cahoot* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.9% rep APR

M&S Bank* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.6% rep APR

Post Office 1.5% AER
Min £100, incl bonus
Postal. Transfers allowed

Coventry BS 2.4% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till Nov 2018

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

FREE 30mins with an independent financial adviser. The IFA search site VouchedFor* is offering free 30-60mins tasters with an IFA. This will tend to look at investments, protections and pension issues, rather than the MoneySaving info we provide. For more on whether it's worth it for you see Is an IFA right for me?

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"My BA flight was cancelled in the summer, it offered a £100 e-voucher - not good enough. Pursued BA and eventually I got £835 compensation" - John Drake via twitter
- Don't accept the first offer, use our Flight DELAY or CANCELLATION compensation guide and free templates.

Does your charity want an MSE Charity grant for consumer/finance projects? The latest funding round for charities and groups involved with financial and consumer education projects is open. Only the first 40 applications that meet the criteria will be considered. See full criteria: The MSE Charity. Related: MSE's Charity Fund, How This Site's Financed

Petrol £1/litre - how to find it and take advantage
Five ways to cut the cost of filling up. The world oil price crash has finally fed through to some forecourts

At three service stations in the Midlands prices have dipped to 99.7p/litre - the first time they've been under £1 in almost six years. Yet it's not just about the cheapest rates. Our Cheap Petrol guide takes you through how to save in 5 key steps:

  1. petrol cashback Speedily find your cheapest forecourt. Prices vary widely, so use a cheap forecourt finder tool to track down your local cheapest for unleaded, diesel, LPG and more. Eg, in Cardiff CF10 the cheapest is £1.05/L, the most expensive £1.16/L, and in London's NW5 the range is a huge £1.08/L to £1.40/L. These savings can really add up.
  2. Save up to 30% with efficient (not slower) driving tips. It's all explained in How To Drive More Efficiently, but top tips include changing up a gear earlier to keep revs down, more gentle acceleration and good road positioning so you can slow naturally rather than screech to a halt.
  3. Make your car more efficient. Reduce weight and drag and the car uses less fuel. So check your tyre pressure (just that makes a big difference), plus clear out your boot & take unused roofracks off. Is your car efficient
  4. 3% back on petrol/diesel spending. The Santander 123* (eligibility calc) credit card pays 3% cashback on fuel & train fare spending (max £9/mth back), 2% in department stores & 1% supermarkets. It has a £24 annual fee, so is best for big drivers or Santander 123 bank account customers, who get the 1st year's fee refunded. Yet only get if you'll repay IN FULL each month to avoid the 12.7% interest (16.5% rep APR incl fee). Full help: Petrol Credit Cards.
  5. Tesco shopper? Save up to 20p/litre. Present your Clubcard and for each £50 spent in stores or on groceries online per calendar month, Clubcard Fuel Save gets you 2p/litre off. Up to 10 can be combined in one go to get 20p/L off at Tesco forecourts, which are usually relatively competitive. Full help: Top Supermarket Petrol Coupons.

Related guides: 40+ MoneySaving Motoring tips, Cheap Breakdown Cover, Cheap Car Insurance.

WARNING: Only 18 days left to file your self-assessment tax return. If you've been sent one it must be filed online by 31 Jan (if you've not got your web password sort that TODAY) or you face £100 fine & interest. See Tax Help.

Domino's large pizza, 2 sides & dessert £15 (norm £25+). Via online deal. Domino's

Did your Sky M&S vouchers arrive? We've blagged a few Sky Broadband deals where you get emailed vouchers of up to £192, within 90 days of installation. Lots have got it, we just want to check ALL did. If yours is late, check your spam folder, then email (incl name, order date, ref, the deal & email signed up with).

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

Compare, get £30 dual fuel cashback & alerts if your deal's no longer cheap. Go via the free MSE Cheap Energy Club Top Pick Fixes Comparison.

The savings can be huge. Someone with typical dual fuel usage on a big 6 standard tariff pays £1,180 a year, the cheapest deal's £923.

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...*
Compare The Market
Direct Line*

Direct Save Telecom*
with weekend calls
£11/mth (pay a yr upfront)

Post Office
with weekend calls
£12/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

Should my flatmate's partner contribute to cost of bills?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I share my rented home with another person. We get on just fine but recently his partner seems to be there all the time – more than me. I appreciate that she lives some distance away and that our home is closer to her work, but would it be unreasonable to ask her to pay a contribution towards household bills? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my flatmate's partner contribute to cost of bills? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

How to trim your tummy without trimming your bank account
Getting in shape is among the more popular New Year's resolutions, but fancy diets and posh gyms don't come cheap. We want to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge on getting buff on a budget. What are your top tips for trimming down and toning up without spending a fortune? Share yours/read others': How to trim your tummy without also trimming your bank account Past topics: View all

Airline: Flybe* Price: Up to 25% off selected flights Ends: Wed 14 Jan
Our pick this week is Flybe's* sale ending Wed 14 Jan, which includes taxes & charges. It's for flights between 4 Feb and 15 Jul 2015 on 173 of its European and UK routes. For example, we've found a flight from Belfast City-Liverpool return for £37.48. 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

Breathing new life into otherwise worthless items to use around the home
We asked for your tips on turning things you no longer need into useful household items. One forumite said old CD racks make good letter holders, another used cassette tapes to create party bunting. Other creative suggestions included a forumite who'd turned a broken fan into decorative fruit bowls, as well as old records to decorate cakes.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the Week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

15 January
Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.40am
Deals of the Week
16 January
This Morning, time TBC
Martin's 90 Second Savers
16 January
The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm
Taking on credit card debts, slashing costs, boosting your credit score
19 January
This Morning, time TBC
Subject TBC
19 January
Radio 5 Live, 12pm-1pm
Consumer Panel
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Discussion of the week

Solo holiday experiences

A lot of people take holidays with friends, partners or family members but would you go it alone if your sense of adventure wasn't matched by those around you? Our forumites discuss taking the plunge and travelling alone in the Solo holidaying discussion. Why not share your tips and tricks on taking a trip in a party of one?

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 127.51 114.75
US Flag $ 150.26 135.23
Turkish Flag TL 334.17 294.00
Rates correct at 3pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: What have you already bought for next Christmas?

No, this isn’t a leftover from last year, we’re talking Christmas 2015. While some may groan in horror at the thought, serious MoneySavers have already been out there piling January sales goods into the back cupboard ready for next Christmas. Where do you stand?

Which of these items have you already bought for next Christmas?

Poll results

Should restaurant menus tell you the calories?
It's not quite a gender divide, but there's definitely a split between men and women when it comes to counting calories. When asked if info should be listed for every dish, 49% of ladies said yes, but only 35% of men felt the same. In fact, 33% of blokes were opposed to calorie info on the grounds it spoiled their fun, while just 24% of women shared this view. The overall picture then was:

- 69% of women said yes to calorie info being available in some form
- Just 49% of men said yes to calorie info being available in some form

12,016 voted. See  full results.

Question of the week

Q: My energy company has increased my direct debit from £42 per month to £200. I am guessing it's because my usage has been miscalculated. Is there anything I can do about it? Carol, by email.

MSE Rebecca's A: What did the company say when you asked it why the price was changing? If you've not called it yet, do it now - lots of people are nervous about doing this but picking up the phone and querying the rise is the first thing you need to do.

The company needs to clearly explain and justify why it's changing the price. Given the scale of the hike, there's probably been an error in how the direct debit has been calculated as it amounts to a £1,900 a year hike.

If this is the case, you can ask for the direct debit to be lowered and the rules say it has to play ball. If after eight weeks of complaining it fails to do so, you can escalate your gripe to the Energy Ombudsman. See our Fight unfair energy direct debits guide.

The energy firm may say it's making up for the fact it has undercharged you in the past by raising your direct debit now. If this is the case and you're now in debt to it, it'll need to look at your financial situation when working out your new direct debit and it can't charge you more than you can afford.

Paying by monthly direct debit is usually cheaper but you need to send in regular meter readings to make sure you're paying the correct amount.

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

 MSE Nick's free game of the week: Bloons Super Monkey

Can you do simple maths on a countdown?

That's it for this week, but before we go, how good are you at answering simple maths questions while under pressure? Take this (wholly unscientific) quiz and find out.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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