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Weekly Email
This email was sent
15th Aug 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 This info may be out of date.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."

15 August 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

Stop. Did you miss MoneySaving gold?
The 10 must knows from Olympic fortnight - save £1,000s

Even I've focused more on Olympics than MoneySaving (I'm due gold in the over-35 couch potato event). So you don't miss out, here's a quick catch up on biggies we've covered during the Games...

1. Lock in cheap energy for TWO winters. There's a gas & electricity price war. The new EDF Blue* tariff is only a few quid above the market cheapest, saving many £200+/year, and crucially the price is fixed until April 2014, so no price rises guaranteed. Plus you can leave early without any penalties.

Scottish Power's fix is similar and slightly cheaper, but the price freeze only lasts until Nov 2013, though go via this link to MoneySup's* comparison and until midnight Sun you get £70 cashback after 3mths on dual fuel switches. Full how to find your cheapest, compare & cashback in Cheap Gas & Elec.
2. 100 cheap & free things to do with kids this summer. Entertaining the little darlings/monsters needn't break the bank, from free swimming & footie lessons, to theme park and zoo 2for1s. See new 100 Summer Hols tips guide.
3. olympic catch upSave £100s shifting credit cards to 5.9% FOR LIFE. The best long-term balance transfer deal for an age. Accepted new MBNA Rate for Life* customers can shift debts at a permanent 5.9% until repaid (you must repay the monthly min) with a one-off 1.5% fee.

If you can repay quicker, new Barclaycard* customers can get 22mths 0% with a one-off 2.9% fee or 21mths 0%* with a lower 2.6% fee. NatWest* is 22mths 0% with a 3.2% fee. Repay before the 0% ends or rates jump to 17.9% rep APR. Full best-buys & help in Balance Transfers (Official APRs).
4. Use your Tesco points at 2x value on frozen food. Tesco's summer Clubcard exchange is on, letting you swap £5 of points for £10 in-store spends on certain items. For the first time it includes stock-upable frozen food. Full info and top value rewards to use points on in Reclaim Lost Tesco Vouchers.
5. Unbeatable exchange rates for ALL future foreign trips. Most credit & debit cards add a hidden 3% load, so spend £100 worth of euros and it costs £103. Yet holster one of the few specialist cards that don't charge and you get unbeatable rates: Halifax Clarity*, Post Office*, Saga* (50s+) & Nationwide Select* (its custs ONLY).

If your credit score's wobbly, for easy-acceptance Aqua Reward* is also load-free and gives 3% cashback (max £100/yr), though its overseas ATM withdrawal fees are high. ALWAYS fully repay each month or the gain's eaten by 11.9%-34.9% rep APRs. Full info in Cheap Travel Cards or Find Best Foreign Cash.
6. New cheap holiday villa rentals guide. Villas can be half the cost of a similar hotel, especially for big families or groups. Our new Holiday Villas guide shows how to find 'em (eg, check HomeAway*, Villarenters* & TripAdvisor Rentals*), what to watch and how to cut costs. Timed right, we found a £700/wk 3-bed villa in France for £350.
7. Stop wasting £100s on home insurance. Many make the big mistake of covering the 'market' not 'rebuild' value which is usually much less (see Cheap Home Insurance). To find the cheapest, combine the following comparisons: Confused*, CompareTM*, Gocompare*. Then the biggies they miss: Aviva* & Direct Line*.
8. Top student accounts 2012/13. Our top student accounts 2012/13 analysis is out, for new and existing students. The biggest guaranteed 0% overdraft is what counts. While some headline bigger 0%s, Co-op Bank's* £1,400 in yr-1, £1,700 yr-2 & £2,000 yr-3 is definite if accepted, as is Santander's £50 free cash and stable £1,500 0% overdraft.
9. Protect family finances if you die. Around 1 in 20 kids lose parents before growing up, and the tragedy can be compounded by financial insecurity. We've updated our Cheap Life Insurance best buys, including how much to cover and how to save £1,000s by buying smartly.
10. Free £30 M&S or Amazon voucher (just grab a 0% card). Via this link, accepted new Amex Rewards* cardholders get 16 mths 0% on spending. Then do your normal daily spending on it, and if it's £500+ a month for 3mths you get a £30 gift voucher. Clear it before the 0% ends or it's 19.9% representative APR. Full info: Credit Card Freebies & APR Examples.

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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 15 Aug 2012
How to get a 0% loan
Don't jump to the obvious solution. Pervert plastic to get smaller loans at fraction of the cost

Even the best-buy sub-£2,000 loan is 18.6% APR. Instead, manipulate a credit card for possibly 0%. Though never borrow willy-nilly, ask if you need it, minimise it and budget for affordable repayments. All require a credit check.

  • plastic loans 16 months 0% if you can use a card to pay: New Amex Rewards* & Tesco* cardholders get 16 mths 0% spending on these cards, M&S* 15 mths 0%. Try to fully repay before the 0% ends or they jump to 15.9%-19.9% representative APR. Full help: 0% credit cards.
  • Cash 'loans' for 20 mths 0% or 5.9% for life. For a one-off fee, a few cards do 'money transfers', ie, pay 0% cash into your bank, but most charge a fortune. The Virgin card's 20 mths 0% and Fluid* 15 mths both with a 4% fee. After 0% ends they're 20.9% representative APR.

    Need longer? For a 4% fee, MBNA's rate for life* is 5.9% on transferred debt until repaid (you still must make min repayments). This almost always undercuts straight sub-£5,000 loans, but plan repayments over a similar time. All this needs doing carefully. Full step-by-step help in credit card loans (official card APR).
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Up to 45% off Family & Friends Railcard code. Normally £28, these get 1/3 off 1-4 grown-up's fares if travelling with 1-4 kids (who get 60% off) for a year. O2 custs can get 45% off till 11.59pm Wed, everyone else 20%. Railcard codes

Urgent. HOT free or cheap cinema tickets
Free £10 indie cinema vouchers by teaming up (2,250 avail) | £4 Sunday ticket PLUS 4 bags of choc (via M&Ms)

Instant B&Q 20% off voucher. This weekend, min £20 spend (print/show on smartphone): B&Q Deals

"I won a Vegas trip & £26,000 of gadgets"
40+ insider 'comping' tips. The art of entering contests as a cash boosting hobby

From cars to £20,000 cash, 5-star USA holidays to £10,000 of Tesco giftcards, MoneySavers have won it all. It's all about 'comping', a potentially profitable hobby for the lucky. Full help in the 40+ Comping Tips guide. But to seduce...

  • compingGotta have a system. Comping's about systematically sourcing and entering 100s of the right contests using web gadgets to form-fill at speed, answer Qs & help with tie-breakers. Plus enter TV premium phone comps free via the web. See comping techniques.

    While big success isn't certain, it does happen. Among the luckies is MoneySaver mrsrobertson says: "I started comping in May '11 and I've won a £3,000 Las Vegas trip and gadgets worth over £26,000. I'm hooked."
  • Join the MSE comping team. The site's Competitions Time forum board is full of the latest contests. It's a reciprocal community of devoted compers. The idea is you post contests and cheer others when they win.
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Urgent. Code for 50% off jewellery outlet 40%-70% off sale. Always hugely popular, incl £72 Ted Baker watch for £25, £71 CK bangle £21, plus DKNY, Fiorelli & more. Wed & Thurs ONLY, John Greed Jewellery

FREE Walkers crisps. Usually 49p. Print voucher and take to one of 2,700 Premier stores. See Walkers Deals

Free £15 eye test voucher. Via this special Optical Express*, link, full info in Free Eye Tests

Urgent. £20 spa day PLUS treatment. Starts Fri at 20 UK spas (availability limited). LastMinute Deals

Reclaim PPI for FREE
Proof paying claims handler doesn't help chances | Banks agree to make reclaiming easier

Banks have paid out £5bn in PPI mis-selling reclaims since 2011, and put a further £5bn aside. If you've got/had a loan, card or mortgage in the last 10 yrs you may be owed large. Step-by-step help in our Free PPI reclaiming & credit card PPI reclaiming guides.

  • reclaim ppiDIY reclaiming's just as successful. PPI claims firms typically take 30% of your payout, £900 on a £3,000 reclaim. New Ombudsman stats show identical 81% success rates from DIY complaints and claims firms. Bank figures suggest DIY success rates are 3% higher than via a claims firm. Still want it done for you? See claims firm must-knows.
  • Unsure? Don't worry, FREE help's available. If you've not got paperwork, not sure you were mis-sold to or unsure who to complain to, there are over 60 FAQs in our PPI reclaiming guide. Or for quick questions call the Financial Ombudsman helpline on 0300 1239123.
  • Banks make the process easier. The MoneySavingExpert & Which? PPI summit with the banks has so far led to all bank sites including homepage links to how to start PPI complaints. They also agreed to introduce systems to help consumers see if you had PPI in the past and info on how payouts are calculated. See PPI summit results so far.
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Report spam PPI texts to '7726' (it spells spam). Even Martin got spam this week lying: "you are owed £2,130 in PPI"... er, no. Forward to 7726, many reports gets 'em blocked. See Stop Spam Texts & Junk Calls

Train fares rising 6.2% - fight back. Download the Tickety Split app and see train tricks

2for1 Foodies Festival code (RRP £15). London, Fri 17-19 Aug; Oxford, Sat 25- 27 Aug. See Foodies

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
22 mths 0%, 2.9% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Fluid*
15 mths 0%, 1.5% fee

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

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

M&S* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.3% rep APR
(Must be 30+ or a homeowner)

Sainsbury's* (£7.5k - £15k)
5.8% rep APR

(Need Nectar card)

Manchester BS 3.06% AER
Min £1,000. Incl bonus.
Postal only. Transfers allowed.

Santander* 3% AER
Min £500. Incl bonus.
Transfers allowed

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

£1 disposable BBQs. Don't pay up to £5 at supermarkets - snap 'em up for £1. See Sizzling Hot Bargains

A-level results, don't panic. Good luck on Thurs. Get uni place? Hurrah. Read Students Finance 2012 mythbusting and beware paying fees upfront. Missed out? Don't panic. Options inc clearing, taking a year out (student finance 2013 hardly changes) and for the first time part-time students get fee loans too. Different courses may also be available.

20% off Park Resorts code for Aug. Sub-£200 family hols (even cheaper via Tesco pts). Park Resorts

Please tell friends they can get this free email every week.

Time to fix your mortgage?
Fixed rates are at record lows with some 5-year deals below 3%

The Bank of England base rate's been 0.5% for over three years and the Governor sees little point cutting it. Fixes are partially based on the City's long term rate predictions and the dismal economic outlook means many are at record lows, so if you've decent equity you can get 2-year and 5-year fixes now at 2.95%. So is it time to fix?

  • Is a fix best? With a fix the rate is, er, fixed for a set time, insuring against rises. The more stretched your finances, the more valuable this certainty (see Fixes v Discounts). Check fees too. For some, especially on smaller mortgages, the Ultimate Mortgage Calc shows a lower fee and higher rate wins.
  • fix mortgage Will fixes get any cheaper? Best buy rates, especially for 5-year fixes, are incredibly low, so a safe option is grab 'em now; but could they get even cheaper? Broker David Hollingworth, from London & Country, says: "In the near term, there's every chance more lenders will drop rates, though we need to wait to see if the very lowest will drop more."
  • Time to ditch standard variable rates? Cut 1% point off Halifax & Santander's 4%ish SVRs and you save £600/year on a £100k mortgage. It's similar for recent Lloyds & Nationwide customers, though those on their old 2.5% SVR are unlikely to gain. Use the compare two mortgages calculator.
  • Ditch current fix? For some on costlier fixes, the fees you'd pay to escape would normally wipe out any gain, but with rates this low a few could actually switch and save. See the Ditch your fix? calculator.
  • FREE 30-page MSE remortgage book. For help & guidance Instantly download a PDF or Order Printed Guide.
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Oyster cardholder? 2for1 London Dungeon, H of Parliament. 45 Oyster Deals.

Forum Hottie

10p chewing gum. Bag up to 10 packs of Wrigley's for 10p each (usually 59p). Print voucher or show on smartphone until 20 Aug - forumites are getting stuck in (sorry). Wrigley's deals

'Free' £19 Avon kit with £8.50 spend. Kits include night cream, eye cream etc. See Avon Deals

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

6 bottles of wine

First Direct*
£100 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*

BT Line Rental Saver*
£10.75/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Free Budget Planner Free MSE car sticker £16 Travel Insurance

the moneysaving community

Win £100 for charity in the official MSE fantasy football league. Buy players and play the transfer market. Join the MSE forum fantasy football league.

Campaign of the week

Should Royal Mail be allowed to deliver your mail to neighbours?
Royal Mail's asked to be able to give undelivered mail to neighbours, like other delivery firms. Regulator Ofcom plans to allow the scheme to start, with some exceptions, by Christmas (it'll give an opt out) and Royal Mail will still be responsible until you receive it directly. Ofcom wants your views.
Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support work done by other charities, community groups and campaigners. Send us a campaign of the week suggestion.

spill beans

Spill the beans... on when you seriously BULK buy
Bulk-buying provides serious discounts if you get it right. So, when have you filled your larder with 200 ketchups and half a ton of toilet roll? What's your biggest bulk buy saving? Got bulk buy tips for newbies? Spill 'em: bulk buying secrets Past topics: View all

Money Moral Dilemma

Should I let flatmate subsidise me?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
My flatmate and I want to move, but he can afford £200/month more than me. He's offered to pay more for a decent location, but I'm worried he'll start expecting me to do more household chores in return. Should I have faith in his kind offer or risk going our separate ways? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I let flatmate pay more rent? Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

Book Giveaway RESULT. Foraging: The Essential Guide to Free Wild Food. 40 blagged for MoneySavers. Check your inbox to see if you got one.

Cheap Flight Sales

Airline: Monarch Code: Up to £20 off return
Our pick this week is Monarch's up to £20 off return flights with the code CHEERUP. It's on routes for travel to March 2013, and includes some taxes and charges. Flights include Birmingham to Venice for about £40 return. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £60 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

Cheap ways to get in shape this summer. Spill the beans... revealed
It seems a no-brainer, but it's surprising how many pounds you can shift by walking, as a number of MoneySavers pointed out. Exercise DVDs and games are cheaper than joining a gym and can be done at home, while eating well saves money and helps get you in shape. For free gym passes and cheap membership, see our Cheap Gyms guide.

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Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 126.26 115.13
US Flag $ 156.26 141.97
Turkish Flag TL 274.70 246.49
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll:How do you rate your bank account's service?

Help us help you compare banks. Please rate your main bank account for customer service, NOT rate, over the last SIX MONTHS.

Click your bank to vote (takes 10secs)

Barclays | Co-op | First Direct | Halifax | BofScot | HSBC | Lloyds TSB
Metro | Nationwide | NatWest/RBS | Santander/A&L| Ulster

Poll Results

Would you press a 'cancel Olympics' button?

When we asked this before London 2012, 39% said they'd press 'cancel', but you're now singing a different tune (a GB national anthem, perhaps?) with that figure dropping to 13%.

Of 21,200 voters, it was great to see 15,500 across the regions loved the Olympics. See Full Results.

Question Of The Week

Q. Please could you advise whether tax needs to be paid on PPI repayments over a certain amount. Laurie, by email

MSE Wendy's A: Payouts are usually made up of three elements: 1. A refund of the PPI premiums you paid. 2. You will also have paid interest on the PPI you paid, which you'll get back. 3. You may also get 8% statutory interest on elements 1&2.

You only pay tax on this 3rd element, as it's assumed if you hadn't paid PPI, you'd have kept the cash in savings, where the interest would be taxed.

Of the major banks, only RBS and NatWest automatically deduct tax. Barclays (including Barclaycard), Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Santander don't, so contact your tax office, or call the income tax helpline on 0845 300 0627.

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

Board Of The Week

The Health, Beauty & Fashion MoneySaving Board

Share offers and tips on issues surrounding health, diet, nutrition and how they relate to MoneySaving. Discussions include really hydrating face cream, how best to remove (women's) facial hair? and supplements, vitamins etc, best place to buy?

Back to top ^
Game Of The Week

Sugar Sugar

Uncovered, an attempt to bribe film media to give positive reviews

We've seen a letter by a new release film, that seems to indicate its attempting to bribe film journalists to give a five out of four star rating. Full evidence in film journalist bribe attempt. It reveals a lot.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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