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WEEKLY EMAIL

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18th Mar 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 This info may be out of date.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."

18 March 2015
         

This week

VICTORY: Ever paid for CreditExpert credit monitoring? Read this
Warning: Grab cashback card asap
Nectar double-up + 50 of pts trick
Tesco.com 500 extra points on 60 food shop code (incl existing cust)
Decrease term v overpay mortgage
16/mth gets unlimited texts, mins & 2GB data PLUS 95 Amazon vch
FREE Ideal Home Show 14 tix
London Eye, Alton Towers etc 2for1
Sainsbury Energy cust via MSE?
Urgent: 5,600 to improve home
Replace specs' lenses for 10 code
Greggs totally free hot drink
Kurt Geiger shoes 39 or less
Next 50% sale rumour
Budget live: What it means for you
2 pansy baskets & 12 plants 20
Get Urban Outfitters 50% sale EARLY
'Your council tax info saved me 3k'
70 Nails Inc bundle 20 delivered
M&S sale boosted to up to 60%
1yr National Trust family pass 78
MSE job opportunity
Q&A with Consumer Affairs Minister
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 holiday tips - now 1 buys 1.40
Cheaper spending, hotels, car hire & more. 10 tips to cut European costs

This time last year one pound bought 1.19, now it's about 1.40 - the highest since 2007. So travel to Europe and things will seem much cheaper. Indirectly too, we should see the price of hotels and car hire tripping down, as the rate change filters through. Here are 10 tips to make sure you max out their value.

1. Take 2mins to check if you can get the cheapest way to spend abroad. By far the best rates come via spending on a specialist overseas credit card - providing it's repaid IN FULL each month, to avoid interest. Then in every country you get the same near perfect exchange rate banks do - smashing bureaux de change rates. (Normal debit & credit cards add a 3% fee onto this rate).

To get a card, you need to pass a credit check, yet our overseas credit card eligibility calc shows which top players you're most likely to get, and unlike applying to find out, it does not impact your credit file.

Our top pick is Halifax Clarity* as it has the lowest ATM charges, yet Saga* (over-50s), Post Office*, Aqua* (poor credit scorers) & Nationwide's Select* card (for its customers ONLY) are all up there. If you fail to fully repay, the rates are 12.9%, 11.9%, 17.8%, 34.9% & 15.9% rep APR. For pros, cons & how best to use it read our Cheap Travel Cards guide (APR Examples).
2. Should I buy euros now? Now there's a big question, so for a big answer taking you through it step-by-step, read my buy euros now? analysis.
3. holidays Going soon, or want to lock in a euro rate? If you can't get one of the cards above, are going imminently, want cash, or want to lock in the euro rate, there are two easy ways to do it.

a) Top prepaid cards. Here, you load the card with cash before you travel, then use it like a debit card. If you lose it, your cash is protected. Unlike top credit cards, you get the rate on the day you load/buy, not spend, so if the pound gets you even more euros afterwards, you lose. If it gets you fewer, you win.

Our top pick for euros is Ukash* as it has a good rate and low fees, though if you're loading 500+ the Fair FX euro* card gives an 8 bonus which beats it. Full info: Prepaid Travel Cards.

b) Top euro cash rate. Our Travel Money Comparison scans rates on 40 top online bureaux de change. And in the run up to Easter, three bureaux have rate sales; the tool will be updated when they boost (do compare as these sales don't always win).

- Asda is boosting rates until 8am on Fri on euros, US dollars & more.
- Post Office is boosting online rates 8am Sat - 8am Tue on euros, US dollars & more.
- Travelex is boosting rates on Tue 24 on all currencies from 11am-1pm (so you could pre-order and pick up at its airport bureaux).
4. Not booked yet? Slash flight costs. For scheduled flights, don't wait till the last min as flight costs soar. See Cheap Flights, in brief...

- Cheapest price on normal flights: Use flight comparisons Kayak* (for flexibility and speed), Skyscanner* (for cheapest time to go), & 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' flights via TravelSup*, Avro* & Flights Direct*.

- Find the perfect time to book
: Use the Flight Insight tab on comparison site Momondo*, eg, on average at least 53 days ahead keeps your price down but it varies by destination, so worth a check.

- School hols flight trick. Easyjet's Flexifares let you switch dates a few weeks without paying more. So bag cheaper term-time flights, then swap for your chosen school holiday dates. Full how to & warnings in Easyjet trick.
5. Slash hotel costs (incl 10% off code). 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 Trivago* and TravelSup* comparisons to find same room for less.

b) Then check against this 10% off Ebookers.com code.

c) Lastminute.com sells secret hotels at big discounts, but you only know the star, description and rough location, use our tricks to uncover secret hotels.

d) 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. Plus as you usually will pay in euros, you get a direct benefit of the weak euro.
6. 6 travel insurance - get as soon as you book the holiday. I got this tweet this week: "Can the holiday firm keep my money as doctors have advised not to go when diagnosed with cancer?" Sadly the answer is yes, that's what travel insurance is for. It's why I always say get it as soon as you book your holiday, then if you get ill later you're covered.

- 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 45s-65s. Full info in Cheap Single Trip Travel policies.

- A year's cover from 13 (under-65s): If you'll go away 2+ times a year it's usually cheaper to get an annual policy, eg, a year's European cover for a 25-yr-old costs just 13, a family worldwide aged oldest 45 costs 51. Your cheapest depends on age and how many are travelling.

For no-thrills policies, meeting our min cover levels, Holidaysafe Lite* is usually cheapest, but also check Coverwise* & Protect Your Bubble* as in some combinations they beat it. For full help & our 'top value policies' which include payout feedback too, see Cheap Annual Travel Insurance.

- Over 65? Or pre-existing conditions? See our specialist cheap over-65s travel insurance and cheap pre-existing conditions help.
7. Is yours one of 5.2m EHICs expiring this year? Renew for FREE. The free European Health Insurance Card gives you access to EU (plus a few other) state-run hospitals or GPs like a local. If it's no cost for them, it's the same for you. Even if you've travel insurance, if going to Europe, get one and...

- Check the expiry date. 5.2m expire in 2015, renew or they're invalid.
- Keep it on you. Everyone (incl kids) needs one. It helps if you can show it.
- Do NOT pay. Beware Google. Yesterday I got this tweet: "Just paid 49 to fake Ehic web - looked legit. Says it won't return it, pls warn others." EHICs are always free, there's no fast track, see how to Get/Renew an EHIC for free.
8. Book car hire ASAP and save 100s. The later you leave it, the more expensive it gets. Plus right now the euro conversion should work in your favour. What can be 9/day months ahead can shoot up to 21/day just before you travel.

a) Find the cheapest: Use the top comparison sites.
b) Check stealth fuel charges.
Hire for 3+ days and some make you pay for a full tank & return it empty - if you won't drive far that can be 100 extra. Yet you can search by fuel policy to avoid this.
c) Get cheap excess insurance before you go. As you pick up the car, the hire firm will push up to 20/day excess cover on top of the included insurance. Instead, get Cheap Excess Insurance for as little as 2/day.
9. Slash airport parking cost from '115 to 40'. A few papers recently ran a story that airport parking in the UK is Europe's most expensive. Nonsense. Done right, it's dirt cheap, as forumite Bigdaddy1210 says: "Got a brilliant deal using your links for a 4-day break - costing just over 40 instead of 115."

Booking early helps. To find the cheapest, we've special links to comparison sites to get more off their price: Holiday Extras 10%-30% off*, SkyParkSecure 13%-30% off*, Looking4parking 10%-31% off* and APH 20% off Gatwick, Manchester, B'ham and Stansted*. For more tips, see Cheap Airport Parking.
10. Package holidays can undercut DIY web bookings... especially for seven, 10 or 14 days in a traditional resort such as 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, (within 8wks of travel), yet there's restricted choice & you may need to be flexible. So if you need special facilities (eg, for families) book now and try to cut prices down by...

1) Looking for discounts, eg, lowcostholidays 60 off 1,000+, see package holiday discounts. 2) Haggling down the prices, see How to haggle.

Extra protection too. Package holidays are protected under the ATOL scheme, so if something goes wrong you get your money back (or help coming home).

Having said that, book a flight plus separate hotel or car hire within 24 hours from the same travel (not airline) website, and since 2012 you've also got ATOL protection, just like with a package. Plus as Expedia*, Travelocity*, Ebookers* & Lastminute.com* often give extra discounts for flights and hotels booked together this can work well.

These are just the iceberg's tip - see our full 50+ overseas travel tricks guide.

Blagged for MoneySavers

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MSE News

Top story: 'Cowardly' Treasury buries independent report into MAS
EE reveals online streaming offer to replace 'Orange Wednesdays'
Plans to allow savers to sell their pension income revealed
Minimum wage to rise 3% from 1 October
Virgin overhauls East Coast's loyalty scheme - are you a winner or loser?
Prescription and dental charges to rise in April
Spread the (MoneySaving) love
If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via moneysavingexpert.com/tips
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 18 Mar 2015
VICTORY! If you've ever paid for CreditExpert credit monitoring read this...
"I reclaimed 220 from Experian thanks to MSE." We asked for reclaiming pioneers, we got them, they've won

Last August we launched our CreditExpert reclaiming guide as we believe many who paid for Experian's 15/mth CreditExpert were unfairly sold part of it. We wanted 'pioneers' to try it. Some did. In the last two weeks the Ombudsman's initially ruled in favour of four cases and we know about 20 others who've been offered 'goodwill' payments too. Key info...

  • Credit Expert victoryWho can do this? CreditExpert is a credit monitoring service, with a month's free trial to engage customers. From Jan 2011 to July 2014 it added ID fraud expenses insurance, hiking the already costly 8/mth to an outrageous 15/mth (180/yr). If you paid this, you may be able to reclaim. (It stopped offering it in July '14 due to the bad publicity.)
  • What was wrong with it? This ID fraud expenses cover, purporting to pay for problems if you're defrauded, eg, legal costs (not the fraud itself), was nearly worthless as banks often sort this at no cost. More importantly, paid-for insurance cover must be optional, yet Experian auto included it, and didn't make it an option. It did bury in the T&Cs that after signing up you could cancel this element, and the few who tried got 5/mth back. We believe this was unfair and it should give others the cash back.
  • The successes roll in. Here are just a few. Forumite Alexbrogan: "Had a call from the Ombudsman, Experian has offered to settle at 5 per month plus 8% annual interest so just over 90. Not too shabby." Kris Kennedy emailed: "I reclaimed 222 from Experian using MSE's guide." Forumite CossieMojo: "Using your template letter I've been refunded nearly 210. I am getting the money back plus 8% interest so thank you." See more successes.
  • How to reclaim. If you feel you were unfairly sold this, write using our free template letters. Since the Ombudsman rulings we've seen Experian pay some out without argument, but if it rejects you, you can still go to the free Financial Ombudsman Service. See CreditExpert reclaiming for full step-by-step info & FAQs.
  • Should I avoid CreditExpert in future? Experian is one of the 3 big credit reference agencies, so checking your credit file with it is important. There's nothing wrong with getting its free trial either, but just ensure you decide in advance whether its hefty cost after that is worth it. See our 35 ways to boost your credit rating for more info.

Tesco online food shopping 500 extra points on 60 code (incl EXISTING customers). MSE Blagged. We've blagged 10,000 codes for new & existing customers at Tesco Grocery, just enter XXMGGG when you spend 60 by 25 Mar (or till codes run out). 500 Tesco Clubcard points are worth 5 in store or up to 20 in Tesco Boost. Tesco code

'Decrease the term or overpay my mortgage?' - Martin answers. Read his pay 150/mth save 30,000 analysis

Unlimited mins, texts & 2GB data 16/mth on Sim-only 12mth contract PLUS get 95 Amazon vch. MSE Blagged. EE newbies (ie, not had it for 12mths) use code MSE95SIMO till 31 March via this standard/micro Sim* or nano Sim* link and pay a 15.99/mth fixed for a year, for unlimited texts, mins (UK landlines & mobiles) and 2GB/mth of 4G data. The 95 Amazon voucher's sent within 3mths of activation. Analysis: The Sim itself's 1/mth more than the cheapest equivalent, but if you'd have spent the voucher in Amazon anyway factor it in and it's equiv 97/yr or 8/mth - stonkingly unbeatable. FULL info EE Sim-only deal.

1,000 FREE Ideal Home Show London 14 tickets code. For Fri 20 Mar, 2for1 other days. Free Ideal Home tix

Warning: Grab a cashback card ASAP, some earn 300+/year
New EU rules may kill off cards that pay you to spend. Yet do it now to get 5% back - great for big purchases

Cashback credit cards pay you to spend on them, in the hope you rack up interest. Yet repay the card monthly IN FULL (best by direct debit, so you never miss it) and as there's no interest, your credit card is now like a debit card that pays you. It can be very profitable, as Mal tweeted: "I pay for everything by card where possible. Earn well over 300pa." Yet...

  • Cashback & reward cards under threat. The EU parliament last week voted to cap 'interchange fees' - the fee card firms charge retailers when credit & debit cards are used in stores. Our worry is retailers won't pass on the gain, so consumers may lose as these fees are how card firms can afford to offer cashback & rewards, even if you fully repay. It still needs EU council ratification, but firms may scale down these offers, so take advantage soon.
Top cashback credit cards
Use the FREE ELIGIBILITY CALCULATOR before applying to see which you're most likely to get
Card Annual fee Cashback Rep APR
Amex Plat Everyday* - very good for big one off planned purchases due to huge intro cashback. None 5% for 3mths up to max 100 back, tiered up to 1.25% after. Pays annually. 19.9%
Santander 123* - best for those who drive big mileage so petrol cashback covers annual fee. 24 (1) 3% on petrol/trains (max 9/mth back), 2% depart stores, 1% supermarkets. Pays mthly. 16.5%
Aqua Reward* - for those with poor credit scores. None
0.5% on all spending. Pays annually 34.9%
(1) Refunded in first year for Santander 123* bank account customers
  • Follow the Cashback Credit Card Golden Rules. Full help & options in Top Cashback Cards (APR Examples). In brief...

    a) Don't just apply in hope, that marks your credit file. Use our Eligibility Calculator to find your best chance first.
    b) Always repay IN FULL preferably by direct debit to avoid interest - if not, then go for a 0% spending card.
    c) Never withdraw cash. You don't get cashback, pay interest even if you repay in full & it hits your credit score.
    d) Use the card for ALL normal spending to max gain (within your limit), but it's not an excuse to overspend.
    e) Pay for goods costing 100 - 30,000 on a card, and under Section 75 laws the card firm is jointly liable with retailers if something goes wrong (or retailer goes bust). A hugely powerful extra protection.

2for1 for 3 at London Eye, Alton Towers, Sea Life centres & more. Most valid all summer - see Merlin deals.

Did you switch to the Sainsbury's Energy MSE collective switch? For most it's gone well, but some have told us of struggles to contact its customer service, plus meter reading issues. If so we've help for you. Sainsbury's MSE tariff FAQ.

Urgent: Up to 5,600 to improve your home. The Govt's Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (HIF) re-opened Mon, with 70m more for solid wall insulation, double glazing etc. It's likely to go at speed, full HIF help & how to apply.

Replace your specs' lenses for 10 with code. MSE Blagged. See Reglazemyglasses deals.

Greggs totally free hot drink (normally up to 1.75). Download free app, but go quick, see Greggs deal.

Kurt Geiger shoes 39 or less - 3,800 styles. Via its Shoeaholics web outlet sale, some were 99. Ends Sun

Forum Hottie. Next 50% sale rumour this wknd. No official confirmation, but likely online & in stores from Sat. Next

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
36mths 0%, 2.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

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

(18.9% rep APR)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...
Compare The Market
Moneysupermarket*

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*
Aviva*
Admiral MultiCar*

Clydesdale* (5k - 7.5k)
4.7% rep APR



Sainsbury's* (7.5k - 15k)
3.6% rep APR


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


Coventry BS 2.25% AER
Min 1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till Nov 2018


See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Budget 2015

It's Budget day - at 12:30 today (Wed) Chancellor George Osborne will stand up for his last Budget pre-election. Watch it live with @MartinSLewis who'll be translating it into plain English and all key top lines will be reported by @MoneySavingExp and go in MSE News. Here are just a few of the things likely to come up...

  • holidaysPension freedoms. Big changes from Apr, see Martin's it pays to know when you'll die.
  • What'll be in your pay packet? Check what your take-home pay will be in the new tax year with our 2015-16 income tax calc. Yet there are rumours he may tweak it yet.
  • Petrol, booze, fags. Tax hikes on cigs are likely, and possible on booze & fuel. If so, you've normally till 6pm till price changes. Related: cheap petrol, wine discount finder.
  • Do your own annual budget. And unlike the Chancellor you've no choice but to balance the books or debt grips and punishes. Try our free Budget Planner and learn how to Boost Your Income.

2 hanging baskets of pansies + 12 bedding plants 20. 350 avail. Norm 34, next cheapest 60. Gardening deal

Code gets 50% off and early access to Urban Outfitters sale. One day early access at Urban Outfitters

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Your council tax challenge your band info saved me 3,000+. Did the research, wrote to the council, and got a refund for the 10 years we had lived there. Thanks."

70 Nails Inc Bundle 20 del. MSE Blagged. 5,000 avail. Includes 3 shades, base & top coats, nail file. All Boxed Up

New. Nectar DOUBLE up + '50 of points' trick
Starting today, 1,000 points can be worth 10 not 5 at Sainsbury's. Yet in April the amount you earn drops...

The good news: Sainsbury's regular double-up event means your points are worth more. The bad: from 11 April, you'll only earn one point per pound spent at Sainsbury's not the current two - so you will need to work harder to build a points stash. However, we've ways to boost it in our Nectar points boosting guide, here are the key pointers (sorry)...

  • NectarStarts today (Wed): Sainsbury's double-up. Until 31 March, you can exchange & spend up to 4,000 points (in multiples of 1,000) for double their usual value in each of 7 departments including electricals, toys, eBooks & TU Clothing. See double-up info.
  • New."I got an extra 50-worth Nectar points in 4 months." Our MSE Megan's nabbed 9,967pts (worth 49.83 to spend in Sainsbury's without double-up) in 4 months via cleverly using Sainsbury's new trial My Coupons website, which gives extra points 'coupons' for products you usually buy. Find out how to take advantage in Sainsbury's coupon boost.
  • Top places to redeem Nectar. With Sainbury's, usually 1,000pts = 5 off shopping as the normal value. Its double up is of course 2x, as is converting them to Merlin attraction tickets via Nectar's site (then again, 2for1s are common there, see above) or you get 1.5x on PizzaExpress vouchers. See Top 5 Nectar rewards.
  • Quick Nectar tips. There are other ways to boost your stash too:

    - Free 200pts.
    You get 100pts signing up to its newsletter & 100 more for downloading its tool bar. Free points
    - Points on Virgin trains. 2pts per pound (or 4pts per 1 on advance East Coast tix by 31 March). Train Boost
    - Use British Gas or Sainsbury's Energy? You get energy points but never switch for this, find your cheapest.
    - 100pts+ donating items to Oxfam. 100pts for signing up to Oxfam's Tag your Bag, More when items are sold.
    - 20,000pts + 2pts per 1 on credit card. Get a Nectar Amex* (eligibility calc) and repay IN FULL to avoid the 25% rep APR and you get 20,000pts if you spend 2,000+ in the first 3mths, and then 2pts per 1 spent on the card, and 4pts in some partner stores. 25 annual fee. Full info in Credit Card Freebies (APR examples).

M&S mid-season sale boost - was 50%, now up to 60% off. From Thu. Clothes & home items. See M&S sale

1yr National Trust family pass 78 (norm 104). Two grown-ups & any kids get unlimited visits to historic homes (incl Winston Churchill's & Basildon Park, as seen in Downton Abbey), gardens, castles & nature reserves. National Trust

MSE Job Opportunity - Editorial Assistant. To work in our deals team based in London See all MSE jobs.


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 1,159 a year, the cheapest deal's 918.


First Direct*
100 bonus and top cust service


Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(2 per month fee)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...

GoCompare*
MoneySupermarket*

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*
Aviva*

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

Consumer rights are changing, ask the Consumer Affairs Minister how and why. MSE is interviewing Jo Swinson about the new Consumer Rights Act that comes into force in October and we want to put your questions to her. Find out more and suggest questions via the forum. You can also questions via Twitter or email consumerrights@moneysavingexpert.com.

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA
I've got enough cash - should I still ask for wedding gifts?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I'm getting married this year and I've unexpectedly inherited a fair amount of money. I planned to send a wedding gift list, but now I can afford them I'm not sure it's appropriate, especially as some of my friends are hard up. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I still ask for wedding gifts?| Suggest an MMD |View past MMDs

THE GREAT HUNT
Where are the cheapest gluten-free foods?
Having special dietary requirements makes life complicated, so it's a bit of a drag that it also makes it more expensive. We want to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge on the best cheap gluten-free foods and tips about them (or food for any other special diets). Share yours/read others': Cheapest places to buy gluten-free food? Past topics: View all

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT
Airline: Jet2* Offer: 10% off all flights Ends: Ongoing
Our pick this week is Jet2's* 10% off all flights sale. Each passenger gets 10% off the cost of any flight (includes taxes, but excludes some charges and extras) between 29 Mar 2015 and 30 Apr 2016. It flies from seven UK airports to 50 European destinations. There is no code to enter, the discount appears automatically. Excludes group bookings (10+ people). 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

THE GREAT HUNT... REVEALED
MoneySavers shared their top car haggling tips

We asked for your top tactics to drive down the cost of buying a motor. The highest savings from haggling you told us about were up to a mammoth 7,000. Top tips included avoiding dodgy traders, remembering salesmen aren't your friends, asking for the best price upfront and never being afraid to walk away.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances (from Wed 18 Mar onward)

Wed 18 Mar - This Morning, ITV, The Budget 2015, 10.50am.
Wed 18 Mar - LBC, The Budget 2015, 12noon - 2.45pm.
Wed 18 Mar - Radio 5 Live, The Budget 2015, 2.45pm.
Thu 19 Mar - GMB, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch last week's
Fri 20 Mar - This Morning, ITV, 90-Second Savers, 10.30am. Watch last week's
Fri 20 Mar - The Ideal Home Show, Olympia London, 12noon.
Sun 22 Mar - The Ideal Home Show, Olympia London, 1pm.
Mon 23 Mar - This Morning ITV Money Monday, 10.30am. Watch last week's
Mon 23 Mar - Consumer Panel BBC Radio 5, 12pm-1pm. Subscribe to podcast

MSE team corner

Team blogs:
Grow your own food for 'free'

Chocolate bunny taste test

Free Hotel Chocolat egglets


Regular team appearances:

Fri 20 Mar
BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm
Tue 24 Mar
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 3.15pm

Discussion of the week

Do you chip in for co-worker presents?

When you work in an office there always seems to be a birthday, wedding, anniversary or some other occasion warranting a "whip round". Share your thoughts on the correct etiquette in the Do you chip in for co-workers presents? discussion.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 137.56 123.80
US Flag $ 148.25 131.45
Turkish Flag TL 374.30 327.18
Rates correct at 3pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: How much are you worth (or do you owe)?

To answer this question, you first need to do a little sum:

1. Add up: the value of your assets such as your house, savings & pension.
2. Subtract: outstanding debts - include your mortgage, exclude student loans.

Then whether you've "net worth" or "net debt", pick your relevant option:

Poll results

Have you ever lied on an insurance claim?
It's fraud but some have still 'tweaked the truth'. You were least likely to lie on life or critical illness claims, with more than 95% claiming total honesty. Here's where you've failed to be honest the most:

- 22% have on home ins
- 17% have on car or mobile ins
- 11% have on travel ins

2,340 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

I've heard of several big fines being dished out to the banks, but where does this money go? Maria, via email

MSE's Sam's A: There are two main regulatory bodies that levy fines on banks and other financial firms - the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Both collect the money, deduct costs and pay the rest to the Treasury.

It's then up to the Treasury what it does, but fines are sometimes allocated to good causes. Last year, the Government gave the approximately 100 million of fines levied on Lloyds for Libor rate manipulation to military charities. And in December, it announced fines collected from banks that broke foreign exchange market rules would be used to create a 1 billion fund for improving GP facilities & technology in England.

 Nick's free game of the week: Blosics

Could you spot a fake note?

That's it for this week, but before we go, last week a shop in Northern Ireland accepted a 'toy' 100 note from the Early Learning Centre by accident. Would you make the same mistake? Let us know over in the forum and whether you've lost out due to a fake before.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

Important. Please read how MoneySavingExpert.com works

We think it's important you understand the strengths and limitations of this email and the site. We're a journalistic website, and aim to provide the best MoneySaving guides, tips, tools and techniques - but can't promise to be perfect, so do note you use the information at your own risk and we can't accept liability if things go wrong.

What you need to know

  • This info does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it's right for your specific circumstances - and remember we focus on rates not service.

  • We don't as a general policy investigate the solvency of companies mentioned, how likely they are to go bust, but there is a risk any company can struggle and it's rarely made public until it's too late (see the section 75 guide for protection tips).

  • We often link to other websites, but we can't be responsible for their content.

  • Always remember anyone can post on the MSE forums, so it can be very different from our opinion.

Please read the Full Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, how this site is financed and Editorial Code. Martin Lewis is a registered trade mark belonging to Martin S Lewis.

More about MoneySavingExpert and Martin Lewis

What is MoneySavingExpert.com?

Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with more than 10 million people getting this email and about 13 million using the site every month. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: saving cash and fighting for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 80 full time staff, more than a third of whom are editorial researching, analysing and writing to continually find ways to save money. More info: See About MSE

Who is Martin Lewis?

Martin set up and runs MSE, and still writes this email each week (unless it says so). He's an ultra-focused money-saving journalist and consumer campaigner with his own ITV prime-time show The Martin Lewis Money Show and weekly slots on Radio 5 Live, This Morning and Good Morning Britain, among others. Hes a columnist for publications including the Telegraph and Woman magazine. More info: See Martin Lewis' biography

What do the links with a * mean?

Any links with a * by them are affiliated, which means get a product via this link and a contribution may be made to MoneySavingExpert.com, which helps it stay free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference; the links don't impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things we write) isn't changed due to it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in the same way. More info: See how this site is financed.

As we believe transparency is important, we're including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for content too:

Unaffiliated web-addresses for links in this email

halifax.co.uk, saga.co.uk, postoffice.co.uk, aquacard.co.uk, nationwide.co.uk, ukash.com, kayak.co.uk, skyscanner.net, travelsupermarket.com, avro.co.uk, flightsdirect.com, momondo.co.uk, tripadvisor.co.uk, tripadvisor.co.uk, protectyourbubble.com, holidaysafe.co.uk, coverwise.co.uk, holidayextras.co.uk, skyparksecure.com, looking4parking.com, aph.com, expedia.co.uk, travelocity.com, ebookers.com, lastminute.com, shop.ee.co.uk, americanexpress.com, santander-products.co.uk, aquacard.co.uk, directline.com, aviva.co.uk, admiral.com, sainsburysbank.co.uk, cbonline.co.uk, firstdirect.com, gocompare.com, directsavetelecom.co.uk, jet2.com.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Note

Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FCA regulated activity. For this reason, pages with links which take you to the sites of insurers or insurance intermediaries are hosted by MoneySavingExpert.com Limited on behalf of MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC. MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC and MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited is MoneySupermarket House, St. Davids Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ.

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