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Weekly Email
This email was sent
20th Oct 2010
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 This info may be out of date.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."

20 October 2010

Martin's Quick Briefing

Switch Energy NOW! Save £300 + cashback
Last chance pre-winter & cheap deals disappearing

While switching's speedy, the supplier change over takes around two months. So compare and SWITCH NOW so you're not paying sky high rates during the high use winter period. Here's a quick Q&A...

  • What changes? Not much, it's the same gas, electricity and safety. The only real changes are customer service & price.

  • How much can you save? A home paying £1,200/yr on a standard tariff, would drop to £890/yr on the cheapest tariff - the bigger your home, the bigger the saving. So unless you're already on a super-cheap online tariff, switch.

  • How do I find my cheapest tariff (& get cashback)? Zip to a comparison site via these special links (not direct) and if they can switch you, you get cashback or freebies (takes 3 mths). Top Pick Comparison: Energyhelpline* pays £15 cashback per switch. Dual Fuel: Moneysupermarket* £30 cashback, uSwitch* a case of wine. FULL info & how to boost cashback in the Cheap Gas & Elec guide.

  • Is EDF's £100 free credit worth it? EDF's currently offering £100 credit on its online saver 7 tariff. So do a comparison and if it isn't over £100 more than the cheapest, it's a winner. In many regions, comparison sites can switch you - so you get the cashback too.

  • Which 'cheap deals' are disappearing? In recent weeks many cheap online billed tariffs have been pulled eg, this week Npower replaced its best-buy SignOnline19 with SignOnline20 which costs on average £60 more. Insiders predict more will go, see the Npower pulls top deal news story.

  • What's likely to happen to prices - should I fix? Energy insiders suggest 5%ish price rises are possible next year, though nothing's certain. To beat hikes you could get a fixed tariff (called a cap) where you lock-in the rate for a set time; effectively insurance against rate rises.

    Yet the cheapest caps currently cost 10%ish more than the very cheapest deals (comparison sites let you select capped only results), so whether it's worth it depends on how much you need certainty prices won't rise.

Further ways to save, inc. prepay meters in the Cheap Gas & Electricity guide, also see Free Energy Grants.

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New! MSE's Ultimate Mortgage Calculator
Now inc. 'is it worth offsetting?', 'compare 2 fixes' & 'what can I borrow?'

We've added shedloads of new functions to our already ultimate mortgage calculator, meaning it's now, erm... ultimate-er?? New features inc... The 'Is offsetting worth it?' Calc: Compares getting an offset mortgage, where your savings act to reduce your mortgage debt, to a standard mortgage and savings. The 'Compare 2 fix deals' Calc: Puts costs, including fees, rate and fix length, side by side. The 'How much can I borrow?' Calc: Works out what you're likely to be lent, and how much of your hard-earned cash that is. Lots more mortgage calcs: These are the tip of the iceberg, all the existing calcs are there too eg, work out the cost of a rate change, how much you'll save (it's often £10,000s) by overpaying and whether it's worth ditching your fix. Full info in the New Tool: Ultimate Mortgage Calculator Free Printed Guides: Remortgage Guide, Mortgage Guide

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1,000 extra Boots points on £50+ spend Fri-Sun
Or get even more: 1,200 points online and in selected stores on Wed 27 & Thurs 28 Oct

So if you're storing up a big Boots shop, it's effectively a 20% reduction. Full info in the Deals Note: High Street Sales

Urgent! TWO £49 pairs of prescription glasses for £19. Ends midnight Thursday, sunglasses deals available too. Includes delivery. See the Deals Note: Cheap Prescription Specs

New top 2.8% cash ISA TRANSFER
Boost your interest on existing cash ISAs - check your rate, switch & gain

Many ISAs pay pitiful rates after year one, yet you can transfer all old cash ISAs to massively boost your interest. Check your rate now, if it's low - switch! How to transfer: Never withdraw cash, you lose the tax free benefit - always ask the NEW provider to move it for you. A tiny number of old ISAs may charge 'transfer out' fees - do check. Top for easy access transfers: The Halifax* ISA Direct Reward pays 2.8% AER (some existing customers get 3%) on new & existing cash ISA money, though after a year the rate plummets, so diarise to ditch & then switch again. Top new cash ISA rate: The Santander Flexible ISA (issue 3) pays 2.85% AER (min £1) easy access and guarantees to be 2.35% above base rate for the first year (some existing customers get 3%). No transfers in allowed. Top easy access savings: If your ISA's used up, the top easy access account is Natwest's* E-savings paying 2.89% AER, inc a year's 1.85% bonus starting 15 Nov. so be ready to switch again then. All accounts have full £50,000 per person UK savings safety protection. FULL info & fix rate alternatives in the Updated Guides: ISA Transfers, New Cash ISAs, Top Savings, Safe Savings

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Warehouse, Coast & Wallis 25% off online & in-store (via £2 mag)
New online codes! M&M Direct £10 off £30 | Tesco Clothes £10 off £40 (urgent!) | Evans 20% off

Plus Morrisons £5 off £40 (£1 paper) & Schuh £5 off £20. Full info in the Deals Note: Discount Vouchers

Free £30 energy monitor for Npower customers. Just sign up to paperless billing (even if you're online) provided you've never requested a monitor before. Full info in the Deals Note: Free Energy Monitors

FREE year's worldwide family travel insurance
Get it free by switching account or £5 by using a credit card - even aged 80

The cheapest annual worldwide travel insurance policy for a family costs £54, for a couple aged 75 it's £103. Yet we've been asked if you can cleverly use a couple of financial products to cut it to nowt - you can! Free if you switch bank: The Co-Op's branch & online Privilege Premier* account includes free worldwide family travel insurance (plus breakdown & mobile insurance) for those aged up to 80 (though pre-existing conditions may be excluded). It usually costs £13/mth but switch to it by 20 Nov (min. income £11,200/yr) and if you're accepted it'll waive that fee for a year. After 12mths it will charge though, to avoid that either switch again or just drop down to its non-fee account. It pays no interest in credit, but does have an up to £300 0% overdraft (15.9% above that), see how it compares in the Best Bank Accounts guide. Pay £5/mth but cancel whenever. Alternatively Sainsbury's Gold* credit card charges a £5/mth fee and includes free worldwide family travel insurance (up to age 65) plus it's a cheap overseas spending card. At £60 a year, it's not a bad deal for family insurance, but to play the game you could get one then cancel after a trip if you've no claim. Of course do set up a direct debit to ALWAYS repay in full each month to avoid the 9.9% APR and always declare pre-existing conditions. FULL info in the Updated Guide: Travel Insurance Related: Cheap Travel Money, Cheap Flights

travel insurance
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FREE £3 Lego every day for 10 days (in 45p paper). Pick 'em up in WHSmith & Toys R Us. See the Deals Note: Discount Vouchers

Got friends who'd like to save? Please tell them about this email

The Sanctuary 11-item pamper box £19 (usually £40). Super popular last year, inc. body butter, hand cream, salt scrub & more. Online & in-store at Boots from Fri. See the Deals Note: Cheap Beauty Deals

Tesco Clubcard Rewards to be CUT from 4x to 3x
Exchange BEFORE 6 December to get maximum value for your points

Currently trade in your Tesco vouchers for 'Clubcard Rewards' and you get 4x the value of redeeming them in store, so each £10 voucher becomes £40. From 6 Dec that'll drop by 25% to 3x in rewards (£30). What can Rewards vouchers be spent on? They include travel like Eurotunnel hols, days out like the Eden Project, gifts like Goldsmiths vouchers & magazine subscriptions like Cosmo, see the full Clubcard Rewards list. What's the best thing to do? Either trade in now, or wait until Tesco sends next quarter's vouchers arrive in Nov. then ensure you get in before the deadline (we'll remind you in this email beforehand). Any exceptions? Not all rewards will drop strictly by 25%, but the crux is your points will mostly buy less than right now. Do note Tesco's 4x or 3x are based on list prices, and you may be able to get the goods elsewhere cheaper. See details in the Updated Guide: Boost Tesco Points MSE News: Tesco Cuts Rewards

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Debenhams blue cross up to 70% off sale now on! V. popular in the forum; deals inc. Christy towel £6 (was £20), £7.50 floral top (was £25). See the Deals Note: High St Sales

Free £10 Britain's Next Top Model Live tickets (Lon)
New Days Out Deals! 2for1 Alton Towers Scarefest | £10 tickets for Eng Nat Opera's Radamisto (Lon)

Join Highlight Comedy 2for1 (10 UK clubs) & 95p Toy Story 3 Vue cinema tickets. See the Deals Note: Days Out

Car insurance costs up 29% on avg - how to beat it
The latest index shows massive yearly rises - up to 51% for young drivers

The cost of car insurance has radically increased this year, partly due to fraud, according to the AA's British Insurance Premium Index. So it's more important than ever not to simply renew, but to compare, often saving £100s. Do a FULL comparison: The trick is using the right comparison sites to cover as much of the market as quickly as possible. Use BOTH MoneySupermarket* & GoCompare* to cover over 150 providers at speed. Check big ones they miss: Get quotes from Aviva* & Direct Line* who aren't included by comparison sites. Young drivers options: Here quotes can be a massive £2,500 a year. To cut costs, as well as doing comparisons, also consider pay-as-you-drive cover from Coverbox*. More Than's Drive Time (0800 294 8911) and i-kube, but each has caveats so read carefully & be sure you know what you're doing. And for provisional drivers ProvisionalMarmalade* and Endsleigh often have cheaper learner only policies. FULL info including cashback on top and multi-car deals in the Full Guide: Car Insurance - cheapest ever 96p Related: Home Insurance, Van Insurance, Bike Insurance

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New Restaurant Vouchers! Pizza Express 2for1 for 53p
Free canapes at O'Neill's this Thurs | Cafe Rouge 2for1 | ASK 2for1 | Zizzi 2for1 for £1

Plus free ice cream with mains at Crown Carveries and Harvester in the Deals Note: Restaurant Vouchers

Warning! Don't use cashback sites to store money. We've had worrying reports of people who've built big cashpiles at cashback websites - these are often small companies with limited backing, so there's no protection if something goes wrong. Always withdraw cash asap. Related: Top Cashback Sites

5p/litre off petrol - Sains & Tesco vouchers
Slash fuel costs: cheaper petrol, more efficient driving & dejunk your car

Spend £50 in store or online and from today (Wed) Sainsbury's and Tesco give a 5p off per litre petrol/diesel voucher, valid for two weeks. The Sains. deal ends on 2 Nov. and Tesco on 7th. How cheap are they? In general with the 5p voucher they will be cheapest, but it's worth doing a quick check on comparison site to see. Make your car more efficient. For bigger savings, it's important to make your car work less hard eg, by pumping up tyres, getting rid of extra junk, turning off unnecessary aircon and detaching empty roof racks combined you can save 15%. Save 30% by driving more smoothly. This is the BIG saving, accelerate gently, think about road positioning so you brake less and you can get 20-30% more miles per tank (see full info in the guide). For more tips 'n' tricks see the Updated Guide: Cheap Petrol / Diesel Related: Cheap Car Insurance, Breakdown Deals

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Sun Life Over 50s plan may pay out less than you put in! Read Martin's full Blog: 'Over 50 Sun Life Axa Plan'


Jamie Oliver table cloth & four place mats £6.24. Forumites think this is pukka. This set is available at Argos until 24 Dec, more info in the Forum Note: Jamie Oliver Set

The Big & Easy Ways To Save
Quick links or click the titles for full pros, cons, alternatives & more savings


Check out your local credit union
This Thurs is the sexily titled "International Credit Union Day" - well worth checking 'em out
Credit unions are local savings/borrowing mutuals, great for those struggling to get products. Full Guide: Credit Unions

£20 cashback on cheap Plusnet broadband. Comparison site Simplify Digital* is offering £20 if you sign up via it. Factor this in over the 12 mth contract & inc. connection it's £6.90/mth. Full info in the Guide: Cheap Broadband

Cheap Flight Sales

Airline: Ryanair Price: £8 e/w Ends: Thurs 21 Oct
Our pick this week is the Ryanair £8 sale: The promotion's on till Thurs 21 Oct for flights between 2 Nov and 31 January, booked at least 14 days in advance, and includes some taxes and charges. To find them quickly use the FlightChecker on a £8 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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Great 'Best Stuff to Buy in Bulk' Hunt
Bulk buying can often save money, so we're looking for MoneySavers' tips on which items are best for stocking up on in the long run. Add your ideas/read other people's: Great 'Best Stuff to Buy in Bulk' Hunt Past Great Hunts: View all

Money Moral Dilemma

Should I return the overpayment?

After returning from holiday, I went back to Tesco's to exchange left-over Euros and redeem the remainder of the money on our cash passport (prepaid card). Over a week later, I was contacted by the employee who served me, to say he had accidentally done the cash passport redemption twice, overpaying me by £65. I didn't notice this at the time as we were unsure how much we had left on it. The employee accepted liability and said I was under no obligation to repay the difference, but if I didn't he would be in trouble with his boss. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I return the overpayment? Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

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Quick Forum Tips

Andrea's Freebies

More Tips: Tips, Tricks & Treats Full list: Freebies Repository
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Great 'Quit it and save' Hunt Result
Last week, MoneySavers were asked to let us know what habits they had that used to needlessly cost them money, which they have since cut out. Some of the things they quit included daily coffee, prepared lunches and stationery.

Martin's Stuff

Cheap Travel Cash

Latest Blogs
Giving evidence & swearing at the Treasury Select Committee
The bank ID farce: online accounts don't accept online statements
Beware the 'Over 50 Sun Life Axa Plan'. It often pays out LESS than you put in
My diet two years on - keeping off the pounds

Appearances This Week:
Wed 20 to Tues 26 Oct

Daybreak, ITV1, Thurs, between 7 & 8:30am tbc
Govt spending review
Lorraine, ITV1, Thurs, after 8:30am
Real deals
Radio 5, Thurs lunchtime
Consumer Panel
Daybreak, ITV1, Tue, between 7 & 8:30am
Subject tbc
UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag Ä 113.20 102.84
US Flag $ 157.50 143.07
Turkish Flag TL 219.75 200.49
Rates correct at 8pm Tues 19 Oct
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash
Martin's Facebook Page All Martin's Appearances Cheap Travel Money Guide
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Board Of The Week

The Ebay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales Board

This board's full of tips and advice for both bidders and sellers, with recent discussions such as biggest profit items on eBay, overcharged for p&p and strange bidding situation Related: eBay Buying Secrets

Question Of The Week

MoneySaving Polls

Q. Does switching banks a lot affect my credit rating - my bank told me it's not good? From Eamon, by email

MSE Dan answers. There's no simple answer - credit ratings are NOT an exact science; it's about how profitable a bank thinks you are. The right mix between switching for better rates and staying put is a fine balance.

If you have unused overdrafts and credit cards, it's often better to cancel them as this decreases the credit you have open to you (something lenders are concerned about). Though if you need to cut debt costs, first check if those old cards will let you shift debt from other cards to them cheaply, as you then won't need new cards, which protects your score too. See the credit card shuffle guide for full info.

On the other hand, long standing bank accounts with good credit histories can be a benefit to your credit score, so they're often best left open, at least for a while after you stop using them.

This week's poll:

If you were chancellor, what'd you cut?

Last week's poll result:

MoneySavers' most-owned gadgets

1st. Digital Camera (91%)

2nd. Printer (83%)

3rd. DVD Player (77%)

See full results

Other interesting tidbits include: 1 in 4 MoneySavers have an iPhone. 4% of you have an iPad or other tablet computer; not a patch on the 71% who own a Windows laptop.

Suggest a question of the week (big general issues not personal q's pls)
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Game Of The Week

Bomb the balls! Blast Master

What it takes to go viral?

That's it for this week, but before we go, check out exactly what it takes to make people zap things back and forth to each other - from cute monkey pics to awkward Facebook 'likes', with 2010's top 50 viral images (so far).

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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