Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

23 January 2008

This info may be out of date. Read this week's emails
Free flights loophole: BA or BMI Business,
Get a 'credit card loan' for 5% ,
£10 face powder for £1; Tesco loophole; £60 sat nav
And much, much more MoneySaving...

Debt Fortnight Starts Today. Four step plan. If you're braced to receive January’s credit card statements during the next 14 days, here's a four step solution: One. Find where you’re overspending, via the free budget planner. Two. Cut bills without cutting back, see the money makeover guide. Three. Cut interest costs, see best balance transfers. Four. If you’re still overspending, read the stop spending guide. Those with severe debts should also see the debt problems help and the IVAs: are they worth it? guides.

Thanks for making ‘Three Lessons’ A Bestseller. The Three Most Important Lessons You’ve Never Been Taught this week hit No.10 in the non-fiction chart. If you bought it, thank you, this means it’ll get more prominent placing, spreading MoneySaving ways further, and help the MSE Charity, as I'm donating my proceeds there. The book's still at its special launch price of £3.49 at Play* & Amazon*. As regulars will know, it was inspired by my Teen Cash Class which is a free download on the site. Three Lessons info

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This Week… Debt Special.

I’ll be taking a whole audience who are in debt through how to fight back. Plus make money from doing surveys and Jennie Bond takes the wallet challenge.

Web exclusive programme:
It Pays To Watch More

Be in the audience: Details

It Pays To Watch on five 7.25pm Weds

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The Ones Not To Miss

Get a loan for 5%... by cunningly manipulating a credit card to do it for you.
If you want to borrow a few thousand pounds, the cheapest standard loan costs over 7% interest. Yet a series of sneaky work-arounds allow you to use a credit card as a loan, and borrow the same amount for around 5%. It's more complex, but much cheaper. This is a completely re-researched and re-written guide. Full how-to: in the new Cheap Credit Card Loans article. Related Articles: Cheapest Loans, Best 0% Borrowing Card, Check Your Credit Rating

Loophole: Get £10 Boots No7 face powder for just £1 Token gesture

Free Flights! BA, BMI Business and Easyjet. All from credit card freebie loopholes.
A rash of credit cards have launched ‘get a free flight if you get our card’ offers. To do this you need to get the card and spend a set amount on it (usually £1 - £250). So sign up, do your normal day-to-day spending until you hit the threshold, and repay it in full to avoid interest. Then once the free flight’s yours you could cancel the card. Top deals include a free BA European return, a free BMI business class return to Turkey or Russia and there’re also offers from Easyjet, Flybe, Ryanair and BMI baby. Each has its own specific conditions, so do read the Full info and links: in the updated Credit Card Freebies Related Articles: Cashback Cards, Freebies Freebies Freebies, £100 for switching banks

Sat Nav for £60 Full UK maps and touchscreen Can you beat it?

Mortgage Fixed Rates Dropping. The cheapest two year deal now under 5%.
After months of creeping price rises or massive ‘application fees’, fixed rate mortgage prices are starting to drop again; eg First Direct has cut its two-year fixed rate to 4.75%, though there's a hefty £1,498 application fee. This isn't a recommendation though; you need to scan the market for your personal needs, for that use a whole-of-market and preferably fees free mortgage broker. Two national brokers now fulfill this criteria; joining London & Country is Charcol's new fees free 'Charcol Direct' phone-only service. Free MoneySaving Remortgage Guide: Instant PDF Download, 30 Page Printed Version Mortgage Broker Article: Top Free Mortgage Advice Related Info: New Mortgage Guide, Free House Prices Info


Are you a pensioner or on benefits? British Gas has joined the list of free cavity wall & loft insulation grant givers. Use the grant finder in the Grant Grabbing article to see if you're eligible.

Cheapest car insurance plus freebies e.g. RAC cover or £240 of Tesco Deals.
Many car insurers have launched additional incentives to win in the highly competitive January market. As always the first step is use as many price comparison services as possible to get the cheapest price; do it in the following order MoneySp*, Confused*, CompareTM* & Tesco Compare. Once you’ve done that, check out the companies offering freebies and see their overall package wins eg pay for Tesco Insurance with a Tesco Credit card and you get 6,000 Clubcard points; enough for £240 of Tesco Clubcard deals; or go to Norwich Union and First Direct and get cashback. Full info on all deals: Cheapest Car Insurance Related Articles: Cheapest Home Insurance, Breakdown Cover, MOT Cost Cutting

Why a bank charges court win doesn't mean the end of 'free banking': Read m'blog

British Gas 15% price hike. Don’t switch yet! Unless you want to cap charges.
British Gas has put gas & elec prices up an average 15%; this follows npower and EDFs' recent hikes. It's likely the rest of the big six will follow soon, so comparing tariffs just now is pointless, as today's cheapest will almost certainly be about to raise prices; so don't switch just yet. Do you want to cap? Yet, if price surety is important to you, then a ‘capped tariff’ will prevent any future rises, though you may pay a slight premium for it. If this is the case, then do a comparison now, to find the cheapest cap. Top Pick Comparison Service: Energyhelpline* (though like all comparison services it doesn’t list Scottish Power's competitive Online Energy Pricefall capped tariff, which is due to end soon). Full Info: Read the Gas & Elec switching article Related Articles: Boiler Cover, Home Phone, Water Bills

50% off Zizzi restaurants Half price main courses for up to six. Vouchers in the Telegraph (80p)

High street lender fined £1 million for PPI malpractice. Can you reclaim £1,000s?
The misselling of loan and credit card insurance has been rife, and I believe there are millions who can claim back £1,000s. If you’ve taken a loan or credit card out in the last six years, do check whether you’ve got the insurance and read my guide to see if you can reclaim. To illustrate this, last week HFC Bank, a high street lender and part of the HSBC group, was fined £1m by the regulator, the FSA, for Payment Protection Insurance problems, the biggest fine so far. Full details on how to reclaim in the updated Guide & Free Template letter: PPI Reclaiming Related Articles: Bank Charges, Council Tax, Mortgage Exit Fees

Are you a Tesco Clubcard connoisseur? There’s a new £1 profit per purchase Loophole

WARNING! Self-Assessment Tax Deadline a week away.
If you’ve been sent a tax self assessment form, and don't file it before 31 January, you will be fined £100, plus interest on the outstanding cash. So act quickly. Related Articles: Taxing Times 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

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More MoneySaving

Flying from Birmingham Airport? Ryanair's added 20 new routes. They're now in the Flightchecker

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA. Should Tyrone take Jack's car?
Best pals Jack, Vera, Tyrone and Kirk hold a monthly poker night, where they get together for a few beers and a friendly flutter. This week, however, the drinks have been flowing, and the game starts getting out of control. Soon, only Tyrone and Jack are left in the game. The stakes get higher and higher, way beyond what either can afford, until finally Jack throws the keys to his beloved £5,000 car into the pot. When Tyrone wins, Jack is absolutely distraught. He asks Tyrone let him keep the car, but Jack argues that a bet's a bet. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should Tyrone take Jack's car? Previous MMDs: Should Bob get a lodger? and Should Ken ‘save’ Deidre’s kids from being taken into care?

Want to cut childcare costs? Case studies needed for five's It Pays to Watch

CHEAP FLIGHTS SALES ALERT Airline: BMI Price: c.£18.99 e/w. Ends: When it sells out.
My top pick budget airline sale this week is BMI's £18.99 inc. taxes & charges to about 20 European destinations from a range of UK airports. Tickets are at this price until they’re sold out but are only available on summer flights. How to quickly find the sales flights: Don’t go direct, instead use the Budget Airline FlightChecker and ask it to find all flights under £22. Non-Budget Airline Tools: These are listed in the Cheap Flights article. Related Travel MoneySaving: Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance, Mobile Roaming

REMINDER: Free ID Fraud help, plus two free credit reports. All you need is a Capital One credit card Read Article: Free ID Protection

The Great "Make Money From Loyalty Points on eBay" Hunt
What happens if you've amassed a stash of loyalty points (see the Boost Tesco, Nectar, Airmiles Points Guide), but don’t fancy any of the rewards on offer? One solution is to buy something with the points, and then flog it on eBay. So I thought I’d tap MoneySavers’ expertise to which loyalty rewards are worth the most. Add your ideas/read other people's: Great "Make Money From Loyalty Points on eBay" Hunt Past Great Hunts: Recycle It For Cash, Blagging Hints and Tips, What To Do In The Event of Redundancy

Quick Forum Tips
Warning! Bargains listed here tend to sell out quickly

Worried about flooding? Board of the week: Flood Help
Once again severe weather warnings have been issued across the UK. The Flood Help & Info board offers help, guidance and information if you’ve questions or want suggestions about insurance, doing up your home, or anything else. Discussions include Flood Help Useful Links, Good tips for emergencies and Companies that offered to insure me after floods Related Article: Cheapest Home Insurance

The Great 'January Instant Cash Injection' Hunt Result
With many people facing financial shortfalls in January, last week I asked MoneySavers for creative ways to get instant extra cash in your pocket right now. There were masses of brilliant ideas, including Sell cakes to colleagues, Car boot sales and free ads and Wash cars for cash

Ensure you don't miss out, get these tips e-mailed each week

Online Banksy Art, Drynites Pyjama Pants, Detergent Dosing Devices
English Heritage Visits For Schools, Car Air Freshener/Key Ring/Pen

Odds and Ends

MoneySavingExpert on the box/wireless
If you like to watch as well as read about MoneySaving, I'll be appearing on the following programmes over the next week or so.

  • LK Today, ITV1 Wednesday between 8.45-9.30 am. Give yourself a pay rise with my money makeover
  • It Pays To Watch, five TV Wednesday between 7:25-8pm. Debt special
  • GMTV, Tuesday - Friday various times. Money makeover week

Keep updated on appearances: Changes and updates go in the Updated appearances list
Feedback on appearances: Discuss or add your thoughts on MoneySaving in the Media

This week's Martin's Blog: My new News of the World Column
"Sat Nav on a mobile: cheap and effective" and "Alliance & Leicester Car Insurance: Probably the most irrelevant promotion ever seen". Read m'blogs (or RSS users access)

Will house prices crash? This week's poll. Vote and House prices 2008 discussion.

Are cheap chicks chic? No! Last Week’s Vote. Almost half of you (48%) put chicken welfare first, regardless of its impact on cost, and 38% said they'd pay up to £1 more per bird for better conditions. Just 9% were more concerned with keeping costs down than welfare, whilst 5% mitigated themselves from the whole debate by just not eating chicken in the first place. See Poll Results

Archna's Free Game of the Week! How many points can you score in 4 mins? Scrabulous Blitz

Coin Gymnastics! Staggering precision. That's it for this week, but before I go, frankly this man puts me and everyone else to shame with his money expertise. Just take a look at this Coin Gymnasts

I hope you save some money


P.S. Thanks to Paula B for the MoneySaving Poem

Explanation of * Links

FSA NOTE: Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances require FSA authorisation. For this reason, Martin Lewis of Shepherd's Studios, Rockley Road, Shepherd's Bush, London W14 0DA is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

How this site is financed. Any links with a * by them are affiliated. That means go via this link and a contribution may be made to MoneySavingExpert.com, which helps it stay ad-free and free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference, the links don't impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things I write) is NEVER impacted by it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in exactly the same way. As I believe transparency is important, I'm including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for the same things: amazon.co.uk, moneysupermarket.com, confused.com, comparethemarket.com, tescofinance.com, norwichunion.com, energyhelpline.com, citibank.co.uk, barclaycard.co.uk, alliance-leicester.co.uk, icicibank.com, talktalk.co.uk, americanexpress.co.uk, capitalone.co.uk. Read more about this in how this site is financed.