Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

23 December 2015

Over 50 ways to save incl... 50%+ Jan sales NOW, Amzn trick, Mulberry 50%?, track Santa, 70%off Xmas decs, energy myths, Tesco boost, reclaim £1,000s, feed hungry free

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Quick Briefing: Jan sales NOW on, eg, Asos, Ikea 50% + M&S 50% this wk
Take on your bank and gain £1,000s
Feed the starving with one click
Cheaper with heating on low all day?
Amzn Prime trick. Spend £3+, get £3
Mulberry up to 50% off handbags?
70% off Christmas decs sale boost
Track Santa as he delivers pressies
Last chance Tesco Clubcard boost
Free tank of fuel trick & more
Champneys manicure set £28
Up to 50% off 'Top Secret' hotels
24% off YHA hostels code
'Read MSE email, got £876 for Xmas'

'January' 50%+ sales ON NOW

Many blockbuster discounts start BEFORE Christmas

Huge 50%+ sales under way. The Boxing Day and Jan sales now begin before Santa's even down the chimney. A few stores even let you order online on Wed to arrive by Xmas if you pay full deliv (eg, Asos, order by 8pm Wed, £6 p&p - see Xmas last orders & deliv costs).

Below, we've a rundown of the top 20 sales (see the full 60+ Boxing Day and January sales), and your rights. Plus we reveal which giants boosted sales last winter from their original discount, to help predict if it'll happen again - yet there's no certainty and stuff may sell out.

Big 20 'Boxing Day' & 'January' sales

All percentages 'up to'. See full 60+ retailers' sales

Sales on now
Retailer / Discount Started Sale boost chances
Asos* 50% off 21 Dec CONFIRMED will boost from 50% to 70%, 5 Jan
The Body Shop* 50% off 22 Dec Last winter offered 35% extra off code, 6 Jan
F&F clothing* 50% off

15 Dec

No boost last winter
Gap* 60% off 14 Dec Last winter boosted from 60% to 75%, 27 Dec
Habitat* 50% off 17 Dec Last winter boosted from 50% to 70%, 12 Jan
Ikea varies by store, max 50% off (no online sale) 17 Dec No boost last winter
River Island 50% off 23 Dec web (26 Dec stores) CONFIRMED will boost from 2 Jan, likely 70%
Tesco Direct* 50% off 23 Dec web (24 Dec stores) No boost last winter
Toys R Us* 50% off 18 Dec No boost last winter
Urban Outfitters* 50% off 23 Dec CONFIRMED will boost from 50% to 75%, 30 Dec
sales starting imminently
Retailer / Discount Starts from (1) Sale boost chances
Amazon* 50% off likely 24 Dec (4pm) No boost last winter
Argos* TBC (50% off last yr) 25 Dec web, 26 Dec stores No boost last winter, but in previous yrs, 60% from Jan
Boots* 50% off 24 Dec web, 26 Dec stores Last winter boosted from 50% to 70%, 14 Jan
Debenhams* 50% off 24 Dec (5am) web, 26 Dec stores CONFIRMED will boost from 50% to 70%, 27 Dec
House of Fraser* 50% off 24 Dec (12pm) web, 26 Dec stores CONFIRMED will boost from 50% to 70%, 17 Jan
John Lewis* TBC (50% off last yr) 24 Dec (5pm) web, 27 Dec stores No boost last winter
M&S* 50% off 24 Dec (12pm) web, 26 Dec stores CONFIRMED will boost from 50% to 60%, 31 Dec
New Look* 70% off 24 Dec (12pm) web, 26 Dec stores No boost last winter
Next* TBC (50%+ off last yr) TBC (24 Dec web, 26 Dec shops 2014) No boost last winter
Selfridges* 50% off 25 Dec web, 26 Dec stores CONFIRMED will boost from 31 Dec, likely 70%
(1) Where no online start time specified, retailer hasn't confirmed it. Store opening hours vary.


Your sales rights

1. You've NO legal right to change your mind if you buy in-store. You're only entitled to a refund if faulty. Otherwise you can only exchange if the store's published returns policy says so, and what it says goes - so if you need a receipt, you need a receipt. Plus many stores suspend these policies during sales, so never buy anything and assume it’ll let you change it. See Buying Rights.
2. Buy online and you DO have the right to change your mind. The Consumer Contracts Regulations mean if you order online or by phone, you have 14 days to cancel your order and a further 14 days to return goods, regardless of reason. These items are excluded so can't be returned or cancelled (see full online buying rights):
  • Personalised goods (eg, photo mugs), unless faulty.
  • Fresh food and flowers, unless faulty.
  • Travel, hotel and event tickets.
  • Opened games, videos or software, unless faulty.
If you click and collect at stores, you're covered. If you just reserve (but don't pay online), you're not. What matters is where you pay.
3. If faulty, return quickly and you DO have refund rights. The game changes if goods are defective. Stores' policies are irrelevant as your statutory rights allow a refund if you're quick. Shops may fob you off - eg, "go to the manufacturer" or "no returns even if faulty during sales". They're wrong. See What Shops Get Wrong and Return Rights.

Buying 2nd-hand from stores/traders (not individuals), gives you the same rights, though what's "satisfactory quality" varies from a 10p T-shirt to a £2k bag. See 2nd-Hand Rights. Related: 40 eBay Tricks.
4. Pay by credit card for extra protection. Buy anything at £100+ and pay even 1p by credit card (not debit) and Section 75 laws make the card firm jointly liable. If goods are faulty, or the retailer goes bust, it must pay up as if it were the shop.

REPAY IN FULL each month, preferably by direct debit, so there's no interest. In which case... get 5% cashback too: the Amex Platinum Everyday* card has no annual fee and pays 5% in the first three mths (max £100), then up to 1.25% (fail to repay in full & it's 22.9% rep APR). Full info and other options in Cashback Credit Cards.
5. Martin's Money Mantras. Always check Martin's Money Mantras below. If the answer's 'no' to any of them - DON'T BUY.

PS from Martin: I'm taking time off over the Christmas period (perk of being the boss) so this email and the next, which will be a shortened one on Wed 30 Dec, are in the more than talented hands of my team.

Wishing all who celebrate it a very merry Christmas, Martin. (PS you can see our Christmas present to you below.)

Spread the (MoneySaving) love.

If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via


Five ways to take on your bank and gain £1,000s

Start 2016 richer. Act now if you've ever had a loan, credit card, paid-for account or breached an overdraft

You may spend time over the next week avoiding relatives, so rather than working on a box of Quality Street, why not work on your finances? You could reclaim or make serious cash doing the following...

  1. ReclaimIf you're one of millions who pay (or paid) monthly bank fees, are you due £1,000s back? If you pay monthly for extras such as travel insurance because the bank upgraded you, upsold you or said there was no choice, you may have been mis-sold. Lucy emailed: "Using your template I got back £1,708 of charges." Free help in Reclaim Unfair Bank Account Fees.

  2. Had charges for going over your overdraft? You could reclaim £1,000s. Go beyond your limit and you face hefty fees. If these caused hardship, you may be able to reclaim. Claire did it: "Getting £865 of bank charges back. Thanks." Step-by-step help and free template letters in Reclaim Bank Charges For Free.

  3. Got Sentinel cover from AI Scheme Limited? Don't bin a letter worth £100s. Two million who bought virtually worthless card protection (often branded Sentinel) from banks could get a combined £100m. If you're one, you'll have got a letter - don't confuse it with spam. Claiming is easy, use our template statements - we've not heard of anyone rejected. Christine said: "Big thanks, received £456 cheque, dating back to 2002." Full help if you've thrown it away, and more, in AI Scheme Reclaiming.

  4. PPI deadline announced. Reclaim NOW & if you've been rejected, TRY AGAIN. The regulator launched plans for a PPI time-bar in Oct. If you've ever had a loan, credit card, mortgage, car finance or other credit, check now if you can claim. Rejected before & didn't go to the Ombudsman? Start again. Liz said: "After reading your info I contacted Barclaycard and got £10,370. Many thanks." Full help in Reclaim PPI for FREE.

  5. Don't bitch, switch. Earn £100 moving bank. If hit by any of the above, you’re probably peed off with your bank, so take advantage of the bribes war. Number one for service First Direct* gives a free £100, a £250 0% overdraft & 6% regular saver. Halifax Reward* pays £100, plus £5 each month you're in credit and pay out two direct debits. M&S Bank* gives a free £100 gift card, has no min pay in, a £100 0% overdraft & 6% regular saver. Full options, incl how to earn up to 5% interest, in Best Bank Accounts.


Is it cheaper to leave the heating on low all day? This and more energy Qs as winter begins (well, if you follow the astronomical calendar), incl 'Does painting radiators black keep them warm?'. 17 Energy Mythbusters

Got Amazon Prime (or on free trial)? 'Spend £3+, get £3' credit trick. Buy anything, spend credit on anything downloadable (eg, music, videos, ebooks). Go quick, last time it pulled it hours after we sent this email. Amazon

Rumour - Mulberry up to 50% off handbags sale? They're hideously expensive, and far from MoneySaving, but if you're going to buy do it as cheaply as you can. There's a strong rumour it'll repeat the up-to-50% Boxing Day sale on bags, clothes & accessories it did last year (eg, a £750 Mini Alexa bag was £525). Key info & updates in Mulberry Deals.

Mega Xmas decorations sales, eg, House of Fraser up to 70% off, John Lewis up to 50% off boost. Plus Debenhams, M&S, BHS & more sales. Xmas decs

Track Santa as he delivers pressies worldwide. Nifty way to watch his progress. More Santa freebies, incl video



- Boots No7 bundle £38 (norm £75)

- Year's 2for1 cinema (for £2ish), works on new Star Wars

- £67 of shopping for 11p: top 15 life hacks of 2015

- Women's state pension changes to be debated in Parliament


Feed the starving with just one click

Give the gift of giving this Christmas. How to donate food, water and blood, or volunteer

As it’s Xmas, we wanted to give a gift to you, so we’ve paid for 40,000 tetanus vaccines for kids on your behalf. And on the charitable gift theme, our Charity Gift guide is packed with similar ideas, incl donating for free. Here are six to start with:

  • CharityFeed the starving. Click on a host of charity websites, & sponsors donate on your behalf to those in need. On the original click'n'give Hunger Site more than 1.4 million cups of food have already been donated this month.

  • Help someone eat or drink - give a goat or fix a well. These can really help those who cannot afford some of life's basic necessities. Survival Gifts

  • Give blood - our blood banks need it. It's a short, relatively painless procedure that helps hospitals to be prepared to treat people. Click for England & N Wales | S & W Wales | Scotland | N Ireland.

  • Get a Donor Card. It's a big decision, but joining the Organ Donor Register could mean you save or improve up to nine lives. If it's for you, sign up online or call 0300 123 23 23.

  • Volunteer your time instead of cash. There are countless ways to lend a hand, from mentoring young people to presenting hospital radio. To find local opportunities, try TimeBank and Do-it.

  • Give more, without paying more. Donate cash using Gift Aid or directly from your salary via payroll to boost donations, usually by 25%. You can also set up charity accounts where tax is added automatically. See Gift Aid.


Last chance. Double Tesco Clubcard points' value. Don't spend on food - get 2x value on toys, electricals, gaming & more in its Xmas double-up. You must exchange by Sun in many cases, spend by Wed 30 Dec. Full info in Reclaim & boost Tesco points.

Free tank of fuel via extreme couponing trick & more. Going away this Xmas? Cut travel costs and ensure your home is protected. See Cheap drains, trains & automobile (travel).

Champneys manicure set £28 (was £35). Boots' 'Star Gift' incl 12 manicure tools, nail polish dryer & nail spa. Boots

Up to 50% off 'Top Secret' hotels sale (& how to uncover 'em). From 10am Wed, book by 18 Jan for travel to worldwide destinations by 31 Mar 2016.


Tell your friends about us

They can get this email free every week


24% off 48 YHA hostels code (incl half-term). Ideal for families & groups on adventure holidays. Book Xmas Eve to 29 Dec, for Jan-Feb stays, eg, en suite room for five for three nights in Brighton for £271 (norm £357). YHA

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Signed up to Martin's email two weeks ago & raised £876 for Xmas. I claimed back the £452 in credit from my energy firm, sold clobber on eBay for £352 and sold kiddies' clothing for £72. Thanks."

Pay £2 for 40% off National Express. Buy code from daily deals site for 40% off standard-price UK coach journeys in Jan/Feb, eg, Newcastle-Edinburgh £16 rtn. See Cheap train & coach deals.



What's the worst Christmas present you've ever received? We don't want to dampen the Christmas spirit, but we are curious - what's the worst Christmas present you've ever received? Whether it's a dubious-looking ornament from the charity shop or the wet wipes that one poor member of the MSE team got from his mum, we want to know. Share yours/read others': What's your worst Christmas present? Past topics: View all


Who's your favourite film villain of all time? It's Christmas, so we're going to ditch our usual poll and have a bit of fun. Star Wars, now hitting cinemas, had a fearsome baddie in Darth Vader, but who is your favourite?

Please vote for UP TO THREE of your favourites below (if yours is missing, feel free to vent in the forum discussion).

Agent Smith | Captain Hook | Child Catcher | Cruella de Vil | Darth Vader | Dr. Evil | Fagin | General Zod | Grand High Witch

Hannibal Lecter | Hans Gruber | Jafar | Jaws | Joker | Judge Doom | Keyser Söze | Lex Luthor | Lord Farquaad | Maleficent

Marv & Harry | Miss Trunchbull | Norman Bates | Plastics | President Snow | Sauron | Scar | Shere Khan

Sheriff of Nottingham | Ursula | Voldemort | Wicked Witch of the West

Last week we wanted to find out which firms people had successfully haggled with in the last year. Once again AA and Sky topped the list, with 88% of voters who tried with both successfully haggling down costs. See the full results.



- Top story: EE recalls ALL its power bars - return yours to get £20 voucher

- Npower fined record £26m for late billing shambles

- Solar panel earnings to be halved from February – are they still worth it?



Should I use my 'lost' loyalty card? This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... Unfortunately I lost a loyalty card from a coffee chain, with nine out of 10 stamps, before I could claim a cuppa. But the staff (who recognised me) gave me a new one and filled it with fresh stamps. Two days later I found the old card in my jeans - should I use both? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I use 'lost' loyalty card? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: How was 2015 for you?
- Competitions thread of the week: : Trip to Berlin to meet James Bay
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Christmas leftovers 2015
- Discussion of the week: Spotted a January sale? Let us know


- How will you fare in the MSE Christmas pub quiz 2015?



Tue 29 Dec - Christmas University Challenge, BBC 2, 7.30pm



Q: I had a package from a store delivered to my office and someone else signed for it, as I wasn't in. But now it's gone missing - what are my rights, given I never actually signed to say I received it? Sarah, by email.

MSE Jenny's A: Unfortunately, by law, you've few rights as the delivery firm just needs to deliver mail to an address - it doesn't matter which name was on it.

That said, there's no harm in trying to contact the store to see if it can help. To prove the package was definitely delivered the store can ask the delivery company for a copy of the signature and when it was signed for (only the sender - ie, the store - can do this).

It is also worth testing the store's sensitive side to see if it will give you your money back or send another item out to you, as a gesture of goodwill. See our Consumer Rights guide for much more.

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


Can you do better than the MSE team in our Christmas quiz?

That's it for this week, but before we go, we recently had the MSE Christmas quiz where Martin set fiendish questions, which we answered in teams (while grinning and bearing it). It was so close, the winner was settled by the world's greatest contest-settling method: rock, paper, scissors. Now it's your turn to take the MSE Christmas pub quiz.

We hope you save some money,
Martin & the MSE team