Feb
13
2019

Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

13 February 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... Free Ideal Home, relationship tips, Brexit travel, top savings ends, free £175 bank switch, beat energy hikes, comping for cash

This info may be out of date. Read this week's emails
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.
                                                           
 


 

Love is... 14 fiscally sensible tips and tricks to save couples money

Incl £900 marriage tax break, 2for1 cinema tix, free £150 joint account switch, diamonds with Clubcard pts & more

How you doin'? It's Valentine's Day this week, and while we don't want to bow to overly commercialised romantic peer pressure and say we love you (we don't actually know you personally, though we do love saving you money), in honour of 14 Feb we've 14 tips to save couples cash...

  1. FREE £900 tax break if you've put a ring on it (or been given one). About one million married couples and civil partners are missing out on an easy but under-publicised tax break. It's worth £238 this tax year, and as you can claim for the past 3yrs too, it could be worth up to £900 in total. Our Marriage Tax Allowance guide explains all. Sarah emailed us: "I applied and in two weeks I got a £662 cheque. I was surprised how easy it was."  And she'll also be getting it this year, meaning she'll have saved £900 all-in.

  2. Ends Fri. Lovingly share a joint account? Get a free £150 and 2% cashback on your bills. Many people have a joint account, sometimes for all their finances, sometimes just for bills. And until Fri you can bag a hefty bonus for switching to NatWest, plus get bills cashback. Just use the official switch service, which takes 7 working days and shifts all payments (incl direct debits) for you. You must pass a not-too-harsh credit check.

    The NatWest Reward* (and identical RBS Reward* account from its sister bank) gives switchers a free £150. There's a £2/mth fee but it pays 2% cashback on most bills paid by direct debit. Our analysis shows households with avg bills get about £66/yr after the fee - with higher bills it's £135/yr.

    How do I get it all? You've till 11.59pm on Fri to request a switch for NatWest and until Fri 8 Mar for RBS. Then complete your switch and log in to online banking by Fri 22 Mar (NatWest) or Fri 12 Apr (RBS), and pay in £1,500+/mth (equiv to a £21,500/yr salary). It's for new and some existing customers - see our NatWest/RBS review for eligibility info and how to get the £150 on a no-fee account (without cashback).

    See full info and more options in Best Bank Accounts.

  3. Adding your partner (or mum, dad or Aunt Dot) can slash car insurance costs. If they've a good driving record it can bring the cost down - especially useful when adding a responsible older driver if you're young. Full info and more help, incl cheap multi-car policies, in Cheap Car Insurance.

  4. What could be more romantic than... helping your partner who can't get a 0% card, by shifting their debt to your card so they pay NO INTEREST? If you've credit or store card debt, shifting it to a 0% balance transfer, where the new card pays off existing card(s), can win as you owe the new one but at 0% interest. Repayments then clear the debt rather than just covering the interest, so you're debt-free quicker, possibly saving £1,000s.

    Getting accepted can be difficult, but if you're in a trusting relationship there could be a way to get around this. If one of you is struggling to shift debt, the other can apply for one of the few cards that let you shift someone else's debt (assuming they've a good credit history). Of course the cardholder is now fully responsible for the debt.

    First use our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calculator to check if the person with debt can shift it themselves. If not, the two current top cards - from HSBC (which has the longest 0% balance transfer period) and Santander (the longest no-fee 0%) - allow the transfer of someone else's debt:

    - HSBC (eligibility calc / apply*) offers 32mths 0% for a 1.4% fee (min £5) of the amount transferred. Plus, you'll get £25 cashback if you shift £300+ within 60 days, so in effect you're PAID if moving £300-£1,785, as the cashback's bigger than the fee.

    - Santander (eligibility calc / apply*) offers 27mths 0% with NO FEE to transfer debt. If shifting a partner's debt, you must live together and make them an additional cardholder, but that's free and they're not credit-checked.

    Always make the monthly min payment, don't spend on the card and clear before the 0% ends, or they jump to 21.9% rep APR (HSBC) or 18.9% rep APR (Santander). See full info in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

  5. You can both (or even the whole FAMILY) get up to £700 of travel, phone and breakdown insurance for £156 with a packaged bank account. Paying a monthly account fee can be a waste, yet done right - as a cheap way to buy insurance - it can be fruitful.

    Our top-pick packaged account is Nationwide's FlexPlus*, as for £13/mth (£156/yr) you get worldwide family travel insurance, family smartphone insurance and UK and European breakdown cover for all account holders. A family needing it all could pay up to £700/yr separately. Full eligibility info and more options in Packaged Bank Accounts. Ensure you add your partner as a joint account holder so they get the benefits too.

  6. Join hands and get a 1/3 off fares on your (love) train tickets. The Two Together Railcard gives the two named cardholders a 1/3 off most fares if travelling together. It usually costs £30, but via a special code right now it's £25.50. See Cheap Train Tickets for more tips, incl other railcards. Abi tweeted us: "Didn't know about Two Together - saved £40+ on tickets, thanks."

  7. Love truly is... looking after your partner when you're gone - special discount wills codes. Love comes with responsibilities, so we're proudly including planning for your loved ones' future when you've gone in our couples' tips. For full help, including the free solicitor-drafted wills months and £50ish off will-writing packs that are then checked by legal specialists, see Cheap Wills.

  8. Plan to buy a first home together? Get TWO 25% boosts. This is a no-brainer for anyone who may one day want to buy their first home. With a Lifetime ISA or Help to Buy ISA the state adds 25% on top of what you save, which can mean £1,000s free. If you're a couple, that doubles your allowance as you can have one each - and even if one of you isn't a first-time buyer, the other can still get the boost.

  9. Worried about a (car) breakdown in your relationship? Don't worry, £48 gets you full-service roadside recovery for both. Full cover (incl home start and onward travel) for you and your spouse or civil or common-law partner costs £48.31 for a year with top pick, AutoAid*. It covers any car you or they drive and can be cheaper than two single AA or RAC policies. See Cheap Breakdown Cover

  10. When two become one... pay £1 for 2for1 cinema tickets or 2for1 at 1,000s of restaurants for a year. The 2for1 meerkat trick gets you the discount on grub from Sun-Thu (not Valentine's Day, sadly) and the flicks on Tue or Wed. Geraint did it: "Just got a whole year's 2for1 meals & movies for £1.01. Thanks @MSE_Deals."

  11. Playing the system between two can net 5% cashback for SIX months. Cashback credit cards pay you for spending. The big payer is Amex Platinum Everyday (eligibility calc / apply*), which gives 5% cashback for the first 3mths (max £100) and up to 1% after. Yet couples can get 6mths at 5%. Here's how:

    Dani applies and makes Jack her 2nd cardholder, so both get 5% cashback to use on wedding stuff. Before the 5% ends, Jack applies, making Dani his 2nd cardholder to bag another 3mths at 5%. (They must spend £3k+/yr per card to get ANY cashback though.)

    Only do this for normal, affordable spending and ensure you set up a direct debit to repay IN FULL each month to avoid the 22.9% rep APR, which would wipe the gain. Full help, other options and how to use them in Credit Card Rewards (APR Examples).

  12. Cut the cost of a big, fat Greek wedding (or a small, skinny British one). If you or your partner have popped the question recently (or maybe you'll do so on Valentine's...), then congrats. See our Cheap Wedding Tips, incl how to save big on the dress, set up a free wedding website and find a reception that costs less than £1,000. Also find out if you need wedding insurance.

  13. Buy your diamond engagement ring... with Tesco Clubcard points. You can swap your Tesco points for a voucher at jewellers Goldsmiths worth three times the value, so bag a £600 sparkler for £200 of points. Our forumites have long used this trick to snap up wedding rings, earrings and even a diamond eternity ring. Full help in Boost Tesco Vouchers.

  14. And finally... beware coupling up (financially) with a bad credit scorer. Apply for joint mortgages, loans, bank accounts and sometimes utility bills (not credit cards) and your credit files can be linked - regardless of whether you're kissing, living together, or hitting your diamond wedding anniversary. So be careful getting joint products if your partner has a poor credit history. See Boost Your Credit Score.

    ____________________________

    5 hidden refunds worth £1,000s?
    Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm Mon

    Over to Martin: "This week it's a refunds potpourri - money you may be owed if you a) have graduated since 1998 b) are married c) wear a uniform to work d) paid for a Power of Attorney or e) pay your energy bill by direct debit. If so, you may be owed cash - in some cases it can total £1,000s...

    "And if you missed last week's show on how to boost your savings interest, you can watch it on the ITV Hub."
 
 

DON'T believe the fake ads on Facebook
Lots of scam ads that litter social media lie that we or Martin promote Bitcoin, binary trading etc. See Fake ads warning.

 

 
 

Urgent. The MSE Big Winter Energy Switch 

 We've negotiated cheaper-than-the-cheapest fixes - save £270/yr

It's confirmed. Energy bills for most will be hiked by OVER £100 on 1 Apr - ACT NOW to beat it, or miss out 

The MSE Big Winter Energy Switch, our 13th collective, is on - but not for long. This is where we leverage our huge user base (10m+ email recipients and 3.8m Cheap Energy Club members) so firms provide special tariffs CHEAPER than the market's cheapest. And timing's everything. Last Thu, regulator Ofgem announced that from 1 Apr it's increasing the energy price cap by 10%+. Those on Big 6 standard tariffs will likely see bills hiked by £100+ to £1,254/yr on typical usage. So pick a better deal NOW.

Under collective switch rules (which apply to the first three deals) you must go via our Cheap Energy Club (all links do) and have been a member of Cheap Energy Club or this email list (using the same email address) by Tue 5 Feb. 

  • WINNER 1: Cheap 1yr fix (& it's 100% renewable elec). Urgent: Only 8,000 switches left. Green Network Energy (GNE) - £967/yr on typical usage, incl MSE cashback & enhanced MSE service. The GNE MSE Exclusive Green 12mth Fix v2 was the cheapest 1yr fix available when we launched, an average £270/yr less than a Big 6 standard tariff for new dual-fuel (ie, gas & elec) customers. Plus as it's a fix, the rate is locked in for a year - so can't rise. 

    However, two new fixes from tiddler firms have launched that just undercut it, based on typical use. One is from Utility Point (which we've no feedback on), the other from So Energy (which seasonally adjusts direct debits so you pay a lot more in winter). If they're cheaper for you, they'll show up in your comparison. GNE is a mid-sized firm owned by an Italian energy giant and has a decent customer service rating. Last week, we had 5,000 switches. They went so fast, we begged it (in a distinguished way obvs) for more and got another 10,000 - some of which have already gone. 

  • WINNER 2: Cheapest Big 6 fix & longer 16mth fix. Only 7,000 switches left. EDF Energy - £999/yr on typical usage, incl MSE cashback - existing EDF customers can get it too. If you want a name you know, the MSE EDF Simply Fixed Jun20v2 is the winner. It's the cheapest Big 6 deal on the market for a typical user, saving £235/yr over the avg Big 6 standard tariff. And the rate is locked in for longer - until the end of June 2020. It's avail on dual fuel & elec-only.

  • WINNER 3: Cheapest TWO-winter fix & it's a Big 6. Ends Fri 22 Feb. E.on - £1,037/yr on typical usage, incl MSE cashback - existing E.on customers can get it too. The E.on Fix 2 Year MSE Collective Feb 2019 tariff is the cheapest longer fix on the market, giving rate certainty for 2yrs - good for anyone who doesn't bother to switch frequently. Typical savings are £230/yr over Big 6 standard tariffs. It's available on dual fuel and elec-only. 

  • Ends 5pm Thu: Cheap variable, top service, 100% renewable elec & it pays any early exit fees from switching (prepay version available). Exclusive MSE Bulb tariff - £965/yr on typical usage, incl MSE cashback & bill credit. Technically, it's not part of the collective, but use our Bulb Vari-Fair link to switch gas & elec and Bulb gives you an extra £30 bill credit, plus there's the usual £25 MSE cashback, on its already-cheap variable tariff (ie, it can change the price whenever it wants with 60 days' notice). Its real boon though is customer service, with a 76% 'great' rating in our last poll. It isn't quite the market's cheapest variable - a tiddler app-only supplier with very little feedback undercuts it by a few quid. 

On a Big 6 standard tariff? Your comparison SAVINGS will likely be UNDERESTIMATED. The new 10%+ higher price cap starts on 1 Apr. Most firms' prices will nuzzle up against this, yet as prices aren't finalised, while we've factored the cap in above, when you use our comparison it compares with the current price. In reality, savings will likely be much larger. For more help on how easy switching is, see our Switching FAQs. Sadly the deals above aren't avail in N Ireland.

 

20,000 FREE Ideal Home Show tickets (norm £16-£22). For London, 22 Mar-7 Apr. Free Ideal Home tickets 

Martin: '7 urgent post-Brexit travel need-to-knows.' Will your passport still be valid? Should you buy currency now? What about EHIC cards? And more... Martin's Brexit travel guide

HSBC free £175 bank-switching bonus - biggest of 2019. Just a heads-up - this morning (Wed) HSBC's Advance account boosts its free cash from £150 to £175 (click the link and once it's live it'll say £175, not £150).

12 roses £2, cheap grub & more last-min Valentine's deals. Romance is great, but over-commercialised pressure to show your love ain't. Yet if you want to spend, take advantage of the war of the roses to get the cheapest in-store bouquets, plus dine-in and restaurant deals. See last-min Valentine's offers. (Or to give without spending, try our Valentine's gift cheques.)

Ends Thu.Top 1.55% easy-access savings. If you want to deposit or withdraw at will, ICICI pays the top easy-access rate at 1.55% AER (incl a fixed 0.3% 1yr bonus as long as you keep the account open for the year), but only till 11.59pm on Thu. See Top Savings for more.

EE's raising mobile prices - what are your rights? See EE price rise help. Plus Three, O2 and Vodafone will likely follow - see mobile price rise rights.

 
 

41 comping tips: 'I won £75,000 by systematically entering competitions'

Comping's the hobby where you enter 100s of free competitions, leaving some with big wins - here are our tips

On Martin's TV show last week, he met a comper who came to his roadshow to thank him for the £75,000 worth of prizes she'd won over the years by using our forum (though TV rules meant the mention of the forum had to be edited out). She would enter sometimes 100s of contests a week (with a win rate of c.1/100 at best). Her top wins included an all-in trip to watch Rafael Nadal at the French Open and so many holidays that her husband asked her to stop entering as they were never at home.

Do watch her story - if inspired, read our 41 comping tips to boost your chances (and fun). Here's a flavour:

  • Comping should be seen as a potentially lucrative hobby. The best compers view it as fun, with the wins just a bonus. Many work together via our Competitions forum board, posting free contests they spot to help others (only enter those where the prize really appeals) and using our tool to tick off the ones they've entered (as duplicate entry can disqualify you).

    Some (not all) win big. Already in 2019, we've seen forumites bag £20,000, holidays and a hen night. Sprinkles84 said: "Can't believe it. I've only gone and won a BRAND-NEW CAR - a beautiful Volkswagen Up. I'm thrilled."

  • Turbo-charge your entries. Enter as many competitions as possible by using an auto form-filler, speedily opening multiple links and customising your keyboard

  • Creative comping boosts your chances. Lots of people give up if there's extra effort involved, like penning a poem or snapping a photo. This means you've a better chance - use a witty tie-breaker generator to help.

  • Snap up prizes on social mediaLoads of competitions can be found on Facebook and Twitter, but it's worth searching Instagram and Pinterest too, as forumites reckon these get fewer entries.

  • Dodge the inevitable spam. Companies set up competitions to get your email, number etc. See how to avoid overloading your inbox/phone.

 

The best way to save if you're on a low income - are you missing out on free £100s via Help to Save? If you're on a low income, the Govt Help to Save scheme lets you save, and gives you a 50% bonus after 2yrs (max £600) - not on the amount in the account at that point, but on the highest balance you reached (even if you withdraw it all before the 2yrs are up). See our full Help to Save guide.

EXTRA 10% off code for reduced 'past best-before' food, eg, 26p Monster Munch. MSE Blagged. 'Use-bys' are a health warning, 'best-befores' just a manufacturer's view of optimum quality. Approved Food sells discounted groceries past or close to their best-before date. Min spend £22.50, delivery £6, so best for stocking up. Approved Food

FREE & cheap sanitary products, incl tampons. The British Medical Association has just called for free sanitary products to be given to hospital patients, and the Scottish Govt is making free sanitary products more widely available. So we wanted to add our two pennies'-worth and remind you of our guide to free or cheap tampons etc.

15 Roald Dahl books for £20 delivered. MSE Blagged. Via The Book People code. Incl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, and The BFGSave some Wonka

Ends Fri. Fibre b'band & line rent '£16.62/mth'. This short-lived promo offer for 36Mb fibre from TalkTalk includes a £60 vch, making it equiv to £16.62/mth over an 18mth contract. Note: While this is a very cheap deal, TalkTalk scores poorly for customer service in our regular polls.

Bobbi Brown 20% off almost everything. MSE Blagged. Our early access code gets MoneySavers first dibs on discounted make-up until 11.59pm Wed - after which the discount's available to all, till 11.59pm Sat. Bobbi Brown

 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: HSBC* 32 months 0%, 1.4% fee (min £5) (21.9% rep APR) plus £25 cashback if you shift £300+
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27 months 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  1. MoneySupermarket.com*
  2. Confused.com*
  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* 3.4% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.8% rep APR (Nectar custs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
TalkTalk equiv £16.62/mth

Top for service + free £125: First Direct
Ending: Free £150 to switch + 2% bills cashback: 
NatWest/RBS Reward

Ending: Top easy-access: ICICI Bank UK 1.55%, min £1 
Top one-year fix: 
OakNorth 2.01%, min £1,000

 

Flight delay rights: 'We got £2,600 for 7hr BA flight delay with MSE's tips'

Had a delay in the last six years? EU rule 261/2004 still means (for now) you may be due up to £530 per person

Under EU rules, if your flight is delayed by over three hours or cancelled and it's the airline's fault, you are entitled to a fixed amount of compensation. Some get £1,000s, such as Leighton: "My family of five had a 7hr delay coming home from the US. We complained to BA but it wasn't interested. So we followed MSE's tips and escalated it. Then BA agreed to pay €600 each - €3,000 [£2,600] in total." Full help in our Flight Delay Compensation free tool and guide, but in brief...

  • The key EU 261/2004 flight delay/cancellation compensation rules.
     - You can claim for delays dating back six years (so currently to 2013). See full claims timeline.
     - You must have arrived 3hrs+ late (see how to check past delay lengths).
     - Only EU flights count, defined as any from EU airports, or to EU airports if an EU airline. Which flights count?
     - Compensation's fixed, based on delay and journey length. The min is £220/person. How much am I owed?
     - It must be the airline's fault - so bad weather doesn't count. What counts?
     - If your flight is cancelled you are always entitled to a full refund or alternative flight. Whether you get compensation on top depends if it is the airline's fault. See flight delay cancellation rules.
     - You're entitled to cash, though some airlines offer vouchers. If that happens, go back to 'em.

  • Use our FREE online reclaim tool - don't pay anyone to claim. Our flight delay reclaim tool (in collaboration with complaints site Resolver) uses template letters to draft your complaint, track it and help escalate it to the relevant regulator or resolution scheme if rejected - plus you keep ALL the compensation.

  • Is it fair to airlines? Not always, eg, a delay on a £20 flight can cost it £100s. So it's up to you to decide whether to complain or not. For help, see Martin's legal vs moral concerns.

  • What happens to EU 261/2004 after Brexit? The UK Government insists the same EU compensation rules will be written into UK law, whether there is a deal or not. We're somewhat wary, as exact details of how this will work aren't in place. Either way though, if you have a flight delay before 29 March, that will be covered by the prevailing EU law at the time of the delay. See Post-Brexit compensation latest.

    It is worth noting that if there are flight cancellations due to 'no-deal' issues, as the International Air Transport Association has suggested (though nowt's certain), you're unlikely to be due compensation as it wouldn't be the airline's fault. However, as always, if your flight is cancelled you are due a refund or alternative flight.
 

£35 for seven bottles of wine & two glasses (norm £80ish). MSE Blagged. 1,500 cases avail for Naked Wines newbies. Pls be Drinkaware.

£1K CAR INSURANCE SAVING - SUCCESS OF THE WEEK:
"I got a car insurance renewal quote  21 days before renewal  and saved more than £1,000 thanks to your tips." ( Send us yours  on this or any topic.)

£50 Eurostar returns to Paris. Book by Thu for 25 Feb-28 Mar, but you'll need to be flexible on times. Excl day trips. Eurostar

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Is it OK to use a 2for1 voucher on a first date? Love is in the air... well, maybe, it's the week of Valentine's Day at least, so time for our traditional poll. Imagine David asks Alex to dinner on a first date, saying he'll pay. When the bill comes, David whips out a 2for1 voucher - what advice would you give Alex? Is it OK to use a voucher on a first date? 

MoneySavers consider Amazon gift cards the most valuable. In last week's poll, we picked two dozen popular retailers and asked how much you'd be willing to pay someone selling a £100 gift card at that store - 3,500 people voted. More than a quarter of respondents said they'd pay £90+ for an Amazon gift card, but fewer than one in 10 would pay the same for an equivalent Argos or Ikea voucher. See full gift card poll results

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should we return valuables to their owner? We found a box of valuables in our loft when clearing it out, which belong to a previous owner - but not the person we bought our home from, so they may be difficult to return. Are we obliged to attempt to do so? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we return valuables? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Struggling with debt? Ask a debt adviser
- Competitions thread of the week: 55-inch smart TV, soundbar & a whole load of pizzas
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Fashion on the Ration Challenge
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: The cost of being single
- Discussion of the week: Early retirement - (nearly) one year on

 

Optical Express - FREE eye test & 10% off £110+ glasses
Sainsbury's Tu - 25% off everything
West End Theatre - last chance £10-£40 tickets
SpeckyFourEyes - £30 Calvin Klein, Jaguar & Davidoff specs
Tesco - £20 Valentine's dine-in meal

KFC - 9 pieces of Original Recipe chicken for £6 (Tue only)
Prezzo - 30% off food (Sun-Fri)
Burger King - meal deals, incl £2 burger and fries (ends Fri)
Domino's - 2for1 collection-only
Bella Italia - 40% off mains (Sun-Fri)

Pets at Home - free kids workshop during half-term
Hobbycraft - free craft workshops for kids
Free museums & galleries - across the UK
Vue - £2.49 school holiday tickets
The Works - 10 picture books for £10

Quick Forum Tips

59p crisps at Lidl - Lidl nibbles 
Half-price Kenco coffee (norm £4.99) - Espresso yourself
M&S £20 Valentine's meal deal - Not just a meal deal

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 13 FEB ONWARDS)

Thu 14 Feb - Good Morning Britain - Deals of the Week, ITV at 7.40am
Fri 15 Feb - This Morning - Martin's Quick Deals, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 18 Feb - The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm. See previous

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (MOST SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 13 Feb - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm, travel insurance
Fri 15 Feb - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, travel insurance
Mon 18 Feb - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Mon 18 Feb - BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 19 Feb - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: You say to book train tickets 12 weeks in advance - but if I wanted to book a return ticket, leaving on Friday and returning on Sunday, when do I book? Could I get them at the same time, and are two singles best? Bob, via email.

MSE Megan's A: Train tickets are generally cheapest when first released, usually 12 weeks in advance. They tend to be sold in tranches, so you may get lucky and find both tickets in the same tranche. Then again, they may be released separately. To find out as soon as they go on sale, sign up for a ticket release alert.

On two singles vs a return, it's worth comparing as either may win for you, such is the peculiar nature of the train ticket system. If the tickets are released in different tranches and the outbound tickets are going quick, you'll need to weigh up if it's worth waiting for the return ticket to be released, given the outbound price could rise in the meantime. See Cheap Train Tickets for lots more help.

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

 

BEEN THERE, SAVED THAT, GOT THE T-SHIRT

That's it for this week, but before we go... we had a blast from the past this week when forumite 'arkonite_babe' sent in a photo of her official MSE Forum T-shirt, which dates all the way back to 2004. MSE Andrea dived into her wardrobe and found that 15 years on, she still has hers, too - so clearly it wasn't only the slogans that were MoneySaving. We'd love to see who else still has one - see pics of the T-shirts and share your memories in the MSE T-shirts forum thread.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team