Jul
29
2020

Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

29 July 2020

Over 50 ways to save, incl... Spain help, free £50 bike vch, 40% overdrafts, £6/mth Sim, free £37.50 Sainsbury’s, 50% off restaurant finder, Lego deal, fast track passports

This info may be out of date. Read this week's emails
Plus... 50% off restaurant finder, Lego deal, fast track passports
                                                           
 


 

Martin's 'bank accounts in turmoil' briefing
0% Covid overdrafts ending, 40% overdrafts returning. No free-cash switches, Santander 123 cashback slashed

12 urgent banking need-to-knows to protect your pocket

Current accounts are the cornerstones of our personal finances - the day-to-day accounts we need to trust to hold our money, let us make transactions and pay bills. Yet we've seen a transition that leaves the market nearly unrecognisable from six months ago.

First, 40% overdrafts were introduced, but not long after, the pandemic hit and huge protections were put in place. That also killed all the big 'free cash' switching incentives. Now those protections are dwindling, but the incentives aren't returning. So whether you're in credit or overdrawn, things are getting tougher. Here are my need-to-knows to max your cash...

1) Warning. Automatic 0% coronavirus overdrafts are ending - now it's don't ask, don't get. As the pandemic started, the regulator, the FCA, instructed banks to give anyone struggling the first £500 of their overdraft interest-free. For ease, many banks just gave automatic £500+ 0% overdrafts to everyone.

That rule has recently been extended, and is still in place until 31 Oct. Yet five major banks and building societies have now changed policies from auto 0% overdrafts, to only helping those struggling due to coronavirus who ask for assistance. So if that's you - ask.

See our bank-by-bank coronavirus overdraft help to see if your bank's making the change, and how to request to keep your 0% overdraft on.

2) First Santander 123 slashed interest, now Santander 123 Lite's doubling its fee - time to ditch? In Jan, it was announced the once-great Santander 123 current account would drop its interest from 1.5% to 1%. I said then it was a dead duck - though that rate doesn't look too awful now - but from Mon, it's dropping again to 0.6%, which is paltry interest that makes it far from worth the £5/mth fee - see our ditch Santander 123? guide.

One option for 123 customers was to move money to top savings and drop down to the Santander 123 Lite* account. The 123 Lite account pays no interest, has a much lower fee, but still gives the same cashback. Yet this week, we learnt that from 27 Oct it changes too...

- The 123 Lite account fee is doubling. From £1/mth to £2/mth.

- Phone, TV & broadband cashback cut from 3% to 1%, water cashback up from 1% to 3%. By doing this twee cashback dance on both the main and Lite accounts, Santander can still call them '123' accounts, but as people on average pay thrice the bills on phone, TV & broadband than they do on water, in reality it's a cashback cut.

Of course, less cashback and a bigger fee is a pain in the bum. Yet there's little better out there. So for most, if you'll still earn more cashback than the fee costs, you may as well stick. Read our full Santander 123 Lite analysis to see how you'll be affected and how it compares.

3) 40% overdraft rates return to being the new normal - so overdrafts are the new DANGER DEBT.  Last year, the regulator announced it was banning per-day and per-month overdraft charges from 6 Apr 20, after which they'd all need to charge an interest rate. Its aim was to (a) make comparison easy, and thus (b) encourage competition.

Hurrah - it succeeded in the easy comparison. Boo - it failed to improve competition as all providers announced virtually identical rates at near 40% annual interest, double even a typical high-street credit card, making overdrafts the new danger debt. Even banks that previously charged interest said they'd up it, eg, HSBC's Advance account went from 17.9% EAR to 39.9%.

Back in Jan, I wrote privately to the FCA to warn it that its policy was failing dangerously. It took this on board, and publicly announced it was putting banks on notice. Yet all that was soon blown away by the pandemic, at which point it intervened bluntly with a blanket rule that no one should pay more under the new system.

Three weeks ago, the rules extending overdraft help came into play, with one subtle change, the 'no one should pay more' became 'no one struggling from the pandemic should pay more'. And now we've had announcements that 10 major banks are charging their standard overdraft rates, many to 40%. See full bank-by-bank overdraft charges, including how to ask for Covid-based help.

4) ... yet bizarrely, for some 40% overdrafts are cheaper. If not, ask for help. When the changes came into effect, the FCA said that even with 40% overdrafts, it'd mean 7 in 10 people will pay the same or less. That's because if you're, say, £10 overdrawn, the old £1/day overdraft charges are far more than a 40% annual rate, which is about 1p/day.

The real problem of 40% overdrafts is for those with more sizeable overdrafts who are persistently overdrawn - at £1,000 on average over a year, it'll cost you a horrid £400 - and the pandemic means there are likely to be more people in that situation. Though if your financial issues are a knock-on from the pandemic, speak to your bank and tell it that, as then it can't charge you more than you were paying before.

If the issues you're having are long-standing, and these new rates are hard to repay, see our how to fight 40% overdrafts (incl template letter) guide, which we first wrote pre-pandemic...

I called my bank & got 17mths overdraft interest refunded


Tracey emailed us: "I've been financially 'up against it', and interest charges on my rather large overdraft were £30+/mth. A couple of months ago, I read my MSE email, and called my bank.

"I made several calls, including being given factually-incorrect information, but stayed firm and said every time that my bank had a duty to assist me. Eventually my bank refunded 17 months of overdraft interest fees, and gave me a written apology.

"The refund has come when it's needed the most, so I wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU 😊❤️."


5) As there are no free-cash switch bonuses, get PAID to pay bills. For years, some banks have paid bribes of up to £200 if you switch to them. Not now. There are no switching boons, and it's doubtful if we'll see a return to any decent ones this year.

So in many ways the only, and thus best, option is Santander 123 Lite*, as mentioned above - though there it was mainly in context of what its existing customers should do. It pays you cashback if you pay your bills by direct debit, such as 1% on council tax, 2% on energy etc, provided you hit its £500/mth minimum pay-in (effectively a way to get you to pay your income into it).

Though as discussed, even the gain from this is diminishing, as currently it has a £1/mth fee (so £12/yr), but that doubles in Oct and the cashback bands worsen. Even so, those with mid-to-large household bills can make £60-£120/yr even after the fee at the current rates, dropping to £40-£90/yr with the Oct changes. Yet it's still the best of the bunch. For what other limited options there are, see Best Bank Accounts.

6) The current accounts that pay more interest than top savings. Most current accounts pay no interest, so if you have money you don't immediately need building up in them, you should regularly sweep it into a decent savings account. Yet about a decade ago, to draw in new customers, a few started to offer higher rates on limited amounts.

Sadly, in recent times those rates have dropped, as have the eligible amounts. But a few are worth a look for smaller sums given the top savings easy-access account pays just 1.16%. And none of these accounts require you to use their switching service to open them, so you can run them alongside your normal account.

- Virgin Money* pays an ongoing 2.02% AER variable on up to £1,000 in there. The good thing is it doesn't require you to have direct debits set up, and there's no min monthly pay-in, so you can just open it, shove cash in, and leave it to earn the interest. Meanwhile, you could use another account such as Santander 123 Lite for your banking.
- Nationwide pays 2% AER fixed on up to £1,500 in the first year, but just 0.25% after. Yet you need to pay in £1,000+/mth - which is its way of trying to get you to use it as your main account.
- TSB* pays an ongoing 1.5% AER variable on £1,500. Again you need to pay in £500+/mth and get online banking & statements.

Don't put more in than the max, as that won't earn any interest. More options and full eligibility criteria in interest-paying current accounts.

7) Try shifting BIG overdrafts to a 0% money transfer card. Money transfers are a function of a few credit cards where you can pay money directly into your bank account for a small fee. This means you can get one at 0% and use it to clear your overdraft and owe the card instead. It's best for bigger overdrafts, and used right - especially with 40% interest - will save some £1,000s. For full best buys and help to do it safely, see our 0% money transfer guide.

For smaller overdrafts, if you're struggling due to coronavirus, you can get up to £500 interest-free overdrafts and nowt beats that. If you're not struggling but you're overdrawn on smaller amounts (or you're preparing for when help ends in Oct), it's worth looking at switching to a cheaper account.

M&S Bank offers accepted custs an ongoing £250 0% overdraft.
Nationwide offers a 0% overdraft for the first year, which depends on credit score and can be bigger. So it's good if you need the year to clear it.
- Starling and Monzo are the cheapest standard overdrafts, for those with decent credit scores, at a little under 20% AER in some cases.

8) New Monzo 'Premium' account offers 1% savings & free credit score, but it costs £5/mth - we can do that for nowt. Popular app-based bank Monzo has launched a new version of its Monzo Plus account for a £5/mth fee. Many will like it, but you can easily match or beat its features for free...

- 1% interest on up to £2,000. The top-paying easy-access account from NS&I pays 1.16% AER variable on up to £1 million.
- £400 fee-free withdrawals at overseas ATMs. App-based rival Starling offers unlimited fee-free withdrawals on its free account.
- Free credit score. These have long been free, including from MSE's Credit Club, as well as the more important feature - your credit file. See how to check your credit score and reports for free.

Though what Monzo fans love is its tech, and this new account does have bespoke features such as virtual debit cards and custom budgeting, which many will rate. See our Monzo Plus - is it worth it? analysis for full details.

9) Move bill payments to just before payday, and other tips to cut your overdraft. Cutting overdraft costs isn't just about the interest rate, it's how you manage it too...

a) Consider moving direct debits to just before, not after, payday. You'll usually be overdrawn for less time, so costs are lower.
b) Aim to repay a fixed amount each month. Treat it like any other debt to be repaid, eg, if you're £500 overdrawn, 'paying' £100 means next month aim to be £400 overdrawn. Doing a budget will help.
c) Got other debts? Prioritise paying off the most expensive first. Eg, if the overdraft is - as is likely now - costlier than credit cards, repay the minimum on those and use spare cash to lower overdrafts (or at least lower it to within your 0% amount). See which debts to pay first.

d) Got savings? Don't be afraid to use them to clear your overdraft if it's costing you 40%. See Repay debt with savings?
e) Struggle to control spending? Consider shifting to a non-overdraft account. See Basic Bank Accounts.
f) Struggling with multiple debts? Get non-profit debt counselling help from Citizens Advice, National Debtline or StepChange. It can make a huge difference. Full info in Debt Help.

10) Earn 2.75% on regular savings via your bank account. Regular savings accounts, as the name suggests, let you put a little money in each month, and interest tends to be higher than standard accounts, so you may gain from using a few. The best payers are only available if you already have their current accounts.

- Bank with First Direct, HSBC or M&S Bank? Earn 2.75%. All have linked regular savers, for most customers, which last a year. You must put in at least £25/mth, but you can vary it up to the max £300/mth for First Direct, and £250/mth for HSBC and M&S Bank. To withdraw before the year ends, close the account, though you'll lose a chunk of the interest. Full info & options in bank-linked regular savers.

- Top open-to-all regular saver: earn 1.85%. Coventry BS pays 1.85% AER variable, but has better terms... you needn't pay in every month, can put in a max £500/mth and can withdraw cash at will (at a cost of 30 days' interest in the first year). Full open-to-all regular saver options.

11) £500+ of travel, phone and breakdown insurance for £156 with a packaged bank account. If you need insurance, packaged bank accounts, where you pay a monthly fee and lots of cover is thrown in, can be a big winner.

Our top pick is Nationwide FlexPlus at £13/mth, which covers all a family's trips away and has decent Covid-19 cancellation cover if your travel agent, airline or hotel won't help. Plus it covers all the families' mobiles and gives UK & Europe breakdown cover. See more options in Packaged Bank Accounts.

12) Reclaim packaged bank account fees, some get £1,000s back. 
Many people were mis-sold packaged bank accounts. The danger sign is if you were called up or called in for a bank review and pushed into getting one, or even told there wasn't a choice. If so, they often didn't check suitability (eg, you were 66 and the insurance only covered up to age 65). Any of these issues may mean you're due years of fees back.

Our special guide includes the FREE packaged bank account reclaim tool that drafts a claim and escalates it if needed. In a few cases, you may even be able to go back years, as Nicholas's email shows: "Martin, thank you. I have just claimed back £3,000 in fees and interest back to 1998. Without your information and 'go get 'em' attitude, I would not have even contemplated this. The pro-forma made it extremely easy. Well done sir, you are our resident custodian of people's consumer rights." (Aw shucks - thanks.)

And while they've now disappeared, if you had bank charges for breaching your overdraft limit which put you in financial hardship, you may be able to reclaim bank charges for free too.

---------------------------

PS: I'm off... It's been a long slog this year, especially with the constantly changing coronavirus news. So after this week, I'm taking my usual summer work-break from this email, telly, radio, interviews and social media to spend a few weeks relaxing with Mrs & Mini MSE (and maybe the odd round of golf).

Yet don't worry, I leave this email in the overly capable hands of the brilliant MSE team. Have a lovely summer. Martin.

 
 

DON'T believe the fake 'Martin Lewis' or 'MSE' ads
Lots of scam ads litter social media and even newspaper websites - some of these lie that we or Martin promote Bitcoin, binary trading etc. See Fake ads warning.

 

 
 

New. Slash your mobile contract via a cheap Sim - eg, '£6.33/mth' with unlimited mins & calls, plus more than enough data for most people

Mobile contract prices have dived in the past year if you don't need a new handset, so the key way to save is to switch to a cheap Sim - the chip in your phone which dictates your network and allowances. As most deals offer plentiful mins and texts, data is the key, and in recent months we've seen the cheapest-ever Sims at many data levels. Today we've the cheapest-ever 8GB Sim - and while the majority of people use much less, it smashes most low or medium-usage prices.

So if you're one of the 9m out of contract, often vastly overpaying, check if you can save £100s/yr. Here are the top deals, all with unlimited mins & texts, followed by key switching tips...

top-pick UNLIMITED MINS & TEXTs sims (for newbies)
For many more options on different networks at different usage levels, see our Top Sims guide
PROVIDER (NETWORK) MONTHLY DATA (1) COST (+ CONTRACT LENGTH)
Lebara* (Vodafone)
MSE Blagged
2GB
(56% of people use less data)
£5/mth (1mth contract)
TalkMobile* (Vodafone's no-frills provider) MSE Blagged
4GB
(70%-ish of people use less data)
Equiv '£6.57/mth' (1yr contract)
£3.75/mth for 3mths, £7.50/mth for 9mths
New. Three* (2)
MSE Blagged
8GB
(80%-ish of people use less data)
Equiv '£6.33/mth' (1yr contract)
£8/mth + you get £20 cashback (3)
O2* 10GB
(88% of people use less data)
£10/mth (1yr contract)
Ends Mon. Three*
MSE Blagged
Unlimited
£16/mth (1yr contract)
(1) Includes percentage of respondents in our Jan poll who use less than those monthly allowances - 4GB/8GB figures are estimates. (2) Deal via reseller MobilePhonesDirect. (3) Cashback paid into your bank account within 90 days of activation.
  • Always match your allowance to your use so you don't overpay. Either examine old bills or use the Billmonitor* tool, which analyses your bills and finds Sims to match your use. It doesn't spot every deal, which is why we list the the cream above. 

    To be safe, check your pre-pandemic use in case it's been distorted recently. Plus we'd suggest getting a little extra than you normally use just in case, to avoid paying high rates for excess usage.

  • Switching and keeping your number's easy. You get the Sim in the post and, in most cases, you don't have to speak to anyone, while moving your number over normally takes just one working day - see switching helpIf switching network, also check your handset's unlocked so you can put any Sim in it. If it's not, unlock it for free.

  • Want to stick with the same network? You can still save. There are only four UK networks: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone - all other brands piggyback off their signals. So even if you're tied to one network as others give poor signal where you live, always check so-called piggyback providers (eg, Lebara is Vodafone). See our Mobile Piggybacking guide for more help.

  • Don't want to switch? Haggle... Mobile firms are among the easiest to haggle with. See Mobile Haggling.
 

NOW ALL GONE - but click the link for info on the scheme & more MoneySaving cycling tips
50,000 free £50 Govt vchs to fix your bike released at 11.45pm TUE (Eng only).
They're likely to go quickly (if the website stays up). Full info and more help in 15 cycling MoneySavers.

Spain travel chaos rights (+ what'd happen if turmoil spreads elsewhere): refunds, insurance, quarantine etc. 100,000s have had plans thrown into disarray after the sudden Govt restrictions on Spain, amid warnings "no travel is risk-free". For full guidance, see our Spain travel rights help (incl Martin's video briefing), which also details what'd happen if restrictions were placed on other countries too.

New. Eat Out to Help Out tool - which restaurants near you are taking part? Tuck yer napkin in... the Govt's subsidising 50% off meals on Mon-Wed in Aug, up to £10pp. It'll work at 53,000 outlets, including McD's, Subway, independents and some pretty posh places too. See the new 50% off food finder.

Beauty dupes - can a £10 Lottie London replicate a £43 Urban Decay eyeshadow palette? Lots of stores sell own-brand items that mimic designer brands - often called 'dupes'. See how much you can save by taking our Beauty Downshift Challenge, then decide if it's for you.

News on Martin's free financial education textbook: Scot, Wales & NI to get versions to join England's. In 2018 Your Money Matters, the first-ever curriculum-mapped financial-education textbook was written with 340,000 copies sent free to Eng state schools, all paid for by a private donation from Martin to charity Young Money. Today he announces new versions for the other UK nations, with the cost split between him and the Money and Pensions Service. Get a free PDF of the English version. More on the Scot, Wales & NI versions to come.

Lego deal - spend £9 and get a free £11 Lego City mini-astronauts pack. MSE Blagged. This deal has been extremely popular and all 2,000 'freebies' sold out by 10.30am on Wed 29 Jul

A reminder of our constantly updated guides, as they remain crucial...
Coronavirus travel rights, incl refunds & insurance

Coronavirus employees' help, incl furlough rights
Coronavirus self-employed & small ltd co help, incl income scheme
Coronavirus finance & bills help, incl mortgages, energy & TV
Coronavirus universal credit & benefits, incl what you're due
Coronavirus life in lockdown, incl MOTs, food & entertainment

 
 

One credit card deal that works one of two ways (or both)...
 1. FREE £37.50 Sainsbury's trick
2. The joint-LONGEST interest-free spending card, up to 20mths 0%

This is a bit of a hybrid credit card - good if you're a Sainsbury's shopper keen for extra points, or good if you want to borrow the cheapest way... or both. And as we haven't featured a trick like this in a while, we thought we'd tell you about it now. However, as we always say, NEVER use such cards as an excuse to overspend or fill income gaps.

Important. Only those who have a Nectar card and have had it for at least six months can apply, but with a mammoth 18+ million cardholders, it's hardly that restrictive. Plus you need to be a new Sainsbury's Bank customer.

  • How to get the £37.50 bonus to spend at Sainsbury's. If accepted, Sainsbury's Bank credit card-holders get a bonus which works like this:

    - You get 750 bonus Nectar points (worth £3.75 at Sainsbury's) for each £35+ spent at the supermarket in the first 2mths.
    - The bonus is capped at 7,500 points, worth £37.50, so on a max 10 spends. Yet you can split your shop to hit it quicker, eg, on a £120 spend, do it as £35, £35 and £50, so each gets 750 points (although you may be unpopular if there's a queue).
    - That's all on top of the normal two points per £1 spent at Sainsbury's.

    Remember, only do this for normal shopping - please don't overspend. And if you're just doing this for the freebie, even though there's no interest for the first 20mths, it's still safest to pay it off IN FULL each month to ensure you'll never pay interest. Full info and more deals in Credit Card Rewards.

  • I need a card that is interest-free on spending - at 20mths 0%, is this any good? Be very careful borrowing right now, and only do it if you NEED to, for a planned, affordable purchase (eg, replacing a faulty fridge). Get it wrong and you'll get burnt.

    But done right, a top 0% card is the cheapest way to borrow and this Sainsbury's Bank credit card is one of three that offer 0% on spending for up to 20mths. Though with Sainsbury's, you may be accepted and offered 16mths or 12mths at 0%, based on your credit score. Of course, you get the points if spending in Sainsbury's too. Other cards at 20mths 0% are:

    - M&S Bank 20mths 0% on spending. Unlike Sainsbury's, and TSB below, all accepted get the full 20mths at 0%. It also pays one point (worth 1p) per £1 spent at M&S or £5 elsewhere.
    - TSB* up to 20mths 0% on spending. But there are no rewards and some accepted get 15mths or 10mths 0%.

    For full info on all these cards and more options, see 0% Spending.

  • Will applying hit my credit score? A full application leaves a mark on your credit file, even if rejected. This can impact your future creditworthiness, especially if you do lots in a short time or are about to make an important credit application, eg, a mortgage. To help, our free eligibility calc shows your chances of getting Sainsbury's, M&S and other top cards, without affecting your score.

  • Always follow the 0% Borrowing Golden Rules (see APR Examples).
    a) Always pay at least the monthly min and stick within your credit limit or you can lose the 0% and get hit with fees.
    b) Plan to clear the card (or balance-transfer) before the 0% ends or the interest rate will jump - on the cards above, it'll go to 20.9% rep APR for Sainsbury's Bank and 19.9% rep APR for M&S Bank and TSB.
    c) Don't withdraw cash - it's rarely at the cheap rate.

 

New 5-day fast-track passport renewal if you're stuck in the long backlog. Holiday plans are up in the air for many people, but if you are going abroad soon, we explain how to sort a quick passport renewal.

Want an early try of MSE's new, unique, auto-compare-and-switch energy service? We plan to fully launch it in the autumn, but the tool's all working now - it's only missing a few bells and whistles. If you want to be one of the first to try it, just go to MSE's Autoswitch. For more info, see Autoswitch FAQs. And do let us know what you think.

Urgent. Tax credit renewal deadline is THIS FRIDAY (31 Jul) - check now for errors. Nearly 3m letters have been sent out and some people MUST respond or payments could stop. For most, credits will automatically renew this year as so many have been affected by the coronavirus crisis - but you could still lose out if your info's wrong, so check and TELL 'EM if it's not right. Tax credit help

Struggling due to coronavirus? Help to cut insurance bills set to be extended. Customers may have till Oct to ask for help to cut costs or get payment holidays. Insurance help

80% off a month's supply of 'tailored' dog food (eg, £25 worth is just £5). MSE Blagged. Put in info about your dog (eg, breed, age, dietary needs) and Tails.com creates a recipe for your furry friend. Full info in Tails doggy deal.

Martin: 'What the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute charity has done this year.' From Covid to the 'Stop the Charge' campaign, and launching 'Mental Health Accessible', Martin's blogged his Money & Mental Health Policy Institute 2019/20 chair's statement.

 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: M&S Bank 28mths 0%, 2.85% fee (min £5) or 28mths 0%, 2.75% fee if you're a NatWest/RBS customer (both 19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: 
Santander 18mths 0% (18.9% rep APR) or 20mths 0% if you're a NatWest/RBS customer (19.9% rep APR)

Cheapest variable: Outfox the Market, saving £339/yr 
Cheapest fixed rate: Pure Planet, saving £310/yr
Cheapest Big 6 fix: E.on, saving £301/yr

Savings incl £25 MSE cashback if avail & assume typical use vs £1,127/yr price cap. Links go to our Cheap Energy Club

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

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

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Tesco Bank 3.4% rep APR (1-3yrs)
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: 
Cahoot or TSB, both 2.8% rep APR

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £13.82/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Plusnet equiv £18.82/mth
Superfast fibre b'band & line rent: Virgin equiv £19.83/mth

2.02% interest on up to £1,000: Virgin Money
1-3% cashback on bills:
 Santander 123 Lite

 

School uniform grants of up to £200/yr per child? Low-income families can apply for help via some councils. See Can I get help with school uniform costs?

1 in 8 chance of getting all your money back at Argos, Nike, Groupon, ShopDisney and more. MSE Blagged. If there's no discount code or bigger cashback elsewhere, it's fun and can pay off. Eg, Forumite natty16 said: "I've won five times and received just short of £300." Read how Boom25's lucky dip offer works.

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: 
"Thank you Martin and the team for guidance in claiming back money via the marriage tax allowance. I filled in the form and within two weeks I received a £727 cheque from HMRC."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Supplier goes bust before delivering your goods? New law could give you more rights. The Govt is consulting on plans to ensure items are counted as your property rather than a business asset in that scenario. New consumer rights?

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Are you working from home - and would you like to keep doing so? With guidance on working from home now being relaxed around the UK, we want to know if you've been working from home over the past few months. And, if you have, do you want to keep doing so when it's deemed safe to return to work? Let us know in this week's poll.

Supermarkets, garden centres and hairdressers top the list of places MoneySavers feel comfortable going to. Last week, we asked which places you're comfortable going to as lockdown eases, and which you'd still rather avoid. Over 9,000 people responded. 78% said they'd already been, or were happy going, to a supermarket or garden centre, while 62% said the same for hairdressers. But 80% would still avoid going to tattoo studios, and 64% gyms and spas. See full poll results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Is it wrong to use staff discount after I've quit? It's a year since I left my job with a large, well-known fashion brand, which I still buy from regularly online. As employees, we got a secret code for 20% off and free delivery, which I assumed would be deactivated after I quit. Evidently, this isn't the case as I still use the code for every purchase. It's hardly a MoneySaving brand, so I couldn't afford to buy stuff from it as often as I do if I had to pay full price. My mate who still works there says the company won't care because they're still making a sale, but it feels dishonest. Should I stop? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Is it wrong to use staff discount after I've quit? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

 

50% off restaurants in Aug - New tool shows where you can get it
Beauty 'dupes' - Eg, £43 Urban Decay vs £10 Lottie London
Lego - Free £11 Lego City mini figure pack with £9ish Lego spend
Tails - 80% off a month's supply of 'tailored' dog food
Boom25 - 1 in 8 chance of all your money back at 22 retailers

McDonald's - Free hot drink for app newbies
Krispy Kreme - Free glazed doughnut via newsletter sign-up
Bookhound - Four best-selling thriller books for £10 delivered
B&Q - 20% off all garden furniture
Pizza Hut - £8.50 unlimited pizza on weekdays till 3pm

Adidas - 25% off code including outlet
The Entertainer - £5 off £25 code (ends Thu)
Selfridges - Up to 70% off sale boost
Hamleys - 10% off code including sale
Asos - Up to 70% off sale

Ideas for slashing supermarket shopping costs. Super saving
Cheap and healthy frozen lunch ideas. Thaw-some
Chance to win a Welsh lamb meat hamper. Spring to it

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 29 JUL ONWARDS)

Thu 30 Jul - Good Morning Britain, ITV, from 8am
Thu 30 Jul - This Morning, phone-in, ITV, 10.45am

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (MOST SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 29 Jul - BBC One and BBC News, from 9.15am, Guy Anker on travel rights
Mon 3 Aug - BBC Radio Manchester, Drive with Phil Trow, from 2.25pm
Tue 4 Aug 
- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, from 12.25pm

 

SPROUTS ARE FOR LIFE, NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS (SAY SOME)...

That's it for this week, but before we go... after the Brussels sprout was voted the UK's most hated vegetable last week, loads of you joined a tasty debate on our social channels about the humble little vegetable. Some sprung to its defence, saying they enjoy 'em all year round, not just during the festive season. Meanwhile, broad beans, carrots and parsnips were also dragged into the debate. Let us know where you stand on the love/hate veg debate on Facebook.

We hope you save some money, stay safe,
The MSE team