15 post-Christmas MoneySaving crackers, including...
- Sales galore, including Amazon, Argos, Asos (and they're just the As)
- NEW £150 bank switch bribe, or £130 + top service
- Don't like those socks? Gift return rights
- £35 PCR tests & lots more...
It's Christmas week and while many are enjoying some well-earned time off, us MoneySaving elves have been working hard to deliver you a sackful of holiday helpers. Some are timely, some are just good ways to save if you're at a loose end. So let us bellow those tips out, as the best way to spread MoneySaving cheer is shouting 'em loud for all to hear...
Sales galore, including Amazon, Asos, John Lewis and Next - some up to 80% off already. The festive discounts are in full swing, and we'd expect many to boost further over the coming days - get the latest in our full sales round-up.
IMPORTANT: Sales are great if you need something, it's discounted and the store has the right size or model. But don't get sucked in by the hype. Before buying, remember Martin's Money Mantras: Do I need it? Can I afford it? Have I checked prices elsewhere? If the answer is no to any of those questions, DON'T buy it.
New. Get PAID £150 to switch bank. If your bank stank in 2021, or you just want to bag some freebies, start 2022 with a new account, especially now two hot new offers are available. And as we always say, switching is easy, taking just seven working days. Here are the top deals...
- New. HSBC Advance offers a free £150*, the most upfront cash available.
- New. First Direct now pays £130* (boosted from £100) and it's rated top of the non app-only banks for customer service.
- Nationwide's FlexDirect gives up to £125 but it's complex, so read our full review first.
- Virgin Money's 12 bottles of wine* is a different flavour (please be Drinkaware), or choose a £150 experience voucher.
IMPORTANT: Check eligibility criteria for each account before signing up, as some require you to pay in a set amount, while others want you to shift direct debits. See offer-by-offer reviews, eligibility info, more options and how switching works in Best bank accounts.
- Cheap Covid travel tests, including £35 PCRs. If you're abroad and need a 'day two' PCR test (or know someone in that boat), or you're going away soon, don't get stung by £100+ charges. How to find the cheapest Covid travel tests.
- Overdid it on your credit card at Christmas or have long-standing debt? Shift it to 0% for 35 months. If you pay interest on credit or store card debt, put your details into our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calculator to see your odds of getting a 0% deal.
These cards pay off debt on old cards for you, so you owe the new one instead, but with zero interest for a set time. That means you get debt-free quicker as more of your payments cover the debt, not interest. If you've lots of choice, go for the card with the lowest fee in the time you're sure you can repay in. Top deals for accepted new cardholders include:
- The longest 0% by far: Virgin Money offers 35mths 0%* for a 2.94% fee.
- If you can repay quicker: Sainsbury's is up to 21mths 0%* with NO FEE, but some accepted get fewer 0% months.
Always follow the Balance Transfer Golden Rules (more deals in Best balance transfers and see APR examples):
a) Clear the card before the 0% ends, or they're 20%+ rep APR interest.
b) Never miss the min monthly repayment or you can lose the 0%.
c) Don't spend/withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate.
d) You must usually transfer within 60 days to get the 0%.
Required to work from home, even for ONE DAY, during the pandemic? Join the 2.5 million+ who've claimed up to £280 for it. If your employer has said you must work from home, even for just ONE DAY, you can claim a WHOLE year's tax relief worth up to £140 a year. As this applies for both this tax year and the last one, you could get up to £280. There's a simple online claims process for many, and Martin's working-from-home tax back blog explains all.
Easy ways to use less energy to save £100s/year amid soaring prices. Costs have rocketed over recent months and are predicted to soar even higher. Plus with no cheap deals it's virtually impossible to switch tariff to save, so the main way to protect your pocket is to use less - which is good for the planet too.
Our Energy saving tips help with the simpler stuff, such as turning your thermostat down and cutting shower time. But other ways to use less aren't as clear-cut, such as whether to leave the heating on low all day - we've the pros and cons of this and more in our Energy mythbusting guide.
Earn a £30 Amazon voucher for doing quick online surveys. If you've spare time, newbies to survey site Swagbucks can get an extra £20 Amazon voucher when they earn £10 via our MSE Blagged Swagbucks deal.
Free MSE Academoney, in partnership with the Open University. 10,000s have enrolled - why don't you? MSE's Academoney (also available in Welsh as Academi Arian) has been the most popular free course on the OU's Open Learn platform in 2021.
If you've not tried it, why not use some downtime (if you have it) to get financially fit in 2022? It's free, and covers six key areas of personal finance: 1) Making good spending decisions. 2) Budgeting and taxation. 3) Borrowing money. 4) Understanding mortgages. 5) Saving and investing. 6) Planning for retirement.
Energy firm gone bust? Some are being charged twice where the new AND old firm take regular payments. Check now. We've been inundated with reports from users who are being double-charged across a range of suppliers. Clearly, the bust supplier shouldn't take ongoing payments as it's not supplying your energy (though its administrator will rightly charge any balancing payment on your final bill). We've your rights in Energy double direct debit help.
Worried about debt? Get free help NOW. If the financial strain of the pandemic or anything else is leaving you feeling desperate about your finances, you can get free, impartial, one-to-one help from several debt charities. It's a good idea to book an appointment soon, as they tend to fill up quickly every new year. Full info in our Debt help guide.
£13/month broadband & line - slash bills by £100s for the new year. More than seven million people are out of contract, often paying £30-£45/month for slow broadband. Yet if you're free to leave, you could get faster speeds for half the cost. The trick is to pounce on short-lived promotions - here's the current crop of hot broadband and line deals. All are for new customers of that firm.
- Standard 10-11Mb speed - often fine for lighter use. MSE Blagged. Shell Energy '£12.66/month'
- Fast 35Mb fibre - good for streamers, gamers or if lots of you use it at once. Vodafone '£14.84/mth'
- Superfast 63-67Mb fibre - good if you've a real need for mega speed. Vodafone '£15.84/mth'
Note, they're today's prices, but firms often raise 'em a bit mid-contract. More help and options in our Broadband Unbundled comparison tool.
- 15 huge MoneySaving successes of twenty twenty WON, including £17,500 chargeback claim, £8,200 council tax back. Can you win big too? In last week's email, we celebrated some of the best successes this year from those who've used our tips. So in case you missed it, we thought we'd give it another outing to hopefully inspire you to do the same. (Have you won big too? Please tell us your successes of 2021.)
- £10 champers and £5 prosecco - great if you want to see in the new year with bubbly. We've rounded up corking champagne & prosecco deals, but please be Drinkaware.
- Oh Santa, why did you get me socks again? Your gift return rights. If the big fella got you something ghastly, misjudged your size or it broke on his sleigh, you may be in luck. Technically only the buyer has rights, but many stores allow recipients to get a refund or exchange with proof of purchase (which may mean awkwardly fessing up to the buyer). Full help in our Christmas return rights guide. Here's the key info...
- You've certain rights by law, eg, if something is faulty. If it doesn't work, you're due a refund. The same usually applies if the buyer bought online, provided you/they alert the retailer within 14 days of receipt and return it within another 14 days. Yet you've no legal rights for non-faulty stuff bought in store.
- But many stores go further. They often allow you to return non-sale items in good condition for about one month after purchase, whatever the reason, though you may need to settle for an exchange or store credit.
- 'The 1p savings challenge paid for our new carpets.' Can you do it in 2022? MSE Molly and her boyfriend have been doing the 1p savings challenge this year (where you save 1p on 1 January, 2p on 2 January and so on) and had saved enough by December to pay for their new carpets. See Molly's 1p savings challenge explainer to hopefully inspire you for 2022.