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Weekly Email
This email was sent
21st Jan 2015
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

"Hi. This free, spam free weekly email is the key way to save. We put all the latest deals, guides and loopholes in, yet many close within hours. Don't miss out, join the 12m who get it each week."

21 January 2015

This week

Pensioner Bonds: the secrets that they don't tell you
Get £30 M&S vch on 19mth 0% card
Don't fall for Brit Gas & Scot Power 5% cuts - you'll still overpay £200/yr
Hot home insurance deals
Free UK parcel delivery code
Tesco, Waitrose & Aldi deals
Ends Thur: Pay £260 for 18mth b'band & get £90 Boots/Argos vch
£55 Thorntons chocs hamper £18
£45 photo canvas £16 delivered
'LEGEND - I shifted £11,000 debt from 30% to 0% via eligibility calc'
EE customer? Are you due a refund
£5 Asos dresses, £20 Converse
Warning: Spot HMRC fakes
Pay £10, get £20 Tesco voucher and access to £9.50 Sun holidays
£10 snow boots & £10 M&S dine-in
Poundland £2 off £12, Boden 15% off, H&M 10% off and more
Free A Place in the Sun Live tix
£10-£40 West End theatre tix
10% off Crabtree & Evelyn code
Top 10 health & fitness apps
Free up to 7-day gym passes
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs
Tell Treasury your views on Budget

MARTIN'S QUICK BRIEFING: For more tips, alerts & awful puns, follow Martin on Twitter

Save £1,000+ in a day
A crash course in how to give yourself a money makeover

The savings from examining if you can save on every element of your finances can be huge. There are two ways to do it, and it's January so let's give it a go.

- A financial blitz
: Take a day and treat it like a job, or a day's work. Many can save £1,000+/yr doing this. And if so, then unless you earn £470,000+ pre-tax (see our income tax calc), it'll be your best paid day of the year.

- A slow burn:
Here you do the big and easy stuff now, then through the year each time you get a bill, try and cut it. I of course prefer the blitz - here's how.

07:45. While singing in the shower, ask the 'water bills' question. Save up to £500. Live in Eng or Wales? Ask: "Does my home have more or the same no of bedrooms as people?" If yes, it's likely you'll save by fitting a water meter. So use a water bills calculator. As Andy emailed us: "Before water meter = £54 a month x 10 months. After water meter = £48 a quarter, £348 saved a year."

save a grand08:00. Energy call centres open now - check if your OLD supplier owes you cash. Reclaim up to £600. If you've switched energy in the last five years your old provider may still owe you credit, as many operated a 'don't ask, don't get' policy.

So call them up and ask - full help & numbers in Reclaim Old Energy Credit. As Sarah emailed us: "I switched energy to a new provider and assumed my account with the old provider would be closed and settled. It hadn't and after reading the MSE email I chased and got back £697."

08:15. Check if you'll be accepted for a 0% card to slash your debt costs. Save up to £1,000. Now you're awake enough, let's do a big and easy one. If you've got debts on a credit card, use our 0% balance transfer eligibility calc to see which top cards are most likely to accept you and let you shift your credit card debts to them to slash costs. (New to balance transfers? Watch Martin's ITV show from last Friday for a run-through.)

Top pick 0% 'new cardholder' balance transfer deals
Find the card you're most likely to get with our ELIGIBILITY CALC
Card 0% intro offer One-off fee (1) Rep APR after
Barclaycard* longest-ever 0% 35mths (2) 2.49% (3) 18.9%
Halifax* longest if shifting from Barclaycard 34mths (2) 2.8% (3) 18.9%
Lloyds* long 0%, lower fee 28mths (2) 1.5% 18.9%
Santander* longest NO-fee 0% 15mths None 18.9%
Halifax* 2nd longest no-fee 0% 13mths (2) None 18.9%
1) % of amount transferred. 2) Some get a shorter 0%. 3) You pay a higher fee initially & it refunds the difference.

Full info and more options in Best Balance Transfers (APR examples) - and if you are doing this, always follow the golden rules...

a) Repay at least the set monthly min, or you can lose special rates.
b) Always clear the card or shift again before the 0% ends, or rates jump.
c) Don't spend/withdraw cash on them. That's not at the cheap rate.
d) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool.

08:30. Are you dressed yet? Do you (did you) wear a uniform? Reclaim up to £300. OK, get out of those PJs. If you wear (or wore) a uniform to work, and wash it yourself, you may be due a lower tax bill. As forumite Jinx80 wrote: "I rang the tax office and I'm getting a £60/year rebate for the last 4 years. Really chuffed." Full help & templates: Uniform Tax Rebates.

09:00. Save £230+ on your energy bills in 310 seconds. We're giving this 15 minutes, but it should be far quicker. We used a stopwatch to time four newbies to the MSE Towers team using the Cheap Energy Club - the quickest took 202s, the longest 376s. The avg was 310s with a £226 saving. See Don't let BG price cuts fool you info below for the latest deals.

09:15. Prepared to get serious? Give yourself a financial assessment. Switch off Jeremy Kyle (though turn it back on for This Morning, I may be on). It's time to find out if you spend more than you earn.

To do this, gather your bank & credit card statements, and plug your finances into our Budget Analyser. It'll take you through how to check everything and see if you've overspent. To inspire you: Watch others 'press the button'.

11:00. Time for a free tea or coffee. Get a daily free Waitrose tea or coffee.

11:15. Hit the phone to haggle broadband, digital TV, breakdown cover. Companies often raise prices each year hoping you'll do nowt. If you like the service and don't want to switch, the alternative is to haggle - this is best done near your contract's end.

The powerhouse trick is to threaten to leave so you get put through to disconnections, known internally as 'customer retentions', as its job is to keep you. In our recent poll, 86% of Sky and 84% of AA customers who tried to haggle succeeded. For help see our How to Haggle guide.

Dave emailed us: "My Sky renewal price went from £60 to £94. I followed your haggling tips and got the same package for £405 less."

12:15. Spend a penny. It's been more than an hour since that free tea and coffee. If you think there's no way to save here, see cutting loo paper use.

12:20. Check if you're being ripped off on car insurance. Save up to £1,000. Price hikes are predicted, so everyone should check now. If you're not at renewal, and can make big savings, provided you've not claimed you can oft get a full rebate on your existing policy for a c.£50 admin fee.

Our Cheap Car Insurance guide has full help. Yet at speed... combine comparison sites to get a wide spread - our current order's: 1) MoneySup* 2) Confused* 3) CompMarket - then check Direct Line*, Aviva* and Zurich that they miss, plus Admiral Multicar* if you've more than one car in the home.

As Becky emailed us: "My renewal cost was £895.89 but I managed to get another deal for £357. That's a saving of about £538. I am very grateful."
There are a host of other tricks to slash prices too. See Cheap Car Insurance & Cheap Young Drivers' Insurance for more.

13:00. Lunchtime - gnaw down your food bills. Save £1,000+. Rummage through your fridge, cupboards or even larder to check how many top-end or manufacturers' brands there are. Lots? The Downshift Challenge Tool could chop £850 a year off a £100 weekly shop. Plus see 30 Food Shopping Tricks. Once finished, grab some lunch and take a breather.

14:00. Overpaying on your mortgage? Save £1,000s. Mortgage rates are plummeting and fixed-rate mortgages are still at or close to historic lows, but there's concern they'll rise soon. Everyone should check their rate now and see what's out there. Here's where to get the info.

1) Free MSE Remortgage Guide: Instant PDF | Order Printed.
2) Benchmark top rates with the MSE Mortgage Best Buys tool.

Sarah emailed us: "I saved £500/mth by remortgaging to a new 5-year fix, saving £30k in 5 years. It took time, but the effort paid off."

14:45. Are you due £1,000s back? Time for a reclaim sesh. Save £100 - £20,000. Many people have unknowingly had money taken from them. Never assume "it's not me"...

1) Check your tax code.
If you're an employee or pensioner, your tax code dictates what tax you pay and millions are wrong. Use our free Tax Code Calc to check. As Nina found: "I checked and found the taxman owed me £1,300 and I'll be £160 a month better off. Thank you."

2) Got or had a loan, credit or store card, etc?
Many had PPI added even if they said no. There are billions more to be paid out. See our Reclaim PPI for Free guide. As Barry emailed: "I followed your advice, used the template and just received a cheque for £17,900."

3) Had bank charges when in financial hardship? If you had charges for going beyond your limit you may be able to reclaim bank charges. As Rick tweeted us: "I followed your advice re bank charges for my brother who lost his job - he got £252 paid into his account. Thank you."

4) Pay (or paid) a monthly fee for your bank account? Many people were sold extras that weren't valid, see if you can reclaim bank fees. As Cheryl tweeted us: "Had nearly £3,000 in packaged bank account fees refunded this morning thanks to @MartinSLewis and @MoneySavingExp."

5) Had a flight delay of more than 3hrs in the last 6 years? This one isn't a reclaim, it's a fixed amount of compensation. See our Flight Delays/Cancellation guide. As Eilidh emailed us: "I was delayed for 4 hours in St Lucia. I followed your step-by-step guide and used your helpful templates and within 2 months we were given €1,200 compensation."

15:45. The school run - beware potholes. Save £100s. If your car or bike's been crocked by a pothole, you can try to claim the repair cost from the authority responsible. See Pothole Claims.

16:15. Free £125 (or 3% interest) for switching your bank account. Save £100s. Switching your current account takes just 7 working days - all direct debits & standing orders are moved for you and payments to your old account are auto-forwarded. Full info in Best Bank Accounts.

- Free £125 & top customer service: 92% of people rate First Direct* as great and it currently pays new switchers £125 (normally £100). It also has a linked 6% regular savings account and a £250 0% overdraft. You need to pay in £1,000/mth to qualify (for most it just means pay salary in).

- Up to 3% savings interest, 3% cashback on bills.
Santander 123* pays 3% AER if you've £3k-£20k in it. There's a £2/mth fee but for many that's covered by the 1%-3% cashback on bills. As Mike commented on Facebook: "I've had the Santander 123 account for nearly 18 months and even with the £2 per month I've got nearly £900 in interest and cashback."

16:45. Grab a diary and fill it in - don't pay the lazy tax. This is perhaps the most important thing you'll do today. Grab your diary & go through all products with timed elements - eg, car insurance renewal, 0% cards, broadband & mobile contracts and more. Put a note in a month before each one ends to ditch & switch.

17:15. Hungry for more? These are just a selection of things to do. See 40+ Money Makeover Tips and Stop Spending guides.

17:30. If you've finished, spread the savings word. I put all the new ways to save and new deals in this email. If you read it each week, you should never be overspending. So why not take five minutes to suggest to friends and family they get it too? They can sign up to the free weekly email here.

20:00. No one to go out with? Try free online dating. Save £100s. January is the busiest time of year for online dating, yet it can be tough to sort the good from the bad, ugly and downright strange. Try out the top MoneySaving dating sites in our online dating guide.

PS. New. The Martin Lewis Money Roadshow, ITV1, Fri 8pm - flight delays, ISAs, energy & power of attorney. This week it's all about the latest flight delays info plus ISA tips, energy price cuts, and how to protect your family if you lose your faculties.  Watch last week's credit card cost-cutting special.

Blagged for MoneySavers

Did you miss?

Get constantly cheap energy
Our club ensures you're always on the cheapest tariff.
Join free: Cheap Energy Club
Reclaim PPI for FREE
Claims handlers aren't more successful.
Free help & templates: Reclaim PPI

MSE News

Top story: Financial watchdog wants banks to help savers 'shop around'
Bankruptcy threshold to be raised from £750 to £5,000
Energy switching slashed to 17 days for some
Problems paying your bills? New campaign launched to help
Get friends on board the MoneySaving bandwagon
If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 21 Jan 2015
Pensioner Bonds 4% over-65 savings - what they don't tell you
They smash standard best buys, but which to choose? Can under-65s access them? And can you get your cash out?

Late last week the Govt launched its pre-election bribe to over-65s via its savings arm NS&I - the 65+ Guaranteed Growth Bonds (aka Pensioner Bonds). Promptly its site form crashed & phone lines hit gridlock, causing much angst as sadly it isn't selling them via the Post Office. Our Pensioner Bonds guide has full pros & cons & analysis. In short...

  • Pensioner BondsThe basics. The NS&I Pensioner Bonds are just fixed-rate savings for those who've had their 65th birthday:

    - You can put up to £10,000 in the 1yr bond at 2.8% (you'd earn £280 pre-tax after the year) AND up to £10,000 in the 3yr bond at 4% (you'd earn £1,250 pre-tax after 3 yrs).
    - If you need to withdraw early, you can, but you'll lose 90 days' interest if you do.
    - You pay normal savings tax on interest (eg, 20% for basic rate payers). Non-taxpayers can reclaim tax once the interest is paid (you can't use the standard R85 form).
  • What they don't tell you. To make these accounts work best for you, follow these rules...

    a) If you can only do one - do the 3yr.
    The bond pricing is rather strange. Put cash in the 3yr bond and withdraw after a year and you lose 90 days' interest, but that's still an effective rate of 3.01%, beating the 1yr. See 1yr v 3yr.
    b) How to use it for income. Strangely, as many pensioners use savings to generate income, these bonds just add interest annually. However, there is a trick to get round this - see Use pensioner bonds for monthly income.
    c) The bonds aren't for all pensioners. They're for over-65s. Many women claim the state pension before 65 but that won't entitle you to these. To be fair to NS&I, it calls these '65+ Guaranteed Growth Bonds'.
    d) They could sell out in weeks. Over £1.15bn of the £10bn has gone already, and demand is huge. NS&I is playing this down to reduce web strain, but we think there's a big chance they'll be gone in weeks. To be safe, apply now.
  • I'm too young, can I give my parents/grandparents cash to save? The terms say people must save "for their own benefit" and bonds "can't be purchased by one person on behalf of another". So in the strict sense, no. Some do this with 'no strings attached' gifts but there are risks. See full Can I use my parents' pensioner bonds? info.
  • What are the nearest equivalents if I'm not entitled to Pensioner Bonds? There's Santander 123 paying 3% on £3k - £20k, you can save tax-free in an up to 2.25% fixed cash ISA or 2.51% fixed savings. See full top savings, or if you're prepared to up the risk slightly for potential returns of up to 6%, consider Peer-to-Peer Savings.

Free UK parcel delivery and cheap world delivery via £10 off code. Parcel2Go has a £10 off code (no min spend) for newbies. It uses Parcelforce, UPS, TNT, FedEx & more. If your delivery is £10 or less, as many smaller UK parcels are, it's free - perfect for returning unwanted Xmas gifts. If it's more, eg, £20 to France, it's £10. Book by 27 Jan. Parcel2Go

Supermarket discounts - switch one shop to save... Spend £60 then use our Tesco Code (newbies only) for 1,500 bonus Tesco points (worth up to £60)
Aldi: Buy the Daily Mirror or the Daily Record (both 55p) on Thu and get a voucher for £5 off £40 at Aldi. Aldi £15 off your first spend (min £100), £20 off 2nd Waitrose. See all codes available.

Ends Thur. Pay £260 for 18mths line rent AND b’band & get £90 Argos/Boots etc vch. MSE Blagged. If you'd spend at these stores anyway, factor that in, it’s just £9.35/mth (if you pay a year of line rent upfront). TalkTalk

Thorntons Xmas hamper clearance - £55 hamper £18. We've got a 20% code for 6 hampers that are already 50%-60% off. Eg, its £55 hamper is down to £18. See Choco-late deals

Free £30 M&S voucher with top 19mth 0% borrowing card
It's a top card if you need to borrow. If not, just buy an apple to get the voucher, which is valid for food & wine

Sign up for a credit card, get accepted, spend a penny and it gives a freebie - booyakasha - then forget it. Or, if you need to borrow it's a decent 0% card in its own right, but don't borrow willy-nilly, only for planned, budgeted expenditure.

  • M&S voucher New. 19mth 0% with £30 M&S voucher. Accepted new M&S credit card* (eligibility calc) holders applying by 28 Feb via this specific link can spend on the card for 19mths interest-free (18.9% rep APR after). With no annual fee, it's one of the market's longest 0% borrowing cards.

    - Free voucher & M&S points.
    Spend just 1p or more by 31 March and you'll be emailed a £30 M&S food voucher (no min spend) by 30 April, valid till 31 May on food, wine and flowers - so if you don't need it to borrow with, just make the spend and pay it off. Also you earn 1 M&S point, worth a penny in stores, per £1 spent in M&S, and per £2 elsewhere.

    - How good is the 0% deal? It's only a month shorter than Clydesdale's* (eligibility calc) & Halifax's* (eligibility calc) market-leading 20mths 0% (both are 18.9% rep APR after). Full info and options (incl longer for Santander 123 customers) in 0% cards (APR examples).
  • 0% spending cards golden rules. If you're borrowing, it's not just about the card length, it's how you use it.

    a) Always plan what you need to borrow (be careful), minimise it and ensure you can cover repayments.
    b) Pay at least the monthly min and keep within your credit limit, or you risk losing the 0% deal.
    c) Don't just apply in hope, that marks your credit file. Use our 0% Eligibility Calc to find your best chance first.
    d) Aim to clear the card (or at least balance transfer it) before the 0% ends or the rate jumps.
    e) Don't withdraw cash - it's not usually at the cheap rate and can hit your credit score.

£45 photo canvas for £16 delivered. MSE Blagged. 40 x 40cm personalised canvas, great for Valentine's. Picanova

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"LEGEND. Used the eligibility calculator and was successful getting a 35 month 0% balance transfer card. I shifted £11,000 from a 29.9% credit card. I'm in shock thinking of the money saved. Thanks Martin."
We thought we'd help do the sums. If you cleared the debt in 35 mths, you'd be £4,610 up from the switch.

Current or former EE or T-Mobile customers - are you due a share of £1m refund? Many were wrongly charged VAT for data roaming outside Europe and are due £2-£80 refunds. Check if you're owed. EE refunds

£5 Asos dresses, £19 Kurt Geiger shoes, £20 Converse. Jan sales now boosted. Limited stock, sale bargains.

WARNING. HMRC emails tax reminders, but rebate emails are scams. Spot the difference: HMRC fakes.

Pay £10, get £20 Tesco vch and access £9.50 Sun hols without tokens. See our Deals Hunters' Sun trick.

Don't fall for British Gas & Scot Power's 5% cuts - you'll still overpay £200+/yr
These trivial price cuts risk giving many false confidence they're on a good deal. They're not. Don't be fooled

BG and Scottish Power say in late Feb - once the high-use time's over - they'll cut their variable tariffs (incl prepay and Fix & Fall) by 5%-ish, shaving £30-£40/yr off typical bills for those on standard tariffs; but that's still £230/yr more than the cheapest deals. So do a top fix comparison and you'll be switched, slicing your rate before their cuts even hit.

Top picks (based on typical usage - varies by region)
TO APPLY FOR THESE: Do a comparison to find YOUR actual price then apply & get £30 dual fuel cashback
Avg 'big six' standard tariff paid by direct debit (after price cuts) £1,170
Fixed until Exit fee Cost/yr
V cheap & strong cust feedback (82% great)
Ovo 12 mths £30/fuel £920
Low exit fees, decent feedback (53% great)
E.on 12 mths £5/fuel £923
Cheap LONG fix with NO exit fees (55% great)
EDF Blue+ Fixed Price 31 Jan 17 None £1,054
Source: MoneySup. All monthly direct debit, dual fuel, unless stated. Customer feedback from our Dec '14 poll.
  • New. Top cheap energy fixes. The real price war is firms wanting to top the table of cheap one-year fixed rate switchers' deals (ie, with no price hikes).

    Four charge c.£920/yr for typical use (see table, right). We prefer Ovo for top service or E.on for decent service and low exit fees. We've limited service feedback for Extra Energy and not-so-good for First Utility.
  • Find your cheapest, switch, get £30 cashback. Never just switch, use our Cheap Energy Club top fix comparison for bespoke prices, showing if and how much you'll save (it depends on use and postcode). You also get £30 (£15/fuel) cashback you won't get if you go direct.

    Switch via Cheap Energy Club, and we'll alert you when your tariff's no longer cheap. FULL info & cashback options in Cheap Gas & Elec. Here are three need-to-knows:

    1) If you're on a key or card meter you can still compare, switch & save. See Cheap Prepayment Meters.
    2) To get the lowest price pay by monthly direct debit, then ensure you give regular meter readings.
    3) We normally favour lower "no exit fees". Yet if savings from the cheapest outweigh these, it's a small issue.
  • Will others follow suit? Martin's prediction: As the big six energy firms are like sheep, I expect the remaining three to shave prices down a touch too (E.on also cut prices last week), but nothing compared to the 20-30% cuts in wholesale prices.

    The cheap fix price war will continue to shave down the price - next week we hope to launch the MSE Big Switch Event II, a collective switch which may undercut these deals. Holding out for that can mean that you will have a week more on higher bills though, so it's a balance.

£10 snow boots, £10 M&S dine-in, £10 blankets, £10 coats. Keep toasty with our winter warmers round-up.

CODES/VOUCHERS: Boden 15% off, Ernest Jones extra 10% off sale, H&M 10% off etc
Boden 15% off + free del code | Ernest Jones extra 10% off sale code MSE Blagged | H&M 10% off code/vch
LivingSocial 10% off code | Burton £10 off £40 code/vch | Poundland £2 off £12 vch | See ALL codes & vouchers

20,000 FREE tix to A Place in the Sun Live show (Ldn & Manc) norm £11. 10,000 for Manchester (3-15 Mar) and 10,000 for London (8-10 May). An overseas property exhibition based on the TV show. See A Place in the Sun.

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
35mths 0%, 2.49% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

No fee 0%: Santander*
15mths 0%, no fee

(18.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Cahoot* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.9% rep APR

M&S Bank* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.6% rep APR

Post Office 1.5% AER
Min £100, incl bonus
Postal. Transfers allowed

Coventry BS 2.25% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till Nov 2018

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples
Home insurance deals comparisons miss - incl £80 Amazon vch
Always start with a comparison, but as they exclude some hot deals, our aim is to make sure you don't

Whether protecting a palace, covering your cottage or securing your semi (detached), there is no single cheapest insurer. Instead it's about using the right system. Our Cheap Home Insurance guide builds the full info, here are the foundations:

  • Home insuranceGet the right cover - don't over- or under-insure. There are two elements...

    Buildings - normally for freeholders. You don't need to cover your home's market value, just the lower cost of rebuilding it if it's knocked down. Rebuild calc.

    - for all. Many under-insure thinking "I'd never claim £10,000". Yet cover £20k of stuff for £10k, then claim for a £2k sofa, and you may only get £1k. Contents calc.
  • Never auto-renew. Start by combining comparison sites. Many people just auto-renew, allowing insurers to subtly boost prices. It's always worth a quick check. To get max quotes in min time COMBINE comparison sites as they don't all cover the same insurers. Our current order is 1) Confused* 2) Compare TM 3) GoCompare*.
  • Then home in on the hot deals comparisons miss. For some these win, for others not, but everyone should check. As @eddwhaite tweeted us: "Just saved £150/yr through your site + got £70 Amazon vouchers. Thank you."

    Then there are the two big firms, Direct Line* and Aviva*, that aren't on comparison sites. Check them. We've also these MSE Blagged deals for new combined buildings and contents policies (vouchers arrive within 90 days). PS, if you use ad or cookie-blocking software, turn it off or there can be voucher tracking issues.

    - Get £80 Amazon vch with Policy Expert. If you buy via this Policy Expert* link until 31 Jan.
    - Get £80 M&S vch (£40 contents only) with Age UK. If you buy via this Age UK* link until 31 Jan.
    - Get £70 cash plus £10 Amazon vch with L&G. If you buy via this L&G* link using the code MSEJAN15 until 31 Jan you get £70 cash loaded on a Pockit Mastercard & a £10 Amazon vch.

Reminder. £10-£40 tickets to 70 Jan/Feb West End theatre shows. Incl Ghost stories (£10), Wicked (£20), Lion King (£30) & Les Mis (£20). Ends soon, so go quick. Get Into London Theatre

10% off EVERYTHING at Crabtree & Evelyn code. MSE Blagged. Incl sale items. Ends Sun. C&E beauty deals

Top 10 free fitness apps. MSE Anthony's on a New Year health kick, putting apps through their paces to see if you really can get fitter and shed pounds without spending a penny. Deals Hunters blog

Reminder: FREE gym passes. Eg, 7-day British Military Fitness, 3-day LA Fitness. See the full Cheap Gyms guide.

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines

Compare, get £30 dual fuel cashback & alerts if your deal's no longer cheap. Go via the free MSE Cheap Energy Club Top Pick Fixes Comparison.

The savings can be huge. Someone with typical dual fuel usage on a big 6 standard tariff pays £1,180 a year, the cheapest deal's £919.

First Direct*
£125 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get quotes in this order...*
Compare The Market
Direct Line*

Direct Save Telecom*
with weekend calls
£11/mth (pay a yr upfront)

Post Office
with weekend calls
£12/mth (pay a yr upfront)

Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner MSE car sticker £13 Travel Insurance
Show Vouchers and Top Deals

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
Show Money Saving Community
The MoneySaving Community

Tell the Treasury what you want to see in the Budget.
On 18 Mar, the Chancellor will reveal his plans for the economy and the Government wants your input on. All original and innovative ideas are welcome - but please keep them practical and polite. Take the survey or email your views by 13 Feb, and let us know in the Budget Brainstorm discussion.

Should I give my children money when I sell their things?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I often sell games, electronics and toys my children have stopped using. In particular, after each Christmas I have a cull to make space for their new stuff. Should I give them the money I raise or should I keep it? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I give my children money when I sell their things? | Suggest an MMD | Past MMDs

Cheeky ways to get free wi-fi
We want to tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge on the boldest ways you get online while out. Do you stand outside a restaurant you've been to, to pick up its wi-fi? Ever dropped in on a mate when you just needed to check Facebook? How brazen are you and what tips do you have for others? Share yours/read others': Cheeky free wi-fi Past topics: View all

Airline: Jet2* Offer: 10% off all flights Ends: Tue 3 Feb
Our pick this week is Jet2's* 10% off all flights sale, which ends Tue 3 Feb. Each passenger gets 10% off the cost of any flight (includes taxes, but excludes some charges and extras) between 29 Mar 2015 and 30 Apr 2016. Jet2 flies from seven UK airports to over 50 European destinations. There is no code to enter, the discount appears automatically. Excludes group bookings (10+ people). Extra charges warning: Avoid payment and check-in charges - see the Budget Airline Fee Fighting guide. Related: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance

How to trim your tummy without trimming your bank account

We asked for your top tips on getting in shape without spending a fortune. You said second-hand DVDs are a cheaper alternative to gym glasses, and that free workouts can also be found on YouTube.
Other forumites recommended apps that count calories and track activity, walking (also a great MoneySaving tip) and organised groups such as Parkrun.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

21 January
Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.40am and 8.10am
Money Diet Special
22 January
Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.40am
Deals of the Week
23 January
This Morning, time TBC
Martin's 90 Second Savers

The Martin Lewis Money Show,
ITV, 8pm
Flight delays and power of attorney
26 January
This Morning, time TBC
Subject TBC

Radio 5 Live, 12pm-1pm
Consumer Panel
Subscribe to podcast

MSE team corner

Discussion of the week

'No presents please' wedding invite?

It's common for people to set up home together before they say 'I do'. So it's no surprise to get a wedding invitation saying the couple don't want presents. Join the 'No presents please' discussion and share your ideas for alternatives.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 129.66 116.69
US Flag $ 150.16 135.14
Turkish Flag TL 340.00 298.70
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: How do you rate your home phone and broadband provider?

We can tell you which providers are cheapest, but to find out if their service is any good, we need your help. So twice a year we ask you to tell us about your customer service experiences.

Please rate your provider(s) on customer service (not price) over the past SIX MONTHS. Options include...

If your provider's not listed above, check the full list and vote.

Poll results

What have you already bought for next Christmas?
It may not be that long ago you were taking down the Christmas tree, but a surprising 71% of you snapped up something for Christmas 2015 in the January sales. These are the top five things you've been stocking up on:

- 63% bought cards/wrapping paper
- 27% bought crackers
- 19% bought decorations
- 9% bought a Christmas jumper
- 6% bought a Christmas tree

8,923 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: How important is it to provide your middle name when opening an account? Can I just not bother about the middle name, even if I'm on the electoral roll with it? Does it have any effect on my credit score? Carl, by email.

MSE Eesha’s A: You need to be consistent in the name and address you give official bodies and institutions, otherwise a credit reference agency may not be able to pull together all your credit information, and this could have an effect on your chances of getting credit.

Credit reference agencies may not be able to find you or may only find part of your record, therefore compiling an incomplete picture. And if they miss positive info, it could harm your chances of getting credit. See our credit scores guide for more information.

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

 MSE Nick's free game of the week: Awesome Pirates

Would you invoice a birthday party no-show?

That's it for this week, but before we go, what would you do if you were sent a £15 invoice because your child couldn't make a birthday party? This is what happened when one five-year old missed a dry ski slope party. Do you think it's completely bonkers? Or is it perfectly acceptable? Let us know over in the MSE forum.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

Important. Please read how works

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What you need to know

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Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with more than 10 million people getting this email and about 13 million using the site every month. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: saving cash and fighting for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 80 full time staff, more than a third of whom are editorial – researching, analysing and writing to continually find ways to save money. More info: See About MSE

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Martin set up and runs MSE, and still writes this email each week (unless it says so). He's an ultra-focused money-saving journalist and consumer campaigner with his own ITV prime-time show The Martin Lewis Money Show and weekly slots on Radio 5 Live, This Morning and Good Morning Britain, among others. He’s a columnist for publications including the Telegraph and Woman magazine. More info: See Martin Lewis' biography

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