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Weekly Email
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22nd Oct 2014
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 This info may be out of date.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."

22 October 2014

This week

50 Renting tips
0.99% mortgage
Hot, cheap, fast FIBRE b'band deal
20+ student loan mythbusters
Pet insurance going cheep
Tesco Wine 1,000 extra pts code
100 cheap/free kids half-term treats
ALL toys 25-50% off at Sainsbury's
Sky TV 50% off newbies codes
£8 photo mug for £3 incl delivery
Comparisons 'hide cheap tariffs' but MSE's Energy Club compares ALL
School uniform codes: 10% off BHS, £5 off £25 F&F, 10% off Debenhams
Extra 10% off past best-before food
CODES incl Molton Brown £10 off £20, D. Perkins & Burton 25% off
Tesco 1/2 price beauty gift set sale
"I got Hi-Tec boots for £34, saving £50+ via your weekly email"
8hr FLASH euro & dollar sale
Xmas Ideal Home Show 2for1 code
Free £7.50 cocktail/£4 lager at P&P
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs
Used sharing services like Airbnb?

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

The Renters' MoneySaving Checklist
You don't need a landlord's permission to save £100s

Rents are at record highs, averaging £770/mth in Eng and Wales, so we've 50+ Renting Tips to help keep costs down. With house prices up too, now averaging £190,000, this is likely to fuel rental demand. Here's a taster...

1. Renters have the right to switch and save on energy bills. If you pay the gas & electricity bill directly (not via your landlord), you're entitled to switch. Some landlords may say you do need permission in your tenancy agreement, but Ofgem says that isn't correct.

If you're in dispute, print out and show them our landlord energy switching fact sheet. The only exception is where you are changing something physical in the house, eg, switching from a prepaid (key or card) meter to a credit meter - then you will need permission.

To find the cheapest tariff, whether you're on a standard meter or prepaid, use our MSE Cheap Energy Club Comparison to compare across the market and see how much you can save. It can also estimate usage for you.
2. Cut your rent by 60% if you're willing to be a property guardian. For singles & couples with flexibility, in exchange for cheap rent, you can babysit empty properties to deter squatters - these can be private homes, fire stations, churches or schools, etc.

For inspiration, check out forumite MissFox1973's story: "My boyfriend and I were guardians for a huge country estate for eight months. Good points were cheap rent and incredible location. Bad were limited security, and being at the mercy of the property owner."

The cost averages £250/mth (£350/mth in London), so if you fancy getting a monastery or mansion to live in see Property Guardians.
3. Renting tips Grab cheap contents insurance. Renters only need to consider contents, not buildings, cover for their home. This insures the things that'd fall if you turned your home upside down - use a contents calculator to see how much to cover.

Full help in Cheap Home Insurance - in short:

- Only you/your family live in the home?' Combine* & Compare The Market* to bag the max quotes in min time, then check Aviva* and Direct Line*, which they miss.

- If you live in a house- or flat-share. Getting cover can be tricky (a lock on your personal room helps). While*, Gocompare* & MoneySup* say they provide flatshare quotes, be careful as sometimes they return quotes that exclude sharers. If you are struggling, specialist insurer Home Protect* may be able to help or use BIBA to find a local broker.
4. Are you paying the right council tax? If you live alone you are entitled to a 25% discount, so notify the council, plus students don't count for council tax purposes. So if it's a student-only home there's no council tax - if it's a student and a non-student there's the 25% sole occupancy discount. See council tax discounts info.

- The tricky 'student with a non-student' scenario. The bill is the responsibility of the non-student, so there's a tricky question of how to split the bill - which is 75% of the full charge. My solution is this...

If the student was with another student they'd pay nowt - and if the non-student was with another non-student they'd pay 50% of the full charge. So split the 25% difference - the student pays 12.5%, the other 62.5%.

Extra tip: Up to 400,000 homes in England & Scotland are in the wrong council tax bands - but in 10 minutes you can check 'n' challenge yours for free, even if you rent. If it's wrong you could claim back cash from 1993 - but courtesy dictates you tell your landlord first. See: Check & Challenge Council Tax
5. Furnish for FREE - sofas, beds, TVs & more. If you've gone unfurnished or part-furnished, online giveaway sites can help you for nowt. Some top-quality goodies are available daily for free from web communities such as Freegle & Freecycle.

Forumite Pippilongstocking says: "We're a single parent family and have had lots of goodies from Freecycle, including a chest freezer, a sofa bed, various plants, two chooks and a Warhammer. And we've donated a table, telly, bits of bikes, football boots and a couple of other random things." For full help to make the best of it see our How to use giveaway sites tips.

Alternatively, try getting stuff cheap on eBay. Our local deals mapper finds bargains in your local area ready for pick-up, meaning they're cheaper and subject to fewer bids. Search now: Local eBay Deals Mapper.
6. Ensure your landlord is playing their part. They're responsible for...

(i) Buildings insurance
(ii) Fire alarms, plug sockets, wiring and electricals
(iii) Furniture they've provided - it needs to pass a fire safety certificate
(iv) A safe and working boiler and a gas safety certificate (checks annually)
(v) General upkeep so it's in a safe and liveable standard - they don't have to colour walls bright pink if that's your taste.

If these aren't done, ask your local council's environmental health department for help. It must take action if problems cause harm/nuisance.

Extra tip: If you want to make changes get their permission even for minor things like putting up shelves or repainting. If not, you will need to redecorate when you leave. Don't get hammer-happy putting pictures up - it destroys walls and deposits. Forumites recommend specially-designed picture strips to hold up pics without using damaging nails.
7. Check if your deposit is protected - it must be. By law, private landlords must put money into a Govt-backed deposit protection scheme for tenants who moved in from 6 April 2007 in Eng & Wales, but only if you've got the most common type of tenancy, called an 'assured shorthold tenancy' - it should say this on the contract. If unsure, use Shelter's tenancy checker.

The money is held by the scheme so it's far easier to get it back, and if there's a dispute, there's a free arbitration service. The penalty for a landlord failing to comply with its decision is up to three times the deposit, though this is rare. See Is Your Deposit Protected? for full info incl what to do if it isn't.
8. Letting fees can be perverse and nasty. Renters can be hit by huge and unfair fees. Some reported to us include £120 for permission to buy a dog or £60 for photocopying a contract.

Since November 2013, all letting agencies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should include all upfront fees in their ads. There are no regulations on what these charges actually are, but for (limited) options including the various ways to complain, see Fight Unfair Fees.
9. You needn't let your landlord in without warning & more quick tips.

- Landlords must give 24 hours' notice to enter. You can get help from Citizens Advice or the police (if threatened) if not. See: How to vet the landlord
- Take photos so you're not stung on the inventory. Whether highlighting defects or just to prove what's there. Inventory help
- It's one TV licence per tenancy agreement. Joint tenants can share one, but if you've your own tenancy you need your own. TV licence rules
- Renters can switch to a water meter. It might be cheaper if there are more or the same number of bedrooms as people - if you've lived there over 6 months you don't need the landlord's permission. Water meters
- Change your address when moving or risk fines. Don't forget your driving licence, council tax, HMRC, your employer, electoral register, bank accounts, credit cards & more. Change address checklist
10. Check if you're eligible for rental help. If you're on a low income and struggling to pay rent, see if you qualify for housing benefit/grants. In social housing it reduces your bill, in private rents you get cash.

First read our housing benefit info and then take some time to do the full 10 min benefits check up to see your full entitlement.

These are just the tip of the iceberg, see the full 50 tips for renters for more.

Blagged for MoneySavers

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MSE News

Top story: Regulator rejects our calls to reopen CPP redress scheme
Sky customers to be hit with line rental price hikes
Halifax glitch leaves some bank accounts off credit files
Beware split tariff mobile contracts if you're about to apply for credit
Don't underinsure your household belongings, Ombudsman warns
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Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 22 Oct 2014

PS Remember clocks go back at 2am this Sunday... (an extra hour in bed unless you've young kids)

Cheapest EVER new mortgage rate - 0.99% variable for 2yrs
Mortgage rates have dropped - in some cases to all-time lows. Check now if you can slash your home loan costs

The amount lenders pay for cash to lend to us often depends on 'swap rates' - recently these have plummeted. On offer now is what's believed to be the lowest-ever new mortgage rate (big fee though). Top mortgage nerd Ray Boulger of John Charcol says: "Lenders have catching up to do. There's a strong chance we'll soon see 5-yr fixes challenging the lowest ever."

Best Buy Mortgages Selection - Rates at or near all-time lows
ALWAYS find YOUR OWN bespoke best buys - use our mortgage comparison tool
Lender LTV (i) Type of deal Current rate Cost/yr during deal on £150k (ii) Admin fee SVR (rate after fix ends) (iii) Overall APR (if you never switch)
Discounted variable / tracker deals
HSBC 60% 2.95% off SVR for 2yrs 0.99% £7,780 £1,999 3.94% 3.6%
N&P 65% Base rate + 0.94% for 2yrs 1.44% £7,325 £345 4.99% 4.5%
Fixed-rate deals
N&P 65% 2yr fix 1.89% £7,635 £195 4.99% 4.6%
West Brom 75% Fixed till 31/12/2019 3.14% £8,790 £599 3.99% 3.9%
Post Office 80% Fixed till 31/12/2019 3.33% £9,040 £995 4.49% 4.2%
Yorkshire BS 90% Fixed til 31/10/2019 4.24% £9,940 £975 4.99% 4.8%
Check your budget so it's affordable - or as they say: "Your home may be repossessed if you don't keep up repayments." (i) Loan to value - the % of your house's value you borrow (ii) Fee spread across the deal period plus the repayments assuming 25yr term. (iii) Standard Variable Rate - set by the lender moves roughly in line with UK rates. Source: L&C Mortgages*.
  • Check your mortgage NOW. The UK base rate's low due to the gloomy economy, but is still predicted to rise - the current consensus is mid to late 2015. If so, variable rates will jump and fixing will get more costly. So with mortgage rates currently at or near all-time lows, check to see if you can save. Full help in the Free First-Time Buyers Printed Mortgage Guide: Instant PDF or Order Printed. Free Printed Remortgage Guide: Instant PDF or Order Printed.
  • Don't ignore fees. The smaller your mortgage, the bigger the impact of fees. On a £150k mortgage, that head-turning 0.99% deal with its £2,000 fee is beatable by higher-rate, lower-fee deals. Our Mortgage Comparison has the 'MSE Total Cost' assessment which incorporates both into the cost to help you compare.
  • Fix or variable rate? The advantage of a fix is you get price & budgeting certainty that the rate won't move for a set time - variable deals move with UK interest rates (and sometimes just at the provider's whim). Currently you pay a little more to fix, but not much. Ask yourself how much you think rates will rise over the period. Yet if safety's what counts for you err on the side of fixing, and fixing for longer. See full Fixed v Variable.
  • The Ultimate Mortgage Calc: The Ultimate Mortgage Calc includes the DitchMyFix calc, Overpay? calc & more.

Tesco Wine code - EXTRA 1,000 Clubcard pts (worth up to £40) on £60 spend. MSE Blagged. We've 5,000 avail for new & existing customers till Sun. Enter code XXMHNN at Tesco Wine*. Works on all wines incl 50% off. Points are worth £10 in stores, but can be converted into up to £40 of Tesco Boost. Full info: Wine Deals. Pls be Drinkaware.

100 free or cheap things to do with the kids this half-term. Eg, 2 free kids Shard tix with a grown-up (£25), cinema tickets £1.50, free tennis coaching, £10 book bundles, free kids' DIY classes. See 100 free/cheap half-term treats.

Forum Hottie. Sainsbury's ALL TOYS reduced by min 25% (some 50%). Starts Wed. Canny bargain hunters with kids wait for this each year. Eg, Fisher-Price, Lego, Barbie and LeapFrog. In stores only. Ends 28 Oct. Sainsbury's Toys

Sky TV 50% off + £50 vch newbies codes. MSE Blagged. 10,000 50% off codes (you can't have had Sky in last 12mths). Get now, use Fri 24 Oct-Thu 6 Nov. Plus get a £50 M&S or Tesco vch, or £50 credit on a prepaid Mastercard. Sky Codes

Urgent: £100 vch on very cheap fibre-optic 'superfast' b'band & line rental
If you want FAST speeds you need fibre or cable. Until Thur, grab £100 high st vch on already cheap deal

Fibre-optic broadband is designed to give high-end faster speeds - typically 42Mb on average, over five times as fast as standard 7.2Mb broadband. Of course you pay more, so it's best for heavy users. Currently you can get the cheapest (we can find) even cheaper...

  • Broadband dealEnds Thur. £100 Love2Shop voucher on hot, fibre-optic deal. TalkTalk newbies (inc those who left 12+ months ago), taking an 18 month contract via this specific TalkTalk* link, get the following deal (not avail if you're getting a new line):

    - Unlimited fibre broadband: This is avail to 60% of UK. It's £5/mth for a year, then £13.50/mth for the remaining 6mths. The speed is up to 38Mb - you'll be told your predicted speed before signing up and you can also test your current speed.
    - Compulsory line rent: It's cheapest to opt to pay £172.20 upfront for a year as part of the sign-up process (paid monthly it's £15.95/mth). For the last 6mths either pay £15.95/mth or choose to pay upfront for another year.
    - £100 Love2Shop voucher. Once the broadband's live, as soon as you log into your TalkTalk account to do anything, the voucher'll be sent (takes up to 28 days). Love2Shop can be used at Argos, Boots, Debenhams, etc. Though you WON'T get the voucher if you need a new line installed, eg, if switching from cable or in rare cases from other landlines (you'll be told during sign-up).
    - Call costs: No calls are included - they're priced a touch more than BT standard (though it has packages you can pay for to reduce costs). Make £50+ of calls in a month, and you can't make more till you bring what you owe in calls under £50.
    - You get a router but delivery is £5. Includes a compulsory router, but you must pay a one-off £5 for delivery.
    - 51% rate TalkTalk's service great. TalkTalk has had customer service problems from launch. Yet in our polls these days it's generally middle of the pack. In June, across home phone and broadband, 51% said 'great', 27% said 'OK' and 22% 'poor'. See poll.

    Analysis:†Over the 18mths pay broadband, £5 router and a year's line rent upfront (then monthly) and the total cost (excl calls) is £413.90 equiv to £22.99/mth†(pay line rent monthly, it's £433.10, equiv to £24.06/mth).Plus you get a £100 vch. If you'd spend that at Argos, Boots, etc, anyway, factor it in and it's effectively £313.90 equiv to just £17.44/mth†(paid monthly it's £333.10, equiv to £18.51/mth).
  • Pay £168 for a year and get £100 Amazon vch on standard broadband & line rent. If you don't need superfast, there's EE's £168 for a year and get a £100 Amzn voucher plus other 12mth contract b'band & line rent bundles (click link for more info & see Cheap Broadband for more options).

£8 personalised photo mug £1 with code (+£2 p&p). So £3 all in. Ends Mon, good for Xmas. Photo Deals

Energy comparisons 'hiding cheap tariffs' but MSE's Energy Club compares ALL. Comparison sites were under fire this week as their default results hide cheap deals that don't pay em. Yet our Cheap Energy Club has always shown ALL tariffs by default. You won't have read this in the papers, as the company that press-released this (which gets paid to organise collective switches) ignored it - and wrongly tried to blacken Martin's name. See Energy comparison sites hide cheapest tariffs news story and listen to the Ruck on 5 Live. PS, Next week we launch our own MSE collective switch...

School uniform discount codes...
10% off BHS from Sat | 10% off Debenhams incl on sale | £5 off £25 F&F PLUS 10% off £20. See cheap school uniform.

Extra 10% code off 'beyond best-befores' discount food. MSE Blagged. Use by dates are a health warning; best-before just a manufacturer's view of optimum quality. One store sells cheap food at/beyond best-before dates, eg, 24 Walkers crisps 89p (RRP £5) & we've a code for further discounts. P&P £5.25/order, min spend £15. Approved Food code

CODES: Molton Brown £10 off £20, Debenhams extra 10% off, D. Perkins 25%
Molton Brown £10 off £20 £4 mag | Debenhams extra 10% off (ends Wed) | D. Perkins 25% | Burton 25% | Body Shop 40% | Urban Outfitters extra 20% | F&F £10 off £50 | Barratts 20% | The Works 30% See All codes/Vchs

Want to go to uni? 20+ student loan mythbusters
It's uni open day season. Don't sacrifice the education that's right for you due to myths about finance

Headlines screech "£50,000 uni debts" and while notionally true, it's more complex than that. In fact our biggest worry is loans (for living costs) aren't big enough. So with uni open days in full swing, read Martin's 20+ Student Loan Mythbusters and, with slight differences, our Part Time Students PDF and Students Aged 25+ PDF. Here's a v brief starter for ten...

Student Loans1. You don't need cash to pay for uni. Once applications are processed, tuition fees are paid by the Student Loans Company and full-timers only start repaying in the April AFTER graduation.
2. Full-time students get loans for living too - repaid in the same way. See living loans & grants.
3. You repay 9% of everything earnt above £21,000/yr. You repay nothing if you earn less.
4. The loan's wiped after 30 yrs regardless. So if you never earnt £21,000+ you'd repay nothing.
5. Focus on what you must repay, not what you borrow. It's entirely different, see the student finance calc. Financially it's a no win, no fee education: the more you earn, the more you pay.
6. Many will pay no more for a £9,000 course than a £6,000. This is because they won't repay in full over the 30 years.
7. The UCAS deadline for applications is 15 Jan - for most full-time courses, but can be far later for part-time.
8. Paying upfront's dangerous. Even if you've the cash, beware paying uni fees upfront as it can be a huge waste of money.
9. Ask the right questions at open days - see Martin's Beware unis mis-selling courses at open days blog.
10. Compare institutions and courses before you go. For more info on strengths & weaknesses see Which?'s uni comparison.

Tesco 1/2 price beauty gift set sale, eg, Peppa Pig £3, John Frieda £4. Good stocking fillers. Tesco Deals

Success of the week: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I'm a single mum with two teenage lads and find buying shoes expensive as my eldest is size 12. He recently needed hiking boots and I got Hi-Tec ones for £34, saving £50+ via your weekly email."
- Our Hi-Tec 60% off code on waterproof boots is still on - but obviously stock may now be limited

FairFX 8hr FLASH euro & dollar rate sale. It's boosting rates on Wed 9am-5pm. But don't assume it'll win, use our Travel Money Comparison which'll update to show how it compares. Not going yet? Grab a Halifax Clarity* credit card. It's load-free worldwide, so gives near-perfect exchange rates, smashing bureaux de change, and has low ATM fees. Do pay off IN FULL each month to minimise interest or it's 12.9% rep APR. Full info Cheap Overseas Cards (APR Examples)

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash NISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
34mths 0%, 2.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Lloyds*
28mths 0%, 1.5% fee

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

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Santander* (£5k - £7.5k)
5.3% rep APR

M&S Bank* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.9% rep APR

BM Savings 1.6% AER
Min £1, incl bonus
Postal. Transfers allowed

Coventry BS 2.6% AER
Min £1. No transfers
Loophole: Fixed till Nov 2018

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Cheap pet insurance deals comparison sites miss - incl £40 Amazon voucher
Surgery to fix a cat's broken leg can cost £2,000 so work out if you need cover. If you do here's how to find it
If your little doggy Rover isn't well, the vet's bills could be barking. Pet insurance can help, but it's not without issues. If you've a new pet or are near renewal, check out our updated Cheap Pet Insurance guide. Here's a taster.

  • Pet InsuranceStep 1: Benchmark the cheapest prices by combining comparison sites.
    Cats & dogs: Combine GoCompare* and CompareTM* to get a wide range of quotes in a short time. There are no comparisons for other pets so do it manually...
    Horses & ponies: Try Petplan Equine*, Animal Friends* and NFU Mutual.
    Snakes, tarantulas, etc: Exotic Direct* (as the name suggests) is the specialist.
    Rabbits/budgies (going cheep), etc: Exotic Direct*, Petplan*, Helpucover*.
    Multiple pets (cats & dogs only): Combine Confused* (which lets you get quotes for up to five pets) and MoneySup* (which lets you add up to four pets).
  • Step 2: Check the deals the comparison sites miss (dog & cat only), eg, £40 Amazon voucher. Once you've got your benchmark price, check if there are any other deals out there that can take prices down further.

    - £40 Amazon voucher if you get L&G policy. MSE Blagged. Go via this L&G* link, use the code PETMSE and if you get a policy you'll be sent a £40 Amazon vch within 75 days of the policy start date.
    - Insurers comparisons miss. These include Direct Line*, Aviva* and Leisure Guard (currently offering 35% off), these all also give multi-pet discounts.
  • The Pet Insurance Golden Rules. For full info see Cheap Pet Insurance, but let's gallop through them...
    1) Need cover but can't afford it? If you're on benefits, the charity PDSA may help with vets' bills.
    2) Got a dog? You need 3rd-party cover. Cats are 'free spirits', so you're not liable if they injure people or damage property. Dogs aren't, so check your pet policy for 3rd-party cover. Don't have it? The Dogs Trust's is £25/yr.
    3) Could you self-insure? You could instead put money into savings each month to cover vet fees. Be honest with yourself about what you'd do if your pet was ill and you couldn't pay. See Should I insure my pet? for more.
    4) If your pet's had treatment, beware switching. Most insurers won't cover your pet for any illness they've already been treated for unless you pay a huge hike in premiums. See pre-existing conditions for full help.
    5) Don't forget routine jabs. If you do, it could invalidate your insurance. See annual injections for more.

Christmas Ideal Home Show London & Manchester 2for1 code. All our 15,000+ freebies are now gone, but till Sun we've a 2for1 code so it's £14-£16 for a pair (incl booking fee). On 14-16 Nov in Manch, 19-23 in Ldn. See Ideal Home.

Free £7.50 cocktail /£4 lager at Pitcher & Piano. At all of its bars. Sign up at Pitcher & Piano. Pls be Drinkaware.

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

Our club ensures you're always on the cheapest tariff.

Join free: Cheap Energy Club

Up to £30 cashback for dual fuel, £15 for single switches.

First Direct*
£100 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*

Post Office*
with weekend calls
£10/mth (pay a yr upfront)

TalkTalk Value Line Rental*
£14.35/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

Used sharing services such as Airbnb?
Have you shared your property, car or time - or shared someone else's? The Govt is looking into sharing services and wants to hear about your experiences with sites such as Airbnb, TaskRabbit, BlaBlaCar and RentMyItems. It is investigating whether or not there are customer risks and what the economic and social potential of these businesses is. Complete its online survey by Tue 28 Oct and discuss in the forum.

Property Uncovered. 50 blagged for MoneySavers. Want one?

Is it OK to use other people's leftover parking time?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... I'm a new driver and I was at a council-run car park trying to figure out the pay-and-display machine when a driver who was leaving offered me her ticket, as it had over a hour left. I declined, but I've since had similar offers a couple of times and while I declined them too, I wonder what fellow MSE users think. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Is it OK to use other people's leftover parking time? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

Call centre workers: spill the beans

We want to tap past and present call centre operatives' collective knowledge and get some inside info: when's the best time to call to avoid an interminably long wait? How much authority do you have to give customers a better price? And is it really quicker to accept the callback option than hold? Share yours/read others': Call centre workers: spill the beans Past topics: View all

Airline: Ryanair Price: Flights from £19.99 one-way Ends: Thu 23 Oct
Our pick this week is Ryanair's sale ending midnight Thu 23 Oct, which includes all non-optional taxes & charges. It's for flights between Nov 2014 to Jan 2015 on selected routes from the UK. We've found flights for even less than £19.99, for example, London Stansted-Basel for £9.99. 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

Haggling your way out of insurance admin fees

We asked for your tips on wriggling your way out of the cheeky fees insurers charge when you change details such as your name or address. You said asking to speak to a manager instead of accepting a no from the initial call centre could work, and that fees can sometimes be avoided by using self-service options online.
One MoneySaver was enraged at being asked to pay a fee when cancelling his policy instead of just letting it expire.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

23 Oct
Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.40am.
Deals of the Week.
24 Oct
This Morning, time TBC.
Martin's 90 Second Savers.
27 Oct
This Morning, live, time TBC.
Subject TBC.
27 Oct
Radio 5 Live, 12pm-1pm.
Consumer Panel.
Subscribe to podcast.

MSE team corner

Discussion of the week

Christmas gifts for grown-up children

When kids grow up, what's your policy on buying presents? Do you go for token gifts so they have something to open on Christmas Day, or do you continue with the piles of presents they received as youngsters? Share your experiences in the Christmas for grown-up children discussion.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag Ä 125.61 113.04
US Flag $ 160.11 144.09
Turkish Flag TL 352.10 305.38
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Should the UK leave the European Union?

UKIP is shaking up the British political status quo - with its biggest policy being that the UK should leave the European Union. If you were given a stark choice on this, phrased similarly to the Scottish referendum, how would you vote?

Should the UK leave the European Union...

Poll results

When do you chuck away best-before foods?
Each year the average household wastes £470 by throwing away food, yet the overwhelming majority of you aren't scared to eat foods past their best-before date.

Here's what you'd do:

- 10% won't eat beyond the best-before date
- 24% will only keep food for a couple of days
- 54% judge on smell/look/taste
- 12% try never to chuck anything

19,266 voted. See the†full results.

Question of the week

Q: I bought a suitcase recently and the first time I picked it up the handle fell off. I planned to return it to the store, but realised I couldn't find my receipt. What are my rights when it comes to returning it? Philip, by email

MSE Helen S's A: If the goods are faulty all you need is to prove your purchase. The easiest way is with a receipt, but if you can't find yours, a bank or credit card statement showing the purchase should fulfil the same purpose. If you paid cash, it's far more tricky but still give it a go as the store may be able to trace the purchase or just take your word.

This only applies to faulty goods, by law. If you're returning something thatís not faulty, for example, if youíve just changed your mind, then you have no return rights. However, some stores generously allow you to return unused items. But what they say goes - so if their policy says you need to have the receipt, you will need to have it. For full information on your rights, see our Consumer Rights Armour guide.

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

 Charlotte's free game of the week: Magnetic Defence

Take the Schadenfreude house price quiz

That's it for this week, but before we go, play with this (fully unscientific) house price quiz. It'll show you what property someone like you could've bought had you been born a few years earlier.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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