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23rd May 2012
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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23 May 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

10 top MoneySaving free tools
Clever gadgets to bag deals, analyse finances & earn cash

After the runaway success of our new TicketySplit iPhone app — which zipped to the top 10 in the App Store — and TicketySplit mobile site, we thought we'd remind you of more MoneySaving tools. Some are ours, some from others...

1. Instantly find cheapest MP3 downloads & CDs. Our free TuneChecker tool compares cheap CDs, legal MP3 singles and album downloads for 16,000 tracks. For example, Keane's Strangeland for £5 — £3 cheaper than iTunes.
2. Inside info on the best plane seats. Seatguru helps you beat cramp-inducing flights by showing you the layout and legroom of 700+ aircraft. So whether it's to find out if American Airlines' transatlantic economy has more room than BA, or which row to be in on a quick zip to Malaga, it's a cracker. For more, see Cheap Flight Tricks.
3. Map hidden eBay local bargains. 'Pick-up only' deals have fewer bids, so are cheaper. Our Local eBay Deals Mapper locates those near you. Tell it how far you're prepared to schlep, and it maps nearby gems.
4. top tenFind how long you'll live. Not a crystal ball, but a statistical assessment. There's TalkTalk's fun Life Expectancy Calc, or the detailed US Livingto100 (you must register). The reason I include them? Combine with this When will I retire? calc to estimate how long you'll need a pension or other cash to support your retirement. The answer may scare you into action.
5. Build your own Amazon 75%+ bargain basements. Our Amazon Discount Finder uses web wizardry to build customised discount pages, eg, Clothes 80%+ off*, 70%+ off toys* & TVs 25%+ off*. Plus instantly check a product's Amazon price history to see if it has sold for less, to ensure it's a bargain.
6. Recipes for larder leftovers. We throw away £12bn of grub a year. Tell Supercook what items are in your fridge or cupboard and it'll suggest a recipe for them from 1,000s. More cost-cutting in Cheap Food Shopping.
7. How much are old mobiles worth? Don't just flog old phones to anyone. Our MobileValuer comparison speedily finds top payers, eg, HTC Desire Z best £92, worst £24. Or iPhone 3GS 16GB, best £150, worst £59.
8. Find your cheapest petrol/diesel forecourts. Bash your postcode into to find the cheapest place to buy local fuel. One postcode test revealed the 10-mile radius average price varied from 137.9p to 141.9p. For more help, see Slash Petrol Costs By 30%.
9. New tool so you never miss WOW forum deals. The MSE forum has 100,000s of deals hunters sharing tips. To help, our Forum WOW Deals Feed gathers their highest-rated deals. Now we've added a new 'email tool' system (for forum users), so you can get emailed about hot deals you're into.
10. Analyse your finances. The no. 1 question is: 'Do you spend more than you earn?' The MSE Free Budget Analyser assesses 90 spending areas, calculates where you stand and helps allocate future spending.

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More MoneySavers mean more collective consumer power. Please forward this email to friends & suggest they get it themselves via

Use the Money Mantras If you're skint, ask - do I need it, can I afford it If you aren't, ask Will I use it, Is it worth it?

The Ones Not To Miss

23 May 2012
Longest EVER 0% on spending + free Amazon £10
If you need new borrowing, nowt beats interest-free | NEW 18mth 0% | 3mth poor credit 0%

Done right, 0% credit card borrowing is free. Yet only do it for planned purchases with affordable repayments, & budget to clear it before the 0% ends. Remember, you still need to repay at least the monthly min, or you can lose the 0%.

0 percent
  • New. 18 mths 0% plus free Amazon, Boots or M&S £10. NatWest* & RBS's* 18mth 0% on spending cards scatter other best buys. And they're not just for newbies, existing NatWest & RBS cardholders can apply too. As always, all must pass a credit check.

    Plus they give 2,500 NatWest YourPoints on acceptance — worth £10 at Boots, Amazon, M&S etc — and 1pt per £1 spent on top. After the 0% ends, it's 17.9% representative APR, so ALWAYS fully repay or balance transfer by then.

    Alternatively, Tesco is 16mths 0%, Marks & Spencer* 15 mths and both give rewards. The go-to rates after 0%s end are 16.9% and 15.9% rep APRs. Full info & help in the updated 0% Credit Cards guide (Official APR Examples).
  • New. 3mth 0% for poor credit scorers. Those with defaults/CCJs won't usually get long 0% deals, but if they're not recent you may be accepted for Barclaycard Initial's* 3mths 0%. As it's a huge 29.9% representative APR after, if you can't repay by then, don't do it. We only include this card as, cleverly used, it can give respite from nasty payday loans / repeated bank charges. For full instructions on how, see our Barclaycard Initial Help.

Don't use these to cut the cost of existing credit card debts. For that, see the Best Balance Transfer Cards guide.

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25% off 5,000 local takeaways (special link). Curry, Chinese, sushi, Italian or more — a big one-off reduction on local takeaways via directory Hungryhouse. See Takeaway Deals.

'Is my money safe in Santander?' That's what savers & borrowers have been asking us this week, due to the eurozone crisis. See Martin's blog: How Safe is Santander? Related: Safe Savings

Free 22ml Colgate toothpaste. Travel-size Sensitive Pro-Relief sample. Limited stock. Colgate Deals

Urgent. 'Huge switch' adds £50 cashback to cheapest energy
Ends Mon | Cashback boost to UK's already cheapest fixed & variable tariffs | Save £100s

Comparison site Energyhelpline has revealed the results of its 'Huge Switch' collective deal. Unlike Which?, which went for a special tariff, it's taken the existing market leaders and negotiated bigger cashback — making it unbeatable for most.

Huge Switch Cashback* Avg cost/yr Cashback
Typical Standard Tariff for comparison £1,320 -
Cheapest tariff: First Utility iSave


Cheapest Fix: First Utility fix Sept '13


Cheapest Fix (no penalties): EDF+ Blue



Based on monthly direct debit: varies by region. Source: Energyhelpline

  • Up to £50 cashback ON TOP of cheap tariffs. Savings of £250+/yr are already possible for those who've not switched. But with the additional £45-£50 cashback (which beats major cashback sites), less for elec only, available until Mon 4pm, (or earlier if popular), these are the cheapest deals since last August's price hike. To get it, compare & switch via the Huge Switch* link. The cashback will take c.3mths. Full info & options in Cheapest Gas & Elec plus cashback guide.
  • Should I fix or go for a normal (variable) deal? British Gas predicts hikes of £50 by Christmas. So if price rises are unaffordable, fixing is safer as it ensures no hikes. Better still, EDF's fix (£50 cashback) has no lock-in penalties, so if things change you can ditch it without hassle.
  • Can prepay customers get this? No. So follow this... 1: Credit meters (where you get bills) are cheaper. See if you can convert, some let you for free. 2: If not, compare prepay providers. Energyhelpline*, uSwitch* & MoneySup* have comparisons and pay up to £30 cashback. 3: When switching, favour companies that let you switch meters at no cost. See Cheap Prepay Energy.
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Free £7 French Connection washbag for O2 custs. Incl shampoo, conditioner, etc. See O2 Deals


10% off

20% off & free del

20% off & free del

Kurt Geiger
25% off

Urban Outfitters
15% off

Online code
Online code
Ends Sun 27 May
Online code
Ends Fri 25 May
Online code
Ends Thu 31 May
Online code
Ends Thu 31 May

See All Discount Codes

MSE Blagged

Urgent! UK's cheapest broadband £5.49/mth + £25 set-up. We've blagged a discount on Primus's* already cheapest standalone deal (via the link) until 30 May. It has a 10Gb download limit and speeds of 'up to' 14Mbps. Full info in Cheap Broadband.

50+ MoneySaving tips & tricks for families
New guide | Save money if you've kids | Biggies like tax credits & life cover to days out

It's a terrible investment — the first 21 years cost an average £200,000, they need huge care and rarely pay owt back. Yet kids can all be worth it for a hug. Our new 50 Family MoneySaving Tips guide is a toy chest of tips, here are five to start:

family moneysaving
  • Eligible for £1,000s of childcare tax-credits? If you (& partner) work 16+ hrs/wk, earn under £42k and pay for childcare, check if you're due Childcare Tax Credits.
  • Take 'em to see TV recordings for free. From The X Factor to Deal Or No Deal, or for older kids, Graham Norton & Loose Women, find how to apply for Free TV Audience Tix.
  • What'd happen to your kids if you died? Nearly one child in 20 loses a parent before finishing education. It's important to consider the financial impact on them. Life Insurance can be cheap, and ensure you've an up-to-date will. See Free & Cheap Wills.
  • Every child needs their own EHIC card. Don't go to Europe without one. It gives access to treatment in state-run EU hospitals at local costs (if it's free for locals, you pay nothing). Each family member needs one. See Free EHIC.
  • Free 2 wk adventure camp for 16-year-olds. The National Citizenship Service is a scheme for year 11s in England to attend in June-August. It aims to teach kids new skills, and activities such as trekking, climbing and rafting.
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Paaaarty! 60 FREE UK summer 2012 festivals & carnivals. Hit the scene without obscene prices. Check out what's on in your area using our Free UK Festivals 2012 guide & bag tickets first.

Free swim sessions for all. Voucher for a swim at 700 pools — no need to splash cash. See Days Out

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
22 mths 0%, 2.9% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

22 mths 0%, 3.2% fee

(17.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.8% rep APR
(Need Nectar card)

Sainsbury's* (£7.5 - £15k)
6.1% rep APR

(Need Nectar card)

Cheshire BS* 3.35% AER
Min £1,000. Incl 2.35% bonus

Santander* 3.3% AER
Min £2,500. Incl bonus.
Top for transfers
See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

1/2 price Starbucks Frappuccinos. 50% off all sizes, 3-5pm Fri 25 May-Tue 5 Jun: Starbucks Deals

Ends Sun: Debenhams & John Lewis up to 25% sales. There's a Debenhams up to 25% sale, and by Jiminy, John Lewis is price-matching 'unnamed' competitor's 25% discount. See High Street Sales Diary.

Tell friends about us. They can get this free every week.

Free £70 M&S vouchers via home insurance code
Summer home insurance tips | Slash buildings & contents costs | Bag vouchers too

Our latest monthly Cheap Home Insurance update analyses the new best route to find the cheapest quotes in the fastest time. Here's a taster — remember you usually only need buildings as well as contents if you own the freehold.

house insurance
  • Grab the cheapest bespoke quote for you. Find the right order to use comparison sites, which zip to loads of insurers to get max quotes in min time. Which suits you?

    Standard: Use Confused* & MoneySup* then add Aviva* & Direct Line* that they miss
    1-bed homes: Combine Confused* & TescoCompare, then add Aviva* & Direct Line*
    Made past claims: Combine CompareTM* & MoneySup* then add Aviva* & Direct Line*
    High-value contents: Don't overinsure — use this Hiscox calc, then Confused* & MoneySup*, Aviva* & Direct Line*. If super high-value (£100k+), try Hiscox*, John Lewis* and Home & Legacy.
  • Code for £70 M&S vouchers. Enter the code ME70 when getting Legal & General* home insurance and it'll send £70 M&S vouchers on combined buildings & contents policies (2mths after start). We're NOT saying it's cheapest, always use the comparison system to check, but if it's within £70 of the cheapest, it's a winner.
  • Summer tips to keep contents covered. Most contents policies automatically cover items 'within the garden boundary'. So BBQs, sun loungers & more count. Yet check, especially that your contents cover is enough to replace warm weather favourites. If you've lots in the garden, M&S* and More Than* don't cap the value.
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Forum Hottie

£5 off £15 Argos clothing code (incl Emma Bunton sale). Simple code for buying in-store and online at Argos. Includes 60% off Emma Bunton kids' clothes sale. See Argos Discounts

20% off Southern Railway advance tix | Over 55? Get ANY ScotRail rtn £19

Get 12p/litre off petrol & diesel
Supermarkets battle it out in forecourt price war | Make your car chug a third less fuel

Finally a chink of petrol price light. It's down 4p from the peak to £1.36/litre, and there's a price war on. We've updated our Cheap Petrol guide to help. Here are the key steps (obviously, 'drive less', too)...

cheap petrol
  • Think of the accelerator as a money pump. The harder it's pressed, the more you spend. It's more about 'speeding up gradually' than 'less speed'. Keep revs low, change gear earlier and use road positioning to allow you to slow down naturally rather than burning energy you've put in the car by braking. See full Drive Down Costs guide.
  • Make your car more efficient. Turn off aircon, dejunk your trunk, take off the roof rack to streamline and check tyre pressure. Your car will go further on less fuel.
  • Vouchers for up to 12p/litre off. Morrisons: 12p/litre off (£60 spend). Tesco: 5p/litre off (£50 spend). Sainsbury's: prices cut 3p, plus 5p/litre off (£50 spend). BP: 5p/litre off with £3 or £6 car wash. See Petrol Vouchers.
  • Get 3% cashback on petrol spend. Santander's 123* credit card pays 3% cashback in petrol stations (max £300/mth spending), 2% in department stores and 1% in supermarkets. It has a £24 annual fee, but bigger spenders can earn £100s. If you get one, ALWAYS set up a direct debit to fully repay each month to avoid the 18.9% representative APR. See Petrol Cashback Cards for full info & options.
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2 'free' Legoland Windsor tix. Collect 9 newspaper tokens (£4ish cost) for Jun-Nov tix. Legoland Deals

£18 comedy tix for £4 code (min 2). London, Leeds, Brum, Reading, Watford. See Highlight Deals

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines
Compare, switch & get cashback

£15 per switch

£30 dual fuel

8 bottles of wine

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...

Direct Line*
Get quotes in this order...

Primus Line Rental Saver*
£6.29/mth (pay a yr upfront)

BT Line Rental Saver*
£10.75/mth (pay a yr upfront)
Do a Money Makeover Free Budget Planner Free MSE car sticker £16 Travel Insurance

the moneysaving community

Updated privacy policy & new cookies Q&A. Just to let you know we've tweaked our Privacy Policy to add links to our new Cookies Q&A (no, not biscuits, a cookie is data sites store on your PC to recognise you).

Money Moral Dilemma

Is the Tooth Fairy subject to inflation?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
My son's best friend (aged 12) lost a tooth, put it under his pillow and got £10. My son then asked: "Mum, will I get £10 for my tooth?" I think £10 is a lot, but times have changed since I was a girl and I don't want him to feel his teeth aren't worth as much. Should I pay £10? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Is the Tooth Fairy subject to inflation? Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

Book Giveaway RESULT. Jeremy Vine's It's All News to Me. 50 blagged for MoneySavers. Check your inbox to find out if you got one

spill beans

Spill the beans... what to buy duty-free
Giant Toblerones are tempting when you wander round sampling perfumes in airport duty-free shops, but are they actually good value for money? What do you think is still worth buying duty-free, if anything? What are your top tips for stocking up? Spill 'em: What to buy duty-free Past topics: View all

MoneySaving stag/hen parties. Spill the beans... revealed
Last week, we asked you for your tips on organising a stag/hen without going broke. We had some fab suggestions, including a Kids' Slumber Party, go DIY and stay local.

Cheap Flight Sales

Airline: Ryanair Sale: £10.99 each way Ends: Thu 24 May
Our pick this week is Ryanair's from £10.99 each way flights. It's on various routes for travel Mon-Thu, 4 to 28 Jun 2012, and includes some taxes and charges. Flights include London Stansted to Oslo for £11 each way. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £40 return max search. 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

Back to top ^
Campaign of the week

'Remember the person' during dementia awareness week
Dementia can affect everyday tasks, such as managing your money. The Alzheimer's Society's asking us to share this short video and booklet on the five things you should know. Regardless of your health, everyone should take a moment to consider this, don't wait till it's too late. Related: Read our Power of Attorney guide. Suggest a campaign: This space is for MSE to support the work being done by other charities, community groups and campaigners. Send your campaign of the week suggestion.

Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag € 123.41 110.71
US Flag $ 157.21 141.02
Turkish Flag TL 281.75 244.52
Rates correct at 6pm Tues
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Is it time to ditch the penny?

At the beginning of the month, the Canadian government stopped minting the one cent piece, as they're no longer worth enough to be useful. Should we be following suit with our own copper coins?

Which of these is closest to your view?

Ditch the 1p


Ditch the 1p & 2p


Ditch the 1p, 2p & 5p


Don’t ditch anything


Poll Results

Who's your dream UK Chancellor?

Vince Cable is MoneySavers' dream chancellor with 28% voting for him (9,956 votes in total). Gordon Brown's second with 20%. Little has happened in the last 12 months to change your mind. A year ago, 23% voted for Cable and 22% for Brown. See this year's Full Results

Question Of The Week

Q: I'm going to the USA for four months. What should I do with my monthly phone contract? It's £35 per month. Alan, via Twitter.

MSE Archna's A: Tricky one. First, ring up your provider and ask if it offers a contract holiday. Some give you a payment break of up to six months, but your contract will be extended for the same length of time. Sometimes this is only for those in the armed forces, but there's no harm in asking.

Remember this also means you won't be eligible for an upgrade as soon.

If it won't do this, see if it will downgrade your package to something cheaper for the time. Again this may affect the upgrade you're able to get. Anyone got other ideas? Let us know.

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

Board Of The Week

Student MoneySaving

Tons of tips & discussions on student funding, borrowing, living and offers. Recent threads include NUS Extra, Leaving University and Graduation Summer. Related: Student section

Back to top ^
Game Of The Week

Johnny Upgrade

Unattended children will be given espresso & a free puppy.

The wits in the MSE forum have been collecting their favourite funny signs from around the world. Some oldies and some goodies — worth a click.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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