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Weekly Email
This email was sent
23rd Dec 2009
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 This info may be out of date.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."

23 December 2009

£9.15/mth phone line rental

Bank charges hope

£10 Champs, £18 DVD player Call abroad for 0.5p/min
50% off Jan sales NOW, Homebase 15% voucher, 2for1 Theatre & Panto...

Merry Christmas to all MoneySavers
But if it's not merry, don't let Christmas get you down...

Season's greetings and Merry Christmas from the MSE team and I. We hope you have a fantastic festive season.

Yet while for most people Christmas is a joy, some are left depressed, scared and lonely. Money, especially debt worries, play a big part. If you're anxious or have friends or family who may be worried, please pass this on.

  • Debt worries. Don't think "it's so bad no one can help", I've never seen an unsolvable debt problem. It may not be quick or easy, but there's always a way. The sooner you deal with it the quicker it's mended, the Problem Debt Help guide has a full checklist of what to do and details of free, non-profit debt counsellors.

  • The Samaritans. If you're struggling to cope emotionally, the Samaritans can help: call on 08457 90 90 90. Don't think "it's money issues so I can't call", they're fully geared up to help.

  • Celebrate in the Forum. Even on Xmas day the Forums are busy. Feel free to pop in, to discuss MoneySaving or just join the welcoming throng in the MoneySavers' Arms virtual pub; there are lots of people happy to chat.

The next MSE e-mail will be sent on the evening of Wed 30 Dec, a day later than usual, but if you've time over the break, why not prepare for the new year with the free Budget Planner, then give yourself a Money Makeover?

Give friends an extra gift; suggest they save with this free weekly e-mail by going to

Travel chaos: your refund rights
The '0% card' that's not 0%
> Vodafone fails to undercut iPhone prices
> Cheques to disappear by 2018
> Mortgage lending down
This week's full MSE News list

Week of Tue 15 - Mon 21 Dec '09
(Last week's position)

1. Amazon Buying Tricks (New)
2. Christmas Deals (1)
3. Beauty Deals (New)
4. (5)
5. Top Savings Accounts (4)

The above excludes daily deals notes

The Ones Not To Miss

Bank Charges: OFT gives up the fight
It's depressing, disappointing but not a complete disaster. Hope remains under Consumer Credit Act
Yesterday the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) chucked in the bank charges towel; it thinks the shock Supreme Court technical defeat in Nov. made its chance of victory slim. Is all hope lost? No. Anyone in hardship may have a case. Plus the OFT was looking at one regulation, but having hired a top banking QC to investigate, we believe other rules apply. What other rules? The Consumer Credit Act (CCA) says the relationship between customer and lender must be fair and the banks must prove it is fair. The OFT looked at this and said while it can't take collective action, as the CCA's about individuals' relationships, that doesn't stop consumers doing it themselves. What next? Deciding the best tactic (and template letters needed) requires thought and advice. The Xmas break makes that tricky, so we're aiming to publish it the 3rd week of Jan. Chances of reclaiming? Don't plan on getting any money back, it's going to be tough, but do cross your fingers and hope! Updated Guide: Bank Charges MSE News: It isn't over yet

Jan sales on NOW! Up to 50% off Gap, Dorothy Perkins, Faith & Laura Ashley
Plus up to 50% off sales start soon at Debenhams, Matalan, House of Fraser & John Lewis
FULL list of all 'January' sales so you can plan bargain shopping in the massive Daily Deals List: Sales Diary

£18 DVD player, £10 champers, £25 goats & loads more!
Last minute bargain Xmas pressies - cheapest deals the high street has to offer
If you still need Christmas gift bargains, the high street's slashing prices and many online shops let you collect instore. This is a rundown of all the best last-second offline deals. Champagne: Bag £10 champers in store from Tesco & Asda or £13 at M&S. Gadgets galore: Plenty of instore bargains inc. a £18 DVD player, a £25 DAB radio from Asda, £80 Nintendo DS from Argos (£100 elsewhere) and an Xbox 360 for £110. Gift Vouchers: Get them instantly from Amazon, ASOS, Play, Hamleys & more. Plus magazine subscriptions, charity giving and tickets galore. Full info and more in the Deals Note: Last Ditch Gifts


Homebase 15% off, Benefit 15% off online & Waitrose deliver £10 off £90+
New shopping vouchers! Plus Oliver Bonas 20%, Coast 12% and Prezzybox £5 off £20
These and more in the full list of current vouchers & codes. Daily Deals List: Shopping Vouchers

Theatre & panto tickets deals: £10 each or 2for1s
Discount tickets for Wicked, The Nutcracker, Aladdin & more Jan/Feb. UK panto 2for1s Dec- Feb
Joins 1p morning bowling, Grand Designs Live 2for1 tickets and more in the Deals List: Cheap Days Out

£9.15/month phone line rental
Cheapest ever line rental - get line plus evening & weekend calls for £9.15/month (BT's £11.25)
Anyone whose phone provider is BT can slash the cost of line rental (the line doesn't change, just who bills). The cheapest: The already cheapest line rental provider has cut its costs further, via a special link through a comparison site. The Primus' Home Phone Saver* deal (this link takes you there), which includes free calls to UK landlines eve & wkds, is now just £9.15/mth - £25/year less than BT. Call mobiles over 40mins/month: The Post Office* offers £12/mth line rental that includes calls to mobiles at weekends, some international calls plus eve & wkd landline calls. Cut costs further: Unusually both providers let you use special supercheap override providers, where you dial a prefix number (like 18185) to cut the cost of calls, so you can get the cheapest of both worlds! Full info in the the Updated Guide: Cheap Home Phones Related: Cheap Broadband

Restaurant Vouchers to help avoid turkey leftovers
Pizza Hut Del. 50% off £40, Harvester £10 for 3 courses, GBK £11 starter main & mince pie
Christmas is never prime restaurant voucher time but there are still a few on the go. Daily Deals List: Restaurant Vouchers


MPs say 'credit applications are anti-shop around'
Powerful treasury committee investigated based on MSE's concerns and now wants an official probe
With most loans, you won't know the rate you get until you apply, but applying hits your score.  We think this is out of order – and now a parliamentary committee agrees. See the MSE News story: MPs demand application probe Related: Credit Rating

Play your store cards right & win big discounts
20% off New Look, up to 15% off Topshop, 10% off Debenhams if you beat the devil's debt...
Store cards are the devil's debt, they tempt unwary shoppers with big 'first spend' discounts, then hit them with hideous 25% plus interest rates. Play & Pay: Sign up instore, spend on the card getting the discount but ensure you REPAY IN FULL at the month's end, so there's no interest and you win. Team up for more: Even better, go shopping with friends, one applies and pays for everyone's shopping (you all give that person the cash) to get the discount. Then next time you all shop together someone else applies. Full Discount List: Current store card intro deals include Debenhams 10%, Topshop/man 10% or 15%, Warehouse 20% etc. FULL details & credit score impact in the Updated Guide: Store Cards Related: Cashback Credit Cards, Credit Card Freebies, Credit Card Shuffle

10% off code for multi-appliance warranty
Multi-appliance deals (cover 3 things e.g. TV, sky box, fridge) are often the cheapest way to get warranties
It's with WarrantyCover* use the code RAOX108 but even this cheap policy will still be at least £100 a year - you may be better off uncovered and simply saving up in case repair is needed. See the Forum Note: 10% off multi-appliances

Free Old Style Tips Calendar
A MoneySaver's designed a clever Old Style calendar full of seasonal tips
Download and print a free copy of it in the forum note

Call abroad for 0.5p/min or speak for free online
If you've friends or family abroad, don't just pick up and dial - it'll cost a fortune
Calling overseas this Christmas can cost a fortune if you simply pick up the phone and dial, Virgin is £26/hour to call Spain, BT £10.30/hour to USA. Free online: If you AND the person called are online, talk for free eg via Skype*. Yet when it comes to calls to phones, don't believe the Skype hype - then you'll pay and it's often not the cheapest way. Free via phone: The fiddly JaJah web service lets you talk free to most European, North American & Australian landlines and some mobiles (you have to add some credit to start). Dirt cheap normal calls: Use your landline, dial a special prefix number and you can call most countries for 0.5p-5p/min. The CallChecker lists the cheapest. New to all this? Read the full Cheap Overseas Calls guide. Related: Home Phones


Track Santa as he delivers pressies worldwide. This cool site lets kids track Santa's whereabouts step-by-step. See the Forum Note: Track Santa

Free iTunes downloads (music, films, apps)
iTunes' daily freebie from 26 Dec til 6 Jan (no confirmation on what's available yet)
iTunes will offer a free song, vid, app, TV episode or film daily. See the Note: Free iTunes downloads Related: Free MP3 list

The MSE Christmas Quiz. Can you beat last year?
See how you compare to 60,000 other MoneySavers in this mini-festive quiz!
We write this e-mail each week, but how much of it actually goes in? If you missed it last year or want to try and beat your score - have a crack at our quick 10-question quiz on festive MoneySaving.Tease, test and tone your MoneySaving muscles. How will you rank? It's not just how many you get right, but how you do against other MoneySavers that counts! Over 60,000 have taken the test so far! Try it: Christmas Quiz Got more time on your hands? Then have a go at the full, 25 question MoneySaving IQ test. Related: The MoneySaving Game

Christmas Quiz

Save £1,000 and get £20 of Tesco Clubcard points
Grab Tesco saving's extra points, but don't leave money in there long, at 0.75% the rate's very poor.
Put £1,000 in for 500 points worth £20 in Tesco Rewards, then withdraw it. Full details in the Updated Guide: Tesco loophole



Big & Easy Ways To Save
Quick links or click the titles for full pros, cons, alternatives & more savings

More MoneySaving

Great 'Old New Year's outfit' Hunt
Christmas and New Year's Eve are round the corner, so it's time to think about the perfect outfit to wow the crowds. But instead of going out and buying yet another dress, we're asking MoneySavers what their best tips are to 'pimp up' an outfit they already have. Add your ideas/read other peoples': Great 'Old New Year's outfit' Hunt Past Great Hunts: View all

Got mental health issues & had contact with bailiffs?
If so, please help charity MIND by filling in an anonymous survey. Forum Note: MIND Bailiffs Survey

Ryanair Price: £10 e/w Ends: 24 Dec
Our pick this week is the Ryanair £10 e/w sale: On until midnight Thurs 24 Dec, it includes some taxes & charges. It's for Mon 4 Jan-Sun 28 Feb flights to a range of European destinations from many UK airports. To find them quickly use the FlightChecker on a £10 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

Free Book Giveaway! 'A Which? Guide To Wills & Probate'
It's the latest edition with in-depth information on making provisions and administering an estate. 10 copies blagged for MoneySavers. Want one?
Money Moral Dilema
MONEY MORAL DILEMMA: Should Luke keep giving prezzies to Leia's ungrateful kids?
Every Christmas, Luke picks out and posts prezzies to his sister Leia's children. Yet the kids, Jaina and Jacen, never write thank you letters or phone to say cheers. Luke is peeved because he always wrote letters when he was a child, and makes sure his own son does too. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should Luke keep giving presents? Previous MMDs: View All
Quick Forum Tips
Tips, Tricks and Treats
Great 'Home Made Beauty Tips' Hunt Result
We all want to look fab and fresh for Christmas, but some beauty products can be quite expensive. So we asked MoneySavers to dig out their grandmothers' old recipes / beauty secrets to look fresh on the big day. There were some fab suggestions, including aspirin face masks, acne cream and body scrub
Board Of The Week
BOARD OF THE WEEK: UK Holidays, Days Out and Entertainment
Bargains for fun outings
The holiday season is all about spending time with your family and doing fun things with the kids. For those of you who've decided to stay in the UK over Xmas, the UK Holidays, Days Out and Entertainment board is full of great tips for fun outings. Recent discussions include hotel deals, Hyde park winter wonderland and driving experiences.

Would you bend to pick up a penny? This week's poll
and Scoop! discussion.

Which companies would you close? The Sun, Ryanair, Mail
We asked if you could wave a magic wand and make one of 50 major companies disappear which you would pick.  The Sun took almost a quarter of the vote (23%) (there was a campaign to make it top on some Liverpool FC websites). Ryanair came in second with 8%, then the Daily Mail and Tesco with 7%, and Lloyds/HBOS with 5%. See Close Call poll results.

Archna's Free Game of the Week!
Rotate the stars until they form a pretty picture. Starlight

Create your ideal celeb. Hmm George or Brad? Scarlett or Angelina? No need to choose, you can morph them into one sexy celeb. Morphing time!

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

Q. Is it illegal to put more than £3,600 into a cash ISA this year and can the government can check if I do? I'm 33 years old and am looking for an account with reasonable interest.
Malcolm, by email

A:  ISAs are tax-free savings accounts, and operate under rules set by the government. One of these says you can only pay up to £3,600 into a new cash ISA in any tax year (£5,100 if you're over 50), and that's all that the banks will let you do. If you try and open a second cash ISA and pay more in, then it is invalid and you won't get the tax-free benefit.

Banks provide comprehensive information to HMRC every year, so they do find out if individuals have over subscribed. If that's the case, then it will decide what action to take on a case to case basis. Usually it'll just close the second ISA and adjust the interest earned, but it could penalise you too.

Once you’ve filled up your ISA allowance you can still bag a top rate. Read the Top Savings guide for full details.

Discuss: Cash ISAs
Suggest: A question of the week
(big general issues not personal q's pls)

Andrea's Freebies
Full compendium
Freebies, Freebies, Freebies
New this week

Smile Pinky DVD

Stuart's Short Stories
MacLaren hinge covers
Santa visit application form
Perfect night in guide

Martin's Stuff
This week's blogs (See All)
"Most inconvenient illness"

"Martyn Lewis, the man people most want to lead them out of the recession"
No appearances this week, back in the New Year
Martin's Appearances

Explanation of * Links

FSA NOTE: Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances require FSA authorisation. For this reason, Martin Lewis of Shepherd's Studios, Rockley Road, Shepherd's Bush, London W14 0EH is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

How this site is financed. Any links with a * by them are affiliated. That means go via this link and a contribution may be made to, which helps it stay ad-free and free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference, the links don't impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things we write) is NEVER impacted by it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in exactly the same way. As we believe transparency is important, we're including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for the same things:,,,,,,,,,,,,, Read more about this in how this site is financed. is the free to use Consumer Revenge website focused on how to save you cash. It's owned, and run by ultra-focused journalist and bestselling author Martin Lewis. On TV amongst other things Martin is GMTV's Money SavingExpert and presents money programmes for ITV1 Tonight. On Radio Martin has regular slots on Radio 2 Vine and Radio 1 Whiley. He's also a columnist for amongst others the News of The World, The Telegraph and the Sunday Post. Find out more: About the site and its funding.

Disclaimer: This e-mail is based on journalistic research. It does not constitute financial advice. Any information should be considered in regard to your own specific circumstances. All tips are followed at your own risk and should be followed up with your own research Full Terms & Conditions.

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