Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

The MoneySaving Forum: join to chat & swap tips with other MoneySavers. Learn how in the Forum Introduction Guide


Share on:


Weekly Email
This email was sent
24th Oct 2012
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 This info may be out of date.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."

24 October 2012

This week

Huge TWO BA flights card freebie
"£200/yr off energy & £500 back"
House buying trix & free valuations
New bank bribery (we like it)
£7.75 champagne?
New top 2.85% (NatWest) savings
'Free' £49 Elemis cream
Sainsbury's up to 50% toy sale
Reclaim on past flight delays
£15 Travelodge | Lastmin hotel code
Tassimo coffee machine £50
10,000 free Megabus tickets
Free £8 cosmetics in £2 paper
M&S Outlet 15% menswear code
H&M 50% flash sale & code
Half-term days out deals
Best Buys: 0% cards | Car insurance
Best Buys: Gas & Elec | Bank Accs

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

Urgent. Beat huge insurance hikes
Check all insurance NOW. G(ender)-Day hits in less than two months

By 21 Dec, at the latest, insurers must follow the European Court of Justice gender equalisation ruling which means all things being equal, men & women must pay the same. The result? Huge hikes for some (cuts for others). There's still just time to protect yourself, here's our checklist of what is and isn't hit...

1. Car insurance - women, beat huge hikes. Women typically pay £315/year less than men, under-20s £2,000 less. So expect huge rises in costs. The solution is renewing, as that locks in current prices for a year.

If your renewal is not due until near/after 21 Dec (provided you haven't claimed), the younger you are, the more you should consider cancelling your current policy to lock into a new one. You'll usually get a refund for the rest of the year, but may face an exit fee & lose this year's no-claims bonus.

If you can find a cheaper new insurer anyway, the decision's easier. Speedy route: 1. Combine MoneySup* & Confused* comparisons 2. Check Aviva* and Direct Line* plus if 2+ vehicle, Admiral MultiCar*. FULL SYSTEM: Cheap Car Insurance and Under 25s Car Insurance.
2. Women van drivers/motorbike riders are hit too. The above info applies to you too. For help, see Cheap Van Insurance & Cheap Motorbike Insurance.
3. gender happy Boiler cover - winter's coming & you can save £100s. Boilers don't have a gender (unless you know something I don't), but with winter coming, be a billslayer, especially if you've got your energy provider's policy.

To find the cheapest, compare via uSwitch* (if time add Energyhelpline* & Boiler Choices*). Or better still read our FULL HELP: Cheap Boiler Cover.
4. Retiring? Men, urgently find the best annuity. When you retire, you often trade in pension savings for an annuity - a payment each year till death. As men die earlier, they get more. On a £200,000 pension, a 65-year-old man can get £10,880/yr, a woman £10,550. Live for 30 yrs, that's a £10,000 difference.

From 21 Dec, men could get less, and women a little more. Hargreaves Lansdown's Tom McPhail says: "A man buying an annuity soon should hunt around immediately." Never just take your pension firm's offer and declare all ailments. Full help to get best rate: Free Printed MSE Annuities Guide.
5. Pet insurance - discrimination still legal. Whether your Moggy's male or Rover's a girl, discrimination is loud, kicking and legal in the pet world. Boy dogs pay more. And as cats and dogs don't go cheap (that's budgies), use our full Cheap Pet Insurance guide to slash costs to the bone (woof).

To speedily check... Dogs & cats: Combine Gocompare* & Compare TM then add Quotezone*, Aviva* and Direct Line*. Multi-pet:*.

6. Private medical insurance - surprisingly little change. While men and women's health differ, apart from with one insurer, gender isn't a major factor. If you need help consider speaking to a medical insurance intermediary.

Home insurance - beat rising prices. No gender impact here, but AA figures show buildings & contents costs are UP 7%. So check yours, done right you can get it super-cheap (some even get PAID). Quick tips...
1. Don't over-cover buildings, insure your home's rebuild value not market value. 2. Don't under-cover contents, you may not be paid full value if you claim. 3. Combine Confused* & Compare TM* comparisons 4. Add Aviva* & Direct Line* that they miss. FULL HELP (incl cashback): Cheap Home Insurance

8. Life insurance - men and women, act now to beat hikes. No winners here, only losers. Tax changes on 1 Jan 2013 dwarf equalisation issues and could see costs jump 10%, according to insurer LV. So the sooner you sort yours if needed, the better. See our Life Insurance - Protect Your Family and Mortgage Life Insurance guides (ensure the monthly cost is fixed)
9. Travel insurance - no gender change, but prices dropping. Don't wait until you travel to buy insurance or you're not covered if the trip's cancelled. The good news is many of the cheapest prices have dropped recently. HELP: Cheap Travel Insurance - but for raw cheapest policies...

Annual European policy. 18-40s: Travel Guard* £16-20 indiv, £30-£38 family. 41+ HolidaySafe* £23-£26 indiv, £42-46 for families.
Annual world policy.
18-40s Travel Guard* £27-33 indiv. 41-65: HolidaySafe* £37-£40 indiv. PYB* £48-£58 family (max age 44). If 45+, Diamond £58 family.

What about the cuts - especially young male drivers? Sadly, it isn't the case that for every price hike, there's an equal and opposite price cut. We don't expect prices to meet in the middle, rather big hikes, but little drops.

Yet there will be winners. Young male drivers especially could see cuts, so come Jan we'll let you know if you should be cancelling and retrying.

With all insurance, always check the policy is suitable. If a claim is turned down unfairly, you can take it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.

Do us a favour? If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via

P.S. Don't forget clocks go back at 2am this Sun. An extra hour in bed, hurrah.

P.P.S. My 3rd Martin Lewis Money Show's on ITV1 next Tue 30 Oct 7.30pm - covering savings, store haggle challenge, and more. Watch if you can.

Blagged for MoneySavers

Did you miss?

Reclaim PPI for FREE
Claims handlers aren't more successful.
Help & templates: Reclaim PPI

MSE News

Top story: 4G mobile prices revealed
Asda to cut petrol prices
Paper self assessment tax deadline looms
Firms 'must offer' cheapest energy
Mortgages tumble sub-2%... if you've got the deposit
Bank fined after paying £20m to WRONG customers
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 24 Oct 2012
TWO free BA flights or £100 Amazon/M&S gift card
One of the biggest 'play your cards right' freebies ever and it's not on a credit card, but a charge card

We're a little surprised this monster freebie's being offered by a charge card. These require you to repay in full each month, rather than get into long-term debt. Still, it's perfect for freebie grabbing, though you'll need a decent credit score.

  • energy TWO free flights or £100 gift card. The Amex Gold* card normally charges a £125 annual fee, but currently waives it for the 1st year and offers 20,000 bonus points if you spend £2,000+ on it within 3mths. Providing your normal daily spending hits that (not an excuse to spend more), you can be quids in.

    What 20,000 pts gets you:
    Two short BA return flights, eg, Paris, Milan, Berlin (you pay taxes c.£30/person) or one longer, eg, Istanbul. Alternatively, £100 in gift cards for Amazon, M&S, Homebase, Comet, etc. Or add to your Avios, Virgin or other frequent flyer points stash.
  • Important tips. 1) Use a direct debit to FULLY repay each month or there's a £12 charge and credit file black mark. 2) To avoid the £125 fee, diarise to cancel before the 1yr anniversary of acceptance. 3) If you miss the £2,000 trigger, there's no problem - you just don't get the bonus. 4) You may be able to get extra signing up via cashback sites. 5) It's Amex, so not accepted in all shops. Full help: Credit Card Freebies

Possible £7.75 champagne (RRP £24) min 6 bottles. Ends Sun. Combine codes & promo for 6 btls of Antoine De Clevecy £66 delivered (£11/bottle), but a trick may cut it to £46.50. Stock up for Xmas. See Cheap Champers. DrinkAware

New! Top 2.85% simple savings, and it's from NatWest. Rare to see a big bank top the savings charts. But with rates currently so low, NatWest e-Savings'* 2.85% AER variable is top, and allows unlimited withdrawals whenever you want. The rate includes a year-long bonus so diarise to ditch & switch then. Top Savings & Savings Safety

'Free' £49 Elemis full-size night cream in £5 mag. Mag has a voucher in it to redeem (1,500 avail). Beauty Deals

Forum Hottie. Sainsbury's ALL TOYS reduced, some by 50%. Online & in-store from today. Sainsbury's Toys

"£200/year off energy bill & £500 back"
Don't wait for the PM to act - prices are going up NOW. Only you can sort it out, and the clock's ticking

Don't get sidetracked by the PM. Even if his changes happen, they're years away. More important is that four big 6 firms have announced price hikes, and there's still just time for many to beat them. See Cheap Gas & Elec or Cheap Prepay, here's a taster...

  • energy Save £200/yr + no hikes for TWO winters. Don't just compare & switch right now, you'll end up moving to a firm that hasn't yet hiked prices. Instead, consider locking into a cheap FIXED rate.

    The cheapest long fix is Scot Power's 31 Mar 2014*. Longer still, but usually a touch costlier, is EDF Blue 31 May 2014* (though you can keep it if you move house and it offers an elec-only fix). Plus neither has early exit fees, so if prices drop later, you're free to leave.

    Your exact winner depends on usage & region. So select 'fixed' options on a Top comparison site: Energyhelpline* £15 cashback/switch. Dual fuel: MoneySup* £30 cashback or uSwitch* six btls of wine (freebies take 3 mths).
  • Some get a big Xmas cash boost too. We're swamped with tweets like: "Saved £200 a year in energy bills, and our old supplier's sending us the £500 we were in credit by!" Some are in credit due to overly high direct debits, others due to credit building up in summer, which will need to be spent on winter bills.
  • FREE help if you're struggling to pay. It's Citizens Advice Big Energy week (see below) - get one-to-one help from Home Heat Helpline, check for Utility Arrears Grants and are you eligible for Free Insulation or the Warm Home Discount?

Stop press: Reclaim past flight delays. A landmark ruling's just opened the floodgates for up to £490 refunds on 3-hr+ delayed flights since 2005. See Flight delays news, Coming Soon: Full reclaiming guide.

£15 Travelodge UK rooms (£16 Spain) and 10% off Lastminute hotel code
Travelodge £15 UK, £16 Spain, £24 Ireland rooms | 10% off hotels (incl secret hotels)

Forum Hottie. Tassimo coffee machine £50 all-in (RRP £100). Plus £20 vouch for capsules. See Tassimo Deals.

Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
23 mths 0%, 2.8% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: NatWest*/RBS*
13 months 0%, 1% fee
(17.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsburys* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.1% rep APR
(Need Nectar card)

Derbyshire BS* (£7.5k - £15k)
5.6% rep APR

Post Office 3.01% AER
Min £100. Incl bonus.
Post/branch. Transfers allowed

Cheshire BS 3% AER
Min £1,000. Incl bonus.
Postal only. No transfers

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

10,000 'free' Megabus tix (50p booking fee). Cross-country trips in England and Wales. See Coach Deals.

'Free' £8 Natio (men's & women's) cosmetics in £2 paper. No-min spend voucher this Sat. Natio Deals

M&S Outlet 15% off menswear code. MSE Blagged. Exclusive code discounts already-reduced items. M&S Deals

50p Nouvelle Soft toilet paper (4 pack). £1 off voucher on an already-reduced £1.50 price. Nouvelle Deals

50 house buying tricks & free home valuations
It's the biggest purchase of your life, so small mistakes cost large - this new guide helps you avoid them

Considering buying? You need a battleplan. Armed with forumites' "what I wish I'd known" tales, we've drawn one up.

H&M 50% off FLASH sale ends today (Wed) + code. Serious sale, poss 25% off code too. See H&M Deals.

74p posters of your photos | £10 off £20 Photobox spend. MSE Blagged. These and more top Photo Deals.

Half-term deals - bargain bowling, cinema, museums & more...
2for1 Kew Gardens | 2for1 bowling at 17 venues | Kids eat free at La Tasca, Loch Fyne & more |
Over 190 free museums | £1.75 kids' cinema screenings

Free 19ml Colgate Max White toothpaste. Travel-sized sample freebie. 10,000 avail, so go quick. Colgate Deals

New bank bribery! (But we like it)
They'll now pay YOU £100 plus £5 every month to switch to them | Current account price war - take their cash

Bank bashing's practically a national pastime, but while many complain, 40% have NEVER switched (YouGov). Time to change that, as banks boost their bribes to switchers. Full help in Best Bank Accounts, here's a taster. (All do credit checks.)

  • bank accounts Free £100 and untouchable customer service. First Direct* pays switchers £100 (min £1,500+/mth income), and has topped every customer service poll we've ever done. It pays no in-credit interest, but does give a £250 0% overdraft (15.9% EAR above that).
  • New. Free £100 plus £5 every month. Halifax's Reward Account's revived its free £100 for switchers on top of the ongoing £5/mth it gives those paying in salaries/income of £1,000+/mth). Avoid its overdraft like the plague, though, with fees of £1 or £2/day.
  • Bank ethically & get free travel in summer too. Ethical Consumer rates firms based on the environment, human & animal rights and politics. Our top pick that it rates is Nationwide*, which offers free European travel insurance for all named account holders up to 75 (£20/yr for worldwide upgrade). Also check your local credit union.

EARN £15 for checking your free credit files. Get paid to sign up to free trials. Full info: Free Credit Files

'Free' £4ish Lego in 40-50p paper. Nine days of Lord Of The Rings, The Avengers, speedboats, etc. See Lego Deals.

Last chance. 5.6% APR loan. The Derbyshire BS* (part of Nationwide) is upping its £7.5k-£15k best buy loan rate next Wed. Pros, cons and full help in Cheap Loans. Only get a loan if you've budgeted and can afford repayments.

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

£15 per switch

£30 dual fuel

6 bottles of wine

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...

Direct Line*
Get quotes in this order...

Primus Line Rental Saver*

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

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
The MoneySaving Community

MSE PAID INTERNSHIPS | News and money teams: We've spaces on three-month placements. See: MSE Interns

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK | Big Energy Saving Week
Until Sat 27 October, a partnership led by Citizens Advice is running events across England, Scotland and Wales to help find ways to cut your energy bills. There's also advice by phone (0300 123 1234) or through your local CAB. Find an event near you. Related: Cheap Gas & Elec. Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support money based work by other organisations. Send us a campaign of the week suggestion.

THE GREAT HUNT | Best & worst shop returns policies
If it isn't faulty, legally you have no right to return goods. While many stores' returns policies go above and beyond this, some won't budge an inch. So we want to use MoneySavers' collective wisdom to find the best and worst policies. Report yours/read others: Shops' returns policies More help: Consumer Rights guide

BOOK GIVEAWAY | Thailand Travel Guide. 25 blagged for MoneySavers. Want one?

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA | Whose dog is it anyway?
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... We recently had to rehome our dog. My stepbrother offered to take him, but when he came to meet the dog, I explained he was older and vet fees can be a lot, but he wanted him anyway. Lo and behold, the dog got ill and our parents ended up handling the vet's arrangements for him, including bills, and they want reimbursement. I know my stepbrother won't repay them, so now feel as though we ought to contribute. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we contribute to vet fees? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

THE GREAT HUNT... REVEALED | Dinner party for 4 for under £10.
We were impressed by gastronomically frugal MoneySavers in last week's dinner party for a tenner hunt, with some managing to come in BELOW budget!
Sourcing ingredients from allotments was a popular way to keep costs down, as were veggie options and soups to start. Alternatively, buy simple, cheap food and spend the rest of the money on fizz... (be Drinkaware).

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT | Airline: Wizz Air Price: From £10 each way Ends: Ongoing
Our pick this week is Wizz Air. Prices are ongoing and include some taxes & charges. It's for flights from London to Poland and eastern Europe. We found flights from London Luton to Warsaw Modlin for £10.46. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £20 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

Quick forum tips

Andrea's freebies

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances

Thursday 25 October
Shelagh Fogarty, Radio 5, 12-1pm. 
Consumer Panel. Listen to past shows.

Sunday 28 October
The Andrew Marr Show, BBC1, 9-10am. Papers review.

Tuesday 30 October
Daybreak, ITV1, between 7am & 8.30am. Subject tbc.

The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV1, 7.30-8pm. Savings, haggling and challenging unfair parking tickets.

Watch past episodes.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 122.06 111.14
US Flag $ 159.06 145.66
Turkish Flag TL 280.00 255.81
Rates correct at 5pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Are you richer than your parents were at your age?

Over the last century, each generation has got progressively richer. Yet in these difficult economic times, is it still true? We're talking wealth and income here (factoring in inflation).

Poll results

Have you put your heating on yet?

Over 32,000 voted in last week's heating poll - and most people had turned theirs on within the past month, ranging from 41% (5,729 votes) in southern England to 53% (1,534) in Scotland. 14% of Scots said they kept their heating on all year, compared with just 3% in southern England - but a hardy 5% of Welsh voters said they were waiting until they could see their breath before switching theirs on. See Full Results

Question of the week

Q: If Vodafone put up prices mid-contract, are they in breach of contract? And can I then get out of the contract I have with them? Vince, by email

MSE Becca’s A: Vodafone line rental and call prices are rising on 1 November. It says if your monthly costs rise by more than 10% based on your previous three months' usage, you can leave your contract early. To do this, write to Vodafone by 1 November.

If the rise is less than 10%, then you will be able to escape by paying an early exit fee.

The regulator Ofcom's rules say you can leave your contract early, penalty-free, if the changes are of "material detriment" to you. But proving this is often difficult. Full info in the Vodafone price hike MSE News story.


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

Board of the week

The Music MoneySaving Board

Share advice and tips on music bargains, where to buy instruments and other music-related MoneySaving. Discussions include Free or cheap sheet music, portable device that downloads music without PC and Help selling old records.

 Archna's free game of the week: Future Buddy

Use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a BBQ...

That's it for this week, but before we go, we thought you'd enjoy this range of useful and frankly bananas tips in this great US guide: 99 life hacks to make your life easier.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

Important. Please read how works

We think it's important you understand the strengths and limitations of this email and the site. We're a journalistic website, and aim to provide the best MoneySaving guides, tips, tools and techniques - but can't promise to be perfect, so do note you use the information at your own risk and we can't accept liability if things go wrong.

What you need to know

  • This info does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it's right for your specific circumstances - and remember we focus on rates not service.

  • We don't as a general policy investigate the solvency of companies mentioned, how likely they are to go bust, but there is a risk any company can struggle and it's rarely made public until it's too late (see the section 75 guide for protection tips).

  • We often link to other websites, but we can't be responsible for their content.

  • Always remember anyone can post on the MSE forums, so it can be very different from our opinion.

Please read the Full Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, how this site is financed and Editorial Code. Martin Lewis is a registered trade mark belonging to Martin S Lewis. MSE, Money Saving Expert, MoneySavingExpert and are registered trade marks belonging to Limited.

More about MoneySaving Expert and Martin Lewis

What is

Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with over 6 million people getting this email and nearly 10m using the site. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: how to save cash and fight for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 30 full time staff about half of whom are editorial researching, analysing and writing to continually find ways to save money. More info: See About MSE

Who is Martin Lewis?

Martin set up and runs MSE, he's an ultra-focused money saving journalist and consumer campaigner. He has regular slots onDaybreak, Lorraine, Radio 2 Vine, BBC1 Watchdog, Radio 5 Consumer panel and presents ITV Tonight. He is a columnist for amongst others the Sunday Post as well as an author. More info: See Martin Lewis' biog

What do the links with a * mean?

Any links with a * by them are affiliated, which means get a product via this link and a contribution may be made to, which helps it stay 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) isn't changed due to it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in the same way. More info: See how this site is financed.

As we believe transparency is important, we're including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for content too:

Unaffiliated web-addresses for links in this email,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Financial Services Authority (FSA) Note

Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FSA regulated activity. For this reason, pages with links which take you to the sites of insurers or insurance intermediaries are hosted by Limited on behalf of Group PLC. Financial Group Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both Group PLC and Financial Group Limited is MoneySupermarket House, St. David’s Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ.

To change your E-mail or stop receiving the weekly tips (unsubscribe): Go to:

Get The Free Weekly Moneysaving Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out

Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out