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Weekly Email
This email was sent
25th Mar 2015
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

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

25 March 2015

This week

36mth 0% debt shift - but shorter may be cheaper
'Save 2,500' mortgage life cover
Budget FAQs: personal savings allowance, Help to Buy ISAs & more
10 Amazon buying tricks
Vax up to 80% off clearance code
Ending: Free M&S 125 bank switch
Free 500ml Coke Zero
WARNING: Is your EDF, BG, Scot Power energy fix ending?
41 Thorntons Easter bundle 22
Two pairs of specs 23
Discounts: Poundland 2 off, Aldi 5 off, Office 25% off, Body Shop 40%
22 fruit trees & plants 45
10,000 free Grand Designs Live tix
45 Amazon vch with pet insurance
40x40cm photo canvas 16
CAA threatens Jet2 with court
National Citizen 7 days (3nts away) Easter hols for 16/17yr olds 50
'I got 300 bank charges back'
Meerkat Movies 2for1 cinema tix 1,250pts newbies code
Vouchers Index: Restaurants / Shopping
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

11 ways to beat new tax year changes
ACT NOW and you can steal a march on April and gain 1,000s

At MSE Towers, we don't waste the party poppers on the end of December, we save them for the start of April. Massive changes are afoot both for the new tax year and as many parts of the public sector change their prices then too. Yet if you ACT NOW you can often beat the changes - here are the need to knows...

1. New tax yearFree income tax calculator - how much will you take home next tax year? From 6 April, the basic personal allowance - the amount you can earn before paying income tax - rises from 10,000 to 10,600. Most who earn that or more thus get an extra 120/yr take-home pay. Other tax rates change too, so use our Income Tax Calculator 2015/16 to find your new pay packet.

Plus HMRC's written to around 13.5 million people with new 2015/16 tax codes. If you got one, it's your responsibility to ensure it's correct, else you'll either overpay or underpay (and thus will be faced with a big bill later). Use our free tax code calculator to check.
2. Warning: Big childcare changes coming. Act now or miss 1,000s. This year, likely in autumn, the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme launches and the current Childcare Vouchers scheme that lets many pay for childcare from their pre-tax income will close for new applicants. So if you're eligible for vouchers but won't be for the new scheme, get in quick...

- New Tax-Free Childcare scheme: If you're a single parent who works, or a couple where BOTH work, for every 80 spent on childcare, the Govt will contribute 20 (up to 2,000 a year). Full Tax-Free Childcare info.

- Current Childcare Voucher scheme. Here you usually trade in pre-tax salary for vouchers. Eg, a basic-rate taxpayer can swap 1,000 of salary, which after tax and NI is only 700ish in your pay packet, for 1,000 in childcare vouchers. So you're 300 per 1,000 up (the max saving a year is 930).

Any parent can do this (even if their partner doesn't work) provided your employer offers it (many do, but many don't). Full Childcare Vouchers info.

- Tax-Free Childcare vs Childcare Vouchers: If you're a couple where only one works, the vouchers win hands down as it's the only one you're eligible for - so if you're not signed up, do it soon. Plus if your childcare costs are low, it's likely vouchers win. Full analysis: Vouchers vs Tax-Free Childcare.

These aren't the only savings possible, there's also 'working tax credit for childcare' & more - see Childcare help - are you due 1,000s? for full info.
3. Warning: Want a Help to Buy ISA? Don't put cash in a cash ISA from 6 April. One surprise in last week's Budget (see key budget info below) was a new first-time buyers' Help to Buy (H2B) ISA due this autumn, where for every 200 you contribute 50 is added. See our full Help to Buy ISA guide.

Yet the urgent point is that you can't contribute to a H2B ISA and a cash ISA in the same tax year. So if you want a H2B ISA (it's far more lucrative than a normal one) don't open a cash ISA in the new tax year starting 6 April and if you've a direct debit to an existing one stop it now, or you won't be eligible for a H2B ISA when they launch this autumn.

Yet there's nothing stopping you filling this tax year's cash ISA allocation though - see Top Cash ISAs - or using a stocks & shares ISA next tax year.
4. Child Trust Funds can be converted to Junior ISAs. If your child was born between 1 Sep 2002 and 2 Jan 2011 they were eligible for a Child Trust Fund (CTF) - often the Govt added a lump sum, plus parents can add cash tax-free on top. It's since been replaced by Junior ISAs - yet those who had CTFs have been stuck with them getting far worse returns & less choice.

I've long campaigned to allow CTFs to be converted to Junior ISAs and thankfully from 6 April you can. Plus you'll then be able to add a further 4,080/yr. I'll of course give a full briefing on what to do in April, but for now, see the Top Child Trust Funds & Top Junior ISAs guides.
5. Water saving... 'Switching to a water meter saved me 720/yr'. No joke, on 1 April water bills in Eng & Wales fall by an average of 2% - some by as much as 7%, though a few areas will rise by up to 2% (see price changes list). Yet it's Water Saving Week, and these changes are trivial compared to the savings many make switching to a meter. Follow this rule of thumb:

If you've the same or more bedrooms in your home than people, do a check to see if you can switch to a water meter - Free calculator.

As Jacqui emailed, "Over many years Ive paid 65/mth for my water bill. After following your suggestion, my current water bills are now 4.50/mth. A great saving - I wished Id done it years ago." That's 720/yr saved.
6. Council tax UP by up to 5% but save 1,000s if you can reband. Some councils are upping it, some freezing it, but the really big savings come from checking you're in the right band and if you're due exemptions.

- Are you in the right band?
Up to 400,000 homes in Eng & Scot may be paying too much. I came up with a check & challenge your council tax band system and 10,000s have succeeded, such as Michael who emailed: "I got my banding reduced (I was two bands higher than everyone else in my street) saving me 100/yr plus a 1,200 refund. I'm VERY grateful - it was easy."

- Are you due an exemption?
Those who live alone and some others can pay less - see our council tax exemptions list.
7. Beat Monday's stamp price rise. On 30 March a letter-size 1st class stamp rises 1p to 63p; 2nd class 1p to 54p. Yet stock up before then and as long as it just says "1st" on it, not the price, it's valid afterwards. See Stamp hike.
8. English prescription charges up 15p - but there's a trick to save. Prescriptions are free unless you're in Eng and even then some are exempt. If you do pay, the charge rises to 8.20 on 1 April. Those who regularly get them can make big savings with prepay prescription certificates - they cover all prescriptions for 3mths for 29 or 104/yr and the price is frozen.
9. Dental charges UP - drill down on costs now. On 1 April, basic NHS dental treatment in Eng rises 30p to 18.80, Wales 50p to 13.50, Scot up 1.61% (though the rise comes in later) & NI may go up 1%. If you need treatment, you may want an appointment beforehand.
10. State pension UP 2.85 (yay) - but are you due more? The basic single state pension rises to 115.95/week and the joint pension is up 4.55 to 185.45/wk. Yet over 1,500,000 pensioners are eligible for Pension Credit which can add up to more than 2,000 a year, but don't claim it.

Of course massive changes are due on 6 April to private pension saving and taking your pension too. I'll be honest, we're beavering away at huge new free booklets to help you through it - we hope to publish by mid-April.
11. Time is UP by 1 hour this weekend. I can save you money, but I can't save you time (in this case). We all lose an hour on Sun as clocks go forward at 1am - but it does mean much lighter evenings (hurrah).

Blagged for MoneySavers

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MSE News

Top story: Got an annexe? Check if you're due a council tax discount
British Airways to charge passengers up to 18 to pre-select a seat
Anglian Water SoLow customer? It's axing the tariff meaning bill hikes
'Ask Ma how to waste 50 million - it must completely change strategy'
Sky TV customers to be hit with price hikes
Get friends on board the MoneySaving bandwagon
If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 25 Mar 2015
36mth 0% debt shift - but shorter may be cheaper
With balance transfer cards, like many areas in life, it's not all about length. Cut debt costs by 100s or 1,000s

A balance transfer means you get a new credit card that pays off old credit or store card(s) for you, so you now owe it but at a lower rate. As more of your repayment clears the actual debt, rather than pays interest, you get debt-free quicker. Watch for fees: eg, 3% is a one-off 30 per 1,000 added to your debt. Here's a table, then info on how to pick...

Top pick new cardholder 0% balance transfers
Find the card you're most likely to get with our ELIGIBILITY CALC (protects your credit score)
Card Intro offer One-off fee (1) Rep APR after
Barclaycard* longest-ever 0% 36mth 0% (2) 2.99% (3) 18.9%
Halifax* long 0%, slightly lower fee 35mth 0% (2) 2.8% (3) 18.9%
Lloyds* long 0%, but far lower fee 28mth 0% 1.5% 18.9%
Virgin Money slightly shorter 0% and lower fee (4) 26mth 0% 1.25% 18.9%
Santander* longest 0% NO-FEE card 15mth 0% None 18.9%
Halifax* (2) & Sainsbury's* joint 2nd longest 0% no-fee card 13mth 0% None 18.9%
Capital One* for poorer credit scorers 6mth 0% 3% 34.9%
1) % of amount transferred. 2) Some get shorter 0%. 3) You pay a higher fee & they refund the difference later. 4) Not in eligibility calc. Full info/options: Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples)
  • How to pick the right card for you. First use our free balance transfer eligibility calculator which shows your odds of being accepted for each top card, reducing the need for multiple applications, protecting your credit file. Once you know which you've the best chance of, use the following rules to pick.

    1. Aim for the LOWEST FEE card which gives you enough time to clear it. If you're sure you can clear within 15mths, Santander* wins as it's fee-free. Move up the table if you need longer. Our Which Card's Cheapest? tool can help.
    2. Are you a tart? If you need more than 15mths but are willing & disciplined enough to keep shifting 0% cards and have a decent credit score, pick Santander as it has no fee, then diarise to switch again before the 0% ends.
    3. Unsure how quickly you can repay? Play safe - go long. Eg, with Barclaycard* while you may pay 30 per 1,000 transferred, this is far less than just a few months' interest on shorter cards if you still owe once the 0% ends.
  • Once you've got a card follow the Balance Transfer Golden Rules:
    a) Never miss the min monthly repayments, or the bank is allowed to end your 0% deal and charge far more.
    b) Ensure you clear the card or transfer again before the 0% ends or the rate rockets to the rep APR.
    c) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate & cash withdrawals hit your credit file.

Vax up to 80% off clearance sale code. MSE Blagged. You need a code to access the sale. We've got one valid Wed - elsewhere it's Thu, so you've first dibs. Eg, Air3 compact vacuum 50 from 250, pressure washer 40 from 100. Vax

Ending: Free M&S 125 gift card if you switch bank & no min monthly pay-in required. Switch to M&S Current Account* via this specific link by Tue 31 Mar and get a 125 M&S gift card (100 after), a 100 0% overdraft and linked 6% regular savings. Unusually no min monthly pay-in's needed, so it's strong if you've erratic income. Other top deals incl First Direct 100 & top service or Halifax 125 plus 5 each month. Full options/help in Top Bank Accounts.

Free 500ml Coke Zero voucher. Get vch on your phone, take to a Greggs/One Stop convenience store. Free Coke

Warning: Is your energy fix ending (EDF, BG, Scot Power etc)? You could pay 100+/yr more. 14 fixed tariffs end on 31 Mar. Do nowt and you're usually shifted to a costly tariff, typically up to 130/yr more, so check yours. Which tariffs? The March 2015 versions of EDF Blue+ Price Promise, British Gas's Price Protection, Co-op Fixed Price & more - see full list. What should I do? Compare NOW via Cheap Energy Club and on most tariffs you'll find something cheaper than you're already on - don't worry YOU CAN'T BE CHARGED EXIT PENALTIES within 49 days of the tariff's end.

41 Thorntons Easter egg bundle 22 delivered via code. MSE Blagged. Incl 4 Easter eggs (norm 4-7 indiv), 2 choc bunnies (4-7 indiv), box of Thorntons Premium Collection chocolates (6) & more. Ends Sun. Thorntons

Slash mortgage life insurance costs - 'I saved 2,520 switching'
Many with mortgages are shelling out unnecessarily big bucks for life insurance. Here's how to cut it

Mortgage life cover pays a lump sum to clear the remaining debt if you die within the term, leaving your dependants mortgage-free. It should be relatively cheap, but many pay vastly over the odds getting it from lenders, mortgage brokers or even comparison sites. Our fully rewritten Cheap Mortgage Life Insurance guide shows you how to cut costs. In brief...

  • life insurance The trick to slashing the cost. Buy from your mortgage lender, bank or insurer and you just get what you're given. Use comparison sites and while they find your cheapest policy, they get a huge whack of commission (even if you then went and bought direct from the insurer you wouldn't save as insurers just keep the commission themselves).

    Yet use a top discount broker and it too compares prices, then you pay a one-off 25 fee and it rebates the commission to you, so you pay less. The impact is huge. For a 45yr-old smoker getting 25-year mortgage life cover for 200,000 (younger, non-smokers pay far less):

    This cost was quoted as 58/mth, so 17,400 over 25 yrs.
    The quote we got was 41/mth, so 12,300 over 25 yrs.
    - VIA DISCOUNT BROKER: Here the quote was 31/mth, so 9,325 over 25 yrs incl the 25 fee.
  • Already got a policy? Can you ditch, switch & save? As MSE Eesha found: "I took out cover 3yrs ago for 23/mth. After joining MSE & following the guide I found the SAME policy with the SAME provider for 9/mth. Over the 15 years I've left I'll save 2,520." You won't always save switching; the fact you're older, or have had health conditions (always declare them) since you got the policy can kaibosh savings. Yet there's no harm getting a quote, especially if you've since quit smoking.
  • Five mortgage life insurance need-to-knows:
    1. Confused or unsure what you're doing? Forget the cheapest - get independent advice from an advisory broker.
    2. Level-term insurance may be better. That pays a fixed lump sum as opposed to a reducing one with mortgage cover - getting it can both provide your family cash & pay off your mortgage. See level-term life insurance
    3. Is inheritance tax likely? If you've big assets, putting life insurance in trust means it's not liable for it.
    4. Declare pre-existing conditions. Don't lie or hide anything, it could mean the policy isn't valid.
    5. Comparing critical illness is tough. With life cover there's rarely an argument about if you've died. Yet if critical illness is linked, then the key is checking what each policy counts as 'critical'.

TWO pairs of specs 23 del. MSE Blagged. Use code on Glasses Direct's existing 2for1 on 55+ specs. Ends Tue

Poundland 2 off 12, Aldi 5 off 40, Office 25% off, Body Shop 40%...
Poundland 2 off 12 in-store vch | Aldi 5 off 40 vch in 55p paper | Body Shop 40% off code incl sale items
Office 25% off in-store vch in 2 mag | H&M 25% off one item code | Joules 20 off 75 clothing code. ALL codes & vchrs

22 fruit trees & plants 45 (incl apple & strawberry). Cheapest equiv we've found elsewhere's 85. 2,000 avail

10,000 FREE 14ish Grand Designs London Live tix. Excel London 5-10 May. Free tickets

45 Amazon voucher on L&G pet insurance. MSE Blagged. Until Tue 31 Mar get a new L&G dog/cat* policy via this link using the code PETMSE and you'll be sent a 45 Amazon vch within 75 days. Warning: Always check against comparison sites: We're not saying it's the cheapest, just that there's a deal - check against Gocomp* & Compare TM and add in Direct Line* as it currently gives 12mths for the price of nine. FULL info, pros & cons (esp if switching) in Cheap Pet Insurance.

45 photo canvas 16 delivered code. MSE Blagged. 40cm x 40cm personalised canvas print. Picanova deals

Show Best Buys
Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
36mths 0%, 2.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

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

(18.9% rep APR)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...
Compare The Market

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Cahoot* (5k - 7.5k)
4.6% rep APR

Sainsbury's* (7.5k - 15k)
3.6% rep APR

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

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

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples
Budget 2015

Last week's Budget had big savings changes - watch Martin's instant reaction. We've been digging up the details...

  • BudgetNew 'savings personal allowance' - first 1,000 interest tax-free. From April 2016, basic-rate taxpayers get 1,000 allowance, higher rate 500. For how it'll work, what counts as interest, will this kill cash ISAs & more, see our Savings Allowance FAQs.
  • Help to Buy ISAs. From autumn first-time buyers get 25% added to their savings. Full rundown, pros & cons in our Help to Buy ISA FAQ. Also see Help to Buy mortgages.
  • ISAs to become flexible. You will soon be able to take money out & then put it back in. See Flexible ISA news.
10 Amazon buying tricks & tools to save you large
Use Amazon EU, hidden bargain basement pages, get 79 Prime back, check price history - nothing too taxing...

Last week's Budget included a corporate tax avoidance crackdown dubbed the 'Google' tax, but don't forget Amazon too. So we thought we'd join the party with 19 Amazon buying tricks to hone down its margins further. Here's ten for starters...

  1. Amazon tricks Buy from Amazon Europe for less. As it shifts profits abroad why not use a new tool that compares prices across Amazon EU sites? MSE Neil used it: "I bought a Sonos Playbar from Amazon Italy for 640 - 139 cheaper than Amazon UK."
  2. Hidden 75%+ bargain basement. Our Amazon Discount Finder manipulates its URLs (web address) to create discount pages, eg, shoes 80% off or TVs 25% off.
  3. Reclaim unwanted 79 Amazon Prime. Many've unwittingly paid - see Prime Reclaim.
  4. Free tool to check if it's the right time to buy. Amazon prices move like a yo-yo, yet the CamelCamelCamel tool shows you each product's price history, so you can judge if it's really a deal.
  5. Reclaim 16 YEARS of lost music. If you've bought a CD / vinyl / MP3 from Amazon at any time since 1999, you can download the track for free. MoneySaver JHL1959 got 182 albums back - 2,367 tracks. See Reclaim Lost Music.
  6. Buying something under 10? Add something else. Delivery's only free if spending 10+, so if buying something for say 9, top it up with something for 1 as that's usually less than the delivery. See full free delivery tricks.
  7. Amazon Marketplace isn't Amazon. If goods say "by" someone other than Amazon then they're Marketplace, ie not Amazon itself, but a trader selling via Amazon (a bit like eBay). You usually don't get free delivery, nor the extra Section 75 protection if paying on a credit card (as it's via an agency) - just Amazon's buying guarantee.
  8. Free tool to compare Amazon's price. Take 2mins to compare its price via MegaShopBot price comparison.
  9. Sign up for discount codes. Buy something regularly and its Subscribe & Save service gives up to 15% off. Or sign up to its fashion newsletter to get 20% off 5 items of clothing or shoes - see Amazon Discounts.
  10. Student? Get up to 10% off and 6mths' free one-day delivery - do diarise to cancel or it's 39/yr.

CAA threatens to take Jet2, Wizz Air & Aer Lingus to court over flight delay claims. The court cases are settled. Airlines should pay up if you are delayed over 3hrs and it's their fault. Some aren't, so now the regulator's taking action. See our Flight Delay Compensation guide.

National Citizen Service 50 Easter break activity week (16/17yr olds). Free for some. Govt-backed Eng scheme includes 3nts away - gets 'em rock climbing, kayaking & learning life skills + a certificate. National Citizen Service

Success of the week - bank charges reclaiming: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Hi Martin, I followed your step-by-step guide for writing to banks over charges [for going beyond your overdraft limit] and Halifax gave me 300 back and no charges till June."

Orange 2for1 now Meerkat Movies. 2for1 tickets valid Tue/Wed for Compare The Market customers. Cinema deals food shop 1,250 points on 60 newbies code. MSE Blagged. New customers use XXFHML & spend 60 at Tesco Grocery* by Sun to get extra points worth 12.50 in store (up to 50 on Tesco boost). Full info: Tesco code.

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

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

The savings can be huge. Someone with typical dual fuel usage on a big 6 standard tariff pays 1,159 a year, the cheapest deal's 918.

First Direct*
100 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(2 per month fee)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...


Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*

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

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

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

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
Show Money Saving Community
The MoneySaving Community

Should I stop buying presents for my friend's child now she's 18?

Ever since they were born I've always bought birthday gifts for my friend's three daughters. So far I have always given them equal value presents, but as the eldest is now grown-up, I'm wondering how long I need to carry on buying them for her. I don't want to be mean or seem like I'm treating her unfairly, but part of me wants to stop. How long should I be expected to keep buying presents for? Enter the Money Moral Maze: When should I stop buying present for my friend's children? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

Airline: Thomson Price: 30 off return flights Ends: Ongoing
Our pick this week is Thomson's ongoing sale - 30 off the total price of return flights (incl taxes & charges). It's for all flights till 31 Oct 2015. There's no code to enter, the discount appears automatically - fly from 19 UK airports to 67 destinations. Extra charges warning: Avoid payment and check-in charges - see Budget Airline Fee-Fighting. Related: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance

MoneySavers shared their tips to keep gluten-free cheap

We asked you to share your collective knowledge on the cheapest gluten-free foods. Tips varied, from always checking the reduced bread section at the supermarket to recipes to make your own gluten-free goodies. Also recommended were supermarket own brands and food fairs for money-off vouchers.

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's appearances (from Wed 25 Mar onward)

Wed 25 Mar - The Ideal Home Show, Olympia, London, 3pm
Thu 26 Mar - GMB, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch last week's
Thu 26 Mar - The Ideal Home Show, Olympia, London, 6pm
Fri 27 Mar - This Morning, ITV, 90-Second Savers, 10.30am. Watch last week's
Mon 30 Mar - This Morning, ITV Money Monday, 10.30am. Watch last week's
Mon 30 Mar - Consumer Panel, BBC Radio 5, 12pm-1pm. Subscribe to podcast

MSE team corner

Team blogs:
28k Ideal Home Show savings and probably much more

Easter egg taste test

Regular team appearances:

Fri 27 Mar
BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm

Discussion of the week

Her money vs my money

Getting married can be a big adjustment, especially when it comes to money. One forumite asks when it will start to be less 'mine and yours' and more 'ours' in the Her money vs my money discussion. Join in and share your thoughts.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 134.76 121.28
US Flag $ 147.71 132.57
Turkish Flag TL 368.20 324.82
Rates correct at 3pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: How much are you worth (or do you owe) - not counting your home?

Were asking the same question as last week, but this time we want you to exclude your home and mortgage (primary residence only - if you have a second property or buy-to-let include that).

To answer this question, you first need to do a little sum:

1. Add up: the total value of your assets such as your savings & pension (excluding your home).
2. Subtract: outstanding debts - include any credit card debt, exclude student loans & mortgage.

Then whether you've "net worth" or "net debt", pick your relevant option:

Poll results

How much are you worth (or do you owe)?
Most of you had a net worth rather than a net debt, although perhaps unsurprisingly, most were homeowners.

Nearly 88% of homeowners have a net worth while just 63% of non-homeowners are in the same position. Of homeowners, 72% have a net worth of more than 100,000. Here's some more of the final stats:

- 5% of you are net worth 'millionaires'
- Worryingly 0.2% of you are net debt 'millionaires'

23,189 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: My local restaurant always automatically charges a 10% service charge. Is this legal? Sometimes I don't wish to pay if the service hasn't been good. Melanie, via email.

MSE Nicks A: In short, yes, it's legal. If a restaurant wishes to apply a service charge then it has the right to do so. Saying that, it doesn't necessarily mean you have to pay it.

If the service charge wasn't mentioned upfront or it included the word 'discretionary', you can deduct it from the bill if you wish for whatever reason you choose.

If a 'compulsory' service charge is mentioned upfront and clearly stated on any price list or menu, you'll be expected to pay this with the bill. However you can refuse to pay it if you believe the service wasn't carried out with 'reasonable care and skill'� and 'within a reasonable time', as is required under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. There's no concrete definition of reasonable - if you feel the service was particularly poor, it may constitute a breach of this obligation. See Restaurant Rights for more info.

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

 Nick's free game of the week: Anbot

FAIL - Barclays misspells its own name.

That's it for this week, but before we go, no joke, no gag, quite simply Barclays misspelt its own name - take a look at this Braclays mailout. We'd love you to post if you've seen any other similar corporate fails.

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).

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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.

More about MoneySavingExpert and Martin Lewis

What is

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

Who is Martin Lewis?

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

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 Conduct Authority (FCA) Note

Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FCA 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 is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both Group PLC and Financial Group Limited is MoneySupermarket House, St. Davids Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ.

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