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Weekly Email
This email was sent
25th Jul 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 This info may be out of date.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."

25 July 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

Last-second travel tricks to save £100s
If you're booked or lusting, 10 must-knows for jetting away

While Europe's swathed in a black financial cloud, weather-wise the sun's still shining. The one eurozone crisis silver lining is last year £1 bought €1.13, now it's €1.28, boosting your spending power by 13%. Now let's boost it even more...

1. Apply ASAP for UNBEATABLE rates via top plastic. Most plastic adds a 3% load, so spending £100 of euros costs £103. Yet a few special load-free credit cards smash bureaux de change, with near-perfect worldwide rates: Halifax Clarity*, Post Office*, Saga (50s+) & Select* (Nationwide custs ONLY).

Apply ASAP (if too late, do it for next time) but ALWAYS fully repay by direct debit or the gain's lost by 11.9-16.9% representative APRs. (APR Examples)

Poorer credit score?
You won't get the cards above, but Aqua* spending's also load-free and gives 3% cashback (max £100/yr), though its overseas ATM fees are higher. Fail to fully repay, and it's 34.9% rep APR. See Top Overseas Cards.
2. travel hiyaUrgently check if your free EHIC card's valid. EHICs give you access to EU state-run hospitals / GPs like a local (if they pay nowt, nor do you). Yet 4m peoples' have expired so check the date before going & renew ASAP (takes 7-10 days). Never pay to get or renew, EHICs are free, only shyster sites charge. Also, ignore any nonsense 'fast track' promises. Full Free EHIC Help (includes what to try if you paid).
3. Last minute sub-£100 Barcelona returns & more. If you're yet to book, our new Budget Airline Europe FlightChecker lets you pop in what you're willing to pay (with/without baggage) and it finds when that's available, eg, Lon-Barca return 7nts sub-£100 Aug or 3nts sub-£50 in Sept. Or select 'I'll go anywhere'. For further afield or specific dates, use comparison sites Kayak*, SkyScanner* or Travel Sup*. See full Cheap Flight help.
4. FREE printable mini-guide to tackle travel hassle. The Little Lifesaver is a passport-sized personalised travel tips guide for storing key details, so you've crucial info at your fingertips in an emergency. It includes info for stolen passports, delayed flights and more - don't leave without it.
5. Last-ditch travel insurance from £6/wk. If you haven't got it, get it. For single trips, there's no one cheapest, so use MoneySup* &* comparisons, prices c.£6/wk for a single in Europe, £26/wk family to US.

Go away 2+ times a year and annual policies win. Our cheapest picks are Travel Guard* £16-£20/yr for 18-40s in Europe, for families Protect Your Bubble* £36-£44 (Europe & world up to 35s) and HolidaySafe £42-£46 for 36+ families in Europe. These can be undercut if you do a full MoneySup* comparison. Full guidance & best-buys in Cheap Travel Insurance.

For belt 'n' braces, our top value pick Direct Travel* incorporates feedback & payout history but costs £37-£130, depending on your circumstances.
6. Find the best travel cash rates in secs. NEVER leave it till the airport. They know you're a captive customer, so give hideous deals (even pre-ordering and picking up at the airport boosts it). Instead, use our TravelMoneyMax Holiday Money Comparison for the best rates and key warnings.

If you plan to use a debit/credit card abroad, and don't have one listed in point 1, use our What Does Your Card Charge? tool to find your cheapest.
7. Spain & Greece hotel price drop, eg, five-star £63/night. The euro crisis means hotel prices have dropped 15% in Greece and 7% in Spain since last summer. This means super-cheap bargains are possible on four and five-star hotels even in August, eg, £63/night in Madrid and £65/night in Crete.

To find deals (there or elsewhere) use comparisons Trivago, TravelSup*, Hotels Comparison and TripAdvisor*. Full help in Cheap Hotel Tricks.
8. Book car hire BEFORE you go (& airport parking too). Don't leave it till you're there (if you do, still sort it online) or it can cost a fortune. As low as £10/day's possible using Car Rentals* & Kayak* comparisons. At pick-up, hire firms try to flog pricey excess insurance - you can get similar for a fraction of the cost via comparison Money Maxim*. See full Cheap Car Hire tricks.

If you need to drive to the airport (public transport's often cheaper), pre-book with these comparison links: Wed/Thu - SkyParkSecure 12-20% off*, APH 10% off*, FHR 12% off*. Full info in Cheap Airport Parking.
9. Bag last-sec package hol bargains. Unlike with flights, late booking (eight weeks or less) is hot bargain time provided you're flexible. Try TravelSupermarket*, Teletext Holidays and Icelolly to source deals, then use our Package Holiday Haggling guide to knock the price down.
10. Buying abroad? Credit card is safest. Buy goods worth over £100 abroad on a credit (not debit) card and Section 75 laws still apply, where the card company's jointly liable. So buy a laptop in US, and if it's faulty when you get home, you can call the card company to sort it.

Proud to be a MoneySaver? Spread the word

If this site or email has ever helped you, please forward this email to friends and 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

Wed 25 Jul 2012
Lock in card debts at 5.9% FOR LIFE
New top 'life of balance' deal - shift existing debts to a permanently low rate

If you've costly credit card debt, a balance transfer means you get a new card that pays off your existing one, so you now owe it instead.  All deals require a credit check.

  • 5.9 for lifeLock in for life 5.9% (1.5% fee). If you can repay quickly, 0% wins. But if you need longer, or if you're less certain of repayments, 'life of balance' deals are far safer. These lock in the cheap rate until all shifted debt's repaid. But none were available this year, until now. The new MBNA* Rate for Life card is fixed 5.9% APR for new cardholders, for transfers within 60 days for a one-off fee of 1.5%. Full help in Rates For Life.
  • 22mths 0% with low 1.45% fee. If you can repay quicker, new Barclaycard* customers can get a 22 mths 0% balance transfer with a 2.9% fee, and currently it'll refund half of that so you pay just 1.45%. Alternatively, NatWest*/RBS* are 22mths 0% with a 3.2% fee. Aim to repay before the 0% ends, or the rates jump to 17.9% representative APR. Full 0% Best Buys.
  • Important warnings. 1. Repay at least the minimum each month, or you can lose the special deal. 2. Spending isn't usually at a cheap rate, so avoid it. 3. To see exactly how it stacks up, use our Which Card Is Cheapest? tool. 4. Confused or need help? See Balance Transfers & Official APRs.
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Body Shop 50% off code PLUS trick gets £79 goodies for £16. We've blagged a 50% off code, also it's valid on its mega-popular £25 Bag Of Joy which contains £79 of stuff (ltd stock). Body Shop Deals

50p/litre off fuel if you 'voucher-stack'. Until next Wed, buy certain Tesco products to get 10p/litre off. These can be combined to give up to 50p/L off. We show how & analyse who it works for in Cheap Petrol.

Team up for £15+ of FREE Oasis, O'Neill etc gift cards. A new firm lets you send free gift cards (eg, £3 Warehouse) to pals. To get, team up & send to each other. Full info (may be pulled soon) in Wrapp Deals.

Free £15 eye test. Plus wear glasses or contacts? Save £100s
We're a site for sore eyes | Free eye tests | Buy same lenses for £100s less | 2 x specs £29

Don't make a spectacle of yourself by paying over the odds. There's a cornea-copia (we can't help the puns, sorry) of savings to be had if you look in the right place. See our Cheap Glasses deals or Cheap Lenses guide. Here's our vision...

  • Cheap lensesFREE £15 Optical Express and Tesco eye tests. Right now, book via this special Optical Express* link and it'll email a voucher so its £15 eye test is free (doesn't cover lens check-ups). Or opticians at big Tesco stores always offer free eye tests and there's a Boots £10 eye test voucher. Those in Scotland and the over-60s get 'em free anyway. Once a test is done, opticians must hand over prescriptions if asked, though you needn't buy glasses or lenses from them.
  • Code for 2 x prescription specs £29 (incl sunnies). Special code gives a reduction and can be used on a 2for1, meaning seriously cheap glasses. Glasses Direct Code.
  • Tool to find the same lenses massively cheaper. The MSE Cheap Contact Lens Finder shows where to get the same lenses for less, eg, Ciba Vision Focus Dailies range from £372 to £555. Plus there's a 20% GetLenses code.
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1p 'granny in glovebox' mobile (needs £10 credit). Perfect back-up phone. Get a refurbished Samsung E1080 for 1p on Virgin's network when you top up by £10 (limited stock so go quick). See 1p mobiles

We've blagged takeaway discounts for Olympics (or not)

20% off 5k local takeaways, Hungry House (Fri) | Pizza Hut Deliv 40% off £35+ (5 Aug) | Domino's £10 off £30 (5 Aug)

Last chance. Longest EVER 0% spending card + £10 Amazon. Till 31 July, new NatWest*/RBS* YourPoints cardholders get 18mths interest-free borrowing on new purchases, plus a £10 Amazon voucher. Plan & budget to repay before 0% ends or it's 17.9% representative APR. Full help in 0% Spending (Official APR Examples)

'Spend £20, pay £5' code Vertbaudet (kids' clothes store). New custs get £15 off when spending £20. Plus £10 off £20 at Daxon, and £15 off £30 at French fashion giant La Redoute. Discount Vouchers


Tax credits one-week warning
You MUST review by next Tue 31 July | Do it ASAP, getting through's tougher each day

If you've been sent a renewal pack, don't ignore it, even if you think you're no longer eligible. If you don't sort it by next Tue, you risk payments being STOPPED or worse, needing to repay cash. See Tax Credits Renewal Help. Here's a taster...

  • tell em tell em tell emIf you got a brown envelope. This is the 'review' pack. Check it for any errors, which can cause big problems. If correct, do nowt. Any issues, call the hotline: 0345 300 3900.
  • If you got a white envelope. This is the 'review & declaration'. Even if it's correct, SIGN & RETURN by 31 July. If there are errors, fill in the form and return or call 0345 300 3900.
  • Can't get through to the hotline? It can be a nightmare right now. So try sooner (mid-afternoons are less busy). If you can't get through, note each time you tried, and how long you held. If you then miss the deadline, HMRC can be more lenient if you prove you tried. Please report hotline delays or tweet @MartinSLewis.
  • TELL 'EM (TELL 'EM, TELL 'EM). Renewal isn't the end of it. If ANYTHING changes, even the next day, eg, you've moved in/out with partner, work hours, income, kids, childcare costs, call the hotline and TELL 'EM (note who you spoke to & what was said incase of dispute). This is the way to prevent overpayments, which are a nightmare as you're forced to give cash back, even if already spent. If that's happened, see our Overpayment Hell Help.
  • Are you missing out on tax credits? Use our 5-min Benefits/Tax Credit Check Up tool.
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1p programming & photo manuals (some worth £30). Many cost up to £20 on Kindle or £30 as paperbacks, but currently you can download them onto your PC, phone or iPad for 1p. See Google Play Deals

High St. Discount Codes & Vouchers
Warehouse 20% off (code & in-store) | Wallis 20% off + free del (code) | Burton 20% off (instant voucher)
M&S 10% off (code) | Debenhams 10% off

Urgent. Free 6 bottles of wine and £40 with cheapest energy. Scottish Power currently has the cheapest tariffs for many, saving some £200+/yr. Until midnight Thurs, switch elec & gas specifically to Scottish Power via this special uSwitch* comparison link and after 3mths you get £40 cashback + wine (worth £35). Full info: Cheap Energy

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
22 mths 0%, 1.45% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

0% BT's & Spend: Barclaycard*
14 mths 0%, 1.45% fee

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

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

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

Sainsbury's* (£7.5 - £15k)
5.8% rep APR

(Need Nectar card)

Santander* 3.3% AER
Min £2,500. Incl bonus.
Top for transfers

M&S 3% AER
Min £100. No bonus.
Transfers allowed

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

£5 unlimited kids' summer DVD rent. Rerent as many times as you want until Sept. DVD Rentals

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

Who ya gonna call? Er... an Ombudsman
If there's something strange, and a company's done no good, who you gonna call...?

After NatWest/RBS and O2 issues, everyone needs to know if you complain to a regulated firm about its behaviour, treatment or service, and it doesn't sort it satisfactorily, you can then take it to a FREE official, independent Ombudsman. It can make it put things right and award compensation.

  • OmbudsmanInsurance, banking, mortgages, credit cards & owt financial. Here you've a right to be 'treated fairly'. The Financial Ombudsman can rule on this, eg, unfairly rejected insurance claims or debt defaults. See our Financial Rights guide and Reclaim PPI Free.
  • Gas & electricity, phones & broadband. Ombudsman Services can rule on energy bills, mis-selling and power cuts (sadly not LPG issues), and along with CISAS on telecom problems too.
  • Water, NHS, solicitors & more. There's the Consumer Council for Water, the Parliamentary & NHS Ombudsman for unfair or improper actions from central Govt or Legal Ombudsman for legal services complaints.
  • Not all ombudsmen are official. A few trade bodies, eg, removals industry, funeral and furniture ombudsmen use the name, but DON'T have official powers. They may be able to help, but also may charge.
  • Shopping: Not regulated, but see the free Give Me My Money Back and How to Complain consumer rights guides.
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Forum Hottie

Spend £8 at Avon, get £28 skincare travel kit for free. Buy selected Avon Anew products costing £8 and get a free travel kit, worth £28, thrown in. Deals Note: Avon Deals

'Free' £6 A3 photo print poster - £2.99 p&p. Blagged for MoneySavers. See Photo Deals

30+ London Olympian MoneySaving tips
If you're coming to the big smoke for the big Games, here are some big ways to cut the cost

It's the UK's most expensive city, yet for those in the know it can be enjoyed without Olympian prices. If you've Games tickets, see our new London Olympion MoneySaving guide. A taster...

  • London OlympicsCheap alternatives to hotels during Olympics. Many savvy Londoners have signed up to rent out their spare rooms, from around £20/night or see rent spare rooms tips. Or six campsites have £5 kids' and £10 adult stays, or stay just outside London to save £100s.
  • Watch games for free in the sunshine (hopefully). You don't need a ticket for the road cycling, triathlon, marathon and race walking, plus check out the giant public Olympics screens in London's parks to watch for free.
  • London Zoo 2for1. Tickets cost £23, but you can buy a £2 rail ticket to get a 2for1 voucher. See London Zoo deals
  • Nab hidden theatre discounts. Little-known websites list hundreds of West End theatre deals valid during the Games, plus it's possible to pick up half-price last-minute tickets on the day (see Theatre Discounts).

Loads more in London Olympic Tips incl getting an Oyster card, eating dinner at lunch & consider student digs.

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Santander's 'free for ever' biz account to charge. Unhappy about the new fees? Complain to Santander. If it doesn't work, go to the free Financial Ombudsman Service. More help: Santander's free charges

Free baby food. Just 'like' on Facebook to get a coupon for sweet or savoury pouches, RRP £1.39. Plum Deals

'Free' £12 Balance Me skincare in £2 mag. And loads more on the cover. Beauty Freebies

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

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...

Compare TM*
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

the moneysaving community

Free book giveaway. Quick Cook: Budget Meals. Due to popularity we've blagged another 25 copies for MoneySavers. Want one?

Cheap Flight Sales

Ryanair Price: From £12 each way Ends: Thu 26 Jul
Our pick this week is Ryanair's from £12 each way flights. It's on various routes for travel Mon 3 Sep-Wed 31 Oct 2012, and includes some taxes and charges. Flights include Manch to Madrid for about £40 return. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £60 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

spill beans

Spill the beans... on grown-ups whose parents support them
It's said 4m UK grown-ups still get financial support from their parents for everything from basic living costs to help with education, wedding and property costs. So are you supported, or a supporter? How does it work? Is there a payback agreement? What are your tips for weaning big 'uns off mum and dad's financial milk? Spill 'em: Financial support from parents Past topics: View all

Money Moral Dilemma

Should I sell my parents' gifts for quick cash?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
Should I sell two valuable bracelets given to me by my parents and pocket the £530 cash to reduce my overdraft or should I keep them? My parents wouldn't know, since I don't wear them, and I could simply say they are in the bank, but I would feel guilty about lying. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I sell gifts for quick cash? Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

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Christmas 2012 preparations. Spill the beans... revealed
Seems from last week's responses the early bird really does catch the worm on Christmas MoneySaving. Food shopping gradually in preparation is a popular way to spread the cost, as is stockpiling sales bargains for presents. Hats off to the MoneySaver who has already baked this year's Christmas cake.

Campaign of the week

Try and tell it what you think
The Government is aiming to create a single website to improve online services and eventually replace Directgov. It's currently running a trial version. Why not try it? Report your ideas, faults and questions via email, or tweet @GovUK your ideas, faults or questions.
Spotted a campaign?
This space is for MSE to support the work done by other charities, community groups and campaigners. Send us a Campaign of the Week suggestion.

Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 127.36 116.22
US Flag $ 154.16 140.88
Turkish Flag TL 275.00 247.89
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Would you press the ‘cancel the Olympics' button?

If you had a magic button that could cancel the Olympics from happening in the UK, as if we'd never got it in the first place, would you press it?

I live in London/SE

Yes. Cancel it.

I'm not that into it, but let it happen.

No. Can't wait for it to start.

I live in Wales

Yes. Cancel it.

I'm not that into it, but let it happen.

No. Can't wait for it to start.

I live in the rest of England

Yes. Cancel it.

I'm not that into it, but let it happen.

No. Can't wait for it to start.

I live in Northern Ireland

Yes. Cancel it.

I'm not that into it, but let it happen.

No. Can't wait for it to start.

I live in Scotland

Yes. Cancel it.

I'm not that into it, but let it happen.

No. Can't wait for it to start.


Poll Results

How much have you saved, gained or reclaimed using MSE?

4,260 of you voted, and the average saving reported was an impressive £2,800. Most common was £50-£250 saved, followed by £2,000 to £4,999.

We were very pleased to hear of the 143 who are over £25,000 up. See Full Results

Question Of The Week

Q: Is there any way I can open a bank account without any photo ID? Vivienne, by email.

MSE Sally's A: Yes. When applying by phone or online, some banks are more likely to carry out electronic checks. This includes looking at your credit history and checking the electoral roll. If they find anomalies, they may then ask for proof of ID, but you're not limited to photographic evidence.

Selected letters from HMRC and those confirming entitlement to Government grants/benefits or student loans are accepted. As two forms of ID are generally required, credit card or bank statements (from a different provider), birth certificate and full paper UK driving licence are also valid forms. When applying in bank branches, you'll need to take two examples with you.

For a full list of accepted ID, check with the bank. See the Best Bank Account guide for account options.

Board Of The Week

The Small Biz & Charities' MoneySaving Board

Share tips on starting and maintaining small businesses and charities. Recent discussions include Accounts programme, Call forwarding, mobile to mobiles and How to advertise my small online business.

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Game Of The Week

Llama in your face

A real-life Dr Who

Ever wished you could advise your childhood self (or glimpse your future adult self)? One seriously prescient lad made a tape for himself aged 12, with strict instructions: "Do not watch until future." Conversation With My 12-Year-Old Self.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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