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Weekly Email
This email was sent
26th Sep 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 This info may be out of date.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."

26 September 2012

This week

Huge car ins hikes for women
Top 10 shops to haggle revealed
Poor credit scorers 0% debt shift
iPhone price crash
Boots trick - £18 cosmetics £4.50
M&S knickers coming down
Urgent. Reclaim £100,000s for care
'Free' National Trust family pass
75% off French Connection outlet
Poundland £2 off voucher
50% off ALL Truprint photobooks
Rumour - Argos 3for2 toy sale
Paris £18 coach return
£28 posh chocs for £4
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

£7,635 of hidden home savings
10 ways to slash your home's bills and PROOF they really work

Price hikes on energy, phones and some council taxes are putting budgets under pressure. We've 10 ways to claw back this cash - and proof they work, with £7,635 of savings from MoneySavers who've tried.

1. Huge savings on water bills. If there are the same or more bedrooms in your home than people, eg, 4 rooms for a couple, it's very likely (not in Scot) a water meter will save you large. Full how to compare info, including what to do if they say you can't have a meter, in Save £100s On Water Bills.
£540/year saved: Denise says "Switched to a meter, now pay £45/mth less. Makes me more conscious of what I use.  Fixed dripping tap"
2. hidden savingsDigital TV haggling. A 5-min call to haggle can save £100s. The key is get to what we call 'disconnections' but they call 'customer retentions', as their operators have kick-butt discount-giving power. Full haggling help in Cheapest Digital TV.
£480 saved with one call. Proof from A.N.Onymous who haggled: "TV down from £75 to £35/mth. That's with Sky Sports added on." Report successes/failures
3. Cheap energy for TWO winters - £455/yr cheaper. Energy hikes are coming, eg, SSE's hiking prices by 9% in a fortnight. Yet get a cheap fix now & you can beat it. To find cheapest fix options, use Top cashback comparisons: £15/switch Energyhelpline*. Dual fuel: £30 MoneySup*, crate of wine uSwitch* (freebies only via these special links). Full help: Cheap Gas & Electricity.

Don't overlook Scottish Power's* 28 Feb 2014 fix. While not the very cheapest, but most people will save. It promises no hikes for TWO WINTERS, plus no exit penalties, so if a cheaper deal launches, you can switch penalty-free.
Bill cut £455/yr: Proof from Denise.“Just done mine, £455/yr saved." A.N.Onymous: “Just fixed to avoid gas/elec hikes for 2 winters - yay."
4. Slash the cost of calling 0870s. Still devilishly expensive from mobiles or out of hours, 0870 & 0845 numbers are now part of BT, Virgn + TalkTalk's free calls. Find alternatives in the Say No To 0870 guide.
5. Ring up mobile savings. Match inclusive contract mins, texts & data to your exact usage using BillMonitor*. Too few & you overpay for calls, too many and your monthly fee's too high. To compare tariffs, try MoneySup* for breadth and MobilePhoneChecker* for specific handsets. And try haggling with your network, it can result in powerful deals. Full help: Slash Mobile Costs
Bill cut by £280/yr: Peter tried it. "Mobile bill cut from £30pm to £7pm. Far more than enough minutes, texts and data for my usage."
6. Reclaim £1,000s in council tax. Up to 400,000 homes may be in the wrong band. If yours is too high, you can get it dropped and backdated from when you moved in. Use our Council Tax Check & Challenge Tools.
£5,100 reclaimed: Proof from legobaby: "Refunded £5,110 & annual saving £344. The whole process's taken about 3 mths, but it's been well worth the wait."
7. Millions overpaying line rent & broadband. Here, the best deals are kept for new customers. Most non-cable users can switch to Primus Line Rental Saver* (no 'free' calls) at £7.99/mth on a year's contract. The cheapest standalone b'band is Primus* at £7.47/mth. For bundles, see Cheap Phones.
Fight back against price hikes: "Just saved £240/yr by threatening to leave BT Broadband. Now getting Unlimited deal for £13.25/mth. No more over-usage fines."
8. Don't stick with your energy provider's boiler cover. It's a competitive market. Compare via uSwitch*, which does the widest-ranging search, and you could then add Energyhelpline* & Boiler Choices* for belt 'n' braces. And haggling works here too...
£40 off with a call. Proof from A.N.Onymous: "My renewal came in at £21/mth. After polite threats of looking elsewhere & being handed further up the line, I got a reduction to £18/mth saving £38.80 with one (0800) call."
9. Live alone? Student? Are you due a council tax rebate? Single occupants get a 25% reduction. Students are exempt, so all-student homes don't pay, homes with just one non-student get 25% off. More in Council Tax Rebates.
10. Get £100s back for mis-sold energy & wrong bills. The big 6 energy companies have now stopped signing people up on doorsteps, as mis-selling was rife. Yet you could still claim cash back, eg, if they wrongly said "we're cheapest", or "we'll lower your direct debit". Full help: Energy Mis-selling Compensation
£150 back. Proof from one MoneySaver: "I switched to Npower via a door-to-door salesman, who claimed I could save, and set the direct debit too low. We ended up £500 in debt. Following MSE's guide, it offered £150 back".

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

PS. The first of my new series The Martin Lewis Money Show aired last night on ITV1 at 7.30pm. You can watch it here.

Blagged for MoneySavers

Did you miss?

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

MSE News

Free broadband for Tesco Mobile users - but is it worth it?
Supermarkets cut petrol prices
More prepayment meter users to be allowed to switch
Use JJB Sports gift cards quick
Holidaymakers to be given Atol certificates
Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 26 Sept 2012
Huge car insurance hikes for women likely
ACT NOW to beat £300/yr price hikes (more for under-35s) due to European ruling | Trick to lock-in current prices

The European Court of Justice's insurance gender equalisation ruling hits on 21 Dec, so gender can no longer play a part in pricing. Women drivers under 35 are the likely big losers. On average, women currently pay £315/yr less than men, while it’s been predicted under-20s could pay up to £2,000 more after 21 Dec. While men's prices could drop (fat chance); it's more likely women's will rise large and men's come down a touch.

  • car insuranceDitch & switch to beat it? Big price shifts could start any time. For renewals due around or after 21 Dec, consider ditching to lock into a new year now - especially if you can cut your price (see below). If you've not claimed, you should get a pro-rata refund but pay an exit fee (and won't earn no-claims for that year) - ask. Factor this in.
  • Lock in a quote for 90 days as 'insurance'. Both Churchill* and Direct Line* let you grab a quote now, valid for 90 days. They may not be cheapest, but it's a fall-back.
  • Four steps to cut car insurance. Full help in Car Insurance and Young Drivers' Insurance - here's a taster.

    1. Combine comparisons: They don't all search the same insurers. Try MoneySup*, Confused* & Tesco Compare.
    2. Add big ones they miss: Check Aviva*, Direct Line* and in homes with 2+ vehicles, Admiral MultiCar*.
    3. Add safe 2nd driver? Try adding a reliable older driver to the insurance, it can slash the average risk and price.
    4. Consider telematics: If it's still too costly, consider pay-by-the mile black box insurers.

Forum Hottie. Boots trick. £18 of No.7 cosmetics for £4.50. Fiddly, but fabulous. Spend £5 at Boots, and get £8 of No.7 vouchers, combine with a 3for2 offer to get £18 of make-up/skincare for £4.50. Forumites are raving. Boots Deals

M&S knickers coming down (lingerie vouchers & sales)
M&S £5 off £30 vouch In-store & online | Figleaves £10 off £50 Code (ends Wed) | Debenhams 30% off plus extra 10%
Gossard £16 vouch for £40 Via daily deals site | Ann Summers Up to 75% off sale. Full list in Lingerie Discounts.

Last chance. Reclaim £100,000+ for elderly care. Many older people in England have paid for care when the NHS should have. Some are due £100,000 back, but Sunday's the deadline to start a claim. Reclaim Care Costs Free

'Free' National Trust family pass. In £1.50 / £2.50 papers. 212 properties, this weekend only. National Trust Deals

Revealed. Top 10 high st. shops to haggle with
Don't ask, don't get. 20 haggling tips for success even in high street chains (though for you, guv, we'll make it 21)

This is proof haggling isn't just reserved for fly-swarmed foreign bazaars - it's alive and kicking on British high streets. Our poll of 2,500 MoneySavers shows discounts come to hardcore hagglers who ask. See full 20 High St Haggling Tips.

The top 10 high street stores to haggle in
Retail chain Success (1) Retail chain Success (1)
1. Comet 78% 6. Asda 60%
2. B&Q 78% 7. Tesco 58%
3. Currys/ PC World 78% 8. Wickes 56%
4. Homebase 69% 9. Sainsbury's 54%
5. John Lewis 63% 10. Debenhams 53%
2,544 people were polled - only retailers where at least 100 people attempted to haggle are included.
(1) Of those who tried. Figures are rounded, but order is correct.
  • It's about charm & chutzpah. Max the gain with our full 20 haggling tips, but we'll throw five in now...

    - If it's already discounted, even just on sale, the door is open to reductions. So why not ask?
    - Pick your time. If the store's busy, you're less likely to succeed.
    - Junior staff have no discretion; senior, no time. Supervisor level is best to go for.
    - Spot flaws in products to massively boost haggle power.
    - See if they'll give a discount if you get a warranty - you've a cooling off period in which to cancel it.

French Connection Outlet 75% off | New Body Shop Outlet. Seriously hot deals. Online Outlet Shopping

Last chance. Low fee balance transfer ending. If you can repay quickly, it's the cheapest deal in 4 yrs, but Barclaycard's 12mth 0%, 1% fee* (19.9% rep APR after) ends Sun. Full help: Best Balance Transfers (Official APRs)

Poundland £2 off voucher, 25% off Habitat voucher & more...
Poundland £2 off £12 Vch | Habitat 25% off In-store & online code | Matalan £5 off £25 or £10 off £50 Online code
New Look £5 off £25 Newspaper vch | Debenhams 10% extra off 50% sale Online code | Full list: Discount Vouchers

50% off ALL Truprint photo books code. MSE Blagged. On whole range. Cheapest £4.50 delivered. Photo Deals

Rumour: Argos 3for2 toy sale starting today? No confirmation, but rampant rumours. Updates in Argos Deals.

Now poor credit scorers can shift debt to 0%
Rare chance for those who've been rejected to cut costs, with a new 6-month 0% balance transfer deal

Most banks lend you a brolly when the sun shines and want it back when it rains. So those most needing to shift card debt to 0% are often denied. A new card changes that, as even some with past CCJs or defaults will pass its credit score...

Forum Hottie. Cath Kidston diary £5.76 incl del. Usually £10ish, this 2013 diary's mega-popular. Cath Kidston

Paris £18 coach rtn (Brussels & Amsterdam too). £9 each way tix for travel till 15 Dec. Cheap France Deals

£28 posh chocs for £4. Combine Hotel Chocolat online code & cashback deal. See Hotel Chocolat 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%: Barclaycard*
12 mths 0%, 1% fee

(19.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

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

Sainsburys* (£7.5k - £15k) 
5.7% rep APR 

(Need Nectar card)

Manchester BS 3.06% AER
Min £1,000. Incl bonus.
Postal only. Transfers allowed.

Sainsbury's 3.01% AER
Min £500. 'Clean' rate.
Transfers allowed

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

8GB memory card £5.60. Or 16GB for £8. Full Cheap Memory Cards update. Also see Free Online Storage.

Scrooge: The Musical London tickets £30 (face value £60). Bah humbug, not worth a penny. Why would anyone shell out for 'ent-ter-tain-ment', even half-price for 24 Oct 2012 - 4 Jan 2013 shows? Cratchit at Scrooge Deals.

iPhone price crash
iPhone 5 comparison tool | Better still, the 4S is easily updateable and prices have crashed so it's now £25/mth

iPhones aren't MoneySaving in anyone's book, but if you really want one our Cheapest iPhones tool will help you keep the cost as low as possible. Though to really get value for money, just head to the Cheap Mobiles guide instead. Coming soon... Samsung Galaxy tool.

  • balance transferiPhone 4S price crash. The iPhone 5's slightly bigger screen, better cam and 4G-ability (when it happens) are only a marginal improvement. iPhone 4S prices have dropped, so why not grab one then update it free to the 5's swish new operating system? Our top pick 4S package is O2's* £50 upfront then a £21.50/mth 24-mth contract, with 100 mins, 3,000 texts & 500MB data. Or use iPhone 4S Comparison Tool.
  • Cheapest iPhone 5 contract. If you must have the latest phone (really?), T-Mobile* is cheapest at £290 upfront plus £26/mth. Factoring in the handset cost over the 2-yr contract, that's £42/mth. It gets you a low 25 mins talktime but a reasonable 250 texts and 750MB data. For more options, see our iPhone 5 Comparison Tool.
  • Flogging an old iPhone? Do it QUICK. Valuations are likely to drop rapidly now the 5 is out. The MobileValuer tool compares top prices for working and faulty handsets, eg, iPhone 4S 16GB best £240, worst £140.

20% off Ugg boots code. Reduces classic short Uggs to £128, tall £156, incl del. Or blue ones £90. See Ugg Deals.

Code gets 500 free Boots pts with £1 spend. For newbies at its online loyalty website. See Boots Discounts.'s now joined the MoneySupermarket Group. The deal completed, exactly as previously announced, on Friday. See MSE joins MSM news and our new, legally binding, MSE Editorial Code.

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/sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
The MoneySaving Community

Had problems with the 50% off Sky code last week? Sky's sorted issues, so try again (no extra codes). Full Info

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK | Council Tax changes?
Starting next year, councils will be giving council tax benefit and discounts (eg, single person or second home) directly to local residents. Many are consulting right now on how they should do it. Have your say on what should happen in your area. How to do it: Search on your local council website (eg, for "Council Tax Support consultation". Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support money-based work by other organisations. Send us a campaign of the week suggestion.

BOOK GIVEAWAY RESULT | CAMRA's Good Beer Guide 2013. 25 blagged for MoneySavers. Check your inbox to find out if you got one.

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA | Speak up about lunch arrangement?
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... We regularly meet friends for lunch and the arrangement's always been that the host supplies lunch and the visitors bring wine or dessert. Lately our friends have suggested going to a pub when it's their turn to host and expect us to 'go Dutch' on the bill. So, if they come to us, we pay (supply the meal), yet if we go to them they take us out to a pub (no shopping/cooking for them) and we have to pay half the bill. Should we say something? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we speak up about lunch deal? | Suggest an MMD | View Past MMDs

THE GREAT HUNT | on hidden disability discounts
Many know where to get big help if you've a disability (if not, see 5 Min Benefits Check-Up) but there are masses of smaller, hidden discounts available, from free tickets for carers and better seats at games and events. We'd like MoneySavers to tell us about any discounts they know of. Add/see ideas: Hidden disability discounts Past topics: View all

CHEAP FLIGHT SALES ALERT | Airline: Flybe Price: From £20.99 each way Ends: Sun 7 Oct
Our pick this week is Flybe's from £20.99 each way flights. The sale's on till Sun 7 Oct 2012 and includes some taxes & charges. It's for flights from 1 Nov 2012 - 31 Jan 2013 to various destinations from 16 UK airports. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £50 one way 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 THE BEANS... REVEALED | Uses for old plastic carrier bags.
Who knew there were so many uses for carrier bags? From an outside tap insulator to a homemade Kindle cover, MoneySavers have found some truly inventive uses for old plastic bags. In addition to reusing them for shopping (which is also well worth it, especially in Wales), many also use them for
storing dirty items. Remember: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Quick forum tips

Andrea's freebies

Martin's blogs

Martin's Appearances

Thursday 27 September
Shelagh Fogarty, Radio 5, 12-1pm. 
Consumer Panel.

Tuesday 2 October
Daybreak, ITV1, between 7am & 8.30am. Subject tbc.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 125.06 113.73
US Flag $ 161.26 147.16
Turkish Flag TL 283.20 254.42
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Self-service checkouts - love 'em or loathe 'em?

Which of the following is closest to your view on self-service supermarket checkouts?

Poll results

Who wears the financial trousers in your family?

Of 14,000 votes a massive 42% revealed women mostly handle finances, while men do nowt. 19% said the reverse and 13% split responsibility equally. See Full Results

Question of the week

Q: The other day, when I tried to pay for goods at a local Spar shop with a £50 note, they informed me that the shop owner had stipulated staff must not accept £50 notes. Have they the right to do this? Alan, by email.

MSE Sally's A: Yes - stores have the right to accept or refuse any payment. What must be accepted is frequently misunderstood, as is the term 'legal tender', which only means it can be used to settle court debts.

However, for pub quizzes, it's useful to know Bank of England notes are legal tender in England and Wales. Scottish and Northern Irish notes are Parliamentary-approved legal currency only - even in those countries. You can use 'em in England and Wales, as long as the retailer or other party agrees.

See Royal Mint's legal tender guidelines and Martin's 2010 True or false? Scottish notes aren't legal tender blog for more information.

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

Board of the week

The Student Money Saving Board

Share advice and tips on student-related moneysaving. Recent discussions include A 'start off' box for Uni, OU Students Past, Present and Future and Any mature students starting uni this month? .

 Archna's free game of the week: Land of Mines

If you pay off your utilities, despite them getting higher...

To cheer ourselves up during the lousy weather, we've been re-reading one MoneySaver's version of Rudyard Kipling's poem. Can you add your own lines? MoneySaving IF

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.

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