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This email was sent
26th Nov 2008
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email
26 November 2008
         
Highlights below include ...
Xmas Pre-NUPP 2for1 Pizza Express
Card Tart Warning 5.15% Safe Savings
20% off Selfridges, Free Burger, £10 Bubbly & more

Fixed mortgage? Can you ditch & switch to a low rate deal?

After a political kick, most mortgage lenders' variable rates have followed the UK 1.5% interest rate CUT, leaving some on tracker or discounted deals paying historic lows. Pundits predict more rate cuts, though lenders won't necessarily pass them on.

Ditch your fix checklist! By definition, those on fixed-rates haven’t gained. Many are asking whether ditching & switching, even with a penalty, will save you cash. Here's the checklist:

  • Loan-to-values (LTV). Only those borrowing LESS than 75% of a home’s current value are likely to get competitive deals. Otherwise, saving by switching's unlikely.
  • Interest rate. Those who fixed at 5% or less are unlikely to gain; nearer 6% and savings are possible.
  • Fix length. Those on short-term deals are most likely to gain. With longer, five or 10 year fixes, it's a balance of rate security vs short term savings.
  • The penalty. Most fixed-rate deals have big penalties if you leave early. Yet the sheer rate cut size means even a £1,000+ penalty may be worth paying.  
  • When it ends. If your deal ends within a few months, it's unlikely to be worth paying the penalty. Yet if you've longer to go, ditching & switching's more attractive.

How to find out:  If the checklist makes a ditch, switch & save look possible, contact a whole of market broker to do some detailed comparison numbers, incl. switching fees. Most reputable brokers won’t charge you unless you actually end up getting a new deal through them. More info: Mortgage Broker Guide, Remortgage Guide Discuss: Ditch your fix

TOP 5 MOST READ GUIDES

Week of Tue 18 - Mon 24 Nov '08
(Last week's position)

1. Savings Accounts (1)
2. Free Anti-Virus (New)
3. Freebies, Freebies, Freebies (3)
4. Cash ISAs (New)
5. Premium Bonds (New)

Saving still dominates, and the HUGE premium bond prize fund cut meant it joined the other guides. Free anti-virus’s top new entry spot isn’t surprising, as this week was the year’s worst for cyber-crime.

 

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The Ones Not To Miss
MSE

Ever got Xmas gift you've never used? Free pre-NUPP saves you & friends cash.
Every Christmas, we needlessly spend millions on gifts shoved unused into cupboards, when a card or big hug may be just as welcome. Instead, send a pre-Xmas “No Unnecessary Present Pact” e-mail, to take the stigma out of NOT giving just for the sake of it. NUPP lite: Alternatively, just agree to limit gifts to £5/£10 and some thought. Why a special tool? It can be embarrassing to broach this yourself; being a part of something bigger may make it easier. More Info/Free Tool: Pre-NUPP Related Guides: Christmas MoneySaving, Christmas Spending Boost, Festive Fivers

Completely free DAILY £4.95 Walkabout burger voucher. Register on its website & you can print a voucher every day, up to a million burgers available. Though watch your waist! Deals Note: Eating Out Vouchers

URGENT! 100% Govt.-backed 5.15% safe savings. Go quick: could end any day
Northern Rock is fully government-owned, so any savings in it are effectively Govt.-backed, even beyond the usual £50,000 limit. It's open again: Six weeks ago, it withdrew all accounts to new customers, as it's not allowed to have over 1.5% market share, due to the unfair competitive advantage the safety boon gives it. Yet, for now, you can open accounts again. Top Accounts: Its E-saver pays 5.15%, though it's yet to factor in the recent 1.5% rate cut, so it's likely to drop to not-so-good sub-4%ish soon. Yet its core quality is safety. More alternatives in the Updated Guides: Top Savings, Safe Savings

New 20% off Selfridges, Woolworths (10% off consoles) & New Look vouchers. These joins 30% off Gap, 40% off Threshers & 20% off Schudoo. Full details in the Daily Deals List: Shopping Vouchers

Credit Card Tarts WARNING. Grab cards ASAP: your credit score may plummet!
New data sharing on credit files may be about to scupper credit card tarting. File Changes: Credit files currently only show available credit, actual debts and whether you've missed repayments. Yet from 1 Dec, Barclaycard, Capital One, GE Money, HBOS and MBNA will share info on how much you repay (eg, the min. or in full), and if you've a promotional deal. The Impact: While overall it's to stop irresponsible lending, I suspect lenders are salivating they now have more info to score out system players who constantly shift from 0% to 0% deal. As a precaution, make any necessary applications quickly; top picks in the Updated Guides: Free Credit Check, Balance Transfers, Cashback Cards, 0% Cards, Stoozing

New 2for1 instant Pizza Express & Strada vouchers. Plus extended 2for1 at Zizzi and last chance at YO! Sushi, Pizza Hut and ASK. These and more in the Daily Deals List: Eating Out Vouchers


STOP YOUR FRIENDS WASTING CASH!
PLS SUGGEST THEY GET THIS EMAIL


Get £5 off ANY rail ticket. Get a fiver off any UK train journey over £6, just by registering on First Great Western's website. More in the Deal List: Train & Coach Promo

Last chance!
Comprehensive breakdown cover for two, £36 a year. Price about to rise

Little-known AutoAid enjoys mostly strong feedback from MoneySavers, as £36 a year covers you and your spouse both at home and out, with onward travel: almost £100 cheaper than AA equivalents. Pay & Reclaim: It has similar call out times to others, but operates differently. Break down and it sends local repair firms; you pay them, then send your receipts in to claim it back. Price Rise: It's increasing to £37 on 1 Dec; more in the Updated Guide: Cheapest Breakdown. AA or RAC sub £20: If you want cover with the big boys, there're loopholes to get AA basic cover for £12 and RAC through Tesco for £14; see the Breakdown Discounts

Mamma Mia DVD £7. In-store nationwide at ASDA, until 30 Nov. The cheapest I've seen; grab it while you can. See the Forum Note: Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Free £100 for switching to a mediocre bank account. Updated Article
The Abbey's new current account gives an £100 bonus to anyone switching and paying their salary in (min. £15,000) for at least six months. How good's the account? Not very: it pays just 0.1% if you’re in-credit and charges 12.9% on overdrafts. Top Accounts: For comparison Alliance & Leicester* pays 8.5% in-credit interest, and for overdrafts, both A&L* and Abbey itself have year-long 0% overdraft options. Who should go for it?  For those in-credit, but not by much, the £100’s a good deal. Alternatively, just grab it for six months then switch again. Full info in the Updated Guide: Best Bank Accounts Related Guides: Switch overdraft to 0%

Free reply to kids from Santa! Write to 'Santa, Santa's Grotto, Reindeerland, SAN TA1', before 12 Dec, and his friends at the Post Office will ensure he writes back. Discuss: Santa Letters. Related Guide: Christmas MoneySaving

Last Chance! 25% off code for Family & Friends Railcards. One railcard gets up to four adults, travelling with up to four kids, 33% off adult and 60% off kids fares. With the code it's £18. More in the Deals Note: Train & Coach Promo

O2 Mobile broadband dongle £8.30/mth with free wifi hotspot access
There's a way to nearly halve the cost of O2's £15/mth mobile broadband dongle (the thing you plug into your laptop). It has a 3GB monthly download limit and includes unlimited access to any O2 wireless hotspots. The deal: Until 30 Nov, sign up for an 18 mth contract VIA cashback sites Topcashback* or Quidco, and they'll give you a whopping £120, effectively cutting the cost to £8.33/mth. While this type of cashback isn’t 100% guaranteed, it's very likely. Full pros & cons in the Forum Note: O2 cashback Related Guides: Cheap Mobile Broadband, Cheap Broadband, Cheap Home Phones

£10 champagne at Lidl. Or £12 in-store at Tesco. Plus posh Moet & Chandon champers for £20 at Threshers with a click 'n' print voucher. More in the Deals Note: Festive Fiz

IMPORTANT. Always use free Section 75 protection for big Xmas/recession spending
There's a way to protect, for free, everything you buy over £100 (eg flights, kitchen, sofa, console), from the company going bust. The Danger: Companies go bust either before delivery, or before you discover there's a fault, so you can't get compensation. The Solution: Pay in full or part (even just £1) on a credit card, and the card company's jointly liable with the retailer, so you can get money back or recompense from it. Do repay in full, so there's no interest though. This is so important EVERYONE should read it asap to know their rights, and when it doesn't apply. Must-read Q&A guide: Section 75 Related Guides: Cashback Credit Cards

Reminder. Shift overdrafts, loans, credit cards to 0% for 16mth (2.98% fee). New Virgin* cardholders can do this. More Info: Find out how for Credit Cards & Overdrafts and Loans.

Ofcom postpones 0870 changes. Ensure you protect your phone bill. Updated Article
Phone numbers starting 0870 or 0871 are effectively cut-price premium rates costing 6p/min (£3.60/hour). Worse, the banks and utilities using them as complaint lines can get a 2p/min cut of this. No wonder they keep us on hold. Slothcom: The regulator Ofcom had said this fiasco would be sorted this autumn, now it's simply saying it'll make an 'announcement' by the end of the year. Cut 0870 costs: All isn't lost: often there are ways to get through to companies using much cheaper alternative numbers. Full details in the Updated Guide: SayNoTo0870 Related Guides: Cheap Home Phones, Calling Mobiles Cheaply


New. One-Day Sales Diary. One-day sales are all the rage; this week House of Fraser, Apple, Evans, Urban Outfitters are coming and M&S may be back. Keep updated in the new Daily Deals List: One Day Sales

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The Big & Easy Ways to Save Checklist


More MoneySaving
MSE

Slash the cost of a festive getaway. Fly after Xmas Day
If you want to get away for Christmas, there’s still time to grab a cheap flight. Fares are hideous in the week leading up to Xmas Day, yet, after that, they plummet. As an example, the cheapest flight to Cape Town the weekend before is £1,521; this plummets to £605 on the 29th. Even better, fly on Xmas or Boxing Day: Flights to New York cost £411 the Saturday before Xmas, yet drop to £275 on Xmas Day. You’ll still be with loved ones and can record the Eastenders Xmas special. Guide: Cheap Flights Related Guides: Holiday Haggle, Travel Insurance

Get a 4% boost to your shopping power at Somerfield & Iceland during Nov & Dec. Just take advantage of their savings stamps schemes. All the details are in the Full Guide: Supermarket Stamps Loophole Related Guides: Cheap Supermarket Shopping, Supermarket Vouchers

Supermarket petrol price war returns! Unleaded now at 90p/litre, Diesel £1.05.
As crude oil prices continue to fall, supermarkets happily continue to slash forecourt prices following this summer's big hikes. Asda made the first move by dropping prices to 90.9p and 105.9p for petrol and diesel respectively, prompting Morrisons to go one (penny) better, to 89.9p and 104.9p. The other chains are expected to follow shortly, and Tesco's still offering 5p off when you spend £50 in-store. More info, and lots of cost cutting tips in the Updated Guide: Cheap Petrol & Diesel Related Guide: Cheap Food Shopping

Great 'How to Start Home Brewing' Hunt. Top tips to make your own bargain booze
If the cost of pub beer is making you bitter, home brewing can slash the cost. So I thought I’d tap MoneySavers' collective knowledge for top tips on brew it yourself booze. Add your ideas/read other people's: Great 'How to Start Home Brewing' Hunt Past Great Hunts: Win on Hotel Bidding Sites, Best No-Contract Deals, Working For Yourself

 Quick Forum Tips
Warning! Bargains listed here tend to sell out quickly


CHEAP FLIGHTS SALES ALERT Airline: BMI Baby . Price: sub. £30 e/w. Ends: When seats sell out.
My top pick budget airline sale this week is BMI Baby's sub. £30 (inc. most taxes & charges) flights to many European destinations from a range of UK airports. Tickets are at this price on selected flights until they sell out. How to quickly find the sales flights: Don't go direct, instead use the Budget Airline FlightChecker and ask it to find all flights under £30. Non-Budget Airline Tools: These are listed in the Cheap Flights article. Related Travel MoneySaving: Cheap Hotels, Spending Abroad, Cheap Currency, Travel Insurance, Mobile Roaming

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA. Would you get in to debt to grant a friend’s dying wish?
Your best friend/close family member’s final wish on his death bed was for you to sprinkle his ashes over the Grand Canyon. You’d love fulfil his dying wish and fly to the States. Yet you’re already £10,000 in debt (your friend didn’t know this), and would have to put the trip on your credit card. Realistically, it would probably add up to £2,000 for you and your partner to go. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Would you get in to debt to grant a friend's dying wish? Previous MMDs: Should Lucky Luke give back his hardship grant? and Would you dent someone's car if they blocked you in?

Board of the week: Motoring and Public Transport
If you’re looking for ways to fight back against soaring train and car costs, the Motoring and Public Transport board is teeming with useful info. Discussions include Economical family cars, London to Glasgow trains and Diesel vs Petrol.

Great 'How to make an effective complaint' Hunt Result
From banks to retailers to airlines, errors can be made which result in you needing to complain. Last week I asked MoneySavers how to do this effectively, without it leading to time-consuming hassle. There were some great suggestions including Go straight to the top, Short and sweet and Keep a log

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Star Wars Downloads, Driving Theory Questions,
Wallace & Grommit Downloads, 10GB Web Storage, Cardiff Park & Ride



Odds and Ends
MSE

MoneySavingExpert on the box/wireless
If you like to watch as well as read about MoneySaving, I'll be appearing on the following programmes over the next week or so.

  • LK Today, ITV1, Thurs 27 Nov, between 8:30 & 9:30am. Slash the cost of Christmas presents with a host of high street Shopping Vouchers, plus nab a Free Coffee and get Northern Rock's 5.15% Savings Account QUICK for perfect safety.
  • Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show, Absolute Radio, Mon 1 Dec, 8am. Listen to Martin's tip of the week!
  • GMTV & LK Today, ITV1, Mon 1 to Weds 3 Dec, between 7:30 & 9:30am. Christmas MoneySaving Special, including do a Budget, get Debt Help, cheap Online Shopping and loads of top Christmas deals.
  • Tonight, ITV1, Monday 1 December between 8 & 8:30pm. Martin investigates the shameful tactics Gas & Electricity sales reps go to, to net your custom.
  • Past appearances: Listen/watch back, plus keep updated on future appearances.

This week's Martin's Blog: Should this site be closed for the recession?
"Nice to see a politician listening" and "Don’t send letters without adding your details!" Read m'blogs (or RSS users access)

Are you hit by evaporating equity? This week's poll. Vote and Evaporating Equity discussion.

Should cheap booze be banned? No! Last Week’s Vote. Asked whether alcohol should carry minimum prices, almost three quarters of you (72%) voted 'no'. In the discussion, many contended the culture, rather than the prices, is the central problem. See Cheap Booze poll results.

Archna's Free Game of the Week! Orbit the ball to light up the stars. Starshine

Fancy a Lav Nav? That’s about the most bizarre gift I’ve seen this year. Can you beat it? Not in my stocking!!

I hope you save some money,

Martin

Explanation of * Links

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

How this site is financed.  Any links with a * by them are affiliated. That means go via this link and a contribution may be made to MoneySavingExpert.com, which helps it stay ad-free and free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference, the links don't impact the product at all and the editorial line (the things I write) is NEVER impacted by it. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in exactly the same way. As I believe transparency is important, I'm including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for the same things: topcashback.com, americanexpress.co.uk, uk.virginmoney.com, tiscali.co.uk, mopay.co.uk, envirofone.com, energyhelpline.com, abbey.com. Read more about this in how this site is financed.

MoneySavingExpert.com is the free to use Consumer Revenge website focused on how to save you cash. It’s owned, and run by ultra-specialised journalist and bestselling author Martin Lewis. On TV amongst other things Martin has his own show It Pays To Watch on Five, is GMTV’s Money SavingExpert, presents money programmes for ITV1 Tonight. On Radio Martin has regular slots on Radio 2 Vine and Radio 1 Whiley. He’s also a columnist for the News of The World, Moneywise and the Sunday Post. Find out more: About the site and its funding.

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

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