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Weekly Email
This email was sent
27th Jun 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 This info may be out of date.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."

27 June 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

The 10 must-knows if you've got a motor
Clever tricks to slash £1,000s off running cars, bikes or vans

The fuel duty rise is postponed until Jan. Yet even with that snifter of good news, motors aren't cheap. The AA says the avg cost of running a new car is up to £6,000/yr. We've 40 Tricks To Cut Motoring Costs, here's your starter for 10...

1. Your licence may be valid, but £1,000 fine if PHOTO's out of date. Driving licence photos need renewing every 10 yrs, 1.8m are out of date. Urgently check section 4b for the end date. Help in Driving Licence Renewal.
2. Don't use one insurance comparison site - use TWO. Different comparison sites compare different firms. Combine them to get the best spread. For speed, use Gocompare* & MoneySup* then add Aviva* & Direct Line*, the biggies they miss. For help in your circumstances, click a link below:

Typical Driver | Multi-Car Homes | Got Points | Made Claims | Vans | Bikes
3. slash car costsFREE Glovebox Guide - a parking ticket condom, so to speak. Getting a ticket slapped on your window can be a nightmare. So we've designed a Free Glovebox Guide, as both a preventative measure and for emergencies. It has key parking info and explains what to do if it goes wrong. After all, 57% who challenge council parking tickets they believe are unfair and take them all the way to the independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal win (full help in Fight Unfair Parking Tickets).
4. Can you cut £1,000s off under-25 car insurance? Here's how to try to bag a-Ford-able cover: a) Try adding a 2nd named responsible driver to lower risk average, eg, this tweet: "£1,600+ on my own, just £550 with 2 named drivers. 20-yr-old male." b) Do full comparisons in point 2. c) Then check specialist young driver policies that use black boxes to monitor your driving. Pay per mile: Coverbox*. Pay how you drive: Co-op*. Pay less daytimes: iKube*. Many more tips in Cheap Young Drivers' Car Insurance.
5. Cut petrol costs by 30%: The big trick's to learn the drive as quick, but use less fuel technique. For some, it cuts costs by 30% alone. Plus make your car more efficient by checking your tyre pressure's correct, taking off unused roof racks and more. Then find the cheapest forecourt (includes Morrisons' & Tesco's new up-to-6p/ltr off vouchers), and use the top Petrol Cashback Cards.
6. Get basic AA breakdown cover for £9/year (or haggle). Basic breakdown is available for £9 via cashback websites. Alternatively, a full service policy is £38/year or European cover is £59. If you're happy with the cover you've got, but not the renewal price, 73% of AA customers who haggle succeed, as well as 59% for RAC, so try it. Full cost-cutting help in Cheap Breakdown Cover
7. Private parking companies CAN'T fine you. It may be dressed up to look like a parking fine, but if you get a ticket at a supermarket, housing estate, etc, rather than from a council or police, it's not a fine, it's an invoice. Like any invoice, if you think it's unfair, tell them and don't pay. Full help to deal with it in Unfair Private Parking Tickets.
8. Book summer hol car hire EARLY to get it sub-£10/day. Use Car Rentals* & Kayak* comparisons to find the cheapest; under £10/day's sometimes possible. At pick-up, hire firms will try to flog "excess insurance", but do it for less than half the cost via comparison Money Maxim*. Full help: Cheap Car Hire. PS If driving outside the EU, check if you need an International Driving Permit, not just your UK one.
9. DON'T assume 3rd party insurance is cheapest. Bizarrely, the lowest level of cover isn't always cheapest. Sometimes, comprehensive wins, as choosing it means you're considered a lower risk. So if you were going for 3rd party, also get a comprehensive quote. Full help: Cheap Car Insurance, Van or Bike
10. Hidden council MOT centres can slash costs. Designed for councils' own vehicles (eg, buses), by law they must open to the public. As they generally don't do repairs, they've less vested interest in failing people, so anecdotally people get fewer fails, eg: "My 4x4 failed with a £1,200 bill at the local garage. My council-run MOT centre passed it." See full Council MOT Centre List.

There are another 30 tips in the 40+ Ways To Slash Motoring Costs guide.

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More MoneySavers mean more collective consumer power. Please forward this email to friends & 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 27 Jun 2012
Easy-to-get 3% cashback (earn £100) AND cheap overseas spending
New credit card offers unbeatable exchange rates — you don't need a top credit score to get it

Last week we featured a new easy-to-get credit card, with a whopping cashback deal. Digging through the terms, we've discovered it also gives near-perfect rates when you spend on it abroad; smashing any bureau de change.

  • overseas spendingCheap spending abroad + £100 cashback. The Aqua* credit card even accepts some with older CCJs or defaults, but has a big 34.9% representative APR. So always FULLY REPAY each month by direct debit so there's no interest, to take advantage of...

    - £100 cashback. It pays 3% on all spending up to £100 cashback per year, so an avg £300/mth spend gets the full whack. Plus the cashback's on spending abroad too.

    - Unbeatable exchange rates. Most plastic adds a hidden 3%ish load to foreign spending, so buy something for £100 worth of euros and you pay £103. Aqua's load-free worldwide, so you get unbeatable exchange rates, when spending on it in any country.
  • Cheapest cards for spending & ATM withdrawals. Using Aqua at overseas ATMs has a 3% charge, plus 3% interest a month even if you fully repay. So only use it to spend on, not withdraw. For that, take cheap travel cash.

    Alternatively, the following credit cards are load-free worldwide AND have lower ATM fees: Halifax ClarityPost Office*Saga* and ONLY for Nationwide FlexAccount holders, its Select* card. All require a decent credit score and ensure you FULLY REPAY, or the gain's lost by 11.9-16.9% representative APRs (see APR Examples).

Full info in the updated Cheap Travel Money and Top Cashback Cards guides.

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Online OUTLET sales: M&S | House of Fraser | Schuh. A boost in reductions. M&S now up to 50% off, HofF 75% & Schuh 50%. At HofF, a black Episode dress is £27 (was £200). See Online Outlet Sales

Free YSL foundation sample, worth £4.60. Just print a voucher. See YSL Deals

£2.50 webcams, 7" digi-photo frame £10, etc. £7.50 MP4s and more, tech clearance. See WHSmith Deals

Summer childcare - are you missing out on £1,000s?
The kids may be off, but it doesn't mean you are. Get help with childcare costs for up to 16s

Over 35% of parents pay more in childcare than rent or mortgage. Many have considered quitting work due to its costs, according to a Daycare Trust and Mumsnet report. Yet help is available, even if just for summer. This isn't just for babies - school summer clubs for hairy, 16st, rugby-playing 15-year-olds (and that's just the girls) can count as 'childcare' too.

  • Summer childcareGet childcare tax credits. If you: a) Are a single parent working 16+hrs/wk or couple both working 16+hrs. b) Pay for any form of Ofsted registered 'childcare' (nursery, childminder or school clubs). c) Have a household income under £42,000, then check IF you're eligible for Childcare Tax Credits (no guarantees, it depends). The avg annual payout is over £3,000.
  • Childcare vouchers. This lets you pay for 'childcare' from PRE-tax earnings, so you get £1,000 of vouchers for £1,000 of salary, which after basic tax is worth just £700 in your pay packet, so you're £300 up. Sadly, it's only available if your employer's signed up. Full help, pros & cons in Childcare Vouchers.
  • Free/subsidised summer clubs. Some schools, community centres & youth groups offer clubs (eg, urban art or archery) in the summer. If you need to pay, usually vouchers/tax credits are valid. See Summer School info.
  • National Citizen Service - 2 wks away for 16yr olds. England's National Citizen Service has 2-wk residential courses for year 11s. Around half are free, or no more than £80. Also see our Cheap Days Out, Theme Parks & Free Museums guides for ideas.
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O2 customer? BIG FREEBIES. Incl HMV free £5, free lunch at Upper Crust & Delice De France, Fitness First month pass and Pizza Hut pizza & salad £1. Get ‘em all, info in O2 Deals

Savings price war - new top 3.22% easy access. From today (Wed), West Brom* has upped its rate to 3.22% AER (it's a MoneySup exclusive, link's via it), just pipping Santander's* 3.2%. Both incl year-long bonuses, so diarise to ditch & switch. Full options: Top Savings. Both have full £85k UK savings safety.

More 10p tights, nail varnish, lipgloss, etc. It seems to have boosted stock. See Superdrug Deals

RBS / NatWest IT meltdown help
Help for those affected, whether NatWest, RBS, Think Banking, Ulster or other bank

Up to 17m RBS Group customers have not had wages paid, or been able to move money for a week. Things are improving, but some are still stuck. A few have been unable to feed kids, seen house purchases fail, or even, as this tweet says: "Missed my flight home from Venice because NatWest's problems mean I can't check out of hotel. New flights = £200". Full info in NatWest Meltdown Q&A (updated daily).

  • natwest meltdownRBS Group customers needing cash. This problem is largely fixed, but many Ulster Bank customers, and some others, are still short. If that's you, go to a branch (lots open till 6pm) or call. It may give cash to help, eg, this tweet: "The staff in my NatWest said if I knew I had money coming in, they would give me up to £500 cash."
  • RBS Group customers wanting to reclaim charges. A lack of funds may have triggered overdraft or late payment charges. RBS says it will refund ALL such charges — it'll announce how later this week — and will ensure no issues with credit files. Other banks say they'll show discretion.
  • Non-RBS customers who've been hit. The knock-on effects are huge, especially for those paid from employers' NatWest accounts. Elsewhere, some house sales have fallen through. Again, the bank says it will cover costs for non-customers who are directly affected. It'll tell us more later this week.
  • How to stay updated. Our NatWest Meltdown Q&A has the latest news, & follow Martin's Twitter for updates.
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Body Shop 40% off & free shower gel code. Full info in Body Shop Deals

No-brainer cheap energy deal. Not only is EDF's Blue Price Promise* one of the market's cheapest, the price is fixed until Sep 2013 and there are no exit penalties if you leave early. Plus it'll tell you if any provider launches a tariff £52/yr+ cheaper. Top comparison site: Energyhelpline* £15 cashback per switch. Dual fuel: MoneySup* £30 cashback or uSwitch* crate of wine. Full info in Cheap Energy

Totally legal FREE download code - any song. We've blagged a code so you can download any track from 3 million, including chart singles. Full info via our Tunechecker MP3 comparison. See Free MP3

Click titles for full info & all top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard*
22 mths 0%, 2.9% fee

(17.9% rep APR)

Low fee 0%: Barclaycard*
16 mths 0%, 1.6% fee

(17.9% rep APR)
Get quotes in this order...

Direct Line*
Admiral MultiCar*

Sainsbury's* (£5k - £7.5k)
7.6% rep APR
(Need Nectar card)

Sainsbury's* (£7.5 - £15k)
5.9% rep APR

(Need Nectar card)

Cheshire BS 3.35% AER
Min £1,000. Incl 2.35% bonus

Santander* 3.3% AER
Min £2,500. Incl bonus.
Top for transfers
See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

£10 designer sunnies. Incl Police, Ralph Lauren & Vivienne Westwood. See Sunglasses Deals

MSE Blagged

Free £10 code for London black cabs. Blagged for MoneySavers, via free smartphone app. Taxi Deals

£4.50 primary school uniform. Incl polo shirt, sweatshirt & trousers/skirt. Cheap School Uniforms

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

Are you a hidden carer?
There are over 6 million carers in the UK. Many are without realising - and miss out on help

Many give up their own wealth & health to care for others. While this saves the state money, it's thought 100,000s don't know they're entitled to some help in return. Last week was Carers Week, and some asked for more info, so here goes...

  • hidden carer Are you a hidden carer? To qualify for carers' allowance, worth up to £60/week, you need to be aged 16+ and helping out someone on various benefits for 35+ hours a week. You don't have to be related or cohabiting, and the help can be anything from shopping, sorting paperwork or just giving up your time. See Carers' Allowance info.
  • Don't qualify? Free breaks and more. If you care for someone, but don't fit that rigid definition, there are grants from charities available. Plus you may qualify for equipment to help you lift the person you care for, an alarm system, or some money to help you take time off. See Hidden Carer Help Info.
  • Check ALL benefits in 5 mins, and get help. Whether you're a carer or not, take the 5-min Benefits Check-Up to see if your benefits and tax credits are correct, and whether you're missing out on anything.
Back to top ^

'Free' £6 personalised photobook (£2 P&P). Go quick, only 5,000 available. See Photo Deals

Tesco 1,200 pts code (worth up to £48?) on £75 shop. Online newbies only. Tesco Deals

Teachers - it's My Money Week. Get PFEG's free activity pack, the MSE Teen Cash Class mapped to KS4 and 5, or a sneak preview of Experian's new Values, Money & Me resource. See all Financial Education resources.

Fight back against budget flight fees
Don't pay to pay | Beat baggage charges | Plaudits for Flybe & Thomson for cutting card fees

Book 'em right and £10 flights are possible (try the Flightchecker). But to keep that price real, you need to jump the budget airlines' fee hurdles. Our Budget Flight Fee-Fighting guide shows how to do a full Colin Jackson. Here are some titbits...

  • flight feesDon't pay to pay: Some naughty airlines charge to pay via credit or debit card. They claim this is an 'added extra' by offering one niche option that's free. To avoid Ryanair's horrid £12 per person return fee, you outrageously need its own poor-value prepay card. This costs £6 but you get a £6 flight voucher. With Jet2 & BMI Baby, it's Visa Electron. Plaudits to Flybe and Thomson Airways, which now let you pay free with debit cards. Full help in Budget Airline Plastic.
  • Beat baggage fees. 1) Can you travel hand luggage only? 10kg is more than you think. 2) Alwas prebook checked-in luggage, then it's £9-£45. Fail to, and it's £20-£135. 3) Beware, more bags don't always mean more weight - with Easyjet you'd get a 20kg per person total even with 3 bags. 4) Wear heavy clothes and pack socks, etc, in coat pockets. Better still, see special suitcase jackets. 5) If it costs less than the excess, eg, £20/kg chuck it. More in Beat Baggage Costs.
  • Avoid check-in fees. One fury-inducing charge is up to £120 per person, per return for airport check-in. So ALWAYS do it free online first, though Ryanair still charges £12 rtn (except on its 'all-in' sales).
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£60 family 4-day holiday. 10 Sep-26 Nov at 291 Europe hol parks. Needs 10 tokens. Sun Holidays

Want to work for MSE? Web designer needed. Front end developer in London office. MSE Jobs

£15 opera tickets code. Usually £36 for the ENO's Billy Budd at the London Coliseum. See ENO Deals

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

8 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 £14 Travel Insurance

the moneysaving community

Campaign of the week

Check your tenancy deposit's safe
Housing charity Shelter is urging renters to make sure their deposits are safe using its online deposit checker as calls to its helpline have jumped 86% in the last two years. If our deposit isn't in an the official deposit protection schemes - you could get up to three times the deposit in compensation, check. Spotted a campaign? This space is for MSE to support the work being done by other charities, community groups and campaigners. Send us a campaign of the week suggestion.

Money Moral Dilemma

Should I tip when using daily deals vouchers?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
I'm getting a massage using a voucher I bought via a daily deals site. I told a friend how much I'm looking forward to a nice treat, even more so as I won't need to take my purse. My friend was surprised and said surely I was going to tip the masseur since I got the deal for a great price. It didn't even cross my mind, but should I tip when the cost of the activity is already paid for? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I tip when using vouchers? Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

spill beans

Spill the beans... on how you cut the cost of home printing
Printing can be costly, so we want your top tips on cutting the cost (barring don't do it), from where to buy ink to making your printer more efficient, or printing at the library. Spill 'em: cheap printing Past topics: View all

Free book giveaway. Polish for Dummies. 30 blagged for MoneySavers (na zdrowie) Want one?

Cheap Flight Sales

Ryanair Price: £12.99 each way Ends: Thu 28 Jun
Our pick this week is Ryanair's from £12.99 each way flights. It's on various routes for travel Mon-Thu, 3-27 Sep 2012, and includes some taxes and charges. Flights include Leeds to Düsseldorf for £12.99 each way. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £40 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

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Holiday tricks. Spill the beans... revealed
There were some great MoneySaving ideas in response to last week's Spill the Beans, including upgrading to an all-inclusive board basis (provided it's not too costly) and swapping books with fellow holidaymakers. We thought this forumite's homemade frozen drinks idea was inspired, though it would require a freezer...

Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 124.31 111.79
US Flag $ 155.51 139.35
Turkish Flag TL 276.00 239.77
Rates correct at 4pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Would you avoid tax if you could?

Comedian Jimmy Carr has been lambasted by the PM for avoiding tax. Where do you draw the line? How far would you go?

Answer the FIRST in the list you'd do.

Tax evasion: I'd break the law (eg, cash-in-hand) as long as I'm not caught.


Tax loopholes: I'd push as far as possible, Jimmy Carr-style, as long as it's legal.


Tax avoidance: I'd do what I could to reduce tax, without taking the mickey.


Tax planning only: I'd only use things which the Govt encourages, eg ISAs & pensions.


Poll Results

What is child poverty in the UK?

More than 10,000 of you selected over 65,000 options. The most selected markers of poverty were lack of food, shelter or clothing (by 96% of voters), no heating (87%) and having to share a bed (81%), while 75% thought family income under £5,000 defines it.

Conversely only 10% of people thought no annual holiday, or no laptop/web access counted. See full Child Poverty Poll results.

Question Of The Week

Q: If my bank gets into financial trouble, is the money loaded on to our prepaid Mastercard safe? Malcolm, by email.

MSE Dan’s A: If the prepaid card is backed by a bank or building society - as most are - then it will be liable for your cash if the prepaid card company goes bust.

However, if the bank or building society who provides the card goes bust itself, your cash is NOT protected. Money held as a prepaid card balance doesn't count as a deposit, which means it isn't covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

So as a precaution, consider it only a card to have enough cash on for immediate spending requirements, rather than as a place to store your cash. See full details in our Prepaid Cards guide.

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

Board Of The Week

The Disability & Dosh Board

A board for sharing tips on issues impacting those with disabilities. Recent discussions include Cycle trailers, Wheelchair loan Red Cross and Electric bed.

Back to top ^
Game Of The Week

Long Jump

How to open wine with your shoe

That's it for this week, but are you short of a corkscrew? We saw this video and were impressed - open wine with your shoe. Though don't let your kids try it, even if they, ahem, whine.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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