Tax Credits: Why So Complex?
Millions are eligible for Tax Credits, yet having interrogated the system for our new Tax Credits guide (see below), in time for Friday's 'renewal' deadline, I could almost cry at its sheer unfathomable, unnecessary complexity.
While the help is welcome, the system causes much misery and confusion, and should be changed.
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Time to switch! Gas & Elec getting cheaper. If your cap's ending, new special comparison.
Two more suppliers have entered the price war to be 'cheapest online tariff', so act quick; some will save £100s. On a capped tariff? Last year, just before British Gas’s 35% price hike, I yelled “cap now” for those who couldn't risk price rises. If you did, many of those caps, inc. npower, Scottish Power & E.On, end soon and your cost will JUMP. Special comparison. Most comparison sites only use your capped rate to compare, but more important is the rate the cap goes to. After reading MSE's logic (and a bit of nagging) Energyhelpline's* adapted and now incorporates the rate your cap'll go to (it gives £15 cashback too via this link). FULL info & explanation in the Switching Guide: Switching from a cap. For everyone else, read the Updated Guide: Cheap Gas & Elec plus cashback
New Vouchers. Any Domino's £10 delivered, 2for1s at Bella Italia, Strada, GBK and Tootsies & Dexters. These join £9 'Tesco Finest' two-course meal plus wine and Henry's two mains & bottle of wine for £20 in the Daily Deals List: Restaurant Vouchers
Warning! Renew tax credits by Fri or payments may STOP! Inc. fighting overpayments
Tax Credits can add £1,000s to your income, but you need to manage them right. Renew NOW! The deadline's this Fri 31 July; miss it and you risk having payments stopped or overpayment hell. If you ONLY got an annual review form, just check it's correct (if it is, do nothing); if not, call the helpline. If you were also sent a declaration form, you must check, sign and send it back. Overpayments help. Overpayments can be a nightmare, so as well as renewals & eligibility, this brand new guide details your rights and how to dispute overpayments. New Guide: Tax Credit Renewal & Overpayments Related: Benefits Check-Up, Childcare Tax Credits
URGENT! £1(ish) European flights. Ends midnight Thurs 30 July. Yet another Ryanair sale. A million £1 flights (inc. some taxes & charges) from UK airports to 75 European destinations for Sept & Oct travel. To speedily find them, see the Updated Guide: £1 Flights Related: Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels, Carbon Offsetting
New 50%-off home insurance deals. Good, but often beatable. Always check with comparison sites
A raft of 50%-off home insurance promos have launched, but even half price doesn't make expensive providers cheapest, so always do a full comparison. The deals: Tesco's* new 50%-off sounds good, but you normally get 35%-off online anyway, so it's not huge. However, Direct Line's* 50%-off contents insurance is often competitive & not on comparison services, so it's worth a check. Alternatively, there's free contents cover if you buy buildings insurance from Aviva* or MoreThan*. Do a FULL comparison. To ensure you're getting a top price, combine comparison sites in this order (as many as you can): Confused*, MSM*, GoCompare* and CompareTM*, then check for cashback. FULL info in the Updated Guide: Cheap Home Insurance Related: Cheap Car Insurance, Travel Insurance
£5 off £30 at Lidl (per 40p newspaper) and a 20%-off Coast magazine voucher. Joins online discount codes £10 off £50 at Tesco and 15% off Ocado in the Daily Deals List: Shopping Vouchers
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Free snack box inc fruit, nuts, seeds, olives (worth c. £3.50). Healthy snack retailer Graze is offering a totally-free food box for registering. You must give card details, but can cancel after your first order. See the Forum Post: Free Graze Box
Warning! Help stop your credit / debit card being blocked on holiday.
If you're going to use your card abroad, be careful: card companies may block your spending, as it triggers a "fraud warning". Common advice is to inform them beforehand, yet this doesn't always work, so we've done a full card-by-card survey. Who you MUST call. With the following credit & debit cards, calling should prevent unnecessary blocks: Abbey, Alliance & Leicester, Barclays, Barclaycard, HSBC, HBOS, MBNA, Santander and Virgin. What about the rest? The others either take no notice, or record it on your file, but it doesn't stop blocking. For a card-by-card breakdown & more info, see the MSE news story: Avoid blocked cards Related: Best card for overseas spending, TravelMoneyMax.com
Tesco SAVINGS loophole. Make £10 with £1 savings. Tesco's savings interest rate is pants, but a new promo gives you Clubcard points for account opening. Put £1 in for 250 points, worth £10 of Tesco Rewards. It's possible to gain up to £60. FULL info inc. how to apply in the Updated Guide: Tesco Savings Loophole
New Summer Holiday MoneySaving Quiz. Tool of the Week. Test your MoneySaving skills
Get 800 mins, 600 texts, & unlimited mobile data for £11.25/mth. It's possible to get £100 cashback on O2's SIM-only SIMplicity £20/month year-long package, effectively making it £11.25 a month. See the Forum Note: £100 O2 mobile cashback
The hold on bank charges reclaiming's been extended until Jan 2010. This DOESN'T apply to credit card reclaiming or if you're in hardship though. See the MSE news story: Bank charges hold extended Related: Bank Charges Hardship, Credit Card Reclaiming
Earn 5% interest if you save every month! Three new top hidden 'regular savers' launched.
You can save at higher rates if you're prepared to put money aside every month, though the total amount you can save is limited. New top regular saver: Halifax* pays 5% AER fixed for a year, if you pay in £25 - £500 every month. Yet you can't withdraw cash, or miss repayments. Similar 5% deals are available in Natwest & RBS branches (so no web links). Flexible regular saver: Barclays' Monthly Saver pays 4.25% AER for a year on £20 - £250 a month but you can miss payments and make withdrawals (though interest halves in those months). Top easy access: For a normal account that lets you put what you like in, with no withdrawal issues, Alliance & Leicester* pays 3.15% AER though 2.65% is a bonus for the first year. FULL info & alternatives in the Updated Guide: Regular Savings Related: Instant Access Savings, Cash ISAs, Safe Savings
New INSTANT theme park 2for1s at Alton Towers, Thorpe Park & The Dungeons. These new click 'n' prints join 3for2 at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, 2for1 at Camelot Theme Park, £10 off M&D's & more discounts in the Deals List: Cheap Theme Parks
Graduated in last three years? Get interest-free £2,000 overdraft. Top 2009/10 grad accounts
The top graduate account can save recent students £100s in overdraft costs, as banks offer big interest-free overdrafts for up to three years. The biggest 0% deal: Two accounts tie: Lloyds and RBS both give £2,000 in year one, £1,500 year two and £1,000 year three. Lloyds just wins though, as its limits are guaranteed, not decided case-by-case. Graduated in past years? Anyone who left uni in the last three years is allowed to switch. Make a profit! Even graduates without debts should grab one, then take the free money and stash it in the top Instant Access Savings, to make £150-ish profit! For full info and explanation, read the New Guide: Graduate Accounts Related: Pay Off Student Loan?, Bank Accounts Coming Soon: Top Student Accounts 09/10
Reminder! Now ANYONE can get Orange's 2for1 Wed cinema deal. FREE Orange sim card. Just grab this free Sim card* with £5 credit, pop it in your phone on a Wed to get the Orange cinema deal. Full info in the Updated Guide: Orange Wednesdays
Quick links or click the titles for full pros, cons, alternatives & more savings
Should MSE support the mobile pricing 'terminate the rate' campaign? Call a mobile, and the network called charges your provider up to 5p/min; it's one reason mobile costs are so high. There's a new campaign against this; read pros & cons, and help us decide if MSE should support it. Support terminate the rate?
Quick Forum Tips
Warning! Bargains listed here tend to sell out quickly
Free NHS Recession stress-line. If your health is being affected by money worries, a new service from the NHS, where trained staff give advice, is available on freephone 0300 123 2000, Mon-Sun 8am-10pm. Also see the full Debt Problems Help guide.
MONEY MORAL DILEMMA. Should a desperate housewife condone a cheating boss?
Gabrielle is good pals with her husband, Carlos's, boss and his wife. Yet one day, she catches the boss romancing another woman. When she confronts him, he promises to pay Carlos a £100 bonus every month if she keeps schtum about his cheating ways. They're struggling at the moment; should Gabby spill the beans to the boss's wife or take the cash? (Inspired by Desperate Housewives) Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should Gabby expose Carlos's love-cheat boss? Previous MMDs: View All
Great 'How to ensure your insurer pays claims' Hunt Result
Last week, we asked for MoneySavers' top tips on making sure legit insurance claims get accepted. There were some great suggestions, including Six top tips, keep damaged items and read the policy carefully
- Thurs, GMTV, ITV1, sometime between 8:30 & 9:30am. Deals of the Week.
- Tues, GMTV, ITV1, sometime between 7:20 & 9:30am. The topic's news reactive.
This week's Martin's Blog: Big Brother's flawed wealth test: a missed lesson
"I hate stoozers" and "The girl in the £35 dress". Read m'blogs (or RSS users access)
Your biggest money vice? Food! 8,915 voted last week. 16% of you voted eating out & gourmet food your biggest money vice, just pipping the 15% who voted for clothes & shoes. In third place was booze, with 13%, followed by a further (slightly smaller) 13% who always budget, and never overspend at all. See Money Vice poll results.
Best wedding entrance video ever! Most couples wait until after they’re hitched to do the first dance, but this pair decided to boogie down to the alter in style. Rock the wedding
We hope you save some money
Martin & the MSE team
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