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Weekly Email
This email was sent
30th May 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 This info may be out of date.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."

30 May 2012
Martin's Quick Briefing

Free more powerful 'No Cold Callers' sign
10 need-to-knows to stop cold callers, spam calls & texts

There's nowt wrong with knocks on the door to sell things. Unless that is, you've a sign telling 'em not to. 'No cold callers' signs usually work, but some still ignore them, like the three worst firms for that in our recent poll: Betterbuy, Kleeneze & Anglian Windows. So here's what you need to know.

1. Free more powerful 'No Cold Callers' sign. To stop knockers (you may not if it gets you good deals) print our redesigned, Trading Standards-approved free 'No Cold Callers' sign and put it on a door or window.
2. cold callersWhy 'more powerful'? Because knocking's a CRIMINAL offence. Guidance we've recently received from Trading Standards says ignoring a sign may be a criminal offence under the Consumer Trading Regulations 2008 (it's untested, but it's a QC's opinion). We've added this to our sign, so if they knock when they shouldn't, there's no argument they didn't know.
3. Don't want charities or religious groups knocking either? 42% in our poll said charities think no-cold caller signs don't apply to them, and 39% religious groups. If you don't want 'em either, we've MSE No Cold Callers signs that include charities, religious groups and both. If they knock and you open the door, just point at that bit of the sign before politely closing it.
4. What if they keep knocking? As it may be a criminal offence for traders (not charities/religious groups) to ignore such notices, the new sign should help. If they persist, complain to the company and Trading Standards.
5. Special rules mean energy salespeople shouldn't knock. The EnergySure Code of Practice states energy salespeople must obey no cold calling signs, if not, you should get compensation. Complain to the company and if that doesn't work, the Ombudsman. NEVER switch via a door knocker anyway, always Compare & Switch Gas & Elec to find your cheapest provider.
6. Buy on the doorstep and you've a RIGHT to change your mind. Unlike store-bought goods, the Doorstep Selling Regulations mean you've a seven-day cooling-off period on all goods & services over £35. So change your mind and you can get money back. There are some exceptions, including food and immovable property. With insurance and credit agreements you get 14 days.
7. Stop spam texts. If it's from a legit firm with clear sender details, you may've opted-in without meaning, so reply STOP. Yet for real spam such as PPI claims firms, or ambulance chasers, don't text back, as it may confirm you're real. Instead, get full help in our Stop Spam Texts guide. PS. Don't pay to reclaim PPI — see Reclaim PPI For Free.
8. Stop spam calls. Sign up your home phone AND mobile to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) (takes about 28 days). It's then illegal for UK firms to call (unless you opt in on their marketing). Plus try the free Silent Call-gard service. Full help in Stop Spam Calls.
9. Stop spam calls from overseas. It's not easy, as calls from outside the EU aren't regulated. Yet read our forumites' Cheeky overseas spam call beaters for ideas (eg, play 'em at their own game, or just say random things).
10. Stop annoying junk and direct mail. Sign up to the Mail Preference Service (takes up to 4mths to be active) though unlike for calls, it's not illegal if they still send. To stop unaddressed leaflets, email

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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 30 May 2012
New TOP 3.17% easy access savings
New best-buy from Post Office | Fix at 4.4% in case of rate cut | NS&I inflation holders cash in?

Finally there's a new table-topping savings deal, and for once it only requires £1 to open, not big bucks. Full info & best-buys in the updated Top Savings & Top Cash ISA guides, here's a taster. All listed have full £85,000 savings protection.

  • New 3.17% AER easy access. The 3.17% Post Office* easy access Online Saver (min £1) allows unlimited withdrawals, by far the best of its type for a while. If you've not opened an ISA this year you can put up to £5,640 in the Cheshire BS ISA* at 3.35% tax-free. As both are bonus accounts, the rate'll plummet in a year, diarise to switch then.
  • Fix savings up to 4.4% AER in case rates drop? The International Monetary Fund's suggested the UK's paltry 0.5% base rate should drop further. The Bank of England can ignore it, but if you want to guarantee a rate now, high rates are possible if you lock cash away in a fix.

    ISAs (new cash & transfers):
    Halifax 3-5yrs* 4%-4.25%; S'tander* 1yr 3.5%, 2yrs* 4%; Saga 1yr 3.6% (over 50s).
    Savings: Secure Trust 5yrs 4.45% & 4yrs 4.1%; Close 3yrs (min £10k) 4% & 2yrs 3.75%; Cahoot 1yr* (£25k) 3.6%.
  • Got NS&I's inflation-linked savings from last year? You can now withdraw cash, penalty free, from NS&I's 5yr Index-Linked Savings Certificate (issue 48). With inflation dropping it may work for some, see NS&I: stick or twist?
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Free £20 at Dwell. Print £20 no-min spend voucher for the furniture chain. See Dwell Deals

& Discounted

Ideal Home Show Scotland

Northern Home Show

Taste of London (foodie fiesta)

10,000 free ticket codes
Usually £12, Glasgow 4-5 June

5,000 free ticket codes
Usually £8, Manch 15-17 June

2for1 code (on £32 tix)
Regent's Park, 21-22 June

See all Cheap Days Out

£6 Thorntons chocs 60p delivered. Use code & buy on phone app. 10k avail, see Thorntons Deals

Jubilee wine & champagne sales, eg, £40 off £60
Wine discount codes | New Tesco Wine Discount Finder tool | £10 Jubilee bubbly

Most supermarkets & off-licences have corking wine and champagne offers aimed at Jubilee knees-ups, but you can always stock up. Our Wine Sales and Champagne Sales notes list the best. Here's a quick quaffer (please be drinkaware).

0 percent
  • Wine codes: Naked Wine £40 off £60, Tesco £10 off £50. These huge codes are for first-time customers (add £5 delivery). For codes and other offers see Wine Sales.
  • New Tool. Tesco Wine Discount Finder (incl 50% off champers). Wine often has big sales (by the case) but you can't search by discount. We're building a tool for a range of online wine sellers. So far, only Tesco is in, so this weekend, we'll let you try it as the Tesco Wine Discount Finder (pls feedback). The code above works with it, and you can search its champagne sale, eg Francois Dubois Brut £12.98, delivered.
  • £10 Jubilee bubbly. For a rundown of supermarket sales, see Champagne Discounts.
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£10 Havaianas flip flops. Usually £17ish. In-store & online, but del's £3.50. Men & Women's. See Havaianas

6 x Burger King instant vouchers (incl 2for1s). Click 'n' print. See Burger King Deals

Stop Press: Best buy 0% balance transfers ending. We've been tipped off Barclaycard is changing its best-buys. Longest 0% for shifting debts: Thur is the last day new cardholders shifting debt to its 22mth 0% balance transfer* card (2.9% fee) get a £30 refund for £2,500+ transfers. Lower-fee balance transfer: Its 17mth 0% (1.6% fee)* card, best if you repay quicker, drops to 16mths. All-Rounder: Its 15mth 0% on balance transfers (2.9% fee) and spending drops to 14mths. With all, fully repay or shift debt before the 0% ends or they're 17.9 or 18.9% representative APR. See 0% debt shift, All Rounders, APR Examples

'Free' £10-£15 Benefit make-up (in £2 mag). Choose a cover with That Gal (face primer RRP £15), The Porefessional (RRP £10) or Bad Gal mascara (RRP £10). On sale Thur, likely to go fast. See Benefit deals

Get £55 of designer sunnies for £19. For £45 Ray-Bans, £32 Oakleys. See Glasses Deals

Cut MOT costs by £100s
Hidden council test centres reduce fails | A quick walk round your car can save £££s

Cars need annual MOTs after their 3rd birthday. A new 'Honest John' study shows a Suzuki Splash and Audi TT are most likely to pass their first. Yet switching car's a bit much, so try our updated Cheap MOTs guide instead. Here's a taster.

  • cheap motDon't fall for obvious fails, walk round your car first. One in five fail MOTs due to lights not working, many more due to windscreen wiper or tyre pressure problems. So use our MOT checklist to walk round your car first and, if possible, fix before the test.
  • Choose the right test centre. If your motor's in mint condition, so fails are unlikely, focus on the cheapest test possible. If likely to fail, focus on who'll repair for less. Or...
  • Hidden 'no repairs' council MOT tests — fewer fails. Some mechanics can be over-zealous in fault-spotting to gain lucrative repair business. If you've experienced that, try council centres. They're set up for councils' vehicles, but by law must open to the public. Anecdotal feedback says they can massively reduce unnecessary fails, eg, one forumite says: "Took my 4x4 to a garage to find it failed with £1,200 repairs. So tried a council-run MOT centre, which passed it". To find your local one, use our Council MOTs tests map.

Related Motoring MoneySaving: Cheap Car Insurance, Cheap Petrol, Cheap Breakdown Cover

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Buy weekly groceries from Pay £36 for 13 weeks delivery, see Tesco delivery saver info.

Home & DIY

15% off

25% off everything

up to 30% off home

Laura Ashley
30% off everything

In-store & code
Sat 2- Sun 3 Jun
Online & store sale
Thu 31 May only
Online sale
Ends Weds 6 Jun
Online & store sale
Ends Tue 5 Jun

See All DIY Discount

Over 170 free UK museums & galleries. To find you free days out, we've updated our Free UK museums & galleries map from biggies such as the British Museum to Devon's House of Marbles. Also see free festivals.

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

(17.9% rep APR)

22 mths 0%, 3.2% 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

Going abroad? Get free 1yr Tastecard with your currency. Until Thur, order £500+ of currency from ICICI* and get a 12-mth tastecard (usually £80), which gets 2for1ish at 1,000s of restaurants. ICICI rates can be pretty good (use our Travel Money Comparison to see) so if you'd use the card, this makes it unbeatable for most.

32" HD ready TV £150 | 32" full HD TV £197. Cheapest big name brands too. See Cheap TVs

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

New. 16mths 0% on spending AND 1.25% cashback
Free borrowing you're paid to get | Or 'stooze' — save cash they've lent you for nowt

Last week we added the longest ever deal to our 0% new borrowing credit card guide, now one pays cashback too. Yet don't borrow willy-nilly, plan and budget to fully repay before the 0% ends. All require a credit check (see APR Examples).

  • cashback cardsNew. 16 mths 0% on spending with 1.25% cashback. Accepted new Amex Platinum* cardholders get 16mths 0% and 1.25% cashback on all spending (Moneysup exclusive, link via it). There's a £25 annual fee, so it's best for bigger spenders (at £2,000/yr cashback covers fee). Fully repay before the 0% ends or it's 14% representative APR.
  • Longest 0%: 18mths plus rewards — no fee. NatWest* & RBS* give new cardholders 18mths 0% on spending, plus 2,500 'YourPoints' on acceptance (turns into £10 Boots, Amazon or M&S voucher) then you earn 1pt per £1 spent (0.5% cashback). If you don't fully repay before the 0% ends, it's 17.9% representative APR.
  • Stooze to max the gain. The very financially savvy can manipulate these cards to earn £100s. Do all day-to-day spending on them, repaying just the minimum, to maximise cashback/rewards. This leaves unspent income building in your bank account. Put in a top easy access savings account to earn on cash lent for nowt. See Stoozing guide.
  • Just want cashback? Get 5%. Capital One's Aspire World* pays an intro 5% cashback (max £100) for the first 3mths then up to 1.25%. ALWAYS fully repay to avoid 19.9% rep APR. Full help in Top Cashback Cards guide.
Back to top ^

Free calls to Commonwealth (eg, Oz, Canada). A regal offer for the Jubilee, from Sat-Wed, call 15 Commonwealth countries as a local call, so part of inclusive allowances. Full how-to in the International CallChecker.

Last chance. £50 cashback on cheapest energy. Comparison site Energyhelpline's extended its Huge Switch* that gives £50 on the cheapest fix & variable until 4pm Friday. See Cheapest Energy

Is Santander safe (even for small biz cash)? Martin's Is Santander safe? blog last week triggered many q's about biz accounts. Sole traders & small limited companies get £85,000 protection, see biz accounts safety.

Free £350 of loft or cavity wall insulation — sort it
The energy gravy train's in full flow. Some even get PAID to install, but for how long?

Having had a week of sun, insulation may be the last thing on your mind. But now's the perfect time, because it's far better to have work done when it's sunny and you're not reliant on insulation; but more importantly, right now it's free.

  • free insulationWhy free? Energy companies must meet 'Carbon Emission Reduction targets' (CERT) or get fined, and pumping cash into free insulation's an efficient way.
  • Is it worth it? Pay for it yourself and it'll cost up to £350. Plus the Energy Saving Trust reckons cavity insulation cuts bills by £135/yr, loft £175/yr on a typical three-bed home.
  • Everyone is eligible. Both EDF and Tesco Energy give & fit insulation free even if you're not a customer, providing your home's suitable. See How to get free insulation.
  • On benefits? Get paid £200. CERT targets include a focus on 'tough to reach' groups, so they're desperately pushing cash out. If you get pension credit, income support or earn under £16k/yr and have kids you may be PAID up to £200 for free insulation (British Gas pays people to recommend it too). See Get paid for free insulation.
Back to top ^

'Free' £25 photo canvas code, BUT £7.50 P&P. 1,000 codes. See Photo Deals

Got a student account? Get paid £50 to switch? See the student account news story.

2for1 to watch The Hunger Games. Printable vouch any day for Vue. See Cheap Cinema 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*
£125 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*
£6.29/mth (pay a yr up front)

BT Line Rental Saver*
£10.75/mth (pay a yr up front)
Do a Money Makeover Free Budget Planner Free MSE car sticker £14 Travel Insurance

the moneysaving community

Campaign of the week

Tell Parliament your concerns about PIP implants
Parliament's Health Committee's looking for views from women affected by dodgy PIP breast implants. What are your concerns, have you tried to get implants removed, have you got the help and information required? Please post experiences in its forum by thur 31 May. You must register, all replies confidential. Related: See Martin's PIP refunds for all? blog. Suggest a campaign: This is for MSE to support work by other charities, groups and campaigners. Send your campaign of the week suggestion.

Free book giveaway. Monkey with a Pin. 25 blagged for MoneySavers. Want one?

Money Moral Dilemma

Should I pay for Grandma's 'gifts'?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
I'm pregnant with my first child and short of cash. My mum bought some baby stuff and I thanked her, thinking they were gifts for her grandchild... then she gave me a bill. While some items are useful, most aren't or we have second hand. As it's cost us, we'd rather have chosen what we wanted at an affordable price. Should I pay, perhaps just for useful stuff? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I pay for Grandma's gifts Previous MMDs: View All Suggest: A Money Moral Dilemma

spill beans

Spill the beans... self-catering on holiday tips
Self-catering on holiday can slash your family food spend, so we'd love to know tips to max the savings. What equipment & food should you take, what easy recipe ideas are there, how can you come up with a meal plan? Spill 'em: Self-catering on holiday tips Past topics: View all

Cheap Flight Sales

Airline: Ryanair Price: £15.99 each way Ends: Thu 31 May
Our pick this week is Ryanair's from £15.99 each way flights. It's on various routes for travel Mon-Thu, 2-31 Jul 2012, and includes some taxes and charges. Flights include Manchester to Paris for £24 each way. To find flights quickly, use the FlightChecker on a £50 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

Back to top ^

What to buy duty-free. Spill the beans... revealed
As one MoneySaver pointed out, airport bargains often depend on where you're flying to (ie, fly to Russia & it's probably not worth buying vodka at Heathrow), but forumites think duty-free's worth it for Apple electronics, perfume and even an engagement ring. Most said it's usually not cheaper, apart from making the most of free beauty testers.

Cheap Travel Money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 124.61 111.71
US Flag $ 156.25 140.04
Turkish Flag TL 281.75 242.83
Rates correct at 4pm Tues
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Would portable bank account numbers make you more likely to switch?

Which of these is nearest to your answer?

I already switch when I want to


I never/rarely switch and this probably wouldn't change that


I never/rarely switch and this would make me a little more likely to


I never/rarely switch and this would make it much more likely


Poll Results

Time to ditch the penny?

A huge 20,000 of you voted.

45% would ditch 1ps,
34% would get rid of all coppers
10% would ditch all coins under 10p.
Yet the 55% majority say ditch nowt
See Full Results

Question Of The Week

Q. My elderly mother with limited means has no computer so she gets utility bills by post, meaning she pays extra. How can she minimise costs? It seems unfair. David, by email

MSE Archna’s A: You're right, it's an outrage those with the greatest need for warm homes often pay the highest rates. It's hard to change the system but savings are possible with your help.

Do an online comparison (preferably with her there) to find the cheapest deal — she should save at least £100 by switching. She can also call comparison sites. See the Cheap Gas & Elec guide for help (and cashback).

While the cheapest tariffs are 'online' they may still be fine for your mum. Some just require an email address for registration, with bills still posted, and you can do that. See our Switch Your Gran article for step-by-step help.

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

Board Of The Week

The Up Your Income Board

Share local offers and tips. Recent discussions include New challenge — double your money, The Body Shop At Home and Teaching Musical Instruments Related: Boost Your Income

Back to top ^
Game Of The Week

Zombie Pinball

Thank heavens she said yes — the ultimate proposal viral

Soppy gits, this is blubtastic, but be warned it pushes the bar for anyone preparing to pop the question: the ultimate marriage proposal.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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