Wednesday, 15 July 2015

25 travel tricks, Amzn FLASH sale, huge 24mth 0%, 100 school hols tips, Martin stays at MSE, 1.6% savings, 10 Nails Inc £25, cheap Kurt Geiger

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Cutting your costs, fighting your corner Martin's Money Tips Wed 15 Jul 2015
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This week

New 24mth 0% for EVERYTHING card - we've never seen owt like it
Budget checklist: key must-knows
100+ tips for cheap school hols fun incl free £5 activity box, free tennis...
Martin to remain at MSE in new role
WED ONLY: Huge Amazon sale
New top 1.6% easy-access savings
Free £150 daily cash prize draw
£110 of Nails Inc polishes £25 del
Microchip your dog for FREE
1,800 Kurt Geiger shoes £39 or less
Hot home insurance freebies - gas BBQ, coffee maker, £85 M&S...
Next 50% OFF sale rumour
Apple Pay: should you use it?
Free £20ish Skylanders toys via app
Tesco Direct up to 60% off sale
'I got £237 bank account fees back'
'Free' £18.50 New CID mascara
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

25 travel tricks to hack holiday costs
From free euros to secret hotels, cutting baggage costs & free sat navs

Holiday hacksThe big summer get-away is nearly here. If you're heading away, there are some savvy techniques that can give you a better time at a lower cost. So hot on the heels of our recent batch of 'life hacks' this time the team & I have been checking out 'holiday hacks' to keep trips pocket-friendly.

1. Beat £120 USA roaming charges using your UK tariff there for free. The cheapest 'data' pack on O2 is £120, and the rest aren't much better. Yet my new 10 USA roaming tips guide shows how to use a UK tariff incl unlimited data there (and in 17 other countries incl Aus, NZ) at no extra cost.
2. Always turn your sun cream bottles around. For why see our how to make suncream last tips (and if you need new, see £1 suncream deals.)
3. Play the Easyjet flight refund trick If you've booked Easyjet, check its flight price now - if it's dropped, our Easyjet refund trick shows how to get the difference back.
4. Free euros - get £10 boost on £50+ via a prepaid card. Two new prepaid travel cards give a free cash boost and perfect exchange rates in a host of countries when you first load them.
5. Beware travel insurance tick boxes - cover a week from £6. Don't just sign up to airlines' or others' insurance willy-nilly. Instead decent cover levels for a week in Europe start from just £6, or a year's family worldwide cover from £46. See Cheap Travel Insurance Deals.
6. Warning. EE customers & others beware your voicemail abroad. In some countries you're charged £1/min to receive a message and another £1/min to listen - other networks can be hefty too. See full beat the voicemail roaming trap help.
7. Watch how to master the art of hand luggage packing. Many hand luggage restrictions are about bag size, not weight, so our Packing Masterclass video shows how to pack more and keep it neat.
8. Turn your smartphone into a free sat nav. If it's got GPS, you can convert it into a free sat nav for 28 countries, incl Spain, France & the US. Download maps before you go so there are no pricey data roaming costs.
9. Spend 5 mins now to get unbeatable exchange rates every trip. Get a specialist cheap travel spending credit card with a direct debit to pay it off IN FULL every month. Eg, for €500 this week, it'd cost roughly £403 at airport bureaux (walk-in rate), £366 at the Post Office and £359 on a top card.
10. Uncover secret hotels for big discounts before booking. Secret hotel bookings are where you get big discounts on 3-5 star hotels worldwide at sites like and Hotwire but don't know the exact hotel until booking. Unless, that is, you follow our Uncover Secret Hotels tips.
11. Don't delay holiday car hire - do it now and it can be £6/day. There's still time to get cheap car hire at many holiday destinations, yet leave it until you're there and what's under a tenner daily now can be £50. For full help see Speedily Book Cheap Holiday Car Hire.
12. Find the best rates for foreign cash in seconds. The TravelMoneyMax holiday money comparison tool compares over 40 bureaux.
13. How to get free annual travel insurance if you're over 65. Travel insurance can be hideously costly as you age, yet there are still cheap annual policies, and many get free cover from a bank.
14. Pack a child's car seat for free. Whether you're hiring a car or not, if you travel in one, kids should be in a car seat. These cost up to £5/day to hire (or more if you're asking a taxi firm to provide), but many airlines let you take them for free. For a full list and more see Child Seat Tricks.
15. Save £100s on school holiday flights by booking the wrong Easyjet date. Not 100% straightforward, but savings can be huge... Easyjet Flexifares Trick.
16. Special links slash the cost of airport parking. Comparison sites show you how to park for minimum prices, eg £50/week at Heathrow, and you can use special cheap airport parking links to reduce it further.
17. Split ticketing works on flights too - slash long haul costs. Want to fly to the US? It can sometimes be cheaper from Norway than the UK for example, so get a quick flight there first. Full info in Flight Split Ticketing.
18. Don't be fear-sold car hire excess insurance - get it 90% cheaper now. When you pick up the car, hire firms push up to £20/day excess cover - usually with dire warnings of problems if you don't. But you can get standalone cheap excess insurance before you go for as little as £2/day. 
19. Don't pay to take luggage, wear your baggage instead. See Beat Baggage Fees for how to do it - airlines don't yet have rules to stop it.
20. You've now 3 weeks to get your DVLA code if hiring a car. New rules this summer mean many will need a code to hire a car. You did only have 3 days to do it - now it's 21. See how to get your code.
21. 'A pound currently buys €1.41 - I'm not going yet, should I buy now?' It's the question I've been asked all year - for my answer, read Worth snapping up €uros as the Greek crisis continues?
22. Free app to instantly generate your travel itinerary. Forward your confirmation emails (flight, hotel, car hire) and a nifty free app instantly organises them into an itinerary. See Travel Planning Apps.
23. European annual travel cover isn't just for Europe. Around the Med a few others can be included too, eg Turkey & Egypt. Europe cover loophole
24. Book big-brand car hire via a foreign website. If you're dead-set on using a big name car hire firm, try booking via overseas websites.
25. The answer is "I'll pay in euros"... If you're in a shop or at a cash machine overseas and are asked if you want to pay in pounds or the local currency, pay in the local currency. For why, see my pay in euros blog.

Full Travel Guides: Cheap Flights | Cheap Hotels | 15 Cheapest Ways To Get Travel Money | Cheap Travel Insurance | 50+ Overseas Travel Tips

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MSE News

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High Court approves Sentinel redress scheme
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Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.
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Use the Money Mantras If you're skint If you're not skint
The Ones Not To Miss Wed 15 Jul 2015
New 24mth 0% for EVERYTHING card - we've not seen owt like it before
3in1 card - longest EVER 0% on borrowing AND top 0% for balance transfers AND 0% cash loan to your bank

The new Virgin Money* card (eligibility calc) offers 0% new borrowing, debt shifting & rare 'money transfers', hitting all 3 best-buy tables for each. Plus as it's one card, it means fewer applications, protecting your credit file.

  1. Top card24mths 0% on all spending. The longest EVER new borrowing 0%, so if you NEED to, nowt's cheaper. Here's how it compares with other top pick 0% new borrowing ONLY deals. Full help: 0% Cards. Which'll you get? 0% Spending Eligibility Calc.

    - Virgin Money* 3 in 1 card is 24mths 0% on spending (18.9% rep APR after).
    - Tesco* 21mths 0% spending only, but gives Clubcard points (18.9% rep APR after).
    - M&S* 19mths 0% spending only, but gives some M&S points (18.9% rep APR after).
  2. 24mths 0% on balance transfers (one-off 1% fee). It lets you shift debt from other credit cards, so you owe it instead but at 0%. Here's how it compares against 0% balance transfer ONLY deals (always go for the lowest fee card, provided you can repay in that time). Full help: 0% Balance Transfers. Which'll you get? Eligibility Calc.

    - Post Office* & Tesco* offer 18mths 0% NO FEE balance transfers (17.8% & 20.6% rep APRs after).
    - Virgin Money's* 3 in 1 card is 24mths 0% on balance transfers for a 1% fee, min £3 (20.9% rep APR after).
    - MBNA* is up to 32mths 0% on balance transfers for a 1.65% fee, min £3 (20.9% rep APR after).
    - Barclaycard lets new cardholders shift debt to it for up to 36mths 0% for a 1.99% fee (18.9% rep APR after).
  3. 24mths 0% money transfer 'loans' (one-off 1.9% fee). An additional function of a few balance transfer cards. It'll pay 0% cash into your bank account - great for clearing overdrafts. Here's how it stacks up against the top 0% money transfer deals. Full help: Top Money Transfers. Which'll you get? Money Transfer Eligibility Calc.

    - Virgin Money's* 3 in 1 card is 24mths 0% on money transfers for a 1.9% fee, min £3 (22.9% rep APR after).
    - MBNA* is up to 24mths 0% on money transfers, 1.99% fee, min £3 (22.9% rep APR) & up to 32mths 0%, 1.65% fee on balance transfers.
    - MBNA* is up to 36mths 0% on money transfers for a 2.99% fee, min £3 (22.9% rep APR) & up to 24mths 0%, 3.45% fee on balance transfers.
  • The Golden Rules. It's not just about picking the right card, it's about using it the right way...
    a) Don't get new borrowing unless you have to. If so, always budget & plan to repay before the 0% ends.
    b) Don't just apply in hope, as that marks your credit file. Use our eligibility calcs to find your best chances first.
    c) Never miss min monthly repayments, or the bank can end your 0% deal and charge far more.
    d) Clear the card or balance transfer before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to your card's standard APR.
    e) Never withdraw cash. It's not at the 0% rate. It's often far more, and just doing it can hurt your credit file.

"I'm staying on at MoneySavingExpert, but in a new role." Martin reveals his & MSE's future. My new job.

WED ONLY: Amazon 20th birthday deals, eg, £60 Kindle Fire HD 7. Big discounts off Kindle e-readers & tablets, Bose headphones, GHD straighteners, perfumes, watches etc EVEN IF NOT A PRIME CUSTOMER. Amazon Deals.

New. Top 1.6% easy-access savings. The top account just got better. BM Savings now pays 1.6% (was 1.5%).

Totally free £150 DAILY cash prize draw. Sounds too good to be true, but it's legit. The prize has just gone up from £100 to £150 a day. Forumites love it - bhafc810 says: "I won £120 last year." Full info in Free Postcode Lottery.

10x Nails Inc polish £25 (£110 separately). MSE Blagged. Full-size summer pastels, glitter & florals. 2,000 avail.

Summer Budget 2015 Checklist - Are you affected?

Last week's Summer Budget created huge changes to benefits, student finance and more - watch Martin's instant video reaction. We've dug into the detail - see our full budget news, and here's a quick checklist of whether you're affected...

Microchip your dog for FREE. Can cost £20. In 9mths it'll be law across the UK. So book a free appointment now.

1,800 Kurt Geiger shoe styles £39 or less. Via its Shoeaholics web outlet - some were £100+. Shoeaholics

Hot home insurance 'freebies' - gas BBQ, Delonghi coffee maker, £85 M&S, £80 HoF. MSE Blagged. Get combined buildings & contents cover via special links to get the freebies: a) Age UK, Gas BBQ* (RRP £90, ends 31 Jul) or £85 M&S vch* (ENDS MON). b) Together Mutual, Delonghi coffee maker* (RRP £92, ends 31 Jul) or MoreThan, £80 HoF vch* (ends 31 Jul). All 'freebies' should arrive within 120 days. Warning: we're not saying these are cheapest, always compare with results by combining comparison sites: Gocomp*, CompareTM & MoneySup*. Full info: Cheap Home Ins.

Forum Hottie. Next 50% off sale rumour (it's marking its tags). It tries to stay schtum but we don't. Next sale

Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Balance Transfers Car Insurance Cheap Loans Top Cash ISAs
Longest 0%: Barclaycard
Up to 36mths 0%, 1.99% fee

(18.9% rep APR)

No fee 0%: Post Office*
18mths 0%, no fee

(17.8% rep APR)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*, Aviva*
Admiral MultiCar*

Zopa* (£5k - £7.5k)
4.3% rep APR

M&S Bank* (£7.5k - £15k)
3.6% rep APR

NS&I 1.5% AER
Min £1, no bonus
Easy access. No transfers.

Coventry BS 2.4% AER
Min £1. Transfers allowed
Fixed till 2020 but with access

See Card APR Examples & Loan APR Examples

Apple Pay - should you use it? Full info incl security, who can use it and what to do if things go wrong. Apple Pay

FREE £20ish Skylanders toys & more via O2 app. Also £1 Sour Patch Kids & £3 screenwash for free. O2 freebies

Tesco Direct up to 60% off outdoor toys, furniture & electricals. Eg, kids' Frozen toy wagon £5 (was £8), hand-blender £25 (was £43). Different discounts in different departments. Amazon is price-matching. Tesco Direct sale

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Thank you for telling me about Resolver. I just got £237 back from Lloyds for packaged bank account fees, when I wasn't eligible for the travel insurance."

'Free' £18.50 New CID mascara, £9ish L'Occitane shampoo & conditioner. In £4ish mags. Beauty freebies

100+ school holiday family fun FREE or cheap treats
FREE £5 activity pack, FREE tennis coaching, FREE footie training, FREE museums - and lots more summer sizzlers

Now the little ankle biters are nearly back biting around your ankles (some are already nipping) - it's time to find things to do to fill the long summer hols. We've rounded up more than 100 free or cheap things to do. Here are 10 to start...

School holidays1) Free £5 arts & craft kit. A free kit for 3-8yr-olds with our code, for Toucan Box newbies.
2) Free tennis coaching. At 300 courts around the UK in August - see Free tennis coaching.
3) Free football training. Book free FA coaching for boys & girls aged 5-11 of all abilities.
4) Free/£50 2-week adventure hol. 16-17yr-olds in Eng & NI. National Citizenship scheme
5) 180+ free museums. From cars in Cov to marbles in Devon, see all Free museums/galleries.
6) Kids 'free' with grown-up to West End Aug shows. Incl Wicked, Gruffalo etc. See 35+ shows.
7) 2for1 theme park vouchers. At 50+ attractions incl Legoland, Thorpe Park. Theme parks
8) Free nature detective downloads.
The Woodland Trust has 150 activities to get kids active outside.
9) Free festivals. There are 70+ free festivals UK-wide this summer, with acts incl Union J & Scouting for Girls.
10) Cheap kids' cinema tickets. From just £1.58, incl Cinderella and Paddington. See Cheap Cinema Deals.

Click the titles for full info and all our top picks
Gas & Electricity Bank Accounts Home Insurance Landlines

Compare, get £30 dual fuel cashback & alerts if your deal's no longer cheap. Go via the free MSE Cheap Energy Club Top Pick Fixes Comparison.

The savings can be huge. Someone with typical dual fuel usage on a big 6 standard tariff pays £1,155 a year, the cheapest deal's £870.

First Direct*
£100 bonus and top cust service

Santander 123*
Up to 3% cashback on bills

(£2 per month fee)
Get comparison site quotes in this order...


Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*, Aviva*

Direct Save Telecom*
with weekend calls
£11/mth (pay a yr upfront)

Post Office*
with weekend calls
£12/mth (pay a yr upfront)

Do a Money Makeover Budget Planner MSE car sticker £13 Travel Insurance

Restaurant vouchers

Discount vouchers & sales

Top deals

The Moneysaving community
The MoneySaving Community

Tactical discounting: tell us which stores offer discounts if you abandon your shopping basket, or just don't use them twice
Have you ever been offered a big discount from a shop, supermarket or service company simply because you didn't complete your order, or you haven't used them in a while? We want to list which firms do this - and what type of discounts are on offer so people can tactically shop. Share yours/read others': Abandoned Basket Discounts Past topics: View all

Should I take on a friend's credit card debt?

This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks... My friend has £3k on credit cards, on very high interest rates, and due to his terrible credit rating can’t get a balance transfer card. I have a great credit rating. Do I take on his debt (in my name) and set up a repayment plan between us, allowing him to pay off his debt and rebuild his credit score? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I take on my friend's credit card debt? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

Quick forum tips

Freebie of the week

Martin's blogs

Martin's appearances (from 15 July onward)

Thu 16 Jul - GMB, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am.
Fri 17 Jul - This Morning, ITV, 90-Second Savers, 10.30am.

MSE team corner

Team blogs:
Five changes I'd make to the rental market

Regular team appearances:

Thu 16 July
Share Radio, MSE Helen K and MSE Eesha, 11am

Fri 17 July
BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm

Discussion of the week

Invited for dinner and asked to help clean

Dinner etiquette can differ greatly, which is why one forumite was taken aback when asked to help clear up after dinner by her hosts. Share your thoughts on being invited to dinner and then asked to help clean.

Cheap travel money

UK's Best Currency Rates
£100 will buy you:
Best Worst
Euro Flag 139.01 124.83
US Flag $ 153.81 138.08
Turkish Flag TL 397.61 349.02
Rates correct at 1pm Tue
Find all top currency rates
Compare travel cash

This week's poll: Do you have a will & power of attorney in place?

There are two crucial documents that can protect your dependents in the future.

a) A will: This dictates what you want to happen to your assets if you die (eg, what happens to your home if you share it and aren't married). See Cheap or Free Wills.

b) A lasting power of attorney: This allows loved ones to take over your finances if you lose your faculties - see the Power of Attorney guide.

So we want to know which you already have in place.

Poll results

Our poll found while 78% have switched energy at least once in the past five years, the frequency varies hugely (though MoneySavers switch more than the national average where only 66% would consider it):

- 22% haven't switched
- 20% have only switched once
- 22% have switched twice
- 21% have switched three times
- 13% have switched four+ times

10,699 voted. See the full results.

Question of the week

Q: Is there a cut off time limit on when your energy company can charge you? I have tried numerous times to obtain a bill from December. Lewis, via email.

MSE Fraser’s A: What matters is when your firm sends you a bill. When it eventually bills you, it's only allowed to charge for the last 12 months under regulator Ofgem's back-billing principle. So if it sends you a bill in Mar 2016, you shouldn't have to pay for Jan & Feb 2015. There are a few exceptions, eg, if you've not supplied a requested meter reading or moved home and not told the supplier you're the new occupier.

If it's been less than 12 months, still kick up a stink as it's important to get a bill so you can budget.

If your supplier doesn't play ball you should make a formal complaint on either issue, and if it's still not resolved to your satisfaction you can take it to the free Energy Ombudsman which can make a ruling. To ensure you're on the best possible deal do a comparison via our Cheap Energy Club.

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

 Sam's free game of the week: Wheely 5

OK, chaps - here's how to see what you look like in makeup

That's it for this week, but before we go, there's a free makeover app that automatically applies makeup to your picture. We've been tittering in MSE towers - have a look at Martin and the team with their slap on.

We hope you save some money,

Martin & the MSE team

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Martin set up and runs MSE, and still writes this email each week (unless it says so). He's an ultra-focused money-saving journalist and consumer campaigner with his own ITV prime-time show The Martin Lewis Money Show and weekly slots on Radio 5 Live, This Morning and Good Morning Britain, among others. He’s a columnist for publications including the Telegraph, Sunday Mirror and Woman magazine. More info: See Martin Lewis' biography

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