Deals and discounts for the Manchester area and also Nationwide offers - spread the word!
Most bargains are limited time one day only offers so if you see something you like don't hesitate and buy today!
Don't be fooled by some bursts of autumn sun - darkest winter is coming, so prepare now. Dust off your long johns, dig out your woolly hat and snuggle up with our 12-point checklist to keep costs down & the heat up.
Is it REALLY cheaper to leave the heating on low all day? With many turning on the central heating now, we reveal the arguments (it's not always clear-cut) and 15 more common energy-use conundrums - eg, should you turn the boiler on and off or paint radiators black? See the verdicts in Energy Mythbusters.
Find where your stop 'male chicken' is. (If we used the correct term, this'd go to your spam box). Everyone should know where their stop-thingy (rhymes with lock - the mains water off-switch) is. Frozen pipe bursts create an avg £4k of damage, worse if you can't find the off switch as your home floods. See how to turn your water off.
Save £250+ on energy bills. Switch energy ASAP so you're sorted before the high-use period - it normally takes 17 days. It's no big deal - it's the same pipes, gas, meter & safety. The only difference is price and customer service. Plug your details into our Cheap Energy Club to find your cheapest - it includes pros & cons for each tariff.
Savings can be huge. About 70% are on their provider's standard tariff - across the big six this is an average £1,095/yr based on typical usage. Yet the cheapest variable deal is a typical £831/yr, the cheapest fix a typical £840/yr. Barry tweeted: "@MartinSLewis - switching today, estimated £400 saving per year. Thanks MSE." Also check Prepayment Meter Switching if you're on one.
Switch energy now and you could get £100s back. If you pay by direct debit it's likely you're in credit after the low-use summer. Most providers give it back automatically, but if they don't, ask.
If you've switched in the past five years, your old supplier may still owe you too. Our Reclaim Energy Bill Credit guide shows you how to get it.
Loyal to British Gas? At least switch to BG-operated Sainsbury's Energy to poss save £180/yr. See BG vs Sainsbury's for full info.
Paying energy by monthly direct debit is cheaper. You pay up to 6% less. Firms estimate your annual usage and divide by 12 so you're likely to build up credit after summer and be a little in debt after winter.
Always do regular meter readings for accuracy, as your bill is estimated. And if they try to push your direct debit up unfairly (eg, you're heavily in credit), you've a right for it to be fair. See our Direct Debit Rights guide for what to do.
Full service car breakdown cover £41, basic for £16 - and if you're renewing, haggle, haggle, haggle. Problems are more likely in winter, the consequences more severe.
For breakdown, home start and onward travel cover, AutoAid charges £41/yr, though it sends a truck you pay, then you reclaim. For a 'man with a van' policy, the cheapest full service is Kwik Fit*: European cover for £50/yr (£93/yr if your car is 6+ yrs old).
For basic policies you can (after cashback) get RAC basic cover for £16 or AA for £22 (full deals in Cheap Breakdown Cover).
Finally, if you've got cover and are at renewal, HAGGLE - 84% of AA and 78% of RAC customers who tried got lower rates in our most recent poll. Graham emailed: "Thanks for the haggling tips. Got my RAC renewal slashed from £252 to £151." See Breakdown Cover Haggling.
More bedrooms than people? You could save £100s on water. Live in Eng or Wales? If your home has more or the same number of bedrooms as people, it's likely you'll save fitting a water meter.
Our water savings guide has full help, incl calculators, tips, what to do if you're not allowed a meter and more. Paul tweeted: “Big thanks to @MartinSLewis - got 1st water bill since getting water meter and I've gone from £55/mth to £15/mth."
Free loft/cavity wall insulation, open to all. Energy firms face sanctions if they don't meet Eco quotas, so some, eg, British Gas, give free insulation to anyone in England, Scotland or Wales with a suitable home (you don't have to be their customer or on a low income). See which firms offer FREE insulation and how to apply.
The savings can be huge; the Energy Saving Trust estimates you'll see a reduction in bills of £300/yr compared with a typical uninsulated home. On average it takes 3-4 weeks to book a survey and a further two weeks for insulation to be fitted (though it can be more).
Rachel tweeted us: “Lovely new FREE loft insulation has been fitted today from @BritishGas. Thanks to your website.”
Stay toasty with a sausage dog. Sometimes the best way to hunker down is to keep it low-tech. Swap tips with forum Old-Stylers on getting ready thriftily in the Winter Prep thread. They’ve a wealth of wisdom including DIY sausage dog draft excluders, Canadian quilts and even fridge magnets on keyholes.
Are you entitled to any extra winter help? Winter is a tough time for many as the cold sets in. But there are funds which may help...
a) Winter fuel payments. If you were born on or before 5 Jan 1953 (and met other qualifying criteria throughout the week commencing 21 Sep 15), you're eligible for the up-to-£300 winter fuel payment. If you get certain benefits, eg, state pension, pension credit or jobseeker's allowance, you'll usually get it automatically - otherwise you may have to claim. See Winter Fuel Payments for full info.
b) Cold weather payments. Anyone on certain benefits, eg, specific income support/jobseeker's allowance/pension credit, gets £25 for every 7 days it's sub-zero. It's paid automatically from 1 Nov this year. Full details: Cold Weather Payments.
PS, from Martin. I'm in Birmingham today filming my ITV Roadshow (do come along - and we're in Manc & Leeds next week), so the final version of this email's in the more-than-capable hands of the MSE team.
In Aug we warned of worries the regulator, the FCA, may impose a deadline on PPI reclaiming. Martin & Which?'s Richard Lloyd jointly wrote to the FCA to warn against this, but now Sky reports the FCA board's discussing it. So act ASAP.
Check NOW if you're owed £1,000s back. PPI was an insurance most commonly sold on loans & credit cards, but mis-sold elsewhere too on mortgages, overdrafts or even catalogue accounts. If you've always assumed you're not owed, you may be wrong - many had it added even if they said no, incl Nick: "I didn't think I had PPI, but used your PPI templates. I just received two payments totalling over £10,000 back to 1991. Thanks."
Did the bank reject you? RESTART your claim. Banks have been fined repeatedly for failing to deal with complaints properly. Many have been WRONGLY rejected. After all, the Financial Ombudsman upholds more than 60% of PPI cases in consumers' favour, even though to get there you need to have been rejected by the bank. If you were rejected and didn't go to the Ombudsman, try again... Unless you were rejected in the last 6mths, you need to start from scratch with your bank. Use a template letter, like Barry: "I used the template and was told I was owed nothing. Off to the Ombudsman using the template, and just paid in my cheque today - £17,900. Thanks so much." If your rejection was more recent, you can go straight to the Ombudsman.
Don't pay to reclaim, do it for FREE. Our Reclaim PPI for Free guide has full step-by-step help & template letters - over six million have been used so far. Plus our 60+ FAQs answer almost everything, incl: 1) I've no paperwork. 2) Can I claim if the debt's repaid? 3) Can I claim for a deceased relative? 4) Can the bank use my payout to clear my IVA? 5) Do I pay tax on my reclaim cash? And many more. Give it a try.
If you need to borrow, now's one of the cheapest times ever, but be very careful. Only borrow for planned spending, eg, a new car/kitchen, for as little as needed, repaid as quickly as possible, & within budgeted repayments. If in doubt, don't.
The cheapest loans. All credit-check you, so first use the Loans Eligibility Calc which shows your acceptance odds. As only 51% of accepted applicants must get the rate (the rest can pay more), you only know your rate by applying, which marks your credit file. Our calc can't tell you the rate, but if acceptance chances are high, it's a decent pointer (not exact).
- £7,500-£15k:Sainsbury's* is 3.5% rep APR over 1-3yrs for Nectar card holders (if not, get one free first) and 3.6% rep APR over 4-5 yrs*. M&S* is 3.6% rep APR over 1-5yrs. - £5,000-£7,499: Zopa* is 4.3%-4.4% rep APR, while Hitachi* is 4.4% rep APR (2-5 yrs). - £3,000-£4,999:Zopa* gives bespoke rates of 4.6%-6.9% rep APR depending on the amount borrowed, the term & your credit score, Hitachi* is 7.4% rep APR for 2-5 years. - £2,000-£2,999:Zopa* is 6.9% to 7.9% rep APR, or Hitachi* is 7.4% rep APR (min £2,500, 2-5 yrs). - £1,000-£1,999:Zopa* is 7.7% to 7.9% rep APR, or Hitachi* is 12.3% rep APR for 2-5 years.
Nationwide customer? Trick to beat the cheapest. Apply and get accepted for a loan from any bank or building society (incl Hitachi but not peer-to-peer lenders, eg, Zopa), take acceptance proof to Nationwide and if you've a current account with it (or you switch to it) and are accepted, it'll beat the rate by 0.5 of a percentage point. So a 3.5% loan becomes 3%. See Nationwide loan trick, incl its top accounts and full eligibility criteria.
0% credit card loans are far cheaper for smaller amounts. Some 0% cards let new cardholders pay cash into their bank, like a loan, then you owe it instead - a money transfer. MBNA* (eligibility calc) is up to 24mths 0% for a one-off 1.89% fee, MBNA* (eligibility calc) is up to 36mths 0% for a higher 2.99% fee. Never miss a repayment & clear the debt before the 0% ends or they jump to 22.9% rep APR. Full help: Credit card loans (APR Examples).
SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic) "Just received £394 for mis-sold Sentinel card protection after reading your AI Scheme reclaim guide. Thanks." - If you were mis-sold you could be owed £100s. See our AI Scheme guide for help, incl template statements.
Every time you spend on a cashback credit card, you get paid, so get one & ensure you pay it off IN FULL each month (pref by direct debit) so there's no interest and it's effectively a no-brainer discount off everything you use it for. Don't just apply in hope, that marks your credit file. Use our top cashback card eligibility calc to find your best chance first.
Top card - 5% cashback for 3mths. The no-fee Amex Platinum Everyday* card pays 5% back in your first 3mths (max £100), so get it now and it's a fiver back per £100 during most people's highest spend period. After, the rates are 0.5% on £0-£3.5k, 1% on £3,501-£7.5k and 1.25% on £7,501+, which are still very strong, though you need to spend £3,000+ in a year to get any cashback. Fail to fully repay it and it's 22.9% representative APR.
Yet while most big stores accept Amex, some smaller ones don't. So you may want an alternative non-Amex. The top payer's Asda Money's Mastercard at 0.5% (1% in Asda). Fail to fully repay it and it's 18.9% rep APR.
Top poorer credit-scorer card. The Aqua Reward* Mastercard accepts even some with past credit problems and pays 0.5% cashback, plus a £20 Amazon vch if you pay on time & stay within your limit. But fail to fully repay and it's a hideous 34.9% rep APR.
a) Always repay IN FULL, preferably by direct debit, to avoid interest, or it dwarfs any cashback. b) Use to replace cash, cheques & other cards for all normal spending to max gain (not an excuse to over-spend). c) Don't use them to withdraw cash - you don't get cashback, you'll pay interest & it can hurt your credit score. d) Pay for goods costing £100 - £30,000 on a card and under Section 75 laws the card firm is jointly liable with retailers if something goes wrong (or the retailer goes bust). A hugely powerful extra protection.
PS: There are a lot fewer cashback cards now as the EU has capped the fees plastic providers can charge businesses, used to fund cashback. Yet Amex-issued cards are unaffected, hence why they offer so much more cashback than others. See full interchange fee news.
When do you think interest rates will go up? The base rate has been on hold at its historic 0.5% low since March 2009. The result has been record low borrowing rates and shocking savings returns. But when do you think they'll eventually rise?
Dust off your crystal ball & give us your prediction (we asked this last in 2013; it'll be fascinating to see how it's changed).
So when will interest rates rise? Pick the closest to your view.
Thu 1 Oct - GMB, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch previous Fri 2 Oct - This Morning, Martin's Money Makers, ITV, 10.30am-12.30pm. Mon 5 Oct - This Morning, ITV, Money Monday live from Manchester, 10.30am-12.30pm. Watch previous Mon 5 Oct - Consumer Panel, BBC Radio 5, 12pm-1pm. Subscribe to podcast Mon 5 & Tue 6 Oct - Martin Lewis Money Show Roadshow, Manchester Arndale, lunchtime to 6.30pm (longer if busy)
Wed 30 Sep - BBC Radio 4, You and Yours, 12.15pm, MSE Wendy on the new Consumer Rights Act Fri 2 Oct - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm. Listen to previous
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: I submitted a claim for a flight delay within six years of it happening, but I haven't received a response and it's now been more than six years since the delay. Can I still pursue my claim? Gaynor, by email.
MSE Helen K's A: You can apply for compensation for any past delays or cancellations, as far back as Feb 2005. Yet in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, due to the statute of limitations, if you end up needing to take the airline to court to get the cash, you can only go back six years. In Scotland, it's five years. So older claims can be tricky.
If you've had no response from the airline, take your case to the relevant regulator, and say you first complained to the airline during the six-year window. There's no certainty this will work, but it's worth trying. For full help on how to push your complaint to the max, see our Flight Delays and Cancellations guide.
"BUYING SOMETHING FOR £32 ON FRIDAY AND SELLING IT FOR £60 ON SATURDAY"
That's it for this week, but before we go, have a look at this from the forum: "Things that make you smile". Read as our forumites share the little things that brighten their day. It doesn't always have to be a big celebration or a new car - sometimes the smallest things can make our MoneySavers smile. Join in and share your happy moments.
We hope you save some money, Martin & the MSE team
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