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!
Hidden deals, discounts & tools. Now you see 'em, now you don't
At this time of year minds (& web traffic) shift from real finance to bargain-finding, leaving me torn. Many will ruin their 2016 due to overspending for just one December day. Yet if there are things you'd buy anyway, for yourself or your loved ones, I want to help you slash the cost.
Free 'Amazon delivery trick' tool. You used to get free delivery if you spent £10. Now it's a minimum of £20, but a handy tool provides a way around this - without paying for Prime. Free Amazon Delivery Tool
There IS a way to haggle big discounts online. While buying online is usually cheaper, the one advantage with buying in-store usually is you can haggle. Yet now even there the web's catching up - if you get a window offering a live chat, don't dismiss it. See how to haggle with online chats.
Buy 20% off gift cards NOW to use in Jan sales. Gift cards are rarely discounted, but currently Tesco has 20% off on a range incl Monsoon, iTunes & New Look. As these are all valid at least 12+ months, you can buy now, then use in the Jan sales for effectively a double discount. Full info: Gift Card Trick
Bag 5% off all shopping for three months. Cashback credit cards pay you when you spend on them. The Amex Everyday Plat* (eligibility calc) is the top payer, giving a huge 5% for the first three mths (max £100) and up to 1.25% after. Of course always repay it IN FULL each month to avoid the 22.9% rep APR interest.
Now's perfect timing as the 5% is at the high-spend Xmas & Jan sales period. As Anna told us: "Glad I read about the Amex cashback card last year - I'll get over £200 in time for Xmas." Full help in Top Cashback Cards. PS: To get rewarded by THIS CHRISTMAS see the Amex Gold note below.
Use the MegaShopBot to find the cheapest online price. A shopbot, or shopping robot, compares a range of e-tailers in seconds to find the cheapest price. As different sites are good for different things, our MegaShopBot instantly finds the right shopbots for your item.
Grab hidden local eBay bargains. eBay sellers often specify items - from designer sofas to PS3s - as 'collection-only'. You can't search for 'em on eBay, so we built the Local eBay Deals Mapper (also iPhone & Android apps) to help you out.
You've a right to change your mind online - you DON'T in store. I get often angry questions when stores refuse to refund gifts that are the wrong size or colour. Yet before getting angry it's worth knowing the law...
- In-store purchases: You've NO RIGHT to change your mind: you can only return faulty goods. For the definition of fault see my SAD FART rules. Some stores do allow no-fault returns, but it's not the law.
- Online purchases: You DO HAVE a right to change your mind and have 14 days to tell 'em & 14 more to send it back. See Web rights.
It's worth using in conjunction with CamelCamelCamel's Amazon price history graph so you can see if it's really a deal. We found a Logitech Gaming Headset with "27% off" at £40 - but it was £30 last year.
Get a virtual yell when your lust list drops in price. There's a price drop service covering 100s of online retailers that lets you input what you want and emails you when an item drops in price. We tested it on a La Redoute dress: priced at £39, target price £31, bought for £27.30 - a 30% saving.
The best day to bag deals for your shop. We number-crunched more than 50 vouchers' terms and found half started on Tue or Wed, so it’s always worth checking then. See our Vouchers, Hot Bargains and Sales pages.
Don't bother going to an out-of-town outlet - there are 20ish web outlets. Many drive miles to outlet villages to snap up end-of-line bargains. Yet lots of big names like Argos, Mothercare and Tesco offer up to 70-80%+ off unsold lines via online outlets. Our Outlet Store Discount Finder lists & searches almost 20 outlets for huge toy, clothing & other discounts.
No code for the store you want? Get clever. Don't just check for the store you want for a discount code - department stores may provide a workaround. Eg, Clarks Orinoco boots, £60 at Clarks, no code, yet last week's 40%-off-everything Brantano code meant you got the same boots for £36. See a list of major department store codes.
Pay just 1p on credit card to protect £100s. Buy goods costing over £100 and even if you pay just 1p on a credit card - the rest any other way - the card company is jointly liable with the retailer for the WHOLE amount. It's the veritable financial superhero, especially if a firm then goes bust. See full Section 75 Protection.
Is Amazon Europe cheaper? Eg, we found a Sonos Playbar speaker from Italy for £460 - saving £139 on the UK price, even with delivery. There's a cheeky Amazon EU tool that checks for you.
Can you get cashback to cut the cost? Once you know where what you want's cheapest, check the best cashback sites for further boons.
Add an item to get free delivery. Always check what you need to spend to get free delivery - if you're just below it, it can be cheaper to add an extra item than pay. Eg, we found a £49 John Lewis shirt, delivery £3.50, but instead added a £1.50 bauble which pushed it over the £50 free delivery threshold.
Coming next week. The Xmas Deals Predictor calendar 2015. Here we predict what big discounts are coming this Christmas at all major stores, eg, Selfridges, Asos & Asda, and for events such as Black Friday. You can then use it to plan when to pounce to bag the best deals...
Last year we were 94% correct in terms of retailers doing deals similar to our predictions and 81% right on the day. We're doing this year's final assessment and it'll go here in my next weekly email. So do suggest interested friends sign up, and we'll be listing the top codes, vouchers & deals here every week.
Six months ago the best sub two-year fixed savings deal was 1.9%, now it's 2.4%. This rise is likely due to new 'challenger' banks boosting competition & the view UK rates were on the up. Yet last Thu Bank of England Governor Mark Carney shifted his stance to say rate rises could be as far away as 2017 - just 4 mths ago he was predicting this winter. That could (it's not certain) dampen fixed rates, so locking in now may be a winner. Here are the need-to-knows...
Before fixing - can you earn 5% easy-access by switching bank? To entice you to switch, a few current accounts' in-credit rates smash standard savings. Santander 123 pays 3% AER on £3k-£20k. Others pay higher rates on lower amounts, eg, TSB Classic Plus is 5% AER on up to £2k. Full list in our 5% Savings Loophole guide.
New. Earn 2.4% fixed for 18 mths. Fixed savings ensure a certain interest rate but LOCK IN your money, so you've no access. Metro Bank's just launched three table-topping deals - the pick is its 2.4% 18mth fix (min £500) beating nearly all the best 2yr fixes available way back to May 2013. If many people pile in though, it'll disappear quickly. Here's how its other top two deals compare:
Most cashback cards give rewards after a year. Yet with this charge-card promo they come far sooner, in time for Christmas or the Jan sales (depending on your spending). Many, like Karyn, raved about last year's deal: "Nice one MSE. Just by putting my normal shopping & fuel on, I got a £100 M&S gift card + £5 of vouchers in time for Christmas."
Free £100 gift card. The Amex Rewards Gold*charge card (eligibility calc) gives accepted newbies who spend £2,000+ on it in the first three months a 20,000 Membership Rewards pts bonus. This is convertible into a £100 M&S/Boots/Amazon etc gift card (exact stores can change, but they're usually good) or BA/Virgin etc points.
While £2,000 spending sounds a lot, just use it for ALL normal daily and Xmas spending (it's not an excuse to spend more) replacing other cards, cash, cheques, etc. If you don't hit the £2,000 you'd still earn points worth c.£5 per £1,000, just no bonus.
When'll it arrive? The bonus is usually added soon after you hit the trigger £2,000 spend (though the T&Cs only promise it after three mths), then you can choose your reward. Those who hit it quickly may make it for Xmas - if not, hopefully January.
Important - do follow the Golden Rules: Full info and more options in Cashback Cards but in brief...
1. This is a charge not credit card, ie, designed to be fully repaid each month - so no interest is charged. Yet as normal, don't miss repayments or it's a £12 charge & credit file default. Only spend if you can afford to repay. 2. There's no annual fee in year one - after it's £140/yr. If you don't want to pay, get the reward & CANCEL. 3. You need a min £20k family income & you will be credit-scored; use the eligibility calc to see your chances. 4. You can boost your points (not the bonus) with some foreign and travel spending (eg, flights, Amex Travel).
Buildings & contents policies are at their cheapest for five years, down 6.3% in the last year alone (source: AA Index). Yet if you just auto-renew you'll likely miss the savings. Our full Cheap Home Insurance system shows how, as fifitrollydolly tweeted: "@MartinSLewis, just saved £683. Renewal quote was £866, got it for £183." Here are the key three steps...
HOT deals comparisons miss. Comparisons don't cover all insurers, and even when they do, can miss special deals. We try to list these in our home insurance promos section. As Ken emailed us: "Renewal increased to £404. Using the MSE link, I got it down to £170 plus an £80 M&S voucher - so a total saving of £314." Here are the biggies (freebies/vchs can take up to 120 days to arrive):
- Ends Mon: £75 M&S voucher with combined buildings & contents via this Age UK* link. - Ends Mon: £25 M&S voucher with buildings or contents-only via this Age UK* link. - Ends 30 Nov. £80 M&S voucher with combined buildings & contents via this Together Mutual* link. - Ends 30 Nov. £70 M&S voucher with combined buildings & contents via this L&G* link using the code GIFT17.
Plus always check the two big firms Direct Line* & Aviva* which aren't on comparison sites.
Check you're covering the right amount. There are two elements to home insurance:
a) BUILDINGS: usually just needed by freeholders. Don't insure your home's value. Just use a rebuild calc to see the cost of rebuilding if it were knocked down - cover that. b) CONTENTS: for all. Some under-insure, thinking they'd never claim it all. Yet with £20k of stuff, cover £10k and if your claim's £1k you may only get half - contents calc.
SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic) "@MoneySavingExp, just got back £600 from packaged bank accounts using your Resolver tool. Sent details Monday night, refund in bank two days later."
Should the NHS pay for IVF treatments? Currently couples who struggle to have children may be able to get up to three cycles of IVF treatment on the NHS. Yet some regions are discussing cutting that to one cycle or even stopping it altogether. Should the NHS fund IVF treatments - which of these is closest to your opinion?
Last week 15,889 voted on how many unique passwords they had. Paradoxically the more accounts you have, the more likely you are to use different passwords for each. It's probably not a case of elephantine memory though - 49% of those with more than 100 accounts use a password manager app. See the full results.
Thu 12 Nov - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch previous Fri 13 Nov - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. Watch previous Mon 16 Nov - This Morning, ITV, Money Monday, from 10.30am. Mon 16 Nov - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, 12noon. Subscribe to podcast
Thu 12 Nov - Share Radio, MSE Amy and MSE Helen K, 11am Fri 13 Nov - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm Tue 17 Nov - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.30pm
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: My son and his partner got a mortgage while both working, but now his partner's a full-time parent. They're on a fixed rate but understand they can't remortgage as there's only one earner. Is this correct? Vicki, by email.
MSE Helen's A: There's nothing stopping your son and his partner from trying to remortgage. However, this is a case of 'do the sums add up?' Any remortgage application they make will be assessed on current household earnings, so it will mean it's only your son's income that counts.
Since April 2014, new mortgage regulations mean that lenders need to 'stress test' mortgage applicants to find out if they can afford repayments, not just at the fixed rate, but at 6-7% too. So your son and his partner need to work out if their income's enough to cover this, taking into account other expenses. If not, it's unlikely they'll be able to remortgage.
Having said that, there's no point accepting defeat without looking at the options. Speaking to a fee-free mortgage broker will give your son and his partner a better idea of where they stand, and if there are lenders who can help them.
If they can't remortgage, they'll go onto their mortgage lender's standard variable rate when the mortgage ends. These are usually between 3.5% and 5%, and can rise and fall at the lender's whim. See the free Remortgage Guide for full info.
That's it for this week, but before we go, it's just over a month till Christmas. We know many of you don't like the spending frenzy that comes with it, so we want to know - who's the most Scrooge-like MoneySaver out there? Let us know in the forum how you avoid parting with your pennies. Bah humbug...
We hope you save some money, Martin & the MSE team
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