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!
There's one silver lining to January's financial clouds. As Christmas splurges and December's early pay mean some sadly struggle to make cash stretch, it does mean many are ready to put in the work to save cash, and that can pay large.
Throughout January, this email will give you a detailed money makeover. Yet if you're ready to rock 'n' roll already, here are some quick resolutions you can do now while the 'I WANT TO SAVE' fervour's still in place, and the impact will last all year.
I resolve to...
...check if I can slash £1,000s off the year's mortgage repayments. Mortgage rates are still near all-time lows, yet there's a chance UK interest rates could rise this year. Everyone with a mortgage should check right now if they're on the best deal. First use our Mortgage Best Buys Tool to find your cheapest rate, then use the mortgage calc to compare it with your current deal. Full help in our Free 60-page MSE remortgaging booklet.
...check NOW if I'm owed £100s from AI Scheme (Sentinel). Are you one of 2m who've been sent a letter about AI Scheme mis-selling? You may've ignored it thinking it was spam. It's not. Fill in the form for cold hard cash - the deadline's 18 March. As Patrick tweeted: "Just got £313 AI reclaim. If it wasn't for your weekly email I probably would have binned it. Top job." Free templates & help if you've lost the letter in AI Scheme reclaim.
...sort a power of attorney now (even if you're very young, like me). One in three over-65s die with dementia, many people lose their faculties earlier from strokes, accidents, and more, too. Without a power of attorney to get access to your funds, even to pay for treatment, family would need to make a hard, slow and costly attempt to apply in court. Sort one now (I have at 43), so it kicks into effect ONLY if you lose your faculties. See Power of Attorney for help. Plus while we're at it, sort a Cheap & Free Will too.
...call up my OLD energy firm, to see if it owes me £100s. If you've switched energy in the last six years and were in credit, some providers operated a don't ask, don't get policy. So ask now - we're swamped with successes, like forumite Drakekard's: "Got £134 from Npower from an Aug 2012 switch and £53 from Scottish Power which is probably from 2009." Full help in Reclaim Old Energy Bill Credit.
...finally ditch my crap bank account & earn £220 doing so. An easy win, and a price war means today's the day. Scroll down for full info.
...claim marriage tax allowance worth £212/year.If you're married or in a civil partnership, the Marriage Tax Allowance lets some couples transfer a proportion of their personal allowance (the amount you can earn tax-free/tax yr) between them. Natalie tweeted:"That's £212 a year saved thanks to @MoneySavingExp & @MartinSLewis, didn't know about the marriage allowance, thanks for the heads up."
...take a few mins to bag unbeatable exchange rates for all trips this year. Specialist overseas credit cards give you the same near-perfect rate on euros, dollars and the rest that banks get - smashing bureaux de change, and saving up to 8% over other methods. So apply now, set up a direct debit to repay IN FULL each month to minimise interest and the job's done for the year.
...not just renew AA, BT, Virgin, Sky, but to haggle £100s off. If you're renewing a service with a call centre - they want you to stay, so haggle. Success rates of those who try are huge: 88% at AA, 73% BT, 88% Sky, 83% Virgin, and savings can be large, as Sarah found: "Haggled £324/yr off my Sky bill (TV, b'band, phone)." Full help see our Haggle with Sky, AA & more guide.
...print 'Martin's Money Mantras' to stop overspending. To curb impulse spending, I've two money mantras, so get the free wallet-sized Martin's Money Mantras Printout as a reminder each time you spend. Here they are, and if any answer is no... DON'T BUY IT:
- Skint?: Do I need it? Can I afford it? Can I get it cheaper elsewhere?
- Not skint?: Will I use it? Is it worth it? Can I get it cheaper elsewhere?
...use MSE's free automated budget planner to check if I'm on track. You likely know your income, but not your expenditure - without that you can't balance the books. Our Free Budget Planner tool takes you through step-by-step.
...shop & save for next Christmas NOW. Pre-Christmas is the most expensive time to buy, Jan sales the cheapest, so see our Jan sales list and buy now to save. Plus spread the cost of Xmas; the average family spend is £800, so save £70/mth now. See Save for Xmas.
...take just five minutes to save £305/year on energy bills. Depressingly 70% of the UK is still on a big-six standard tariff, which with typical use costs an average £1,095/yr. The cheapest deals are under £800/yr for the same. It takes just FIVE MINS to find your winner & start a switch. Use my Cheap Energy Club to do it (if you want help on top tariffs click the Top Picks tab).
PS: Renting, only use elec or on prepay? You can still do this.
...cut credit card interest by £100s or £1,000s this year. A big, easy save and firms are fighting for your business, scroll for full info.
...do a direct debit check up (you could gain £100s). Millions wrongly let cash drip from their bank accounts for things they don't really want, like unused gym membership or worse, like Tuftyhead: "We'd paid insurance for our daughter's old phone - she upgraded 4yrs before but the direct debit wasn't cancelled. It amounted to £400". So do Direct Debit Check Ups (includes standing orders & recurring payments) and let me know if you find any.
...check if I'm overpaying for car insurance. Prices are predicted to rise this year, so check now if you're overpaying and lock in at a cheaper price, via our full Car Insurance Cost-Cutting System. Even if you're not at renewal you may be able to switch & save now, though do read our switching mid policy help first. Andy tweeted: "You gave us the confidence to challenge our insurance mid-policy. It was £40/mth, now it's £16 - thanks. We didn't take no for an answer."
...check my savings to see if I'm being ripped off. Check your savings interest rates now - owt under 1.2% is dismal, and most are dismal. So move the money. You can earn up to 3% on lump sums via our Top Savings Accounts guide and up to 6% on money saved each month in Top Regular Savers.
...check my tax code to see if I'm overpaying £1,000s. At least six million people are paying the wrong amount of tax due to an incorrect tax code - the little piece of info that tells your employer how much it should take from you. Our Free Tax Code Checker can check for you. Some even get past refunds, the biggest so far is £5,000.
...pay off my debt with savings. Those with debt AND savings are likely wasting big money. Eg, £1,000 owed on a typical 18% APR credit card costs £180/yr; the same in a top savings account earns £13/yr after tax. So pay off the card with the savings, and you’d be £167/yr better off.
...start a Help to Buy ISA (as I'm 16+ and have never bought a home). They're the no-brainer place to save for anyone (aged 16+) who's never owned a home. Save in one, then use the money for a deposit and the state adds 25% on top, up to £3,000. Full help, FAQs & best buys in Top Help to Buy ISAs.
...become a diary tart. Many products like mortgages, energy fixes, credit cards and car insurance only give a good deal for the short term. So check now when things end, and put a big note in your diary/calendar a month before so you've time to check, ditch & switch.
...watch the Martin Lewis Money Show 8pm ITV Fri. Series five recommences this week, but the day's moved to Fridays, 8pm until 12 Feb. This week's programme is quite simply how to save yourself £1,000s. Watch & find out.
Don't wait for January's statement to hit the doormat. If you've got credit-card debts you can't clear this month, do a balance transfer. This is where you get a new card that repays debts on old cards for you, so you owe it instead, at a cheaper rate. Lenders know many do this in January, so, no surprise, FOUR new cards have hit the best buy tables...
The TOP new cardholder 0% balance transfers - TIPS FOR CHOOSING BELOW Don't just apply in hope, that hits your credit file - find which cards you've best chance of getting via our eligibility calc.
Tip 1: Go for 0% NO FEE if you can repay in under 23mths, if unsure, go long. Most long deals charge a one-off fee, of the debt shifted, eg, a 2% fee is £20 per £1,000 shifted. Calculate how long you'll need to clear the shifted debt, add a few months for safety, then pick the lowest-fee card within that time. Unsure? Play safe & get a long 0% and pay the fee.
Tip 2: Some 0% lengths are 'up to'. Here some get a shorter deal, depending on their credit score. Our eligibility calc can't tell you whether you'll get the full length, but, roughly, the better your odds to get a card, the better your chance.
How much can you save? A lot, eg, with £3,000 owed on a typical 18.9% APR card, repay £131/mth and you'd still have around £635 to pay after 23mths - shift it to Halifax's 23mth 0%, and you'd have cleared the card.
a) Never miss the min monthly repayment or you can lose the 0% deal and it'll cost far more. b) Clear the card or balance transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to the rep APR. c) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate & cash withdrawals hit your credit file. d) Unsure what to pick? Use our Which Card's Cheapest? tool.
Three new bank switching bribes have launched; unless you're deliriously happy with your bank, they're worth considering. To qualify you usually need to use the banks' seven-day switching services (82% of you say it's easy & hassle free) and switch 2+ direct debits too. Full info in Best Bank Accounts. Here we account for the latest fee-free deals...
New. Free £100 M&S tax-free plus £10/mth. M&S Bank* has added a promo to its normal switchers' £100 M&S gift card. For the 1st year, every month you deposit £1,000 in it (ie, pay in income of over that) it'll add £10 to the card. It also offers a £100 0% overdraft and a 6% linked regular savings account. Its customer service is strong: 67% rate it 'great'.
New. Free £150 tax-free cash & No.1 for service.First Direct's* won every service poll we've ever done - 92% rate it 'great', and go via this special link and you get £150 (£125 direct). It also has a £250 0% overdraft and gives access to its 6% regular savings account. You need to deposit £1,000/mth in it (ie, pay in income of over that).
New. Free £120 tax-free cash. HSBC* is now giving switchers £120, and you only need to deposit £500/mth to qualify. It also has a 4% linked regular saver. Customer service is middling, 46% say it's 'great'.
Halifax free £100 tax-free plus £5/mth. Halifax's* min pay in is £750/mth and you get £5 cash every month you don't slip into the overdraft (avoid that, as it's expensive). Service rating is 66% 'great'.
Top 'no min pay-in' account? Only the £10/mth element of the M&S Bank* account requires a min pay in - unusually you still get its £100 M&S switching bonus, 6% savings & 0% overdraft with no pay in, so it wins if you've irregular income.
SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic) £30,000 back - "After following your mis-sold PPI guide and using your forms I've received £5,000 from RBS and £25,000 from Lloyds. Well done MSE."
People aren't just trying to save pounds right now, many also want to lose them. Yet these two can clash. Many sign up to gyms in a fitness fervour, but it's not paying that makes you fitter, it's going. One MoneySaver tweeted: "Paid £270 for a year but only went once. Most expensive swim ever." Full help in Free & Cheap Gyms - here's a warm-up...
1. Free passes at 8 gyms. Never sign up without checking out whether it's a place you'll be comfortable going to. Passes right now include seven-day British Military Fitness, three-day Fitness First and more. See Free Gym Passes.
2. Work out all year at free outdoor boot-camps and classes. Muscle in on free group-fitness classes in local parks, incl yoga, Zumba, Pilates & more. Free classes
3. Pay-as-you-go passes for top gyms. Occasional user? Forget a contract, Pay as U gym lets you buy one-off passes for different gyms (and says it's 10% cheaper than buying direct from any gym on the site). One-off Gym Passes
4. No-frills gyms £10/mth & no contract. If you can live without pools, saunas & jacuzzis, find a No-Frills Gym near you.
5. At renewal, or signing up for a contract... HAGGLE ASAP. Some gym regulars refer to January joiners as 'turkeys', because they don't last much beyond Christmas. That's why premium gyms give deals right now to get people to sign up while they're keen. Yet don't accept even the 'promo' prices, negotiate hard (but politely). Also see What to watch out for in contracts help and know your Gym cancellation rights.
6. Do you really need a gym? DIY workouts. You can run, cycle, do light weights, yoga and a lot more without gym membership. Why not download free online workouts or see if there's a free outdoor gym near you?
Have you accessed "bereavement benefits"? A group of MPs wants to make sure people who struggle financially after they have lost a loved one get better support. If you would like to share your experience with the MPs, let us know in the MSE Forum by Friday and we’ll pass on your comments.
Last week, Maltesers were top of the chocs: A sweet 24,616 of you voted on your favourite chocolate. Maltesers had a sweet win with 22% of the vote. Sadly it's too chocoLATE to vote now. See the full results.
Thu 7 Jan - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch previous Fri 8 Jan - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. Watch previous Fri 8 Jan - The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm. Mon 11 Jan - This Morning, Money Monday, ITV, from 10.30am. Watch previous Mon 11 Jan - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, 12noon.Subscribe to podcast
Fri 8 Jan - BBC Radio London, 4pm Fri 8 Jan - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm Tue 12 Jan - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.30pm
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: I recently bought a top as a gift for my nephew and asked for a gift receipt (which the cashier said the shop didn't do). She also said that I should know the store only does exchanges - is this allowed? Why couldn't my nephew get a refund if he wanted?Helen, via email.
MSE Megan's A: Normally only the person who bought the item can return it if it's faulty, and so all a gift receipt does is transfer this right. BUT the key word here is if it's faulty. You have absolutely no rights to return something bought in a shop, unless it's faulty.
The fact they are giving you an exchange in certain conditions is generous; the reality is their policy could be that you have to hop on one leg to get any kind of return (again, unless faulty). Luckily, a lot of the time shops will have a more generous returns policy, but this will vary from company to company so always check before buying - and remember it is not a legal right.
It's also important to remember you have many more rights when buying online. See Consumer Rights for more info.
We think it's important you understand the strengths and limitations of this email and the site. We're a journalistic website, and aim to provide the best MoneySaving guides, tips, tools and techniques - but can't promise to be perfect, so do note you use the information at your own risk and we can't accept liability if things go wrong.
What you need to know
This info does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it's right for your specific circumstances - and remember we focus on rates not service.
We don't as a general policy investigate the solvency of companies mentioned, how likely they are to go bust, but there is a risk any company can struggle and it's rarely made public until it's too late (see the Section 75 guide for protection tips).
We often link to other websites, but can't be responsible for their content.
Always remember anyone can post on the MSE forums, so it can be very different from our opinion.
What is MoneySavingExpert.com? Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with more than 10 million people getting this email and about 13 million using the site every month. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: saving cash and fighting for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 80 full time staff, more than a third of whom are editorial - researching, analysing and writing to continually find ways to save money. More info: See About MSE.
Who is Martin Lewis? 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.
What do the links with an * mean?
Any links with an * by them are affiliated, which means get a product via this link and a contribution may be made to MoneySavingExpert.com, which helps it stay free to use. You shouldn't notice any difference; the links don't impact the products at all and the editorial line (the things we write) isn't changed due to them. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the best product, it's still included in the same way. More info: See How This Site is Financed.
As we believe transparency is important, we're including the following 'un-affiliated' web-addresses for content too:
Unaffiliated web-addresses for links in this email
Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FCA regulated activity. For this reason, pages with links which take you to the sites of insurers or insurance intermediaries are hosted by MoneySavingExpert.com Limited on behalf of MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC. MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC and MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited is MoneySupermarket House, St. David's Park, Ewloe, Chester, CH5 3UZ.