Xmas saving tips

  1. Don’t plan the perfect Christmas – first work out what you can afford Before you start planning, consider this: many list every lusted-for item, gifts for all, and a corking meal, then only afterwards consider: “How will I pay for it?” That’s a recipe for ending up broke.Instead, calculate your budget, ask: “What can I afford to spend?” Christmas is one day – don’t ruin the whole of the next year for it.
  2. Time to ban unnecessary presents – We’re not talking about gifts from parents or grandparents, but the ever-widening glut of friends, extended family and colleagues.Christmas isn’t a retail festival – we need to end obliged giving and think about what we’re giving, to whom and why.If you’re yelling over your wrapping paper “what about the joy of giving?”, remember gift-giving creates an obligation on recipients to give back, whether they can afford it or not. For some, the gift of “not obliging you to buy for me” is actually better.
  3. Fund lifesaving vaccines for kids and other charity gifts Want to give, but don’t want to waste cash on tat? Yule love our rundown of wonderful and weird Charity Gifts, which includes how much goes to good causes.Gifts start from a few pounds and include school supplies, clean water, livestock, polio vaccines and more.
  4. 16 free (or very cheap) ways to sprinkle Christmas magic for kidsChances are your best childhood Christmas memories aren’t about beautifully co-ordinated baubles, Finest-range turkeys or even getting that year’s must-have toy. For many, it’s the build-up that’s the most fun – experiences that involve spending time with loved ones.So we’ve 16 free (or very cheap) traditions to create memories, from driving round after dark to admire twinkly streets to leaving something heavy on the sofa to make a dent “where Santa plonked his big bottom”.
  5. Haven’t used it since last Christmas? Flog itIf a few quid more in the Xmas fund would really help, act now. Flogging owt via eBay’s a good way to start – our 40+ eBay Selling Tricks guide is a crash course.Facebook has been snapping at eBay’s heels as the place to flog unwanted stuff, though. The best bit is sales are often instant and there are NO fees, so you keep the profit. See Facebook Selling Tips for a how-to.If you prefer speed and ease rather than max price, several sites let you enter details, they offer a price, and you post goods free. Full info in our Boost your income guide.Got a top tip we haven’t listed? Tell us in the Christmas tips discussion.
  6. Buy a cheap turkey – and don’t forget to downshiftWith an “It’s Christmas! We need the best!” battle cry, everyone raids the supermarket shelves. Yet don’t assume you’ll prefer higher-brand goods.To test this, on Martin’s TV show he held a blind taste-test party for nurses at a hospital with champers, turkeys and more. They preferred the lower-brand goods (or couldn’t tell the difference) 62% of the time.So, don’t be a retail snob. Taste with your tongue, not by looking at the packaging. And buy what’s right for you, not the shop. Our Downshift Challenge  guide will help you to see if you can cut everyday costs by £1,000s.If you’re planning a big shop, go to Mysupermarket* and it’ll compare the cost of goods at the big online supermarkets.
  7. Boost funds by 5% with supermarket stampsSupermarket saving stamp schemes encourage year-long saving for Christmas, yet a loophole allows you to get a year’s bonus in one day.Most shops pay it depending on how much you’ve saved by a specific day or month. So dunk the cash in the day before, and the store will add up to 5% on top, but the cash must be spent at its shops. Full info in Xmas Spending Boost (to be updated for 2019 shortly). Get Our Free Money Tips Email!For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes – join the 12m who get it. FAQs Privacy Policy Past Emails Unsubscribe
  8. Festive Fivers… sub-£5 gift ideasBack in 2012, our Festive Fivers contest challenged forumites to come up with the best ‘make or buy’ sub-£5 presents. And while it was a few years ago now, many of the ideas still work just as well today.See 50 Festive Fivers for the full list (though we’ve archived the guide so a few points may not be fully up-to-date). Here are some of our top picks which definitely still work today:
    • The 12 Dates of Christmas. Make a date night package which plans a date for each month of the new year, such as a picnic in the park or a candlelit bubble bath. Once you’ve planned the dates, write them on cards and decorate. See 12 Dates of Christmas.
    • Santa’s Sleigh Bell (for kids – SPOILER ALERT). Plant a fallen bell in the garden on Christmas morning, saying it’s a fallen bell from “Santa’s sleigh”. Kids’ll love it. 
    • Balloon box. Fill up a box with loads of blown-up balloons and wrap it – it’s sure to provide hours of fun and shouldn’t cost more than a fiver. (Please supervise very young children, as balloons can choke them.)

    • Reindeer poo. Don’t worry, it’s made of fudge. Use an easy recipe to make the mixture, then when almost set, roll it into little balls to resemble reindeer droppings. 

    • Elegant chocolate slabs. You pay £7+ in fancy shops, but homemade chocolate slabs are easy and cheap to make.

    • The paint sample calendar. An easy way to make a reuseable calendar from a cheap photo frame and free paint sample cards. 
  9. Swap your chequebook for our free Christmas gift chequesPresents don’t have to equate to big bucks. Whether it’s a ‘massage’ (nudge, nudge) for your loved one, babysitting or letting the kids have a sleepover, your time could be the best present. So pledge to do something nice, not spend, by printing our free Christmas gift cheques (to be updated for 2019 shortly).
  10. Be wary when buying gift cardsIf you’re considering giving gift cards or vouchers there are four key things you should be aware of:
    • Sometimes retailers go bust. A host of big name retailers have gone into administration in recent years. When this happens, they usually stop accepting cards altogether and there’s very little you can do to get your money back. See our Administration Help guide for what you can try if you have a gift card for a company that has gone bust.

    • Gift cards have expiry dates. Most gift cards must be redeemed within a certain period of time, so the recipient needs to spend them before time runs out.

    • Beware of admin fees. Some companies will begin reducing your balance if you don’t use the card within a certain timeframe, such as the the multi-shop gift card provider One4all, which deducts 90p a month from your balance once you’ve had the card 18 months.

    • They could forget or lose them. Often people forget to use them, lose them or accidentally run them through the wash.Taking into account all of the above, we think giving cash is a much better alternative to gift cards.If however you still want to buy one, there are some multi-shop gift cards, such as Love2shop, which you would be able to use at other retailers in the scheme if one shop went bust.
  11. Don’t give your online return rights away when you give Christmas presentsOrder goods online, and in the majority of cases you’ve 14 days after they arrive to cancel the order, and a further 14 days to send back any items.This is great if you change your mind, need a different size or want the item in a different colour. But if you’ve ordered a Christmas present online, there’s a chance that by the time someone’s unwrapped it, that window will have closed. So make sure you’re happy with what you’ve ordered BEFORE you wrap it, so you don’t lose your legal return rights. 
  12. Set up a Christmas cupboard, then POUNCE on the biggest discountsMake a list of who you need to buy for and whenever you see goods at decent prices, grab, wrap, and stuff ’em in a Christmas cupboard.Keep your eyes peeled for discounts and deals on our VouchersHot Bargains and Sales pages. We’ll also let you know the best via the weekly email.For cheap yet thoughtful gifts, the Free Photo Prints deals page lists the top photo book, canvas, card and calendar discount codes.
  13. Get fancy perfumes for a basic priceForget department stores. A whole bunch of specialist online sellers offer perfume for a fraction of the high street price.Better still, buy the even cheaper unboxed bottles, then get a pretty box and wrapping for a couple of quid. Read the Cheap Perfumes guide for full help.Also, see the Great ‘smell-a-like perfumes’ hunt, where forumites sniff out dirt-cheap dead ringers for posh perfumes.
  14. Find the cheapest place to buy gifts in secondsThe web usually beats the high street on price. To help, comparison sites search the net to find the cheapest CDs, books, games or anything else.We found Google Shopping is the most consistent at finding the cheapest price – the MSE Deals team even use it as a starting point when checking out deals.Google Shopping searches a wide range of retailers, including biggies such as Amazon, Currys PC World, John Lewis and Tesco.

    For a full how-to guide and other price comparison sites to try, see 40+ Online Shopping Tricks.
  15. DON’T borrow for Christmas… but if you must, get a 0% cardFar better to budget, but no matter what we say, some will borrow. See the 0% Spending guide for full options. If you can’t get 0% in time and it was your only option, frankly, cancel Christmas spending.

    Just enjoy a family meal, raise a glass and focus on a financially good New Year.
  16. Try our DemoHoHotivator tool to see what you can saveSmall sacrifices add up. Eg, if you stop buying a £2 coffee every working day from now until Christmas, you’ll have £140 extra in the festive kitty. See our DemoHoHotivator.
  17. Find hidden local eBay bargainsWhether Wiis or children’s books, eBay sellers often specify items must be collected in person. As this means fewer bids, there are bargains to be had.You can’t normally search collection-only, so we’ve built a mapping tool. Tell our Local eBay Deals Mapper your postcode, how far you’re prepared to schlep, and it maps nearby gems.For more help detecting hidden bargains, our eBay Buying Secrets guide lists tools which find underpriced goods, exploit spelling mistakes and auto-bid to seal deals.
  18. Find and share Christmas tips on the MSE ForumTo help with Crimbo preparation, the Special Occasions forum board is full of top tips to cut the festive season’s cost. MoneySavers post bargain prezzies and decorations, and share suggestions on having a more affordable Christmas.
  19. Grab cashback on prezziesWith cashback sites, you sign up for free, then click through them to buy something. They get paid for sending traffic and give some of this to you, netting some £100s a year.Never let the cashback dictate where you spend though. Focus on the cheapest deal, then see if cashback’s available. Full explanation in Top Cashback Sites. Get Our Free Money Tips Email!For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes – join the 12m who get it. FAQs Privacy Policy Past Emails Unsubscribe
  20. Book train tickets in advanceRail operators generally launch tickets 10-12 weeks before the date of travel and cheap tickets vanish quickly ,but you can sign up to get a free alert when your tickets go on sale. 

    Even if you’ve left it late, don’t assume you’ve missed the boat (or rather, train). Always check if cheap advance tickets are still available before travelling – many firms now let you buy them on the day. See how to book early, late. Our Cheap Train Tickets guide includes full help.
  21. Slash the cost of sending Xmas cash abroadWhether for a Stateside nephew or a grandchild in Australia, transferring money overseas doubles the currencies, complication and cost. See our Sending Money Abroad guide for best buys, including your protection if it goes wrong.
  22. Double-check Christmas delivery’s specifiedIf Christmas goods are late, you can only complain if you or the retailer specified (and can prove) it was for pre-Christmas delivery. Then it’s a breach of contract, and you’ve a right to a refund.Even if Christmas delivery isn’t specified though, things should be delivered within a ‘reasonable time’. See our Consumer Rights guide for more details on your rights.
  23. Track Santa as he delivers prezziesThere’s a nifty free site for your little ones to watch Santa’s progress on Christmas Eve. Log on to NoradSanta.org (it launches again on 1 December).
  24. Find big discounts at online outlet storesMany drive miles to outlet villages to snap up end-of-line bargains. Yet now, lots of high street and high-end shops have online outlet stores. You can usually find them on eBay or via special websites.Our Discount Outlets guide lists the best – big names include Argos, M&S, Superdry and many more. Get Our Free Money Tips Email!For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes – join the 12m who get it. FAQs Privacy Policy Past Emails Unsubscribe
  25. How to do good at ChristmasIt’s become an MSE tradition to remind MoneySavers of those in need at Christmas. You may still be counting the pennies, yet there are many ways to do some good for free.Eg, click through to The Hunger Site and amid a pile of banners you’ll see an orange button at the top of the page with the message ‘Click here – it’s free!’ Do so and a cup of a staple foodstuff is bought for someone, somewhere, who is hungry.Is there a catch? No. It’s a win-win-win situation for those in need, the user and the sponsors, as they create good public relations for themselves.There’s a full list of ways to volunteer and donate for free, including being there for isolated older people and more volunteering, in How to do good at Christmas.
  26. Corking wine and bubbly dealsUse our Wine Deals page to find the biggest discount or cheapest crate at Tesco Wine, M&S, Majestic and others.For bargain Christmas bubbly, see Champagne Deals. Though we hope you pay less, not drink more – be Drinkaware.
  27. Don’t save Tesco vouchers for festive foodFirst, quickly check if you can Reclaim Tesco Vouchers online. So many find big cash, often £100, we can’t stop banging on about this.Yet don’t save them for Christmas food treats. First check Tesco’s Clubcard Boost partners to get 3x your points’ value (£10 becomes £30) on items such as jewellery or restaurant vouchers.For more details, see Boost Tesco Vouchers.
  28. Debt worries over Xmas? Get helpSadly, Christmas isn’t jolly for all. If you (or a friend) have debt worries, read our Debt Help guide for free one-on-one help. Many say, after help, “I finally got a decent night’s sleep”. Get Our Free Money Tips Email!For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes – join the 12m who get it. FAQs Privacy Policy Past Emails Unsubscribe
  29. Make a list – and check it twiceChristmas shopping on impulse is dangerous. So make an old-fashioned shopping list and stick to it. Remember, shops spend a fortune on targeting your spending impulses – a list helps you beat them.Even if you’re shopping on the high street, remember to benchmark the prices using shopbots first.
  30. Sort Xmas post earlyIf using Royal Mail, ensure you send parcels and letters before the last posting date. The cut-off depends on where and how you send your post.

    Eg, this year the cut-off for first-class UK mail is Friday 20 December 2019. See Royal Mail for the full list of dates.
  31. Use the web to cut delivery costsSending a package to friends? If it’s more than 2kg, you can save a packet (sorry) using a discount web courier instead of Royal Mail – and even have goods collected from your home. See Cheap Parcel Delivery.
  32. Comping for Crimbo prezziesTry comping – systematically sourcing and entering 100s of the right competitions using web gadgets. From cars to five-star USA holidays, MoneySavers have won it all. Smaller prizes such as toys, handbags and gift vouchers make cracking gifts. No guarantees, but why not give it a try? See the 40+ Comping Tips guide.
  33. Do a ‘robo’ secret SantaThankfully now widespread in offices, there’s no reason not to extend this to loved ones. For those who don’t know, everyone’s name goes into a hat, then you draw out who you’re buying for. So you only buy and receive one gift, usually within a spending limit.

    These days you don’t even need the hat – an online tool can organise it all for you with a few clicks.

    One of the slickest is free site Elfster. Just sign up, enter a few details such maximum budget and the date you’ll do the exchange. You can either enter the other people’s emails or cut and paste a sign-up link. You can even set up wishlists. Another free option worth a look is Drawnames, which works in a similar way.

    MSE Steve is a secret Santa fan:My wife’s family have done this for years, and it works well. In fact, it’s a huge help when you don’t know what to buy the in-laws. A limit’s agreed – this year it’s £50 – and we use a free tool to organise it all and allow people to send a wish-list. 

    It saves everyone cash, cuts down on gifts people feel obligated to give but no one really wants – and it’s adults-only, so the kids still get spoilt.
  34. Pay by credit card if it’s over £100Sadly, firms go bust. If that happens and ordered goods haven’t arrived, or have but are faulty, it’s a nightmare. However, Section 75 laws mean if you use a credit card (not debit card, cheque or cash) to pay even partly for something costing between £100 and £30,000, the card company’s jointly liable for the whole amount.If the firm goes bust, you can get redress from the card firm instead – valuable extra protection. Though only do this if you can clear the card in full each month to avoid interest.
    Section 75 doesn’t apply to purchases under £100, but there’s still an option which can help if you use a Visa, Mastercard or Amex credit card, or any debit or charge card.If the goods don’t appear or are faulty, you can ask your bank/card provider to reclaim the cash from the seller’s bank, so long as you start the chargeback process within 120 days of realising there’s a problem. See the Chargeback guide. Get Our Free Money Tips Email!For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes – join the 12m who get it. FAQs Privacy Policy Past Emails Unsubscribe
  35. Get a gift receipt or ask the shop to write ‘it’s a gift’Legally, only the person who bought the gift has rights, so the recipient can’t exchange. Many shops ignore this and will help, but for safety, ask for a gift receipt.If a store offers gift receipts it suggests it’s willing to deal with the recipient rather than the buyer. You should be able to exchange an item, though if you want a refund the retailer may insist that the payment be refunded to the same card. Alternatively, get the shop assistant to write on its copy of the receipt, and yours, that it’s a gift and who it’s for, eg, “bought as a gift for Bob Smith” and this again should help to at least exchange the item.See Returning Unwanted Gifts for a full guide.
  36. DON’T think ‘no receipt’ means ‘no return’With faulty goods, you just need to prove you purchased them. This could be the receipt, but other legit records such as bank statements should be fine.If you’ve no legal right but are just utilising a store’s returns policy, and the policy requires a receipt, you do need one. See Consumer Rights for more.
  37. Order in advance to nab cheap stocking fillers from ChinaDiscount stores such as Poundland make a killing by buying items from China at rock-bottom prices and flogging them here. So why not cut out the middleman? Giant online marketplaces such as AliExpress let individual traders from East Asia sell direct to UK buyers. 

    When we tested this, we found £1.99 stripy T-shirts, 61p iPhone 6 cases and 48p women’s belts including postage – perfect for stocking fillers.Yet you’ll need to keep your wits about you to avoid unexpected customs charges and shoddy goods.As delivery from east Asia can typically take 3-6 weeks and sometimes longer if items are held up by customs, so order well in advance for Christmas. For full help see our 12 Buying From China Tips.
  38. Bag 5% cashback on every gift you buyCashback credit cards pay you every time you spend on ’em. You grab one, set up a direct debit to repay in full every month so it’s interest-free, and to boost the gain, use it for all spending.The Amex Platinum Everyday (use the eligibility calculator or apply*) credit card pays 5% cashback in your first three months, up to a maximum £100). So apply now and you’ll get the boost on Xmas spending (though cashback’s paid after a year, so you’ll get it for next Xmas).

    After three months you get up to 1% back on spending. Repay IN FULL each month to avoid the 22.9% rep APR and you need to spend £3,000+ in a year to get any cashback. Full help and more options in Top Cashback Cards.
  39. Grab end-of-sale bargainsGrab giftwrap, Christmas cards, baubles, decorations or even a new plastic tree as heavy discounts hit in January.

    Don’t think we’re a nutty lone voice saying January’s the time. By the first week of January 2015, in a poll of 9,000 MoneySavers, 63% had already bought Christmas 2015’s cards and wrap, 27% crackers and 19% decorations. Get Our Free Money Tips Email!For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes – join the 12m who get it. FAQs Privacy Policy Past Emails Unsubscribe
  40. Give snowman soup and moreMoneySaving’s about cutting bills, not cutting back – thrift’s about spending time, not cash. Its doyens live in our Old Style Forum Board. There are hundreds of tips in there – here are a few for inspiration.
    • Give kids snowman soup. Little’uns don’t care what it costs. A perennial favourite’s snowman soup – hot chocolate, marshmallows and some choc chips, all wrapped up in a cellophane cone. Or naughtier, there’s reindeer poo. Kids go ape for easy-to-make sock monkeys too.

    • Thrifty cards, decorations and more. Get crafty, and rustle up some decorationscards and wrapping paper that would put Kirstie Allsopp to shame. Get kids involved too, with hand prints or potato stamps on cards/brown paper.

    • The complete Old Style Christmas dinner compendium. Enjoy tastier, not pricier, festive food with this Christmas dinner compendium (scroll to the middle of the first post). From sprucing up sprouts to the best mince pies ever, it’s full of ideas.
  41. Start saving early to spread the costA typical family expected to spend £719 on Christmas 2018, according to Gocompare Money. Yet many struggle to foot it from December’s pay packet alone and end up borrowing. 
    So next year, why not put money aside from January? Better than borrowing and paying back later with interest. Work out your budget, then use our Top Savings Accounts guide to find the most profitable home for your cash.

    If you can’t afford to save, cut your cloth accordingly.

Black Friday 2019 – 4 Smart Tips For Shopping On A Budget

The holiday season is nearly upon us, which means you can expect to be besieged by advertisements for Black Friday promotions. Spend smarter with our 2019 Black Friday shopping tips.

Don’t be blinded by the advertising bonanza that is Black Friday. The holiday can be a great avenue to save, but if utilized incorrectly it can be a black hole for your savings account.

Retailers know that shoppers are primed to spend during the holiday season, and will do whatever they can to take advantage of that. Flashy corporate marketing campaigns and discount prices can be enough to seduce even the most prudent of shoppers to splurge on items they don’t need.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you approach this holiday for what it is: An opportunity to save on essential items that you otherwise would need to buy anyways.

Budget for Black Friday

The most important way to ensure that you’re taking advantage of Black Friday is to plan ahead. Make sure that you work out a specific budget. Avoid overspending on frivolous items that seem heavily discounted. No matter how good the deal is, it’s not saving money if it’s something you don’t need.

  • Make a list of people you need to purchase gifts for and then search for the best deals online ahead of time.
  • Use Black Friday to buy essential items at a discount, and if your budget allows for it to spring for non-essentials.
  • Be strategic about your Black Friday purchases. Find deals early by searching online and compare discounts on similar items from different branches or brands. Reserve early if you can. Run your purchase through comparison websites to make sure you’re finding the lowest price.
  • Look for discounts on household items like toilet paper and toothpaste that you use frequently but don’t spoil. Mark Cuban said in an interview with Vanity Fair that buying these in bulk at low prices results in immediate reductions in your expenses and also lowers the number of errands you need to run.

This kind of planning ahead not only helps you save money, but also makes your life a little easier!

Amazon Black Friday deals – Amazon, as we explore in full below, should be among the absolute top Black Friday sales destinations for deal hunters. It’s range of products is unparalleled, and as well as running Black Event-long mega discounts, runs daily deals and Lightning deals, too, the latter offering incredible discounts but only for a very brief period of time. Its Black Friday page is already live, which is currently stuffed with some attractive daily deals.

Currys PC World Black Friday deals – In terms of electronics and appliances, Currys PC World is top tier good for Black Friday deals. The retailer runs its renowned Black Tag event both before, during and after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which extends for weeks either side. Each day a broad range of products ranging from TVs and video game consoles, to fridges, coffee machines and microwaves, get marked up with a black tag and their price plummets. Right now you can register your interest to find out exactly when the Black Tag event will begin, getting you in on the ground floor for when the deals start flowing.

very important thing to remember with Currys come Black Friday 2019 is that it will price match any product against any other retailer, be that online or in store. The retailer also matches discount codes, too, meaning that any Black Friday discount is game to be price matched. And what’s even crazier is that Currys will honor this price match promise for 7 whole days after purchase, meaning that if you pick up a product from the retailer and then another retailer introduces an even lower price, then you can pocket the difference.

Argos Black Friday deals – Argos is great for a wide-range of discounts on toys, video game consoles, small appliances, consumer technology, jewelry and kitchen gadgets, among others. Argos already has its Black Friday 2019 deals store live, which is currently offering many toy offers, voucher codes and super cheap clearance products. Last year Argos hit hard in the week running up to the Black Weekend, and this year it is expected that its Black Friday deals will begin even earlier. Argos is offering a notification service whereby if you sign up to its Black Friday mailing list, then it will let you know about its deals and savings as soon as they go live.

Ahead of Black Friday, Argos has a toy sale on where it is discounting a different major toy brand every week. It started off with Lego deals where it offered 10% off any set until October 29 and once that toy sale ends it will be replaced by another. That’s a really handy promotion that should help you save a bit of money if you’re shopping for kids this Christmas.

Maximize your savings by using the best credit cards for the season

We strongly advise against going into debt in order to buy holiday gifts. The purpose of  budgeting and planning ahead is to minimize the possibility of frivolous or impulsive purchases, which can be the downfall of even the best budgets.

Having said that, if you are going to be splurging this holiday season, maximize your savings by using the best credit cards for the holidays.

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

A lot of the hype of Black Friday has been moved to Cyber Monday, but I prefer to think of it all as the same.

Black Friday is obviously on Friday and Cyber Monday is obviously online, but there are plenty of sales online even weeks before and there are plenty of sales in stores on Cyber Monday too.

While the general trend is toward more sales throughout the month of November, there are still massive discounts available to those willing to brave the madness at 5:30 on Thursday evening or 4 in the morning on Friday.This is because retailers want to attract as many people inside as possible, knowing that not everything is discounted and very rarely do people stick to their budgets.

The real “doorbusters”—deals people will be waiting in line for, ready to barge into the store the moment they can – will only be available on Black Friday.


To recap, Black Friday weekend can be a huge financial opportunity, but also a potential pitfall.

To make sure you take full advantage of the sales, plan ahead and find deals that interest you well in advance.

Write out your expenses on paper and identify the items that you buy most frequently so that you can buy them in bulk and realize significant savings.

Don’t get tricked into buying things you don’t need just because they are discounted, focus instead on essentials that you’ll buy anyways over time.

Try to shop early or online as many of the best deals start the week before Thanksgiving; there’s no reason to expose yourself to holiday havoc at the mall.

All in all, if you do it right, you can save big over the holiday weekend.

MSE cheapest PREPAY winner

Image result for image for  bulb pre payment meters

It’s never easy to get a special tariff for those on key or card meters – so we’re delighted to include this one.

  • MSE Big Switch tariff. Bulb. Cheapest PREPAY, 100% renewable elec, top service. Save £228/yr on typical PREPAY use. Bulb is one of the biggest suppliers outside the Big 6, with over 1m customers and it’s been around since 2016.

    This Bulb Vari-Fair Prepay deal is scheduled to last until 4pm on Fri 25 Oct. In effect it’s Bulb’s normal variable tariff, but we’ve arranged an extra £30 dual-fuel cashback (£15 elec-only), on top of the usual £25 MSE dual-fuel cashback (£12.50 elec-only) for new customers. Bulb cashback will take up to 90 days to arrive, ours up to 6mths.

    Including that, on avg it’s the cheapest prepay tariff on the market at a typical £989/yr, compared with £1,217/yr for someone on a Big 6 standard prepay tariff. Of course, as it’s variable the rate can change, though most prepay tariffs are variable.

    MSE customer service score: 88% ‘great’ (732 votes).
    Renewable? 100% elec, 10% green gas & the rest carbon offset – about as good as it gets outside of super-green deals.
    Fixed? No, it’s variable.
    Early exit fees? No, you can leave any time penalty-free.
    Dual-fuel only? No. You can do dual-fuel or elec-only.
    Payment: Prepayment.
    Smart meters: Sadly, if you already have them you can’t get this tariff.

British Gas & Scottish Power’s (incl existing customers) NEW cheap deals

Image result for money saving images free

Two big-name providers have launched cheap tariffs since we started our event. This often happens. We can’t confirm it’s a direct response, but it’s certainly very plausible that it is. As they’re popular and offer big savings compared with their standard deals, we wanted to detail them.

British Gas fix. 100% renewable. For new AND existing custs. Save £277/yr on typical use. This BG Energy and Boiler Cover Green Oct 2020v2 dual-fuel deal is ONLY available via comparison sites (not direct), incl via our link, which also gives an extra £25 MSE cashback. Factor that in and it’s £901/yr on typical use.

You also get a year’s ‘free’ boiler insurance if you don’t already have its cover, but it auto-renews after a year, so cancel then if you don’t want it. You MUST agree to get free smart meters (one for gas, one for elec) installed within 3mths if you don’t have ’em already. That isn’t an issue though: they just give automatic meter readings.

MSE customer service score: 40% ‘great’, 33% ‘poor’ (200 votes).
Renewable? 100% renewable elec & 100% carbon offset gas.
Fixed? Yes, until 31 Oct 2020.
Early exit fees? £60 if you leave 49+ days before the fix ends.
Dual-fuel only? Yes.
Payment: Monthly direct debit is cheapest, but avail other ways.
Smart meters: You’ll need to get ’em.

Scottish Power fix. Cheapest Big 6. For new AND existing custs. Save £281/yr. The new Scottish Power Super Saver November 2020 B4 tariff is actually the cheapest of the Big 6, but only just. We’ve put it second as SP has the worst customer service record of the Big 6. It’s working on trying to improve that, so how much of this is legacy from people burnt by poor billing and more years ago, and how much is current is tough to tell. Yet it’s worth being aware.

Again, this deal is ONLY via comparison sites (not direct). Our link above gives you the extra £25 MSE dual-fuel cashback, which makes it £897/yr based on typical dual-fuel use. As with BG, you MUST arrange to have free smart meters (one for gas, one for elec) installed within 3mths if you don’t have ’em already.

MSE customer service score: 18% ‘great’, 56% ‘poor’ (198 votes).
Renewable? No.
Fixed? Yes, until 30 Nov 2020.
Early exit fees? £30/fuel if you leave 49+ days before the fix ends.
Dual-fuel only? No. It can be dual-fuel or elec-only (incl Eco 7).
Payment: Monthly direct debit is cheapest, but avail other ways.
Smart meters: You’ll need to get ’em.

MSE Big Switch Winners (direct debit/billed)

We aim to secure cheaper than the market’s cheapest deals. We didn’t quite make that, as there’s an outlying cheap small firm, with a 65% POOR customer service rating (do a whole-of-market comparison to see that). But our deals offer huge savings for most…

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MSE Big Switch tariff 1: 3,000 left. Pure Planet variable rate. Top service & it’s renewable – save £288/yr on typical use. This MSE Pure Planet 100% Green tariff online-only deal was capped at 10,000 switches – we nearly ran out but managed to get it to give us a few more so there are now 3,000 left.

Pure Planet is a mid-sized supplier with 100,000 customers. It’s been around since 2017 and got a 95% ‘great’ score in our last customer service poll. This tariff is its normal cheap variable deal, but we’ve arranged an extra £47 credit on your bill (ie, a reduction), plus you get our standard £25 MSE dual-fuel cashback if you switch to it. It means on avg it’s £890/yr based on typical use.

The fact it’s variable means its rates can change, though it is competitive and has mainly only changed prices in the past when wholesale prices (which energy firms pay) shifted. Note: you won’t be able to get the £140/yr Warm Home Discount with Pure Planet.

MSE customer service score: 95% ‘great’ (246 votes) + MSE enhanced – ie, we can escalate issues to a dedicated team.
Renewable? 100% renewable electricity, gas is 100% carbon offset.
Fixed? No, it’s variable so prices can change.
Early exit fees? No, you can leave penalty-free at any time.
Dual-fuel only? Yes, you must get gas & electricity.
Payment: Must be by monthly direct debit.
Smart meters: It has started a small-scale optional roll-out.

PS: Click the Pure Planet link above, do a comparison and our filters exclude all but ‘top service’ results (you can undo the filters).

MSE Big Switch tariff 2. E.on 1yr FIX. 100% renewable elec. New customers only. Save £279/yr on typical use. This MSE E.on 1 Year Fix Exclusive Autumn 2019 tariff will end at 4pm, Fri 25 Oct. It’s an avg £899/yr based on typical dual-fuel use, including £25 MSE dual-fuel cashback. As it’s a fix, the rate you pay can’t rise for the first year, though what you pay will of course depend on your use.

When we launched our event, it was the cheapest typical Big 6 price in 18mths, though Scottish Power (see below) has undercut it.

But it’s ONLY for new customers. Unfortunately E.on excludes existing customers. We fought that hard, but it wouldn’t budge and we didn’t want to deny others the cheap deal. We suggest E.on customers look at switching to the other options here to save.

MSE customer service score: 32% ‘great’, 33% ‘OK’ (217 votes).
Renewable? 100% renewable electricity, gas isn’t green.
Fixed? Yes, for 12mths from supply start date.
Early exit fees? £30/fuel if you leave 49+ days before the fix ends.
Dual-fuel only? No. It can be dual-fuel or elec-only (incl Economy 7).
Payment: Monthly direct debit is cheapest, but available other ways.
Smart meters: They’re available for free, on request.

PS: Click the E.on link above or the other Big 6 tariffs below, do a comparison and our filters exclude all but ‘big name’ results (you can undo the filters).

Welfare benefit changes after Brexit


Benefits and pensions for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK if there’s a no-deal Brexit

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This guidance explains the rights of EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens to UK benefits and pensions if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

EUEEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after Brexit.

Irish citizens living in the UK

You, and members of your family living in the UK, will be able to claim or continue to receive the UK State Pension and benefits you are entitled to after Brexit. You will also continue to receive any Irish benefits you remain entitled to while living in the UK.

Other EUEEA and Swiss citizens

Living in the UK before Brexit

You and your family members living in the UK by 31 October 2019 will be able to continue receiving UK benefits on the same terms as now.

Moving to the UK after Brexit

You will be able to enter the UK, as now, after Brexit.

You’ll need to apply for European temporary leave to remain to stay longer than 3 months and before the UK’s proposed new skills-based immigration system begins in 2021.

You’ll be eligible to claim benefits on the same basis as EU citizens who arrived in the UK before Brexit if you have:

  • been in the UK for less than 3 months
  • European temporary leave to remain

Living in the EUEEA or Switzerland after Brexit

If you live in the EUEEA or Switzerland and get the UK State Pension or a benefit, you’ll continue to receive it as long as you meet the eligibility conditions.

UK workplace pensions

UK law allows for workplace pensions to be paid overseas. The government does not expect this to change after Brexit.

If you have any questions, contact your pension provider.

If your workplace pension is paid into a UK bank account, your bank should contact you if they need to change the way you receive your pension after Brexit.



Included as part of your Kids Pass membershipTRY IT NOW – 30 DAYS FOR £1


1. Choose your desired Back To School deal

2. Choose how many adults/children you would like and get your money off codes

3. Redeem your codes, and rack up the savings!TRY IT NOW – 30 DAYS FOR £1

BACK TO SCHOOL ESSENTIALS: SOME OF OUR OFFERINGSBack to school shopping can be dauting after a long summer of entertaining the kids, and the first day back of school is approaching faster than you probably realise. School supplies, from stationery to clothing, are a hefty addition to your family budget. Want a brilliant way to save? A Kids Pass membership can help you with your back to school essentials! Here are some of the many retailers and brands we have exclusive deals with:Read more


Yep! You read that right. If you need to save money on Back To School Deals, look no further. It’s time to rack up the savings…



A restaurant locator, a digital dining discount card and a savings calculator in one package. The Kids Pass FREE app makes it quicker and easier to enjoy all of our fantastic benefits on the go.

1. Filter search by location

2. Record your savings

3. Enjoy more lifestyle benefits


Great for families

Easy to use app, decent amount of choice for days out and well worth checking before buying tickets directly through companies as we’ve saved about £30 through Kids Pass just on a zoo trip and a cinema trip!

Rachel Price


Excellent! I have tried the 30 day trial and I’m impressed at what’s on offer for families but more importantly how easy it is to use and get the tickets!! Fabulous! Thank you KidsPass 😊


I think Kids pass is fantastic

I think Kids pass is fantastic. Mostly use it for discounted cinema tickets and it is most certainly worth having I’ve honestly saved hundreds with it.

Southbank centre free activity

DJ and young dancers


Disco Loco

Part of Summer

Sunglasses? Check. Disco pants? Check. Time for some alternative family entertainment with Disco Loco.

The wild and wonderful family party welcomes revellers of all ages to an afternoon of DJing and performances.

Boogie to back-to-back tunes from the Disco Loco Allstar DJs and marvel at live music, dance and cabaret, hosted by the genial MC Chu-i.

Disco Loco have been entertaining families across East London since 2006 in a programme of arts, culture and a spirit of togetherness, running inclusive monthly events for families.read less

Featured artists

Sun 14 Jul: Rhyss Pieces, Symoné
Sun 21 Jul: Fantabulosa’s Xnthony, Porridge Radio
Sun 28 Jul: Shakaonafire, Grace Shush
Sun 18 Aug: Fantabulosa’s Ginny Lemon, Dream Nails
Mon 26 Aug: XOEY 5.0, Rubyyy Jones


14 Jul 2019 – 26 Aug 2019Approximate run time: 300 minsRun times may vary, find out more


Outdoor spacesRiverside Terrace, Level 2


FreeMembers & Supporters get priority. Join now

need to know

Event information
These events take place 12 noon – 5pm.

Access information
The performance at 12pm on Sunday 18 August is British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted by Clare Edwards.

To join our free Access Scheme and book tickets for these services, call our Ticket Office on 020 3879 9555 or email accesslist@southbankcentre.co.uk
Find out more about our Access Scheme

Deals on school uniforms

School Uniform need not cost the Earth and is time to stock up on their uniform for the new school year – starting with this comfortable and cosy sweatshirt. Complete with an anti-pilling finish, you can be sure this sweatshirt will last no matter what they get up to at school.

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  • Crew neck
  • Anti-pilling finish
  • Brushed inside
  • Easy iron


100 % cotton girls 2X polo shirts £1.75 aldi.co.uk/gir…900
100% cotton boys 2X polo shirts £1.75 aldi.co.uk/boy…700
skirt £1.75 aldi.co.uk/lil…000
Girls trousers £1.75 aldi.co.uk/lil…600
boys trousers £1.75 aldi.co.uk/lil…200
2X T- shirts £1.79 aldi.co.uk/lil…500
2X girls school Blouse £2.49 aldi.co.uk/lil…300
2X boys school shirt £2.49 aldi.co.uk/lil…100
girls jersey trousers £2.79 
jersey skirt £2.79 aldi.co.uk/lil…100
jog pants £2.99 aldi.co.uk/lil…000
3X school tights £3.99 aldi.co.uk/lil…600
5X knee high socks £2.79 aldi.co.uk/lil…900
5X girls ankle socks £1.99 aldi.co.uk/gir…500
5X boys ankle socks £1.99 aldi.co.uk/lil…700
2X pinafore £6.99 aldi.co.uk/lil…800
2X jersey pinafore £6.99 aldi.co.uk/lil…300
Girls patent leather shoes £6.99 aldi.co.uk/bow…600
Girls leather shoes £6.99 aldi.co.uk/lil…501
Boys shoe – trainers £6.99 aldi.co.uk/act…901
lightweight trainers £5.99 aldi.co.uk/chi…500
all sizes and variety of colours available instore from this Thursday 11th July. Items can be pre-ordered online now where stock is available and free delivery applies to orders of £20.

Acton Market

Action West London Acton market

  • Date:Saturday 7 January 2017 – Sunday 1 December 2019
  • Recurring:Every week
  • Location:The Mount, Acton W3 8SB – outside Morrisons
  • Time: 9am – 5.30 pm
  • Cost: Free entry
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  • Loads of goodies

Acton market sells a wide variety of goods including take away ethnic food, arts, crafts, jewelery, homemade cards, clothes, shoes, bags, and stalls selling fresh groceries such as fruit and veg.

Acton Street market is run by Action West London, local charity and social enterprise. There are 30 stalls set up every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Shopping at the market you are supporting local traders and local charity, Action West London