Last cheap retailer order dates, Child Trust Fund boost, £27 Soap & Glory bundle, Thorntons code and more. These are Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.
Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.
Web Exclusive: £48 for a year’s Thorpe Park entry
It’s closed until March, but if you plan to visit Thorpe Park in 2014, its £48 annual pass is a winner IF you visit at least twice.
Even using a 2for1 voucher or by booking ahead, entry to Thorpe Park still costs about £25, so the savings with the £48 pass start to pile up with every visit after the first two. Just buy it online, print the confirmation and take it to Thorpe Park after it re-opens in March 2014 to exchange it for your pass.
LAST ORDERS! Retailers’ pre-Christmas order dates
While online shops never close, the key is when the shutters start being pulled for delivery. The last free or cheapest Christmas order dates are starting to hit, so if you’re planning to shop online – sooner is cheaper.
This Sunday (15 December) is when Early Learning Centre’s cheapest £2.95 delivery ends, after that it’s £6.95. Or if you live near a store, you can have it sent there for free when you order by 2pm on Monday 23 December.
2pm on Tuesday (17 December) is the last day you can get free delivery from Ann Summers, after that it’s £4.95. Thorntons’ cheapest delivery costing £3.95 also ends at 4pm that day - after that it goes up to £6.95. Meanwhile, Tesco Direct’s cheapest £3 delivery cost for small items ends Tuesday (17 December), after that it’s £5.95 or free to store when you order by 3pm on Sunday 22 December.
Next Wednesday (18 December) is the big day for many ending, meaning this weekend is key order time. Amazon’s free delivery ends on the 18 December, after that delivery prices rise as high as £14.99, unless you’ve Amazon Prime. That’s the same day that House of Fraser, Debenhams, Urban Outfitters, WHSmith and more all end their ‘free or cheapest’ delivery. After that, the end dates come in thick and fast, though many retailers do offer slightly later cheap or free delivery to store only, so do check first.
Also, if you’re posting prezzies yourself, the last standard Royal Mail posting dates are Wednesday 18 December for 2nd class items and Friday 20 December for 1st class items. After this, you’ll pay a hefty price.
Warning. In previous years, the harsh winter weather has seen some firms change their last order dates. So always keep track of whether this could happen again and plan accordingly.
Boost Child Trust Funds…
Six million children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011 have money in the now defunct Child Trust Funds. These were replaced by Junior ISAs (which, are available to children born before or after those dates).
Rather disappointingly, the Chancellor didn’t respond to pleas of many people to merge Child Trust Funds in with their replacement in last week's Autumn Statement – leaving many kids’ money languishing in uncompetitive accounts in a closed market.
If your child has a savings Child Trust Fund, check the rate now. While the money’s locked in until they're 18, you can transfer it to earn more. The top payer's Yorkshire BSat 3% AER (including a year's 0.7% bonus - so it’ll drop after that). Meanwhile Skipton pays 2.65% AER – without a bonus.
Under-18s born before September 2002 or on or after 3 January 2011 can save £3,720 tax-free in junior ISAs during the 2013/14 tax year. The top payer here is Coventry BS at 3.25% AER.
· The best-paying children's account is Halifax's Kids' Regular Saver at a fixed 6% AER, if you pay in £10-£100/month for a year. While it's not a tax-free account, as most kids don't earn enough to pay tax, that's rarely an issue.
Martin's Quick Deals
£27 Soap & Glory bundle. This is the one deal hunters wait for, so you’ll need to be incredibly quick tomorrow (Friday 13 December) to get the Boots Soap & Glory Yule Monty set for £27 online and in-store. The set includes hand cream, body lotion and loads more, and normally costs £60. Delivery's £2.95, or free to collect in-store.
Up to 70% off kids’ annuals. Annuals make great stocking fillers, and you can currently get up to 70% off about 50 kids' titles online at WHSmith. It includes Beano, Horrible Histories and The Simpsons, which are all priced at £2.40 rather than the usual £8, online at WHSmith. Delivery's £2.99 or free to collect in-store.
Thorntons 25% off everything. Enter the code LMCS online at Thorntons by Sunday 15 December to get 25% off all items, including discounted items and other offers, such as 3for2 on Christmas gifts. Delivery's £3.95. While this code is good for bulk buying, unless you're spending at least £16, it's cheaper to buy in-store and avoid the delivery charge.