Free wills and cheap Christmas train tickets

Free wills, Xmas beauty advent calendars, cheap Xmas train tickets, ‘free’ Ikea gift and beat the TalkTalk price rise . These are our 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.

Free wills – you’re going to die, ensure you minimise the impact on your love ones.
Die will-less and your affairs can be in limbo for years. So whatever your age, if you've assets eg, a house, savings, or a business, and people or others you'd like to look after, consider making a will. If not, as Hollie emailed: "Two years on I'm dealing with the fallout from mum not having a will. Please get a will."

This is even more important if you live with your partner but aren’t married or in a civil partnership. Your partner has no status under law – if you die they may not get the house or even the kids – even if you've been together 37 years and have 6 children.

Making a will can be costly. The gold standard is a solicitor drafted will. There’s full help in Martin’s ‘Free and cheap wills’ guide running through all the options. Right now though there’s two big schemes on.

- October is Free Wills month in over 50 locations across England, Wales and Scotland, though go quick as appointments are scarce. It covers simple wills. You’ll need to be over 55 for this (or if a couple making mirror wills, one over 55). The scheme is run by charities in the hope you’ll leave it a bequest – something in your will – though you don’t have to. Just enter your postcode on the Free Wills website and then call one of the solicitors close to you who are taking part to book an appointment.

- Then next month is Will Aid, which is larger, open to all ages, and is across the UK, including Northern Ireland. The website lets you chose a solicitor to book an appointment, though do tell it you’re calling as part of the Will Aid scheme. Here solicitors give their time in the hope you’ll make a donation of around £95 (£150 for couples) that’s split across nine charities they support including Action Aid, NSPCC and the British Red Cross. Donate online before your appointment, and print out the receipt to take with you to the solicitors to show you’ve made it. If you can’t afford it, you can give less, don’t game it though as it is a charity event.

Christmas beauty advent calendars

Many stores have been releasing their Christmas advent calendars, and while it’s a fun way to count down to Christmas, they’re an even better MoneySaving way to stock up on stocking fillers – as you can split the contents across multiple gifts. Here’s a rundown of the best one I’ve seen.

- Boots currently has its £25 Sanctury Spa calendar with bath, body, face, and hand products, along with candles, toe dividers and a heart shaped cookie cutter. If bought separately, the bath and skincare products alone (not including candles, toe dividers, cookie cutter etc) would be worth £37 based on full-sized products. Yet the big one at Boots is its No 7 Advent calendar that costs £39. It’s not out yet – Boots say it’ll be released Wednesday 26 October, but it goes very quickly, so set a diary reminder if you want it. It’ll have around £150 worth of stuff in it such as eyeshadow, mascara, nail polish, eyelash curlers and a whole host of face care products.

- The Body Shop has three beauty advent calendars on sale, the cheapest is £60 with £106 worth of stuff (based on full price though codes on body shop are common). It includes full-size 200ml body butter (worth £14), lip butters (worth £4) and nail polishes (worth £5).

- Other calendars include Tanya Burr 12-day advent calendar for £15 at Superdrug with contents worth £33ish, L'Occitane calendar for £42 with contents worth over £80 and Studio 12 day advent calendar for £8 with contents worth £12.

Martin’s Quickies:

Book Xmas trains now: Train firms must launch timetables at least 12 weeks ahead, and tickets are usually made available within a couple of weeks of that. So with Christmas now 10 weeks away, now’s the perfect time to try and bag cheap tickets for the festive season. The savings can be huge, for example, I’ve found an off-peak journey from London to York on 23 December for £12.50 (it could be around £100 on the day). Sign up to TheTrainline’s ticket alert system, and you’ll get an email when cheap advance tickets for that specific journey come on sale.

‘Free’ gift when you scan a loyalty card at Ikea: Until Sunday 20 November Ikea’s prize draw, where everyone will win something, is returning. Prizes include a 60p hot dog, a £3.50 mirror, a £7 table lamp, a £50 to £1,000 gift card, a family photo shoot, or a family trip to Sweden with £500 spending money. You’ll need the ‘Ikea family card’; if you don’t have one, just grab one in store. Then use it when you pay. In the unlikely event you’re at Ikea and you decide you’re not buying anything, the cheapest item there is a 35p mug. It’s running at all stores except Croydon, Tottenham, Aberdeen, Westfield Stratford City and Norwich. You can also see if old receipts have won from 26 September.

Beat the TalkTalk price rise: From 4 November TalkTalk is rising its prices by up to £33/year for around 3 million customers. Those with broadband will see prices rise from £7.50/month to £9/month, line rental from £17.70/month to £18.95/month, and TV from £10/month to £11.50/month. But it's possible to beat the hikes – you could ask it to switch you to a cheaper 'fixed low price plan', you can quit your contract penalty-free as long as you tell it within 30 days of receiving your letter about the price hike, or if you don’t want to leave then this is the perfect opportunity for you to haggle. Call it up and ask it to give you a better deal. If it says no, then tell it you’re going to leave and ask to be put through to disconnections, known internally as ‘customer retentions’. As their job is to keep you, they have much greater discretion to give you better deals, and if they don’t then you can leave fee-free.

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