Ten kids' books for a tenner and claim back on Southern Rail travel
Free £35 and top 0% deal too, Southern rail money back, £1 kids’ books and restaurant vouchers. 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 £35 and up to 28mth 0% spending if you need it
There’s no cheaper way to borrow than by using a 0% spending card – put your planned, budgeted-for purchase (eg, new sofa or car insurance, and not simply filling income gaps) on it, then clear the card before the 0% ends and you've borrowed for free. And right now the competition is so hot some lenders are giving you cashback on top – so effectively paying you to borrow. So you can choose to just use the card for your normal spending and repay in FULL to get the free money, or done right you can borrow at absolutely no cost.
Each application marks your credit file though, so first use Martin’s 0% eligibility calculator to see if you’re likely to be accepted for each top card, thus letting you hone in on YOUR top deal.
As for what’s out there. The new AA card gives accepted new cardholders up to 28 months 0% (only one month shorter than the longest 0% card available), and if you spend at least £500 in the first 60 days it’ll give you £35 cashback on top. Alternatively, Sainsbury’s Bank gives the longest 29 months 0% and if you spend minimum £250 within 40 days you’ll get 5,000 Nectar points, worth at least £25. Or New Barclaycard cardholders can get up to 25 months 0% and £20 cashback if they spend £500+ within 60 days.
If you do get a 0% spending card, and want to use it for borrowing, always follow these golden rules...
Be very careful with new borrowing, minimise the amount, plan it, budget for the repayments and ensure its affordable – if in doubt, don’t
Never miss or be late paying at least the monthly min, or you can lose the 0% (and always stick within credit limit)
Clear the card in full by the end of the deal or the rate jumps to 18.9%-19.9% rep APR
These cards are usually ONLY cheap for spending, not balance transfers or cash withdrawals - so avoid
Travel on Southern Rail? You could claim some of your season ticket money back
If you’ve suffered long delays or cancelled trains with Southern Rail, there’s a chance you may be able to claim some of the money you’ve paid for your season ticket back. This is after American Express refunded one traveller half of the cost of his season ticket back (around £2,400), due to the fact that 50% of his journeys had been delayed or cancelled.
This is all due to Section 75 rules, which mean if you pay or part-pay for something on a credit card for something that costs between £100-£30,000, even if it was just a penny, then the credit card company is JOINTLY liable along with retailers (so in this case Southern Rail) for making sure that customers receive the goods or services they paid for. Which means you don’t have to go to Southern Rail first if you’re unhappy. And I think there’s an outside chance this could pave the way for a huge number of claims to credit card companies by disgruntled Southern season ticket holders.
That’s because if you complain to a credit card firm and it rejects you – you can go to the financial ombudsman which looks at standard industry practice – so if some card firms start to pay out there is a chance all will. If you’re affected you may want to try it, there are section 75 claim templates online that can help.
10 kids’ book for £10
Go online to bookseller The Works and you can mix and match 10 selected kids' books (there’s 180 to choose from) for £10. Individually, many of these book cost £2 or more. There’s no end date on this offer, and the discount will automatically be applied at checkout, though delivery's £2.99, or you can collect for free in-store. A few examples of what's included is Dustbin Dad (next cheapest £4.61 at Wordery), Meg & Mog: Meg's Veg (next cheapest £5.16 at Wordery) and Peppa Pig Goes On Holiday next cheapest £4.31 at Wordery).
Plus, from 8am Monday (23 January), children’s bookseller Scholastic has more than 150 popular kids’ books from £1 each until 11.59pm Friday 27 January – £1 books include Barbie Mariposa & Fairy Princess (normally £4.99), Gruffalo Activity Book (normally £3.99), Minions: Evil Panic (normally £4.99) and Peppa Pig: Treasure Hunt! (normally £5.99). Though there’s a minimum £10 spend on books, plus a £3 delivery charge.
And of course there’s always the library.
2for1 restaurant vouchers
With the Christmas rush over restaurants now need to fill empty tables, so they’re pumping out some hot vouchers to get you in – as with all vouchers, make sure you check the T&Cs. Register with Ask Italian, Frankie & Benny's or Bella Italia and you’ll get a voucher for 50% off all main courses every day except Saturday until Wednesday 25 January (Ask Italian) until Tuesday 31 January (Frankie & Benny’s) and until Monday 6 February (Bella Italia). You can print or show the vouchers on your smartphone. Or register with Vouchercloud and you’ll be sent a voucher (print or show on your smartphone) to get 2for1 every day for £1 on main courses Carluccio’s until Wednesday 8 February.