Posts Tagged ‘free stuff’


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  • Dec
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Free ‘stuff’ or ‘freebies’ as they call it on the Internet, are easier to come by than you might imagine. Various websites – just search for “internet freebies” on any search engine – will offer you anything from eight to twenty new freebies a day. This could be free product samples, movie, festival or show tickets, services of any kind, massive discounts on goods and the chance to win products.

Cash in on internet freebies

In the UK there are many websites dedicated entirely to free samples and services. The abundance of sites has ignited a revolution that raised the bar for quality products and variety on offer.

While you will be surprised to see how many suppliers are keen to give away samples and special offers, the rule of the “free lunch” still applies. You will always be required to give something back, whether this involves completing a questionnaire, consenting to receiving product information or passing on the names and email addresses of friends and families.

What can you get?
Anything and everything. Name it and you can get a ‘free’ sample online.  Start at A and think athletic gear, accessories and automotive parts. Think C and its clothing and computers, P and its product samples, W and its web stuff, weddings, winning and – the list is never ending.

Freebie categories:
All freebies are not exactly free. Many can be classified as discount deals. They come in various forms and are mostly, but not limited to, the list below:

* 2-4-1, 3-4-2 and similar deals.

* Competitions entries (also known as sweepstakes) – mostly with extremely good odds to win. To save time, make use of programmes like Roboform (www.roboform.com) which is a safe and free program to auto complete entry forms.

* Percentage discount deals – up to 99.9%.

* Vouchers- Also known as coupons, they bring massive savings if managed diligently.

* Samples- They will be delivered to your house and sometimes you need to write a short survey note. They are easy to find on the net, but follow experienced bloggers who are already devoted to finding the best ones.

* Trial memberships- New users or old user with a ‘fresh’ address and credit card can normally get a free month of freebies. But remember to cancel your new memberships before the trial period ends.

* Participation in surveys – This can take time, but it’s worth the effort if the freebie or payment is what you’re really after.

The pitfalls:
While most freebie websites will offer you up to two freebies and bargain offers every day and an additional email on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays updating you on the latest free samples and competitions just to make sure you do not miss anything, it can be just too much, especially if you subscribe to a few sites and alerts. Be prepared to have an inbox filled with emails – not all equally useful.

Furthermore – in almost all applications for Internet freebies you will also have to supply your email and home address, home phone number and mobile number, so the obvious annoyances you can bargain on are:

* Spam – in your email and mobile phone inbox.

* Junk mail – not only in you email inbox but also at your front door through snail mail.

* Questionnaires – In 99% of cases you will only qualify for the freebie if you part with personal information and give your opinion on the product. This can be time consuming and cumbersome.

* Phone calls – once you part with your details it is inevitable that you will get the odd phone call (some times a tiresome amount) with salespersons touting product and service offerings.

Manage it:
In these somber times any such savings are welcome. So managing your access to the best sites and their access to your inbox are of vital importance. These basic rules may help:

* Bookmark the best web pages – If you find after a few weeks the specific website it of no profit, delete these from your bookmarks.

* Manage your subscriptions to newsletters and alerts – alerts are delivered to you inbox for free, but remember, if after a week or two you are not gaining any upside from it, unsubscribe.

* Write ‘Return to Sender’ on unwanted snail mail and repost it. If you continue to receive the spam snail mail, you will have to write a letter.

* If you receive unwanted phone calls, make it clear that they are not appreciated and hang up.

While the pitfalls of Internet freebies can be annoying to some, the upside remains that you could cash in on really great discounts, free products and services.

Piet Van Niekerk - Image Written by : Piet Van Niekerk - Signature
Maike Currie is deputy personal finance editor of Investors Chronicle, an FT publication. She is the author of The Search For Income, a comprehensive book on investing for income in a low interest rate environment.

For press enquiries, please visit our Media Centre page.

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After an endless winter, summer is finally on its way and all the goodies it brings along with it. Summer is of course the start of festival season, from rock festivals to arts & crafts, there are events going on across the UK for people of all ages.

The economy has not been too kind to our wallets over the past couple of years, and with the forecast pretty gloomy, most people are looking to find a way to enjoy themselves without spending a fortune.

Festivals are great fun, but finding one that won’t do any damage to your bank balance can be pretty tough. Fortunately, at Compareandsave.com, we have compiled a list of the best festivals from up and down the country that won’t cost you a single penny!

Britain on a Shoestring...North London

Music Festivals
The UK is home to some famous music festivals, including Glastonbury, V Festival, Reading & Leeds, but a weekend ticket can cost well over £100. Don’t splash the cash this summer instead why not check out some of the fantastic free music festivals that the UK has on offer?

Monmouth Festival 2012

This year is the 30th year of the incredible Monmouth Festival/ G?yl Trefynwy. This is one of the biggest free festivals in Europe and attracts thousands of people from all around the world for its nine day spectacular. The festival celebrates both international and local musicians playing all types of music from rock to jazz to folk music, here, anything goes.

Date: 17 August – 25 August 2012 Web: http://www.monmouthfestival.co.uk/

Food Festivals

British food deserves to be celebrated, and that’s exactly what we do. Up and down the country there are food festivals galore this summer. Many of the events on are ticketed or have an entry fee, but there are a few festivals which are free and great fun for the whole family. Try something a little different this year and check out the free food festivals on offer.

Chilli Fest

There are two Chilli Fests this year, the Tomato & Chilli Mini Fest and the Great Shoreham Chilli Fest; both events are free to the public. Although named the Chilli Fest there is still plenty to enjoy even if you’re not a huge fan of chillies.

For chilli lovers, these festivals are heaven, there will be plenty to sample, from curries to salsas, beers to cocktails, and ice creams to chocolate.

Date: 14 & 15 July and 18 August 2012 Web: http://www.chillifest.net

Stamford Feast 2012

If chilli really isn’t your thing, perhaps you would be more interest in the Stamford Feast, which is one of many big lunches going on this June to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This particular multicultural community food event is free for everyone to enjoy.

Showcasing over 100 food and drink producers and demonstrations from renowned chefs, there is something for here for everyone at the Stamford Feast 2012.

Date: 4 June 2012 Web: http://www.visitstamford.com/feast

Arts Festivals

Festivals aren’t all about listening to music or stuffing your face full of food, there are some fantastic arts festivals going on all around the country. These festivals are usually a great day out for the whole family, and with free entry you can’t go wrong!

Edinburgh Fringe

One of the most famous and biggest arts festivals in the world is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe which runs for three weeks in August. Hundreds of performers will be hitting stages all around the Scottish capital putting on musicals, dances, operas, comedy shows and more.

Tickets for the main festival can cost quite a bit of money but there are a number of organisations which provide free events. For example, the Free Fringe which has just expanded its programme to include more performances than ever before

Date: 3 -27 August 2012 Web: http://freefringe.org.uk and http://www.edfringe.com/

Woodfest Wales

After 10 years of the Woodfest Wales festival it has been moved to the Kinmel Park Estate due to outgrowing its previous location. Woodfest is completely free to enter and also provides a free shuttle bus from St. Asaph and Bodelwyddan for those without their own transport.

The festival is dedicated to celebrating the skills of traditional craftsmen. You can see demonstrations of new forest equipment; buy sculptures and other goods, which are produced by skilled artisans.

Date: 2-4 June 2012 Web: http://www.woodfestwales.co.uk

Jemma Porter - Image Written by : Jemma Porter - Signature

Jemma is a news & research reporter for compareandsave.com.Having worked as a journalist on a number of personal finance websites; she now spends time researching and commenting on UK personal finance stories and investigating new ways to help our readers save money.For press enquiries, please visit our Media Centre page.

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Section 75 Guide

Every now and then we mention Section 75 with reference to the protection credit cards offer consumers, but what is it? Well, being the diligent money savers we know you are you’ve probably been reading up elsewhere on the intricacies of the Consumer Credit Act, but in case you haven’t (or you’ve only read what you want to hear) we’ve pulled together a quick Savvy Shopper guide to our favourite section.

What is Section 75?

Section 75 means that the credit card provider must protect any goods you buy for over the value of £100 completely free of charge because they have equal responsibility with the retailer. This law, implemented in the 1970s, applies when you spend between £100 and £30,000 on a credit card.

“75. — (1) If the debtor under a debtor-creditor-supplier agreement falling within section 12(b) or (c) has, in relation to a transaction financed by the agreement, any claim against the supplier in respect of a misrepresentation or breach of contract, he shall have a like claim against the creditor, who, with the supplier, shall accordingly be jointly and severally liable to the debtor.”

Why does Section 75 exist (A history lesson)?

Prior to the enactment of Consumer Credit Act 1974, legislation covering consumer credit in the UK was disjointed and piecemeal. It focused on specific areas of credit and lending rather than taking a holistic view of the credit industry.

In 1971 Lord Crowther (fresh from advising the government to raise the school leaving age to 16) was commissioned to advice on UK consumer credit law. His Committee on Consumer Credit advised for the need of sweeping changes; the abolition of previous legislation and the harmonisation of credit legislation hence forth. As part of these reforms, and largely to protect against unscrupulous hire-purchase operators, “The Crowther Committee also suggest that defective goods bought under a loan agreement linked to purchase should become the responsibility of the lender.”

In presenting the bill to Parliament Baroness Phillips drew attention to cases highlighted by the Daily Mirror in 1973 where “…families had bought home freezers. Before these appliances were even delivered the firm supplying them had collapsed. The unfortunate clients then discovered that they were committed to pay for the next three years, under a moneylender’s agreement, for articles which they had never received.”

Despite the general election in 1974, the Consumer Credit Act passed quickly through Parliament thanks to support from both the minority Labour government and the opposition, coming into law on 31 July 1974 and we’ve had Section 75 ever since.

What can I buy?

Absolutely anything. It doesn’t matter whether you are booking a holiday, buying a computer, or ordering a new kitchen. As long as the value of the goods is between £100 and £30,000 and purchased using a credit card you should be protected under Section 75. However, sometimes it isn’t quite as simple as this as you will find out below.

When can I put Section 75 to use?

Technically, Section 75 can be applied when a supplier breaches the contract with the consumer, generally when they have failed to meet the Sale of Goods Act.

In times of economic uncertainty there are stories of companies going bust left, right and centre, particularly in the travel and holiday industry. However, if you are paying for your goods with a credit card, you don’t need to worry about losing your cash as the credit card provider have to give you a refund.

Section 75 doesn’t just come into use when businesses go bust, it provides the same legal protection if you have received faulty goods, they are not as described, or your goods have simply not been delivered. If the value of the goods was more than £100 and paid for with a credit card, the credit card company is equally responsible for the breach in contract as the supplier.

This amazing piece of consumer protection gives you the right to receive a refund within 6 years in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and 5 years in Scotland. What’s more, you don’t even have to have paid the full amount on your credit card to receive a full refund as part payments are covered by the Act.

For example, let’s say you buy a car worth £5,000, £10,000, or even £29,999, and pay the initial deposit on your credit card. If there was a problem with the purchase, or the company went bust, you could claim the full cost of the car under Section 75 even though you only spent £100 on your credit card.

Remember: always keep your receipts as well as credit card statements to make any potential claims easier.

Although credit card transactions are the most common things to be claimed back under Section 75, it does also provide protection for store cards, hire-purchase agreements, and in some cases other credit agreements such as car loans.

Since 2007 the same protection applies when goods have been purchased abroad as the House of Lords ruled that the Act did not have any limits on territory, and therefore goods from foreign suppliers would also be covered by Section 75.

What doesn’t Section 75 cover?

Although Section 75 of the Act might sound like a piece of protection that can make you invincible, it does rely on a direct relationship between you and the credit card provider. If there are any additional steps in the buying process, Section 75 might not apply. Here are some examples of when you might not be covered under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Third parties

If you are using a payment system to complete the transaction (PayPal, WorldPay, Google Checkout) there is not a direct relationship between you can the credit card issuer. It is important to consider the likelihood of anything going wrong when adding a third party, as although PayPal does offer protection to its buyers, it is not as effective as Section 75. Using third party payment systems is not always a bad idea as they often offer additional protection for purchases under £100.

Travel agents

Booking a holiday is usually a huge expense and so is often booked with a credit card, but if you have paid for your trip via a travel agent you might not be covered under Section 75. In this situation the travel agents are classed as an obstacle between you and the credit card provider. If this has happened to you, it is worth checking out who owns the travel agent and whether you paid the airline directly or not. This information could give you a chance of claiming.

Additional Credit Cards

If you’ve got additional cards on your account for spouses, partners or children etc, the purchases they make might not be covered under section 75. If they have made a purchase that have faltered and you want to claim under section 75 you will need to demonstrate that the purchase provides a benefit to the you as the primary cardholder. So what is benefit? A lovely birthday present would probably qualify, but the pair of Jimmy Choo’s your daughter has bought for herself are unlikely to qualify (no matter how much joy you get from seeing her smile whilst she’s wearing them!).

Saavy Shoppers use Section 75!

So now you know the ups and the downs of Section 75 you should be a Saavyer shopper. Of course you need to follow the rules to get the benefits, but if you do it could be the best perk you’ve ever had. Happy Shopping!

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Today, May 3rd 2011, marks the launch of the new exclusive Orange Cash Prepaid MasterCard exclusive on CompareandSave.com. The first 2,500 applicants get the card for FREE (normally £5), with £5 preloaded on the card ready for you to spend for free.

This card is ideal for first-time card users or people looking to budget and take control of their finances. I applied for one for that very reason, allowing myself to pay my spending money on to it each month so that I know exactly what I am allowed to spend. I am terrible at making my money last the month, let alone saving anything and, as I’m looking to move house later this year, I thought it would be a good idea to do something proactive. I use it purely as a more-secure, cash alternative for my day-to-day spending.

The fact there is no transaction fee on this card makes it ideal to use as an alternative to cash. Just load it up and away you go. It is also the first major contactless prepaid MasterCard on the market which is a nice little extra if, like me, you are a bit of a geek who likes a gadget.  You simply hold your card up to the contactless reader and pay for purchases of £15 and under without having to use cash or enter a PIN.

An extra perk for Orange mobile users is special rewards to be used on Pay As You Go mobile phones. You earn one Orange prepaid reward point for every £1 spent using the card. Users can redeem their rewards online for free texts, airtime, credit on Orange Pay As You Go phones or vouchers to be used in Orange shops.

So, to sum up, this great new Orange Cash Prepaid MasterCard offers:

•    New, easy-to-use contactless Orange Cash prepaid MasterCard allows customers to make faster payments
•    Orange Cash Prepaid MasterCard customers on Orange Pay As You Go earn points which are redeemable against a great range of rewards
•    MasterCard PayPass Contactless card technology allows users to quickly make purchases of £15 or under

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The “best” bank accounts differ for one consumer to the next, so what is best for you may not be best for someone else. Packaged bank accounts give you extra benefits in return for a monthly fee. Those benefits typically include things like travel insurance, breakdown cover, authorised overdraft, mobile phone insurance, and the accumulation of air miles. Packaged accounts usually cost £12 to £25 per month, or £144 to £300 per year.

You have to ask yourself if you need the perks that are included with packaged bank accounts, and if so, if you could get them cheaper elsewhere. For example, if all you need is simple breakdown and roadside assistance cover, you can get a basic policy from AA for around £28 per year, so there wouldn’t be much sense in paying £300 per year for a packaged account. Also, you do not necessarily have to have a packaged bank account to get an arranged overdraft, so be sure to ask at banks you’re considering.

The fact is, you’ll have a hard time beating inflation with your savings rate whether you go with a packaged savings account or not. As of mid-February 2011, the top instant access account is the Post Office Online Savings account, which pays 2.9% AER for 12 months and offers unlimited withdrawals.

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If you or your child is looking for a young persons’ bank account, there are certainly plenty to choose from. Banks offer excellent banking deals to teens in order to establish a long term relationship that they hope will see them look after their further financial needs as adults.

Fierce competition between banks means that there are plenty of benefits to young people looking for their first bank account. Don’t take an account unless it offers these five benefits:

1. Credit interest

The best bank accounts will pay interest on any credit balance. Make sure you compare bank accounts thoroughly to find out what rates of interest are on offer. And if you or your children aren’t working, make sure you register to receive your interest without any tax being deducted.

2. Debit card

If you are looking for a good young person’s bank account, expect it to offer a debit card. This can be used for cash withdrawals from ATMs, as well as for purchases in shops and online.

3. Online banking

The best bank accounts all offer telephone and/or online banking. This makes it easy to check your balance and to manage your account at the click of a mouse. Some banks also offer mobile banking whereby you can sign up to receive text message banking alerts.

4. Incentives/perks

Banks are keen to attract teenage banking customers. Consequently, many will offer excellent incentives and free gifts to applicants. These can range from Young Persons’ Railcards to discounts on driving lessons or free music downloads.

5. No charges

When you compare bank accounts, make sure that you take any charges into account. It should be possible to find a young persons’ bank account that doesn’t charge any monthly fees. Check also what fees are charged for going overdrawn or for other standard banking services.

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You may have noticed bank accounts offering free money each month and wondered what the catch is. Basically, you have to deposit an amount (with Halifax Rewards, it’s £1,000) every month in order to get the free money. If your take-home pay is £15,000 or greater, just put your salary in the bank every month and you’ll satisfy this requirement.

You do not want to go overdrawn on these accounts, because the overdraft charges are high. Though banks like Halifax say that the £5 per month is a permanent feature, it does have the right to stop payments if it so chooses. And if that happens, you can switch current accounts if you want.

If you should miss a month’s £1,000 minimum, it’s no big deal (unless you go overdrawn). You simply miss out on that month’s £5 reward. The money is deposited as “after tax,” which means that if you are a non-tax payer, you can claim extra. Conversely, if you are a higher rate payer, you may have to pay more tax via your tax return at year’s end.

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If you compare bank accounts, you can sometimes reap some nice rewards for your efforts, such as the free fiver a month from the Halifax Reward bank account.

Every month that you deposit £1,000 or more, you get £5 added to your account – for FREE. The £5 figure is a net amount, with the gross being £6.25, with 20% tax taken off to get the £5 figure.

Like many of the best bank accounts this one offers numerous perks, including arranged and unarranged overdrafts with very easy-to-understand fee structures (£1 per day for amounts under £2,500 and £2 per day for amounts over £2,500 and unarranged overdraft at a cost of £5 per day), telephone banking, internet banking and a Visa debit card.

Before switching, have a good look at your current banking habits because they will help determine which account is best for you. For example, if you tend to go overdrawn regularly, you need to pick an account with a low overdraft rate. But if you usually remain in credit and only use your overdraft for emergencies, you’ll want a current account that pays the highest interest rate on a positive account balance.

Overdraft charges have been a major sticking point for millions of bank customers for years, and many smaller banks are now competing for new business by offering perks like 0% overdraft fees for a period of time, or a flat rate for overdrafts so you don’t have the nasty surprise of a huge fee if you unexpectedly go overdrawn.

Whether packaged bank accounts are worth the monthly fee is a call only you can make. Low overdraft fees, and extras like breakdown cover and travel insurance, may be well worthwhile depending on your circumstances. You simply have to add up the fees for packaged accounts for a year and see if you could purchase those same extras yourself for less.

Switching bank accounts is easy and, with many banks, you can do it right online, so there’s no real incentive for sticking with the account you have if it isn’t giving you the most for your money. Often, switching bank accounts can save you a substantial sum over the course of a year.

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  • Nov
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Make sure that when you take steps to reduce your gas and electric consumption you don’t fall for common myths about achieving lower energy bills. Here are 3 of them:

1. When an appliance is switched off, it’s not drawing electricity.

This used to be true, but is no longer correct. Many of today’s appliances draw small amounts of power simply by being plugged in, with the plug socket switched to ‘on’. Some of them use as much plugged in as they do turned on. You have to unplug these devices or use a special turn-off device (like the LIME Energy Saving Plug) to keep them from drawing electricity when switched off.

2. Leaving lights, appliances, and computers on uses less energy than turning them off and on and helps them last longer.

This used to be true, but it’s not as accurate with today’s designs. The tiny power surge when some devices are turned on is significantly less than the energy used running the device when it isn’t needed. Plus, cycling appliances off and on does not reduce the lifetime of modern devices.

3. Washing dishes in the sink is more efficient than using the dishwasher.

This is actually true if you only have two or three things to wash. But, with a countertop full of dishes, you’ll save water and heat if you use the dishwasher instead.

Follow these tips, and remember to compare gas and electric to see that you’re getting the best rate for maximum savings on your energy bills.

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Packaged bank accounts are current accounts offering benefits for a monthly fee that usually ranges from £5 to £25 per month. Sometimes they offer benefits in excess of what they charge in fees that may be worthwhile depending on your needs.

Here are 3 reasons paying extra for packaged bank accounts may be worth it for you:

1. Breakdown cover

Many packaged bank accounts include breakdown cover in the benefits package and, if you do a lot of driving, this may well be worthwhile.

2. Travel insurance

If you travel more than once per year, it is often cheaper to buy an annual travel insurance policy than to buy single trip insurance. With many of the packaged bank accounts available today, annual couple’s travel insurance is included as a benefit. For frequent travellers, this alone may be worth the fees.

3. Better borrowing rates

Some packaged bank accounts provide preferential rates on credit cards and unsecured loans – some even offer preferential mortgage rates. With the mortgages, these often represent some of the best deals around so, if you’re considering buying a house, the monthly fees could be money well spent over the long term.

As with all banking, you should compare bank accounts before signing up, particularly if you’re considering choosing a packaged bank account so you can compare fees and benefits.

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