How to save £50 off iPhone 6s

With the recent announcement and release of the iPhone 6s, there’s the usual rush to buy the latest and greatest device. But there’s an easy way to save yourself a bit of money off the list price.

The 128gb iPhone 6s costs £699 if you buy it direct from Apple. But did you know that other retailers are also selling it for that price too?

Well, if you sign up for and use TopCashback and search for Very (the UK online retailer), at the time of writing you can secure between 7% and 8% cashback. On a £699 phone, that’s close to £50.

It’s exactly the same phone that you would have ordered from Apple or other retailers, and is completely brand new – only it’ll cost you less using this route. Simple! The only slight drawback is that they have slightly longer delivery times than going direct to Apple – but that’s to be expected with a phone that only began retailing last week.

Note: TopCashback isn’t the only cashback site offering these high cashback rates. QuidCo offers something similar – so it’s worth checking between the two to see which one offers the best rate.

UPDATE – actually, I’ve just had it pointed out to me that Quidco don’t pay cashback on VAT, so the actual price would be more like: £658.26

Part time rail season tickets

I have a cynical supposition that the rail companies continue to talk about part time season tickets but never actually commit to introducing them because they believe it’ll cost them too much to set up or lose them too much money in lost revenue.

My particular issue with this is that all season tickets are based on 7 days of travel, yet in my experience, the majority of season tickets are used to commute to and from a place of work. The fact that these tickets are based on 7 days of unlimited travel along a particular route means that for many, the weekend days of travel are completely unnecessary and in effect any season ticket holders are subsidising the cost of those weekend travellers.

If you think that a typical commuter might only need to travel to and from their place of work on weekdays – ie Monday to Friday – then surely the rail companies should now be in a position to offer a season ticket that is 5/7 the cost of a full-week season ticket. For them not to do this smacks of profiteering in my mind.

The situation is further shown to be grossly unfair when you consider part time workers – and this can include flexible working individuals, return-to-work mothers, working parents, etc. and anyone else that maybe doesn’t work a traditional working week. In this case, they may not even need the 5 days of weekday travel that I was arguing for above, but have no option but to either buy individual tickets or a full week’s season ticket. They may work a fixed pattern of days and therefore should surely be able to benefit from a season ticket that fits that pattern.

In my own case, for example, working 3 days a week in London means it’s just not viable to buy a season ticket for the cost of this travel. Why can’t I be allowed to buy a ticket for those fixed 3 days of travel, instead of paying for 4 days of travel I’ll never use? With today’s mobile tickets, Oyster card system, contactless payments and other advances in ticketing and payment, I can’t believe there’s a valid reason not to offer this flexible approach to pricing.

A BBC report ( suggested that flexible tickets and travel cards would be launched (in London) from January 2015, but I’ve seen no sign of these yet. And the Guardian also reported around the same time, with the Campaign for Better Transport calling on the government to “honour its pledge” to introduce flexible season tickets ( Despite the news apparently suggesting something might be happening soon, there’s still no news about what might change.

Flexible and part-time season tickets aside, there’s also the enormous cost of travel that needs to be taken into consideration too. An annual season ticket from Chester to London costs nearly £13,000! And that’s before the cost of travelling to/from the station and home, and any onward travel once in London. The actual cost is £12,844 (at the time of writing) – use National Rail’s season ticket calculator here: to see the options. The calculator helpfully tells me the average journey price is £26.75 – but this wrongly assumes 480 journeys per year (2 per day), whereas in reality a part time or flexible worker working 3 days a week, would make ‘just’ 288 journeys. With this number of journeys, if we were able to use the same average journey price of £26.75 the part time season ticket would cost £7,706.40 – so whilst not cheap, it’s still over £5,000 less than the full-week ticket.

Without that flexibility, it means many just can’t afford to use a season ticket and instead have to go through a complicated process of attempting to secure the cheapest way of travelling to and from their place of work. In my case, I use the very helpful ticket splitting services from Money Saving Expert ( that allows me to make some hefty savings on the cost of travel. But not every ticket can be split and then occasionally to see the look on some ticket inspector’s faces when you hand them a split ticket, you might think you’re personally pickpocketing them by the look of distate on their face (note – this isn’t every inspector, but some seem genuinely perturbed by the concept of a split ticket).

The system of pricing for rail travel compared to elsewhere in Europe is massively out of sync with other countries. The Telegraph produced a comparison report in 2014 ( that shows some distance and cost comparisons – and I’ve highlighted some below.

Rail fares 1-10 miles using a travel card:

– Britain £17
– France £9.60
– Belgium £7
– Italy £4.79

Rail fares 100-150 miles
– Britain £96.50
– France £29
– Belgium £16
– Italy £16

So not only are we paying more generally, the services are (over)crowded, the trains – particularly outside of London – are very old (I’m looking at you Arriva Trains Wales for the Chester to Crewe service here!), but we’re also being forced into a payment structure that fails to reflect the modern way of working today and penalises those who work either reduced hours or have flexible arrangements to support a better work/life balance.

This topic seems to be picked up every now and again but nothing ever seems to come of it. We see the annual ticket price rises being announced on the news, accompanies by the typical complaints in TV interviews with commuters at rail stations, but then everyone just seems to get on with it and pay the extra costs because there’s no viable alternative. We’re collectively a captive customer with no recourse for challenging the status quo because there’s actually nothing we can do if we don’t like it. But by writing this post, I at least want to express my dissatisfaction with what I believe is a genuinely unfair and antiquated system that is increasingly less fit for purpose than when it was originally designed and implemented.

Changing Amazon delivery charges is a risky business

So as a one-time Amazon affiliate I received notification recently that the terms of the free delivery (Super Saver Delivery as they call it) in the UK was about to change (as of 1st May 2015). And in my opinion, it’s not a minor change at all, as they’re changing the minimum qualifying order from £10 to £20. 

Amazon super saver

Amazon super saver affiliate notice

It’s not the first change they’ve made, as the super saver delivery used to be free for all orders. They subsequently introduced a £5 cap, which quickly became a £10 limit – and this was just about acceptable, as it still meant a lot of orders could be considered impulse purchases. And if your basket fell below the £10 cap, sometime you might add something extra items that you knew you were going to use at some point (like a commodity item such as printer paper, or something that cost a couple of quid), just so you hit the minimum order level.

But at £20, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to reach that qualifying cap and it’ll take a good few commodity items to get close. 

I can understand why they’re doing it, as postage charges have increased, so they need to cover their costs. And the prices of many items has also gone up too, so from a consumer’s perspective maybe they’ll not notice the cap as much as I think they will. But from a personal perspective, I think it’ll definitely make me think twice about using Amazon if I know I have to pay postage charges. 

Forcing Prime

Some have said that in raising the limit, they’re trying to drive customers to opting for their Prime subscription. At £79 per year, that’s quite a leap of faith and an upfront commitment to the Amazon way of thinking. And for me, as a happy Netflix subscriber (better quality, more devices, better range of material IMHO) and having had the free trial of Prime – I found a worrying range of products that weren’t eligible for Prime delivery and also didn’t particularly rate their Prime TV/video services. I found their apps clunky (compared to Netflix), their range limited (although they do often have slightly better, more modern movies available) and generally the whole experience just felt a little forced.

I’d much rather they did one thing well, rather than many things in a mediocre manner. Netflix understand that and that’s why I’ve been subscribing for a while. eBay understand it too, and I think that with many of their lower ticket items continuing to be offered with free delivery (and no minimum order value) they might be the big winner as a result of this move by Amazon. At one time might have been a credible alternative, but since Rakuten have taken over, the platform has gone downhill and seems to be confused about what its raison d’etre actually is – not a smart move in such a fast moving, online, very visible world of online retail!


So will I still use Amazon? Probably. Although the delivery charges will make me use it less. And less frequently too, which I think is an important consideration. I’ll not be going online and making an impulse purchase through Amazon any more, that’s for sure. Maybe that’s what they want? Maybe they want us to use their wish lists and basket facility more, so that they can have fewer, higher value deliveries. If that’s the case, then maybe this is a stroke of management genius.

But from a consumer’s perspective, I think they just might have shot themselves in the foot and opened the door to other, leaner, more customer-friendly operators that offer exactly what we want: flexibility, free/cheap delivery, and the ability to make impulse purchases when the moment takes us, not just when we have a sufficiently high value basket of goods.

Full Amazon Prime finally in the UK

How good is this? The UK version of Amazon has finally announced that they’re introducing the same features as the US version! This means free access to the Kindle library of 500,000 books, unlimited movie & TV streaming, and next day deliveries from Amazon’s stock. The usual price will be £79 per year, but if you sign up before 26th February (you can take a free 30 day trial if you’re unsure) – then you can get it at the reduced price of £49. The service will go live fully in 5 days. Follow the link HERE to find out more.

The best discount dining card

A relatively recent phenomenon to hit the UK’s high street is the proliferation of vouchers, daily deals and discount sites that effectively offer money off and savings across a whole range of products and services. One particular niche related to these sites is the ‘discount dining card’. There are a handful of major players in the market and having tried them all, I reckon I’m in a good position to advise on which one(s) I think are the best.

So, the 3 main players are:

Gourmet Society – 

Gourmet SocietyThe Gourmet Society is probably one of the better known dining discount cards, in that it is frequently promoted in the quality newspapers. Accepted at over 6,000 restaurants, it offers a good coverage of venues across the UK.  There’s an iOS and Android app available, although I’ve had a few niggles with the Android app crashing from time to time, and the location search is sometimes a little flaky. Having said that, they do also offer a digital version of the Gourmet Society card, so you can just show your phone to the restaurateur as opposed to remembering to take your card with you every time you go out. Subscriptions are advertised on the site from £69.95 for 12 months access, although there are frequent trials available online for anywhere from 1 to 3 months, and quite often they’ll be discounted membership too. As with the other major dining cards, I would expect to pay anywhere from £29.95 to around £40 for a discounted version of this card.

Deal: Get a 2 month free trial HERE

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Good deal web site

Hot UK Deals logoI realise I’ve not added anything to the site for ages… I’ve just been so busy with work commitments! Anyway, more for my reference than anything else – here’s a really good site that you should definitely add to your favourites if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on the latest deals. It’s not like a GroupOn or LivingSocial deal web site, it’s more of a crowdsourced deal forum where the general public list the various deals they come across on and offline, and then others vote on the deals – casting them as either hot or cold deals depending on the amount of ‘heat’ added (or not). The site is: – and it’s a site I visit regularly. They also have a twitter feed @hotukdeals and their own ios and android apps.

Why is worth using

 – classes itself as the UK’s leading cashback site, and there are a handful of reasons why I’m inclined to agree. I joined recently and through very little effort, I’ve already racked up earnings of nearly £60 in just under a month. The beauty of it is that I’m not doing anything I wouldn’t already have done – other than clicking on TopCashback before I go to the online merchant or shop I was going to use. You can Join Top CashBack by clicking on the link. It’s quick and easy to set up, and even easier to use.

What are the key selling points?

  • It’s free to join
  • They guarantee to pay the highest rates of cashback
  • Commission returns of up to 110%
  • No annual fee like on some other cashback sites
  • More than 3,300 online merchants
  • A variety of free payment methods – including PayPal, Amazon vouchers or direct into your bank
  • The option to earn referral bonuses of £10 for each friend that is referred (subject to them then earning £10 cashback too).

The site’s not a new thing either – it’s been around for ages, having been reviewed by the likes of The Independent, The Guardian, The One Show and Daybreak.

How to use the site

TopCashback requires just 5 simple steps to use their site.

  1. Browse through the list of online merchants (or use the search facility to find a company by name)
  2. Select the company or online shop you want to buy something from
  3. You’ll see a “Get Cashback Now” button – so click on that, then just shop as normal on the main site
  4. You have an Account area, where you can track the status of your cashback
  5. Once the Account area demonstrates that cashback is payable, you can request the money in the way that’s most suitable for you.

So what are you waiting for?! Join Top CashBack today

Huge savings with Admiral Multicar insurance

I just had to post something about Admiral Multicar insurance after they’ve managed to nearly halve my insurance quote this year! And this is at a time when the press are regularly stating that insurance premiums are going up across the board too. My renewal quote from previous insurer, 1st Central, came in at more than £200 higher than the previous year, despite having an extra year’s No Claims Bonus as well. I had the distinct impression they were trying to price me out of their business… so maybe it’s a business tactic of theirs?!

Anyway, I spoke to a really nice and helpful guy at Admiral called Maurice and he helped process my order. The customer service was first class, but that’s really secondary to the policy stuff, which was really outstanding. Not only can I have my renewal on the date that I want (end of April), but as the other car policy isn’t due to renew until the start of August, I can let that existing policy finish before adding it to my multicar policy. When it does join in August, it’ll be a pro-rata payment to bring it in line with the first car policy. It really couldn’t be easier!

Or get a quote now by clicking here:

The cheapest quote I had from either, or – was more than £400 more expensive than the multicar policy and all of them had higher excesses too!

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Buying used products from Amazon and

Amazon and are two high profile sites that have addressed the ‘long tail of search’ and have built their operating model predominantly around selling high volume at low price, where small margins will collectively add up to large profits – and it’s something that seems to be working really well for them. For the regular customer, the two sites provide a first class online retail experience, often undercutting the high street and even other online retailers. However, the prices quoted on Amazon and aren’t necessarily the best prices.

As long as you’re willing to accept second hand products, then the Amazon Used and New feature and’s Playtrade offer the same familiar interfaces of these well regarded sites, but the products here are second hand. All listings include an explanation regarding the condition of the products and it’s not unusual to find used products for half the retail price, or even less!

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CODY1 is now available on Amazon’s Kindle!

How cool is this, you can now subscribe to this blog through my very own Amazon Kindle subscription (link HERE).

As with all blog, newpaper and magazine subscriptions on Kindle there’s a 14 day free trial – so what’s to lose?! It’s only 99p per month too – and there’s always new jokes, information, advice and general news being added.

To find out how to publish your own blog to Amazon’s Kindle service – click HERE – and read my other post about how to do it.