We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk

Spend & Save

Bargain Hunter: How to save money on train journeys, good music and a little fun


Booking train tickets in advance can save you a hatful. The biggest savings can be made if you buy 12 weeks in advance, with website thetrainline.com reckoning you can save on average 43 per cent on advance fares.

But reader Mike Ward advises travellers to book direct with individual train company websites.

"They are cheaper than thetrainline because they sell exactly the same tickets for any UK rail journey, but without charging a £1.50 booking fee," he says. Mike adds that main train company websites – including First Great Western, East Coast, Southern, Virgin and redspottedhanky.com – all sell tickets for any rail journey in the UK.

"Maybe if enough people switch to other websites thetrainline will be forced to drop its unnecesary booking fee," he says.

Thetrainline said: "The revenue from the booking fee covers the cost of providing a service and funding future innovations, such as the partnership with Google Maps or the new mobile ticketing offering. Our booking fee is only applied once, regardless of how many tickets or multiple journeys you book within that one transaction."

Spotify offers a premium service at an economy price

Music streaming service Spotify is offering its Premium service for just £9.99 for three months.

That's the same price as a month's subscription, meaning you can effectively get two months' worth of music for free.The Premium service allows music fans to sync their playlists offline on up to three devices – and play them wherever they are in the world. The offer is available to new customers at www.spotify.com/summer until 15 June.

Get a Nook touch eReader for a snip of the price

Book retailer Blackwell's has slashed the price of its Nook Simple Touch eReader from £79 to £29. The eReader's six-inch display has a Best Text anti-glare feature to aid reading in strong sunlight. The deal is available for a limited time at online bookshop blackwell.co.uk.

Boosted Nector points will offer more fun-packed summer holidays

During the first three weeks of the school summer holidays Nectar points will be worth double, triple and even quadruple their usual value in a Rewards Double Up and More event.

From 23 July to 12 August, you will be able to redeem points at higher values than normal through offers at PizzaExpress, Merlin Entertainment attractions, Nectar Swim pools and Local Days Out around the country. Details to be published at nectar.com/doubleup

The Post Office wants us to 'phone home' using their cut price home phone packages

The Post Office says 'sign up' for its Home phone or combined package and save up to £100 until 29 June. The offer includes free connection, worth up to £60, plus a £50 bill credit when new customers apply for both products.