Bargain Hunter: The baa-bargain that can reduce energy loss and cut heating bills

 

Personal Finance Editor

An easy way to cut soaring heating bills is to use an environmentally friendly draught excluder made from 100 per cent wool. Called, fittingly, Chimney Sheep, it costs from £15 and can save homeowners up to £75 a year on energy bills.

The award-winning device – it has been handed a Green Economy Award for energy efficiency – prevents the loss of 4 per cent of household heat through the chimney. It’s made of thick, flame-retardant wool felt to block a chimney, effectively and temporarily, and provide maximum insulation.

The cost of a Chimney Sheep ranges from £15 to £65, with different dimensions available to fit all chimney shapes and sizes. For more information visit www.chimneysheep.co.uk.

Chance to make savings  at Marks and Sparks

Marks & Spencer has an in-store “20 per cent off” deal on clothing, beauty and homeware until Monday 16 December. To get the one-off discount, print off the voucher at www.vouchercodes.co.uk/marks-andspencer.com and use in any branch.

The word is cut-price  e-readers at WH Smith

Fancy an e-reader for Christmas? WH Smith is offering two of its e-readers at reduced prices. The Kobo Mini has been cut from £59.99 to £29.99, while the Kobo Touch has been slashed from £79.99 to £39.99. The deals are available at branches or online at www.whsmith.co.uk. There are almost four million books available for the devices at www.kobo.com.

Don’t get steered into high car-hire insurance charges

If you’re skiing over the Christmas break, watch out for the car-hire excess insurance scam. This is when car rental companies charge you hundreds of pounds to cover the excess – the amount of any claim you agree to cover.

With excess sums set as high as £2,000, it can be tempting to simply pay £100 to £200 at the car-hire counter for a policy that covers this cost. But if you plan ahead you can get a policy for a tenth of the price.

At www.icarhireinsurance.com, for instance, you can get excess cover for £21 for the week, or £3 a day. Other extras to be wary of include a charge to hire a sat nav, which could be £100, or a child’s seat at £50.

Catch these wheely good deals at Evans Cycles

Evans Cycles is offering an extra 10 per cent off the cost of kids’ bikes and BMX bikes until 18 December when you use the special code VCPXMAS. You’ll find full details of the offer at www.vouchercodespro.co.uk/evans-cycles.

Other deals available through the VoucherCodes site include 15 per cent off at Flowers Direct using the code AWXMJVPRO15 until 15 December.

Got any deals or discounts to share with readers? Send details and deadlines to your money@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

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<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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