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WEEKLY EMAIL

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03rd May 2017
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

"Hi. This free, spam free weekly email is the key way to save. We put all the latest deals, guides and loopholes in, yet many close within hours. Don't miss out, join the 12m who get it each week."

03 May 2017
         
 
THE TOP TIPS IN THIS EMAIL
Cut your mobile phone bill in HALF
New. Free £185 M&S bank switch
Reminder: Big Switch 7 is on NOW
£500 'robo-investing' cashback
Free 4-month Tastecard
One app to replace ALL loyalty cards
Two pairs prescription specs £17
'Free' roaming may not be free
£5 note alert: Soon you can't spend 'em
£56 beauty box incl L'Occitane for £15
How long till your student loan is written off?
2 mths' free mags on app, incl OK, GQ
Make £££s renting out your home
Ralph Lauren 20% off code
Posh greetings-card code - 99p del
270 bedding plants £13 all-in (norm £27)
 

Cut your mobile phone bill in HALF

- Don't pay more than £10/mth for calls, texts and data
- Want a new handset? Get £50 OFF the new Samsung S8 or iPhone 7


We're going to stick our necks out here and assume you've almost all got a mobile. Many can't cope without it. Yet millions are overpaying. Either by letting contracts roll over and effectively paying for a phone you already own, being hounded into expensive upgrades, or just not searching for the best deals.

So here's our challenge - cut your phone bill in half NOW. Full help in our 30+ Cheap Mobile Tips. Here are the key points...

1. Most shouldn't pay more than £10/mth. The cheapest way to run a phone is usually to own it outright (if you can) & pair with a top Sim. Data and call charges have massively dropped in recent years - that's why we say the key benchmark cost for most users is £10/mth (see point 2).

Start by estimating what allowances you need. Specialist free online tools such as Billmonitor* will log in to your online phone account and analyse your bills to find your cheapest tariff. MobilePhoneChecker* covers more networks. See Mobile matchmaking.
2. Check for the best Sim-only deals. They are increasingly popular due to their value and flexibility. You get a set amount of data, texts and calls for a fixed monthly price and they are usually cheapest.

- Best for low users: Get 1.5GB of data (4G), 250 mins and 5,000 texts for £5/mth on a 30-day rolling contract with Carphone-Warehouse-owned iD Mobile*, which uses the Three network.

- Best for medium users: We've blagged 5GB of data (4G), 1,500 mins and unltd texts for £10/mth with this 30-day rolling contract with BT-owned Plusnet Mobile*, for new and existing custs. It uses the EE network, and you've until next Tue to get it.

- Best for heavy users: Until Thu, this blagged 12mth contract from BT Mobile* gives a massive 20GB of data (4G), unltd mins and texts (on EE) for £16/mth if you've BT b'band, £21/mth if not. (To pay £16/mth click 'got BT b'band at home' in top right of page.) You also get a £100 Amzn or iTunes vch - annoyingly, BT WON'T remind you so you must claim the voucher within 2wks-3mths of sign-up.

For a full round-up of top deals, incl out-of-bundle costs; plus higher/lower use and other network deals, see Sim-only top picks.
3. mobileNew. Get £50 off the Samsung S8 or iPhone 7. These top-end handsets aren't MoneySaving... though if you'll get one anyway, do it as cheaply as possible. Discounts on newly launched handsets are rare, yet we've blagged £50 off the new Samsung S8 (released last Fri) AND the iPhone 7, from online retailer Unshackled.com*.

- £50 off code. Until Tue 9 May, use code MSE50 to take £50 off the upfront cost of either (when you click through, select 'outright'). This brings the Samsung S8* down to £639 and the 32GB iPhone 7* to £549, with next-day delivery included. (Unshackled says if you get the deal via a cashback site you won't get any cashback.)

- What if it runs out of stock? There's limited stock, particularly for the S8, so if it's right for you, go quick. Unshackled says it gets new deliveries every weekday and if it runs out you'll be invited to register and contacted within 24hrs of new stock arriving. The code will remain valid for a 'limited' time after.

- Will it be cheapest? Mobile prices change hourly, but these were the cheapest we could find from a UK-based retailer. You'll get a full UK manufacturer's warranty, so if something goes wrong you can take the handset to the nearest Samsung or Apple store (or authorised repair centre).

- But do you REALLY need a top-end smartphone? While many go wild for iPhones and Samsungs, there are plenty of low-cost models which search the web, play music, have cameras etc. See Cheap smartphone alternatives.
4. Save more by getting certified pre-owned handsets - our code gets a further £40 off the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 6 or 6 Plus. 'Certified pre-owned' iPhones are the gold standard of refurbs - refurbished by Apple to a very high standard (often they've never been used), but for a lower price. If you're happy to go with an older model, even just from last year, you can save big.

- Get £40 off many iPhones in the 6 & 6s range: Until Tue 9 May, use code MSE40 at Unshackled.com to get £40 off its 'certified pre-owned' iPhones (when you click through, select 'outright').

After the discount you'll pay £399 for a 16GB iPhone 6s*, £459 for a 16GB iPhone 6s Plus*, £559 for a 64GB iPhone 6s Plus*, £439 for a 64GB iPhone 6* or £409 for a 16GB iPhone 6 Plus*. They come with original box & accessories, 12mths' Apple warranty and next working day delivery. (Again, if you get the deal via a cashback site Unshacked says you won't get any cashback.)

See full info & other options in Refurbished Mobiles.
   
5. Can't afford to buy the phone upfront? Spread the cost INTEREST-FREE. While it's usually the cheapest way to buy, many balk at having to pay £100s upfront. Yet there are other ways to spread the cost which are usually much cheaper than a contract...

- Buy it upfront on a 0% spending credit card: This is a free way to spread the cost - you can currently get up to 30 interest-free months (see our 0% card best buys). ALWAYS make minimum repayments and clear it before the 0% ends.

- Interest-free iPhone 7 deal: Apple's running an ongoing deal to spread the cost of the iPhone 7 over 20 months - if you're approved. However, it's at full price - £50 more than our blagged deal above.

- Get a LOW interest rate with mobile financing: If you can't get approved for a 0% deal, specialist mobile finance providers loan you money for a handset at a cost - Unshackled is one, and our blagged codes work on its finance plans too. These usually beat most contracts, but ALWAYS do a comparison.
6. Sometimes contracts CAN win. As a rule, you'll pay more with a contract. Occasionally though contract re-sellers (middlemen between you and the network) can beat buying upfront and pairing with a Sim. See full help in our 14 Mobile Contract tips.
7. Going away? Roam free with a Three Sim. Using your phone abroad can be eye-wateringly expensive. Mercifully, from 15 Jun roaming fees in Europe will largely (though not entirely) disappear. Outside the EU it's a different story, with some providers charging up to £6/MB for data roaming.

Three's 'Feel At Home' lets you roam for free in 42 countries - incl some non-EU biggies such as the US & Australia. If you're not with Three you can still get the deal by picking up a free pay-as-you-go Sim. See our top-pick travel Sims in Cheap Mobile Roaming.
8. Contract up? Switch or haggle NOW. Mobile contracts have high monthly costs, yet once you reach your 'minimum term' the payments often continue - so you're effectively paying for a phone you already own.

Diarise to call your network 30 days before and give notice, then move to a Sim-only tariff - by switching to another deal or haggling down your bill with your existing provider, as Suzanne did: "My £24/mth phone contract was about to run out. Saw a good deal in the weekly email so went to EE armed with this info - it agreed to give me 5GB and unltd mins & texts for £8/mth. Thank you."

Mid-contract? You're likely stuck... The only way to escape is to pay the remainder of the contract in full (or thereabouts). If your provider hikes prices mid-contract you MAY be able to escape penalty-free - though they're allowed to raise tariffs by inflation each year.
   
9. Switching network's easy - and you can keep your number. Just request the PAC code from your current network to move your existing number over. The switch usually takes place the working day after you submit the PAC code to your new provider.
   
10. You're credit-checked if getting a contract. If your credit history is poor, PAYG may be your only option. Bad credit means you may struggle to be approved for a phone or Sim-only contract. Pay-as-you-go deals aren't as cheap, but crucially you won't be credit-checked.

If you want to check your credit history, you can get your free credit report and credit score by joining our free MSE Credit Club.
   
11. Get your phone unlocked for FREE. For a new Sim to work in an existing handset, it must be unlocked. Networks can no longer charge to unlock your phone if you're out of contract - and even if you're still in your minimum term, most choose not to. See Free mobile unlocking.
   
12. Cover ALL the family's phones from £10/mth - but do you need insurance? Many don't - it's all about whether you're a loser. See our Mobile Insurance guide to help decide and find top picks from £6/mth per person, £10/mth for a family - which smash networks' charges.
   

 
 
Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via moneysavingexpert.com/tips.

 
 
 

New. FREE £185 M&S bank-switching bribe or boosted £125 First Direct

The bank account price war's hotting up again, with two biggies boosting incentives in the last week


Latest figures show a measly 1 in 70 current accounts were switched in the last year, yet we regularly hear your complaints. So stop bitching and start switching. Since 7-day switching launched in 2013 it's been easy, taking just 7 working days, and the new bank closes your old account and moves all payments. Now two giants have boosted their bribes to lure you in - both credit-check you & you must use their switching services to get the perks. Full options in Best Bank Accounts, in brief...

  • Bank switchNew. Free £125 M&S gift card + 5% regular saver + £5/mth for a year. M&S Bank* gives switchers a £125 M&S gift card, access to its 5% fixed regular savings account and a £100 0% overdraft. Plus for the first year, it'll add £5/mth to the card if you pay in at least £1,000/mth. You need to switch 2+ active direct debits for the initial gift card and keep them active for the £5/mth.

  • Boosted. Free £125 + No.1 rated service + 5% regular saver. Newbies applying via this First Direct* link get £125 (go direct & it remains at £100) and access to its 5% fixed regular saver. There's also a £250 0% overdraft, and 90% rated it as 'great' in our last poll. You must pay in £1,000/mth (or there's a £10/mth fee).

More options - including Co-op Bank which offers £110 plus up to £5.50/mth - in Best Bank Accounts. Plus if you're one of the Norwich and Peterborough custs whose current account is being closed, we've confirmed with M&S Bank that you can do a manual switch and get the bonus.

 

Free 4-month Tastecard for EVERYONE - not just newbies. MSE Blagged. Gets 2for1 or 50% off at 6,000+ restaurants. Sign up by Fri, then cancel if you want to avoid £3/mth fee after deal ends. Tastecard


One app to replace ALL your loyalty cards. Simply upload your Nectar, Clubcard, Boots & more cards to declutter your purse/wallet. Loyal-phew


TWO pairs of prescription glasses £17 code. MSE Blagged. Includes lenses & delivery. Spec-tacular


'Free' mobile roaming in the EU may not be free. From 15 Jun, you're meant to be able to use UK allowances for free in Europe via the scrapping of roaming charges, but there's a catch. See EU data charge warning.


£5 note alert - you can only spend English old ones till Fri. Full info and how to change 'em in £5 warning.


£15 beauty box incl Burt's Bees & L'Occitane (£56ish indiv). MSE Blagged. £5 off & free delivery code, 5,000 avail. Beauty box

 

BLAGGED FOR MSE

- 'Free' 4-month Tastecard for ALL Ends Fri

- TWO pairs of prescription specs £17 Ends Sun 14 May

- 270 bedding plants for £13 or 540 for £20 3,000 available

- £15 beauty box (£56ish individually) 5,000 available

- Posh greetings card - 99p incl del Ends Sun

- 2mths' free online mags, incl OK Ends Sun 14 May

DID YOU MISS?

- 'Should I buy summer euros/dollars before the election?'

- 'Free' 2for1 entry to 400ish UK gardens FOR A YEAR incl Kew/Eden Project

- Warning. Section 75 credit card protection can fail

- Premium Apple 'office' apps FREE for ALL Mac & iOS users

- FREE daily prize draw - jackpot boosted to £500 a day

 
 

Reminder: MSE's Big Switch 7 is ON NOW

Thousands have already saved, yet you've only 8 days left to grab our super-cheap tariff


We've been swamped with successes since we launched Big Switch Event 7, our latest energy collective where firms bid to provide you cheap energy through a trusted intermediary (ie, us). Vicky told us: "Saved £800/yr. Thank you." And Gareth tweeted: "@Moneysaving Exp @MartinSLewis Just saved £368/yr in the big energy switch." Yet we've only 36,000 tariffs remaining and 8 days left to get 'em - so you need to act quick.

  • EnergyMSE super-cheap 1yr fix - £854/yr all-in based on typical use. Our winner's the Green Star Energy Rate Saver 12month Fixed MSE tariff (for dual fuel, single and Eco7). It costs a typical £884/yr for dual fuel, plus you get £30 MSE cashback (£15 single fuel), making it £854/yr all-in. It's available across Britain (sadly not NI), and the rate's locked for a year, though what you pay varies with use.

    To get it, do a full market comparison (this link defaults to include cashback) and if you're eligible for the collective, it'll show in your results.

    - Who is Green Star? It's a decent supplier that's taken part in our Big Switch Events before. It's been around since 2013, has nearly 200,000 customers and is owned by a large Canadian company. Plus, we've secured boosted customer service, so there's a special team just for this.

  • Be aware - if you switched 1yr ago it's now pricier. Unfortunately the cost of the cheapest deals has risen by 21% since last May, as wholesale costs have risen. And we can't beat the market. But this is one of the cheapest available now - it'll still save an average £280/yr versus standard rates you'd move to when your fix ends.

  • A new provider not yet on comparison may win on price. Newbie One Select has launched a tariff that on the surface undercuts our collective, though it's so new it hasn't yet provided the data for inclusion on most comparison sites. You can check it out yourself, yet we've no details of its customer service, capacity to cope if lots apply or its financial strength. We're telling you as we didn't want you to think we're hiding it.

  • Quick need-to-knows. For full help, see our main detailed MSE collective switch FAQs.

    1. Switching's easy. It's the same gas, same elec, same safety. Only service & price may change.
    2. To get the lowest price, pay by monthly direct debit. Just ensure you give regular meter readings.
    3. You CAN'T get Warm Home Discount with this tariff. So if you get it, this may not be for you.
    4. If you're in credit and switch firm, you should get the excess back. If not, see get credit back.
    5. Where we're paid to switch you we share roughly half in cashback. The rest covers our costs/profit.
    6. This tariff is fixed. So the RATE (not cost, that depends on use) is locked in, with no hikes.
    7. It charges £30/fuel early exit fees. Unless you leave it to move home.

 

How long until your student loan is written off? Read Martin's new When's it wiped? blog to find out.


2mths' free OK, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping & 2,000+ other mags. MSE Blagged. Via app, to read on phone or tablet. Read all about it


Make £££s renting out your home or spare room. Strangers will PAY to stay, especially during big events - eg, festivals, Wimbledon. See 21 Airbnb and more hosting tips.


Ralph Lauren 20% off code. Ends Thu. Not MoneySaving but if you'll buy anyway, use a 20% off code.


Posh greetings-card code - 99p delivered. MSE Blagged. Choose card, message, delivery date and even 'add' a video. Ends Sun. Greetings cards


270 bedding plants for £13 all-in (norm £27). MSE Blagged. Lucky-dip bundle of plug plants, eg, geranium & petunias. Or 540 for £20 (norm £55). 3,000 avail. Plants

 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS
 

£500 'robo-investing' cashback gives you a 10% head start

With this easier way to invest, firms pick where your money goes. Nowt's certain, but the cashback helps


Many are scared off investing in stock markets as it's complex. New 'robo-funds' aim to make it simpler - you answer a few questions, select your risk level and they choose (from a limited choice) where your money goes. Like all investing, be prepared to leave your money for a decent period (say 5yrs+) to ride market ups and downs. Be aware too that you could LOSE money.

  • Investing Is robo-investing a good idea? Yes, it's a good idea - but that doesn't make it a good investment. For those prepared to do the research, picking your own shares and funds can mean lower fees and gives a much wider investment choice. Those with complex affairs can benefit by paying for an independent financial adviser too.

    Now it should be noted that we at MSE don't usually cover investing. Our focus here is the cashback, which effectively gives a head start, as unless your investment falls by more than that you're quids in. Yet we're NOT suggesting this is the way to invest, just that if you're doing it anyway, be sure to bag the cashback.

  • Get £50 cashback on £500 Wealthify investment. Via this Wealthify* link, the first 500 new custs to open and fund a stocks & shares ISA (or ordinary investment plan) will get £50 cashback if they invest £500. The cashback'll be paid after 11mths as long as you invest an initial £500 lump sum, or £250 upfront & 10 subsequent monthly top-ups of £25 or more; and don't withdraw for a year. Total annual charges will be about 0.9% (sub-£5), assuming the final value stays the same.

  • Get £500 cashback on £5,000 Moneyfarm investment. The first 500 new customers to Moneyfarm who open and fund a stocks & shares ISA (or ordinary savings plan) via this Moneyfarm* link using code MSEcashback can earn £500 cashback. To get it, you must invest a min £5,000 lump sum or a min £2,500 upfront with 10 monthly top-ups of £250 or more; and don't withdraw for a year. If you invest that amount, total annual charges will be about 0.25% (£10ish), assuming no change in the final value.

  • Robo-investing need-to-knows:
    - You can't pick your own funds. Your cash is invested in funds chosen by the robo-provider based on how risky you want to be.
    - The bigger your investment, the less cashback will matter. If you invest more than the min needed to receive the cashback, you'll rely more on market movements to boost your returns in relation to the cashback.
    - WARNING. Markets can sink as well as shoot up. As with any investments, your funds' value can go down as well as up, and while it's unlikely, you could lose all your money.

 

£5-£20-off gaming codes, incl Nintendo Switch console for £260 (next cheapest £279). Plus best-selling PS4/Xbox games for £35 (norm up to £92) and cheapest Call of Duty WWII pre-order. Ends Sun. Gaming codes


SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Using the Resolver tool, I reclaimed for packaged bank accounts that I was mis-sold and just received over £2,000. I also claimed for mis-sold PPI and received £2,200. All this for 15 mins' work."


FLASH Carnaby Street 20% off vch, eg, Benefit, Levi's. Thu 5-9pm, All shops/restaurants on the trendy London street. Carnaby

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Should the state pension triple lock end?  The state pension is set to rise in line with average wage growth, inflation or 2.5% - whichever's highest. But there's now an election debate over whether the 2.5% element should stay.

Click here to tell us what you think of the triple lock

Keeping a pet is sometimes 'cheep'. For those with pets who voted in last week's poll, unsurprisingly horses were the most expensive to keep, costing an average of £2k to £5k a year, while fish were the cheapest at an average of less than £100 a year. See our full pet cost poll results.

 

MONEYSAVING NEWS

- Top story: Mobile users to be able to set monthly cap on charges to prevent 'bill shock'

- British Gas unveils rewards scheme by making 150,000 Sky vouchers available

- Government drops £1,000 tax breaks for online sellers and room renters - for now

- Taylor Wimpey sets aside £130m to help leaseholders trapped by onerous contracts

- Vodafone to increase out-of-contract prices by up to £3.50/mth - beat the hike

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I give my ex of 10 years ago her rare £1-coin collection back? My ex collected rare and unusual £1 coins. I found about £25 of coins during a clear-out but they could be worth more as some are so old. It was a messy break-up and we never swapped our stuff back, so should I tell her? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I give my ex her £1-coin collection? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES
- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Completely Crazy Clothes Challenge 2017
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a luxury break for two in Ballina, Co Mayo, Ireland
- Old-style board thread of the week: Cooking for one
- Discussion of the week: Cheap and freezable baking recipes
 
 

MARTIN'S BLOG

- When will your student loan be written off?

DEALS HUNTERS' BLOG

- Get TWO best-selling Xbox/PS4 games for £35 incl Call of Duty, Gears of War & Elder Scrolls

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 3 MAY ONWARD)

Thu 4 May - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Fri 5 May - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, time TBC. View previous
Mon 8 May - This Morning, ITV, time TBC
Mon 8 May - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 3 May - Share Radio, 12.20pm
Wed 3 May - BBC Radio Cumbria, 'Money Talks', from 6pm
Thu 4 May - BBC Radio Tees, 10.35am
Fri 5 May
- BBC South West stations, breakfast
Tue 9 May - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I have approx £35k in student loans that I've only just started paying back. My partner and I are saving for a first home and hope to be looking for one by the end of next year, but I've been told I could struggle to get a mortgage because of the loans - is this true? Sarah, via email.

Sam McFaulMSE Sam Mc's A: Not necessarily. It's all about what you can afford. When deciding whether to grant you a mortgage, lenders will assess your financial commitments such as student loan payments, mobile phone bills, broadband costs etc to work out what spare cash you have each month to pay your mortgage.

If the combination of those repayments push you over the edge it may have an effect, but lenders are unlikely to decline you simply for having the student loan debt. For full help see our First-Time Buyers' Mortgage Guide.

Please suggest a question of the week (we can't reply to individual emails).

 

'I got my wedding ring with Clubcard points'

That's it for this week but before we go, loyalty points can get you some serious bargains and our users have reported bagging everything from trips to America and Legoland to new cars, flights, rail passes and even a wedding ring. Have you ever grabbed a points-financed bargain? Let us know and see others' successes in our Facebook discussion: 'What's the best you've 'bought' with loyalty points?'

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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