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WEEKLY EMAIL

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15th Mar 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 This info may be out of date.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."

15 March 2017
         
 
THE TOP TIPS IN THIS EMAIL
Cheapest fibre b'band & line equiv to £13/mth - or standard speed £5/mth
The PERFECT time to compare energy prices
Eligible for NEW free £2k/child for childcare?
Pay your credit card IN FULL? Make 'em pay you
Rent out clothes, car, home etc for cash
Lifetime ISAs - free £32k. Your Qs answered
Martin's 5 PPI deadline must-knows
Next 50% off sale
Urgent. Get 2.2% on up to £85,000
Two pairs prescription specs £17
36 Barcelona MoneySaving tips
Cheapest Mother's Day flowers
FREE Ideal Home Show tix
Make money doing online surveys
Cheap craft beer tricks
£18 pansy hanging baskets + plants
 

Urgent. Cheapest fibre b'band & line rent equiv to £13/mth all-in - or standard speed £5/mth

These blockbuster deals from BT & Sky are so cheap thanks to massive cashback


BroadbandThis is the cheapest fibre deal we can remember. While we can't say 100% it's the best ever, it's bloomin' cheap - and the standard broadband deal's a cracker too. With the big boys you typically pay up to £47/mth for fibre or £41/mth for standard speed, so the savings here could be £400+/yr.

1. Ends TUE: BT fibre b'band & line rent, £408 over a year, but £250 back so equiv '£13/mth'. This 1-year contract BT deal* via cable.co.uk starts early today (Wed) and ends next Tue. The broadband is both fast - up-to-52Mb fibre (3x standard speed, so good for heavy downloading, gaming, streaming or multiple users) - and discounted, but the real savings come from huge cashback. Here are the details...

- Current BT broadband users can't get it. Yet BT phone users are fine. It’s available to 83% of the UK (you’re told when applying).
- Fibre broadband £10/mth. After the contract ends you pay its standard rate, currently £28.50/mth.
- Standard BT line rental, currently £18.99/mth. Includes weekend calls to UK landlines, see call costs.
- £59.99 set-up costs. Includes activation and p&p for the 'free' router.
- You get a prepaid Mastercard with £200 on (spendable almost anywhere) & £50 cashback IF you claim them. Annoyingly BT won't remind you, so diarise to claim via these Mastercard and cashback links within 3mths of activation (they take up to 45 days to arrive).
- Is the price fixed during the contract? Technically it's not, though we're told BT has no plans to increase it. If it did though, you'd almost certainly be entitled to ditch your contract penalty-free.

COST ANALYSIS: You pay a total of £407.87 over a year (before calls) but claim the cashback & use the Mastercard and it's effectively £157.87, which is equivalent to £13.16/mth.

Already with BT broadband? Other fibre deals start at £19.33/mth - full info in Cheap Broadband.
   
2. Ends FRI or earlier. Sky broadband & line code gets equiv '£5.33/mth'. MSE Blagged. Grab one of 11,000 codes left via this Sky link* and then apply by Fri night for a 1yr contract with discounted standard, up-to-17Mb speed, unlimited-download broadband, and £50 bill credit on top. Here are the details...

- You must be a Sky newbie. Or at least not have had its phone, TV or broadband in the last 12mths. It's available to 90% of the UK (if not, you're told when applying).
- Line rental at half its standard price, currently £18.99/mth so you pay £9.50.
Calls aren't included. and they cost a bit more than BT to landlines, less to mobiles. (Sky call costs.)
- A year's 'free' broadband & router. After the contract end you pay its standard rate, currently £10/mth.
- You pay £5 for card verification, which you get back. This is refunded on your first bill.
- We've blagged £50 credit for your bill. It's added AUTOMATICALLY once your account's set up (on top of the refunded £5). So if you don't rack up other charges, eg, calls, the credit covers everything for 5mths, then you'll pay £2ish in month 6, followed by £9.50 in months 7-12.
- No line/switching from cable? There's a £20 new line fee (applies to a few others too).

COST ANALYSIS: The £50 credit means you'll only pay £64 for the year (excl calls & new line fee if charged), equiv to £5.33/mth.

Already with Sky? Top alternatives start at equiv £16/mth - see Cheap Broadband for full options.
   
3. Don't want to switch? Haggle. This can be a secret weapon to bag top prices, as the big broadband providers are among the easiest to haggle with. If you're happy with your current service but paying too much, use the deals above as a benchmark to negotiate the cost down. See haggling with BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk & Virgin tips.
   
4. How fast is your current broadband & how fast will the new one be? Do a free 2-min speed test* to see how speedy your broadband actually is (try at different times of day for the best picture).

As for the new provider, it's tricky to know how quick it'll be. Firms only have to list 'up to' speeds, and outrageously the rules say only 10% of customers need to get that speed to make that claim. Yet most major providers give you a minimum speed at sign-up, and if you're getting speeds "significantly below" that, you may be able to leave penalty-free.

To find out your rights and what speed you're actually getting, see our guide to testing your broadband speed.
   
5. 14 tricks to boost your CURRENT broadband speed. There's lots you can do, from good router positioning to getting a free signal-boosting widget, or using your home's electricity circuit to increase Wi-Fi range. See our 14 Broadband Speed Boosting Tricks.
   
6. Don't want to pay line rental? Sorry. Our 'Is the landline dead?' poll showed 64% of you don't have a home phone or rarely use it. But while there are some broadband-only deals, they usually cost more than bundles with lines - so just get those and don't plug the phone in.
   
7. What does "available to XX% of the UK" mean? Firms tend to be only able to give the really cheap prices if they have their own kit in the exchange cabinets on the streets - these are called 'unbundled exchanges'. Otherwise the service isn't usually available, or it's at a much higher price - we tell you the percentage of homes that can get the deals we feature.
   
8. Member of a cashback site? Check if bigger cashback is possible. Sometimes deals are more lucrative via cashback sites (you can join them for free). Ensure you're comparing like-for-like, eg, check the prices and contract lengths are the same - you may find you get more cashback but are locked in for longer, meaning it's not worth it. For more help and pros & cons of cashback sites, read our Top Cashback Sites guide.
   
9. Want to add a TV package to a deal? There's no simple solution. BT and Sky also offer TV packages but it all depends on what channels you want. See our Cheap TV Deals guide for full info.
   

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

 
 
 

It's the PERFECT time to compare energy prices - STOP being ripped off

Now SSE's joined the rest of the Big 6 in revealing price moves, you can truly see who's cheapest, & save £350


Compare now and you may be shocked at the size of the savings. That's because 5 of the Big 6 energy providers have announced standard price hikes, so if you check now, savings are against the new higher rates. And even though British Gas is freezing prices until August (and we think they'll rise then), its standard rates are still £100s/yr more on typical use than the cheapest. So take just 5 mins now to do an EASY Cheap Energy Club comparison.

Average annual dual-fuel bills

Use our Cheap Energy Club for a bespoke comparison

DEAL PRICE
Cheapest 1yr FIX (no hikes for 1yr) £834/yr
Cheapest 2yr FIX (no hikes for two winters) £969/yr (+ £30 cashback via Cheap Energy Club)

Now compare to Big 6 standard tariffs

PROVIDER PRICE OVERPAYMENT VS CHEAPEST
Npower UP 10.2% tomorrow to £1,187 £353/yr
Scottish Power UP 9.1% on 31 Mar to £1,167 £333/yr
E.on UP 9.3% on 26 Apr to £1,144 £310/yr
SSE (incl Scot Hydro, Southern Elec, Swalec & Atlantic) UP 5.7% on 28 Apr to £1,129 £295/yr
EDF Went UP 1.2% on 1 Mar to £1,082 £248/yr
British Gas Frozen till Aug at £1,044 £210/yr
Based on regulator Ofgem's typical use, dual fuel, monthly direct debit and paperless billing.

  • Avoid the hikes and save up to £350/yr, or lock in for longer. Once prices rise, a typical user on a Big 6 standard dual-fuel tariff will pay an average £1,126/yr, with the highest from Npower at a typical £1,187/yr. On the same use, the cheapest 1yr fix is £834/yr - a saving of up to £350/yr. As Wayne tweeted:"@MartinSLewis just saved Mum & Dad £373/yr by switching gas and elec from a standard to a fixed tariff."

    If you want to fix for longer, we've blagged the cheapest 18mth dual-fuel tariff out there, from Flow Energy, at £929/yr on typical use. It's also available as elec- and gas-only. There are 20,000 available, for new customers only, and you get £30 dual-fuel cashback (£15 single) via our Cheap Energy Club. It's pricier than the cheapest 1yr but protects against price rises for longer.

    To find your saving: Check our Cheap Energy Club top picks comparison for full reviews, which includes the Flow deal, or do a full market comparison. If we can switch you, we pay £30 dual-fuel cashback (£15 single).

  • Don't want to switch supplier? You could still save £200+/yr. At least move to your supplier's best deal, saving up to £200/yr, based on typical use. Our new 'My Current Supplier' filter on Cheap Energy Club only shows deals from your provider (but check your info is correct) - you also get cashback if we can switch you.

 

New. Rent out your clothes, car, home, garden or even dining table for cash. Some have made £100s. See How to rent out almost anything for cash.


Lifetime ISAs coming soon - up to £32k free. Your Qs answered. See our full Lifetime ISAs guide.


PPI reclaim deadline - Martin's 5 things EVERYONE must know. The regulator is cutting off PPI reclaims - if you HAVE or EVER HAD a loan, credit or store card, mortgage, overdraft or catalogue debt, take five minutes to read Reclaim PPI for FREE.


Next 50% sale - a biggie MoneySavers wait for. Online and in stores from Sat. Full analysis: Next sale.


Urgent. New NS&I bond to pay 2.2% on up to £3,000, but go TODAY to get 2.2% on up to £85,000. In last week's Budget the Chancellor confirmed from April the NS&I bond will pay 2.2% fixed for 3yrs on up to £3,000. Yet right now Atom Bank's massive best-buy 3yr fix pays the same on up to £100,000, but limit it to £85,000 if you want full protection under the UK savings safety programme. It ends tonight so go quick.


TWO pairs of prescription specs £17 via code. MSE Blagged. Incl lenses & delivery. Spec-tacular

 

BLAGGED FOR MSE

- Swagbucks earn £5, get £10 bonus Ends 30 Apr

- £40 hanging baskets & plants for £18 1,500 available

- £140ish Nails Inc nail polishes for £14 2,300 available

DID YOU MISS?

- Get free wills for over-55s

- Free £160 without switching bank

- M&S up to 60% off sale, eg, £3 top & £9.50 dress

- Let firefighters wash your car for charity

 
 

Are you eligible for the NEW free £2,000 per child to pay for childcare?

MSE founder Martin Lewis says 'PARENTS, YOU MUST READ THIS... there's a massive shake-up coming'


The Chancellor confirmed two major childcare changes in last week's Budget - the increase to 30hrs' free nursery provision for 3 & 4 year olds, and the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme (especially good news if you're self-employed). So how does it all fit together, who's eligible, and what should you do? Martin (mini-MSE's daddy) guides you step by step. All childcare below refers to Ofsted (or equiv) registered nurseries, childminders, after-school clubs etc.

  1. ChildcareNew. 30hrs' free childcare for 3 & 4 year olds. From Sep the 15hrs' free state nursery provision you get 38 weeks a year rises to 30hrs (in Eng), provided you work 16+hrs a week (both in a couple must work) and no one parent earns £100,000+/yr. Yet many nurseries aren't happy - see full info (incl for rest of UK) in 30hrs' free childcare.

  2. Are you eligible for childcare tax credits, typically worth £3,000/yr? If you pay for childcare, work 16+hrs a week (couples must both work) and have a sub-£46,000 family income you could be entitled to these tax credits - a silly name and NOT the same as child tax credits, it's just cash in your bank. I'm not saying that you will be, just it's worth checking. Full help in Childcare Tax Credits. If you get them, they're usually a winner ahead of what's below.

  3. Childcare Vouchers - pay for childcare from pre-tax income, but sign up soon. Anyone with kids whose employer offers Childcare Vouchers can get them. Here you usually swap pre-tax salary for vouchers. Eg, a basic-rate taxpayer can swap £1,000 of salary, which is only £700ish in take-home pay, for £1,000 in Childcare Vouchers, saving £300. To get these you must sign up by April 2018, so decide now if they're for you. Full help in Childcare Vouchers.

  4. New. 'Tax-Free Childcare' means up to £2,000/yr free per child. This starts next month for the youngest children, and will be rolled out over the year for the rest. For every 80p you put in an NS&I Tax-Free Childcare account, up to £8,000/yr, the state adds 20p (so up to £2,000/yr free per child). To be eligible, you must work 16+hrs a week (couples both must work) and no one parent can earn over £100,000. See our new Tax-Free Childcare guide for more.

  5. Which wins, Childcare Vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare (TFC)? You can't have both. This is complex - we've a full Childcare Vouchers vs Tax-Free Childcare infographic to help - yet here's a brief summary...

    - Eligibility:
    The self-employed can't get vouchers; couples with only one working parent can't get TFC.
    - Discount size: Vouchers are an effective discount of 32% off what you pay for basic-rate taxpayers (42% higher rate, 47% top rate), whereas TFC's 20% off for all, however...
    - Max free money: TFC is up to £2,000/yr free per child (so 3 kids is £6,000/yr free), dwarfing vouchers' £590-£930 per parent.

    So if you're eligible for both, TFC wins for more kids & bigger childcare costs; vouchers for fewer kids & lower costs.

 

36 Barcelona MoneySaving tips. Our Nou guide, incl £2 airport transfers, free Wi-Fi, cheap tapas and tricks to gawk at Gaudi's work for free. Viva Barcelona


Cheapest couriered Mother's Day bouquets £20-£25. It's a week on Sunday. Incl £5 off Debenhams Flowers code, Moonpig 15% off & 100 stems at M&S for £25. See all Mother's Day deals.


Urgent. 4,000 free Ideal Home Show London tix left but only on selected dates. Plus 2for1 on all dates. Show from Fri 24 Mar-Sun 9 Apr. Ideal Home Show


Make money doing quick online surveys, polls, games and searches. MSE Blagged. MoneySavers love doing 'em, and we've an extra £10 reward for newbies. Swagbucks


Craft(y) beer buying tips. From tarting beer club promos to stacking supermarket deals & codes, read MSE Nick's tricks of the trade. £1 craft beers? Related: Get a free pint of Guinness on St Patrick's Day. Pls be Drinkaware.


£18 pansy baskets and plants bundle (norm £40). MSE Blagged. Gets 2 hanging baskets and 12 jumbo plug plants. 1,500 bundles avail. Jersey Plants Direct

 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS
 

Do you pay your credit card IN FULL each month? Make 'em pay you

Shops pay banks when you spend, but grab some of it via a cashback credit card and make £100s/yr


Here's what really goes on when you spend on a credit card... banks make money in two main ways: charging you interest and getting paid by retailers. While the amount shops pay has dropped, it's still enough for some cards to give up to 5% back to you. So if you're debt-free and can pay it off in full, get a cashback card that pays you and put all the spending you can on it - though it's not an excuse to overspend. Romell does: "So far with Amex I've made £200 in 4 months."

  • CashbackEarn 5% cashback for the first 3mths, then best rates after. Amex cards win - while not universally accepted, most big stores & many smaller ones do take 'em.
    - The fee-free Amex Everyday (eligibility calc / apply*) gives 5% for 3mths (max £100), then up to 1% after, though you must spend £3k/yr to get ANY cashback (22.9% rep APR).
    - If spending about £9k+/yr, Amex Platinum (eligibility calc / apply*) can win. It has a £25/yr fee, but gives 5% for 3mths (max £125) and is up to a higher 1.25% after (28.2% rep APR).

  • 0.5% cashback everywhere, yet easier to get and accepted in more places. The Aqua Reward (eligibility calc / apply*) gives 0.5% back (max £100/yr) on all spending. Far more people should qualify as it accepts those with little or poor credit history, but has a horrid 34.9% rep APR.

  • Top quasi-cashback (vouchers): 1% in Asda, 0.75% at Amazon. The Asda and Amazon cards give 1% and 0.75% respectively on spending in their stores, 0.5% elsewhere. Amazon adds a £10 vch on acceptance. Both pay in store vouchers.

Full rates, help & options in Top Cashback Credit Cards (APR Examples).

  • Cashback card need-to-knows...

    1) Always repay IN FULL, preferably by direct debit, to avoid interest or charges which'll dwarf the gain.
    2) Don't withdraw cash - you don't get cashback, with credit cards you pay interest & it can hurt credit scores.
    3) Don't bust your credit limit as you'll pay a penalty.
    4) All credit-check you when you apply. Protect your score using our quick eligibility calc to see your chances of getting a card. Or join our Credit Club for the same, plus your free Experian Credit Report, Credit & Affordability Scores and your Credit Hit Rate.
    5) Cashback is usually paid annually, in vouchers when you hit the trigger amounts, or monthly.

 

FLASH Habitat sale - 25% off almost everything. Wed-Thu only. Online and in stores. Habitat


SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Direct Line quoted me £420 for my car insurance renewal. Its website quoted £195 for identical coverage as a new customer - one call later they matched it, saving £225. Minimal effort, totally ridiculous but great."


£140ish Nails Inc magnetic nail polish collection £14 all-in. MSE Blagged. Incl fishnet/star-shaped magnets. 2,300 avail


Two free Alton Towers tix via £6ish spend (norm up to £105 a pair). From Sat, collect 10 tokens in papers. 180,000 pairs avail

 
 

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK

Stand up to rogue bailiffs. A group of debt charities including Citizens Advice and StepChange is warning of councils and firms using overzealous bailiffs. It wants to know if you've had to deal with one since April 2014, as part of its 'Taking Control' campaign - which is calling on the Ministry of Justice to introduce an independent regulator to protect people from unfair treatment. Tell your story, and for more see our Debt Help guide.
 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Should Scotland be an independent country? Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has demanded a second referendum on Scottish independence. Last time, the question was: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Click here to tell us what you think, whether or not you live in Scotland

The future's bright for some. In last week's poll we asked if you felt you'd be better off in a year. The younger generation were most optimistic, with 63% of those under 25 expecting to be roughly the same or better off. Those aged 50 to 64 were most pessimistic, with 67% feeling they'd be worse off. See our full Budget poll results.

 

MONEYSAVING NEWS

- Top story: Energy firms to cut average prepay prices next month - but some customers will actually pay more

- Topcashback users logged in to wrong accounts after recurring security glitch

- Virgin Money pays out £20 to savers hit by interest glitch

- Budget 2017: Self-employed face hike in class 4 national insurance payments

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

How should we split the bills in our house? I bought a house with my sister and her husband - they own 50% between them and I own the other half. What's the fairest way to split the bills? [We're assuming they all live in it together.] Enter the Money Moral Maze: How should we split the bills? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES
- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Single, independent & in (a little bit of) debt
- Competitions thread of the week: Win eight beautiful children's books from the Learning Garden
- Old-style board thread of the week: Pension limit - really 100% salary?
- Discussion of the week: Advice needed - house or wedding?
 
 

MSE TEAM BLOG

- Your new Facebook friend? The automatic savings app that lives in Messenger

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 15 MAR ONWARD)

Thu 16 Mar - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Fri 17 Mar - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. View previous
Mon 20 Mar - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 20 Mar - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 15 Mar - Share Radio, 12.20pm
Wed 15 Mar - BBC Radio Cumbria, 'Money Talks', from 6pm
Thu 16 Mar - BBC Radio Tees, 10.35am
Fri 17 Mar
- BBC South West stations, breakfast
Tue 21 Mar - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I have some old £50 notes that are out of circulation that my mum gave me shortly before she passed away. Will I have any trouble exchanging them for new notes at the Bank of England? Cathy, by email.

Rosie BannisterMSE Rosie's A: You should be able to at the Bank of England, but that's likely to be your only option as normal banks probably won't take them.

As far as the Bank of England is concerned, notes retain their value for all time, even after they're withdrawn. It'll exchange them for free in person in the City of London, or by post (of course, putting notes in the post is risky, though where you live may determine what you do).

This Bank of England page should explain what to do. Also, some £5 notes and £1 coins will soon go out of circulation - see our coin warning for what it means for you.

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

 

'I'm delighted to say, women of a certain age are revolting [against pension changes...]'

That's it for this week, but before we go, last Wednesday while MPs debated the Budget, hundreds protested outside Parliament in aid of WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality - fighting controversial changes to the women's state pension age). Watch how our Martin gave them his support and encouraged them to keep campaigning to make a difference. Also see the latest in the WASPI fight.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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