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Jul18

This week: Over 50 ways to save, incl... a No7 beauty, beat airport rip-offs, mortgage alert, 2for1 meals trick, Martin’s drugs bust

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."

18 July 2018
         
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.
                                                           
 


 

Martin's Masterclass: How to get a 0% loan
Borrowing is getting costlier, with top deals worsening - yet if you need to borrow, there are still ways to do it at NO COST


Know what you're doing and a 0% loan really is possible. Borrowing is dangerous though, so you need to keep tightly to the right recipe (hence my hat - that and the fact I look very dapper in it... No? Pah... move on).

I first ran through this class in March, yet since then the ingredients have got more scarce, as we're seeing 0% lengths on the top cards shorten (loan rates haven't been as affected). Yet as overall, historically, rates are now still incredibly cheap, I thought it worth running through what to do again - with updated deals, of course.

To pare all this down, the key is to first go through the basics of how to borrow cheaply, and when it's right to do so, or more importantly, when it's not right. Then, for the icing on the cake, the clever stuff (OK, I think I've over-egged the cooking analogy now).

  1. Never just apply willy-nilly - that marks your credit file. Use credit detective tools to uncover YOUR best deal. Apply for a loan or credit card and it usually puts a mark on your credit file that lasts a year. Too many of these can have a negative impact.  

    To minimise applications, we've two free tools that let you home in on the card or loan you're most likely to be accepted for - without any credit impact - so you can have a play to see what's out there...
     
    - Eligibility calculators: 
    Available for: Loans | 0% Purchase Cards | 0% Balance Transfers | 0% Money Transfers. They quickly reveal which out of almost all top deals are most likely to accept you.
     
    - MSE Credit Club: The free MSE Credit Club includes all the eligibility calcs AND importantly gives you your free Experian Credit file, credit hit rate, and credit and affordability scores. The registration process takes a little longer though.

  2. To get a 0% loan, pervert your plastic. There are no 0% loans, but there are 0% credit cards... so the trick is to turn cards into a loan.

    The easiest and cheapest way only works when borrowing for something you can pay for by credit card, eg, a washing machine (if not, skip to point 3). It's best for smaller borrowing as card credit limits above £3,000-£5,000 are tough to get.

    Use the 0% Cards Eligibility Calc to see which your best card is, eg, Sainsbury's Bank's* 28mths 0% is currently the longest 0% period (it also gives Nectar points on spending). Once you've got a card...

    i) Buy your planned purchase on it (nothing else - be disciplined).
    ii) Never miss a min monthly repayment or the rate can shoot up.
    iii) Repay within the 0% period and it's TOTALLY FREE.
    iv) Be warned - fail to clear within the 0% time and the rate rockets (eg, Sainsbury's jumps to 19.9% rep APR). See Top 0% Cards.

  3. Need a '0%' cash loan? Use a money transfer card. If you need actual cash, or to, say, pay off an overdraft, a few cards offer new cardholders 0% money transfers. Here, for a one-off fee, a card'll transfer cash to your bank account, which you then owe to it.

    Use our 0% Money Transfers Eligibility Calc to see what you can get, eg, MBNA's* up to 28mth 0% money transfer fee is 2.99% of the amount shifted (so £30ish per £1,000). For longer, Tesco Bank* is up to 36mths 0%, with a higher 3.94% fee.

    Once you have the card, ensure you make the min repayments and clear the borrowing within the 0% period. Fail to do that and the rates rocket (eg, MBNA is 23.9% and Tesco 20.6% rep APR).

    How does it compare to a standard loan? If you borrowed, for instance, £1,250 over 2yrs, done right the cheapest 2yr money transfer card fee would be £40. The market's cheapest loan for the same is Ratesetter's 6.7%, costing £90. 

    Money transfers are complex, so make sure you understand exactly how they work first - read our full 0% Money Transfers guide.

  4. Three key tips if using cards as loans.  With both methods...

    To truly replicate a loan, set up a monthly direct debit to repay a fixed amount which'll clear the debt before the 0% ends.
    - Once you've done the planned spending, freeze the card in a bowl of water, to ensure you don't use it willy-nilly.
    If you really don't trust yourself with a credit card, don't risk it - a cheap loan may be a bit costlier, but safety counts.

  5. Borrowing £3,000+? The cheapest actual loans are 2.7%. For bigger loans, the issue with plastic is getting a big enough credit limit. So then a standard personal loan becomes the prime option.

    Yet loan acceptance isn't just about your credit score. Just as important is whether you can afford to repay it - ie, your affordability score (see yours via MSE Credit Club), which your income is a big factor of. Even with a good credit score, if lenders think you may struggle to afford to repay that amount, they'll reject you.  

    The Loans Eligibility Calc incorporates credit and affordability scores, showing your acceptance odds. When borrowing...

    i) Always borrow as little as possible.
    ii) Repay as quickly as possible (longer borrowing costs more).
    iii) Never miss a monthly repayment.

    Here are the current cheapest loans. All are REP APR, which sadly means only 51% of accepted applicants need get the rate - the rest can be charged more...

     - £3,000 - £4,999: Zopa* is 5%-6.9%, Admiral* 6.7%.
     - £5,000 - £7,499: Sainsbury's Bank* (Nectar cardholders only) is 3.2%-3.3%, Zopa* is 3.4%.
     - £7,500 - £15,000: Sainsbury's Bank* (Nectar cardholders only) is 2.7%-2.8%, Cahoot* 2.8%. Full help in Cheap Loans.
     
    - Quick tip: Nationwide promises to beat any loan its current account customers are accepted for (excl peer-to-peer lenders such as Zopa) by 0.5 percentage points.
    - Quick tip: Are you borrowing for a new car? If so there's a range of other options too - see our Cheapest Car Finance section.

  6. FOUR QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE BORROWING - just because it's cheap doesn't mean you should. Debt is like fire - use it right and it's a powerful tool, use it wrong and you get burnt. So before you borrow, ask yourself...

    - Do I really need to borrow? Be tough on yourself. If you do, borrow the very minimum. Better to wait and save.

    - Is this a planned purchase? The worst borrowing is where you repeatedly do it to fill gaps in your income. This risks a debt spiral. Don't do it. Only borrow for a one-off, planned, necessary purchase, eg, paying for annual car insurance as it's cheaper than monthly.

    - Have I budgeted for affordable repayments? Do the numbers. If you can't afford it, even if you really need it, don't do it. It'll likely make life worse, ruin your credit score and add stress and pressure.

     - Can't get a loan or only offered a hideous rate? It's likely because lenders have evaluated your finances and decided there's a risk you can't repay. See that as a warning - it's best not to borrow. If you've a crisis, see our crisis loans help or talk to a credit union.

  7. Looking for a loan to repay existing credit card debt? The cheapest way to do this is usually a balance transfer. That's where you get a new card that pays off debts on old cards for you, so you owe it instead, but at 0%. Our 0% Balance Transfer Eligibility Calc shows you top cards and our Balance Transfers guide explains it.

    And now on to the clever stuff...

  8. With personal loans, bizarrely, borrowing MORE can cost less. While generally you should try to minimise borrowing, a peculiar quirk means with loans sometimes you pay less by getting a slightly bigger loan. This happens because rates decrease at set thresholds.
     
    Eg, if you wanted to borrow £4,900 over 5yrs, the cheapest loan is 6.7%, so in total you repay £5,780. Yet borrow £5,000 and as the rate drops to 3.4%, the total repayment is £5,444 - that's £336 LESS repaid even though you borrowed £100 more.

    So if you're borrowing close to a threshold (£2,000, £3,000, £5,000 or £7,500) use our Loan Cost Calc to see if you're better off borrowing a tad more (assuming you're accepted for the ad rate).

  9. You're not certain to get the rate on a loan - you are on some credit cards. While our Loans Eligibility Calc shows your odds of acceptance for each loan, only 51% of accepted applicants have to get the advertised rate (we're working on trying to uncover this too).

    However, use our Credit Card Eligibility Calc and with some top 0% cards, which you can use as loans, you get more certainty, because of...

    a) Pre-approval. The tool shows whether you're pre-approved for some cards, so as long as you've given correct info, you're 100% certain to get the exact deals specified (subject to ID checks).

    b) Non 'up to' cards. Most, but not all, card 0% lengths are 'up to' - meaning you're not certain to get the headline 0% length. While banks don't necessarily explain this, we highlight it, so if you see a card without an 'up to' and you're accepted, you will get the 0% length shown.

  10. A risky way to give yourself a much longer 0% credit card loan. The longest 0% spending cards last under 30mths - relatively short for some loans. But simply shift the debt before the 0% ends to a no-fee balance transfer card and you can extend it at no cost.

    However, this relies on no-fee 0% transfer deals still existing when your 0% card ends, and your credit score still being top-notch so you're accepted. So only do this if you're sure.

    Are you in debt crisis?

The options above are for new, planned borrowing. Yet some try to borrow their way out of debt. It doesn't work. Do any of these apply to your existing debts?

- You can't even meet min monthly payments.
- You've debt more than a year's salary (excl mortgage and student loan).
- You have sleepless nights or depression/anxiety over debt.

If so, don't borrow more - instead get free, one-on-one debt-counselling help from Citizens Advice, StepChange or National Debtline. And if you need emotional support, try CAP.

They're there to help, not judge. The most common thing I hear after is: "I finally got a good night's sleep." Read inspiring stories in our Debt-Free Wannabe forum and see the Mental Health & Debt and Debt Crisis Help guides.

 
 

DON'T believe the fake ads on Facebook
Lots of scam ads that litter social media lie that we or Martin promote Bitcoin, binary trading etc. See Fake ads warning.

 

 
 

7 airport rips-offs to beware (and how to beat 'em)

Drop-off charges, sky-high parking prices, hideous exchange rates, costly water and more...

So you've packed the suitcases and dug out the passports. But if you're heading to the airport in the next few days (or weeks), watch out - it's easy to shell out much more than you need to before you even leave the tarmac. To help, here are our top 7 airport MoneySavers:

  • Fill your bottle for FREE (and avoid rip-off prices after security). We've updated our list of airports with drinking fountains (and where to find 'em in the departure lounge). See how to find FREE water at airports.

  • New. Many airports now charge up to a fiver just to drop somebody off - how to avoid it. 19 UK airports charge for a 10-min drop-off - Manchester Airport became the latest to start doing this last week. See a full list of which major airports charge plus where you can drop off for free in avoid 'kiss and fly' charges.

  • Make 'em PAY YOU to show your boarding pass at airport shops, eg WHSmith & Boots... though by law you have to show it at duty-free. See full info in Martin's Do I need to show my boarding pass? video.

  • How to SLASH airport parking costs. Early booking's cheapest, but booking ahead - even if on the day of your flight - beats just turning up. Eg, a week's long-stay at Luton is £165 if you just turn up, yet booking a few days ahead we found it for £49. Comparison sites tend to have the best deals and we've special links which give further discounts. Check the biggest, Holiday Extras* (10-30% off standard prices), then Looking4Parking*(20-35% off), SkyParkSecure* (13-35% off) and FHR* (12-30% off). For full help and more options see Cheap Airport Parking.

  • Avoid hefty fees for checking in at the airport. Budget airlines can charge up to an eye-watering £55 per person, per return - do it online in advance and it's free. Full help and more tricks in Beat Budget Airline Charges.

  • Don't buy currency at the airport - find out how to get it cheapest. When we checked on Tue, €100 cost £108.51 at Birmingham Airport, yet just £89.49 for collection at the cheapest bureau. Our TravelMoneyMax comparison tool quickly compares 30+ bureaux to find you the best rate for delivery or collection.  

  • Grab cheap or FREE access to airport lounges. OK, so this one's not technically a rip-off. But if you want to start your trip in style, you don't have to pay sky-high prices. Our Free or Cheap Airport Lounges guide has top tips, incl the credit card that'll get you two free visits to 350+ lounges.
 

£99 of No7 beauty for £30. Contains cleansers, bronzer, mascara, lip balm, nail polish etc. No7 beauty box

New trick: Spend £1ish to get 2for1 at 1,000s of restaurants FOR A YEAR. This is all about manipulating the new Meerkat Meals promo - works at Zizzi, Pizza Hut, Frankie & Benny's, independents etc. Meerkat trick

New. Broadband & line rental for 'just over £10/mth' from BT-owned Plusnet. Its on/off promo is back - it's one of the top-rated providers for customer service. See how the deal works in '£10.41/mth' Plusnet.

Martin's drugs bust watched by 7.5m people. Martin's This Morning attack on big pharmaceutical company rip-offs went viral on Facebook last week, with huge views and 100,000+ shares. See Martin's drugs bust video and his 6 top tips for cutting medicine costs in his new blog.

20% off Family & Friends Railcard code. Get a 1yr card for £24 (norm £30). It gives 1-4 grown-ups a third-off most fares when travelling with 1-4 kids, who get 60% off. Railcard code

 
 

Check your mortgage NOW as rates are rising - don't pay £1,000s extra

Lots of economists predict the Bank of England will raise interest rates next month. Prepare yourself now 

The cheapest new mortgages (for new & existing mortgage-holders) are getting more expensive largely because there's been a growing consensus among analysts that the Bank of England will put interest rates up in August, with one poll finding 80% of economists expect a rise. That would mean repayments rise for anyone on a standard variable rate (SVR), with a 0.25 percentage-point rise equiv to £15/mth per £100,000 of outstanding mortgage. 

To protect yourself, check now if you can slash costs with a new deal in case they get even pricier. Some can save £1,000s, as Karen found: "I moved from a SVR to a fix. By keeping my monthly payments the same, I knocked 9 years off the mortgage term, saving £54,000. Thanks."  See full help in our free Remortgage 2018 Booklet, but in brief:

  1. Check what your mortgage costs - and is it about to end? Dig out the details: rate, type (fixed or variable), length, exit fees and loan to value - the proportion of your property's value you're borrowing.

    - Fix/tracker about to end? Your rate'll likely shoot up to your lender's SVR, so check if you can get a new cheap fix. Even if your current deal ends in 3mths, the new rate will likely still be valid then, and some even last 6mths. See when to lock in a new deal.
    - Already on an SVR? As they're expensive, many (though not all) can save by ditching them. See SVR help.

  2. Benchmark YOUR cheapest mortgage rates in 2 mins. Use our Mortgage Best Buys comparison to see the best deals.

  3. Compare the full cost using our calculators, factoring in fees. Check if your winner's cheaper than your existing mortgage using our Ultimate Mortgage Calc.

  4. Use a broker to improve your chances. What matters is your credit score, if payments are affordable and if you and your home meet lenders' eligibility criteria - a good mortgage broker can help. Also see how to boost your mortgage chances, plus check your credit score via our free Credit Club.
 

School's out... 100+ cheap or free summer holiday ideas. Incl £3ish cinema, 2for1 theme parks, free activities and more. Keep 'em busy 

Trains chaos: Gt Northern, Thameslink, Northern & TransPennine giving up to a MONTH'S fare back as compensation. Many season ticket holders will get £100s. See when and how you can claim.

Cheap Sim-only deals, eg, 1.5GB data & 2,000 mins for £6/mth. We've rounded up the best deals incl two from well-rated Plusnet  (uses EE's network) for big talkers. Pay £6/mth for 1.5GB* or £10/mth for 6GB*, both with a generous 2,000+ mins & unltd texts on a 30-day contract. Full info & more offers, incl cheaper with fewer mins, in Sim-only Deals.

£30 of FREE drinks, incl FIVE free pints. See how MSE Becky got £30's worth of free drinks, and you can too - incl booze, soft drinks, tea and coffee - via apps and sign-ups. Free drinks (pls be Drinkaware).

Special SSE tariff, cheapest Big 6 energy deal - many can save £270+/yr. There were originally 9,000 switches avail and they've gone, but we've bagged an extra 2,000 (ends Fri 20 Jul) - so use our Cheap Energy Club's 'big name' comparison before they all go to see if the tariff wins for you, or do a full comparison if you just want the cheapest across all firms.

 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 36mths 0%, 2.49% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27mths 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR) 

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  1. Confused.com*
  2. MoneySupermarket.com*
  3. Compare The Market*
  4. Gocompare*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Sainsbury's Bank* 3.2% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs)  
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs)  

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.41 
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone equiv £19.23

Choice of £150 Expedia vch, tech gadget & more: First Direct
5% interest fixed for a year: Nationwide FlexDirect 

 

Renew your tax credits NOW - don't wait until the 31 July deadline

5.6 million letters have been sent out. Ignore yours and you could lose out on money or owe the taxman

If you get tax credits, you should have received a renewal pack in the post (let HMRC know NOW if you haven't). You might not need to send it back, but don't ignore it - if details are wrong, you could be forced to repay cash you've already spent. For full info, see Tax Credit Help - here's what you need to know...

  • Urgent. The deadline's Tue 31 July, but DON'T wait. Each year we hear stories about long waits to get through to the helpline as people leave it to the last minute. The easiest way to renew is online or through the HMRC app, which you can do until 11.59pm on 31 July. Or you can do it by phone until 10pm on 31 July. How to renew

  • Does your form have a red or black line halfway down? See image mock-up for what to look out for.

    - If RED, this is a 'declaration form', so you need to check the info's correct. Whether there are changes or not, you MUST return the form or renew online. Do nothing and your tax credits could be stopped. My form's got a red line
    - If BLACK, this is a 'renewal notice'. Check everything's correct - if it is, you don't need to do anything, your tax credits will renew automatically. If your circumstances have changed though, you MUST let HMRC know, as doing nothing could mean you get the wrong amount next year. My form's got a black line

  • Avoid overpayment hell - TELL 'EM IF ANYTHING CHANGES. Being overpaid sounds great, but try to avoid at all costs, as you'll have to pay it back (even if spent). This often happens as people don't declare changes of circumstance (eg, income rises or you move in/out with a partner), so if there are ever any changes (not just now) let them know right away. Unsure? Call anyway. Feel money is being clawed back unfairly? See fight unfair tax credit overpayments.

  • Are you missing out on tax credits? Depending on the number of children you have, some families earning up to about £73k may qualify, though the help drops quickly above around £40k. Use our 10-min Benefits Calc to check.
 

New. Top graduate accounts 2018 - up to £3,000 0% overdraft available. Find the best account for you post-uni. Grad accounts 2018

Extra 20% off eBay outlets code, works on 20 brands incl AO, Google & Samsung. Ends Thu. eBay code

POTHOLE RECLAIM - SUCCESS OF THE WEEK:
"In February my son incurred costs for pothole damage to his car. We heard today the council's offering a settlement of £1,004. Thank you for your pothole reclaim tips which we followed exactly."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

In the saddle for summer? Check if you need bike insurance. Our guide has all you need to know, incl whether home insurance is enough. See our Cheap Bicycle Insurance guide for wheelie good tips.

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Employed or self-employed - how much do you save in a pension? In the last few years up to 10 million more people have started saving into private pensions due to auto-enrolment. So we wanted to know how much you and/or your employer (where relevant) contribute towards your pension. Employed or self-employed - how much do you save in a pension? 

The vast majority are UNHAPPY with Brexit negotiations. Last week, a massive 25,000 of you voiced your opinion on how you now feel about Brexit. While most stand behind their original vote to leave or remain in the EU, one in 10 who voted 'leave' now wish to remain, while only 3% of Remainers wish to leave. Tellingly, over 80% of BOTH camps say they're 'unhappy' with how negotiations are progressing. See full Brexit poll results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I sell something my friend gave me for free? A friend gave me an expensive juicer as it was too complicated to use and she wanted rid of it. When I started using it I realised why, as it takes more effort and cleaning than the result is worth. Is it unreasonable to flog it and keep the money? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I sell something my friend gave me for free? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Wipe out savings paying off card?
- Competitions thread of the week: A trip to Paris
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Homemade protein/breakfast bars
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Stepchildren and wills?
- Discussion of the week: Why do I get hygienist charges at the dentist?

 

Tesco - 49p fresh fruit incl melons and peaches
Amazon - 6mths free student Prime & £15 off £60 spend code
Halfords - free summer car check incl screenwash top-up
Brewdog - £20 beer tasting & cheeseboard for two via deals site
Farmfoods - £2.50 off £25 voucher

Toby Carvery - two meals and two drinks for £15
Free beer, ale or cider - 50,000 avail across 2,000ish pubs
Pizza Express - 2for1 on mains at selected restaurants
Prezzo - 2for1 on mains on Wednesdays
Pizza Hut - 50% off pizzas when you spend £20

Rodial - 'free' £36 eyeliner & lip liner set with £4.50 mag
Bamford - 'free' £32 skincare set with £5 mag
Murad - 'free' £5ish cleanser with £4ish mag
Revolution - £5 highlighter & other products in £2.50 mag
Debenhams - beauty freebies via loyalty card

Quick Forum Tips

Free Aura Mugler perfume sample. Common scents
Argos summer sale. Catalogue of savings
Lidl weekend offers, incl 99p salami. We meat again

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 18 JUL ONWARDS)

Thu 19 Jul - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 20 Jul - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 23 Jul - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 23 Jul - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 18 Jul - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 20 Jul 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 23 Jul - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 24 Jul - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I've heard having multiple current accounts can damage your credit score - is that true? Gillian, via email.

MSE Naomi's A: Simply having multiple current accounts won't damage your credit score on its own, but your score can be negatively impacted if you frequently open new accounts. This is because every time you apply for a new account, you'll be 'hard-searched' - which temporarily marks your credit file. Also, breaching your overdraft limit or being in the red long-term may adversely affect your credit score.

Multiple applications are unlikely to make a big difference to your overall credit score. But if you're worried, it's best to space them out and hold off on opening new accounts if you're about to make a big credit application, such as a mortgage. For more info on managing and improving your score, see our Credit Scores guide.

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

 

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN A SPAM PPI FIRM COLD-CALLED MARTIN...

That's all for this week, but before we go... like everyone else, Martin Lewis has had his fair share of spam texts and calls from PPI firms over the years. But what's it like to dial up the founder of MoneySavingExpert to give him the PPI sales spiel? This week a lady who cold-called Martin years ago finally 'fessed up - and shared her side of the ultimate "Don't you know who I am?" story. Read exactly what happened in Martin's new blog post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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