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May23

This week: Over 50 ways to save, incl... free Pizza Express ends, Clubcard warning, £1 BBQ, £150 off hols, £10 sunnies, Martin's refund alert

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."

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


 

New. TWO big bank switch bribes launch. Get £200 free cash or (better for many bill-payers) £100 AND 2% bills cashback


As the temperature outside heats up, so does the banks' battle to attract your custom, with HSBC and NatWest joining Barclays' and First Direct's existing offers. So this is the time to spring into action...

Switching is easy. It takes just 7 working days, and your new bank switches payments in & out, incl direct debits. So if your current bank is pants (eg, are you a TSB customer fed up with its meltdown?), switch.

You must pass a not-too-harsh credit check and where you're switching you must use the banks' official switching services.

TOP FOR UPFRONT CASH / VOUCHERS


- New. Free £150 switching cash and £50 if you stay for a year. HSBC has revived its Advance account offer, which pays new switchers £150 within 50 days, plus a further £50 if still with it after a year. You can also access its 5% fixed regular saver, and some get a 6mth 0% overdraft.

How do I get it all? Open it by 30 Jun, and start a full switch, incl 2+ direct debits or standing orders, within 30 days and register for mobile or online banking within 60 days. Yet beware as this account requires a hefty £1,750 pay-in every month (equiv to a salary of £25,900+ going in).

-  Free £185 M&S vchs and good service rating (£125 paid upfront and £5/mth for a year). New switchers to M&S Bank* can get a £125 M&S gift card, plus £5/mth added to it for a year. You also get access to its 5% regular saver, and many get a £100 0% overdraft.

M&S Bank has done consistently well in our customer service polls over the years. Last time 62% rated it 'great', compared to just 41% with HSBC. Those with an M&S credit card can get £220 in M&S vchs via a similar offer.

How do I get it? To get the £125 you must fully switch, incl 2+ active direct debits, within 3mths of opening the account. To get the additional £5/mth, pay in £1,000/mth (equiv of a £12,675/yr salary being paid in) and keep the direct debits active.

TOP FOR BILL PAYERS / ONGOING REWARDS 
(PAYS MORE THAN FREE CASH FOR MANY)

- New. Free £100 AND ongoing 2% cashback. NatWest now pays a £100 bonus to switchers (incl some existing NatWest customers) on most of its current accounts. The standout of its accounts is NatWest Reward* which, for a £2/mth fee, gives 2% cashback on council tax, energy, broadband etc bills paid by direct debit. 

For those with average bills (eg, £100/mth-ish on energy) the cashback is worth £66/yr after the fee. For bigger bills (eg, £140/mth on energy) it could be £135/yr. Add that to the free cash and some earn more here than with HSBC in the first year, and as this is an ongoing deal, stay longer and it should beat it for most bill payers.

How do I get it? To get the £100 you must switch by 15 Jun, pay in £1,500+ and log in to online or mobile banking by 13 Jul. Then pay in £1,500/mth (equiv to an annual salary of £21,500) to get cashback.

PS: You can earn 1-3% cashback on the same bills as NatWest above, plus up to £10/mth if you've a Santander mortgage, with Santander 123 Lite - which could win for some.

- Free £132 for switchers over first year, then £48/year after that: beats NatWest for ongoing rewards if you've smaller/no bills. New switchers to Barclays* who sign up to its Blue Rewards scheme get £14/mth for the first year. There's a £3/mth fee, but it still leaves you up £11/mth in year 1. From year 2, you're £4/mth+ up after the fee.

How do I get it? Each month, pay in £800+ (£9,800/yr salary) and pay out 2+ direct debits, plus sign up for online or mobile banking. 

You can get more rewards if you've certain products with Barclays, eg, a mortgage or loan - see full list

TOP FOR SERVICE AND/OR SMALL OVERDRAFTS 

- Top service + freebie incl £170 headphones or £150 Expedia vch. With First Direct* it's all about service - it's topped every bank customer service poll we've done, with 91% rating it 'great' in our latest. It also lets you save up to £300/mth for 1yr in a linked 5% regular saver, and some get a £250 0% overdraft.

What are the freebies? New switchers can choose one from a set of tech products, vchs and online courses (eg, learn yoga, balloon modelling or how to iron). These incl £170 Bose wireless headphones, a £140 Fitbit or £150 Expedia vch (see full options).

How do I get it? To get it all you must switch and pay in £1k+ within 3mths of opening your account. You're then emailed a link within 2 weeks with instructions on how to get the freebie. To avoid a £10/mth fee, pay in £1k/mth+ (equiv £12,675/yr salary) or have an average £1k+ balance.

TOP PACKAGED ACCOUNT DEAL - PAY A FEE & GET INSURANCE

£700's worth of FAMILY travel, phone and breakdown insurance for £156/yr.  Nationwide's FlexPlus* pay £13/mth and get worldwide family travel insurance, family smartphone insurance and UK and European car breakdown cover for all account holders. A family needing them all could pay up to £700/yr separately.

If you are referred by a friend who has a Nationwide account and you switch, you both get £100.

Full eligibility info and more options in Best Bank Accounts and Best Packaged Accounts.  

Bank switching FAQs
If you're unsure how it all works, this should help...

Q. How difficult is switching? It's easy. In fact, in our last Twitter poll, 85% said it was hassle-free. Under banks' switching services, your account is switched and your old one closed, all within seven working days. And the banks do the hard work of moving money and payments across.

Q. What if money is paid into the old account or something goes wrong? The bots behind the scenes sort it, so for at least 3yrs any money paid into the old account or wrongly earmarked to come out of it is transferred to the new one. If hit with charges due to a switch error that leads to a missed payment, this should be refunded by the new bank.

Q. I don't qualify for one of these accounts, what can I do? Sadly, 1m+ don't have a bank account. Yet as long as you've ID, you should be able to get what's called a basic bank account where there's no overdraft. See Basic Bank Accounts for help.

 
 

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.

 

 
 

Paying more than £10/mth for your mobile? STOP

Millions are overpaying - so if you're out of contract, switch to a cheap Sim & save

New figures from regulator Ofcom show an astonishing 1.5m are still 'paying' for a mobile handset even after they own it. They've remained on a costly phone and Sim contract after the minimum term's up - so essentially are paying for the phone AGAIN. And with annual price rises kicking in on all the big networks, if you're out of contract, now's the time to see if you can slash your bill...

  • Pick a Sim with the allowance YOU need. The Sim's the little chip you stick in your phone that gives you data and calls from your network. Buy too low an allowance and you face hefty charges if you go over; go too high and you're paying unnecessarily. In our recent poll, just under two-thirds of you said you use LESS than 3GB of data a month. To find your actual usage, check recent bills or use a free tool.

  • Switch to a top-pick Sim from just £5/mth. Right now there are some stonking deals - including the best we've seen in months if you need 10GB+ of data.

TOP NEW CUSTOMER SIM-ONLY DEALS
 
PROVIDER (NETWORK)
ALLOWANCES (MIN TERM)
COST
TPO* (Three)
1.5GB, 750 mins & unltd texts (1mth)
£4.99/mth
Ends 11.59pm Wed. iD Mobile*
(Three)
4GB, 500 mins & unltd texts (1mth) 
£8/mth
Virgin Mobile* (EE)
5GB, 2,500 mins & unltd texts (12mth)
£9/mth
iD Mobile* (Three)
10GB, 300 mins & unltd texts (1mth)
£10/mth
Ends Sun. Vodafone*
20GB, unltd mins & texts (12mth) 
£20/mth + claim £100 Amzn vch (i)
Full info and more options in Best Sim-only Deals. (i) You're sent a link 4mths after purchase on how to claim. Factor the vch in and it's equiv to £11.67/mth. 


  • Top switching tips. 
    - Keeping your number's easy. Switching it normally takes just one working day. See Number porting.
    - You may need to unlock your phone. Firms MUST let you if you're out of contract. See Unlock your phone for free.
    - Don't want to switch? Haggle. Mobile firms are among the easiest to haggle with. See Haggling help.

    - Your monthly tariff can rise annually with inflation. But only if T&Cs state so before you sign up.
 

Martin's '5 refunds worth £1,000+ that millions are missing out on'. Everyone should check if they're due in Martin's new Big money back blog.

Last chance. FREE Pizza Express pizza/pasta via app. Act quick to claim code - ends Tue. Save some dough

5 top package-holiday codes/discounts, eg, Thomas Cook £150 off £1,500. Don't book till you've checked our list of holiday codes.

Are you one of 6.5 MILLION users overpaying for broadband? Some pay £43/mth, when top deals are £12/mth. Check your bill now - many can save over £300/yr. Find your cheapest deal with our Broadband Unbundled tool. NB: New rules mean broadband ads - and our tool - will now show AVERAGE, not top, speeds.

Warning. TSB fraud alert - 'I had my £29,000 cancer insurance payout stolen'. We've had numerous reports this week from TSB customers targeted after its IT meltdown - some have lost £1,000s. See full info and what to watch out for in our TSB fraud story. For the latest on the problems, see TSB help

Bank holiday bargains incl £1 BBQ, £1 sun cream & £12 paddling pools. We've rounded up the hottest offers ready for the long weekend. See all Bank hol bargains.

 
 

Warning. Clubcard Rewards being slashed - so act NOW

Beat the deadline to swap vouchers before rewards are cut, PLUS how to get bonus points & more tricks

Tesco's mega-popular Clubcard Rewards scheme is set for a big shake-up. If you usually exchange points for Rewards tokens, their value is being slashed by 25% on many of the best deals from Mon 11 Jun. But there's a way to beat the changes. We've everything you need to know (plus loads of tricks to boost your points stash) in Boost Tesco Points, here are the main details...

  • Warning. Many 4x voucher swaps soon will only be worth 3x the value. The key to boosting your Clubcard points' value is to swap them for Rewards tokens to spend at restaurants and cinemas, or on hotels, days out and more. Currently you can exchange for 2x, 3x or 4x the value. But from Mon 11 Jun they mostly move to 3x - and while a few offers will improve, many of the best - incl those from Pizza Express, Café Rouge and London Zoo - are getting worse.

  • Swap vchs NOW to beat the cuts (then use for summer & beyond). If you want to exchange for 4x the value, do it by Sun 10 Jun and the tokens will usually be valid for 6mths, incl the summer hols. So if planning a big day out, or family meal etc, act NOW. See full info and which rewards are changing in Clubcard overhaul.

  • Earn 25% extra points when you go wallet-free. You normally get 1pt per £1 spent at Tesco but it's running a promo where for every £4 you spend in store you get an extra point if you pay via its app. How to get a 25% Clubcard boost

  • New. Free 1,000pts (worth up to £30) for spending a penny on 20mth 0% spending card. Full details in Tesco Clubcard credit card.

  • More Clubcard tricks, incl reclaim lost vchs. To play the scheme like a wedding cellist, you can also:
    - Reclaim lost Clubcard vchs from the past 2yrs.
    - Extend Tesco vchs if about to expire.
    - Boost your points haul via online surveys and more.

PS: See more tricks for Nectar, Morrisons and Boots collectors in Boost Loyalty Points.

 

26-plant bundle £15 incl del, with geraniums, hydrangeas etc (norm £65). MSE Blagged. Mix of plugs, snips and 9cm pot plant, plus fertiliser. Thompson & Morgan

FREE Lego & My Little Pony this weekend. 80+ stores, while stock lasts. Get there early

New. Is it cheaper to rent - rather than buy - kids' bikes? A cycle club lets you swap a bike for a bigger one as your kid grows, from £5/mth (+ fees). We've crunched the numbers. Rent kids' bikes?

Give your wallet a 2-minute 'workout'. Knowing which credit is right for you is a minefield, but getting it right can save you £100s. Our Credit Club's Wallet Workout is a simple chatbot that analyses your spending habits and helps find YOUR best credit options.

£10-£30 Superdry, Ghost & Oasis prescription specs & sunnies. MSE Blagged. Norm £99+. Cheap shades

2for1 for £1ish at Legoland, Thorpe Park, Alton Towers & more. Valid at over 20 attractions until July 2019 - see Merlin deals.

 
 

Tell your friends about us

They can get this email free every week

 
 

AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 36mths 0%, 1.99% 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. MoneySupermarket.com*
  2. Confused.com*
  3. Compare The Market*
  4. Gocompare*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (1-3yrs, needs a Nectar card)  

Standard b'band & line rent: TalkTalk equiv £12/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone £20/mth

£150 to switch + £50 if you stay a year: HSBC
5% interest fixed for a year:
Nationwide FlexDirect

 

Over 65? Get cheap travel insurance from £17/yr 

Don't assume you have to pay over the odds because of your age - our top picks can slash costs

Many expect if you're aged 65+ you'll pay MUCH more for travel insurance. That's not necessarily the case - there are lots of ways to save and get decent rates. MoneySaver Marian emailed: "I'm 78, my husband's 71. We were quoted £645 - went online and came back with £137 for both of us. Thank you." Full help in our Over-65s' Travel Insurance guide - in brief...

  • Top over-65s' travel insurance from £17/yr. We focus on individual 65+ policies here, so if younger see Cheap Travel Insurance. All top picks below, for annual policies (best if going away 2+ times a year), meet our min cover criteria, and quote for couples too. 

    - Aged 65-74: Holidaysafe Lite* - £17 in Europe, £33 world, when 65. If 66+ yrs, £25 with same firm (Europe), £49 worldwide.
    - 75-79: Holidaysafe Lite* - £31 Europe, £60 world.
    - 80-85: Insure and Go (Silver) - £252 Europe, £377 world.
    - 86+: Here it gets tricky. Try Age UK, All Clear Travel & Benenden (all have a wide age range).

  • Going away once? Single-trip policies often win. Eg, for someone aged 65 going to Europe for 1wk, policies start at £12. Holidaysafe Lite* (Europe & worldwide) and Leisure Guard Lite* (Europe only) tend to be cheapest for individual and couples' policies. Also do a full comparison via MoneySupermarket*Confused*, Gocompare* and Compare The Market*which sometimes have exclusive deals that beat these. See Single-trip over-65s' cover.

  • Going away with someone younger? Check separate cover. If in a group or couple and you're in different age brackets (incl under 65), it's often cheaper to get individual cover so the younger person isn't charged a more expensive premium. We checked for a couple aged 65 and 66 going to the USA - a joint annual policy was £87, while two separate policies were £82 in total. However, if one person got ill on holiday, not all policies would pay if the other had to stay on (if needed) so consider carefully. 

  • Or get worldwide FAMILY travel insurance up to age 74 (+ phone & breakdown cover) for £13/mth. Via the Nationwide FlexPlus packaged bank account - see full details in the bank accounts feature above. 

  • Medical issues? ALWAYS declare 'em... whatever your age. Cover for pre-existing medical conditions is a whole separate topic - we'll look at it in the coming weeks, but for now see Pre-Existing Conditions.

 

£30 free-range BBQ meat hamper (£40ish at supermarkets). MSE Blagged. All outdoor-reared UK meat. Incl rump/flat iron/gammon steaks, burgers and sausages. 450+ available

25% off ALL Sainsbury's Tu clothing & school uniform. Till Mon. See what's included.

MULTIPLE MONEYSAVING - SUCCESS OF THE WEEK
"We've claimed £533 marriage tax allowance, saved about £250/yr changing energy tariff, reclaimed £182 on Power of Attorney and dropped a council tax band and been reimbursed £6,235. Thank you."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

£10 for TWO Ideal Home Show Scotland tickets - better than 2for1. Norm £13-£16 each. Thu 31 May to Sun 3 Jun at SEC Glasgow. Ideal Home Show

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

How do you rate your energy provider's recent service? Now it's warmed up, it's a good time to reappraise what your energy provider's service was like over winter. So tell us what your current supplier's service has been like over the last six months. Rate your energy provider's recent service

Younger groups more open to revaluing council tax bands. Last week, we asked if it was time to revalue Britain's council tax bands. Over 8,000 of you responded. From the results, over half of those living in England and Scotland believed a revaluation was needed, with those aged under 45 the most keen. In Wales, a revaluation was also favoured by the majority of under-45s, compared with less than half of the 45+ age bracket. See full council tax band poll results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I charge my flatmate for eating my leftovers? I often go away for work and have food left over in the fridge. I'll send a message to my flatmate saying he can help himself, and he usually does. Would it be fair if I began charging him for the food? I'm effectively giving him the choice of paying me or throwing it in the bin. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I charge my flatmate for leftovers? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Council tax - selling house
- Competitions thread of the week: £100 Harvey Nichols card DAILY
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Simple ways to cook chicken and fish
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: How many weddings have you been to in your life?
- Discussion of the week: #WorldBakingDay - is it cheaper?

 

Supermarket Coupons - 100+ incl £2 off Ariel, Bold and Fairy
Garden pass - 'free' year's 2for1s to 400ish gardens
Love Health Hate Waste - extra 25% off 'past-best-before' food
Aldi - £5 'Big Daddy' thick 16oz rump steak
Free outdoor fitness - incl yoga, Zumba, bootcamp etc

Yo Sushi - £2.30 plates on 'Green Wednesdays'
Ask Italian - 30% off mains
Bella Italia - 40% off mains
Subway - £2.50 sub of the day
Las Iguanas - 25% off food & drinks for students

Benefit - 'free' £10.50 mini mascara
Amazon - 'free' £10 with £40 'Top Up - In Store'
Laura Ashley - 40% off full-price items
Jack Wills - 25% off almost everything
Habitat - 25% off almost everything

Quick Forum Tips

Free goody bag from The Wildlife Trust - Go wild
Lidl weekend deals, incl £1.59 bacon - You're bacon my heart
Don't overpay in the free-from food aisle - Craving savings

 
 

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (MOST SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 23 May - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 25 May 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, cheap medicines
Mon 28 May - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 29 May - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: My partner and I are saving for our first home but my credit rating is abysmal. Is it possible for people with low credit scores to use the Help to Buy ISA scheme? Alan, via email.

MSE Karl's A: It's not a problem when it comes to opening a Help to Buy ISA but you'll need a good credit rating to get a mortgage - that's when it really matters. See 27 tips to boost your credit score.

A Help to Buy ISA is a savings account where you get a 25% bonus (max £3k) on top of what you've saved when you buy your first home that's worth up to £250,000 (£450,000 in London). And you don't need a good credit rating to open a savings account. For more, see our Help to Buy ISA guide.

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

 

'I FLOGGED MY BARBIES FOR £6,000'

That's all for this week, but before we go... a story about a shipping container being dumped in a garden in Warwickshire got us thinking about shifting old junk. We took to social media to ask MoneySavers what sort of cash they've made selling clutter - examples so far include a load of old coins which fetched £320 after being saved from the bin, and a forgotten collection of vintage Barbies which sold for a whopping £6,000. Share your selling success stories on our flogging junk Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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