Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

The MoneySaving Forum: join to chat & swap tips with other MoneySavers. Learn how in the Forum Introduction Guide


Share on:


Weekly Email
This email was sent
01st Nov 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 This info may be out of date.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."

01 November 2017
Stop press, Thu 1 Nov 12pm: The base rate has risen for the first time in a decade
If you’ve come from our special email or just want help, see What the base rate rise means for your mortgage, savings, cards and loans. The rest of Wednesday's normal weekly email is below...

New. British Gas 12% price CUT... yet you only get it if you ask for it

- The energy giant's launched new tariffs, far cheaper than its normal rate, for NEW and EXISTING customers
- If willing to go elsewhere, you can cut your price by MUCH more

It's getting cold. Energy bills are getting bigger. And a surprise... British Gas has launched rare, far cheaper dual-fuel deals open to anyone who chooses to pay by direct debit. But existing customers don't get the British Gas tariffs automatically - you have to move to them, though there's a way to get paid to do it.

However, while they beat standard rates, you can save much, much more with other suppliers - and we think you should. Yet about 60% of people stick with their existing firm, so IF YOU'RE WITH BRITISH GAS AND WON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE, AT LEAST DO THIS. Switching savings can be huge... "Thanks @MartinSLewis - by comparing energy, I've just saved £50/mth (£600/yr) switching tariffs." But even if you stick, you can win, as Lisa did: "Saved £300/yr switching energy tariff, still with the same supplier."

Of course, whichever your current supplier is, the challenge is picking what to do. So let's go through it, with bigger savings on each step...

New. British Gas existing custs who don't want to switch.
ACT TO SAVE TYPICALLY £130/yr (incl extra £25 MSE cashback)

Someone with typical usage on a British Gas standard tariff (as most with it are), pays £1,101/yr. Yet it's launched two far cheaper dual-fuel fixed tariffs, one under its British Gas brand, the other under its Sainsbury's brand (Sains Energy is just BG with a different name).

Which is cheapest depends on where you live (it's not avail in N. Ireland) and how much energy you use. To cut to the chase, use our special Cheap Energy Club 'My Current Supplier' comparison, which filters out all but British Gas's tariffs (assuming that's what you've told us you're on). It takes about 5 mins. Plus, do it this way and you also get £25 MSE cashback.

Reminder: While this will save you money, you can save far more moving elsewhere. When doing your comparison, click the other filters in the results and you'll see the scale of the savings.

Here's quick info on the two new British Gas tariffs...

- They'll save you up to £130/yr on the BG standard price: Factoring in the cashback, BG costs a typical £970/yr, Sainsbury's £979/yr.

- They're fixed deals: With no rate hikes till Jan 2019 with BG, Nov 2018 with Sains (though what you pay changes with usage).

- These are dual-fuel deals: So you must get gas and elec.

- The BG deal (not Sains) requires you to have a FREE smart meter. Don't have a BG smart meter? You need to book installation by 31 July 2018. These send automatic readings, so you get exact bills and pay only for what you use. If you've another firm's smart meter, you might need to send regular manual readings when asked (as ridiculously different firms' meters aren't compatible), though you can ask for new BG meters if you want. Full info in our new Smart Meters guide.

- You must sign up for (free) BG Rewards on the BG deal: It's part of the conditions, but this will earn you things like Sky Store movies.

- Both have £40 early exit fees if you leave before the fix ends.

- BG (not Sains) requires online management and paperless bills.

Want to stay with Npower, E.on, EDF, Scot Power or SSE?
ACT TO SAVE TYPICALLY £125/yr - £250/yr

While British Gas rarely has cheaper deals than its standard tariff, other Big 6 firms commonly do. Your firm's cheapest tariff for you depends on your usage and where you live, so use our Cheap Energy Club 'My Current Supplier' comparison to filter out all but your existing provider's tariffs (and sometimes get the £25 MSE cashback - £12.50 single-fuel).

For example, SSE's standard tariff is a typical £1,109/yr, yet it also offers a relatively cheap fix at £950/yr for the same usage (incl extra £25 MSE cashback).

Reminder: While this will save you money, you can save far more moving elsewhere. When doing your comparison click the other filters in the results and you'll see the scale of the savings.

Willing to switch firm BUT want a big name?
ACT TO SAVE TYPICALLY £260/yr (incl £25 MSE cashback)

Someone on a Big 6 standard tariff pays an average £1,132/yr with typical usage. Yet E.on and First Utility have fixed deals at around £900/yr and for some even the British Gas deal above may win, plus on all Big 6 switches you can get £25 MSE cashback.

Which is cheapest for you depends on where you live and your usage. So use our Cheap Energy Club 'Big Name Suppliers' comparison (which factors in cashback) to filter out all but big name deals.

Just want the cheapest deals?

Many new, smaller providers offer much cheaper rates. Some are new with limited or poor feedback, others have better records. Someone on a Big 6 standard tariff pays an average £1,132/yr with typical usage - the very cheapest deal on the market is £820/yr at time of writing.

Your best deal depends on location and usage so use our Cheap Energy Club 'Whole of Market' comparison (factoring in cashback) to find your cheapest. Or you can check our 'TOP PICKS' comparison for cheap minnows with some decent feedback, and other deals we think are worth looking at.

Key energy switching info...
For more, see the full Cheap Energy Club FAQs.

Q. What does switching actually mean? In practical terms switching isn't a biggie. No one visits your home (unless it's to install a smart meter). It's the same gas, same electricity, even same safety - the only change is price and service.

Q. What info do I need to switch? It's best if you have a bill, and input kilowatt hours (kWh) into Cheap Energy Club, rather than cost. Yet DON'T WORRY if you don't know your usage; Cheap Energy Club can help you guesstimate. While the answer won't be perfect, it's usually far better than doing nowt.

Q. What if I'm on a prepay meter? You can still switch. Try our prepay comparison - savings are smaller, typically £55/yr, but it's worth doing. For bigger savings, see if you can switch to a credit meter. Full help in cut the cost of prepay energy.

Q. Does MSE make money from this? Yes. Like all energy comparison sites, we're paid each time you switch through us, but we aim to give you about half in cashback (money you don't get if you go direct). The rest helps cover our costs and hopefully makes us some profit. We've had to drop the cashback from £30 to £25 recently as suppliers can give us less - for more see MSE Jason's blog.

Q. What happens if my small supplier goes bust? Rules that came in last year mean your energy credit is protected and your energy stays on as you'll be transferred to another supplier. However, you could lose any cheap deal you're on.

Q. How does Cheap Energy Club work? It does 3 things:
1) We compare ALL market tariffs to show your exact price and saving.
2) You get £25 dual-fuel cashback (£12.50 single-fuel) if we can switch you. It's sent roughly 90 days later.
3) We check for better deals. You set a 'trigger saving', eg, £150/yr, then we alert you if you can save this by switching again.

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

New. TSB triple deal: Free £130 + free £10/mth + 3% interest

New switchers can get up to £210 free cash as another bank joins the battle for your custom

Another week, another salvo in the bank switching price war. This week, well-regarded bank TSB's brought back its big deal to lure you in. Good news, as the £250 Clydesdale/Yorkshire/B deal we told you about last week ended within days. Switching's simple, taking just seven working days. The new bank closes your old account and moves all direct debits, payments and standing orders. Here's how TSB's deal stacks up...

  • New. TSB free £130 + £10/mth + 3% interest. New switchers via this TSB Classic Plus* link get £130 (nowt if you apply direct). Plus till next Jun you'll get £5/mth if you have 2 direct debits that pay out every month + £5 every month you make 20+ debit card payments (incl contactless), meaning you can get £210 all in. You also get 3% AER variable interest on up to £1,500. What's more, TSB has good customer service in our latest poll.

    - How do I get it? Pay in £500+/mth (just normal salary for most, and you can take it out the next day), switch 2+ active direct debits, register for online banking and go paperless. Important: Allow cookies in your browser or the offer mightn't track.

  • Free £200 + linked 5% savings. Switchers to HSBC Advance* get £150 for switching + £50 if still with it after a year as long as you've not had one of its current accounts since 2015. You get access to a linked 5% regular savings account where you can put up to £250/mth for 1yr. It has ok customer service in our latest poll. Apply online, then call or go to a branch within 30 days to start the switch. You must pay in £1,750+/mth, switch 2+ direct debits/standing orders and register for online banking within 60 days.

  • Free £125 + no.1 service + linked 5% savings. New switchers using this First Direct* link get £125 (£100 direct), and in our latest poll 90% rated its service as 'great'. You can save up to £300/mth for 1yr in its linked 5% fixed regular saver, and some get a £250 0% overdraft. Pay in £1,000 within 3mths to get the bonus, then £1,000/mth to avoid the £10/mth fee.

  • Free £125 M&S gift card + £5/mth + linked 5% savings. New M&S Bank* switchers get a £125 M&S gift card and access to a 5% linked regular saver in which they can put up to £250/mth for 1yr. Also, pay in £1,000+/mth and you get £5/mth extra added to the card for the first year. To get it all, switch and keep 2+ active direct debits.

You'll be credit-checked for all when you apply. Full rundown and other options in our Best Bank Accounts guide.

Time to ditch Santander 123? Now it's YES for most. According to Martin's new Santander 123 analysis.

Dyson FLASH 20% off refurbished vacuums code. 25+ models, eg, V6 cordless vacuum £144 (norm £180, cheapest new £189). Ends Thu. Dyson code

1,000 FREE £15ish radiator heat reflector packs. MSE Blagged. Help make up to four rads more efficient, hopefully saving money. Pimp your rads

Roaming warning: 'I was charged £8,000 for 40 mins' data in Europe.' How to avoid a roaming bill shock.

Ends Thu. Fast BT fibre broadband & line '£18/mth' for 1yr. We show you how to get it in new BT deal.

Will Aid now on - go quick if you want help. Nov's Will Aid month, letting anyone get a solicitor-drafted will for a suggested £95 charity donation (cheaper than most solicitors, who often charge about £150). But places go fast, so book now. See full Will Aid info. Plus we've blagged codes for half-price Which? wills and £50 off Co-op wills.

Car insurance price hikes: Up 10% in 12mths. Act NOW to slash costs

The Association of British Insurers and AA are again reporting huge cost increases - our system helps beat 'em

According to new figures, for the second year in a row we've seen double-digit car insurance cost hikes... but you can fight back. The message we've shouted for years is NEVER auto-renew as insurers usually exploit existing customers with sky-high quotes. By using the tips in our Cheap Car Insurance guide, many save £100s. Here's the key info...

  • Not at renewal yet? You can still cut costs now. How depends on how far away you are.

    (i) Renewal in next 2mths? Some insurers give quotes valid for 45-60 days, so get one now and use it if it's cheapest at renewal. If not, ignore it. These include Aviva*, Morethan* and Quotemehappy - see insurers with lock-in quotes.

    (ii) Renewal further away? Use the info below to find your cheapest. If it's much cheaper than your current premium and you haven't claimed, for a £50ish admin fee you can usually cancel your policy, get the rest of the year refunded (you won't earn the year's no-claims bonus) and get the new deal. See full switching mid-policy info.

  • At renewal? Combine comparison sites to find your cheapest at speed. They don't cover the same insurers, so use more than one to get a wider spread. Gill emailed: "My renewal was £755. After following your comparison sites order I got it down to £348. Thank you." Our current order's MoneySupermarket*,*, Gocompare* and Compare The Market* (why? See comparison order).

  • Check hot deals comparisons miss, incl free Amazon voucher. Some aren't on comparisons, eg, Age UK offers a £55 Amazon vch from today (Wed). Plus, big insurers Aviva* and Direct Line* are never listed on comparisons. See hot deals comparisons miss.

  • Try counter-logical tricks. Full info in Cheap Car Insurance, here are the key ones...

    - Use trial & error to check if comprehensive is cheaper than 3rd party.
    - Can you save by tweaking your job title? Ratatatat did: "Went from accountant to auditor - I'm both. Saved £60."
    - Adding responsible extra drivers, if they're low risk, can save you cash. As @t0mking tweeted: "I did it, saved £700. I'm gobsmacked, thanks."
Advent calendar codes - a cheap way to grab everyday items.
These seasonal favourites often have beauty, beer etc at a fraction of the price. Here are the best we've found...

£186 of beauty products for £50, incl Bare Minerals, Ren & This Works. Calendar's good value at norm £60 but we've got £10 off and free del. Latest in Beauty

£139 of Ciaté nail polish for £30, incl 21 minis & one full-size. Its popular advent calendar's back - normally £50 but our code gets £20 off and free del. Ciaté

24 craft beers for £55, incl BrewDog & Camden. All 330ml or larger. Norm £75 but our code gets £20 off, plus free del for most. Beer Hawk. Pls be Drinkaware.

Plus... are quirky calendars incl wine, cheese, Baileys, Pringles & Kellogg's worth it? We've done the analysis. Some are MoneySavers, others should be left on the shelf. Advent analysis

4mths' Sky Cinema + Now TV box £20 all-in (norm £40). Stream blockbuster films on your telly - covers Xmas. Now TV

The top 10 Christmas toys 2017 (according to Hamleys) - where to find 'em cheapest. Incl Hatchimals & Lego Star Wars. Christmas toys

Tell your friends about us

They can get this email free every week


Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. CompareTheMarket*

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Clydesdale* / Yorkshire* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Sky equiv £17.50/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent:
BT equiv £17.90/mth

£130 to switch + £10/mth until Jun 18 + 3% interest: TSB
5% interest fixed for a year:
Nationwide FlexDirect

Free KFC, doughnuts, coffee or even get PAID to eat

Take advantage of clever tricks, coupons, apps or cards to eat and drink for nothing (or very cheaply)

You really can get a free lunch. So fill your boots (and your stomach) with our top tips to use at fast food joints, cafés, restaurants, supermarkets and more in our new guide on how to get free or cheap food. Here are five to whet your appetite...

  • Get PAID to eat by going undercover as a mystery diner. No need for secret cameras or camouflage. Restaurants such as Giraffe, Wagamama and Leon need guinea pigs to test their service. You usually get back what you spent and sometimes a little more - though spaces are limited. MSE Ant had great success: "In one busy month, I managed to scoff more than £100's worth of free grub at high street chains." Become a mystery diner

  • Free KFC, GBK fries, Subway sandwich and more via apps. They offer freebies to get you through the door, yet often you don't need to spend anything to get the freebie. Fast-food apps

  • Three courses for a fiver. Even Gordon Ramsay had to start somewhere. Training restaurants at colleges and universities are keen for students to practise on real customers - so you'll often get top-quality food and service for bargain prices. We saw a three-course lunch for just £5. Visit a training restaurant

  • Bag free doughnuts, cupcakes & more on your birthday. Just sign up to free newsletters or loyalty cards to bag a host of treats. Best birthday freebies

  • Free tea or coffee while you shop. If you need a regular caffeine fix, Booths and Ikea loyalty cards let you grab a free hot drink every day; at Waitrose you need to buy something (no min spend). Free hot drinks

Started uni in or after 1998 and began repaying your loan in 2002-2006? Your loan's being sold. The Government insists there'll be no change to the way or amount you repay though - see our full Student loan sale Q&A.

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Thanks to your Home Insurance guide my premium went from £498 to £177 - saved £321."

2for1 Ideal Home Show at Christmas tix (Ldn & Manc). If you missed the freebies last month, we've 2for1s for London (22-26 Nov) and Manchester (9-12 Nov). Ideal Home Show


Are hotel sites really unlocking great deals? The competition watchdog's investigating hotel-booking sites. Is the info you see when searching for a room clear enough? Do you know why certain hotels are recommended, how much you're saving, and are extra charges easy to spot? Let the Competition and Markets Authority know what you think in this short survey.


How often do you use cheques? A new cheque clearing system starts to roll out this week which means cheques will clear no later than the end of the next weekday, rather than taking up to six - and you may soon be able to deposit cheques by sending a picture of them. Yet are cheques in terminal decline? How often do you use them?

Pay rises are few and far between for lower earners... In last week's poll we asked if you've had a pay rise in the last year. From over 8,900 responses, 40% of you hadn't received ANY increase - with roughly half of those earning under £25,000 missing out. Interestingly, those earning between £100,001 and £150,000 were the most fortunate, with 30% claiming they'd received an above-inflation rise. See who else had a pay rise in the last year.


Should we pay for our daughter's wedding? She's getting married next year and we're really worried about the cost as everyone is looking at us as the bride's parents to pay for a spectacular do. We have limited income and don't want to be embarrassed or forced into debt to meet expectations. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we pay for our daughter's wedding? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Christmas on a budget
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a seven-night stay in Lanzarote
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Is it worth buying a slow cooker?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Blended family - who gets the small bedroom?

Powder - £104ish of products for £31.50
Wilko - 50% off pick & mix sweets
Baileys - £12 one-litre bottle (norm £20)
Cornerstone - shaving set £14 all-in (norm £30)
Larsson & Jennings - 25% off watches. Ends Wed

Frankie & Benny's - 50% off mains
Prezzo - 40% off mains
Papa John's - 33% off pizzas online
Zizzi - 30% off mains
Just Eat - 20%-30% off selected takeaways

Dr Oetker - £1 off baking and decorating
Hill's - £5 off dog or cat food
Baxters - 50p off soup
Santa Maria - 50p off spices
John West - 50p off spreadables fridge pack

Quick Forum Tips

'Free' Stork baking tin with £2 spread. You butter believe it
Lidl weekend offers, eg, 79p muesli (norm £1.29). Milk it
Selected clothing £2.50 at Everything5pounds. Dress for less


Thu 2 Nov - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. See previous
Fri 3 Nov - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, time TBC
Mon 6 Nov - This Morning, ITV, time TBC
Mon 6 Nov - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe


Wed 1 Nov - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 3 Nov - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Tue 7 Nov - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm


Q: I'm on the electoral register but I've opted out of the open version of it - will this affect my credit score? Sarah, by email.

MSE Karl's A: As long as you're registered to vote this will be recorded by credit agencies and will help to boost your credit score. So don't worry about being on the open version or not.

The open register is an extension of the main one and can be bought by firms (or anyone else) to send marketing to you. By opting out of it you get more privacy as your info is therefore only really available to electoral services, the police, Government and credit agencies. For more info, including how to opt out, see 60 seconds on the electoral roll.

We're not fashion experts, but... a £1,700 skirt for £40 at Halfords?
That's it for this week, but before we go... We like to keep up to speed with the latest trends and when we saw Spanish designer Balenciaga's new skirt, the design looked familiar though it seemed more motor-like than fashion. Our tweet comparing it to a £40 Halfords car mat went viral, with thousands also noticing the similarity. See our Balenciaga vs Halfords tweet and let us know what you think.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

Get The Free Weekly Moneysaving Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out

Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out