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Weekly Email
This email was sent
03rd Jan 2019
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

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

03 January 2019
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.


New Year BILL BUSTING - take our crash course to save £1,000s

We wish you a healthy, happy and fiscally sensible 2019. And as many people's New Year's resolution is to get their finances in order, especially if you've a post-Christmas debt hangover, we want to help. 

We make no apology for the fact that regular MoneySavers will know much of this, but the aim is to make it easy for those who aren't always super diligent. If you need even more detail, don't worry, each week in January we'll go more in depth on these subject by subject. 

  1. BROADBAND & LINE. Millions overpay - yet it takes 5 mins to slash your bills with prices from '£10.24/mth'. Many pay up to £45/mth for the slowest broadband speeds, but hot, short-lived promos can help you dramatically slice costs. These new-customer deals are the current cream of the crop (they're postcode-dependent so follow the links to see if you can get them)...
     - Standard broadband speed, avg 10Mb: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth 
     - New. Fast fibre, avg 35Mb: Vodafone equiv £17.23/mth
     - New. Faster fibre, avg 63Mb: Vodafone equiv £19.84/mth

    Check our Broadband Unbundled tool for loads more deals.

  2. CREDIT & STORE CARD DEBT. Check if you pay interest - if so, use our 2-min tool to shift debt to 0%, incl 27mths, NO FEE. You can save £100s with a balance transfer card. It repays debts on old cards for you, so you owe it instead, but at 0%. So if you had existing debt and/or overdid it at Xmas, this can be your financial superhero.

    Right now the top pick for many is 27mths at 0% with NO FEE. Yet don't apply over and over again. That adds a mark to your credit file, and if you get rejected and need to apply again, it makes it harder. Our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calculator shows which of most top cards you're most likely to get, without hitting your credit file.

    Shifting debt can save you big, as Richard discovered: "I have just done a balance transfer and I'm saving £1,100+/yr. Thanks." 

  3. CAR INSURANCE. Take 10 mins to see if you can save £100s, even if not at renewal. Insurers rely on people's laziness to jack up renewal prices, so always compare before you auto-renew. You'll normally get the best prices 21 days before your year's up, so remember to get quotes then. Or you could save even if not at renewal - see how to switch mid-policy. When ready...

    (i) Use comparison sites to check dozens of insurers in mins - but they don't all cover the same providers so check a few. Our current order is MoneySup*, Confused*, Gocompare* & Compare The Market*
    (ii) Biggies Direct Line* & Aviva* aren't on comparisons so try 'em.
    (iii) Check hot deals comparisons miss, which includes a £55 Amazon vch. See our car insurance cost-cutting system for more.

    What about home insurance? The logic is the same - never auto-renew and use comparisons. See our cheap home insurance system.

  4. MORTGAGES. They're many people's biggest monthly expense - can you slash yours by £1,000s? About 2m overpay on a standard variable rate - which most intro deals revert to when over. 

    Eg, someone on the average 4.9% standard rate borrowing £150,000 over 25yrs would save around £5,400 over 2yrs (incl fees) by switching to the best 2yr fix.

    Read the MSE Remortgage Guide for help picking a deal and use our Mortgage Best Buys tool to benchmark the best rates.

  5. PETROL & DIESEL. Drive down costs by finding your cheapest forecourt in seconds. A simple cost-cutter to save on expensive fuel - which is up 20p/L in 3yrs - is to buy from a cheap filling station, and a nifty tool finds the cheapest near you. Using it, we found petrol in south London ranging from 114.7p to 154.9p. See how to find cheap petrol & diesel, plus fuel-efficiency tips.

  6. MOBILES. Pay £10/mth+ for mobile use? STOP and check if big savings are possible. If out of contract, happy with your handset and you've had your Sim a while, you can probably slash costs as Sim prices have dived in recent years.

    Most people use less than 5GB of data and at this level there are lots of sub-£10/mth deals. Our top picks for new customers are below, and all come with unlimited mins & texts:

    - 1GB, equiv £4.38/mth. With Smarty* (on Three's network) you pay £6.25/mth upfront with no min term. Activate the Sim by 18 Feb to get 2mths 'free', and you can claim a £10 Amazon vch (it'll send claiming info within 3mths). Spend it & over 1yr it's an equiv £4.38/mth.
    - 4GB, equiv £7.50/mth. This Smarty* deal works the same as above but is £10/mth upfront.  
    - 20GB, equiv £13.34/mth. On this 1yr Vodafone* deal it's £20/mth but you get £80 auto-cashback after 2mths - an equiv £13.34/mth.

    Check old bills for your usage or try a free checker tool. See our Best Sim Only Deals guide for more options and switching help.  

  7. SUPERMARKET SHOPPING. Are you a brand snob? Don't be, and go wild in the discount aisles to save £1,000+/yr. Supermarkets are geniuses at making us spend our hard-earned cash on stuff we don't need, and they don't always make discounts easy to find.

    To fight back, we've 34 Supermarket Tips incl how to max discounts and play the Downshift Challenge by going a brand level lower, sometimes with little taste difference. James saved: "Just took the MSE Downshift Challenge and cut the weekly shop from £133 to £89."  

  8. TV BILLS. Don't switch off and let them charge top dollar. Haggle your way to a better deal. With TV, there aren't many standout deals now, but haggling is often your best way of netting a bargain as the biggies are among the easiest firms across the UK to haggle with.

    In our Sep poll, 85% of Sky customers who voted said they successfully haggled, followed by Virgin (82%), BT (80%) & TalkTalk (80%). See TV haggling help but also ensure you don't overpay for channels you never watch.

  9. COUNCIL TAX. Can you save £1,000s via our 10-min check & challenge system? Up to 400,000 homes may be in the wrong council tax band as original valuations were slapdash. If you are, not only could you get what you pay reduced, you could get a backdated payout. Don't just challenge willy-nilly though, as your band could also be hiked - see our full council tax rebanding system.

    Jag tweeted: "A massive thanks. I've been refunded £6,000+ from being on the incorrect council tax band for 23yrs. #MartinLewis." 

  10. WATER. Are you pouring money down the drain? Use a quick calc to check if you can save with a water meter. You can't switch supplier to save, but some may be better off with a water meter. See how to check if you can slash your water bill. Ange tweeted: "Just saved £250 by changing to a water meter. Thanks."

PS: If you wonder why there's no mention of energy or bank accounts here, we've hot deals for them below in the main body of this email.

Martin Lewis Money Show LIVE, ITV, 8pm Tue

It's an hour-long BILL BUSTER 'ask me anything' special - so Martin says he'll be wearing brown trousers

Over to him: "Next Tue, to restart the series (after, it confusingly moves to Mondays) we've a 1hr live bill-busting special, where I'll run through how to slash £1,000s off the cost of all household bills. Plus as always it's an 'ask me anything' - so if you've got a question, on anything (well, almost) you can get in touch live. Do watch, or set the Betamax."


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.



Bank switch bonuses are back
First Direct (no.1 for service) pays you £125, or HSBC is £150

Pockets feeling empty this New Year? Bag some free cash just by switching bank and get better service too...

First Direct has won every bank customer service poll we've done for more than 8yrs - 89% of customers rated it 'great' in our last poll. Yet last April, we think it made a mistake, ditching 'free cash' sign-up bonuses for free gadgets and gizmos. And now it seems to agree, as it's shifted back. It's not alone in rekindling cash bonuses as HSBC has too, stoking the switch war.

Switching bank is EASY. It takes 7 working days and the new bank moves all standing orders and direct debits for you, closes your old account and auto-forwards payments. You will have to pass a not-too-harsh credit check though.

  • New. No.1 service + FREE £125 + linked 5% savings. Apply via our First Direct link* and it gives new customers who switch to it £125 (only £100 if you apply direct). Plus you can save £300 a month for a year at 5% interest in its linked regular savings account. Many also get a 0% overdraft of £250.

    Yet only get this account if you'll pay in £1,000 a month (for most that just means paying in a salary of £12,700 a year) or it will eventually charge a £10/mth fee. For more details, see our First Direct review.

  • New. Free £150 + linked 5% savings. Newbies switching to the fee-free HSBC Advance* account get even more, £150, and can also save £250/mth for a year at 5% interest in its linked regular savings account. But only 43% of customers rated it 'great' in our latest customer service poll.

    To qualify, you'll need to switch to the account, including 2 direct debits or standing orders, within 30 days of opening it, then pay in £1,750/mth (for most that just means paying in a £25,900/yr salary). For more details, see our HSBC review.

  • Earn up to £185 in vouchers with the best of the rest. There's a full rundown of all the options in our Best Bank Accounts guide, including M&S Bank which currently gives new switchers a £100 M&S vch with no minimum pay-in (and another £80-£120 vch after a year if you do pay in £1,250/mth). There's also Halifax Reward which gives switchers £50 before the switch completes then £85 after 6mths, and £2/mth if you jump through a couple of other small hoops.

Get 18 consecutive days off this year for just 9 days' annual leave. See MSE Jordon's holiday hack blog.

Sales boosted to up to 70% off - incl Asos, H&M and Topshop. We expect more to follow. Full info and updates in January sales. 

Did Ryanair change a name on your booking, then charge £115 to fix it? We've had 44 reports from people who booked in autumn who told us a surname of one of their party was wrongly changed to that of the lead traveller - and some have faced a £115 charge to fix it. Read our Ryanair name warning story and let us know if it happened to you.

Free gym passes incl Xercise4Less, DW Fitness First and Anytime Fitness. Paying for membership doesn't make you fit - you must actually go... so test it first with free gym passes or pay-as-you-go passes

'Free' £4 Amazon code - for some. Min £25 spend. See if you're eligible for free Amazon credit.

Martin: 'How I averaged 23,513 steps a day in 2018.' That's equivalent to 21 km, burning 3,600 calories. Read Martin's 2018 steps blog.


Ending. Special energy deal: Bulb, £50 credit, 'great' service, save £250/yr

DON'T think the new price cap protects your pocket - millions will still overpay, the only prevention is action

The much-vaunted price cap launched on Tuesday, and millions on standard tariffs will see their hideous bills drop to become just expensive bills... for now. The cap will be reviewed in April, and as it's based largely on wholesale prices, which have been high, it's almost certain to rocket, so is likely to put the typical bill back to where it was (read Martin's nerdy analysis). We base our savings below on that. To cut a long story short, if you stick on a standard tariff you're still RIPPING YOURSELF OFF, so here's what to do...

  • Ends 9 Jan. Bulb special MSE deal - save £250/yr via £50 boost + get top service. Bulb is one of the top-rated energy firms in our customer service polls, with 76% rating it 'great', plus 100% of elec and 10% of gas is renewably sourced. It's a mid-sized company with 860,000 customers.

    And we've negotiated a special deal on its Bulb Vari-Fair tariff (via this special MSE Cheap Energy Club comparison link) where you get the usual £25 Cheap Energy Club dual-fuel cashback and an extra £25 dual-fuel bill credit. Factor this in and for someone with typical use it's £970 over the first year, compared to £1,220 on a Big 6 tariff even with the price cap - meaning it is beaten only by a few minnows. Here are some key points:

    - It's a variable rate, so prices can change, but there are no exit fees to ditch if costs rise.
    - It's for dual fuel or elec-only (though cashback/credit is halved on elec-only), but not avail in N Ireland.
    - Bulb pays any exit fees your current supplier charges, up to £60 per fuel.
    - You can't take it with you if you move home.
    - Pay by monthly direct debit & get paperless bills to qualify. There is a different but cheap prepay option too.

    PS: Bulb has a refer-a-friend scheme, which normally pays the referrer & newbie £50 each if the newbie switches to this tariff via Bulb. Our deal pays the newbie the same but you don't need to know an existing customer.

  • Prefer to switch to a big name instead? Many are put off by firms they've not heard of topping the tables. So we've a special Big Name Supplier filter in our Cheap Energy Club, or a My Supplier's Top Deal filter if you want to stay put.

The 26-30 Railcard is now on sale. Millions will be able to get a 1/3 off fares. Tips on how to use it best, who it works for and how to get one in 26-30 Railcard.

Calvin Klein, Davidoff & Jaguar specs from £30 delivered. MSE Blagged. Via SpeckyFourEyes code. 

£10-£40 London theatre tickets incl Aladdin, Phantom of the Opera & Wicked. Started in Dec, 80,000 tickets still available for Jan/Feb shows. West End theatre

Know your tap water rights in bars & restaurants - good if doing Dry January. See your tap water rights. PS: If you fancy booze, also know your pint rights to ensure you get a fair pour (pls be Drinkaware).

Have your kids got savings? How to earn up to 4.5%. If Santa gave your little'uns cash for Christmas - or if they had some anyway - see our Top Children's Savings guide to bag the best rate.

How to reclaim lost Tesco points & boost your New Year coffers. You can go back 2yrs. Tesco reclaim


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No-fee 0%: Santander* 27mths 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR)
Longest 0%: 
Post Office up to 32mths 0%, 2% fee (19.9% interest after)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* 3.4% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Cahoot* 2.8% rep APR

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone equiv £17.23/mth

Top for service + free £125 + 0% overdraft: First Direct
Biggest upfront bonus for switching - free £150: 


Flight sales on NOW. Can you land mega-cheap deals? Eg, LA £288 rtn

BA, Virgin, Easyjet, Ryanair etc have sales on, but to really take advantage you need to know how to play 'em

January is the busiest holiday booking month, so airlines promise big reductions. But not surprisingly, when you search, prices can be much higher, so our Cheap Flights guide helps you navigate the system. Here are the key points:

  1. For big bargains, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are often cheapest, and avoid peak times. No surprise, Sherlock.

  2. Got specific dates & places? Use a comparison site. They include sale prices, so let them do the legwork. Our top picks are Kayak*, Skyscanner* & Momondo*. Via one, we saw a London-Dubai return at £360 via an agent, but £380 for the SAME Emirates flight booked via the airline.

  3. Flexible on date or place? You can play the sales. There are big bargains about incl Glasgow-Faro for £12 on Ryanair, Edinburgh-NYC for £215 on Norwegian or London-LA for £288 on BA (all returns). Yet like most top deals they're often at specific times with limited availability.

    So we've a flight sales summary to help find the best deal with links to each airline sales page and tips on how to use them best as some have tools to find the best fares, most of which are available before April. As with so many airlines now, you may face extra fees, especially with budget carriers, so we've special Easyjet & Ryanair tricks to help.

  4. Free bargain flight finder 30-day trial. You can get alerted to hot fares via Jack's Flight Club. Basic membership's free, but its £35/yr service gives 4x more deals and early access, and we've blagged 5,000 free trials.

  5. You can search 'anywhere' or 'everywhere' on comparisons if you need inspiration. For a worldwide search on specific dates, Kayak*Skyscanner* & Momondo* all let you do this.

  6. ALWAYS factor in baggage fees. They may not be included in headline fares, while comparisons may default to hand baggage-only prices, which are common even on some long-haul routes (though Kayak lets you incl bags in searches).

  7. Don't automatically pay for seats when booking. How to sit together for FREE on BA, Easyjet, Virgin etc. We've airline-by-airline tricks in our Airline Seating guide.

  8. Check if a package holiday wins. If going to a popular place, it can beat separate flight and hotel bookings - often with extra protection. Sometimes it's cheaper even if you DON'T use the hotel. See Cheap Package Holiday tips.

HMV in administration - your rights, incl gift cards, returns & unfulfilled orders. See HMV help.

"I asked if my insurer could beat rival home insurance quotes. Managed to cut my renewal quote by 20%. Thanks MSE for the encouragement regarding haggling."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Free MOT reminder - helps avoid a £1,000 fine. Takes just a minute to set up. Free MOT reminder



Parcel delivery firms: which are the best and worst? Now the festive season is over, Santa finally has the chance to rest - yet for parcel delivery firms (which helped), it's business as usual. So it's time for our sixth annual poll to sort the good guys from the bad... Which are the best and worst parcel delivery firms?

Most MoneySavers ended 2018 better off than they started it. Last week we asked how you've fared financially over the past 12 months. Encouragingly, the majority of the 6,878 who responded said their finances were in "better shape" compared with the beginning of 2018, while fewer than one in five said they were worse off. Younger age groups were more likely to say their finances have improved - see how MoneySavers fared financially in 2018. 



Should I miss my sister's wedding? She expects my gift to cost at least £100 but I can barely afford the wedding. I don't want to fall out but she's not listening and it's causing me a lot of stress. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Would it be wrong to miss my sister's wedding? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Pay off ALL your debt by Xmas 2019 
- Competitions thread of the week: Scottish cruise worth £8,500
- Old-Style board thread of the week: 2019 - a clutter-free life
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Pocket money conundrum
- Discussion of the week: Make £2,019 in 2019


Dry January - Free app tracks units, calories & cash saved
St John Ambulance - Free first aid help & advice
Vodafone customers - £7 for two Odeon cinema tickets
Free beer - Voucher valid at 1,000+ pubs (Eng & Wales)
Halfords - Free winter car check, incl screenwash top-up

Just Eat - 10%-30% off selected takeaways
McDonald's hacks - eg, £1.70 off DIY 'Big Mac'
Nando's hacks - eg, £5 off a meal for two
Pizza Hut - £7-ish unlimited lunch buffet
Subway - 'Savers' from £1-ish, incl chorizo flatbread

Boots - up to 50% off online & in stores
Gap - up to 60% off online & in stores
Ikea - up to 50% off, plus 10% extra via Ikea Family card
Kurt Geiger - up to 60% off online & in stores
Selfridges - up to 50% off online & in stores

Quick Forum Tips

Free printable 2019 year planner/calendar. Cheap date
M&S £10 meal deal incl wine. What's the big meal?
Hotel Chocolat cheap post-Xmas choc. Don't be choco-late



Thu 3 Jan - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 4 Jan - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 7 Jan 
- This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 7 Jan - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again 
Tue 8 Jan - The Martin Lewis Money Show LIVE, ITV, 8pm. See previous 


Fri 4 Jan - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 7 Jan - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Mon 7 Jan - BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 8 Jan - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm 



Q: I'd like to switch energy provider but don't want to pay a fee to leave my current deal, which still has time to run. When's the best time to start looking? Hannah, via email.

MSE Steve B's A: Not all energy deals have exit fees, though most tariffs where the rate is fixed for a set period (eg, 12mths) do charge a fee if you leave well before the fixed term is up. So it's worth checking. 

If there is a switching fee, the good news is that you don't need to wait till the term is up to avoid it. This is because providers are not allowed to charge exit fees in the last 49 days of your fixed period. So this window may be a good time to start looking, if you want to avoid paying exit fees when you switch. However, you could look for a new tariff at any time - as it may be that you'd still save by switching tariff even after paying exit fees.

When you're ready, use our Cheap Energy Club to do a full market comparison to find the best deal for you.

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



That's it for this week, but before we go... MoneySavers have been sharing their New Year's resolutions. While many are focusing on a healthy start to 2019, others have big plans to save rather than lose pounds - from starting a budget or finding a new job to a complete ban on buying any new clothes. Head to our New Year's resolutions Twitter post and let us know what you're planning on doing...

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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