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Weekly Email
This email was sent
03rd Oct 2018
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 This info may be out of date.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 October 2018
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.


 Switch bank NOW - the price war's reignited, with FIVE banks now paying up to £200

- PS: Do it now and you may get the freebies in time for Xmas

It was a barren summer for bank-switch bribes - but that's all changing. Last month HSBC brought back its mega-popular £200 offer and this week two banks are launching big incentives to lure you in, meaning five now pay £100+ in cash or freebies to switch. So now's a good time to ditch your bank if it's pants.

The five switching need-to-knows

  1. Switching is easy. It takes just 7 working days, and your new bank moves payments in and out (incl direct debits) & closes your old account.
  2. You must pass a not-too-harsh credit check.
  3. You must use the banks' official switching services to get the perks.
  4. Most require you to move 2-4 active direct debits or standing orders and some make you log in to online or mobile banking, so check.
  5. Most require a minimum monthly pay-in to get the perks - don't worry, it's just to get you to pay your salary in.
The best bank-switch bribes - bag up to £200

  • HSBC: free £200 - get £150, then another £50 after a year. Top if you want pure cash. Switchers to the HSBC Advance* account get the free cash and with it you can open a 5% fixed regular saver, which lets you save up to £250/mth. You need to pay in a min £1,750/mth (equiv to a £25,900/yr salary), and to get the cash you can't have had an HSBC bank account since 2015.

  • First Direct: top service + freebies, eg, £199 headphones, £150 Expedia voucher. Service king & lucrative perks. First Direct* has won every bank customer service poll we've done. And new switchers can choose a freebie from a choice of gadgets, online courses (eg, yoga/beer brewing) or the Expedia vch. You can save up to £300/mth in its 5% regular saver and most get a £250 0% overdraft. Pay in £1,000+/mth (equiv £12,675+/yr salary) to avoid a £10/mth fee. 

  • Starts late Wed morning. NatWest: bag £125 + 2% bills cashback. Good bills account. The bank will launch a £125 bonus to switchers (incl some NatWest custs) on most of its current accounts on Wed. The exact launch time is unclear but is due between 10am and midday.

    The standout is NatWest Reward* which, for a £2/mth fee, gives 2% cashback on council tax, energy, broadband etc bills paid by direct debit - those with avg bills get £66/yr after the fee, £135/yr on higher bills. You must pay in a min £1,500/mth (a £21,500/yr salary does it). Note, the £125 may not come until Feb and you'll need to keep your account until then to get it.

  • M&S Bank: free £125 in M&S vouchers with NO min pay-in (+£5/mth more in vchs for 1yr if you can pay in £1,250/mth). Good service, good perk if you like M&S & NO min pay-in. New switchers to M&S Bank* can get the freebies above and get access to its 5% regular saver. There's no min pay-in for the £125 but for the £5/mth you must deposit £1,250+/mth (equiv £17,080/yr salary) and keep the direct debits active.

  • New. Barclays: get £132 in year one, then £48/yrBeaten by the above for most, but if you want Barclays, now's a good time. If you switch a non-Barclays account to Barclays* and sign up to its Blue Rewards scheme you get £14/mth in year one. There's a £3/mth fee, but it still leaves you up £11/mth (£132/yr). You must pay in a min £800/mth (equiv £9,800/yr salary).

    Note: The info once you click through to Barclays via the link above isn't clear. As we sent this email it said you get £7/mth rewards, but if you look carefully near the top of its page it says rewards are doubled. Barclays has confirmed to us you do get £14/mth (double the £7/mth) in year one before the fee. 

    PS: Earn £75k+/yr? You can get £216 in year one via a Barclays Premier account.

For full info and more deals, see Best Bank Accounts.

The best banks if you need an overdraft

The First Direct* deal above offers a £250 0% overdraft (see above for details) - a useful buffer if you often slip into the red.

Alternatively, Nationwide's FlexDirect* gives a year's 0% overdraft. Yet there's no set limit - it depends on a credit check. If you get it, use the year to clear the overdraft as after you're charged 50p/day if £10+ overdrawn, which is £180ish/yr if permanently overdrawn at any amount within your limit.

Bank switching Q&A

Q. When will I get the initial free cash/bonuses? Assuming you meet the eligibility requirements, you'll get them as follows:

- HSBC: £150 within 30 days of switch completion.
- First Direct: Within 2 weeks of paying in your first £1k you're emailed instructions on how to get the freebie. It can come as quickly as 8 days after this if you claim ASAP, depending on the freebie.
- NatWest: By 8 Feb 2019.
- M&S Bank: Within a month of switching.

Q. Can I cheat the minimum pay-in? Usually. You need to pay it in from an external source. Say the pay-in is £1,000 but you only have £500 coming in - pay the £500 in, withdraw, then pay it back in, and BINGO. 

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 you're hit with charges due to a switch error that leads to a missed payment, this should be refunded by the new bank.

Q. What about monthly fee accounts that give insurance? You can get up to £700 of mobile, travel and breakdown cover for £156/yr - a good deal IF you need the cover. Full info in Packaged Bank Accounts.

Q. I don't qualify for one of these accounts, what can I do? Sadly, 1m+ don't have a bank account. Yet if you've ID, you can get an account where there's no overdraft, called a basic bank account.


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.



New. Massive 1.5% easy-access savings from... Goldman Sachs

BOOM. The highest easy-access rate since Jan 2016, with FULL £85,000 per person UK savings protection

The savings market has finally woken up. Last week, US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs launched a UK online bank called Marcus - named after one of its founders in the 1800s, Marcus Goldman. As part of the launch it unveiled a new 1.5% easy-access account to huge fanfare, and lots have asked if it's any good. Put simply, it's a big fat YES as it's the top easy-access rate in more than two and a half years. Here's the lowdown... 

  • New. Get 1.5% easy access, and add and withdraw cash at will. The Marcus Online Savings Account* pays 1.5% AER (incl a fixed bonus of 0.15% for 1yr) and you can save from £1+. It's a variable rate so it can go up or down at any point, but as you can easily withdraw cash, if a better deal pops along (eg, check in a year when the bonus expires), just close it and move your money. 

    You get £85,000 per person UK savings protection. As Marcus is a UK bank - as with all accounts here - it is fully protected. Full info and more options in easy-access savings.

  • Earn 2.01% - if you lock cash away for 1yr. You can beat easy-access rates by locking away cash for a fixed term, but you won't benefit if rates rise. Charter Savings Bank pays 2.01% AER (min £1k) fixed for 1yr. If you can fix for 2yrs, Paragon Bank pays 2.26% AER (min £1k). You can get more fixing for up to 5yrs but the gain's not that much higher for such a long lock-in. Full help and options in fixed savings.

  • Get up to 5% on smaller sums. Here are more ways to spice up your savings:
    - Earn 5% on regular savings. Save up to £300/mth if you have - or switch to - special bank accounts.
    - Earn 5% on smaller savings. Some current accounts give 5% on up to £2,500, but with strict criteria.

  • Saving for a first home? Get a 25% savings boost from the state. See Help to Buy and Lifetime ISAs.


12 ways to free up memory on your mobile - eg, 'I grabbed 20GB back'. Avoid paying for more storage or a new phone with our Mobile Storage Saving guide.

10,000 FREE Ideal Home Show Christmas tickets. For 21-25 Nov in London. Free Ideal Home Show

Martin: 'It's time to ban unnecessary Christmas presents - less cost, less stress, more joy.' Everyone should watch Martin's 3min video on why - it's gone viral with 5m+ Facebook views. Plus see the blog that started it.

Kurt Geiger shoes from £9 via 25% off code. MSE Blagged. Valid on everything at online outlet, incl Uggs. £5 delivery. Shoeaholics 

Minister gives hope to 'mortgage prisoners' and agrees affordability checks need changing. In the MSE debate at the Tory party conference Martin pushed the cause for those trapped on high interest home loans with Treasury Minister John Glen and Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan. Full info in Hope for mortgage prisoners


Get a 'free' or cheap will this autumn

Save ££s now and save loved ones more stress at a difficult time - now's the season for offers

There's no getting around it, death happens. So if you've children and/or assets such as a home or savings and people you want to look after when you're gone, it's vital to sort a willAnd autumn is a good time - at this time of year all sorts of offers open up that let you get a 'free' or cheap will done professionally. Full info in Cheap and Free Wills, here's the lowdown:

  • October is 'Free Wills Month' for those aged 55+ in Eng, Wales & NI. During 'Free Wills Month' you can get a gold-standard, solicitor-drafted will. The scheme runs across Eng, Wales & NI, yet don't dally - appointments go quick. It's 'free' for straightforward wills for single over-55s or couples doing 'mirror wills' (those that are nearly identical), where at least one is 55+. The scheme's run by charities in the hope you leave them something in your will, though you don't have to.

  • Get discounted or half-price wills. For residents in Eng & Wales, we've blagged £40-off codes from Farewill* for £50 single wills (norm £90) or £95 joint wills (norm £135), when you enter the code msesave40. You draft it online and a specialist checks it. It's free to update during year one, but Farewill charges a £10/yr fee after for unlimited updates - though you can cancel this.

    Or get a half-price will from Which?* via this blagged link, wherever you live in the UK. Again, you draft it online and a specialist checks it, but you'll get a bit more than with Farewill as you can get it printed, professionally bound and stored for a year at no extra cost. Single wills are £84.50 (norm £169), joint wills £129.50 (norm £259), till Wed 31 Oct.

  • November is Will Aid month. Here, whatever your age and wherever you live, you get solicitor-drafted wills in return for a suggested (cheaper-than-normal) £95 charity donation for single basic wills, or £150 for a pair of basic 'mirror' wills. See Will Aid info. 

  • Discounted DIY wills. If you've a straightforward will and are confident making a legal document, going solo online could save a packet. Full options in discounted DIY wills, where you can do it from £22.


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Longest 0%: Halifax* up to 34 mths 0%, 3% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27 mths 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR) 

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: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs) 

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone £21/mth

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


Baby freebies galore - incl toys, clothes & 'sleeping boxes' 

Make big savings on your little ones' costs if you've recently had - or are expecting - a new arrival

Late September and early October is the most common birth time - yes, nine months after Christmas and New Year (wink, wink). So if you're snuggled up with a new bundle or are expecting one soon, we've collected 50+ Baby/Toddler MoneySaving Tips to help keep costs down. Here are six for starters...

  • Free baby 'sleeping boxes', toys, wipes and more. We've found lots of free stuff out there, eg, in Scotland, the Govt gives parents of newborns a free heavy-duty cardboard crib filled with other freebies too. In England, you can grab a similar sleeping box by watching educational videos. Full info and lots more in our baby freebies rundown.

  • New. Free baby and toddler-class trials, incl music, swimming and dance. Classes for little ones can be costly, but many give you a first go for free, with lots nationwide. You can use 'em to test if they're right for your little'un or just fill your days for less by hopping from freebie to freebie. See the free baby-class list.

  • New. Tricks to breastfeed in clothes you already own. There's no need to splash the cash on specialist outfits you'll only wear for a limited time. We've top tips from an MSE mum for feeding in flattering normal clothes, plus high street bargains on standard clothes you can still feed in. See Can I breastfeed in it?

  • Get others' hand-me-downs for free. Whether cots, clothes, toys or baths, try local Facebook or Freecycle groups. See free hand-me-downs.

  • Tinder-style app - find parent-pals for free. No, it's not about nookie - it's about meeting mums and dads of similar-age kids for support and playdates. A free parent-meeter app matches you up. MSE Jenny loves it: "I met the loveliest mum with kids the same age, who lives 10 doors down. She's a lifesaver and we've shared many happy sleep-deprived playdates."


How To Train Your Dragon: 10 books for £14 delivered. MSE Blagged. Via code, norm £21ish. Read all about it

"Wrote a letter of complaint in May to TSB regarding its online banking problems. It paid £200 into my account last week. Result - and I'm now changing bank. Thanks."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)



Would you bend down to pick up a penny? These days, when many refuse to pick up coppers from the ground, how much would it have to be for you to bend down and pick up money lying around? Would you pick up a penny?

Aldi is your most-loved store, Sports Direct your most loathed. In last week's poll, we asked you to pick up to five retailers you love and up to five you loathe - over 7,500 voted. Aldi received the most 'love' votes, with 38% picking it as one of their favourites. In contrast, almost the same proportion said they 'loathed' Sports Direct. See full LOVE or LOATHE poll results.



Should I repay money wrongly paid into my account? A former employer has wrongly paid me over £1,000 even though I haven't worked there in six years. I've put the cash aside in case it asks for the money back, but should I contact the firm to repay it now? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I repay the cash? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Looking to clear debt by 2020
- Competitions thread of the week: Mariah Carey live this Christmas
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Is your heating ON or OFF?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: OH terrible at DIY but does not realise it
- Discussion of the week: How to reduce Christmas present obligation?


Wetherspoon - how to beat bar queues & other hacks
Bonusprint - 24-page photo book £15 incl del (norm £30)
Free gym passes - eg, Anytime Fitness, DW Fitness First
Meerkat Movies/Meals - 1yr's 2for1 cinema/food for £1ish
London Theatre - when does this year's West End sale start?

Pizza Express - 2for1 main courses (Mon-Wed)
Subway - £2.50 six-inch 'Sub of the Day'
Papa John's - 2for1 medium or large pizzas
Prezzo - 40% off mains (excludes Sat)
Just Eat - 10%-30% off selected takeaways

Asos - up to 50% off
Topman - up to 50% off
Miss Selfridge - up to 50% off
Debenhams - up to 50% off
Topshop - up to 50% off

Quick Forum Tips

Sainsbury's Tu 'up to 50%' clothing. Not Tu shabby
Lidl weekend deals. Lidl less conversation, Lidl more offers
Free retro online arcade games, incl Pac-Man. Fair play



Thu 4 Oct - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 5 Oct
- This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 8 Oct 
- This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 8 Oct 
- BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again 


Wed 3 OctBBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 5 Oct -
BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, bank switching
Mon 8 Oct 
TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 9 Oct -
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm  



Q: How long does an airline have to pay a flight delay claim? Jess, via Twitter.

MSE Megan's A: There's no specific timeframe. We hear of some cases taking days and others taking months. 

But if you submit a flight delay claim and don't hear back within eight weeks, or you're unhappy with the airline's resolution, you can escalate your case to the relevant ombudsman-style scheme. See our Flight Delays guide for full info, including our free claims tool that helps you do it all. 

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... one unlucky MoneySaver has taken to the MSE Forum to hunt for tips on removing the smell of cat pee from their sofa - to avoid chucking it (the furniture) away and having to pay for a replacement. Forumites' suggestions include a vinegar and Dettol combo spray. Share your solution or similar tales on our cat pee forum thread. 

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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