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Weekly Email
This email was sent
04th May 2016
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 This info may be out of date.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."

04 May 2016
Martin's Briefing: Lock in NOW to beat car insurance hikes
Free £30 M&S vch via 19mth 0%
Energy at 2011 prices - save £340/yr
New free £150 bank switch
Beat BT's new price hikes
FREE Ideal Home tix Manc/Glas
'Meerkat Movies trick saved me £570'
Two specs £22 plus free £10 tint
Tesco Wine 1,000 Clubcard pts code
Earn £15 Amzn doing quick surveys
Cheap fitness trackers - eg, £80 Fitbit
'£280 Easyjet refund via your trick'
100 West End shops FLASH 20% off
Mag freebies, eg, £11 Nails Inc
£110 Plain Lazy T-shirts £35 code

Martin's Weekly Briefing: For more tips, alerts & puns, follow Martin on Twitter

Warning: Car insurance up 20% and more to come. Check NOW if you can LOCK IN cheap
And that's even if you're not at renewal

Car insurance prices are up sharply over the last 12mths, whether you take the AA Index's 20% increase (the average rising from £465 to £561) or the Association of British Insurers' 10%. And both predict rises to continue this year yet many can act now to beat them. Here's a tweet I got from @iainthorley:

"Just saved £375 changing car insurance MID-POLICY thanks to @MartinSLewis - thank you, man."

So not only is he saving straightaway, he's locked the price in for the next year, forestalling any rises. Below are my need-to-knows, for full help see the Cheap Car Insurance & Young Drivers' Insurance guides. If you have any car insurance questions you can tweet the MSE team this Thu, 1pm to 1.30pm.

1. Ensure you're on TODAY'S cheapest deal, then if prices rise you're protected. If the predictions are correct and prices keep moving up, today's prices will soon look cheap. Plus many are overpaying already, especially those who just auto-renewed. Here's what to do...

- AT RENEWAL: Then it's easy, just move on to point two.

- RENEWAL WITHIN 60 DAYS? Some firms such as Aviva*, Nationwide & LV* give quotes valid for 60 days (see full list of 20 long-quote insurers) so get one now, then check against quotes at renewal time. As @dimuthuj7 tweeted: "@MartinSLewis. Renewal £521. Quote a month ago, which was honoured, of £319. Thanks."

- MIDWAY THROUGH A POLICY: Follow the steps below to see if you can save a chunk by switching. If so, provided you've not claimed, for a £50ish admin fee (factor that in) you can usually cancel and get the rest of the year refunded. You won't earn the year's no-claims bonus though, but if it means you save now and prevent future price rises it can be a big winner. Full help in Switching mid-policy.
2. Don't just use one comparison site, combine them. There's no one cheapest insurer, as prices are set individually. So the aim's to check as many quotes as possible, quickly and easily. Comparison sites do that, yet they don't all cover the same insurers or even give the same price for the same insurer, so use more than one.

Our current order's*, Gocompare* & Moneysup* (see how we rank them), if you can use all three.

Speed tip. Open the sites in a few tabs, then fill them in together by copying & pasting info. To copy, highlight the text and press CTRL 'C'; to paste press CTRL 'V' (on Macs replace CTRL with CMD).
3. Then check the biggies comparison sites miss. Direct Line*, Aviva* & Zurich won't appear on comparison sites, and can be competitive especially if you've no convictions and a clean licence. As @damianderby tweeted me: "Did your car insurance checklist and saved £100 (1/3) off my renewal. It was Aviva. Pays 2 go past the comparison sites."
4. Hidden hot deals comparison sites miss... eg, £60 Amazon vch. There are also special promo deals around, some of which aren't listed on comparison sites, others are blagged by MSE. So we collate them in our Hot car insurance deals section. Current highlights for switchers include...

- £60 voucher for Amazon, HofF, Debhms, Ticketmaster.
Use this Churchill* link to get a policy by Mon 9 May and after 100 days you're emailed to select a £60 vch (so check your spam file). See Churchill deal info.

- £55 Amazon voucher: If you get a policy via this Age UK* link by 31 May, it will be sent within 120 days.

- Fitbit Flex with multi-car
: If you get an Admiral MultiCar* policy via this link by Tue 31 May. It will be sent within 30 days.

Once you know your cheapest, check if a cashback site will pay you to buy through it. See Car cashback.
5. Check multi-car policies if you've more than one car in the home. A few insurers offer special discounts if you have more than one car. It's always worth trial & error to compare these against standalone deals.

Sadly comparison sites' tech doesn't allow this, so do it manually. Admiral MultiCar* gives discounts of up to 25% depending on how many cars you insure and currently this link gets you a Fitbit Flex with a policy too (see above). You can also get discounts by linking the household standalone policies with Churchill*Direct Line* & Privilege*.

When it does win, it can win large, as forumite foolsgold01 found: "We were paying £876/yr jointly for our insurance. We checked the multi-car policy deal and saved £449 a year."
6. Don't always use your common sense... comprehensive can undercut 3rd party and insuring more people can cost less. It's all about risk averages and 'actuarial' tables. That can lead to bizarre ways to save.

- Comprehensive may be cheaper than third party. Merely selecting comprehensive means some insurers see you as a lower risk. So if you want the cheapest cover, check if comprehensive's cheaper?

- Adding extra drivers can cut your cost.
If they're a lower risk than you, it sometimes brings the average down. This is especially strong if you're a young driver adding a responsible older driver, yet everyone should try, as forumite Bouncybubbles told us: "Quoted £900 from £500 previous year. By comparing then adding my husband I got it down to £298." For the rules see Adding a responsible older driver.
7. Legitimately tweak your job title. You can't claim to be the boss of Barclays if you're a 'butler in the buff' (or vice-versa). Yet I once did a TV makeover for someone who saved £50ish by calling himself "bar staff", not "bar steward". Fabsternation tweeted: "Changed from creative director to marketing manager - saved £300+". Our fun Job Picker tool (it's old, we plan to update it soon) may help.
8. 'Paying monthly' doesn't exist - instead it's a 107% APR loan. Insurers may call it paying monthly, but actually they loan you the year's cost and charge often hideous interest. Kwik Fit Insurance is the worst offender we've found, with a disgraceful 107.4% APR.

So pay upfront if you can as many insurers charge over 20% (check your insurer's APR) - that's more than a typical credit card. If needed, get one of the many year-long-plus 0% credit cards. Just ensure you pay it off over the year, then there's no cost (see 0% Cards Eligibility Calc to see whether you'll be accepted).
9. Don't want to switch insurer? Haggle, haggle, haggle. This works best at renewal. Simply find the best price you can at speed and then ask your existing provider to beat or match it. Often it will. Eddy emailed: "My car insurance renewal offer arrived, a shocking £345. A quick phone call achieved a reduction to £143 - not bad."

PS: Don't be surprised if your existing insurer offers a far cheaper price as a new customer via comparisons than its renewal quote.
10. Cover still too costly? Consider a 'black box'. This device (officially called 'telematics') is the tech insurers put inside your car to monitor your actions behind the wheel, and when and how much you drive. They're especially useful for younger drivers facing hefty premiums, though if your mileage is limited they can work well too.

Forumite used one to save £100s: "Via telematics I paid £980 in my first year, vs comparison sites' cheapest of £1,400."

For example, Coverbox* gives you prices based on set mile limits. With Co-op*and Direct Line Drive Plus*, you can earn 22.5% and 25% discounts respectively. More info in Cheap telematics policies.
Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

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FREE £30 M&S voucher - just grab its free 19mth 0% spending card

Spend just 1p on this 0% credit card and you'll get a £30 M&S vch, and access to a decent 0% deal too

We've flushed out a great deal - spend a penny on this 0% credit card and you'll get a £30 M&S voucher, plus access to a decent 0% deal. There's no cheaper way to borrow than for free, which, used right, is what a 0% 'for purchases' card allows. Full options in Top 0% Cards - here's the key info...

  • M&SvoucherNew. 19mth 0% borrowing with £30 M&S voucher + £5 of points. Accepted new M&S credit card* holders who apply by 20 June via this specific link and spend anything, anywhere on it (even 1p) by 31 July, get sent a £30 M&S voucher. Plus the first time you use the card to buy most things at M&S (incl food), you get 500 M&S points worth £5. So use the card to buy a Tesco banana and you're £30 up - use it to buy an M&S banana and it's £35. Then just pay it off.

    Will it affect my credit score?
    Don't just apply, instead check your chances first via our free eligibility calc (a 70%+ chance is good, 40%+ ok). Of course, if you then actually apply it does leave a footprint on your file. This is wiped after a year and is usually trivial, unless you make many other applications in close proximity. Yet if you're imminently due to make a big credit application (eg, a mortgage), it's probably not worth it.

    When will the voucher come?
    It's usually sent within a few weeks but it's promised by 22 Aug at the latest. You must use it by 31 Aug to spend in-store or online on food, clothes, homeware, flowers etc (see T&Cs).

  • Is the 0% deal worth using? You should always be careful with new borrowing, but if you need it, there’s no cheaper way than 0% - just ensure it’s planned and the repayments are budgeted for.

    The M&S card is good, but not table-topping. The longest 0% spending deals are Sainsbury's* 27 months (eligibility calc) and the Post Office's* 27mths (eligibility calc) - Clydesdale* (eligibility calc) and the AA* (eligibility calc) offer 26mths. These are all 18.9% rep APR after the 0%. The M&S card gives 1 M&S pt per £1 spent in M&S and per £5 spent elsewhere too, so if you can repay within the 19mths, it's a good deal.

  • 0% Spending Card Golden Rules. See full help & best buys in 0% Spending Cards (APR Examples) - in brief:

    a) Don't just apply - first find cards you've the best odds of getting via our free eligibility calc to protect your credit score.
    b) Never miss paying at least the monthly min or you can lose the 0% (and always stick within the credit limit).
    c) Plan to clear the card before the 0% ends (or do a balance transfer) or the rate jumps to the rep APR.
    d) These cards are usually ONLY cheap for spending, not balance transfers or cash withdrawals - so avoid these.


Beat BT's new landline, broadband & BT Sport price hikes. Costs are to rise in July for up to 10 million people. There's a way to beat it, though you'll need to act quickly. Full help in Beat the BT hike.

20,000+ FREE Ideal Home Show Manchester and Glasgow tickets. Norm £12-£15 each. Free Ideal Home

'Your trick to manipulate Meerkat Movies saved me £570' - get a YEAR's 2for1 cinema for £2ish. It's a year since we first showed you this 'simples' trick, and for some moviegoers such as Ruth it's been a box-office smash. Act now to get ANOTHER 12 months' 2for1 (or do for the first time). Our updated Meerkat trick blog explains all.

2 specs £22 plus + £10 tint code or 25% off designer specs. MSE Blagged. Site for sore eyes. Glasses Direct

Tesco Wine code: Spend £100, get 1,000 Clubcard pts (worth up to £40) incl special offers. MSE Blagged. 1,000 codes for new & existing Tesco Wine* customers - just enter XX44GG by Sun at the latest (unless codes run out). 1,000 points are worth £10 in stores or up to £40 on Tesco Boost. Full info: Wine. Pls be Drinkaware.



- Tesco Wine spend £100 get 1,000 Clubcard pts Ends Sun

- Code gets 2x specs for £22 plus free tints Ends 18 May

- Earn £15 M&S/Amazon vchs via Swagbucks Newbies only


- 'I got £12 off Tesco THREE TIMES by abandoning basket'

- M&S 50% off sale (while stocks last)

- Year's 2for1s to gardens incl Kew

- Last-ever Tesco double-up starts Mon 16 May

- 'I got £320 Hotpoint credit card refund using your tips'


MSE's blagged cheap energy at 2011 prices - typical saving £340/yr

ONLY 25,000 available. Launches THIS FRIDAY. Allows you to lock in to this market-cheapest rate for a year

This new switchers' deal is, we think, the cheapest since 2011 (though it's a minefield; so we're not 100%). Either way the potential savings are HUGE, especially if you've not moved in the last year. We do our best to make switching easy, as Denise and RValli told us: "Genius. Why haven't I switched before? Saving £465/yr," and "Saved £255 with Cheap Energy Club - help with no hassle".

  • 25,000 super-cheap fixes. This new EDF tariff is a 1-year fix, so the cheap rate (not price, that changes with usage) is locked in for that time. It's capped at 25,000 switches. We switched 135,000 in our last collective switch, so it could go quick.

    If like 70% of the UK you're on a standard tariff with the Big 6 - Brit Gas, E.on, EDF, Scot Power, SSE & Npower - with typical usage on average you pay £1,060/yr. Switch to this EDF tariff and it's £725/yr plus get £30 cashback.

  • It launches FRIDAY at 9am. You get it via our Cheap Energy Club comparison, which means you can double-check it is your cheapest, as rates vary with use and region. If you're new to Cheap Energy Club, sign up now and we'll email you on Friday. Otherwise (and for existing members) set a calendar reminder in Outlook/iPhone or Google/Android.

    Switch to it and we give you £30 dual fuel/£15 single fuel cashback, roughly half what we're paid. Plus you also set an alert so if it's no longer cheap (eg, after a year) we'll warn you to switch again. Here's more info...

    - You need to be switching to EDF (but not in N Ireland or on prepay). It's available for dual fuel or elec-only.
    - If you leave it early there are £25-per-fuel exit penalties, though if you move home it can move with you for free.
    - Its customer service rating is 55% 'great', 33% 'OK' - good for a Big 6 firm, some smaller players are better.
    - It's also on MoneySup (we're part of the same group) but nowhere else - there, you don't get the cashback.
    - This isn't an MSE collective switch, it's an 'exclusive' - a new type of tariff allowed since Feb. It means it offers us a special tariff and we list it, rather than us having specified what we want and putting our stamp to its service.

  • Worried about switching? Don't be. Here are 5 easy need-to-knows. Full info in Cheap Gas & Elec, in brief:
    1) There's no down time when you switch: your electricity and gas stay on.
    2) It's the same gas, same electricity, same safety - the only thing that changes is customer service and price.
    3) To get the lowest price, pay by monthly direct debit. Just ensure you give regular meter readings.
    4) If you're in credit when you switch, the provider should give money back to you. If not, see Get Credit Back.
    5) If your existing tariff has exit fees, factor these in, though do note they can't charge 'em in a fix's last 49 days.


Earn £15 M&S/Amazon vchs doing quick online surveys. MSE Blagged. Popular MSEers' site where you fill in surveys & search online to earn. We've a link for you to accrue £5 & get a bonus £10. Newbies only. Swagbucks

Cheap fitness trackers - £100 Fitbit Charge HR £80, £100 Garmin Vivofit £54. Step it up... Fitness trackers

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)

"I got a £280 voucher from Easyjet using your refund trick - thanks".
If you've booked Easyjet flights, re-check seat prices now - you could be due money back. See Easyjet refund trick.


100+ Carnaby St shops FLASH 20% vch, eg, Benefit, Levi's. Thu 5-9pm, London shops/restaurants. Carnaby

Magazine beauty 'freebies' £11 Nails Inc, £4 St Tropez. With £4 mags, or both for £6. Beauty freebies rundown


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New: Free £150 bank switch PLUS £5.50/mth

If you missed out earlier this year, they're paying big bucks again - so stop bitching and start switching

Switching is easy & hassle-free, or so 83% of those who've used the 7-day switching service since it launched in 2013 tell us. They close your old account, move direct debits & standing orders and auto-forward payments. Gaz tweeted: "Switched and it was so simple. Should have done it a long time ago" Yet he's a rarity - only 2% of people moved last year, so unless your bank treats you like a princess, stop bitching & start switching...

  • Bank switchNew. Free £150 and up to £5.50/mth. Sister banks Co-op* (web & branch) and Smile* (web-only) pay new customers £150 to switch to them. Plus with Co-op, sign up to its Everyday Rewards scheme and it pays £4/mth plus 5p per debit card transaction up to a max £1.50/mth. If you get it all, it's a max gain of £216 in the first year. Customer service is decent too, 73% rated it 'great' in our last poll.

    Who can get it? As normal you'll be credit-scored. Switchers get the £150 within 45 days, as long as you've switched four active direct debits. To qualify for Everyday Rewards you'll also need 'pay in' £800/mth (so a salary of £10,000+ will do it), opt for paperless statements, log in to online/mobile banking once a month and not go over your overdraft limit.

  • Free £100, No.1 service, 6% linked savings & 0% overdraft. The big competitor's First Direct* as it's won every poll we've ever done - 91% currently rate it 'great'. As well as a free £100, it has a £250 0% overdraft and lets you save up to £300/mth at 6% AER. You need 'pay in' £1,000/mth (or it costs £10/mth). There's a similar account from M&S with a lower overdraft, though no min pay-in amount, plus Halifax gives switchers £100 then £5/mth. Full info on these in Best Bank Accounts.

  • Got savings? 3% interest is likely far more lucrative. Santander 123* pays 3% AER on balances of £3,000 to £20,000, as well as up to 3% cashback on bills, which usually wipes out its £5/mth fee. You need to 'pay in' £500/mth. For those with more than £8,600 savings it beats all else - see Martin's recent Is Santander 123 worth it? blog. If you've smaller savings, Club Lloyds pays 4% on £4-5k savings, and TSB and Nationwide 5% on smaller sums. For a full breakdown see our Top interest-paying bank accounts.


£110 Plain Lazy T-shirts £35 code. MSE Blagged. Lucky dip: 5 men's/women's shirts (norm £22 each). Plain Lazy

50 tips for renters (incl get your rent to boost your credit file). See our updated 50+ tips for renters guide.

Free fitness bootcamps, zumba, pilates and more. Go again & again. See our Free outdoor fitness list.

Want a brow wax? At Benefit (£12.50) you get a 'free' £18.50 eyebrow gel. Or do a charity walk. Benefit



What social media networks do you use? In a world immersed in technology, it's hard to escape social media networks, and why should you? Used right they're a great way to communicate. So which do you use?

Facebook | Google+ | Instagram | LinkedIn | MoneySavingExpert Forum | Other forums | Pinterest | Snapchat | Twitter | None

The landline IS dead. Unless you're 65+... In last week's poll, a huge 73% of those aged under 65 don't have a home phone, or rarely use it. It's the golden oldies who are propping up the home phone manufacturing industry, with 62% making half of their phone calls, or more, from a landline. The results aren't phony - see full breakdown.



Top story: Halifax slashes Help to Buy ISA rate for new customers

- Cost of roaming in Europe to be slashed for millions of mobile phone customers

- Barclays offers 10,000 PPI customers refunds after statements error

- Erudio to contact graduates again over deferment deadline blunder

- Got an Austin Reed gift card? Use it ASAP now the firm's in administration

- Tesco Mobile customers can avoid roaming rates in Europe this summer



Should we book a holiday without my friend to get a good price? A group of us are going on holiday, but one of the gang can't commit just yet due to a new job on the horizon. I'm worried prices could rise between now and then, but still really want her to be part of the trip. Should I suggest we book without her, wait - or wait and ask her to make up the difference if the price increases? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Book without my friend to get a good price? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: I did it
- Competitions thread of the week: Off-road driving experience with overnight stay for 2
- Old-style board thread of the week: Our meals have become too complicated
- Discussion of the week: Not wanting a dog?


Thu 5 May - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Read previous
Fri 6 May - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. Read previous
Mon 9 May - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 9 May - BBC Radio Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast


Wed 4 May - Share Radio, 11.20am
Thu 5 May - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.20pm
Tue 10 May - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm



Q: I had two loans from Clydesdale Bank ten years ago and had PPl on both (I was told I needed it to get the loans). The problem is that I didn't fully pay off the loans so I'm paying them back through a debt management company. Can I still claim? It would help to clear these debts. Brian, by email.

MSE Maeve's A: Yes, you can, and should, still claim if you believe you were mis-sold, as your finances now aren't relevant to whether you were mis-sold or not.

However, it's worth being aware that if your claim's successful and you have a debt to this lender, it's likely it'll automatically use any payout to clear or partially clear what you owe. It doesn't have to ask your permission to do this. Still it means you'll need to pay less so it's worth it. Also, remember you'll have to fill out a separate form for each loan. For more information on how to claim see our Reclaim PPI for Free guide.

If you're paying a debt management company to help you manage your debts, it's also worth thinking about switching to a free alternative - see more info in our Debt Help guide.

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



If we included the rest of that sentence here, this email would be stuck in your spam box. There's no denying it - kids say the most embarrassing things, and our forumites have been sharing some of the worst best stories in the Funny things your kids have done thread. They're bound to have you chuckling, and we'd love to hear your kids' funniest clangers too.

We hope you save some money,
Martin & the MSE team

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