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Weekly Email
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04th Oct 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 This info may be out of date.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."

04 October 2017
Broadband price war... cut costs by £300+/yr
Our last 'cheapest ever loans' note?
The more you've checked your credit score, the higher it is...
Free & half-price wills
Monarch - how to get a refund
35,000 FREE Ideal Home Xmas tix
Top standard easy-access savings in 1yr
25% extra Tesco Clubcard points
Ending. 6GB Sim, unltd mins & texts, equiv £5.75/mth
Revealed: Councils overcharging 10,000s
48 mini plug plants £6 all-in
Nando's 15% off £20 spend trick
'4 things to be successful' - Martin
FREE £40 Amazon baby bundle when you buy £20+ of baby kit
Victory - student loans repayment threshold to rise
£108 of Essie nail polish for £50

BROADBAND PRICE WAR... cut your costs by £300+/yr

- EE broadband and phone line, equiv £12/mth
- BT fast fibre broadband and line, equiv £20/mth
- EE superfast fibre broadband and line, equiv £27/mth

There's a clean sweep of short-lived HOT broadband deals this week, allowing you to compare properly across different speed levels. So follow our steps to get the best deal whatever your needs...

1. Is your current broadband provider ripping you off? If you once had a cheap deal but have been stuck with the same provider for a few years, you're likely paying £100s more each year than you need to. So check your bills now. Here are the big names' standard prices to highlight how much you're overpaying compared to the cheapest.

Provider Standard speed Fast fibre (1)
BT £42.99/mth (£516/yr) £49.99/mth (£600/yr)
Sky £28.99/mth (£348/yr) £38.99/mth (£468/yr) 
TalkTalk £27/mth (£324/yr) £33.50/mth (£402/yr)
Virgin N/A £40/mth (£480/yr)
Cheapest deal EE: equiv £11.45/mth (£137/yr) BT: equiv £19.65/mth (£236/yr)
(1) Sky, TalkTalk up to 38Mb speed, BT up to 52Mb, Virgin up to 50Mb.
2. Find the best deal available to YOU. We run through the current corkers below but it's important to understand while most can get them, not everyone can - it's a postcode lottery. So use our new Broadband Unbundled tool to compare broadband to find YOUR cheapest deal based on your address.
3. Cheapest b'band and line, equiv £11.45/mth. Pay £306 upfront, claim a £100 prepaid Mastercard. 
Apply via this EE link* and get up-to-17Mb speed broadband with unlimited downloads on an 18mth contract.

- Who can get it? Anyone who's new to EE b'band. It's available to 99% of the UK, depending on postcode - you're told if you can get it when applying.
- Opt to pay £299 line rent upfront at sign-up. This is what makes the deal hot. It's the usual £18.50/mth for 18mths (£333 in total) otherwise. You get inclusive weekend landline calls too - see full EE call costs.
- Get 'free' broadband for 18mths. After, it's £10/mth.
- Pay £7 router delivery. There's also a £30 fee if you've no line or switch from cable.
- Claim a £100 prepaid Mastercard (as good as cash where accepted). You're sent an email within 30 days of paying your second bill with instructions on how to claim. Do it within 60 days, and you'll get your card within a month.

Cost analysis: If you don't need a new line and pay line rental upfront it's £306 before calls. Claim and use the Mastercard, and you've effectively brought the cost down to £206, equiv to £11.45/mth.
4. Ends Thu. Cheapest fibre b'band & line, equiv £19.65/mth. Pay £401 over 12mths, claim a £125 prepaid Mastercard and £40 M&S vch.
Apply via this BT link* by 11.59pm Thu for this up-to-52Mb speed fibre broadband deal (3x normal speed) with unlimited downloads on a 12mth contract. It's even cheaper than the best of its rivals' slower 38Mb fibre deals.

- Who can get it? Newbies to BT b'band. It's available to 83% of the UK - you're told if you can get it when applying (or use Broadband Unbundled which only shows deals available in your postcode).
- Opt to pay £208.80 line rent upfront at sign-up otherwise it's the usual £18.99/mth (£227.88 in total). You get inclusive weekend landline calls too - see full BT call costs.
- Get discounted fibre, £11/mth for the year. A huge reduction on the standard £31/mth.
- Pay £59.99 upfront - £9.99 router delivery and £50 set-up.
- Claim a £125 prepaid Mastercard (as good as cash where accepted) + £40 M&S vch. Annoyingly, as BT won't remind you, remember to use this claim link for the Mastercard and M&S vch claim link within 3mths of activation (takes up to 45 days after to arrive).

Cost analysis: If you pay line rent upfront it's £400.79 over the 12mth contract before calls. Claim and use the Mastercard/vch and you've effectively brought the cost down to £235.79, equiv to £19.65/mth. 
5. Cheapest superfast fibre b'band and line, equiv £26.84/mth. Pay £583 over 18mths, claim £100 prepaid Mastercard.
If only superfast will do (see below for reasons why) apply via this EE link* for up-to-76Mb broadband speed with unlimited downloads on an 18mth contract (it's labelled Fibre Plus in the link). As you can see, it's a similar process to the standard speed EE deal above.

- Who can get it? Anyone new to EE b'band. It's available to 83% of the UK - you're told if you can get it when applying (or use Broadband Unbundled which only shows deals available in your postcode).
- Opt to pay £299 line rent upfront at sign-up. Or it's the usual £18.50/mth for 18mths (£333 in total). You get inclusive weekend landline calls - see full EE call costs.
- Get discounted £14/mth broadband for 18mths. After, it's the usual £22/mth.
- Pay £32 upfront - £7 router delivery and £25 set-up. There's also a £30 fee if you've no line or are switching from cable.
- Claim a £100 prepaid Mastercard (as good as cash where accepted). You're sent an email within 30 days of paying your second bill with instructions on how to claim. Do it within 60 days, and you'll get your card within a month.

Cost analysis: If you pay line rent upfront it's £583 over 18mths before calls. Claim and use the Mastercard, and you've effectively brought the cost down to £483, equiv to £26.84/mth.
6. What speed do you need? If you just browse the web and do a few emails, up-to-17Mb standard speed is usually fine. Faster up-to-52Mb fibre is better for higher users, eg, you do a lot of streaming, gaming or there are lots of you in the same home.

Going faster is the luxury end of the market, and isn't MoneySaving, though it can be worth it if you're streaming 4K content or fibre simply isn't enough for all of you at once.
7. Could EE or BT hike prices? Sadly, telecoms firms often do, in line with inflation, but you can leave penalty-free if they do. But check if there's a better deal first.
8. Want a TV package deal too? Like broadband, the top offers are often short lived. Our Broadband Unbundled tool also adds TV deals available where you live and calculates whether they're worth getting from the same or different providers.
9. Check if your broadband speed is fast enough. There are lots of free online speed checkers to see how fast your broadband actually is - try at different times of day for the best picture. See Broadband Speed Check.

Do note that when signing up to a new provider, it's tricky to know what speed you'll actually get, as speeds are 'up to' so by definition not everyone gets the max. In fact, shockingly, only 10% of accepted customers need to get advertised 'up to' speeds, though this is under review. Read our 14 tricks to boost your broadband speed.
10. How to haggle down broadband costs. If you must stick with your current firm, at least haggle with it. And luckily big broadband firms have some of the easiest call centre staff to haggle with. In our last poll, 87% of you said you'd had success haggling with Sky, 78% with BT. For full details see our How to haggle down your broadband guide.
11. Is cashback possible? Members of top cashback sites may be able to get bigger cashback through them. It's worth checking, though do compare like-with-like, eg, check prices and contract lengths are the same - you may find you get more cashback but are on a slightly different deal.

Lots more tips in our Cheap Broadband guide.

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Warning. Is this our last 'cheapest ever loans' note? New 3.2% for £5k-£7.5k

Rates have been falling for years but there's a risk the tide could change

Loan rates are close to or at the lowest we've ever seen. Last week Admiral joined the frenzy offering the cheapest ever rate for those borrowing £5k-£7.5k. But the Bank of England's signal that next month it may raise the base rate - the official borrowing rate that influences the interest borrowers pay and savers earn - has led many economists to tell us loan rates could start rising. While there's no certainty this'll happen, Samuel Tombs from Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "It's highly likely loan rates will rise over the coming months."

  • broadbandShould you get a loan? Please don't think we're suggesting everyone rushes to get one. As we always say, only borrow if it's planned, budgeted for and affordable. Yet if it's still right for you, with the risk of rising rates, why wait?

  • Will you get a loan? What counts isn't just the rate, but whether you'll get it. Too many failed applications can affect your chances of getting a good deal. So use our free Loans Quick Eligibility Calc first. It tells you which loans you've the best chance of getting before applying, without hitting your creditworthiness.

  • Lowest rates from £1k-£15k. We've listed our top picks here. All are for 1-5yrs, unless stated. Yet sadly as all loans are representative (rep) APR, the headline rate ONLY needs to be given to 51% of those accepted. The rest can be charged more (with no limit on how much). Full info in Cheap Loans, here are the table toppers...

    - £7.5k-£15k: M&S Bank* (1-7yrs) & Sainsbury's Bank* (1-3yrs, needs Nectar card) are 2.8% rep APR.
    - New. £5k-£7,499: Admiral* is 3.2% rep APR, Clydesdale* / Yorkshire* Banks 3.3% rep APR.
    - £3k-£4,999: Zopa* is 5%-6.9% rep APR, Hitachi* 7.3% rep APR (2-5yrs).
    - £2k-£2,999: Zopa* is 6.9%-7.9% rep APR, Ikano Bank* 7.8% rep APR - yet credit card loans are often cheaper.
    - £1k-£1,999: Hitachi* is 7.9% rep APR (2-5yrs), Zopa* 9.5%-9.9% rep APR - credit card loans are often cheaper.
    - Also, Nationwide will beat most of these rates by 0.5 percentage points for its current account customers.
    - Meanwhile, the AA offers free MOTs for the life of the loan (worth up to £275), which may win for some.

  • Loan Golden Rules.
    a) Minimise the amount and repay as quickly as you can.
    b) Pay on time or you may get a charge and a credit black-mark.
    c) If you're applying to pay off credit cards, a balance transfer may be cheaper.


Monarch Airlines - how to get your money back. Your FULL rights plus reclaim template letters after airline collapse leaves 860,000 in the lurch. Monarch help

35,000 FREE Ideal Home Show at Christmas tix. We've bagged 19,000 for London (22-26 Nov) and 16,000 for Manchester (9-12 Nov). Free Ideal Home

New. Best straightfoward easy-access rate in over a year. The mini savings revival continues, as Kent Reliance now pays 1.27% AER variable, but you need a min of £1,000. If you prefer a bigger name and want to save from £1, RBS/NatWest-owned Ulster Bank pays a smidgeon less, at 1.25% AER variable. Full info and alternatives in Top Savings.

25% extra Clubcard points at Tesco till mid-Jan. Via its new app. Tesco points boost

Ends Thu. 6GB Sim, unltd mins & texts equiv £5.75/mth... IF you're a BT b'band cust. Apply via this BT link* and get a 1yr contract for £12/mth + a £75 Amazon/iTunes vch. Use the vch and it's equiv to £5.75/mth. Annoyingly, you must claim it within 3mths, so use this claim form from 2wks after activation. It's then sent within 45 days. Not a BT cust, or switch away mid-contract, it's £5/mth more. See Cheap Sim-only Deals.

Revealed: Councils overcharging 10,000s who are 'severely mentally impaired'. Our year-long investigation alarmingly shows many due a discount could be missing out. Read our findings plus full help on how to claim.



- 48 mini lavender plants £6 all-in (norm £25) 6,000 available

- Hot Diamonds extra 30% off sale code Ends Wed 11 Oct

- £30 Jaeger specs and £35 sunnies via code While stocks last

- £30 free-range roasting meat hamper Ends Fri 20 Oct


- Married? Don't miss out on a FREE & easy up-to-£662

- Boots 'Star Gifts' are back - incl Nails Inc gift set

- EVERYONE check your mortgage NOW

- 20% off lots of Virgin Trains West Coast half-term fares


The more you've checked your credit score the higher it is...

Sounds silly? Well it's 1 of 3 things we've learned in the first year of the MSE Credit Club - here's why

Our FREE Credit Club is now just over a year old and already has 500,000+ members. No surprise as it gives you a) Your credit report, showing what lenders know about you; b) Your credit score from Experian - the UK's biggest credit reference agency; c) A personal prescription to boost your score; d) Your odds of getting each top deal; and e) A raft of more unique data and tools, which'll become apparent below.

Many members have learned much about what makes their credit tick, but they're not the only ones who have had their eyes opened. I've learned a lot too and I wanted to share 3 key lessons to celebrate its birthday...

  1. The more you've logged in, the higher your score becomes... When we crunched the data, there was a striking trend among those who joined Credit Club a year ago. Those with scores around 620 out of 999 (considered poor) then, who've logged in every month, now average 722 (fair) compared to one-off loggers-in, who now only average 640.

    Course, this doesn't mean literally logging in boosts your score (it has no impact whatsoever) - it's just likely that taking an active interest and following up your personalised prescription for improving it pays dividends.

  2. credit clubA perfect score isn't everything - you can still be rejected. I'm often stopped by people bemused that, "I've a perfect credit score, yet I've been rejected for a credit card". First, this is because credit scores are just a rough indication, so each lender assesses you differently. Yet more importantly, your credit history is only half the game. Lenders also look at affordability. After all, even with the best history, if you can't pay them back, you'll likely be rejected.

    That's why we also, uniquely, give you an Affordability Score for credit cards and loans. Of those with a perfect 999 credit score, only 19% have a very good Affordability Score, and 28% are on weak or very weak.

  3. Small differences can have a huge impact on acceptance. I've already explained that I slightly pooh-pooh credit scores as a standalone measure. That's why I created a new measure called the Credit Hit Rate, to show what really counts - if you'll likely be accepted for top deals - combining credit score and affordability.

    The average Hit Rate for someone with a perfect 999 credit score is 83% (so a good chance of getting 4 in 5 top deals), but drop a smidgeon to a still 'excellent' 975 credit score and the average Hit Rate drops to 63%. By 945 - near the top of the 'good' range - the average Hit Rate is now only 52%, ie, you've only a good chance of getting about half of top deals. To see your Credit Hit Rate and all the other tools, just log in to our Free Credit Club.


48 mini lavender plug plants £6 all-in (norm £25). MSE Blagged. Two varieties, 24 of each. 6,000 avail

Nando's 15% off £20 spend trick. How to get a rare discount at Nando's.

Martin's 'The four things you need to be successful'. Recorded at his old uni, the London School of Economics. Martin's tips for success (now with optional subtitles added).

FREE £40 Amazon baby bundle when you buy £20+ of baby stuff. Bundle includes wipes, nappy rash cream, bottle, Finding Nemo toy and more. Baby bundle

Victory - student loans repayment threshold to rise. We've campaigned hard since the Govt backtracked on its original promise to raise it. Now it's U-turned meaning every grad earning £21k+ (who started uni in Eng/Wal in 2012 or later) will pay less per year. How it affects you. Plus the Universities Minister's agreed student loans should no longer be called a 'loan' at an MSE fringe debate at the Conservative Party conference.

Get £108+ of Essie nail polish for £50 in beauty advent calendar. Plus other calendars out now - a good way to get beauty products for less. Advent-urous


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Free wills for over-55s, half-price for everyone else

Save loved ones more stress at a difficult time by deciding who gets what when you die

Sorry to put a downer on things, but death happens - and if you've assets such as a home or savings and people you want to look after when you're gone, then having a will is vital. Hollie's sad tale sums it up: "Two years on I'm dealing with the fallout from mum not having a will. Please get a will." Full info in Cheap and Free Wills, here's the lowdown:

  • credit clubOctober is Free Wills Month for over-55s. In Free Wills Month you get the gold standard - a solicitor-drafted will. The scheme runs in over 60 locations across Britain (not Scotland), yet don't dally as appointments can 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.

  • Which? legally checked half-price wills. We've blagged half-price codes for this Which?* service, which lets you draft a will online and have it checked by a specialist. Use code PMLS10 for single wills for £84.50 (norm £169) and code PMLM10 for couples for £129.50 (norm £259) until Tue 31 Oct.

    - Alternatively, go via this Co-op Legal Services* link to get a blagged, discounted single will for £99 (norm £150) or £185 for couples (norm £234). You draft a will online, before a specialist checks it by phone and then writes it for you. It'll also store it for free.

  • Discounted DIY wills. If you've a straightforward will and are confident making a legal document, going solo online could save a packet, and we've discounts too. Full options in discounted DIY wills, where you can do it from £11.50.

PS: Next month is Will Aid month. Here, whatever your age, you get solicitor-drafted wills in return for a suggested (cheaper-than-normal) £95 charity donation for singles, £150 for couples.


Hot Diamonds extra 30% off sale code, eg, £21 diamond earrings. MSE Blagged. Works with all items already on sale. Hot Diamonds

£30 Jaeger specs and £35 prescription sunnies via code. MSE Blagged. Also £15 Jai Kudo specs and £20 sunnies. SpeckyFourEyes

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Thank you very much. I used your site and have just bought house and contents insurance for £421, instead of the £947 quoted by my previous insurer. That's saved me over £500."

£30 free-range roasting meat hamper (£52ish+ at supermarkets). MSE Blagged. All outdoor-reared UK meat. Incl brisket, pork, gammon, bacon, mince and sausagemeat. Meat hamper



Is it time to extend the smoking ban? There are 1.9m fewer British smokers since the ban was introduced in England, Wales and NI a decade ago (11yrs ago in Scotland), but you can still smoke in many places. Is it time to extend the smoking ban?

Renationalisation - should we or shouldn't we? In last week's poll, which prompted a mammoth 161,000 votes, we asked if you favoured the renationalisation of a raft of privatised services. The majority of respondents in all age groups supported the idea of railways, energy and water going back under state control. But there was less support for aviation, phone and internet services going into public hands. Find out what MoneySavers are keen to renationalise.


- Top story: MSE reports Argos to advertising watchdog over 3for2 toy sale

- Old £1 coins already unusable in many parking and self-service machines

- New HSBC app will show ALL your accounts - even if they're with its rivals



Should we split the bedbug Airbnb refund? I recently stayed with five friends in an Airbnb in America for three days and one couple stayed in a room with bedbugs, and were severely bitten. The owner was extremely apologetic and gave a full refund (minus a cleaning fee). Knowing that four of us had a normal stay, should the refund be shared between all of us, or just the two who were bitten? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we split the bedbug refund? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Early 40s and not fabulous at all
- Competitions thread of the week: £100 Debenhams gift card
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Hoarding - springing ahead
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Unwanted gifts from friend
- Discussion of the week: Turning off the tap


- Argos hikes prices as 3for2 on 3,000 toys offer launches
- Nando's 15% off £20 spend trick 
- FREE £40 Amazon baby bundle when you buy £20+ of baby stuff 
- Get £108+ of Essie nail polish for £50 in beauty advent calendar



Thu 5 Oct - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. See previous
Fri 6 Oct - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, time TBC
Mon 9 Oct - This Morning, ITV, time TBC
Mon 9 Oct - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe


Wed 4 Oct - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 6 Oct - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Tue 10 Oct - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: I used my card in an ATM in Croatia and accepted the machine's exchange rate, meaning I was charged in pounds. What rate would've been applied if I hadn't accepted this rate? Jacqui, via email.

Rosie BannisterMSE Karl's A: It's impossible to tell you the rate you would've got but by accepting the ATM's exchange rate, you're likely to have lost out.

That's because this process, where the shop, restaurant or ATM does the exchange - known as 'dynamic currency conversion' - usually results in a rubbish rate.

It's almost always cheaper to pay in local currency and let your bank do the conversion for you, even if your card applies the typical 3%-ish 'load' fee on overseas transactions.

But as we always bang on about, always use a specialist credit card instead. A few have no fees whatsoever - meaning you can get near-perfect exchange rates when you pay or withdraw abroad. For more, see our Top Travel Credit Cards guide to help for your next trip.

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



That's it for this week, but before we go... how far would you go to pay for your dream wedding? One couple, on discovering they couldn't afford their fairytale day, devised a 'business model' to charge each of their guests to attend. There's a lot in store for the guests, but is this tight or does it make good financial sense? Let us know in our £150 wedding fee Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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