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05th Sep 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 This info may be out of date.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."

05 September 2018
         
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.
                                                           
 


 

Back to MoneySaving school...
Save £1,000s with our bill-busting checklist


As the new school year starts, we've prepared a checklist to help you sort your main bills, giving you a lesson in how to ensure your finances are top of the class. Hopefully it'll leave you with more cash for the things you enjoy. So get to your desk, sharpen your pencils, let's get started...

-  BROADBAND & LINE. Are you paying over £20/mth? Until Thu you can get it for '£13/mth'. Millions are fleeced, paying up to £45/mth, but hot, short-lived promos can slice your bills in half - or better. Check our Broadband Unbundled tool to find the cheapest deal in your area. Yet many are short-lived, incl those below that end on Thu...
 
- Standard speed, avg 11Mb: TalkTalk '£12.42/mth'
- Standard speed, avg 11Mb: Sky '£13/mth'
- Fast fibre, avg 35Mb: TalkTalk '£18.34/mth'
- Fast fibre, avg 36Mb: Sky '£20mth'.
- See Broadband Unbundled for even faster speeds.
 
The prices above (for new customers only) are the 'effective monthly cost' by adding all charges and taking off any vouchers or freebies, and spreading it over the contract length - all either 12 or 18 months...

- PETROL & DIESEL. Drivers, find YOUR cheapest forecourt in mins. Prices are the highest in 4yrs but the keys to saving are nifty tools to find the cheapest fuel near you and making your car more fuel efficient

- CREDIT CARD DEBT. Are you paying interest? Do a 2min check to see if you can shift it to 0% for up to 36mths. A 0% balance transfer is when you get a new card to repay debts on other credit or store cards for you, so you owe it instead. As you pay no interest, payments eat into the debt, so you're debt-free quicker - possibly saving £1,000s.

IMPORTANT: Before you apply use our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calculator. It shows which of the top cards you're most likely to get without harming your creditworthiness. Here are the top deals.

- Longest NO FEE card. Santander (eligibility calc / apply*) gives 27mths 0% (18.9% rep APR after).
- Need longer? MBNA  (eligibility calc / apply*) offers up to 36mths 0% for a 2.49% fee of the amount shifted (21.9% rep APR after). Full help and more best buys in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Balance Transfer Golden Rules. 
a) Clear debt or shift again before the 0% ends, or it jumps to the rep APR.
b) Go for the lowest fee in the time you're sure you can repay.  
c) Never miss the min monthly repayment or you could lose the 0%.
d) Don't spend/withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate.
e) You must usually do the transfer within 60/90 days to get the 0%.

- COUNCIL TAX. Can you save £1,000s via our 10min check & challenge system? Up to 400k homes in Eng and Scot are in the wrong band, so may have overpaid for years. Our council tax guide shows how to check & challenge your band (incl the risks). Some get £1,000s back and cheaper bills, eg, Judy: "We were in the highest band in the village, claimed and received £2,500, thank you." 

- Do you qualify for a discount? You may if you live alone, are on benefits, are a student, you have a severe mental impairment or live with someone who does. See council tax discounts.

- ENERGY. Are you one of 11m languishing on a Big 6 standard tariff, overpaying by £360/yr? If so, sort it NOW with a 5min check. If you are, you're being ripped off. The avg Big 6 standard tariff is £1,221 on typical use, compared to the cheapest deal on the market at £859/yr. 

It only takes 5 mins to find a new deal, and switching's easy. It's the same pipes, gas & elec. Only service & price changes. We know many want a big name so our Cheap Energy Club has a special Big Name filter. If you just want the cheapest, do a full market comparisonPlus you get £25 dual fuel cashback if we can switch you.  

- MOBILES. Pay over £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 for ages, you can probably slash costs as Sim prices have dived in recent years.

Most people use less than 4GB data and at this level there's lots at sub-£10/mth. Our top picks for new customers are below, all on 1mth contracts:

1GB, 500 mins & unltd texts for £5/mth from iD Mobile* (uses Three)
3.5GB, 2,000 mins & 2,000 texts for £8/mth from Plusnet* (EE)
6GB, 2,500 mins & unltd texts for £10/mth from Plusnet* (EE) 

Check old bills for your usage or try a free checker toolSee our Best Sim only guide for more deals and switching help. 


- CAR & HOME INSURANCE. Do you just auto-renew? If so you're committing a MoneySaving sin. Instead, find cheap quotes in mins. Just accepting your renewal quote almost always means getting overcharged on both car and home insurance. Luckily the remedy is easy.

Simply check comparison sites three weeks before your renewal or policy start date to find the cheapest deals. In just a few mins each, they whizz through dozens of providers to find your best price. See our car insurance and home insurance cost-cutting systems for full help and the hot deals comparisons miss.

- WATER. Are you throwing 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 like with energy, but some may be better off with a water meter. See how to check if you can slash your water bill.

- 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 35 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: "@MartinSLewis Just took the MSE Downshift Challenge and cut the weekly shop from £133 to £89." 

- MORTGAGES. Urgently check if you can slash mortgage costs by £1,000s as ultra cheap deals are still available - just. If you've a mortgage deal ending in the next six months - or you pay your provider's potentially pricey standard variable rate (SVR), which most intro deals revert to - check NOW if you can save.
 
Top rates for new customers are at close to their cheapest ever level and despite last month's base rate rise, they've barely risen since, though brokers say they're more likely to go up than down. So there's still a window for super-cheap rates. Full help in our Remortgage Guide 2018, plus use our Mortgage Best Buys tool to benchmark the top deals.

 
 

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.

 

 
 

Revealed: The best and worst banks for service. First Direct wins AGAIN (and gives switchers £170 freebies), while TSB's now dead last


With day-to-day banking, service counts, so twice a year we ask for your view of your bank - after all, the best banks often pay you to join them, so why not ditch and switch if you get poor service? Take TSB, it's sunk like a boulder in this poll from 4th in Feb to dead last now due to its hideous IT problems (no surprise its boss, Paul Pester, resigned yesterday). Switching is easy, it takes just 7 working days and the new bank moves all payments across...

  • No.1 Service: First Direct - switchers choose from £170 speaker, £155 headphones or £150 Expedia vch. No surprise as it's won every poll we've done since 2010 & it topped the official CMA service survey last month.

    New switchers to First Direct* can claim a choice of freebies - gadgets, online courses (eg, yoga/beer brewing) or the Expedia voucher. You also get access to its regular savings account that pays 5% on up to £300/mth saved, and most get a £250 0% overdraft. To qualify, as with all banks, you need to pass its credit check, plus you need £1,000+/mth going in each month (a salary of £12,675+ does it), or there's a £10/mth fee.

mse's summer 2018 bank customer service poll (4,997 VOTES)
FIRM RATING ACCOUNTS IN MSE'S TOP PICKS / TIPS (1)
1. First Direct 89% great, 3% poor Its 1st Account gives FREE gadgets + 0% overdraft + 5% reg saver
2. Nationwide 73% great, 6% poor Its FlexPlus (costs £13/mth) gives up to £700 in travel, mobile & breakdown ins
3. Co-op/Smile 67% great, 9% poor Tip: Not a top pick but if an existing customer ensure you get its Everyday Rewards.
4. Santander 61% great, 7% poor  For a £1/mth fee, its 123 Lite account gives 1-3% cashback on bills + 5% reg saver 
5. Lloyds 45% great, 15% poor  -
6. HSBC 43% great, 17% poor -
7. NatWest 43% great, 18% poor For a £2/mth fee, its Reward account pays 2% cashback on bills
8. Halifax 41% great, 16% poor It's fee-free Reward account gives switchers a free £75 + £2/mth in rewards
9. Barclays 41% great, 17% poor Tip: It's not a top pick but if an existing customer ensure you get Blue Rewards.
10. RBS  29% great, 37% poor For a £2/mth fee, its Reward account pays 2% cashback on bills
11. TSB 23% great, 49% poor -
Only shows banks with 100+ votes. See full results. (1) We only include info where the bank is in our top picks write-up or there's a specific tip with that bank. 


See our Best Bank Accounts guide for full switching help and more top deals incl up to £185 in M&S vchs from M&S Bank. While it scored well, it got fewer than 100 votes which is too few to put it in our official rankings.

 

Psssst. 'SECRET' shoe outlets, eg, £85 Ralph Lauren trainers for £25. High street chains Office & Schuh run sites flogging ex-display or slightly blemished footwear at mega-reduced prices. Stock limited. Step this way for info.

How to make old fivers & tenners spendable again. Our probe shows there are £1.8bn still out there. Find where to change them.

New. Top 1yr fixed savings, 2.03%. If you've £1k+ OakNorth* now pays 2.03% AER fixed for 1yr. But if you've £10k+ you can beat that via savings marketplace Raisin which pays 2.02% fixed for 1yr plus £20-£80 cashback. With both, your money's locked away for 1yr, so for easy access with up to 3 penalty-free withdrawals/yr Coventry BS* pays 1.4% AER variable on deposits from £1 - incl a 0.25% 1yr bonus, so diarise to switch then as the rate'll dive. All have £85,000 per person savings protection, see all Top Savings.

TODAY'S short-lived flight deals: £232 San Francisco, £566 Australia returns, can you find 'em? Check out the latest deals and an easy way to stay frequently updated. Full info in our cheap flights guide.

'Unneeded, destructive, addictive, it was debt's crack cocaine - celebrate Wonga's demise,' says Martin. As Wonga dies, read Martin Lewis's full assessment, and rights for borrowers and those owed compensation. Ding dong, Wonga's gone.

'Wow. I halved the cost of my brownie ingredients and people preferred 'em.' MSE's Laura downshifted, and of 27 MSE taste-testers (it's a hard life), most preferred the cheaper brownies. See her Bake (half) Off.

 
 

Power to the people. For years we've told you energy firms CAN'T charge exit penalties in the 49 days before a fix ends. Yet 18mths ago, many of you told us British Gas did just that. So working with you we compiled a dossier, and told regulator Ofgem. As a result, it's just ordered BG to pay £2.65m as it misled 2.5m people, and overcharged 95,000. Yet that's not the only rip-off to watch out for...

  • Big 6 standard tariffs are a RIP-OFF, you're possibly overpaying by £100s. So other people getting the same gas, same electricity, same service from the SAME company pay less - sometimes by £100s/yr. You'll likely save the most doing a full market comparison and switching to the cheapest tariff, but to just find your provider's top deal, use our switch without switching comparison.

  • Renters don't need a landlord's permission to switch. Even if your tenancy says you can't, you ARE entitled to. The only exclusions are if your rent includes bills; or if you need to change the actual meter, you'll need the landlord's permission. See Renter's rights.

  • You have a right to a FAIR direct debit, check now if you're over- or under-charged. Monthly direct debit is usually the cheapest way and you pay the same in winter as summer. Done this way, you're charged a fixed amount spread throughout the year. The problem is firms often get it wrong so you could over- or under-pay, which could leave your bank account short or leave you owing big sums in future. If you disagree, make 'em justify it. See Energy Direct Debit help.

  • If you're too much in credit, you've a right to get your cash back. Keep enough to cover bills going into winter, otherwise ask for it back - including from old suppliers. See Energy credit help.

  • Prepay tariffs are more expensive than the cheapest deals. If you can, ditch 'em. Switch to a billed meter for free - though most require you to pass a credit check and a few small firms may not allow you. See Prepaid energy.

  • If you're choosing between heating and eating, there may be energy grants to help. See energy grants.
     
  • Your energy firm doesn't have the final say, you can complain to a free ombudsman. First complain to the firm, but you can escalate if still unhappy. Try our free complaints tool which helps you do this. 
 

5 Odeon cinema tickets for £25. Norm up to £17 each. Some exclusions, so see full Odeon offer

Parent of a 7 to 16-year-old? Have they got hidden £100s in a Child Trust Fund? The first eligible kids with one can now take control of their cash, but 1m+ accounts have been lost. See how to check in our Child Trust Fund alert.

Earn £15 M&S/Amazon vchs doing quick online surveys. MSE Blagged. Popular MSEers' site where you're paid to fill in surveys and do online searches. We've a link for newbies to earn £5 and get a bonus £10. Swagbucks

Free visits to 5,000+ hidden property gems, incl Chapter House, featured in Harry Potter. Thu-Sun for the next two weekends, many usually-closed or usually-charging English buildings are open to the public for free. Heritage Open Days

 
 

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They can get this email free every week

 
 

AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 36 mths 0%, 2.49% 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:

  1. MoneySupermarket.com*
  2. Confused.com*
  3. CompareTheMarket*
  4. Gocompare*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line
Aviva*

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

Standard b'band & line rent: TalkTalk equiv £12.42/mth 
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
TalkTalk equiv £18.34/mth

Choice of £150 Expedia vch, tech gadget & more: First Direct
5% interest fixed for a year: Nationwide FlexDirect 

 

6 weird ways to put more wedge in your wallet

Incl flogging your junk, spotting job ads, watching TV & renting out your home as a film set

There are far more ways to add a little extra cash to your pocket than you might think. Our 70 income boosters lists them. However, we thought you might be surprised by some of the more off-beat ones... 

  1. Sell your junk, incl old buttons, empty jam jars, pinecones & more. A surprising number of things you'd normally throw out can be sold online. Forumite cherrylips76 had great success"I've sold empty perfume & aftershave bottles for £5-£8 each". See Flog your rubbish for the full list.

  2. Spot job ads in windows. Get Amazon vouchers just for taking pics of 'help wanted' signs. MSE's Sarah made an impressive £200 in her lunch breaks. Job Spotter

  3. Get paid to watch TV. Telly addicts can cash in by getting paid for their opinion. Get paid to watch TV

  4. Become a 'life model'. All you need for this one is a bit of confidence... Badger_Lady told us: "My ex did this for ages, found a classified in the local paper (well, I found it for him). Good money, gentle work."  See how to be a model.

  5. Sell old Lego by the kilo. If you've mountains of unmatched Lego bricks sitting somewhere, some special sites will buy it off you. Sell your Lego

  6. Rent out your home. It could be as glamorous as renting your home as a film set even if it's not quite Downton Abbey, as a holiday let, or just renting your driveway.
 

Just graduated? You shouldn't start paying your student loan till April at the earliest. Each year 10,000s start paying too early. Check your payslips, with more help in our student loan warning.

£600 FLIGHT DELAY COMPENSATION - SUCCESS OF THE WEEK
"I wanted to thank you. I used your website to take on Easyjet for flight compensation for a flight it cancelled for my family and I last July. I got £600 back."
(Send us yours on this or any topic)

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Are you allowed to buy cheap school uniforms? As classrooms open for another year, buying new school uniform can be a costly exercise - especially if you aren't allowed to shop around for it. So does your child's school let you buy from supermarkets, or are you restricted to a specific shop? Are you allowed to buy cheap school uniforms?

A typical MoneySaver is married with kids, has a university degree and loves chocolate digestives... See more in last week's fifth annual MSE census results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should we give our daughter the same allowance as our son? My husband and I gave our son an allowance each month, even when he had a part-time job, until he turned 18. Our daughter, who is 16, now has a part-time job that pays a lot more than our son's did. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we give our daughter the same allowance as our son? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: How to help my niece.
- Competitions thread of the week: Samsung Galaxy Tab A Tablet.
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Homemade sweets that will keep for a long time.
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Paying for 25-year-old child.
- Discussion of the week: Need cheap, healthy meal ideas to help with weight loss.

 

Cathedral City - 50% off big pack (550g £2.75, norm £5.50)
Travelodge - 15% code off selected Sep-Oct stays
Deezer - 3mths' free premium streaming via £2 earphones
Supermarket coupons - incl £2.50 off Krispy Kreme dozen
Homebuilding & Renovating show - FREE tickets nationwide

Pizza Express - 2for1 on mains (Mon-Thu)
McDonald's hack - 'unlimited' £2 Big Mac & fries
Burger King - meal deals, incl £2 burger & fries
KFC - free popcorn chicken, wings or fries
Prezzo - 40% off mains (Sun-Fri)

Zero Waste - MoneySaving tips for your morning routine 
Morrisons - £3.50 wonky veg box
H&M - £5 off £25 when you recycle old clothes
Get up to 50p off coffee - with a reusable cup
Lush - 'free' £7.50 face mask when you recycle

Quick Forum Tips

The Body Shop free tea tree sample - What a treet
Lidl weekend offers, incl 95p ale - A Lidl help
Free Espresso capsules - Espress yourself

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 5 SEP ONWARD)

Thu 6 Sep - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 7 SepThis Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (MOST SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 6 Sep - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 7 Sep - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 10 Sep - talkRADIO, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 11 Sep - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: My broadband provider has told me it's putting up my costs, but I'm still within a fixed contract period. Is it allowed to do this? Lorna via email.

MSE Steve B's A: Unfortunately telecoms firms often do - BT is hiking prices for millions next week, with Virgin Media to follow from October. They are allowed to, but the good news is you can easily beat them at their own game.

Regulator Ofcom states that if your firm raises prices without having warned you before you signed up, you are allowed to leave penalty-free as long as you tell your provider you're off within 30 days of being notified. Of course, only leave if you can beat the new price, though unless you're already on a promo deal it's likely you could save £100s/yr by switching. See our Broadband Unbundled tool for the best deals.

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

 

DOES ENERGY DRINK BAN FALL FLAT OR DOES IT HAVE FIZZ?

That's all for this week, but before we go... the Government's proposed ban on selling energy drinks to children has been causing a fizz among MoneySavers. Many are all for giving the sugar and caffeine-filled beverages the boot for youngsters, while others say parents should be the ones responsible for their kids' consumption of unhealthy drinks. Have your say in our energy drink ban Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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