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Weekly Email
This email was sent
06th Dec 2017
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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"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."

06 December 2017

Base rate rise 1 month on

Urgent. 1.45% easy-access savings, beat mortgage hikes, last chance cheap loans?

It's just over a month since the first base rate rise - from 0.25% to 0.5% - in over a decade, and the effects are already hitting home. If you've done nothing, we're urging you to get off your backside. Lots has changed and you could be throwing away £1,000s through inertia - here's the lowdown...

SAVERS - Grab 1.45% easy access, best in nearly 2yrs

Most savings rates have NOT risen by anything like the 0.25 percentage points that the base rate rose, yet there are gems among the best buys. So it's time to fight back as millions languish on pathetic rates - some as low as 0.01%. Check your rate and if less than 1%, it's rubbish; if less than 1.3%, it's still beatable. All banks below have full £85,000 UK savings protection...

Update: 10.20am 7 Dec. As we predicted, the Birmingham Midshires 1.45% rate didn’t last long. Its rate has since plummeted and now pays tiered interest of just 0.2% on anything under £1k, 0.55% on sums between £1k - £25k and 0.9% on anything over £25k. We’ve left the write up as it was so it doesn’t confuse anyone reading the weekly email. If you missed out, the Virgin deal below is still available at 1.36% AER variable.

Urgent. 1.45% easy access. Here, you can deposit and withdraw when you want, and there's an account worth shouting about. Lloyds-owned Birmingham Midshires now pays 1.45% variable - the best UK-protected rate since Feb 2016. You can save from £1+ though it'll definitely drop in a year so remember to ditch. If right for you, go quick as the top deals have vanished sharpish recently.

If you miss out, Virgin Money pays 1.36% variable (min £1), though once you've made two withdrawals in a calendar year you can't make another till the year after. See Top easy-access savings for more options.

- Fix your rate for 1yr at a higher 1.85%. If you don't need to access your cash for a year you can get higher rates. Top-pick is Atom Bank at 1.85% (min £50), but if you want a Government-backed bank, NS&I is now 1.5% (min £500). You can earn more if you've £25k+, or are willing to lock away for longer. See Top fixes for full details.

- Get up to 5% on smaller amounts (and possible £125 boost). Some current accounts offer regular savings accounts where you can save up to £200-£300/mth for 1yr. Top 5% payers are First Direct and M&S Bank (which both pay £125 to switch), and HSBC and Nationwide. Some current accounts also offer high interest if you meet certain criteria - Tesco Bank pays 3% variable on up to £3k until at least Apr 2019.

For lots more help and options see Top Savings | Top Cash ISAs | Help to Buy ISAs | Lifetime ISAs.

MORTGAGE HOLDERS - Rate hikes hit this week, urgently check if you can save £1,000s

Everyone with a mortgage should check now as rates are rising from historic lows. From THIS WEEK if you've a variable rate, in most cases you'll notice the 0.25 percentage point difference - adding up to £200/yr more per £100,000 of mortgage.

And cheap fixes you could move to are also rising - hence the urgency. Eg, the top 5yr fix was 1.55% in Oct, now it's 1.75%. Yet if you sort it, savings can be huge. As @MatthewOgram tweeted us: "I read your guide and went from 5.49% to 2.1% on a 5yr fixed rate. Thanks, that's £230/mth saved [a huge £13,800 over 5yrs]."

- Quick mortgage checklist. Full info in our Free Remortgage Booklet, here's a quick action plan...

a) Check your current mortgage: Dig out the details and look for its rate, type (fixed or variable), length, exit fees and loan to value - the proportion of your property's value you're borrowing.
b) Benchmark YOUR top deal in 2mins: Use our Mortgage Best Buys comparison to see the best deal you're likely to get.
c) Compare it to your current deal: Check if your winner is cheaper via our Ultimate Mortgage Calc.
d) Will you be accepted?
 It's harder nowadays. What matters is your credit score (check it via our free Credit Club), whether payments are affordable and if you and your home meet lenders' eligibility criteria - a good mortgage broker can help with all that.

LOANS - Already rising. If you need one, go quick (but NEVER borrow for Xmas)

Before we go further, only borrow if it's planned, budgeted for and affordable, or the pain will likely outweigh the gain. But if you really must borrow (eg, for a new car or kitchen) it's sensible to do it quickly.  

As most rates are fixed you're not hit if you already have a loan but cheapest deals are disappearing, as we've predicted, with the base rate rise a factor. The cheapest ever rate, at 2.7%, ended last week and, while not certain, some analysts and banks have told us they expect further rises.

Will you get a loan? What counts isn't just the rate, but whether you'll get the loan. Too many failed applications can affect your chances, so use our free Top Loans Quick Eligibility Calc and it'll tell you which you've the best chance of getting, without hitting your creditworthiness.

Lowest rates from £1k-£15k. To help benchmark, we've listed the top deal per tier. For full options see Cheap Loans (unless stated, rates are for 1-5yrs)...

- £7.5k-£15k: Zopa* 2.9% rep APR.
- £5k-£7,499: Tesco Bank 3.3% rep APR (1-7 yrs, not in eligibility).
- £3k-£4,999: Zopa* 5%-6.9% rep APR.
- £2k-£2,999: Zopa* 6.9%-7.9% rep APR (yet credit card loans are often cheaper).
- £1k-£1,999: Hitachi* 7.9% rep APR (2-5 yrs) (yet credit card loans are often cheaper).

Sadly all loans are 'rep APR' which means only 51% of accepted applicants need to be given the advertised rate, the others can be offered a loan at a higher rate.

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 missed payment marked on your credit report.
c) If you're applying to pay off credit cards, a balance transfer may be cheaper.

The Martin Lewis Money Show, 8pm, Mon 11 Dec, on ITV
How to slash mortgage costs - can you save £1,000s?

Over to Martin... "Interest rates are up. Stamp duty is frozen. So whether you're a first timer, or you have an existing mortgage, I'll show you how to check if you can save thousands. Plus a quick look at parking tickets and overdrafts too. Do watch, or set the Betamax (and you can watch this week's energy show on the ITV Hub)."


Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

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New. Brit Gas hidden tariff - £130/yr cheaper AND boiler cover included

Only avail via comparison sites (incl our Cheap Energy Club, which gives cashback too) - you WON'T get it direct

We tell you regularly about switching energy provider, where many can save typically £300/yr on a standard tariff, but let's be honest, most won't switch. Maybe they're confused by the number of tariffs on offer, or scared of an unknown provider. So while this is nowhere near the cheapest, this week we're highlighting the top deal from the biggest name, and whether you're with British Gas or not, it's worth checking out.

  • New. How to get the British Gas hidden tariff - save a typical £130/yr and get 12mths' boiler cover. This is its cheapest deal and with added boiler insurance - a no-brainer if you want to stay with British Gas. Yet it's not available direct - you'll need to go through a comparison site, so use our special British Gas comparison (for desktop), or if on mobile use our 'Top picks' tab and then the full market one next to it to see how it compares. Here's the key info:

    -  It costs a typical £970/yr (incl MSE cashback) - £130/yr cheaper on average use than BG's standard tariff. But you must pay by Direct Debit to get it.
    - You get 12mths of BG HomeCare's basic boiler insurance. The firm says it's worth £42/yr, and covers your gas boiler and controls (there's a £99 excess for each repair). It expires after 1yr, although you can renew or upgrade it. For more options, check our Cheap Boiler Insurance guide.
    - It's dual-fuel only. So you need to be getting both gas and electricity.
    - It has £40 exit fees. You can take it with you if you move, but you lose the boiler cover.
    - New and existing customers can get it.  Except those on prepayment meters or with an existing HomeCare plan.

  • Yet you can save far more if willing to go elsewhere. The cheapest deals cost a typical £840/yr on average use, while the cheapest big name is £873/yr, incl MSE cashback. But energy prices vary by usage and region, so do a full comparison to find your cheapest. We also have filters to narrow down your options (with MSE cashback factored in if we can give it):
    - Use our 'Big Names' filter to only see deals from companies you've likely heard of.
    - Use our 'Top Customer Service' comparison to see the providers with superb service.
    - Check you're on your provider's cheapest tariff with our 'My Current Supplier' comparison.  

Should you invest in Bitcoin? 4 things you need to know. Read Martin's buy Bitcoin? blog.

It's back. £1.50 prosecco trick. It's been massively popular. How to get £1.50 prosecco. Pls be Drinkaware.

Ends Mon. Free £125 to switch to 'No 1 service bank' First Direct. Another hot deal's ending. Newbies who apply to switch to First Direct* via our link by 11.59pm on Monday get a free £125 (£100 direct). You also get access to a 5% linked regular savings account and may qualify for a £250 0% overdraft. It's won every customer service poll we've done, with 90% rating it 'great' most recently. Pay in £1,000/mth to get the cash and keep the account free. See Top Bank Accounts.

Had an iPhone between 2011 and 2012? You could be due £100s. See iPhone court action.

Vax up to 80% off clearance sale, incl £250 vacuum £50. MSE Blagged. Discounts on five items until Tuesday via our special Vax link.

100,000+ have repaid student loans too EARLY. Are you due £100s back? How to check and reclaim: Early student loan repayments.


Hot car insurance deals comparisons miss, eg, £60 M&S, £40 Amzn

With prices up 12%, our cost-cutting route can save you £100s, including tricks to drop prices further

Car insurance costs are still heading north - up 12% in the past year according to the latest MSE Bills Tracker, which uses Office for National Statistics data. The first rule to curb costs is never auto-renew - as insurers usually milk existing customers with sky-high quotes. Instead, do what Sarah did: "Just saved £600 on my car insurance using MSE's tips. Amazing. Thank you." Full help in Cheap Car Insurance and Young Drivers' Insurance, here's our system...

  • First speedily find the cheapest deals across the market via comparison sites. They find your cheapest at speed. They don't cover the same insurers, so more sites give a wider spread. Our current order's MoneySupermarket*,*, Gocompare* and CTM* (why? See comparison order).

  • Then check for hot deals comparisons miss, incl free £60 M&S gift card. Big insurers Aviva* and Direct Line* are never listed on comparisons, plus we've some MSE Blagged hot deals not on comparison sites. We're not saying these will be cheapest, but they're worth comparing with the best comparison results.

    - £60 M&S gift card via this Age UK* link.
    - £50 in Co-op food vchs via this Co-op Insurance* link.
    - Ends Mon. £40 Amazon gift card via this Direct Line* link.
    Rewards can take up to 120 days to arrive.

  • Also try counter-logical tricks. Full info in Cheap Car Insurance, here are the key ones...
    - Use trial and error to see if comprehensive's cheaper than 3rd party.
    - Can you save tweaking your job title? Fabsternation did: "From creative director to marketing manager, saved £300+. Thanks."
    - Adding responsible extra drivers can save cash. If they're a lower risk, it can bring the cost down.

  • Not at renewal yet? STILL cut costs NOW.
    (i) Renewal in next 2mths? 
    Some quotes are valid for 45-60 days, so get one now and use if it's still cheapest at renewal. If not, ignore. These include Aviva*, More Than*, Post Office* and Quotemehappy - see our list of insurers with lock-in quotes.

    (ii) Renewal further away? 
    Use the info above to find your cheapest. If it's much cheaper than your current price and you haven't claimed, for a £50ish admin fee you can normally cancel your policy, get the rest of the year refunded (you won't earn the year's no-claims bonus) and get the new deal. See switching mid-policy info.


Heads up. £30 Soap & Glory 'Spa of Wonder' set (norm £60) - from Fri. As forecast in our Xmas Deals Predictor. It's the one many wait for, incl face mask, body wash, body butter etc. Worth £78 bought separately. Soap & Glory

Shaving set from Cornerstone for £14 all-in (norm £30). MSE Blagged. High-end, good Xmas gift. Incl personalised razor handle, 6 blades, face scrub, gel and balm. 20,000 avail for newbies. Cornerstone

£56 of make-up for £16 - how to nab 'free' gifts, eg, No7, Max Factor & Essie. Ideal stocking fillers. Eye want it all

New. BT Sim with 6GB data + unltd mins & texts, '£8/mth' (BT b'band custs only). Via this BT link* newbies pay £13/mth for this Sim-only deal from BT Mobile (uses the EE network) on a 1yr contract. But claim and use the £60 prepaid Mastercard - as good as cash where accepted - and it's equiv to £8/mth. Annoyingly, to claim you must use this Mastercard form 30 days after activation but within 3mths. It's then sent within 60 days. If you're not a BT cust, or you switch away mid-contract, it's £5/mth more. See Cheap Sim-only Deals.

£55 Christmas free-range bronze turkey and meat bundle (norm £95). MSE Blagged. Feeds 10-12. Still 900 to gobble up. Incl chipolatas, sausage meat, bacon and goose fat. Delivery 20-22 Dec - you choose. Xmas grub

Premium Bonds boosted to 1.4% - find your chances of winning. We've updated our Premium Bonds Calculator to show if they're worth it. Premium Bond Calc


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Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. CompareTheMarket*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Tesco Bank 3.3% rep APR (1-7 years)
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: 
Zopa* 2.9% rep APR

Standard b'band & line rent: Sky equiv £15.50/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Sky equiv £23.89/mth

Ends Mon. £125 to switch + top service: First Direct
5% interest fixed for a year: 
Nationwide FlexDirect


New. Half-price Power of Attorney - for some more important than a will

With family in mind at Christmas, it's an ideal time to make sure others can carry out your wishes if you can't

It may seem a strange subject for the festive season, yet this is a family time. While presents under the tree are lovely, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) protects you and your family at any time from the huge stress, hassle and cost if you were to lose your faculties without one. Full info in Power of Attorney. In brief...

  • If you lose your faculties, relatives can't just access your money, not even to pay for your care or mortgage. One person develops dementia every three minutes in the UK, others lose capacity through strokes or accidents. It's often quick. And when your family are already having to deal with your condition, without an LPA, the only way to take charge of your finances is via the Court of Protection.

    This can be hell. As Judith tweeted: "Took 12mths to go via Court of Protection for my mum. Cost £3,000." And Nellyjuke: "12mths, nightmare. Urge people to sort it before it's too late." 

    With an LPA you nominate a trusted friend/relative to take control of your assets ONLY if you lose capacity. It's a bit like an insurance policy in case the worst happens. While many do wills, few do LPAs, even though they're likely even more important. Every grown-up with assets, of any age, should consider doing one. Die will-less and you haven't chosen where your assets go - not good. Yet without an LPA, your assets could be locked down just when they're needed.

  • New. £69.50 Which? Power of Attorney codes (plus standard Govt £82 registration fee). You've a choice over how to draft your LPA:
    - Get legal help (incl half-price code). Gold-standard, solicitor-drafted LPAs cost £500ish. Yet a halfway house is Which? legal services - you fill in a questionnaire and the LPA document is populated for you, then, crucially, checked by a paralegal. The standard cost is £139, but we've blagged codes to get it half price, at £69.50.
    - The DIY route. If you've simple circumstances and know what you're doing, you can DIY via an online form. However, the LPA is a powerful legal document, so you may want assistance if unsure.

    You then have to pay £82 to register an LPA as a legal document (£75 in Scotland, £127 in Northern Ireland). See Registering your LPA.

  • Sort future medical care & more. We've focused on the financial LPA, but you can also set up a health and welfare Power of Attorney to give loved ones authority over your treatment, and a living will (officially 'an advance decision'), where you can refuse certain medical treatments if you lose capacity in future. Plus, while you're at it, consider making a will if you don't have one.


Last chance. Free letter from Santa. For a reply, post kids' letters before Fri (stamp needed). Santa letter

"Thanks to MSE, my partner and I took an 'admin day' off work to spend time haggling with companies. We slashed the costs of our TV, electric and mobile phone bills. Total savings per year of £570." (Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Superdry £20 prescription specs & £30 sunnies code. MSE Blagged. Norm £99-£109. Via SpeckyFourEyes.



Feeling the pressure of paying out for Christmas? If you're worried about your finances this Christmas, debt advice charity National Debtline and MSE are working together on the #peaceofmind campaign. Get free debt advice from National Debtline and chat with people getting a grip on their debt in the MSE Forum. For more information and where to get help, see our Debt Problems guide.



Do you eat food past its 'best before' date? This week the East of England Co-op joined the likes of online retailer Approved Food and others in selling food beyond its 'best before' date to try to reduce waste (read more on what 'best before' means). When you find food at home past its best before, what do you do?

Most of you WOULD cancel Christmas if given the choice. Last week, we asked if you had a CANCEL CHRISTMAS button that'd make the whole thing disappear, would you press it? From over 17,500 votes, a whopping 59% of you would. The only group who wouldn't were parents of school-age or younger kids - and even then, 35% of mums and 36% of dads would still give Santa the boot. Bah humbug. Full breakdown in Cancel Xmas poll results.



Should my husband contribute more to our finances? My husband and I split bills 50/50, despite him earning three times my salary. Is this fair? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my husband contribute more to our finances? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Debt Destruction December
- Competitions thread of the week: £100 Pandora gift card
- Old-Style board thread of the week: What was day-to-day food in your childhood?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: 'Gitdog' wants a coat
- Discussion of the week: Who's in the wrong here?


Ciaté - £25 for £139 of nail polish
Thompson & Morgan - 2 'Christmas rose' plants £10 (norm £23)
Smashbox - £35 eye, lip and face palette set (norm £70)
Yankee Candle - free £2.49 car air freshener via O2 app
Starbucks - pay £1, get 25p off most drinks every time

Frankie & Benny's - 50% off mains and a free drink
Toby Carvery - £5 off food for new app users
Zizzi - 30% off mains
Café Rouge - 30% off food
Papa John's - 33% off pizzas

Disney Store - extra 20% off selected items code
Ikea - '£5' real Christmas tree
The Body Shop - £25 off £50 spend code
American Express - £5 cashback off £10 local shop spend
Iceland - 10% off for emergency services personnel

Quick Forum Tips

Free £1 Thorntons chocolate bar. Don't be choco-late
Free printable 2018 calendar. Make a date
25% off 6+ bottles of wine at Sainsbury's. Partners in wine



Thu 7 Dec - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. See previous
Fri 8 Dec - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 11 Dec - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 11 Dec - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again
Mon 11 Dec - The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm


Wed 6 Dec - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 8 Dec - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Tue 12 Dec - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: My handbag was stolen on a train but I've just been told that because I don't have 'all risks cover' I can't claim on my home insurance. I'm so confused - what is the point of insuring all your goods if you can't then make a claim? Mrs Glass, via email.

MSE Sam's A: Sadly, many standard home insurance policies only protect your goods while they're in your property - so if you take them outside your home you won't be covered.

While it's no consolation in this case, to get valuables insured outside your home you'd need a premium policy or the add-on called 'all risks cover'. However, you may need to specify which items you want insured, and pricey belongings such as jewellery may cost more to insure. Hopefully this can help you in future. See our Home Insurance and 'All Risks Cover' guides for more help.

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... how much should you spend on presents? Of course, the most thoughtful gift isn't always the most expensive. We were reminded of this by one Twitter user who went viral with her heartwarming story of how a £1.50 gift she was given as a child is her most treasured. We'd love to hear your memories, so join our priceless presents discussion on Twitter. 

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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