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07th Nov 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 This info may be out of date.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."

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


 

Renting is NOT a dirty word... 

We've a raft of renters' tips including how to boost your credit score, a pimp your home checklist, and how to fight nasty letting fees

Telly property pawn (i) often makes it feel like renters are second class citizens, as presenters' eyes glint at the thought of everyone pushing themselves to the financial brink to max their mortgage. We don't agree. Some do rent out of necessity, but others choose it, wanting flexibility.

Whatever the reason, with rents rising to an average £943/mth - up 20% since 2016 - our guide has a whopping 55 Renting Tips to help, here are the highlights...

(i) deliberate misspeilling to stop spam filters blocking us. 

  1. New. Now paying rent on time can boost your credit score. Private renters and social housing tenants can opt in to a free scheme that records rental payments on your Experian credit report. If you pay on time, it could boost your score - and therefore your ability to get a mortgage, credit card etc. If you don't pay rent on time it'll hurt your score, so think carefully about joining if worried you may be late.

    The scheme's actually been running in the background for 2yrs+ with 1.2m renters' payments recorded, but the payments were only made visible in people's files last month, so it now has a real impact on how firms score you. See make rent boost your credit score for full info, incl how to join.

  2. Renters - you're free to switch broadband provider and many can save £100s/yr. You don't need your landlord's permission unless you require a new line fitted (eg, switching to cable). As about 85% of UK homes with a landline are already connected to the BT network, used by most providers incl Plusnet, Sky and TalkTalk, it's often nice and simple.

    And it's vital to check what you pay, as millions are fleeced with up to £45/mth charges even for slow broadband and line. Yet hot, short-lived promos can slice bills in half - or better. The current top deals for new customers based on broadband speed are below. Links go via our Broadband Unbundled tool to check if it's available in your area.
     
    - Standard speed, avg 10Mb: Plusnet '£10.24/mth'
    - Fast fibre, avg 36Mb: TalkTalk '£18.34/mth'
    - Faster fibre, avg 63MbTalkTalk £25/mth
    - Check our Broadband Unbundled tool for more options, eg, if you're already a customer of those firms.
     
  3. New. The 'pimp your home for less' checklist. Save space and spruce it up - without losing your deposit. Top tips from the mass of experts at MSE Towers, eg, you'd be surprised how much you can store on the back of a door without nails. It's a first incarnation and we want to harness the collective wisdom of MoneySavers with lots more, so please add your ideas in the comments in the Pimp your home for less blog.

  4. Renters - you don't need your landlord's permission to switch energy tariff. If you pay the energy bill (ie, it's not part of your rent), you don't need your landlord's permission to switch tariff, unless you change the meter.

    To find the cheapest, and get £25 dual fuel cashback if we can switch you, use our Cheap Energy Club comparison. Unlike many comparisons, it searches the whole market. Fi emailed: "Thanks for nagging us to switch. Saved £402/yr – it was easy." 

    PS, some landlords may wrongly claim you need their approval, but regulator Ofgem says they can't unreasonably stop you. If in dispute, show 'em our Landlord Energy-Switch Factsheet.

  5. £1,000s free towards your first mortgage. There's no shame in renting. Yet if you're lusting to own, ALWAYS save for your deposit the right way to reach your goal sooner. A better credit score helps, and for most first-timers a top Lifetime ISA or Help to Buy ISA is a no-brainer too, as you get a 25% bonus on your savings - £250 more per £1,000.
     
    Plus if you're starting the first home journey, read our free 56-page MSE First-Time Buyers' Booklet.


  6. Save 60%+ on rent by becoming a property guardian. For those who can be flexible in exchange for cheap rent, you can babysit empty properties to deter squatters - these can be private homes, office blocks, fire stations, churches, schools and more. We found a former school in Somerset for £225/mth, and a care home in London for £300/mth. Full info in Property guardians.

    Here's MSE Becky's story: "I've lived in guardian properties for 2+ yrs and pay a third of normal London rent. Places can be huge but you often don't know how long you've got, while facilities can be basic." 

  7. Check your deposit's protected - if not, you could get it back plus 3x the value. If you've the most common tenancy called an 'assured shorthold tenancy' and moved on or after 6 April 2007, your landlord or letting agent MUST put your deposit into a Govt-backed protection scheme by law in Eng & Wales (similar schemes apply in Scot/NI). See deposit protection help.

  8. Grab cheap contents insurance. Your landlord is responsible for buildings insurance, so you only need contents cover (essentially for the stuff that'd fall if you turned your home upside down). When buying, NEVER auto-renew, and here are the easy steps to save (full help in Cheap Contents Insurance for Tenants)...
     
     - Combine comparison sites for dozens of quotes in mins. Use this order to bag max quotes in the min time: MoneySupermarket*, Compare The Market*, Gocompare* & Confused* (see How we order them).

    - Then check if deals not on comparisons can win. Try Aviva* and Direct Line*, which aren't on any comparisons, and hot deals comparisons miss, incl a £75 Amazon vch from Age Co.
     
  9. How to fight nasty letting fees. We've heard of fees of up to £60 for photocopying a contract or references. Sadly, although new rules have been proposed in Eng & Wales, there are no regulations on how much these charges are (they're already banned in Scot). You can try to negotiate lower, but there are no certainties – get any reductions in writing. For more, see Fight unfair fees.

  10. Dispute with landlord? How to get help. Your landlord must keep the home safe and in good working order. If it's failed to then there are official bodies to help you complain, though they have limited powers. See landlord responsibilities and your rights.  

  11. Furnish for FREE - sofas, beds, TVs & more. If you've gone unfurnished or part-furnished, online community giveaway sites can help you - for nowt. For sites to use and full help, see our How To Use Giveaway Sites tips. Alternatively, get stuff cheap on eBay with our 41 eBay buying tips.

    Forumite Pippilongstocking says: "We're a single parent family, and have had lots of goodies, incl a chest freezer, a sofa bed & plants".

  12. Claim council tax discounts. If you live alone you are entitled to 25% off, plus full-time students don't pay council tax. See council tax discounts, incl help for part-student households.

    PS, renters can claim for council tax overpayments. Many are in too high a band and are due big cash back. See Check & Challenge Your Council Tax Band (out of courtesy, it's best to tell your landlord).

  13. You may be eligible for help paying rent. If housing benefit is still available where you live, you can apply if you need help with your rent. However, if universal credit has been rolled out in your area, you'll have to apply for that instead. To find out more, read our universal credit guide, and then take some time to do a benefits calculation to see your full entitlement.
 
 

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.

 

 
 

Urgent. Got existing credit card debt? The top 0% deal to shift it to ends on Fri. With no decent replacements likely, sort it NOW

Anyone paying interest on existing credit or store card debt should look at doing a 0% balance transfer. That's where you get a new credit card which pays off the balance(s) for you, so you owe it instead, but interest-free. Yet deals are getting rapidly worse. A year ago you could get 0% for six months longer than now, and this week the head and shoulders top pick for most is about to be pulled (see below). So here are the key tips and best buys.

- Find which cards will accept you before applying. Use our balance transfer eligibility calc, which shows which of the top cards you're most likely to be accepted for, without impacting your creditworthiness.
- Go for the lowest fee (factoring in cashback) in the time you're sure you can repay. Most charge a one-off fee on the amount transferred - try to minimise this. If you're not sure how long you need, play safe and go LONG.
- 'Up to' cards mean you may get a shorter 0% deal if accepted. That's why we include the best 'non up to' options.

TOP PICK 0% NEW CARDHOLDER BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS 
CARD  0% LENGTH (APR AFTER) FEE (1) + CASHBACK
MBNA Longest but higher fee, only via this MBNA tool (not everyone will be offered it)
Up to 33mths (21.9%)
1.99%
Ends Fri - BEST FOR MOST. HSBC (eligibility calc / apply*). It's only 1mth shorter than MBNA (above) AND the fee here is lower AND most get £25 AND that means if you shift sub-£1,750, the cash is bigger than the fee, so you're PAID to move debt. 32mths (19.9%)

1.4% + £25 if shifting £300+ (2)
Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) Long up to 0% with low fee.
Up to 30mths (19.9%)
0.75% (3)
Santander (eligibility calc / apply*) Longest NO FEE card.
27mths (18.9%)
None
 (1) % of debt shifted. (2) Min £5 fee. You must shift £300+ within 60 days to get the cashback. (3) You pay a higher fee upfront & it's refunded to the level shown. 


  • Balance Transfer Golden Rules. Full info and ALL best buys: Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).
    a) Never miss the min monthly repayment, or you could lose the 0% deal and it'll cost far more.
    b) Clear the card or balance transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to the higher APR.
    c) Don't spend/withdraw cash on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate.
    d) You must usually do the balance transfer within 60 days to get the 0%.
 

20 ways to hack McDonald's - it ain't what you buy, it's the way that you order. Our Coupon Kid shares his best nuggets incl 50%+ off Big Macs or McChicken sandwiches in McMoneySaving hacks. But please eat responsibly.

Get a FREE £10-£105 to spend at Ikea in its £3 Advent calendar. Hidden inside are vouchers, and there's at least £10 off, with no minimum spend. So you're definitely up, and there are the chocs too. Full Ikea Advent info.

Should you do Initiative Q? Martin's view. We're swamped with questions about the new 'payment scheme' that's gone viral. Is it a scam or a fortune waiting to happen? Read our Initiative Q help & analysis

The new energy price cap is NOT £1,137. Many reports (incl the BBC) yesterday wrongly suggested £1,137 is the most anyone will pay for energy after the cap starts in Jan. That is baloney. Read how the price cap will really work.

How much do you need to save for your kids to go to uni? Martin's video guide. Whether they're 11 or 17, if there's a chance they may go to university, the likelihood is you need to save for it. Yet how much? See Martin's how much parents should save for uni 5-min video.

New. Halifax bank switchers now get £50 upfront, £85 after 6mths + £2/mth - but it's beatable. There's now less upfront from Halifax Reward, but more over year 1, up to £159. It's an improved offer, but don't ignore... HSBC free £200 - £150 upfront and £50 after a year | First Direct free £120 gadget + No.1 for customer service | NatWest free £125 + 2% bills cashback - for a £2/mth fee | M&S free £125 vouchers, NO min pay in - if you pay in £1,250/mth you get £5/mth more | Ending. Barclays free £132 in yr 1 - via £11/mth cashback

 
 

Martin: "We need to talk about Plevin... if you've had a loan, mortgage, overdraft, credit card or car finance, you may be due £1,000s back."


Stick with me, this is important. For years PPI has been a horror story of systemic mis-selling, and more than £30bn has been paid back. And now there's Plevin - a new-ish rule that means you may be owed £100s or £1,000s, even if you WEREN'T MIS-SOLD PPI. However, my antennae have stopped twitching on it. I get fewer questions and I worry this means many will miss out, as even though it's a new thing, the Aug 2019 PPI deadline still applies.
 
And Plevin may be big cash, as Martin Hall tweeted me: "@MartinSLewis Used your tool to reclaim Plevin, took 5 mins, then our first child Dylan was born on Fri, and I've just had nearly £7,000 back. We're shaking, thanks so much".

1. Plevin is all about the huge hidden commission you paid for. Payment Protection was an insurance policy systemically (mis-)sold by banks as an add-on when they flogged different debts. Banks received huge commission from insurers for doing this. After a 2014 court case involving Susan Plevin, regulator the Financial Conduct Authority ruled that if commission was over 50% of the PPI cost and they didn't tell you (they rarely did), you're due the extra back. As average bank commission was 67%, most people who had a PPI policy are due this. For help, see Reclaim Plevin PPI for free.

2. Plevin rules require your debt and PPI to have been active after April 2008. So even if you borrowed before that, if it was still ongoing it counts. There are a few exceptions, so if in doubt, see the full when is Plevin claimable breakdown.

3. You can claim under Plevin, even if you were previously rejected (incl by the Ombudsman). Plevin only became a claimable route on 29 Aug 2017, so if you were rejected for mis-selling before that it's unlikely it looked at Plevin, so you could still be owed. If you did get a full payout before then, you can't double dip so won't get a Plevin payout.

4. If you were mis-sold PPI you get more money than a Plevin claim. PPI was mis-sold as a matter of course. Lenders added it without asking, lied that it was compulsory, sold the self-employed 'unemployment' cover and didn't warn of pre-existing medical condition exclusions - see the mis-selling checklist. If you were mis-sold you get the whole PPI amount back plus interest, not just the commission above 50% as with Plevin. See the free PPI tool to reclaim. Even if you're then rejected for traditional mis-selling, banks must now automatically look if you're due a Plevin payout.

5. Not sure if you had PPI or even who your lender was? 
Don't worry, that's common. You don't need to pay anyone to find out. Full info on how to find out is available in our did I have PPI? help.  

PS: In July this year, a county court ruled in the Doran case of 76% commission that the entire amount of PPI and interest should be repaid: £17,345 - not just the amount above 50%. As it's a lower court, it doesn't yet set a legal precedent. For now then, with 'Plevin-only' cases, follow the normal bank & Ombudsman route above - but things may change later.

 

£25 No7 Beauty Collection make-up set - £76 bought separately. Incl eye shadows and pencil, skin illuminator, shimmer palette, lip gloss and mascara. Boots Star Gift

Bought cheap travel insurance? Did it work for you? We're looking to see how happy you were with it. Please fill in our 3min travel insurance survey.

2,000 left. £5 off £15+ train ticket code. MSE Blagged. Excl season tickets & NI. £5 off trains

Cheap theatre ticket lotteries. £10-£25 for Hamilton, Aladdin, Matilda, Harry Potter & more. Big West End shows offer cheap tickets to the lucky. Can you win the theatre lottery?

£30 Ciaté nail polish Advent calendar code, worth £138 individually MSE Blagged. See Ciaté code.

Ends Thu. Vodafone Sims - 3GB, unltd mins & texts '£6.34/mth'. Go via this Vodafone link* for cheap UK Sims (ie, can't call or be used abroad), with unlimited mins, calls & texts, plus claim a £20 Amazon voucher. Get 3GB for £8/mth (factor the voucher in and it's £6.34), or 6GB for £10/mth (equiv £8.34/mth). Full help in Top Sims.

 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  1. MoneySupermarket.com*
  2. Confused.com*
  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line (incl £40 Amazon vch)
Aviva*

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: 
TalkTalk equiv £18.34/mth

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

 


Solar panels have been a great investment for some. While bill reductions from generating your own power are relatively small, the real whoop is the 'feed-in tariff' (FIT) payments you get for generating elec, whether you use it or not. A few years ago these were big, and many still get good sums as the rate is locked for 20-25 years. But the FIT has gradually shrunk for new adopters - and the Govt now proposes to end it for those who get panels installed and registered after March 2019. As fitting takes time, if they're right for you, hurry. Full info in our Solar Panels guide - here's a summary:

  • https://images6.moneysavingexpert.com/images/tip-energy-solar-v4.pngWho can get solar panels? Technically, everyone who owns their home can. Yet the more sun you get, the more you benefit - a south-facing roof in Cornwall is more effective than a north-facing roof in Aberdeen. See who solar's best for.

  • What do they cost and what's the payback? The average cost ranges from £5,000-£8,000 - see panel prices. Estimated bill savings range from £85/yr to £220/yr, but for most who are out during typical daytime working hours, savings are at the lower end. A typical home would also expect to earn up to £240/yr from the FIT - that figure is far more if you got solar panels many years ago. Whatever you earn, the rate is locked in for 20 years. See how the FIT works.

  • So are solar panels worth it - should I rush to beat the cut? You may get 'em for environmental reasons, but from a financial perspective this is about how long it takes to claw back installation costs.
     
    The FIT rates are set at sign-up and locked in at that level for 20 years. So on a £6,500 cost, it can take 14-25 years to make the cost back under the current system - from the FIT and bill savings. If you miss the deadline, it jumps to a massive 30-77 years - as you've only bill savings, many won't live to see it made back. There are many more things to consider, such as whether you'll stay in your home. For a full rundown, see our Is solar worth it? analysis, incl a tool to help work out YOUR timeline to earn costs back.

  • March is the 'on-paper' deadline - in reality it's much sooner. The proposal is that those who get panels certified after March 2019 get no FIT, as the Govt believes there's no further need to subsidise them. Don't think "March is ages away" - that's the deadline for certification after installation. You first need to make your decision and find a supplier, then it can take 3mths to get panels installed and certified. So if interested, start now - see how to get solar panels.

  • What if I already have solar panels? Nothing changes - you still get the payments you signed up for.
 

Karen Millen 20% off EVERYTHING code.  MSE Blagged. Valid online and in stores till Sun. Karen Millen

2 FOR 1 MOVIES FOR £1 - SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: 

"Managed to get 2for1 Meerkat Movies and Meals for a year for just £1.05 - thanks."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

£10 off £15 Buckley London jewellery via code. MSE Blagged. Incl sale & 3for2 bracelets. Bling it on

Flying Ryanair this week? How to avoid a £55 airport check-in fee while online check-in is down. See Ryanair warning.

 

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK

How well do you think parcel services are delivering? Citizens Advice wants to know about your experiences sending parcels, including online and mail order returns. What you share will inform its advice to industry and consumers on best practice. If you want to add your story, take this quick parcel survey.

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

How many car insurance comparison sites do you use? In the last week, the Competition and Markets Authority accused Compare The Market of breaking the law by stopping insurers advertising cheaper prices on rival sites. We've always suggested you combine comparison sites to get the cheapest quotes, but do you do it? How many car insurance comparison sites do you use?

The relationship between mental health and debts is undeniable. Last week, we asked if mental health affects your debts. Once again, the full results make for stark reading - with those who have (or have had) mental health problems far more likely to experience severe or crisis debts than those who have never suffered. If affected, see our Mental Health & Debt guide for help.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should my housemate pay me back for my veg he's eaten? He keeps taking vegetables I've bought that are about to go 'out of date', presumably as they'll be past their best before I get to them. Even if technically 'out of date', I often don't mind eating them, yet they're gone. Should I ask him to stop or ask for money to buy new stuff? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my housemate pay me back for my veg he's eaten? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: What small debt free wannabe thing will you do w/c 5/11?
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a Hamilton & Inches Eighty Seven dress watch
- Old-Style board thread of the week: What to do with green tomato glut?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Debt and a Baby (would you wait till you were debt free?)
- Discussion of the week: Pension values dropped?

 

Amazon - 'free' £6 credit
Halfords - free winter car check
Birthday Freebies - 50+ incl Krispy Kreme doughnuts
The Works - 10 picture books for £10
Free gym passes - incl DW Fitness First, Anytime Fitness

Meerkat Meals - spend £1ish to get 2for1 meals (Sun-Thu)
Burger King - meal deals, incl £2 burger and fries
Frankie & Benny's - 40% off mains
Prezzo - 30% off food (Sun-Fri)
Subway - 'Savers' menu, incl hash browns, pizza, nachos

Glasses Direct - two pairs of specs for £15
Heartier - £30 free-range roasting & steaks hamper
Ideal Home Show Christmas - two tickets for £10
Grüum - shave & body scrub set £15 delivered (norm £38)
PlayStation Plus - November's 'free' games

Quick Forum Tips

Half-price Advent calendars. Be Advent-urous
'Free' Waitrose mince pie.
 I mince-pie with my little eye
Don't overpay in the free-from aisle. Craving a saving

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 7 NOV ONWARDS)

Thu 8 Nov - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 9 Nov - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 12 Nov - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 12 Nov - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (MOST SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 7 Nov BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 9 Nov
BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 12 Nov
TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Mon 12 Nov
BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 13 Nov -
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: My friend told me I could save by switching broadband provider as I've been with my provider for years, but isn't it better to be loyal? Catherine, via email.

MSE Steve B's A: Sadly not, loyalty rarely pays. In fact, your price often increases the longer you're with it - and the best deals are usually reserved for new customers.

For example, looking at standard speed broadband and line rent, if you're out of contract you can pay up to (a whopping) £545/yr. Compare this to the cheapest deals for switchers, which are often under £200/yr - or even less if you claim the voucher or cashback that many of our best buys offer - and switching could easily save you £350/yr.

Pop your postcode into our Broadband Unbundled tool to see the best deals in your area, or if you'd still rather stay put, see our 15 top haggling tips for more information on negotiating a cheap price with your current provider.

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

 

MARTIN LEWIS ON THE NEW £50 NOTE?

That's all for this week, but before we go... with a new design for the £50 bank note on the way, it got us thinking about whose face should be on it. Rick on Twitter suggested our very own Martin Lewis - but as Martin pointed out, that could be an economic nightmare. People would get the note out, see his face and think "nah I probably shouldn't buy that" - the notes would never be spent, recession would follow... catastrophe. Let us know who you think should have the honour of having their face in your pocket in our £50 bank note forum thread.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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