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Weekly Email
This email was sent
10th Jan 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 This info may be out of date.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."

10 January 2018


Spend just ONE hour to save £1,000s with our crash course in pain-free savings

If you're preparing to cut your costs and bust your bills, you've got to take some time. Yet in just an hour you can make huge cuts in your annual costs if you go back to basics and tackle the core household spends - though admittedly some of our tips are 'checks' to see if you need to do something that'll take longer.

We're not saying this is all ha-ha, hee-hee. Saving money should be seen as a job, but as families who've never tried before can save £1,000+ over the year, it's likely to be many people's best paid hour.

  1. Married or in a civil partnership? You could claim up to £662 in just 5 mins. Here's a quick win to get you started. If you're married or in a civil partnership and one of you is a non-taxpayer, you could claim up to £662 via marriage tax allowance. John emailed us: "Thanks, I got £470 back for a 5-min phone call." 

  2. Unhappy with your current bank, or just fancy some free cash? Take 10 mins to switch bank and earn up to £200. Banks have rekindled the switching price war. If you're unhappy with your current service, First Direct gives £125 free cash and has come top in every customer service poll we've ever done. Or if you just want to max the free cash, HSBC gives £150 to switch + £50 if you stay a year.

    It takes just 7 working days to switch, and all payments are automatically moved to your new account. Full info & options in Top Bank Accounts.

  3. Check if you're paying interest on credit card debts - and if so, use our 2-minute tool to find YOUR best new 0% deal. You can save £100s with a balance transfer card. It repays debts on old cards for you, so you owe it instead, but at 0%.

    Yet don't apply over and over again. That adds a mark to your credit file, and if you get rejected and need to apply again, it makes it harder. Our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calculator shows which of the top cards you're most likely to get, without hitting your file.

  4. Grab your energy bills and give them a 4m 30s check-up - most people can typically save £325/yr. If like 60% of people you're languishing on a Big 6 standard tariff, you're likely massively overpaying. Switching to the cheapest deal can net a typical £325/yr in savings.

    And switching's easy. It's the same gas, same electricity - only price and service change, and no one comes to your door. So do a comparison using our Cheap Energy Club  - savings can be huge, as @RockyKL tweeted: "Just used MSE Cheap Energy Club and saved £475/yr by switching. Should have done this ages ago. Brilliant intuitive system, thanks."

  5. Wear a uniform? Be smart with your time and in 5 mins see if you're due £100s in a tax rebate. If you or anyone in your family normally puts on a work uniform (or used to) - from branded T-shirts to nurses' kits - and you wash it yourself, you may be due up to 4 years' tax back. For full info and templates to reclaim FOR FREE, see Uniform Tax Back.

  6. Fight car insurance rip-off renewals by taking 10 mins to see if you can get a better deal. Insurers rely on people's laziness to jack up prices, so always check other deals before you renew. Even if you're midway through your contract, provided you've not claimed it can still pay to switch once you factor in a c. £50 admin fee.

    Our Cheap Car Insurance guide has full help. Yet at speed... Combine comparison sites to get a wide spread of quotes - our current order's: 1)* 2) MoneySupermarket* 3) Gocompare* 4) Compare The Market* - then check Direct Line* and Aviva*, which they miss. As @SarahKenny77 tweeted: "@MartinSLewis, just saved £600 on my car insurance using your MSE tips. Amazing. Thank you."

  7. Then spend 10 mins checking if you can slash your home insurance costs too. The same rule applies - NEVER simply auto-renew. Use our Cheap Home Insurance system to fight back. Combine comparison sites to get 100s of quotes in mins. Our current search order's MoneySupermaket*, Compare The Market*, Gocompare*,*, and compare against the two biggies - Direct Line* and Aviva* - which won't appear on them.

  8. Find out when your broadband contract ends - if you're out of contract, 5 mins could save you £300+/yr with a hot deal. If you haven't switched in the last 12 months, you're likely paying up to £300/yr too much. Taking advantage of hot short-lived promos such as Vodafone's straight £20/mth fast fibre deal is the key to big savings.

    The best deals for you depend on where you live so use our Broadband Unbundled tool to compare broadband, phone and TV deals in your area from 13 top providers incl BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin.

  9. Spend what could be the 10 most profitable mins of your life seeing if you were mis-sold PPI. With many getting £10,000+, don't assume "this doesn't apply to me". Even people who rejected insurance had it wrongly added to loans, credit cards, overdrafts, catalogue accounts and store cards without knowing. Plus new rules mean even those who knew they had it were still likely mis-sold.

    Yet time's running out, and while the 29 Aug 2019 PPI reclaim deadline may seem ages away, there's likely to be a huge rush, so check now. Full help, FAQs and free reclaim tools and templates in Reclaim PPI for FREE.

  10. Give your wallet a 2-minute 'workout'. Knowing which card can be right for you is a minefield. But as with balance transfers above, having the right card can save £100s. Our Credit Club's Wallet Workout is a simple chatbot that analyses your spending habits and helps find out which are the best cards for you.
  11. Ask yourself the 'water bills question'. It takes just 5 mins and could save you £100s. Live in England or Wales? Does your home have more bedrooms than people, or the same number? If so, getting a water meter could save you £100s - so check using a water meter calc. Rita emailed: "Thanks to Martin I saved £17/mth [£204/yr] by installing a water meter."

  12. In just 5 mins see if you can slash your mortgage by £1,000s. Despite the recent base rate increase, rates for fixed mortgages in particular are still low, yet millions are overpaying on standard rates. For instance someone on the average 4.75% standard variable rate borrowing £150,000 over 25yrs would save over £6,000 over two years (before fees) by switching to the best 2yr fix. Read the MSE Remortgage Guide and use our Mortgage Best Buys tool to see if you can save.

  13. Make a 5-minute phone call to see if you're owed £3,600 back on your student loan. 100,000s have overpaid on their student loan without realising, by paying too early, still paying once it was paid off, or paying when they weren't earning enough. Yet you can claim it back, as Pete discovered: "I just read your student loan tip in the weekly email. I phoned the Student Loans Company and it said I was owed £3,660 that I'd overpaid in 2010." See Student Loans Overpayments to save.

  14. Got more time? Give your finances a thorough check-up with our budgeting tips.

    PS: If you add it all up it's about 80 mins, but because not everything applies to everyone we reckon an hour's fine for most.

    The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV at 8pm, Mon 15 Jan
    Savers' special: How to boost your savings interest to the max

    Over to Martin... "After last night's terrifying live show (watch it back), next week it's savings - Premium Bonds, paying off your mortgage, fixed accounts, best ISAs and more. If you've got any money squirrelled away I'll be showing you how to boost it. Do watch, or set the Betamax."


Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

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New. FREE £50+ in M&S vchs (use on food, clothes, almost anything) 

Just grab its credit card, do £100 of normal spending anywhere, pay off in full so there's no interest & hey presto

If you're debt-free, have a good credit history and are a disciplined spender, this M&S card is a good way to bag free 'cash'. Though only do it with normal spending - it's NOT an excuse to borrow willy-nilly. Here's how it works:

  • New. Get £50+ in M&S vouchers when you spend £100. Accepted new M&S Bank* cardholders who apply via our link by 31 Jan can get a free £50-£55 to spend in its stores on almost anything (incl clothes and food). It's split into three parts...

    (i) £20 in M&S pts. Awarded the first time you use the card anywhere for any amount within 90 days.
    (ii) £30 M&S vch. Spend £100 anywhere by 31 Mar and you're emailed it by 30 Apr.  
    (iii) Plus extra £5 M&S vch. You're sent a coupon with the card. Just swipe it or use online with your card to buy most things at M&S for any amount and you get another £5 of points. Points-related vchs usually arrive within 3mths.

    In other words, spend £100 anywhere and you get £50, spend any of that at M&S and you can get £55. Just ensure you never withdraw cash (it's expensive) and repay the card IN FULL each month to avoid the 18.9% rep APR interest, and as long as you'd do the spending anyway it won't cost a penny.  

  • Other than the freebie, is this a good card to have? It's not great, so you could just cancel it after the vchs arrive. But if you're a regular M&S shopper, and clear your card in full each month, the spending rewards are decent. It's 2pts (worth 2p) for each £1 spent at M&S in year 1 (1pt/£1 after) and 1pt for every £5 elsewhere. It also offers newbies 6mths' 0% interest on spending, but there are far longer 0% spending credit cards.

  • Will applying hit my credit score? A full application leaves a mark on your credit file - trivial unless you do lots in a short time or are about to make an important credit application, eg, a mortgage. Use our free eligibility calc to see your chances of getting it and other top cards without affecting your score.

    For full info and more options, incl £100 in bonus Nectar pts, see Credit Card Rewards. Also see APR Examples.

Free 1yr Tastecard, 2,018 available (norm £80). Gets 2for1 or 50% off your food bill at 6,000+ eateries (eg, Pizza Express, Prezzo and independents). Via ballot which closes Mon. If unsuccessful you get one free month. Free Tastecard 

5 top package-holiday booking codes, eg, Tui £150 off £1,000. Jan's the busiest booking month but don't pay till you've checked our list. Holiday codes

New. Cheapest loan if borrowing £7.5k-£15k. Rates have dipped this year, the stand-out being M&S Bank* going from 3% to 2.8% rep APR if borrowing £7.5k-£15k. Next lowest if borrowing that much is TSB* and Zopa* at 2.9% rep APR. You're credit-checked when you apply so use our free Loans Eligibility Calc to find which you've the best chance of getting, without hitting your score. Only borrow if it's planned and affordable. Full help & more best buys in Cheap Loans.

Does your Pensioner Bond mature this Sun? What to do. See 900,000 Pensioner Bonds maturing help.

Unwanted gift card? How to sell it or get paid £3 to 'swap' it for another store's. MSE Blagged. There's a marketplace that lets you sell unwanted gift cards (you get slightly less than face value), or we've blagged a £3 bonus if you 'swap' them. See Sell or swap gift cards.

Ryanair hand luggage rules changing from Mon. See what you can still take on Ryanair for free. 

Know a friend trying to save money? Why not suggest they get this email too?


Alert. Everyone get travel insurance ASAB (As Soon As you've Booked)

Millions are booking trips this month, but many then leave travel insurance till later - a HUGE risky mistake

Sadly, every year we hear stories such as this @hayles_tawny tweet: "Fractured ankle in Sep but didn't have cover for Oct trip to Oz, and I can't go... anything I can do?" The unfortunate answer is you're only covered for cancellation if you have insurance BEFORE an illness/injury, job loss, jury service call-up etc. So whether going away soon or later this year, buy ASAB. Full help in our Cheap Travel Insurance guide, here are the headlines...

  • Holidaying more than once a year? Get cheapest annual travel insurance from £9. If you go away 2+ times a year, annual policies usually win. If you just want a bog-standard no-frills policy, which meets our minimum cover levels that protects you from cancellation if ill or for lost baggage, and gives medical cover if you have issues away, try these...

    A year in Europe for a 35-yr-old is from £9 (£17 for a family) or from £19/yr worldwide (£37 for a family). For under-65s, exact prices depend on age, though Holidaysafe Lite*, Coverwise Bronze* and Leisure Guard Lite* are usually cheapest. Full best buys in Annual policies.

  • Cheapest single trip from £5/wk Europe, £16/wk worldwide. Leisure Guard Lite* tends to win but also compare against Holidaysafe Lite*, as quotes vary depending on age, location and number of travellers. See Single-trip cover for more.

  • Want stronger cover for airline failure, missed departures or gadgets? The more protection you get, the more it costs. As there are lots of choices, check the cost to upgrade the policies above with your add-ons, then benchmark against comparison site MoneySupermarket*, which has the biggest selection of extra cover, ensuring you compare like-for-like on excess and cover. Plus before paying extra, check if you're covered elsewhere, eg, some home insurance policies cover gadgets worldwide.

    Many won't pay out for unpredictable events such as the Icelandic volcano eruption in 2010. So we've had LV* as our top-pick higher-end policy for many years due to its strong cover and good payout feedback for unusual events. It's from £70 in Europe or £115 w/wide for an individual (for families, £106 in Europe and £175 w/wide).  

  • Skiing or snowboarding? You NEED winter sports add-on for full cover. This pays out for medical costs from ski accidents, damaged gear and cancellations due to piste closure. Check if your current policy includes this - if not, get a quote to extend it, then see if you can beat it buying new cover that includes winter sports. See Winter sports cover.

  • Over 65 or have a pre-existing condition? You often need to look beyond standard policies.
    - Over 65? Prices can rocket, yet there are competitive options from £17/yr. See Over-65s' Travel Insurance.
    - Have medical issues? Always declare them. If getting cover's tough, see Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Help.

Credit & debit card payment fees banned from Sat. For info on who's adding replacement charges and how to report the rule-breakers, see Card fee ban.

Rare Carluccio's 2for1 for £1, Bella Italia 50% off mains, Toby Carvery 33% off mains - and more. Restaurants get less business in Jan so are offering big discounts. See 45+ restaurant deals.

MSE probe finds 800,000 are missing out on cheaper prescriptions. Getting a prescription 'season ticket' could have saved each an avg £50/yr. How to check if a season ticket wins

Great Western Railway sale, eg, London-Bath £16 return. 200,000 discounted standard and first-class tix. Book by 19 Jan, for 27 Jan-28 Mar travel. GWR sale

Mothercare up to 75% off sale, eg, £3 babies' all-in-one outfit (norm £12). Incl clothing, toys, furniture, pushchairs etc. Mothercare sale

Martin: 'I averaged 25,420 steps per day (burning 3,880 calories) in 2017.' How he managed it and why his New Year's resolution is to do FEWER. 25,420-steps-a-day year. Related: Fitness Tracker Deals, incl Fitbit & Garmin.


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Longest 0%: Barclaycard* up to 38mths 0%, 1.4% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Halifax* up to 29mths 0%, no fee (19.9% rep APR)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. CompareTheMarket*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: 
M&S Bank* 2.8% rep APR

Standard b'band & line rent: Sky equiv £16.49/mth 
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone £20/mth

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


5 tips to help you STOP wasting money in 2018

The New Year's the perfect time to grab your finances by the nipples & tweak 'em hard - here's how to get started

It's easy to make January resolutions, but when it comes to throwing away cash, for many of you, your worst enemy's often yourself. The first solution is to do a full Money Makeover to ensure you're not overpaying your bills (see 'Save £1,000s in an hour' at the top of this email). Then we've loads of tips and tools to help you toughen up and fight your impulses in our Stop Spending guide - here's a quick warm-up.

  1. Do a budget to work out where you're WASTING cash. Our free Budget Planner spreadsheet helps analyse your finances and calculates your genuine income/outgoings. Plus the Demotivator tool will tell you how much small daily spends such as cappuccinos or cigarettes cost in a year. Lisa tweeted: "Just realised I spend 15% of my salary on wine, sunbeds and my hair."

  2. Take 2 mins to check if you're leaking money via unused subs & payments, eg, 'I got £600 back for useless insurance'. Many have costly subscriptions for gyms, mags, packaged bank accounts and more, yet rarely or never use them - or with time and home moves, forget about 'em altogether.

     - Check for regular payments going out of your bank account for services you no longer use. Then CANCEL them. You may even be able to get a refund, like forumite lego4gary: "Was paying home insurance on a house I didn't live in. Cancelled and got £600+ back." See how to do it in Cancel Direct Debits.

    - Then take it up a notch and ask yourself if you REALLY need it. Even if you DO occasionally use that pricey gym/Spotify/Netflix subscription, if you're overspending right now it may be a luxury you can't afford. Look for cheap alternatives - see Free Gym Passes, Free Music Streaming and Free Online Movies & Box Sets.

  3. Take the 'No-Spend Day' challenge. Once or twice a week, have a day where you spend NOTHING other than on budgeted-for things. For inspiration and tips from forumites, see the January NSD Challenge 2018 thread.

  4. FREE sofas, coffee machines, baby clothes & more on Freecycle. If you really need something, check if you can get it for free first. Forumite pippilongstocking told us "We've had lots of goodies from Freecycle, including a chest freezer, a sofa bed and various plants." See Freecycle & Freegle tips.

  5. Stash your shrapnel to save. Another cracking tip from our forumites - stick your coins in a savings jar whenever you're given change. You'll be less likely to break a note to spend, and once the jar's full, pay it into your account. Also see the forum's £2 Savers' Club - a similar challenge where you save every £2 coin you find.

New 'Open Banking' era starts on Sat - what it means for you. You'll have more protection when sharing your banking details with authorised budgeting and switching apps. See our new Open Banking guide for full help. 

"Saved £360 on gas and electricity and £700 on our mortgage by switching. I listen to MSE first."
We asked what you saved last year - read more successes in our 2017 savings round-up. Send us your successes.

National Express £5 or less coach fares, eg, B'ham-London £3 return + £1 booking fee. 1m cheap fares for travel up to 20 Apr. £5 or less coach tix 



Do you pay cash in hand for any of these services? With an increased focus on tax collection, investigations have shown billions of extra revenue could be collected if there were more formal payments for casual work. Yet in many industries cash in hand is still commonplace. Do you pay cash in hand for any of these services?

Yodel tops list of WORST parcel delivery firms (again). In last week's poll, we asked you to rate parcel delivery services, and received over 9,300 votes. For the second year running, Yodel came bottom of the pile, with 50% of its customers voting its service 'poor' and only 23% 'great'. There was better news for DPD, rated best for the fourth consecutive time - with 67% saying it's 'great' and just 12% 'poor'. See full parcel delivery firm results.



Should I return a lost £65 jumper and keep the cash? Just before Christmas, I found a John Lewis bag in the pub where I work, with a £65 jumper and a cash receipt inside. It's been three weeks now, and no one has made any enquiries. Would it be wrong to return it to John Lewis and keep the money? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I return a lost £65 jumper and keep the cash? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: January Penny Pincher Challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: Sony 49" 4K Ultra HD TV
- Old-Style board thread of the week: A simpler life 2018
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Can working together and a relationship really work?
- Discussion of the week: What would you do with £10k, £20k, £50k...?


Free pint of beer, ale or cider - at 1,500 pubs
Virgin Wines - 12 bottles of wine for £56
Cheap veg - from 35p for 1kg carrots, 49p avocado
Cornerstone - personalised £14 shaving set
Feel Unique - 5 'free' beauty samples when you pay £4 del

J D Wetherspoon - 'January' sale
Pizza Hut - 41% off food at dine-in restaurants
Prezzo - 2for1 on main courses
Harvester - 40% off mains
Pizza Express - two mains for £10

MoveGB - 5 free passes, 5,500+ venues
PureGym - free 3-day pass, 200+ branches
Anytime Fitness - free 3-day pass, 130+ branches
British Military Fitness - free 14-day pass, 140 outdoor locations
PayAsUGym - free 1-day pass, 3,000+ venues

Quick Forum Tips

Zoella sets incl perfume from £2 - Common scents
£10 off meal box, incl vegan, gluten-free - Good dill
Up to 75% off Wilko Xmas goods - That's a wrap



Thu 11 Jan - Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.40am
Fri 12 Jan - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. See previous
Mon 15 Jan - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 15 Jan - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, 12.30pm. Listen again
Mon 15 Jan - The Martin Lewis Money Show Live, ITV, 8pm. See previous


Wed 10 Jan - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Thu 11 Jan - TalkRadio, Full Set Breakfast with Paul Ross, 6.45am
Fri 12 Jan - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Tue 15 Jan - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: I recently paid for and downloaded a game which can be played online. Technical issues mean the servers are crashing, making it unplayable. I'm going to try to get my money back - what are my rights? James, by email.

MSE Sarah M's A: When it comes to faulty digital content, you have a right to a repair or replacement within a reasonable time - which, in this case, would likely mean the games company would need to make a patch (ie, a fix) available so the game can be played online. If the repair doesn't work, you're then entitled to ask for a reduction in price, or a full refund "where appropriate" - you may need to negotiate which is appropriate with the site you bought the game from.

It's worth noting these rules differ slightly from your rights when buying goods. The 'SAD FART' rules still apply - digital content needs to be of Satisfactory quality, As Described, Fit for purpose And last a Reasonable length of Time. But notably you don't have an automatic right to a full refund within 30 days, as you do with faulty goods. See our Consumer Rights guide for more help and info. 

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... are you a punctuation pedant when it comes to texting? We found this week that thanks to a bug in Apple's iOS 11 operating system, iPhone users who put an apostrophe in an SMS message will see their character count slashed - and so could end up paying more for multiple messages as a result. See how texting with impeccable grammar could cost you

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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