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Weekly Email
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12th 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 This info may be out of date.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."

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

'Free' MOTs & 13 more motoring MoneySavers

How to drive down costs... incl cheap fuel, photo licence warning, beat unfair parking tix, pothole help & more

With petrol prices at a 4yr+ high, the cost of motoring is spinning out of control. So we thought it an apt time to help put the brakes on accelerating costs to avoid getting into a jam with your finances. Full help in 54 Motoring Tips, but here are 14 to start with. So buckle up, handbrake off, here we go...

  1. New. 'Free' MOT at Halfords when you buy a £1 air freshener - and you've 1yr+ to book it. It's a roaring deal as MOTs can cost £55, though it's best for motors less likely to fail. Get full 'free' MOT info, incl how to get a free MOT reminder.

  2. How to find the cheapest petrol or diesel near you in seconds. A nifty tool finds your cheapest local forecourt - and the difference between best and worst can be huge. Eg, in Manchester it's 121.9p/L to 135.9p/L. See petrol comparison.

  3. Whatever you pay for fuel, check out 7 ways to cut fuel use by 30%. Drive clever to drive cheap - see cheap driving tricks.

  4. NEVER auto-renew car insurance - and check for cover 3wks before renewal. Car insurance is like comedy - timing matters. We've found the best time to buy is three weeks ahead, and if you've less time, then hurry, as prices tend to rise the closer you get.

    Hayley says: "Renewed 3wks early after your tip - gone from a £108/mth renewal to £51/mth. Checked comparisons later and it would have risen to £100. Happy." When ready, follow these steps (for full info, see our Cheap Car Insurance guide):

    - Combine comparison sites to speedily find your cheapest cover. They don't cover the same insurers nor give the same price for the same insurer. Our current order's: 1) MoneySupermarket* 2)* 3) CTM* 4) Gocompare*. (Why? See comparison order.)

    - Check if hot deals & insurers that comparisons miss win, eg, £60 Amazon vch via Age UK. See deals comparisons miss.

    - Also check if counter-logical savings work. Eg, if comprehensive's cheaper than 3rd party, whether adding extra drivers slashes costs or if legitimately tweaking your job description cuts costs.

  5. Check your photo licence or risk a £1,000 fine. More than 2 million have expired - see how to check (and what to do if it's invalid).

  6. Get 5% cashback when you buy petrol or diesel. The Amex Platinum Everyday card gives a massive 5% introductory cashback for 3mths (max £100), then up to 1%.

  7. Driving in Europe? Check if you need an emissions sticker to avoid a fine. Plus more help incl equipment needed, insurance requirements and speed limits in our new Driving in Europe guide.

  8. Smoke with kids in the car & you can be fined £50. Since 2015, anyone in Eng & Wales (driver or passenger) who smokes in a private vehicle with someone aged 17 or under could face a fine.

  9. Full breakdown cover for £48 for 15mths, basic from £20. For full cover (incl home start and onward travel), AutoAid* charges £48.31 for 15mths. It covers any car you, your spouse or civil partner drive. For comparison, an equiv AA policy is £100+. If you don't need full cover, see how to get basic RAC/AA cover from £20. More help and tips in Cheap Breakdown Cover.

  10. Got an unfair parking ticket? The good news is 50%+ beat unfair council tickets even after rejection. Even if you lose an appeal, go all the way to the final tribunal and more than 50% win. See how to fight unfair COUNCIL parking tickets.

  11. Don't believe private parking firm 'fines' - they're just invoices. Many tickets from supermarkets, retail parks and private car park firms do better impressions than Alistair McGowan. Some even call them Parking Charge Notices to mimic official Penalty Charge Notices. If you get an unfair private ticket, you can fight it - see our Fight Unfair PRIVATE Parking Tickets guide.

  12. Car (or bike) damaged by a pothole? You could be due £100s. Use our Pothole Claims guide to see if you're due.

  13. Ride your way to motorbike insurance savings. It's not just car insurance - you can also slash bills if you're on a motorbike or scooter. See our motorbike insurance cost-cutting system.

  14. Smash parking costs by renting a driveway. See if you can rent a private space for less. We found £8/day in London compared with NCP's £19.

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.

New. Big FREE cash for switching bank is back - get £200

The heat returns to the bank bribe battle, and as switching's easy, it's high time to give dire banks the boot

It's been a quiet summer for new bank bribes but a biggie is back with a bang - paying up to £200 if you switch and stay. And that's not all, as the top service bank has boosted the freebies it gives switchers. This comes in the week of the 5yr anniversary of the official Current Account Switch Service - under which switching takes 7 working days and the new bank moves all direct debits etc. So here are the top bribes to take advantage of... (All require you to pass a not-too-harsh credit check.)

  • New. £200 to switch - £150 upfront, £50 if you stay for a year. HSBC has revived its mega-popular Advance Account* offer for switchers. As well as the £200, you can access its 5% regular saver.

    How do I get it all? For the £150, open the account and do a full switch (incl 2+ direct debits or standing orders) within 30 days. If you've got the account after 1yr and have registered for online or mobile banking, you get another £50. You need to pay in a min £1,750/mth (equiv £25,900/yr salary), and can't have had an HSBC account since Jan 2015.

  • New. Top service + freebie incl £199 Bose headphones or £150 Expedia vch. With First Direct* it's all about service - it's topped every bank customer service poll we've done, with 89% rating it 'great' in Aug. It already allowed new switchers to pick a freebie from a range of tech products, online courses (eg, yoga, cookery) and the Expedia vch. And this week via our link it's added higher-end tech products, incl the headphones above, £165 speakers and £159 headphones/charge case combo. You also can access a 5% regular saver and many get a £250 0% overdraft.

    How do I get it all? Pay in £1,000 within 3mths of account opening, then £1,000+/mth (a salary of £12,675+ does it), or there's a £10/mth fee. For the freebie, you're emailed a link within 2 weeks of switching and paying in, with instructions on how to claim.

  • Free £185 M&S vchs - £125 upfront and £5/mth for a year. New switchers to M&S Bank* get all that and access to its 5% regular saver, while many get a £100 0% overdraft.

    How do I get it? To get the £125 you must fully switch, incl 2+ active direct debits, within 3mths of opening. For the £5/mth, pay in £1,000+/mth (equiv £12,675/yr salary) and keep the direct debits active.

Full info and more options in Best Bank Accounts, incl lots more on how easy it is to switch.

Stop press. New uber-cheap Big 6 energy tariff - save £300/yr. An E.on 1yr fix that launched today is sub-£950/yr after MSE cashback on typical dual-fuel use in 10 of the 14 Eng, Wales & Scot energy regions, which incl many big cities (it's also for elec-only). With prices rising elsewhere, it's mega-cheap, and at its £920/yr lowest, is £300ish less than the avg Big 6 standard tariff on typical use. Check if it's your top biggie via our Cheap Energy Club big-name comparison. For overall cheapest, do a full market comparison. British Gas cust & won't switch? We've a no-brainer £200/yr saving below.

Ryanair U-turn as 2 million can now escape new baggage charge - but millions more will still be hit. See full help to check your Ryanair hand luggage allowance.

10 FREE postcard-size photo prints, incl free del. Good for holiday pics. Snap 'em up

New. NHS free prescription checker. Do you qualify for free meds? See free prescription checker.

Huge British Airways data breach - what you should do. Worryingly, 380k card details were stolen. BA help

Wetherspoon pubs - 7.5% off for one day. On everything in Eng, Wales and NI - but not alcohol in Scotland. See when you can get a rare Wetherspoon discount. Please be Drinkaware.

FREE gym passes, incl DW Fitness First, Anytime Fitness & Nuffield Health. Plus free boot-camps, outdoor classes and how to haggle with gyms. Let's get physical

New. British Gas customer? No-brainer £200/yr off

The energy giant's launched a new, far cheaper 'don't ask, don't get' deal that throws in boiler cover too

If you're one of 3.5m on British Gas's expensive standard tariff, be warned - your price will rise for the 2nd time this year on 1 Oct by an avg 3.8%. So someone on typical use will pay about £350/yr more than the market's cheapest deal (compare to find your cheapest). Yet for those who don't like to switch firm (far better if you do), the energy giant's just launched an easy way to slash costs without switching - it's also the cheapest big-name deal for many. But if you don't ask, you don't get...

  • How British Gas customers can save £200/yr. This is all about the new British Gas Energy plus boiler cover Oct 19 tariff. On typical usage it's roughly £200/yr cheaper than British Gas's standard deal. Plus the rate is fixed for a year, so you're protected from price hikes, though the amount you pay can change as that depends on usage. And most homeowners get £50ish boiler cover thrown in for 'free'.

    - Who can get it? It's open to new & existing dual-fuel (ie, gas & elec) customers paying by direct debit.

    - How to get it. The best way is via our Cheap Energy Club comparison to get the extra £25 cashback you don't get going direct. It only takes a few mins and you get to see exactly how much you save that way.

    - Owt else I need to know? If you don't already have a British Gas smart meter, you'll need to agree to get a free one as part of signing up. Do that and it means you won't need to give meter readings in future. If you have a smart meter already and you switch from elsewhere it may lose some of its 'smart' features, but you can still get the deal.

  • If I'm willing to move firm, how much more could I save? The market's cheapest deals are from smaller firms and can save you a further £150/yr (with typical use) - and many of them have good service feedback.

    Click the comparison link above and for ease we've defaulted it to 'big-name only' tariffs so you can see the British Gas deal, yet use the filters and you can see all the market's deals or just those with good service ratings.

Asda to scrap price match scheme... marking the end of 'wombling'. Full info incl how long you've left to earn & use vchs. Asda la vista

36 alpine tulip bulbs + four pots £15 all-in. MSE Blagged. Two varieties, 4,500 sets avail. Park Promotions

Ends Sat. No contract, 8GB, unltd mins & texts Sim: £15/mth + £20 Amazon vch. This pay-as-you-go deal from Smarty* (uses Three's network) is cheap and refunds £1.25/mth per unused 1GB, so use 2GB and you effectively pay £7.50/mth. You're also emailed a £20 Amzn vch within 3mths, provided you activate the Sim and make three monthly payments. Full help in PAYG Sims. While this Sim gives flexibility, standard contract Sims can be cheaper.

Mr Men: The Complete Collection - code gets 50 books for £23 delivered (norm £30). MSE Blagged. Also Little Miss 37-book collection for £16 delivered (norm £28). Ends Mon. The Book People

'Free' pizza or carvery at 90+ Stonehouse restaurants (norm up to £10ish). When you buy a drink. 'Free' Stonehouse

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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:

  3. Compare The Market*
  4. Gocompare*

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

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

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

This is a bit of a hybrid credit card: good if you're a Sainsbury's shopper keen for extra points, or if you're looking to borrow the cheapest way... or both. But as we always say, NEVER use such cards as an excuse to overspend or fill income gaps.

  • Sainsbury'sHow do I get the free £37.50 to spend at Sainsbury's? Accepted new Sainsbury's Bank (eligibility calc / apply*) cardholders get 750 bonus Nectar pts (worth £3.75 to spend at Sainsbury's, as each point is worth 0.5p there) for every £35+ spent at the supermarket in the first 2mths, up to 7,500 pts, which is worth £37.50. That's on top of the normal 2 pts per £1 spent at Sainsbury's.

    To max it, just do your normal shopping there (it's not an excuse to overspend). You can even split your shop to hit the trigger quicker. On, say, £120, put it through as £35, £35 and £50 - each gets 750 bonus pts. But you may get a few looks if there's a queue. For full info and more deals, see Credit Card Rewards.

  • I need a 0% card - is this any good? Yes. Its 0% period has just risen from 28 to 29mths, making it the longest 0% spending card. And if accepted you get the full 29mths at 0% and of course you get the points if spending in Sainsbury's. Though only borrow if you NEED to, for a planned, affordable purchase (eg, replacing a faulty fridge). Get it wrong and you'll get burnt. Full info and more options in 0% Spending.

  • Will applying hit my credit score? A full application leaves a mark on your credit file which is 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 this and other top cards, without affecting your score.

  • Always follow the 0% Spending Golden Rules (see APR Examples).
    a) Always pay at least the monthly min and stick within your credit limit or you can lose the 0% and get hit with fees.
    b) Plan to clear the card (or balance-transfer) before the 0% ends or the interest rate will jump - on the card above, it'll go to 19.9% rep APR.
    c) Don't withdraw cash - it's rarely at the cheap rate.

10,000 FREE Grand Designs Live Birmingham tickets. For 10-14 Oct, norm up to £20. Grand Designs

"Just wanted to thank you for the guidance I found on your site regarding broadband haggles. I made a £198 saving over 18mths for a 22-minute call."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Five Plain Lazy T-shirts £35 via code (norm £110). MSE Blagged. Lucky dip design, men's or women's. Plain Lazy


Got a question about your pension, or just want to know how to start saving? If you can get to Leicester, Cardiff, Reading or London this week, you can jump aboard a double-decker bus packed with pension experts for free guidance and info. Check out the Pension Awareness Day website for its timetable - if you can't catch it, our Personal pension need-to-knows guide has plenty of info too.


Have you haggled with Sky, BT, the AA and more this year? Did you succeed? Haggling with service providers can net big savings - on anything from digital TV to insurance. So please let us know if you've gained cheaper prices, extra goods or better deals. Have you successfully haggled this year?

Many parents aren't allowed to buy cheap school uniforms. State primary schools have the most relaxed requirements, with a third allowing parents to buy uniform from supermarkets - compared with just 6% of private primary schools. In contrast, seven in 10 secondary schools (state or private) insist parents have to buy everything from a specific supplier. See full school uniform poll results.


Would it be OK to pay off our mortgage with our son's money if his Premium Bond won? We've just had our first child and his grandparent has given him £1,000 in Premium Bonds. It's unlikely, but if he actually won big, would it be wrong if we paid off our mortgage with the money? He'll inherit our house one day after all. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Is it OK to pay off our mortgage with our son's winnings? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Using LISA to pay off debt
- Competitions thread of the week: £1,000 worth of toys from Very
- Old-Style board thread of the week: How do I make my own spray oil for cooking?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Where is the weirdest place you've been asked out?
- Discussion of the week: What is your attitude to discussing your finances generally?

Odeon - five cinema tickets for £25
Debenhams - £25 off £100 spend
Co-op - £5 frozen meal deal incl Young's fish fillets
John West - 50p off lunch on the go
Deezer - 3mths' free streaming via £2 earphones

Domino's - 30% off £20 spend
Frankie & Benny's - 40% off mains
Burger King - 'King of the Day' £1.99
Toby Carvery - two meals and two drinks for £15
Pizza Express - 2for1 on mains

Apple - up to 10% off Mac/iPad + 'free' Beats
Amazon - free 6 months of Prime for students
Microsoft - free Office software suite incl Word, Excel
Spotify - 50% off Premium for students
Iceland - 10% off for students

Quick Forum Tips

Blue Light Card NHS discounts. Put on the blue light
Morrisons up to 90% off toy sale. Toys are back in town
Free Princes tuna fillers. Nothing compares 2-una


Thu 13 Sep - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 14 Sep - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am


Wed 12 Sep - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 14 Sep - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 17 Sep - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 18 Sep - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm


Q: I'm moving home in a few weeks - how do I make sure I'm not charged for energy used after I move out? Peter, via email.

MSE Andrew's A: Make sure you contact your energy firm and let it know you're moving - and give it at least 48 hours' notice. On the day you move out, check your meter and inform your existing supplier of the readings so it's aware of what you've used at that point. Also give it your new address so it can send you a final bill.

Then take opening meter readings for your new home so you're only charged for what you use there. Plus, do a comparison via our Cheap Energy Club to get on the best deal in your new place - you'll usually be put on a 'deemed contract' with the existing supplier to the property, often an expensive standard tariff.

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 many landlords does it take to change a lightbulb? Serious question. Our very own MSE Callum was quoted the ridiculous prices above but being a savvy MoneySaver, he at least got them down to £35, and saved on other hefty charges. Do you have stories of similar rip-offs and did you successfully challenge them? Read Callum's lightbulb rip-off story and share your tales in the comments section of his blog.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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