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Weekly Email
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14th 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 This info may be out of date.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."

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


New. Big Energy Switch Event 12
We've negotiated cheaper than the cheapest 1yr (10,000 avail) and 2yr fixed deals

Many can save over £200/yr on gas & elec

The energy market has been hellish for months, and in the last 3 months EVERY cheap deal has been pulled and has been replaced by something more costly. So switching and making big savings now is far harder.

To help, we've negotiated two special, cheap direct debit tariffs (not avail in N Ireland) with our customer service stamp - ie, if you've problems, we'll try to intervene. Here are the key need-to-knows:

1) Both MSE Big Switch 12 fixes undercut the market's cheapest and are 100% renewable electricity. There is regional variance, but on average they're both the cheapest fixes. To show the size of the saving, while someone on a big 6 standard tariff with typical usage will pay an average £1,220/yr, on the same usage...

  • The Green Network Energy MSE 1yr fix is £979/yr incl MSE cashback, so £240/yr less. Yet there are ONLY 10,000 switches available, so it could go quickly. The next cheapest 1yr fix is only £1 more, but it's from a firm where we've had a long-standing customer service warning.

  • The Green Network Energy MSE 2yr fix locks in your rates over two winters at £1,010/yr incl MSE cashback, but as it locks you in longer you could save more than £400 over the period. It's substantially cheaper than the market's next cheapest 2yr fix at £1,061/yr.  

    If you don't want to switch often or want price surety, locking in longer works. There's no cap on switch numbers, but it ends on 30 Nov.

The links above take you via our Cheap Energy Club to compare against the rest of the market, as new tariffs launch all the time.

If you're wondering who Green Network Energy is, it's been in the UK since Oct 2016 and is backed by a large Italian firm (don't confuse it with our past collective winner Green Star). It's been a big switch winner before.

Its service rating is a strong 61% 'great' in our latest poll (but only got 36 votes), and it scores 7.6/10 of 1,109 reviews on Trustpilot. We've arranged enhanced customer service, so basically if it doesn't sort the problem we can get involved. Both deals...

- Are for dual fuel (ie, gas & elec), elec-only but NOT gas-only.
- Are for new custs on monthly direct debit & paperless bills.
- Have early exit fees of £25/fuel (£50 dual fuel).
- Are not portable, so you can't take them with you if you move.
- Are 100% renewable for electricity (not gas).

2) If you're coming off a cheap deal, don't expect lower bills. Energy prices have exploded over the last year. The cheapest fixed deal today is 18% more than a year ago (it's up 13% in three months alone).

So if your old fix is ending, while the savings shown will likely be £100s, that's compared to what you'll pay if you don't switch, not to what you have been paying - which is likely less.

3) A couple of small suppliers have cheaper variable deals. Fixes give peace of mind so you know the rate you'll pay (not price, that depends on use) for a set time. A couple of small, newish providers, that we've very little feedback on, have cheaper variable deals. These will appear in your comparison results. Yet of course, their prices can move anytime. To see your cheapest, do a Cheap Energy Club full market comparison.

4) Two big names have competitive deals depending on where you live. 
Both EDF and Scottish Power have cheapish 1yr fixes. Yet there's huge regional variance. In one region, they actually just undercut our Big Switch tariff, elsewhere they can be £200/yr more.

As a guide, both are good in Southern and Eastern English regions, EDF is good in the East Midlands, North West, Scotland and South Wales, while Scottish Power's cheap in the Midlands. If cheap, you'll see them in your comparison results. You can also do a cheapest big name ONLY comparison.

How will the price cap impact all this? 

While it won't impact the price you pay if you switch to a fix, it WILL impact the amount you save, if like over 50% of homes you are on a standard tariff now, or you are on a fix that will soon revert to a standard tariff.

  1. From 1 Jan, the cap is set at £1,137/yr for someone with typical use. Yet that's not what you pay - just the cap based on typical use.

    The cap is based on rates, not price. So if you use more, your cap will be higher or if you use less, it will be lower. There's also regional variation. In general for most big 6 standard tariff customers, bills will be £80/yr less than now, pro-rata, but...
  2. On 1 Apr, the cap is likely to be set at a higher £1,250/yr. The initial £1,137/yr cap only lasts for three months, with a new cap coming in on 1 Apr. The cap is reviewed every six months, so the next one will start on 1 Oct.

    Ofgem has published the methodology that dictates the cap's rate. It is based on the average wholesale price (the price energy firms pay) over 6mths - for the April cap, that's 1 Aug 2018 to 31 Jan 2019.

    As we're already halfway through that period, and wholesale prices have risen hugely, it's been calculated that at the current run rate the new cap will rise to £1,250.

So the big question for comparison sites (incl our Cheap Energy Club) is what do you use as the base price someone pays?

In the above write up, we've done it based on both the two prices above, which over the next year average £1,219 on typical usage. Yet in an actual comparison, your cap depends on your region and use.  

So far, only E.on and Npower have published their post-cap prices. If you're with them, our comparison bases your savings as if the price stays at the rate of the first cap for the next year (so we're likely substantially underestimating the saving).

With others, we assume their current standard price remains, so we're probably slightly overestimating (but not by much). It's a difficult call, so on Friday I wrote a letter to Ofgem asking for it to create consistent rules all sites can use.

On prepay or live in Northern Ireland? 

You can still switch and save...

- Prepay customers: Try our prepay comparison - savings are smaller, typically £110/yr, but it could still be worth doing. For bigger savings, see if you can switch to a credit meter. See cut prepay energy costs.

- Northern Ireland: Our Cheap Energy Club, like all UK comparison sites, does not currently include NI, but you can do a comparison via Cheap NI Electricity or the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland's tool.

Your common energy questions answered

For more, see the full Cheap Energy Club FAQs.

Q. What info do I need to switch? It's best if you have a bill, and input kilowatt hours (kWh) into the Cheap Energy Club, rather than cost. But don't worry if you don't know your usage, the tool can guesstimate for you. While the answer won't be perfect, the sin of inaction is bigger than the sin of inaccuracy.

Q. Does MSE make money from this? Yes. Like all energy comparison sites, we're paid each time you switch through us, yet we give you about half (that's what the cashback is).

This is money you wouldn't get if you went direct (not that the fixes above can be got directly anyway). Thus it's a win-win. The rest helps cover our costs and hopefully makes us some profit.

Q. Will prices of cheap deals keep rising? It's tough to say as the rise in wholesale prices seems to have tailed off for the moment. So we think we'll probably see the cheapest deals at or around these prices for the imminent future. After that - especially with Brexit coming - who knows?

And lots more help, incl...

Switching with smart meters | Why's price risen when I'm fixed? | Reclaim credit | Switching in debt help | Switching if I've solar panels | How direct debits are set | I've an independent gas transporter - can I switch? | Can I pick a switch date? | How do you compare my rates?

Martin Lewis Money Show LIVE, ITV, 8pm Tue

It's an hour long 'ask me anything' so I'm wearing brown trousers

Next Tue 20th, to kickstart the new series (which after that confusingly moves to Mondays) we're doing an 'ask me anything' - not scary on live prime time telly just before I'm a Celeb. Plus of course, as every year at this time, I'll be knackering myself doing my FESTIVE FORECASTER predictions. So do watch, or set the Betamax.


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.



The once-in-a-generation event that is Brexit is (likely) coming and it's been (another) crunch week in the negotiations. Sadly, right now the only thing that's really certain about it is the uncertainty. We've been swamped with questions about the impact on your finances and future. So today, with 135 days to go until B-Day (29 March) we launch our major new 25 Brexit need-to-knows, where we explain what we know and Martin analyses what it means for you. We'll regularly update this guide as things change - here are its key sections:

  • The economy - house prices, mortgages, savings etc. This is a complex web of interest rates, exchange rates & public policy. Find out how Brexit's likely to change house prices, savings & more

  • Flights, and the impact on Easter hols. If there's no deal, some worry planes will be grounded on B-Day itself. See full info, plus what's happening to flight delay compensation, in Brexit flight need-to-knows.

  • Other travel - insurance, EHICs, mobile roaming, visas & more. Brexit could have a major impact on travel to Europe in the long term too, with lots set to change. See Brexit travel help.

  • Consumer rights and financial security. See what's happening to £85,000 per person savings protection, European banks, mortgage prisoners & more in Brexit consumer rights.


It's back. The Christmas Deals Predictor, incl Asos, Boots, Disney, M&S etc. Put your crystal ball away as our festive forecaster returns. It estimates the week and saving on 60+ deals we think are coming from many biggies. Last year, we got it 93% right. See our Christmas Deals Predictor.

Martin's new FREE financial education textbook for teens (or grown-ups). 340,000 copies of the first-ever curriculum-mapped textbook arrived in schools last week - funded by our Martin. And it's available as a free 150 page PDF download for anyone who wants it, click the link for full info. Many grown-ups are learning from it too. 

New. Easy-access savings battle, as the Post Office wades in at 1.45%. Finally a big name has responded to Marcus Bank*, which is the top payer at 1.5% AER variable (incl a fixed 0.15% bonus for 1yr). The Post Office* now pays only a slightly lower 1.45% AER variable (incl a fixed 1.2% bonus for 1yr) - its best easy-access rate since late 2015. With both, you can save from £1+. Full info and more options in Top Savings Accounts.

Ends Sun. Nectar double-up at Sainsbury's. Incl toys, clothes & electricals. Full help: Double Nectar.

TWO pairs of prescription glasses £15. MSE Blagged. Free delivery. Ends Sun. Spec-tacular

Get 18 consecutive days off in 2019 for just 9 days' annual leave. See MSE Jordon's holiday hack blog.


You may think we've written that before. Indeed we have, but there's a new rate for borrowing £7,500-£15,000 which is now joint cheapest. What's interesting about it is that it's more flexible than the previous sole frontrunner, as you can repay in up to five years. Whether you should get it is up for debate, so let us explain. But some key points first:

- Should you get a loan? We're not saying do it as it's cheap. Only apply if you NEED one (eg, your car is a wreck), you've budgeted for it and can afford repayments. If in doubt, don't risk it.
- Will you get the cheapest? Use our Loans Eligibility Calc to check your chances without hitting your credit worthiness.
- Rates are 'representative'. Sadly, ONLY 51% of those accepted need to get the advertised rate - the rest can pay more.

  • New. Cheapest EVER loans for £7,500 to £15,000. Admiral* last week joined Sainsbury's Bank* (needs a Nectar card) in charging 2.7% rep APR, but while Sainsbury's only lets you spread that loan over 1-3yrs, with Admiral it's 1-5yrs.

    While spreading a loan over a longer period means you repay less each month, you pay more overall. If you borrow £8,000 at 2.7% over 3 years, it's £231.50/mth and you repay £8,333 in total (meaning £333 in interest). Over 5 years, it's a lower £142.50/mth, but a higher £8,554 in total (£554 interest), so will ultimately cost you more.

  • Lowest rates from £1,000-£7,499. At lower levels, here are the top picks. All are for 1-5yrs.
    - £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* and Yorkshire* are 3.4% rep APR.
    - £3,000-£4,999: Zopa* is 5%-6.9% rep APR, Admiral* 6.7% rep APR.
    - £2,000-£2,999: Zopa* is 6.9%-7.9% rep APR, Ikano 7.8% rep APR (credit card loans are often cheaper).
    - £1,000-£1,999: Zopa* is 9.5%-9.9% rep APR, Asda Money 9.9% rep APR (credit card loans are often cheaper).
    - Nationwide current account customer? It may beat the above rates by 0.5 percentage points: Nationwide trick

  • Loan Golden Rules. Full info & options in Cheap Personal Loans (APR Examples).
    a) Never borrow unless needed. Then minimise the amount and repay as quickly as possible.
    b) Pay on time (preferably by direct debit) or you may get a charge & credit black mark.
    c) If applying to pay off credit cards, a balance transfer may be cheaper.


Got an official offer to settle a student loan at half-price? Martin says most should NOT do it. See full analysis.

Super-cheap Easyjet flights for Sep-Oct 2019, incl half-term. But you need to be quick. Cheap Easyjet

"I wanted to say a massive thanks for the cheap theatre tickets I got. I used the lottery link in last week's email for HAMILTON. I got front row seats to an amazing show for £10."  
(Send us yours on this or any topic)

Ted Baker rare 30% off code. MSE Blagged. 30% off full price or 10% off its outlet + free del, ends Thu. Ted Baker

Kurt Geiger shoes from £7ish via code. MSE Blagged. 25% off everything in online outlet, incl Uggs. Shoeaholics

£3 for 10 personalised photo cards (good for Christmas). MSE Blagged. See Photobox deal.


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Top pick 0%: M&S Bank* 32mths 0%, 0.99% fee (min £5) (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27mths 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

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

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* 3.4% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: 
Admiral* 2.7% rep APR

Standard b'band & line rent: Now Broadband equiv £12.59/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: Vodafone equiv £16.84/mth 

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


Ends Thu. BT's cheapest fast broadband & line deal for a year - '£18.33/mth' (though Vodafone, a tad slower, is '£16.84')

The secret to bagging top deals is to pounce on short-lived promos. And with so many about, now is a great time, so it's worth comparing the offers below to what you pay. Many fork out a huge £40/mth+ for b'band & line, which is £480/yr+, so switching can save £300+.

  • Bizarrely, all current top deals END THU. There's a flash price war, so check NOW. While BT often doesn't engage in these battles, it's got its cheapest fibre since Nov 2017 - but sadly, as with most top offers, it's for new customers only. As all b'band deals are postcode-dependent, links go via our Broadband Unbundled tool to check if you can get 'em.

    Is there a need, a need for speed? Advertised broadband speeds are arguably more accurate than they used to be, as now 50% must get that at peak times (it used to be 10%). Many providers give an estimate before you sign up. We think 10Mb-ish is fine for browsing or light streaming, but the more games and/or streaming you do, or the more people using the connection at once, the more fast speeds help. See my rights if speeds aren't what's promised.

Standard speed broadband - avg 11Mb
Now Broadband
(part of Sky)
'£12.59/mth' over 1yr contract. Ends Thu. You pay £9.99 upfront, then £18/mth but can claim a £75 Tesco vch. Factor that in and it's an equiv £12.59/mth.
Faster fibre broadband - avg 35-63Mb
Vodafone (avg 35Mb)
'£16.84/mth' over 18mth contract. Ends Thu. You pay £21/mth but can claim a £75 vch for Amazon, Asos, Debenhams or M&S. Factor that in and it's an equiv £16.84/mth. Pay monthly Vodafone mobile customer? You'll get £1/mth off, making it an equiv £15.84/mth.
BT (avg 50Mb)+ BT Sport '£18.33/mth' over 18mth contract. Ends Thu. You pay £9.99 upfront, then £10/mth for broadband and £19.99/mth for line rent - though it's cheaper to pay 1yr's line upfront for £219.84. You can also claim a £100 prepaid Mastercard & £100 M&S vch. Factor those in and it's equiv £18.33/mth if you pay line rent upfront, or £19.44/mth if paid monthly. Plus you get BT Sport for 18mths (3).
TalkTalk (avg 63Mb)
'£20.84/mth' over 18mth contract. Ends Thu. You pay £25/mth but can claim a £75 Amazon, Argos, Tesco or Ticketmaster vch. Factor it in and it's an equiv £20.84/mth. But it's had poor past customer service.
Note: prices could rise during the contract term, but you'd have a right to leave penalty-free if so. (1) 'New customer' definition varies - see firms' rules in links. (2) We add all costs, deduct reward value & divide by the number of months. (3) To watch on BT Sport's app/site + you can connect it to a TV.


New. Virgin Atlantic credit card - get 10,000 bonus miles for normal spending (enough for one-way to NYC, though you pay taxes). New customers who spend £1,000 in 90 days on its fee-free card get that bonus. With its £160/yr fee card, you get 25,000 miles if you spend £1,500 in 90 days. Both come with other perks such as companion tickets. Full analysis in Airline Credit Cards, incl how they compare with British Airways cards & more.

Have you used Coverwise, Holidaysafe, Insure and Go or other cheap travel insurers? We want to know how no-frills, cheap travel insurance worked for you. Please take our 3min travel insurance survey.



Break a taboo for Talk Money Week. A key part of financial well-being is having those conversations about money you've been meaning to (or have been avoiding). Why not make a pledge to tackle that talk this week? Support others and share your stories in our Talk Money Week forum hub, with daily discussions and other helpful resources.



Have you haggled on the high street in the last year? Haggling isn't just for call centres and market stalls, some even do it at high street chains. If you have, have you succeeded? Whether it's asking 'em to throw in some extras or negotiating a discount, have you haggled on the high street in the last year?

MoneySavers are savvy when it comes to car insurance sites. Last week, we asked how many comparison sites you check when renewing your car insurance. The full results show that most of you follow our tips to use multiple sites, with women over 55 doing the most comprehensive checks and only a tiny fraction leaving it to auto-renew.



Should I tell my partner about my savings? My live-in partner and I have shared finances and split everything equally. But I have a private savings account they don't know about, with £1,000s stashed away. Should I tell them about it? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I tell my partner about my savings? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: November "Bring your lunch to work" challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: £500 Currys PC World voucher
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Freebies: MoneySaving or clutter?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: When an executor feels the will no longer reflects the deceased's wishes
- Discussion of the week: 2018 Christmas Prep Chat


Thorntons - FREE personalised Advent calendar via app
Chocolate Trading Company - 30% off posh chocs
Virgin Wines - 6 bottles of wine for £30 delivered
Topman - 25% off everything flash code (Wed only)
WHSmith - FREE 100m Scotch tape mega roll via app

Yo! Sushi - £2.30 vegan plates on Wednesdays
Starbucks - 10% discount for Armed Forces
Revolution - 2for1 on mains and selected cocktails
Just Eat - 10%-30% off selected takeaways
Pizza Hut - Unlimited lunch buffet for £7ish

Baileys - £18 Advent calendar, incl three mini bottles
Asda - £8 mini cheese Advent calendar
B&M - £30 gin calendar, incl 12 mini bottles
Superdrug - up to 50% off beauty Advent calendars
Pringles - £8 Advent calendar, incl 12 mini cans

Quick Forum Tips

Lidl up to 50% off weekend deals. A Lidl help
Superdrug Black Friday offers. Super early
£5 off £10 on fuel at Esso. Esso-pecially good



Thu 15 Nov - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 16 Nov - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 19 Nov - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 19 Nov - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again
Tue 20 Nov - The Martin Lewis Money Show Live, ITV, 8pm


Wed 14 Nov BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 16 Nov
BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 19 Nov
TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Mon 19 Nov
BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 20 Nov -
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm 



Q: I've got £1,000 on a credit card and am paying 20% interest. Is there a way I can pay less? Amy, via email.

MSE Rosie's A: There is indeed. What you probably want is a balance transfer card - a new credit card which pays off your existing card for you, so you owe it instead, but at 0% interest.

You can currently get up to 33 months 0% with a small fee, which would save you around £260 in interest if you cleared it within the 0% period. Use our balance transfer eligibility calculator to see which cards you've the best chance of being accepted for. Full info and more options in our Balance Transfers guide.

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... this week Iceland unveiled the ultimate love-it-or-hate-it food combo for Christmas dinner, 'Marmite sprouts'. Predictably, MoneySavers' feedback has been fiercely divided - one was adamant "these are an essential purchase", another insisted they are "two of the most horrid foods I know of". So is this the best pairing since beans on toast or a festive disaster waiting to happen? Have your say on our Sprouts & Marmite Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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