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15th Nov 2017
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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"Hi. This free, spam free weekly email is the key way to save. We put all the latest deals, guides and loopholes in, yet many close within hours. Don't miss out, join the 12m who get it each week."

15 November 2017


Spot Black Fri duds, hot discount codes, 5% cashback & 11 more online shopping tips

Don't get reeled in by the Black Friday or Christmas hype. But 'tis the season to shop online, with experts expecting at least £25 billion to be spent between now and the New Year - so if you're planning to buy for yourself or loved ones, our Cheap Online Shopping tips can help slash the cost. Here are 14 to get you started:

  1. The Christmas Deals Predictor is BACK... Put away your crystal ball - our mega-popular Xmas bargains forecaster returns. It estimates the exact week and saving on 60+ deals we think are coming from biggies such as Amazon, Ikea and John Lewis - see more details below. Xmas Deals Predictor

  2. New. How to spot Black Friday duds... and deals. It's one of the biggest online shopping days of the year and a good time to pick up Xmas gifts, but many Black Friday 'deals' are actually duds. Our Deals Hunters have been sorting the stonkers from the stinkers for years - see how to ditch the duds and root out the deals this Black Friday.

  3. Bag 5% off shopping for three months. Cashback credit cards pay you when you spend on them. Amex Plat Everyday (eligibility calc / apply*) is the top payer, giving a huge 5% for the first 3mths (max £100) and up to 1% after. The cashback's added as a credit to your card after a year, though you need to spend at least £3,000/yr to get any. Of course always repay IN FULL each month to avoid the 22.9% rep APR interest.

    It's perfect timing as the 5% covers the high-spend Xmas & Jan sales period. Apply now, and you should get it within a week or so. As Aaron tweeted: "I have an Amex Everyday card - £150 cashback in calendar year." Full help in Top Reward Cards.

    PS: M&S shopper? See the M&S Rewards note below for a card offering up to £45 in M&S vchs.

  4. Abandon your online basket to score a discount. Fail to finish your online order and companies often send you codes to tempt you back. We've data on 26 retailers that give abandoned basket discounts. Forumite GeminiJude told us: "I've abandoned baskets at Very and they've always offered money off - the best was £20 off a £50 shop."

  5. There IS a way to haggle big discounts online. While buying online is usually cheaper, the one advantage buying in-store is that you can haggle. Yet now even there the web's caught up - see how to haggle using live chats. Brian tweeted: "Have tried online haggling a few times and always get a result. Best was £300 off a £1,200 Dell laptop via online chat."

  6. Buy 20% off gift cards NOW to use in sales. Gift cards are rarely discounted, but currently Tesco has 20% off cards for Gap, Monsoon, Accessorize and New Look. You can then use these in sales for what's effectively a double discount. Full info: Gift card trick.

  7. Check for discount codes - eg, Body Shop 40% off. If you're going to buy, always check for a discount code. This week, biggies incl Body Shop 40% off, Thorntons 15% off, FitFlop 20% off and M&S 20% off for Sparks cardholders. See discount codes for more deals.

  8. You've a right to change your mind online (but NOT in store). Many assume shops have to refund gifts that are the wrong size or colour -  this isn't the case. It's worth knowing the law...

    - In-store purchases: You've NO RIGHT to change your mind: you can only return faulty goods. For the definition of fault, see the SAD FART rules. Some stores do allow no-fault returns, but it's not the law.

    - Online purchases: You DO have a right to change your mind - you've 14 days to tell 'em and 14 more to send it back.

  9. Never miss a price drop with personalised alerts. A free price-drop service covering 100s of online retailers lets you input what product you want and emails you when its price drops. We tested it on a De'Longhi coffee machine at John Lewis originally priced at £30. After setting a target price of £25, we ended up buying it for £22.50 - a 25% saving.

  10. Hunt out online outlet stores. Many drive miles to outlet villages to snap up end-of-line bargains. Yet lots of big names such as Argos, Mothercare and Tesco offer up to 70-80% off unsold lines via online outlets. Our Discount Outlets deals page lists over 30 for huge toy, clothing and other discounts.

  11. No discount code? Save with a dept store code instead. Don't just check the store you want for a discount code - department stores often have a workaround. Eg, Levi's 501 jeans are £65 at Levi's, yet buy at La Redoute using a La Redoute code and you can get the same jeans for £45. See our list of 10 department stores/brands this works with.

  12. Pay just 1p on a credit card to protect £100s. Buy goods costing over £100 and even if you pay just 1p on a credit card - the rest any other way - the card company's jointly liable with the retailer for the WHOLE amount. It's the veritable financial superhero, especially if a firm then goes bust. See full info in Section 75 protection.

    - Spending less than £100? You can still claim for faulty or undelivered goods under the less well-known chargeback scheme.

  13. Is Amazon Europe cheaper? Even with the current exchange rate, you can sometimes slash costs simply by opting to buy from one of Amazon's European sites - and there's a cheeky Amazon EU tool that checks for you. Louise tweeted: "@MartinSLewis Saved nearly £100 on my new Dyson by buying it from Amazon in Germany. Fantastic deal. Thanks."

  14. Can you get cashback to cut the cost? Once you know where what you want's cheapest, always check the best cashback sites for further savings.

For more, see: 15 tricks shops don't want you to know | 22 Amazon tricks | 40 eBay buying secrets.

The Martin Lewis Money Show is back & it's LIVE on ITV at 8pm, Tue 21 Nov
Starting with an 'ASK MARTIN ANYTHING' SPECIAL, incl the festive forecaster, free cash & more

Over to Martin... "I can't believe it's series 7, and frankly I'm bricking it, as we're going live for an hour allowing anyone watching to throw in a question on anything you like. Then after the opener it'll be half an hour every Monday at 8pm. Do watch, or set the Betamax."


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Ends Thu. Get a FREE £45 to spend at M&S (incl food)

Apply for a credit card, do £100 of normal day-to-day spending and Bob's your auntie...

With Christmas coming and money tight, this is an easy(ish) way to get money off at M&S. Sadly you won't get the vouchers before Christmas, but you will get them to help ease the pressure in the New Year. Just DON'T use it as an excuse to overspend. Here's how it works:

  • Ends Thu. Get £45 in M&S vouchers when you spend £100. In a nutshell, accepted new M&S Bank* cardholders who apply via our link by Thu 30 Nov and spend £100 on the card, making sure some of it is at M&S, get £45 of vouchers to spend on most things at M&S.

    Applying 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), so use our free eligibility calc to see your chances of getting it and other top cards without affecting your score.

    - How do I get the vouchers? This deal's split into three parts. Spend anything - even just 1p - within 90 days to get £20-worth of M&S points. Then spend £100 by 31 Jan 18 and you'll be emailed a £20 vch by 28 Feb. You're also sent a vch with the card. Swipe it at the till or use online alongside your card to buy most things at M&S and you'll get pts worth £5.

    - What other rewards do I get? You earn 2pts (worth 2p) for every £1 spent at M&S in the first year (1pt per £1 after) and 1pt for every £5 elsewhere. There's a 6mth 0% period on spending, yet make sure you clear after that or repay IN FULL each month to avoid the 18.9% rep APR.

    - Is it for everyone? Only go for it if you're debt-free, have a good credit history and are a disciplined spender. You can even cancel the card as soon as you get the vouchers, though the ongoing rewards aren't bad if you shop at M&S and clear the card every month.

  • The Credit Card Golden Rules. Full help and more options in Top Credit Card Rewards (APR Examples).
    a) Repay IN FULL each month, preferably by direct debit, to avoid interest which'll dwarf the gain.
    b) Never withdraw cash. You pay interest on it even if repaying in full, and it hits your credit score.

Amazon delivery overhaul - is yours still free? How to avoid being overcharged. Amazon delivery

Savings latest. 1.35% easy-access - highest rate since Aug 16. The new top account you can withdraw cash from whenever you want is Bank of Cyprus UK, paying 1.35%. The bank's fully UK-regulated so you get £85k savings safety protection, as you do with 2nd placed Paragon Bank at 1.31% and 3rd (a name many know) Lloyds-owned Birmingham Midshires at 1.3%. (PS: The 0.05 percentage point difference is 50p/yr per £1,000). Full info: Top Savings.

FLASH deals
Ted Baker rare 30% off code. MSE Blagged. On full-price items until Thu. Ted Baker 

Disney Store 24% off toys & costumes. Wed only, incl sale. Disney discount

Miss Selfridge 25% off everything. Wed only. Miss Selfridge

New. Vodafone fast fibre b'band & line £20/mth or faster for £25/mth. Anyone not currently with Vodafone b'band can get an 18mth contract for up-to-38Mb fast fibre b'band and line for £20/mth, or even faster up-to-76Mb fibre b'band and linefor £25/mth. Plus you can claim a £20 Amazon vch. Cheap fibre b'band


The Christmas Deals Predictor is BACK - gaze into the future

We tell you when bargains are expected so you save. Eg, Soap & Glory bundle, 20% Selfridges code

christmas deals predictorPut away your crystal ball, stop reading Nostradamus - our popular Christmas Deals Predictor is back. It estimates the exact week and saving on dozens of deals we think are coming from biggies such as Amazon, Asos and M&S. So if you're willing to take a slight gamble, diarise the date for the deal you want. But don't fall for the retailers' hype - only buy what you need and can afford.

  • Last year we got it 93% right. Our elves at MSE Towers have been tracking and analysing retailers' deals for the last 7 years, to give us a good idea of what's coming when. Last year a whopping 83% of deals came out exactly as we predicted. Add in those we were only marginally out on and we had an astonishing 93% success rate.

1 week only: Nectar double-up at Sainsbury's, incl toys, clothes & electricals. From today (Wed) till next Tue, every 1,000 pts (norm £5) will be worth £10 in some departments. Full analysis and what to do: Nectar double-up.

FREE letter from Santa. He's a lot to reply to so post your letter (with stamp) by the deadline. Santa letter

90p Yankee Candle via 10% off code at MSE Blagged. Ends Mon. £5 del. Yankee Candle

Three customer? Get weekly freebies and discounts via its app. Staff at MSE Towers have scored top deals in recent weeks, incl free Domino's, Hotel Chocolat and cinema tix. Three-bies

£55 Christmas free-range bronze turkey and meat bundle feeding 10-12 (norm £95). MSE Blagged. 2,500 to gobble up. Incl chipolatas, sausage meat, bacon and goose fat. Delivery 20-22 Dec - you choose. Xmas dinner

Schools to get half a million financial education textbooks, funded by our Martin. The first curriculum-mapped financial education textbooks are to be produced by the charity Young Money - the latest in the campaign to ensure financial literacy for all. More info incl why Martin's doing it, not the Govt, in New money textbook.


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Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. CompareTheMarket*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Clydesdale* / Yorkshire* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Sky equiv £15.50/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone £20/mth + £20 vch

£130 to switch + £10/mth until Jun 18 + 3% interest: TSB
5% interest fixed for a year: Nationwide FlexDirect


Psst - fancy paying less tax? 5 ways to stop overpaying (ALL legit)

It's not about tax evasion or avoidance, but making sure you're not missing out on legal tax perks worth £1,000s

Let's be crystal clear - we stand squarely against tax evasion (which is illegal) AND tax avoidance (which, as recent news has shown, is within the letter but not the spirit of the law). However we're massive cheerleaders for tax planning (when you do what the state wants you to and you gain - see Martin's old Avoidance vs Planning blog for more). Here are five ways to make sure you're not paying more tax than you need to...

  • Claim a free £662 if you're married/civil partners. If one of you doesn't earn enough to pay income tax and the other pays the basic 20% rate, you can get the marriage tax allowance, worth £230 this year and £432 for past years. Yet nearly HALF of eligible couples still haven't claimed, so check.

  • Got kids? Let the Govt pay up to £2,000/yr towards your childcare. With Tax-Free Childcare, for every 80p you put in, the state adds 20p - up to £2k per child each year.

  • Wear a uniform at work? You could reclaim £100s. As long as it's recognisable, and shows you have a certain job, even a T-shirt can count. If you wash it yourself, you may be due a uniform tax rebate.

  • Check & challenge your council tax bandThey haven't changed since 1991 in Eng and Scot (2003 in Wales), so if you think you're paying more than a neighbour in a similar home, check. If it's re-banded in your favour, you could be owed £1,000s. Take our Council tax challenge.

  • On the wrong tax code? Reclaim £1,000s. Tax codes tell employers what to take from your payslip. Yet 100,000s pay too much of their hard-earned every year because they're on the wrong one. Our free Tax Code Calc helps you check (it's YOUR legal responsibility to ensure it's right). Our biggest reclaim so far is £9,000.
There are plenty of other legit ways to tax-plan including inheritance tax reduction, the Rent a Room scheme & saving for retirement.


Tulip bulbs & book bundle £10 all-in. MSE Blagged. 24 ready-to-plant tulip bulbs plus Book of Bulbs - norm £25. Book & bulbs offer

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Huge saving on mum's home insurance after following your guide. Renewal quote was £493 - I found her an identical plan for £129. As she's not tech-savvy she would've just accepted the renewal and paid it."

Totally FREE New Covent Garden Soup (norm £2ish). Via our deals-stacking trick. Soup-er



Help collect donations for the UK's largest Christmas food drive. Volunteers are needed to collect food for anti-hunger charity FareShare at Tesco stores UK-wide from Thu 30 Nov to Sat 2 Dec. Sign up in store if you can spare a few hours to spread some Christmas cheer and collect food for people who might otherwise go without.



Have you haggled with Sky, BT, the AA and more this year? Did you succeed? Haggling with companies can provide big savings - on anything from digital TV and broadband to credit cards, breakdown cover and insurance. Each year we try to gauge the success rates of those who've done it. Have you haggled?

Are you app-happy? Last week we asked for your views on banking apps and you were generally positive - just 21% of app users thought theirs wasn't worth using. New app-only banks Monzo and Starling proved particularly popular, with 76% of voters for each saying they're great to use. Barclays' app was the best liked of the big banks, with 66% saying it's 'great', while M&S Bank was bottom of the pile, with 64% saying its app's NOT worth using. See which apps people rate.



Should my girlfriend pay me? I'm a builder and my girlfriend buys old houses to do up. She expects me to help out for free, simply because I'm her boyfriend - am I wrong to ask for payment for the work I do? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my girlfriend pay me? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: November No Spend Day Challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: Lego Christmas bundle
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Washing-up bowl. Yay or nay?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Pensioner hoarding cash
- Discussion of the week: How ready are you for Christmas?


Asos - 25% off selected items (Ends Thu)
Superdry - £20 glasses via code (norm £99)
Feel Unique - choose five 'free' minis for £3.95 del
Aldi - Christmas hampers from £20
WHSmith - free Bottle Green drink via O2 app

Pizza Hut Delivery - buy one pizza, get one free
Zizzi - 30% off mains
KFC - free side for new app users
Prezzo - 50% off mains, Wed only
Giraffe - 2for1 on mains

Selfridges - up to 20% off?
House of Fraser - up to 50% off?
Apple - 'free' gift card with purchase?
John Lewis - discounts on tech, home and price-match?
Urban Outfitters - up to 50% off?

Quick Forum Tips

Free tub of Princes tuna or salmon fillers. It's o-fish-al
Free classic video games, eg, Pac-Man. Pac-Mania
Lidl weekend offers incl £4 dog food (norm £6.50). Pawsome



Thu 16 Nov - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. See previous
Fri 17 Nov - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, time TBC
Mon 20 Nov - This Morning, ITV, time TBC
Mon 20 Nov - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. See previous
Tue 21 Nov - The Martin Lewis Money Show Live on ITV at 8pm


Wed 15 Nov - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 17 Nov - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Tue 21 Nov - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: If I have a Virgin Media cable for my broadband which goes directly to my home, does that stop me switching to another provider? John, by email.

MSE Weleid's A: No, this shouldn't prevent you from switching, but all other firms use different wiring than Virgin so you'll need that set up. 

If you already have the necessary cables - eg, because you used to have BT in your home - you may not need an engineer to visit. If you don't have the necessary line, someone will need to come round to install it. Whether you're charged for new line installation depends on the provider or if it has an offer on. To find the best switching deals, see our Broadband Unbundled tool.


That's a wrap for this week, but before we go... what's the biggest waste of packaging you've seen? After an Amazon customer hit the headlines for highlighting the excessive wrapping her A2-sized calendar came with, we were inundated with similar photos from MoneySavers, including single bananas in polystyrene packets, mini nail polish in a shoe box and Xmas stockings with enough packaging to fill Santa's sleigh. Let us know what you've seen in our Facebook discussion

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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