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16th Jan 2019
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 This info may be out of date.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."

16 January 2019
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.


As part of our Jan bill-busting series, today we focus on broadband & line rental. Many ignore this expense as it just drips out of their account each month, but add it up and this utility costs many £500+ a year.

Right now though you can boost your speed while slashing your cost. A short-lived promo gets super-speed for £225/yr - the cheapest we've ever seen at such ultra-fast levels. And if you don't have a need, a need for speed, we've ways to cut the cost further... 

  • Do you massively overpay for broadband? Here are typical out-of-contract prices with the biggies - which you could well be paying if you've not switched or haggled in years. And they're HUGE.

    - BT standard: £45/mth (£540/yr), fibre: £52/mth (£624/yr)
    - Sky standard: £30/mth (£360/yr), fibre: £44/mth (£528/yr)
    - TalkTalk standard: £27/mth (£324/yr), fibre: £33/mth (£396/yr)
    - Virgin: £42/mth (£504/yr) - it only does fibre

    Now compare those to the current hot deals below...

  • New. Hot, short-lived deals - incl '£19/mth' for 108Mb speed. Like most cheap deals, the current crop are for new customers only and won't be around long. As broadband is postcode-dependent - eg, only 50% can get Virgin - links below go to our Broadband Unbundled tool to check your eligibility. If you can't get 'em, it'll suggest alternatives.

This week's standout deal - MSE Blagged 
Virgin Media 
(avail to 50% of UK)
Super-fast fibre

New. '£18.75/mth' over 1yr contract. Ends 24 Jan. Via our special link only, it's £25/mth but you get an immediate £75 bill credit. So you pay nothing for 3mths, making it £225 over the year without calls, equivalent to £18.75/mth. IMPORTANT: Don't get this direct from Virgin or you'll pay £124/yr more.
Best of the rest - if you can't get Virgin or don't need such fast speeds
(avail to 90% of UK)

Ends Thu. '£12/mth' over 1yr contract. You pay £17/mth, or £204 over the year without calls. But you can claim a £60 Amazon, Argos, Tesco or Ticketmaster voucher. Spend it & it's an equiv £12/mth. Warning: TalkTalk is worst of the biggies for customer service from our many polls.
(avail to 80+% of UK)
Ends Thu. '£17.67/mth' over 18mth contract. You pay £4.51/mth for b'band & £18.99/mth for line rent - but it's cheaper to pay 1yr's line upfront for £197.88. Do it that way & it's £393 over the 18mths without calls. But you can claim a £75 cheque, making it an equiv £17.67/mth.
(avail to 90% of UK)
Fast fibre
Ends Thu. '£22/mth' over 18mth contract. You pay £9.95 upfront then £27/mth, making it £496 over 18mths without calls. You can claim a £100 M&S vch - spend that and it's an equiv £22/mth.
(1) Usually this means customers who currently don't have that firm's broadband and/or line or haven't in a year - see exact rules via the links. (2) To compare, we use 'equivalent prices' - adding all fixed costs, deducting promo cash or vouchers & averaging it over the contract.

  • What broadband speed do you need? Standard avg 10/11Mb speed is usually fine for browsing or light streaming. Fibre - the term for fast broadband due to the fibre cables that deliver high speeds - is best for streamers, gamers or if many use it at once in your home.

    Yet even with fibre there are differences, and the faster you go, the more of a luxury it is. Big firms give estimated speeds before you sign up, and special tools can help you check and boost your speed.

  • Will I get the headline speed? Advertised speeds are the provider's average, based on what 50%+ of its customers get at peak times (8pm-10pm), so there's no certainty. But you've rights if you get way less than the average.

  • Can I keep my landline number? You should almost always be able to. Just tell your new provider you want to keep it - usually as part of the sign-up process - and it should arrange it with your previous provider. The only real risk is switching & moving home at the same time. To keep your number it's safer to sort that first before switching provider.

  • Can I get broadband without a phone line? Virgin is the only biggie to offer it but it's far more expensive than the deals above with broadband AND line. If you won't use a phone, just don't plug one in.

  • Don't want to switch? Haggle. Switching gives the best savings but big broadband firms are some of the easiest to haggle with. In our last haggling poll, 85% of Sky customers who replied said they had success, Virgin Media 82%. Full help in Broadband Haggling.

  • Could providers hike prices? Sadly, telecoms firms often do, though if that happens and you weren't warned before sign-up you can leave penalty-free. But check if there's a better deal first.

Can you be PAID to get car & home insurance? 
Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm Mon

Over to Martin: "Thanks for all the kind words about last week's debt cost-cutting show (watch it here). Next week, it's every trick in the book to slash the cost of car & home insurance. In some cases even how to get paid to take it out - plus a host of tricks and tips to beat the system. 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.



Martin's Mini Mortgage Masterclass: Are you overpaying by £1,000s? 

Got a mortgage? Don't let Brexit put you off, new mortgage deals are still cheap... for now. Check if you can save

It's most people's biggest bill, so if you languish on a crap deal it's your biggest waste. While Brexit uncertainty looms large, mortgage rates are still near all-time lows, so it's an opportune time to check if you can undercut your current deal. It's especially important if you're one of the 2m on a lender's standard variable rate (SVR), like Karen, who emailed: "I moved from an SVR to a fix. By keeping monthly payments the same, I knocked 9yrs off the term, saving £54,000. Thanks." Full info in my FREE Remortgage booklet, in brief...

  • Step 1: Find the facts about YOUR current mortgage. You need to know... i) Your rate, payments & outstanding debt. ii) Is it a fix, tracker, discount or SVR? iii) When does the fix/discount end? iv) How long's the remaining mortgage term? Eg, 25yrs. v) Any early exit penalties? vi) The proportion of your home's CURRENT value you're borrowing, ie, its loan to value (LTV). If your LTV is now lower (eg, as your home's value has increased) you may be eligible for a cheaper deal.

  • Step 2: Benchmark the cheapest rates. Our Mortgage Best-Buys Comparison includes deals available to brokers and those only available directly from providers. Plus we list the total cost, including fees, for a better comparison.

  • Step 3: Calculate how much cheaper a new deal is. Our Ultimate Mortgage Calculator has eight tools to help.
  • Step 4: Think about whether you'll be accepted. This can be tricky - there are two factors...

    - Are you creditworthy? Check via the MSE Credit Club. Be careful before applying for a mortgage not to make too many applications for other credit, and never miss a repayment. For full help, see how to boost your credit score.
    - Will you pass affordability checks? Lenders don't just check if you can afford current repayments - they have to stress-test if you could afford rates of 6% or 7%. If this may be a struggle, reeling in your spending for 3-6 months before applying can boost your chances (see good news for mortgage prisoners below).

  • Step 5: Consider using a mortgage broker. Brokers can match you to the right deal, as they have access to info that consumers don't, such as credit-scoring and affordability criteria. See top mortgage brokers.

  • Won't Brexit impact interest rates - shouldn't I wait? The one certainty about Brexit is the uncertainty, both of outcome and impact. For example, if the Bank of England's right that a no-deal means an economic downturn (and that's a big if), on one hand you'd expect an interest rate cut to stimulate spending, but as the pound would also likely drop, pushing up inflation, that predicates a rise. So forget predictions - no one knows.

    What we do know is new mortgage rates are still cheap, and there's more room for them to rise than drop. So if certainty is what matters to you, get a cheap fix now, and the more you want certainty, the longer you should consider fixing. I'm not saying that with hindsight it'll be the cheapest route, just that you're far less subject to huge economic winds.

For far more help, see our free REMORTGAGE help booklet and FIRST-TIME BUYERS' help booklet.


Brexit: How it impacts mortgages, flights, your rights & more. The latest facts when there are facts & Martin's analysis when there aren't in our Brexit guide.

Boots up to 70% clearance likely soon. Not confirmed, but our spies reckon it'll boost the current 50% off sale in the coming days. Full updates in Boots boost.

News: Hope for mortgage prisoners as MSE campaign takes huge step forward. The regulator's agreed to consult on new rules to help allow 140,000 stuck on pricey mortgages to switch. See Mortgage hope.

Should you leave the heating on all day? We try to find answers to this, and 16 other energy saving conundrums, to keep you warm as the temperature drops. See Energy Mythbusting.

Top debt-shifting credit card: 32mths 0%, 1.4% fee and £25 cashback. A reminder that accepted new HSBC (eligibility calc / apply*) cardholders can shift debt to it from other cards at 32mths 0%, with a one-off 1.4% fee (min £5). Plus shift £300+ within 60 days to get £25 cashback - which is BIGGER than the fee if you shift under £1,800ish, so better than a no-fee card. Always pay at least the monthly min & clear the debt before the 0% ends or you pay 21.9% rep APR. Full info and options in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Martin takes on Ryanair after flaccid response to name-change 'glitch' refunds. More than 250 people tell us they booked with Ryanair, but it then changed their names, with many charged to change 'em back. Martin's written on MSE's behalf to the airline, and has sent a dossier to the regulator. See Martin's 'flaccid Ryanair' letter.


Loan rates near ALL-TIME lows - from 2.8%

If you've a big, planned purchase on the horizon, it's a cheap time to borrow - but only do it if you really need to

If you've a major New Year purchase planned and you NEED to borrow (eg, your car's a wreck), now's a good time as the cheapest rates are only a whisker above the lowest-ever 2.7% rates we saw last year. 

  • First carefully consider if a loan is right for you. We're not suggesting everyone rushes to apply as they're cheap. As we always say, only borrow if it's planned, budgeted for and affordable. Yet if a loan is right for you, this is likely to be a good time. But if you're struggling with bad debt, more borrowing won't help - see our Debt Help guide.

  • Will you get a loan? As with much in life, size matters. Our Loans Eligibility Calc shows which loans you're likely to be accepted for, without hitting your creditworthiness. Acceptance isn't just about your credit score, as whether you can afford repayments matters too. The bigger the loan, the greater the income you need. So a perfect credit score may see you with good odds of acceptance on many £3k loans, but rejected for many £10k loans.

    Plus, sadly rates are 'representative'. This means ONLY 51% of those accepted need to get the advertised rate - the rest can pay more. Unfortunately, there is no way to know before you apply.

  • Lowest rates from £3,000-£15,000. All for 1-5yr repayments, unless stated.

    - £7,500-£15,000: 
    Sainsbury's Bank* (needs a free Nectar card), Cahoot* (part of Santander) and M&S Bank* (1-3yrs) are all 2.8% rep APR.
    - £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* and Yorkshire Bank* are 3.4% rep APR.
    - £3,000-£4,999: Admiral* is 6.7% rep APR, Zopa* 6.8%-7.7% rep APR.

  • Lowest rates below £3,000. It's likely to be cheaper doing a 0% money transfer, where you get a credit card to pay cash into your bank, so you owe the card instead, but at 0%, for a 3-4% fee of the amount shifted. At this level you're also more likely to get a credit limit to cover the loan. But if a loan is right for you, here are the top deals. All 1-5yr repayments, unless stated.
    - £2,000-£2,999: Ikano is 7.8% rep APR, 
    Zopa* is 9.4%-10.8% rep APR.
    - £1,000-£1,999: Zopa* is 10.8%-15.1% rep APR, 
    Hitachi* 14.5% rep APR (3-5yrs).

  • Loan Golden Rules. Full info & options in Cheap Personal Loans (APR Examples).
    a) Minimise the amount and repay as quickly as possible.
    b) Pay on time (preferably by direct debit) or you may get a charge and credit black mark.
    c) If you're applying to pay off credit cards, a balance transfer may be cheaper.


1,000 FREE £15ish radiator heat reflector packs. Helps make up to four radiators more efficient. See how to bag free radiator reflectors (or get 20% off if you miss out).

Freebies galore incl beer, tea/coffee & make-up. Via apps. 15 easy-to-claim January freebies.

425 summer-flowering bulbs £10 all-in (norm £30). MSE Blagged. To plant now, incl gladioli & allium. Thompson & Morgan

Holland & Barrett 20% off EVERYTHING via code. MSE Blagged. Plus free del (norm £3). A healthy saving

'Veganuary' restaurant deals, eg, Frankie & Benny's 50% off, Pizza Hut 41%, Toby Carvery 33%. As scores of eateries serve up new vegan options, we've a round-up of top deals for all (whether vegan or not). Lettuce eat

Self-assessment tax return deadline looms - sort it NOW. The deadline is 31 Jan, but if you're filing online for the first time your activation code can take 10 days, so don't delay. See our self-assessment Q&A.


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Longest 0%: HSBC* 32 months 0%, 1.4% fee (21.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27 months 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*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* 3.4% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.8% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-5 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: TalkTalk equiv £12/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Plusnet equiv £17.67/mth

Top for service + you get £125: First Direct
Get £150 to switch + 2% cashback: NatWest Reward


Can you make £2,019 extra in 2019? This & more MSE Forum challenges

Get inspired and join the many challenges such as 'Pay off debt by Christmas' & 'Bring your lunch to work'

The MSE Forum - with more than 1.8m members - includes a string of fantastic MoneySaving challenges that are great for tips, motivation and competition. Each one is started by users and at the turn of each year they reboot them with the latest info, as has just happened for 2019. So to help get your year off to a fiscally fantastic start, why not try one?

  • The 'Make £2,019 in 2019' challenge. Whether it's selling stuff, doing mystery shopping, completing surveys or working overtime, this thread has folk trying dozens of ways to boost their income. See Make £2,019 in 2019.

  • The 'Pay ALL your debt off by Xmas 2019' challenge. There are 100+ people (and counting) involved, encouraging each other with tips and support to pay off debt by Xmas 2019. Alternatively, get help in the Debt-Free Wannabe board.

  • The 'Bring your lunch to work' challenge. Say no to coffee shops and packaged sarnies. Instead, take a delicious meal from home and report back what you ate and what you saved. Bring your lunch to work. Forumite a_silver_lining says: "Day 1 done. I made a sandwich... something I have never done in 31 years. It was really nice."

  • The '50p Savers' challenge. Collect every 50p coin you get and save it for a goal, eg, a new driveway or removing a tattoo. See the 50p Savers Club. There's also the Sealed Pot Challenge, where you fill a box with change, seal it, store it, then open on 31 Oct in time for Christmas.

  • The 'Marie Kondo tidying' challenge. Join the popular KonMari 2019 thread, where fans of the Japanese tidying craze (it's featured on Netflix's Tidying Up With Marie Kondo) share tips to donate, sell or chuck everything that doesn't "spark joy".

  • The 'Frugal living' challenge. From making your own jam to charity shopping, it's all about Frugal living. Forumite mumof3.12kindebt had great success with last year's challenge: "Due to frugal living, we managed to clear £16,000 of debt this year, and saved a £5,000 emergency fund. We're debt-free."

There are too many challenges to list here, so see the 2019 Challenges Index for the full rundown.


MSE is hiring - we're looking for a Money Writer, Press Officer & User Support Executive. Based at MSE Towers in London. For these and more opportunities, see MSE jobs.

It's back. 10,000 bonus Virgin Atlantic miles via its credit card. For new customers who spend £1k in 90 days on its fee-free card - enough points for a one-way trip to New York (but you pay taxes, which can be £100-£200). Full analysis & options in Airline Credit Cards.

"Thank you Martin. Earlier this year I heard you talk about the SMI reduction in council tax. I eventually received a £990 rebate for my elderly father who has dementia."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Want an MSE Charity grant? Our charity's offering up to £7,500 each to organisations that aim to teach practical money and budgeting skills. Its latest grant-giving round - themed on 'raising the next generation' - opens for applications on 4 Feb. It's for projects that help children, young people and families - you can apply via its website and take a quiz to check if your organisation's eligible.



What is it appropriate to borrow for? When is it right or wrong? Are some things more acceptable than others, where is the line between flippant purchases and core needs, or is it more about long-term investment in your home or happiness? What is it appropriate to borrow for?

Those who cut back at Christmas still mostly enjoyed it. In light of Martin's recent viral video about banning unnecessary Xmas gifts, last week we asked if you cut back on Christmas this year - and if so, how you found it. Encouragingly, over half of the 3,600 respondents spent less, with the vast majority reporting their festive experience was 'as good as normal' or 'improved'. Parents with school-age children were most likely to have cut back. See full poll results.



Should I go back and pay for my train ticket? When catching a train there was no time for me to buy a ticket. The lady at the station said not to worry, I could buy one at my destination. However, when I arrived, the ticket office was closed, so I left without paying. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I go back and pay for my train ticket? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: What small DFW things will you do this week? 
- Competitions thread of the week: £10,000 + Cadbury Creme Eggs
- Old-Style board thread of the week: A simpler life 2019
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: MSE Pregnancy Club
- Discussion of the week: Plotting for an early retirement


Debenhams - free YSL foundation mini, choice of two
Topshop - 20% discount for students (norm 10%)
Coupon trick - get £3ish Viakal limescale remover for 75p 
Virgin Wines - £30 for six bottles of wine delivered
Homebuilding Show - free tix, incl Farnborough 19-20 Jan

Carluccio's - main courses 2for1 for £1 (every day)
Pizza Express - 2for1 on mains (Sun-Thu)
Prezzo - 2for1 on mains (Sun-Thu)
Domino's - 2for1 pizzas, collection only
KFC - free popcorn chicken, fries or wings via app

Asos - now 'up to 70% off'
John Lewis - further reductions
H&M - now 'up to 70% off'
M&S - now 'up to 60% off'
Office - now 'up to 70% off'

Quick Forum Tips

10 Whistlefish greetings cards for £8 -So-fish-ticated
3for2 on selected No7 products - Lucky number
Lidl weekend offers - A Lidl saving



Thu 17 Jan - Good Morning Britain - Deals of the Week, ITV, 7.40am
Fri 18 Jan - This Morning - Martin's Quick Deals, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 21 Jan - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 21 Jan - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again
Mon 21 Jan - The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm. See previous


Wed 16 Jan - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 18 Jan - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, Brexit latest
Mon 21 Jan - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Mon 21 Jan - BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 22 Jan - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: Can I put my savings into my young daughter's high-interest savings account to boost returns? Karen, via email. 

MSE Rosie's A: You can indeed, but it's morally questionable, as if everyone did it the rate would likely be pulled, hitting attempts to encourage kids to save. There are a couple of things you also need to be aware of.

Firstly, if you save your money in your child's name it'll belong to them, not you - so you might want to think carefully before doing so. Secondly, any money you (as a parent) give your child that earns over £100 in interest a year will be taxed at your income tax rate. However, since the introduction of the personal savings allowance (meaning basic-rate taxpayers can earn £1,000 of interest a year without paying tax on it) this isn't a factor for most.

If you do want to go for it, see Children's Savings for all the top accounts, including a 4.5% regular saver.

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



That's it for this week, but before we go.. the Martin Lewis Money Show this week featured the inspirational story of forumite please-let-me-be-lucky. In 2011 a motorcycle accident tragically left her husband with a severe brain injury - and at the time, they owed nearly £24,000 on credit cards. Thanks to her incredible perseverance, all while being a full-time carer, they're now debt-free. Read her diary telling the story of her amazing achievement in the forum thread Three choices - give up, give in or give all you've got.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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