Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

The MoneySaving Forum: join to chat & swap tips with other MoneySavers. Learn how in the Forum Introduction Guide


Share on:


Weekly Email
This email was sent
16th Mar 2016
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 This info may be out of date.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 March 2016
Martin's Briefing: 15 MoneySaving tips for couples
Switch energy or face fine & spam
Book hols car hire ASAP to save
27mths' totally FREE borrowing
Hotpoint tumble-dryer refund help
Amazon FLASH Easter sales
7.50 champagne trick
40mth 0% debt shift, lower 2.59% fee
Odeon 30% off cinema tickets
Railcards 20% off code
2,000 apps for free, eg, 8 Star Wars
Free 14 Ideal Home Show tickets
Buy holiday cash before EU vote?
Last chance: Free 125 bank switch
Next 50% off sale rumour

Martin's Weekly Briefing: For more tips, alerts & puns, follow Martin on Twitter

It takes two... 15 MoneySaving couples' tips

- Free 212 for 3.6 million couples
- Get 2for1 cinema tickets for a year for 2ish
- Partner can't shift debt to 0%? You can

Recently I've been swamped with successes from the new marriage tax allowance, which gives many couples a free 212. It got me thinking, what are the other benefits of being coupled up? So I've pulled together key twosome tips and perks - with some you need to be married, but most allow any MoneySavers to, ahem, do it together.

Must be married or civil partners
Just cohabiting doesn't do it, ONLY marriage (incl civil partners) counts.
1. Couples One of you a non-taxpayer, the other paying basic 20% tax? FREE 212. Over 3m couples are missing out on an easy, but under-publicised, tax break launched last April. It lets the non-taxpayer give 1,060 of their tax-free allowance to the taxpayer. This means 1,060 of income they were taxed on at 20% is now tax-free - a 212/yr gain. Apply now for this tax year, and get it for every year going forward.

As a rather flattering Debbie emailed: "Easy, we've a backdated refund and saving of 200+/yr. Who needs to win the lottery when you've Martin Lewis?" Full info & how to get it: Marriage Tax Allowance.
2. Full service breakdown cover, 42 for two. Our top-pick full service breakdown cover (ie, home start and onward travel) AutoAid is 42/yr and covers any car you drive, and spouses too, at no extra cost. A joint policy can also be cheaper than two single policies with the AA & RAC. See Cheap Breakdown Cover.
3. You can pass on your inheritance tax allowance. When you die everyone can leave an 'estate' (all property, savings, valuables) worth up to 325k without inheritance tax coming off it. Yet there's never tax on what you leave to your spouse if they live in the UK, and if you die, their allowance rises by the amount you didn't leave to others. So if you left them everything they could leave 650k tax-free. Inheritance Tax
For ALL couples - married or not
These work for all couples - and sometimes even just friends. But most need a TRUSTING financial relationship. Think very carefully before doing any that involve giving away your savings, or taking on others' debt. You may also like my five tips for a happy relationship blog too.
4. Get a 6,000 boost toward your first home together. If you're a first-time buyer, save in a Help to Buy ISA and the state will add 25% on top towards a mortgage deposit, up to a maximum 3,000. And if you're buying together, GET ONE EACH, so that's a maximum 6,000 (if one of you has owned before, the one who hasn't can still get one).

You're allowed to save 1,200 in month one and 200/mth after. Even if buying soon, it can still be worth it, as Laurence emailed: "Thanks to MSE, me & my partner both opened Help to Buy ISAs in December. [Now we're buying] we've got the min 1,600 each, and will get a total 800 bonus." Full FAQs and best buys in Top Help to Buy ISAs.
5. Yes, you can shift your partner's debts to your 0% card. If you've a better credit history than them & they've costly credit card debt, you may be able to do a 0% balance transfer for them. This is where you get a new card, preferably at 0% interest, that repays debts on old card(s) - so you owe it instead but at a far cheaper rate. Do this and the debt transferred becomes YOUR debt, not theirs.

A) First see if you really need to, ie, if they can do it themselves, by both using our balance transfer eligibility calc to show what cards you'll be accepted for without hitting your credit scores.

B) If you need to help them, officially some cards say you can only transfer from a card in your name. We asked the major firms with good deals if they allow it.Barclaycard is the pick of those that have confirmed they do - its longest card's up to 37mths 0%* with a 2.45% fee, or if you can pay off quicker, up to 20mths* with no fee, or up to 32mths 0%* for a low 0.72% fee. Ensure you clear the card before the 0% ends, or they jump to 18.9% rep APR. See major lenders' policies.

Balance transfer savings can be huge, as Paul emailed: "I'd never done a transfer before but thanks to your weekly email I transferred 6,900 onto a 0% credit card, saving me in excess of 1,500 interest at 16.9%."
6. Love is... getting a YEAR'S 2for1 cinema together for 2ish. This is all about our Meerkat Movies year's 2for1 for 2ish trick, letting you go together to most big cinemas on Tue & Wed but only pay for one. Andy found it easy: "Thanks, I got travel insurance for 2.50 and gained 2for1 cinema tickets for a year. No-brainer."
7. Unmarried? Your partner has no status under law - if you die they may not get the house or even the kids. Even if you've been together 37 years and have 6 kids, if you die will-less, in some circumstances your partner may have no rights over the home. It's worth checking out - see Cheap & Free Wills. Plus unmarried fathers may not automatically get the kids if the mother dies, unless the right forms have been filled in. See Parental responsibility.
8. Together, you can save up to 60,000 tax-free at 3% interest. Easily the best-paying savings vehicle for a decent whack is the Santander 123* bank account. It pays 3% interest if you've 3,000 to 20,000.

On your own you can only have one account, but couples can have THREE - one each, one joint, covering up to 60,000. Plus from 6 April, the new personal savings allowance means tax-free interest.

The account does have a 5/mth fee, but for most that's covered by the cashback it pays on bills. As Andy emailed: "Took your advice. Got a Santander 123 joint account then opened individual accounts for my wife and I. Estimate I've generated 2.5k per year. RESULT."

You need to ensure you pay 500/mth in to each, with 2 direct debits set up (if necessary, 1/mth to a charity). See Best Bank Accounts.
9. Love is... 33% off train fares. The Two Together Railcard gives the two named on the card 1/3 off fares if travelling together (after 9.30am weekdays). It usually costs 30, but there's currently a 20% off Two Together cards code. As Flo tweeted me: "@MartinSLewis Our Two Together Railcard paid for itself on one journey. Go me."

If you've kids and buy tickets for them, the Family & Friends Railcard (also with 20% off) is an alternative. See Cheap Train Tickets.
10. Free travel insurance for two with one joint bank account. The fee-free Nationwide FlexAccount* gives a decent free European travel insurance policy up to age 75 (good for older travellers when policies are expensive). And with joint accounts, you're both covered. So you could just add your partner, even if they won't use it, to get them free cover. Full info incl eligibility criteria in Nationwide FlexAccount info.

For straight cheap travel insurance, if you live in the same home, joint policies can be cheaper, especially if you're of similar age (as prices are age dependent). For one annual worldwide cover with winter sports policy I checked, it was 46 for a single person but just 83 for joint. Most joint policies let you travel separately, but always check.
11. Two drivers can be cheaper than one with car insurance. It may seem counter-logical, but adding a 2nd driver can bring insurance cost down, especially if the 2nd driver has a good record. This happens because they decrease the risk average (only put them as 2nd driver though - unless they're genuinely the primary driver, or it's fraud).

Usually this trick works best for younger people adding parents, then some can save 1,000s. But it can work for partners too as SouthoftheRiver posted: "Insurance renewal 800, added husband - 700". Full info and more tips, including cheap multi-car policies, in Cheap Car Insurance.
12. Love is... getting 5% cashback together for SIX months. Cashback credit cards pay you for spending on them. The big payer's Amex Everyday* (eligibility calc) at 5% cashback (max 100) for the first 3mths. Yet there is a way for couples to get six months at 5%.

Eg, Janet applies, making John 2nd cardholder, so both get the 5% cashback. After, John applies, making Janet 2nd cardholder, to bag another 3mths at 5%. Once they end, mainly use one person's card as the rate afterwards is tiered up to 1.25% depending on how much you spend - though spend at least 3,000 on each as that's the min to get ANY cashback.

Cashback can add up, as Mike tweeted: "330 cashback this month, just for using an Amex card for everyday stuff. Thanks @MartinSLewis :)". Ensure you set up a direct debit to repay IN FULL each month so there's no 22.9% rep APR interest wiping the cashback gain. Full help and how to use it in Top Cashback Cards. Also APR Examples.
13. Bigger saver? Put the savings in the lower taxpayer's name. From 6 April, basic-rate taxpayers can earn up to 1,000/yr savings interest tax-free under the new personal savings allowance (PSA) (higher-rate taxpayers 500). If you may go over, you can put some of your savings in the lower earner's name to max out the PSA and any tax paid above it. With joint accounts, interest earned is assumed split 50:50.
14. Boost your home-buying power with a joint mortgage. It's possible to take out a mortgage in just one name, meaning the other person's income isn't included, though the whole household expenditure may be. Buy together and pooled salaries will increase your buying power. Full info in our free First Time Buyers 2016 and Remortgage 2016 guides. For best deals use the Mortgage Comparison tool.
15. A warning... joint products link your credit file. When it comes to credit scoring, we are usually assessed as individuals. But sometimes you're linked, meaning their file can be taken into consideration.

This doesn't happen because of marriage or living together, but ONLY due to joint mortgages, loans, bank accounts and sometimes utility bills (note credit cards aren't included as they're 2nd cards, not joint). So with the tips above, don't get joint products if your partner has a bad history. See Boost your credit score.
Get friends on board the MoneySaving bandwagon

If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via

Act NOW to switch energy or be spammed and fined 320+/yr

The official CMA energy report... from now, unless on prepay, the ONLY way to get cheap deals is to switch

The big energy market shake-up was announced last week by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA). In a nutshell it means if you, like most people, are on a standard tariff, you're likely to be already massively overpaying, and that'll likely get WORSE. The best move is forget reading this, just do a quick & easy comparison now - don't worry, if you switch there's no break in supply, and if you're in credit you get that cash back. Yet if you want details...

  • Switch energyCompare & switch now, save 320/yr and stop the spam. The CMA wants competition so it'll allow energy firms to offer an unlimited number of tariffs (ie, charge different people vastly different amounts for the same thing). So the differential between cheap switchers' tariffs and ones non-switchers are on is likely to GET BIGGER than now - an apathy fine, and it's already big...

    - Avg Big 6 standard tariff (70% of people have these) on typical usage: 1,070/yr
    - Cost of the market's cheapest deal, on SAME usage: 750/yr

    - There's a wide choice, 12 firms offer switchers sub-800/yr tariffs

    For the best deals, take 5mins to compare & get cashback - you need your address, current tariff and usage (if not we'll estimate). The worst way, but better than nowt, is ask your current firm for a better deal. If not, and you've been on the standard tariff for 3+ yrs, the plan is you'll be put on a database (you can opt out) allowing all 37 energy firms access to your data to spam write to persuade you to switch. Full info: Energy shake-up.

  • Prepay users can save too - and their prices will be capped. For those on key- or card-meters, the CMA plans to cap the rates charged between 2017 and 2020, so those on the most expensive deals will typically pay 80-90/yr less. But there's no need to wait - do a prepay comparison now and you should be able to save...

    - Avg Big 6 standard prepay tariff on typical usage: 1,153/yr
    - Cost of the market's cheapest deal, on SAME usage: 1,025/yr

    As you can see, even the cheapest prepay tariff is far more expensive than the cheapest standard billing deal, so it's best, if possible, to switch to the latter. For full help on this see Cheap Prepaid Gas & Elec

Waiting months for Hotpoint tumble-dryer repair? 3 tricks to try. Alternative ideas for Hotpoint refunds.

Amazon FLASH Easter sales, eg, 110 necklace 30. New deals every day till 24 Mar. Details are sketchy, but we know of discounts on Fisher-Price toys and TV box-sets. Full analysis: Amazon deals.

7.50 champagne trick (min 6 bottles). Normally the well-rated Etienne Dumont bubbly sells for 18, but anyone can get it now for 10.50, or 7.50 if you're a Sainsbury's online newbie. How to get 7.50 champagne. Pls be Drinkaware.

New. Longest-EVER 40mth 0% debt shift now with lower 2.59% fee. Accepted new-cardholders can balance-transfer debt from existing cards to Virgin Money's* joint longest-ever 40mth 0%, for just a one-off 2.59% fee (min 3). Repay quicker? Halifax* is up to 23mths 0% NO FEE; Barclaycard* up to 32mths 0%, for a 0.72% fee. Will you get 'em? Use our balance transfer eligibility calc. Warning: Never miss a min repayment & clear before the 0% ends or they're all 18.9% rep APR. Full Info: Top Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Odeon 30% off cinema tickets code. Get as many codes as you want (works on most 2D films). Odeon deals

Railcards 20% code: Two Together, Family & Friends, Senior, 16-25. Makes them 24. Railcard code


- Thorntons Easter bundle 26 (was 45) via code Ends Sun

- 54 spring meat hamper 30 via code 2,000 avail


- Trick: 3.50 for many posh pies

- Do you need to pay the TV licence fee?

- Wombles make 250/mth from receipts on the floor

- 'I got 105-worth of shopping for 1.62.'

- Google warning: Many will only see ads

Car-pay diem: book holiday car hire NOW - slash costs up to 75%

If you're going away for Easter, half-term or summer, sort car hire now and for some it'll be less than 5/day

Holiday car hire done wrong can guzzle your budget quicker than a Ferrari on a fast lap, yet done right a week's rental can undercut a taxi to and from the airport. Full help in Cheap Car Hire, but to rev you up:

  • Car hireBook NOW for savings. Prices usually rise weekly as you near departure, so seize the Daewoo (sorry). Walk in midsummer and it can be 40 a day even for small cars, but book now and Malaga is 4/day for May half-term and 14.50 for Easter & summer. Tenerife 6/day half term, 16 Easter (as it's soon) and 10 summer.

  • Speedily find the cheapest with comparison sites. Skyscanner* (searches 50+ sites with lots of filters), & if time check TravelSupermarket*, Carrentals* & Kayak*.

  • Beware the excess insurance trap - save up to 80% sorting it now. Basic insurance is almost always included but when you collect you oft hear "hey seor, you'll need excess insurance too", a scare tactic to add an Astra-nomical up-to-25/day to the cost. Instead, get standalone excess insurance before you go for a fraction of the cost. First use the Moneymaxim* comparison, then check against these discounts: 1) Leisure Guard * with 20% off code MSE20; 2) Questor* with 20% code MSE2097; 3) This special Direct Car Excess Insurance* link with 15% code MSE2101; 4) Reduce My Excess* with 15% code MSE02 (select its deluxe option for similar cover).

    You're usually required to leave a 500+ credit (not debit) card deposit when you hire though. Lance tweeted: "@MartinSLewis Nearly overcharged but ended up just paying 2/day. Cheers bruv." See Excess insurance help.

  • Quick tips to cut costs further: To really drive down the cost...

    - Beware fuel policy stealth charges. Pick up full, return empty fuel policies can add 90+. See Beat fuel charge.
    - Get your DVLA code up to 21 days before. Though most overseas firms don't ask. See How to get DVLA code.
    - Book via a foreign website. If you're dead-set on a specific car hire firm, try booking via its overseas site.
    - Slash child-seat costs. Some charge 5+/day, yet there are ways to cut child-seat costs.
    - Turn mobiles into a free sat-nav. If it's got GPS, convert it into a free sat-nav for 178 countries.

2,000 apps for free, incl ALL in-app purchases, eg, 8 Star Wars, 12 Office Suite Pro. Android mobiles / Fire tablets only. Underground Apps

Free 14 Ideal Home Show London weekday tix or 2for1 any day. Show starts this Fri, runs for 17 days. We've 500 more free weekday tix to give away, and if you miss 'em or want to go weekends, get a 2for1. Free Ideal Home

The EU referendum's hit the pound, buy holiday cash NOW pre-vote? See Martin's Buy $ now? blog.

Free 125 bank-switch ending. Until Tue, switch to Halifax and it gives you 125 (100 after), plus 5/mth if you're in credit. Yet if service counts, First Direct (92% rate it 'great') gives 100, has a linked 6% regular savings account & a 250 0% overdraft. For a bigger bonus Clydesdale pays 150 and 2% interest. Full info: Best Bank Accounts.

Rumour: Next sale - 50% off this weekend? Forum Hottie. It's happening, exact date unconfirmed. Updates: Next.

Tell your friends about us

They can get this email free every week


Cheapest iPad Air for 249 (normally 319). The price has dropped to the lowest we've seen. Cheap iPads

Want to watch the Budget with Martin...? It's Budget day today (Wed). Watch it live with @MartinSLewis who'll be translating it into plain English - key top lines will be reported by @MoneySavingExp and go in MSE News.

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Is this your oldest PPI reclaim? After watching your programme I found info relating to a loan taken out in Sept 1982. Filled out the form, sent it to Barclays, got a cheque for 1,893. Thanks Martin."
There is no time limit on how far back you can go, as long as you've the info. See Reclaim PPI for free.

Thorntons Easter bundle 26 (was 45) via code. MSE Blagged. Incl eggs & bunnies. Thorntons

Get 27mths' totally FREE borrowing - nowt is cheaper

If you need to borrow, 0% purchase credit cards give way over 2 years' 0% - done right that means no cost to you

Credit cards are both the best and worst way to borrow. They're great if you've a planned purchase (eg, new sofa, car insurance) that's budgeted for, with comfortable repayments. They're a nightmare if you're just borrowing willy-nilly to fill gaps in your income - that leads to a credit dependency and can kill your finances. If you're going to borrow, then interest and fee-free is the way to go. A year ago the longest was 20mths 0%, now it's 27mths...

Top new-cardholder 0% spending credit cards

PROTECT YOUR CREDIT SCORE: Find the card you're most likely to get with our 0% eligibility CALC

Card Purchase deal Rep (1) APR after
Post Office* - longest 0% card 27mths 0% (2) 18.9%
Clydesdale* - next longest 0% 26mths 0% 18.9%
Sainsbury's Bank - long 0% with Nectar points on spending 25mths 0% 18.9%
Halifax* - longest 0% on spending AND shifted debts (3) 24mths 0% 18.9%
Tesco* - long 0% with Clubcard points on spending 21mths 0% 18.9%
Aqua* - longest 0% for poor credit scorers (pls read safety warnings) 4mths 0% 34.9%
(1) Means only 51% of accepted applicants need get this rate. (2) If you don't spend on it in first 3mths you get 16mths 0%. (3) Balance transfer fee 2.5% of amount transferred. Full info: 0% Cards & APR Examples.

  • Tip 1: Find which you're most likely to get. Applying leaves a mark on your credit file, even if you're rejected. Our 0% eligibility calc shows which top cards (not Sains or Tesco) you've best odds of getting, so you can home in on your best deal, protecting your credit file. Plus for the Aqua poor credit card above we can even tell you if you're 100% PRE-APPROVED for that exact deal (subject to passing its ID & fraud check).

  • Tip 2: Done a big one-off purchase? Set up a fixed direct debit to clear it before the 0% ends. For example, if you've spent 3,000 and have 27mths at 0% to pay it off, you need to pay 112/mth to clear it. Set up a direct debit for this amount (or standing order if the card provider won't allow set sums). Then it's like a 0% loan.

  • 0% Spending Card Golden Rules. Full help & ALL best buys: read 0% spending cards (APR Examples), in brief:
    a) Never miss or be late paying at least the monthly min, and stick within the credit limit, or you can lose the 0%.
    b) Plan to clear the card before the 0% ends (or do a balance transfer) or the rate jumps to the rep APR.
    c) These cards are usually ONLY cheap for spending, not balance transfers or cash withdrawals - so avoid.

54 spring meat-hamper for 30 via code. MSE Blagged. All free-range, outdoor-reared, outdoor-bred UK meat, incl horseshoe gammon, beef brisket, lamb rump, venison sausages & streaky bacon. Market Porter

Two 'free' Alton Towers tix via newspaper. Spend 6ish on papers, get up to 100ish of tickets. Alton Towers

Tint your hair with cabbage or bag 800 bank switch bonuses... See 13 Extreme MoneySavers.


Tell the Government how to make terms and conditions clearer. Many never bother reading T&Cs as they're too long, complicated or don't seem relevant. Now the Government wants to hear from you - what would make terms and conditions easier to digest? Take the survey, or tell us in the forum and we'll pass on your comments.


Are you loyal or a tart? When it comes to your money, loyalty doesn't pay. So are you loyal, or a tart - disloyally switching service providers to constantly bag the best deals?

How long have you been with your current main provider for each of these that are relevant..?

Sunday trading shunned: 20,648 voted in last week's poll. Some 77% of practising Christians believe in restricted Sunday trading, though this dropped to 60% for those who practise a non-Christian religion and 57% for those who practise no religion at all. See Sunday trading poll full results.


- Top story: Help to Save scheme to offer 1,200 bonus to low-paid workers

- Prepaid energy tariffs to be capped as competition watchdog sets out plans to shake up market


Should we ask the cleaner to pay for a new vacuum? Last week our cleaner broke our vacuum. It's hard to tell exactly how, but it wasn't that old and seemed in good shape. Would it be wrong to ask her to pay for a new one, or should we all just chip in ourselves? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should the cleaner pay for a new vacuum? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: The Extra Payment Every Week Thread 2016
- Competitions thread of the week: Luxury Devon Holiday
- Old-style board thread of the week: Does a bread-maker save money?
- Discussion of the week: Things left in your house when you moved in


- A bipolar spree aiming to spend 131 million

- The EU referendum's hit the pound. Should you buy euros and other holiday currency now for the summer?


- 7.50 champagne trick (min 6 bottles)


Thu 17 Mar - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch previous
Fri 18 Mar - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, time TBC. Watch previous
Fri 18 Mar - Ideal Home Show, 11am.
Sun 20 Mar - Ideal Home Show, 2pm.
Mon 21 Mar - This Morning, ITV, time TBC.
Mon 21 Mar - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast


Wed 16 Mar - Share Radio, 11.20am
Thu 17 Mar - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.20pm
Tue 22 Mar - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm


Q: Should I include regular overtime in my income when I apply for credit? How do lenders verify my income? Andy, via Twitter.

MSE Helen's A: Application forms usually ask for your total annual income, so this would include regular overtime pay.

With loans and credit cards, what you've entered on the form is usually verified by comparing it with the cash going through your bank account (via credit reference agency checks) and also with what you've put on previous applications. Mortgages are much more stringent, and will ask you for payslips, and to break the overtime out. If it's not guaranteed overtime, a mortgage lender may only take 50% of the total into account when working out how much they'll lend you.

If a lender's unsure, or something looks odd with the income you've put, it may ask you for payslips to prove your income - so only put down a figure you can back up.

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

The Pringles hook and other wacky inventions

That's it for this week, but before we go, check out this thread from the forum: "Making kids' inventions a reality". An artist from Sunderland got 450 children to draw their own invention ideas, then asked local manufacturers to make some of them into real, wacky gadgets. Here are some of the results, including the superfast tennis ball, the family scooter and the very practical Pringles hook.

We hope you save some money,
Martin & the MSE team

Get The Free Weekly Moneysaving Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out

Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out