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Weekly Email
This email was sent
17th May 2017
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 This info may be out of date.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."

17 May 2017
Halve broadband cost or treble speed - incl hot Sky and BT deals
New. Triple bank-switch bonus: FREE £130 + £10/mth + 3%
Check your financial CV now
50+ big fat MoneySaving wedding tips
John Lewis is KNOWINGLY undersold
Ending. Top 0% card + £25 in Nectar pts
The food aisles where supermarkets hide bargains
47-plant bundle for £15 all-in
M&S 20% off - trick to get it
Urgent. Register by Mon to vote
FREE Ideal Home Manc & Glas tix
Help out at election and get paid
Designer sunnies 25% off, incl £60 Ray-Bans
25% off wine, prosecco + champers
Ends Thu. Top high-use BT Sim
Karen Millen rare 25% off EVERYTHING

HALVE your broadband cost or treble the speed

- New. Sky b'band and line rent for just £10/mth
- Ending. BT fibre (3x normal speed) and line for equiv £17/mth all-in
- Many can save OVER £300 A YEAR by switching

BroadbandThe key to cheap broadband is to snap up short-lived promo deals, and right now there are two corkers. As always they come with line rental, and as that's far cheaper than getting broadband alone, you could just not plug in the phone.

The possible savings are huge, as many don't realise how much they're shelling out already. So here are the typical prices of the big firms' standard contracts including line...

- BT: £41/mth (£492/yr) or £47.50/mth (£570/yr) on fibre broadband
- TalkTalk: £25.50/mth (£306/yr) or £32/mth (£384/yr) on fibre broadband
- Sky: £29/mth (£348/yr) or £39/mth (£468/yr) on fibre broadband
- Virgin Media: Up-to-100Mb fibre £40/mth (£480/yr)

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

1. New. Code for Sky newbies gets b'band & line for '£10.33/mth' (£124/yr). MSE Blagged. Grab a code via this Sky link* and apply by Fri 26 May for a 1yr deal offering up-to-17Mb speed broadband with unlimited downloads.

- It's only for those who've not had Sky in the last 12mths. If you fit the bill it's available to 90% of the UK - you're told if you can get it when applying. (Existing Sky customers see how to haggle below.)
- Half-price line rental. Usually £18.99/mth, here £9.50/mth fixed for the year. Call costs are a touch more than BT - see Sky call costs.
- 'Free' broadband for a year. After the contract it's £10/mth.
- You pay £9.95 router delivery and £5 (that's refunded) card verification.
- No line/switching from cable? There's a £20 new line fee.

Cost analysis: With the router cost it works out £10.33/mth before calls (and line fee if needed).
2. Ends Thu. BT fibre b'band & line pay £408/yr but get £200 back so equiv £17.32/mth. Fibre broadband is much faster and good for heavy downloading, streaming, gaming or multiple users. Apply before the end of Thu via this BT link* and you get up-to-52Mb fibre (3x normal speed) on a 1yr contract...

- It's for anyone not currently on BT broadband. So just a BT line for calls is fine. If you fit the bill, 83% of the UK can get it - you're told if you can when applying. (Existing BT broadband customers see how to haggle below.)
- Standard BT line rental, currently £18.99/mth. Weekend calls to UK landlines are included - for others, see BT call costs.
- Fibre broadband £10/mth for the year. After the contract ends you pay its standard rate, currently £28.50/mth.
- £59.99 set-up. Incl activation and 'free' router p&p.
- Get £200 on a prepaid Mastercard but you MUST claim it. This is what makes the deal hot, but as BT won't remind you, diarise to use this Mastercard claim link within 3 months of activation (the card takes up to 30 days after to arrive).
- What if BT hikes prices? Sadly they can, but you can leave penalty-free if that happens and keep the Mastercard.

Cost analysis: It's £407.87 over the year before calls. But claim & use the Mastercard (anywhere that takes Mastercard so it's almost as good as cash) & it's £207.87, equiv to £17.32/mth.
3. 10 ways to haggle down broadband costs, but for you we'll do it in 9. Sticking is easier, especially if you're happy with service. Luckily big broadband firms have some of the easiest call centres to haggle with. In our last poll 87% of you said you'd had success haggling with Sky, 78% with BT.

Like Shelly, who wrote: "Thanks to your suggestions, we haggled a much better deal with Sky - replaced ordinary broadband with fibre and are now paying £15/mth less."

For full details see our How to haggle down your broadband guide, but here's a taster of 9 quick tips.

i) The best time to do it is when you're near the end of your contract.
ii) Check out competitors' prices first using our Cheap Broadband guide.
iii) Mention anything that's annoyed you such as price hikes or poor service.
iv) Use phrases that pay such as "It's out of my budget" or "I want to stick with you but my partner doesn't - can you help?" See full Phrases that pay.
v) Be firm and polite, not angry; you're trying to charm them into a discount.
vi) THE BIGGIE: Say if the deal isn't good enough you'll have to leave. That way you get put through to 'disconnections' - its real name is customer retentions, their job is to keep you. See Retention tricks.
vii) If at first you don't succeed, try another day - rumours are they work on quotas.
viii) Don't call in lunch hours: that's often when they're really busy.
ix) If the deal really isn't good enough, do consider actually leaving.
4. Check if your broadband speed is fast enough. Do a free 2-min speed test* to see how speedy your broadband actually is (try at different times of day for the best picture).

If you're signing up to a new provider, it's tricky to know what speed you'll actually get. There's a rule that only 10% of customers need to get advertised 'up to' speeds, though this is currently under review. Some providers give you a minimum speed at sign-up, and if you get speeds "significantly below" that, you may be able to leave penalty-free.

To find out your rights, see our Testing Your Broadband Speed guide.
5. 14 tricks to boost your broadband speed. Little things can make a big difference. Try moving your router or boosting your signal with a free widget. See Broadband Speed Boosting Tricks.
6. What does 'available to XX% of the UK' mean? Firms tend to be only able to give really cheap prices if they have their own kit in the exchange cabinets on the streets - called 'unbundled exchanges'. Otherwise the service isn't usually available, or it's at a much higher price - you're told during sign-up.
7. Is cashback possible? Members of top cashback sites may be able to get bigger cashback through them. It's worth checking, though do compare like-with-like, eg, check the prices and contract lengths are the same - you may find you get more cashback but are locked in for longer.

Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

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New. Triple treat bank-switch: Free £130 + free £10/mth + 3% interest

TSB has just launched one of the best bank switch-and-stay bribes we've seen this year - over £250 for many

TSB's rejoined the fight for your custom with three whopping incentives, giving over £250 to many if you switch and stay. We never tire of saying it - switching's easy and takes just seven working days, plus the new bank closes your old account, switches direct debits and standing orders for you and auto-forwards all payments sent to the old account...

  • TSBNew. TSB 3-in-1 deal. To get it you need to be a new customer applying via this TSB Classic Plus* link (not direct) or you don't get the £130 element. It does well in our customer service polls, with 63% saying it's great. For those who have cookie blockers (if you don't know what one is, you probably don't) do switch it off before clicking or it may stop it tracking.

    - Free £130 for switching. To get it you must use its switching service, pay in £500 within 28 days and transfer two or more direct debits that have paid out in the last 13 months.
    - Up to £10/mth cashback. Register for internet banking and until June 2018 it pays £5/mth cashback as long as you've 2+ monthly direct debits paying out. Plus get a further £5 every month you make 20 debit card transactions (you can always split up your supermarket shop to do this if needed).
    - 3% AER variable interest on up to £1,500. To get this just register for internet banking, go paperless and pay in £500 a month (eg, your salary). With the max amount you'd earn £44/year.

  • The competition... Here are two top picks for comparison - for a full rundown though see our Best Bank Accounts guide. As with TSB, you're credit-checked when you apply and need to use their switching services.

    - Free £125, top service, 5% regular saver. Apply via this First Direct* link and you get £125 (£100 if you apply direct). It's won every customer service poll we've ever done, 90% rate it 'great'. Plus you get a £250 0% overdraft and access to its 5% fixed regular saver. The account's free if you pay in £1,000/mth - if not, it's £10/mth.

    - Free £125 M&S gift card + £5/mth for a year, 5% regular saver. M&S Bank* gives switchers a £125 M&S gift card, access to its 5% fixed regular savings account and a £100 0% overdraft. Also, for the first year, it'll add £5/mth to the gift card if you pay in at least £1,000/mth. You need to switch 2+ direct debits and keep them active for the £5/mth.


Revealed: John Lewis is KNOWINGLY undersold. See our full investigation: Knowingly undersold.

Ends Sun. Longest-EVER 31mth 0% spending card + free £25 of Nectar pts. If you need to borrow, done right nothing's cheaper than 0%. Accepted new Sainsbury's Bank (eligibility calc / apply*) cardholders get 31mths' 0%. PLUS apply by 11.59pm Sun to get 5,000 bonus Nectar pts worth £25, if you spend 4 times at Sainsbury's in the first month. For more options, incl £30 cashback, see Top 0% Spending Cards (APR Examples). Warning: Only borrow if it's planned & budgeted, never miss a min repayment & clear before the 0% ends or it's 18.9% rep APR.

The food aisles where supermarkets hide top bargains. Up to 80% off herbs, spices, sauces & more. We've uncovered more supermarket secrets after last week revealing bargains in the baby aisle.

47-plant bundle £15 all-in (norm £92). MSE Blagged. For containers, incl tomato, begonia & petunia. 2,500 avail. Thompson & Morgan

M&S 20% off codes - for Sparks custs & possible trick for others. Valid on clothing, beauty & homeware from Thu. M&S 20% off

Urgent. You MUST be registered by Mon to vote in the general election. It's the most important consumer decision you can make - register here to ensure your voice is heard. Young people are least likely to, so we've teamed up with campaigners Bite The Ballot's National Voter Registration Drive to get more 18-24yr-olds signed up. Reasons to register



- Sky broadband & line '£10.33/mth' Ends Fri 26 May

- 47-plant bundle £15 all-in (norm £92) 2,500 avail

- Designer sunnies 25% off code Ends Sun

- Karen Millen rare 25% off EVERYTHING code Ends Sun

- £60 Ocado shop for £45 + free 1yr del pass Ends Fri 26 May


- Are Premium Bonds still worth it?

- 'Thought I didn't have PPI but was owed £5k'

- Trick to find your cheapest forecourt

- Free £20 + cheap overseas spending

- Ten ways to slash overdraft costs


Martin's financial self-defence class
You have a financial CV, but someone else writes it - CHECK YOURS

Your credit report is a financial CV, even small errors kill applications - do you know what yours says about you?

Every grown-up has a financial CV, but it's not one you prepare yourself. If wrong it can kill your ability to get a cheap mortgage, mobile phone contract, 0% credit card, monthly car insurance, cheap energy and more. Everyone needs to know what their report says - yet I'm staggered that most of you have never checked it. Time to change that...

  • Credit clubYour credit report (or file) is your financial CV. Lenders use it when you apply for anything remotely resembling credit - even renting is gradually being brought into it. There are three main credit reference agencies and each prepares its own report. Check at least one, and preferably all of them, EVERY YEAR and before any major credit application.

  • How to check FOR FREE. The law says the agencies must let you check yours for £2, but you can get it for free by going elsewhere (or signing up for 'free' trials with 'em and then cancelling). Here's how for each agency...

    - Experian - used by the most lenders: You can get a copy of its credit report, updated monthly, by joining our free MSE Credit Club. And while there you also get your Credit Score, Affordability Score, my unique Credit Hit Rate measure and info on how to improve your score. Have a play, we're rather proud of it.

    - Equifax - the other major agency: Its file is the one you're shown at Clearscore.

    - Callcredit - newest agency: You can check its file at Noddle.

    The files show your accounts for the last 6yrs, which firms have searched you, who you're linked to and more. Check line by line - even small errors can hurt. I've seen a mortgage rejected due to a wrong address for an old mobile.

  • How to fix credit report errors. First contact the credit reference agency - it'll liaise with lenders for you. If the lender disputes it, write a notice of correction. It slows applications but can help. After that make a formal complaint to the lender; if it won't listen, you can escalate it - see full how to fix credit report errors info.

  • Don't confuse your credit report with a credit score. The latter is something agencies do to roughly show if a lender's likely to see you as good or bad risk. While interesting, it's not the be-all and end-all, as each lender is different. Plus credit scores don't factor in your income, so even the best scorer will be rejected if they can't afford to repay.


20,000+ FREE Ideal Home Show Manchester and Glasgow tix. Norm £12-£16 each. Free Ideal Home Show

Help out on election day (and get paid). Councils need help running polling stations and counting votes, plus they'll pay £100+. How to be a poll clerk

Designer sunnies 25% off code, eg, Ray-Bans £60. MSE Blagged. Ltd stock, ends Sun. Sunglasses Shop

25% off wine, prosecco and champagne. When you buy 6+ bottles at Tesco (incl sale items) or M&S. Corking. (Pls be Drinkaware.)

Ends Thu. Heavy-use BT Sim + £90 Amazon/iTunes vch for £12/mth for BT b'band custs (equiv £4.50/mth if you factor in the vch). Get 6GB (4G) data, unltd mins & texts via this BT link* on a 1yr contract - ensure you click 'I have BT broadband' when applying. Annoyingly, you must claim the vch within 3mths, so use this voucher claim form from 2wks after activation. It's then sent within 45 days. If you don't have BT b'band or switch away it's £17/mth (equiv £9.50/mth with vch) - which can be beaten. See Cheap Sim-only Deals for more.

Rare Karen Millen 25% off EVERYTHING code. MSE Blagged. Incl sale, online & in stores. Ends Sun. Karen Millen


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50+ big fat MoneySaving wedding tips

How to say 'I do' to the one you love... not to £1,000s of debt

We're heading into peak wedding season and love is in the air. But the average wedding costs a heartbreaking £25,000, so for many the big day doesn't come cheap. We wanted to Pippa you to the post with our 50+ Cheap Wedding Tips to help - here are six to get you started (and why not send this to engaged couples you know?):


£60 Ocado shop for £45 + free delivery for a year. MSE Blagged. Newbies only. Via 25% off code, also gets 10% off some brands. Ocado code

'Freebie' with every Ikea purchase is back. From hot dogs to furniture, or a holiday in Sweden, EVERYONE gets something. Last time Emma told us: "I got a £750 voucher - bought a lovely new table & chairs." Ikea 'freebies'

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Just got my home insurance down from £838 to £146. Have been letting it renew for years without bothering - so thanks for making us see sense."

Free £4ish pint of lager or 500ml bottle of cider at 900 pubs. Stella, Carling or Rekorderlig available at Punch Taverns in Eng and Wales via mobile voucher. Pls be Drinkaware.



How many passwords do you have? Cybersecurity has been in the news this week following the terrible worldwide malware attack that hit the NHS particularly hard. It's a reminder for us all to ensure we're cyber and password-safe.

Click here to tell us how many passwords you have

Your key issues for the MSE Leaders' Debate. The leaders of the seven major political parties have agreed to take part in our 'leaders' debate'. Results from last week's poll, where we asked you what consumer topics you wanted them to be quizzed on, reveal your key issues are pensions, social care and income and tax. See the full debate poll results.



- Top story: Tax-Free Childcare website hit by 'intermittent' technical issues

- Ofgem postpones energy 'switching database' plans

- Three to extend 'Feel At Home' offer - but some WILL still pay to use data in EU after roaming charges 'ban'

- Cold-calling firm Keurboom fined record £400,000 by watchdog

- New energy heavyweight promises to 'roll over' customers onto cheapest deal when tariff ends



Should I ask my flatmate's girlfriend to chip in more? My flatmate has his girlfriend round a lot, which I don't have a problem with. We often cook and eat together, buy drinks for the flat etc, but she rarely contributes - only my flatmate does. I don't want to make it awkward but I think she should contribute more often as she eats and drinks as much as any of us. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I ask my flatmate's girlfriend to chip in more? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Budgeting with an unenthusiastic husband
- Competitions thread of the week: Win tickets to Hope & Glory Festival, Liverpool
- Old-style board thread of the week: When you were younger, how many children did you want to have?
- Discussion of the week: How much do you save?


- The food aisles where supermarkets hide top bargains



Thu 18 May - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Fri 19 May - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, time TBC. View previous


Wed 17 May - BBC Radio Cumbria, 'Money Talks', from 6pm
Thu 18 May - BBC Radio Tees, 10.35am
Fri 19 May
- BBC South West stations, breakfast
Tue 23 May - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm



Q: I bought a digital piano which became faulty after only three days, and I complained to the retailer within 30 days of purchase to say I wanted a refund. He is telling me to back off and insisting it's up to him to prove the item is fine. Is he right? Vera, via email

Megan FrenchMSE Megan's A: It's not black and white but he's certainly not 100% correct. By law, if you request a full refund within 30 days of purchase (known as 'the short-term right to reject'), technically it's YOUR responsibility to prove the item's faulty. Yet if he wants to try to prove it himself, he can.

If there's any disagreement though and you can't reach a resolution, it could ultimately be up to a court to decide.

It's different if you instead ask for a repair or replacement within six months of purchase. Here, a 'reverse burden of proof' exists, and it would be up to the trader to prove it was fine. See our Consumer Rights guide for more info.

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


'Would you WEAR an Ikea bag?'

That's it for this week but before we go, there's no shopping bag more iconic than the 40p Ikea holdall - a designer lookalike surfaced last month with a staggering $2,000 price tag. Now creative types are 'upcycling' the bags into hats, shoes, wallets and even G-strings. (Wear at your own risk - of chafing.) See the full range and suggest your own ideas in our 'Upcycling the Ikea bag' Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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