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Weekly Email
This email was sent
18th Nov 2015
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 This info may be out of date.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."

18 November 2015
Martin's Briefing: Super-cheap fast BT fibre b'band - and 'boost your speed' tips
The Christmas Deals Predictor 2015
New 32mth 0% 'loan'
"Received £481, thanks" - are you missing AI Scheme (Sentinel) payout?
Buy 20% off gift cards now, use Jan
Hot Diamonds 35% off & 'free' necklace
Ends TUE: Nectar in-store double-up
Free £150 bank switch ending
Ends TODAY: Amazon Prime £59
Free Santa letters
30 personalised Xmas cards £13
'Free' £5 with £10 Amazon gift card
£27 off free-range turkey bundle
2 Spode 'Christmas tree' mugs £8
50,000 free Megabus tickets
Free Thorntons chocolate lolly

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

Ends today: Super-cheap fast BT fibre b'band

- A YEAR'S BT line & fibre b'band for £285 plus get a £100 Sains vch
- A YEAR'S Plusnet line & standard b'band for £111 (equiv £9.24/mth)
- How Sky, Virgin and TalkTalk custs can leave or slash £100s off costs

Broadband's now an essential utility like energy or water, and it costs almost as much too. Standard deals with BT, Sky & TalkTalk are all £300+ a year all-in. So the key to saving is grabbing short-lived hot promo deals.

The results can be powerful, eg, Stuart tweeted: "So pleased I moved - £270/yr cheaper and faster too." And even our energy analyst MSE Fraser's mum told us: "Switched from BT to Sky, now saving £540/yr - unbelievable." There are full options in our Cheap Broadband guide, but here are my key need-to-knows...

ENDS TODAY (Wed). Top fast FIBRE b'band & line deal, £285/yr from BT after cashback, plus £100 Sains vch. Factor that in & it's equivalent to £15.44/mth.

For once BT's blitzing the best-buys with a 1-year contract line rental & unlimited up-to-38Mb Infinity fibre broadband deal (avail to 75% of the UK - you're told when applying). Yet current BT broadband customers sadly CAN'T get it. Here's how to do it... (BT itself doesn't communicate this well, but it does work.)

1. Sign up by 11.59pm Wed. Go via this specific BT link*.
2. Opt to pay line rent upfront during application (if you can afford to). It's £194.28 for 1yr (equiv £16.19/mth). If not, it's £17.99 monthly.
3. Fibre b'band's £10/mth during the 1yr contract. There's also a £39 activation fee, plus a 'free' BT Infinity Hub router, though you pay £6.95 p&p. If you stay after the contract the broadband jumps to £23/mth.
4. MSE Blagged. It sends a cheque for £75 within 30 days of installation. We've blagged that if you use the link above you get cashback (if you've ad or cookie blocking software, turn it off or it mightn't track).

After the cashback, the total's £285.23 for the year, equivalent to £23.77/mth (£306.83 if you pay line rent monthly - equiv £25.57/mth).

5. You can CLAIM a £100 Sainsbury's in-store gift card. At least 5 days after installation fill in this online claim form* to get it and it'll be sent within 30 days. Do make a diary note with a copy of this link - it WON'T remind you.

If you were going to spend that at Sainsbury's anyway, factor it in and it's £185.23/yr, equivalent to £15.44/mth - cheaper than BT standard line rent alone. (It's £206.83 if you pay line rent monthly - equiv £17.24/mth.)

- What about calls? Wknd calls to UK landlines included - see BT costs.
- No line/switching from cable? Installation is free.
- Want BT Sport? Lite's included - the full shebang with all sports channels is £5/mth or free with TV.

PS. Virgin’s £224 for a year deal is cheaper if you don't factor in the Sains voucher, and you're in a Virgin area and happy to switch to cable.
ENDS TUE. Top standard line & broadband, £111 for a year (after cashback), from BT-owned Plusnet - equiv £9.24/mth.

Plusnet (part of BT) does well in our cust service polls (69% rate it 'great', 7% 'poor'). This 1yr contract deal's avail to 90% of the UK (it'll tell you during application). You can't get it if you're already specifically with Plusnet (or were during the last month). Here's what to do.

1. Sign up by 11.59pm Tue 24 Nov.
Go via this specific Plusnet link*.
2. Opt to pay line rent upfront during application (if you can afford to). It's £185.88 for 1yr (equiv £15.49/mth). If not, it's £16.99 monthly.
3. Unltd up-to-17Mb broadband's included free during the contract.
After, it jumps to £9.99/mth or £17.49/mth depending where you live.
4. MSE Blagged. It sends a cheque for £75 within 60 days of activation. We've blagged that if you use the link above you get this cashback (if you've ad or cookie blocking software, turn it off or it mightn't track).

So after the cashback the total cost's £110.88 for the year, equiv to just £9.24/mth (£128.88 if you pay line rent monthly, equiv £10.74/mth).

- What about calls? None included - see Plusnet call costs.
- No line/switching from cable (or some Sky custs)? Installation's £49.99.
- Need a router? There's an optional 'free' one avail, but p&p's £6.99.

PS. TalkTalk's £198 for a year + £100 Love2Shop vch deal is slightly cheaper if you factor in the voucher as cash. Yet its customer service review is substantially worse, and that was before the recent hack.
Plus 9 cheap broadband tips and tricks
1. You no longer need to contact your old provider to switch. It was a faff, but new rules since June mean (unless Virgin's involved) it's your new supplier's responsibility to inform your old one you're leaving. Switching usually takes two weeks, and service shouldn't be disrupted. See switching help FAQs.
2. 14 tricks to boost your CURRENT broadband speed. If speeds seem slow, first do a 2-min speed test*. Then see our 14 Broadband Speed Boosting Tricks to see if you can boost the way it works.
3. Free TalkTalk upgrade to try to stop you taking a WalkWalk. TalkTalk's taken huge flak after the high-profile hack last month - from 1 Dec it'll offer all customers a free upgrade, eg, TV content such as movies & sport, a free Sim, or unlimited calls. We'll assess it when full info's out. If you still want to leave TalkTalk find out if you can quit penalty-free.
4. Urgent. Ditch your Sky & Virgin contract penalty-free. If you're out of contract you can always leave penalty-free. Yet right now as Sky & Virgin are hiking most costs, most customers have an option to leave penalty-free within 30 days of being notified (or use it as an excuse to haggle). See our Virgin price hikes and Sky price hikes full help.
5. "I was paying £100/mth for TV, b'band & phone. I haggled - it's now £57." If you're happy with your provider and nearing end of contract, try to haggle, as Lee did: "Thanks Martin. I was paying £100/mth for broadband, TV, and phone - after one polite phone call I now pay £57/mth for the same." See our haggling guides for Sky, Virgin, BT, TalkTalk & Plusnet. For other providers, see Broadband Haggling.
6. Slash BT Sport costs. BT Sport now shows the Champions League, some FA Cup and Premier League games. For BT customers it's £5/mth, but for BT fibre users there's a trick to get it for £10 FOR A YEAR. For Sky customers it's £20/mth, our switch broadband for cheap BT Sport note may cut your costs.
7. Don't expect the advertised speed. Shockingly, when providers promise 'up to' speeds the rules say only 10% of customers need actually get that speed. Yet during the sign-up process most providers give you an estimated actual speed tailored to where you live. You can also use Streetstats* to tell you what other people near you get from each provider.
8. Sorry, but you'll pay MORE for broadband with no phone line. 51% of people we polled say they don't use a home phone. Yet while there are some b'band-only deals, they usually cost more than getting a line too - so you may as well get a line even if you don't plug a phone in.
9. What's all this "available to 90% of UK" stuff? Firms tend to be only able to give the really cheap prices if they have their own kit in exchanges (I'm oversimplifying, it's called 'unbundled exchanges'). Otherwise it's usually either not available, or at a much higher price.

NEW. MONDAY 8PM, ITV. "The Martin Lewis Money Show" IS BACK

Each show in this fifth series is driven by roadshows I've just done across the UK, focusing on the most common questions, eg, Help to Buy ISAs, student finance and this week bank switching for free cash & top savings. Plus Xmas deals predictions, Scrooge's Quizmas Carol and a new savvy shortcuts slot.

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


It's BACK. The Christmas Deals Predictor 2015

We've analysed 5yrs of deals so you can pounce on big bargains, eg, Soap & Glory bundle, 20% Selfridges code

It's back for a third year... our Christmas Deals Predictor shows the big deals we think are coming this Christmas at major retailers such as M&S, Asos & Boots, including Black Friday and the early Jan sales. The aim's simple: it helps you work out for things ON YOUR LIST whether you should hold off and when to be ready to pounce to bag the lowest price.


Ends Sun: Buy 20% off gift cards NOW for Jan sales. 20% off on a range - Monsoon, iTunes, New Look & more. As they're all valid for at least a year, you can buy now, then use in sales for a double boon. Gift Card Trick.

Hot Diamonds 35% off code incl up to 70% sale + spend £75, get 'free' £60 necklace. MSE Blagged. This can lead to strong deals, eg, £180ish gold earrings & pendant £76 all-in, plus get the necklace. Hot Diamonds

Ends Tue: Nectar double-up in Sainsbury's incl toys & Tu. From today (Wed) until Tue, each 1,000 Nectar points is convertible into £10 (norm £5) of vchs for toys, Taste Diff wine, Tu clothes, Xmas goods & more. Nectar x2

Free £150 bank switch is ending. Clydesdale*/Yorkshire* pay by far the biggest account switching bonus, but they've announced it'll stop on 30 Nov. They also pay 2% interest on up to £3,000 in it. Want top service? First Direct* pays £100, has a £250 0% overdraft, 6% linked savings & has won every service poll we've done. Full help & eligibility info: Top Bank Accounts.

Amazon Prime £59 for a year (norm £79) till 11.59pm today (Wed). Anyone who's not currently got Prime can get a year of its next-day deliv & streaming video service for £59. See £59 Prime. Related: Reclaim £79 Prime.

MSE is recruiting a new Editor-in-Chief. Martin's now our Executive Chairman (though is temporarily acting Editor-in-Chief) so we're recruiting for this new role to lead the 40-strong editorial team day-to-day. Editor-in-Chief Job Ad



- BT line & fibre broadband £285 for a year after cashback & £100 Sains vch. Ends: 11.59pm Wed 18 Nov

- Plusnet line & standard broadband £111 for a year after cashback. Ends: 11.59pm Tue 24 Nov

- 2 Spode mugs for £8 all-in. Ends: 11.59pm Sun 22 Nov

- 30 personalised Xmas cards £13 all-in. Ends: 31 Jan 2016

- £61.50 free-range Christmas turkey bundle. 2,000 available

- Replace your specs' lenses for £10. Ends: 29 Feb 2016


- Hidden British Gas £270/yr saving

- Why women may lose out with state pension

- Longest no-fee balance transfer card

- Free £100 gift card for Jan sales

- "Home ins renewal £866, I got it £183"


New. 32mth 0% 'loan' - lowest fee we've ever seen

This new 0% 'money transfer' credit card pays cash into your bank account, so it works as a loan, but at 0%

A glossary first. A 0% balance transfer credit card lets you shift existing card debts to it so you owe it at 0% instead. A few specialist cards also allow 0% money transfers, where you can pay cash directly to your bank to use as a loan, or clear an overdraft, then owe the card at 0%. Full help & options in Top Money Transfers, here are the headlines:

  • Money transferNew. 32mth 0% money transfer, just 1.69% fee. Accepted new Virgin Money* (eligibility calc) cardholders can both balance transfer & money transfer at 32mths 0% for a one-off fee of 1.69% of the amount shifted - the lowest money transfer fee we ever remember.

    If you need longer, or aren't sure how long you need, another new Virgin Money* (eligibility calc) is 36mths 0% on both but for a slightly higher 2.39% fee. After the 0% ends, both cards are 18.9% rep APR on balance transfers and 20.9% rep APR on money transfers.

  • Money transfer 'loans' are 80% cheaper than the cheapest standard loans. Money transfer loans tend to be best for sub-£3,000 due to the credit limits given. Luckily, this is the range where normal loan costs are hideous, eg, the cheapest standard £2,000 3-yr loan is 7.2% rep APR. Borrow that over the term and you'd pay £236 in interest, do the same on the 36mth Virgin card and you'd pay just £48. For the cheapest for larger amounts see the Cheap Loans guide.

  • The Money Transfer Golden Rules. If in doubt please read full step-by-step in the Money Transfers guide.

    a) If you're doing new borrowing, be careful - ensure it's needed & budgeted for and you're sure you can repay it.
    b) Don't just apply - it marks your credit file. Use the Money Transfer Eligibility Calc for acceptance odds first.
    c) Ask the card provider first to "do a money transfer to my current account". Don't withdraw cash to do it.
    d) Never miss min monthly repayments & ensure you clear the debt before the 0% ends or the rate will rocket.
    e) Don't assume all cards offer this - most don't & it'll cost large. And don't spend/withdraw cash - that's costly.
    f) To truly replicate a loan, ask the card firm to fix payments so you're sure to clear it within the 0%.

Money transfer

Free Santa letters (or Braille letter for blind children). Santa and his elves at Royal Mail & RNIB will reply for free (stamp needed). Deadlines and full info here: Free Santa Letters

30 photo personalised Xmas cards £13 code (next cheapest £24). MSE Blagged. 3for1 on 10-packs. Cards

New. Buy £10 Amazon gift card, get a 'free' £5 gift card trick. Read our Deals Hunters' Amazon free £5 trick.

£27 off free-range Christmas turkey bundle code. MSE Blagged. All UK meat, outdoor-bred and reared, incl 5-5.5kg turkey (feeds 8-10), chipolatas, sausage meat, bacon & goose fat - £62 after code. Bigger avail. Market Porter

2 Spode 'Christmas tree' mugs £8 delivered (usually c.£25). MSE Blagged. Other options too. Spode deals


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50,000 'free' Megabus tix (50p booking fee). Jan and Feb trips in Eng, Wales, Scotland & Europe. Coach deals

Totally FREE Thorntons chocolate lolly (norm £1ish). Via in-store code (good stocking filler). Free Thorntons

Two-week Help to Buy ISAs countdown. Full help in Top Help to Buy ISAs (though no products announced yet).

New. 26mths 0% balance transfer, just 0.33% fee. Accepted new cardholders for Post Office's* card can now shift debt to it for up to 26mths 0% for just a one-off 0.33% fee. Can pay off quicker? AA's 22mth 0% card is NO FEE*. Which'll accept you? Use our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calc. Warning: Never miss a min repayment & clear debt before 0%s end or they jump to 18.9% & 19.9% rep APR. Full info & options: Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Totally FREE posh New Covent Garden Soup (norm £2ish). Deals-stack trick. Deals Hunters' free Soup blog.


'Received £481, thanks' - Don't miss your AI Scheme (Sentinel) reclaim

We're drowning in wins - claiming's quick, easy and free. But there's a deadline. HAVE YOU HAD A LETTER?

Two million people are entitled to money back from the AI Scheme - a card protection plan mis-sold via banks, often under the Sentinel brand. If you're due, you'll have been sent a letter, but these do look a bit like spam, so many people have likely binned 'em. Patrick tweeted: "@MartinSLewis just got £313 from AI reclaim. If it wasn't for your weekly email I probably would have binned it. Top job and Merry Xmas". So this is our reminder - full info in AI Scheme (Sentinel) Help.

  • AI schemeClaiming is easy. If you've a letter, use our template statements to fill it out and post it back. We've not heard of anyone rejected. Cheques should be sent within 8 weeks, some are big, like Shirley's: "Received £481 - thanks."

  • What if I've thrown away my letter? If you've binned it, lost it or made a mistake filling it out, you can request a new letter, and you've until 18/3/16 to reply. If you can't remember if you had a letter, call to check and get a new one sent, if eligible. Full info in get a new letter.

  • I didn't get a letter, but think I should have. Letters were sent between 18 Aug and 14 Sep - if you didn't get one and should have, it may've had the wrong address. See 'I've not got my letter' help.

  • My policy was before 2005. Can I claim? Letters are only for post-2005 policies. For earlier, use our pre-2005 AI reclaim help. It can work, as Alan tweeted: "Thanks for AI scheme info, also pre-2005. Both claims now settled."

  • What if a deceased relative got a letter? The executor of the estate can claim. See AI Scheme Deceased Help.

  • I claimed but was told I wasn't due anything back. We haven't heard of this happening (with the similar CPP redress scheme we only heard of one rejection). If this happens, pls let us know.


Pound hits €1.43 - should you buy euros now? Especially if going away for Christmas. Read Martin's answer.

Hotpoint/Indesit clearance EXTRA 35% off code. MSE Blagged. 35% extra off its online clearance store, incl cookers, fridges, washing machines, microwaves. Eg, Indesit washing machine for £260. Hotpoint deals

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Thanks, just read your email and renewed via your combined home insurance deal which was £110 - but with a rebate of £80 M&S vouchers , the real cost's now only £30. Happy days."

Replace your specs' lenses for £10 with code. MSE Blagged. Via £10 off code. See Reglazemyglasses.



Is your energy company's service any good? Please rate your current supplier’s SERVICE (not price) over the last SIX MONTHS. If you’ve gas & elec with different firms, please rate both. Here are just a few of those you can vote on:

British Gas | Co-op | E.on | EDF | M&S | Npower | Ovo Energy | Sainsbury’s | Scottish Power | SSE | And others...

Last week 22,179 voted on the sensitive subject of whether the NHS should pay for IVF treatments. The biggest difference in opinion was not between those who are childless (58% say yes to the NHS paying) and those with children (63% yes), but between men (47% yes) and women (67% yes). See the full IVF on the NHS results.



- Top story: RBS to hike fees for Black and Platinum package account customers

- Nationwide launches cashback credit and debit card scheme: is it any good?

- London Tube and bus fares to rise by 1%

- Government to sell Northern Rock mortgages: what it means for you

- Crown Currency Exchange director jailed for three years over fraud



Are engagement rings about how much or how nice? My girlfriend's expecting me to spend a certain amount on her ring, but I've found a nice one that's far cheaper. Should I buy it and not tell her the cost, or stump up the cash for a more expensive one? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Are engagement rings about how much or how nice? | Suggest an MMD | Past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: I am debt-free
- Competitions thread of the week: Holiday for 2 to Malawi
- Old-style board thread of the week: Do you go to the work Christmas do?
- Game of the week: Big Truck 2
- Discussion of the week: Jam-packed attic


- New. Buy £10 Amazon gift card, get a 'free' £5 gift card trick

- Totally FREE posh New Covent Garden Soup

- Trick. Buy 20% off gift cards now for Jan sales



Thu 19 Nov - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch previous
Fri 20 Nov - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. Watch previous
Mon 23 Nov - The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm.


Fri 20 Nov - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm
Tue 24 Nov - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.15pm



Q: Can insurer charge me an 'admin fee' of about £20 if I change my address or car? Martin, by email.

MSE Rebecca's A: Insurers are permitted to charge fees to cover their admin costs of the paperwork associated with changing your address, car, name, job or to cancel a policy. However, we think some charge over the odds.

Fees of up to £55 are levied by some for cancelling a policy, while address or job changes can come with an up to £30 fee. While the regulator says these need to be "reasonable" and reflect the work carried out, charges vary hugely and we think many are dubious - does it really cost £30 of someone's time to change a name?

The good news is many MoneySavers successfully challenge them, see beat insurance admin fees for inspiration, how to challenge and a list of fees.

Don't confuse admin fees for the paperwork with a change to your price, which can happen when a policy alteration makes you more or less likely to claim. Eg, you move from a low to high-risk crime area which would mean your costs would rise as you're more risky to insurers.

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



That's it for this week, but before we go, check out this thread from the forum asking if opposites really do attract. Is one of you a hoarder and the other a cleaner? Do you hate Marmite but they insist on it with every meal? Join our forumites as they discuss "Things you like but your partner hates".

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

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