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WEEKLY EMAIL

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19th Jun 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 This info may be out of date.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."

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


 

14 shopping secrets to safely bag a bargain - perfect with the summer sales in full swing

While January sales get the big headlines, this time of year is another seasonal junction, as stores flog current stock to make room for the new stuff. So if you need clothes, electricals, furniture or other bits, why not help free up their store (or online) space in return for a cheaper price?

But be wary. The high street is struggling, with shops closing and even one-time poster-child retailers such as Debenhams and House of Fraser entering administration. And only last week, the owner of Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins had to agree to a last-minute rescue plan. So it's important to ensure your purchases are safe too.

And on that point, it is worth remembering a viable local high street is a boon, both for convenience and community. So while we love cheaper deals, there's a balance to strike. Local facilities (say, a pharmacy) may be costlier than online, but it's worth thinking of the impact if they had to close down. On with the tips... (For more, see 14 Shopping Secrets.)

  1. So which stores are pushing the biggest summer sales discounts - John Lewis, Ikea, Asos, Pandora, Body Shop, Office or others? It's all in our Summer Sales round-up, including analysis of 20+ stores.       

  2. ...and which stores do we think are on the cusp of reducing prices? As ever, our intrepid MSE Deals team have been hunting down clues to uncover sales before stores share them, so you're ahead of the game. And they reckon M&S, Next and Selfridges will shortly reveal 50% off events. See Sales prediction updates.

  3. When out of stock doesn't mean out of stock. If you find something's unavailable in the sales, don't give up. Goods come in and out of stock at speed, as shoppers return them or abandon online baskets. So check later, as things can change quickly...

    It worked for MSE Jenny: "Among my Zara Kids' sales shopping in Feb I wanted dresses and trousers for my daughters, but lots were out of stock. I checked back every 15 mins or so and more became available, so I eventually got what I wanted at 75% off."
        
     
     

     
    Please let us know if this has worked for you.

  4. How to trick Amazon into giving you free delivery. It's free if you spend £20+, but if just under, instead of paying up to £4.50 for standard delivery, a handy Free Amazon delivery tool can find cheap items for pennies to take you over, so makes shipping free. Lois tweeted: "Amazon order £19.98. Used free delivery tool, added 25p hex key = free delivery. Thanks, @MoneySavingExp."

  5. Bag free delivery elsewhere tooWhile free delivery thresholds vary, the principle is the same as Amazon above at lots of other stores, such as Asos, Boots, Gap, John Lewis and M&S.

    MSE Guy did this last week: "I bought two pairs of Gap jeans for £49.50, but it wanted £4 more for delivery. As the free delivery threshold was £50, I added socks I needed which took it to £52 all-in. The socks felt like a freebie."

  6. In these troubled times beware gift cards, they're usually only valid if the firm stays solvent. The high street has sadly been awash with big names getting into financial trouble. And if they go bust or into administration - even if they keep trading - they do NOT have to honour your gift cards. And even if still usable, some have use-by dates, so they're not as good as cash. See Gift Voucher Warning.

  7. Before you buy, remember Martin's Money Mantras. Our aim is to help you get the best price, not to encourage you to buy more just because it's cheaper. So before you buy, ask yourself...

    If you're skint.

    Do I need it? Can I afford it? Have I checked if it's cheaper elsewhere?

    Not skint?
    Will I use it? Is it worth it? Have I checked if it's cheaper elsewhere?


    If the answer to any of these is no, then don't buy it. For the full logic, see Martin's Money Mantras.

  8. One in 10 chance of getting all your money back at Boots, M&S & more. It's a little complex, but quite fun and can really pay off. Read how Boom25's lucky dip offer works. Forumite natty16 got lucky: "I've won my money back five times, getting just under £300 in total."

  9. The 'Is Amazon Europe cheaper?' tool - worth using even with today's weak pound. Oui, non, nein, ja? A cheeky tool compares prices across Amazon EU sites. In the last week, we found some Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones for £30 on Amazon Italy, which cost £62 on Amazon UK - even with £1 getting you a dismal €1.12 today. Plus there's no need to pay additional customs and VAT if buying from EU countries (for now).

  10. 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 examples of 30 retailers that have given abandoned basket discounts. Jeannette tweeted this week: "I left my shopping unfinished and Victoria's Secret gave me 20% off and free delivery."

  11. Can you get cashback on your web purchases? Cashback websites give you a cut of the money they make from referring traffic to e-tailers. So once you know where what you want is cheapest, see if a cashback site can give you extra money back. See our Top Cashback Sites guide for the right sites and pros/cons.

  12. 20+ Ikea hacks to max its 'up to 40% off' sale. Ikea is an experience in its own right (both good and bad), and we've a host of tricks to save you time and money, incl free tea/coffee, store shortcuts, how to legitimately dodge queues and more. Ikea hacks

  13. You'll be surprised who you can haggle with on the high street - see our top 10 chains to haggle in. Don't think it's only for buying used cars or in overseas bazaars. With a bit of charm, it can work in big UK high street chains too. Find out which the 1,600 people who voted in our Nov 2018 poll said were the best big stores to haggle in.

  14. You've a right to change your mind online - NOT in-store. Here's what you need to know...
                                                           
    - In-store purchases: You've NO RIGHT to change your mind, as the law says they only have to let you return faulty goods. But some stores do allow no-fault returns as they go over and above, though these policies don't always apply when there's a sale.

    - Online purchases: With most purchases, you have a right to change your mind by law and get a refund. You have 14 days to tell 'em you're returning something and 14 more to send it back. Like in-store, some retailers will go over and above this as they may allow more time to return something. See your rights when buying online.

    How you pay can also give protection. See our Section 75 and Chargeback guides for full help.
 
 

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.

 

 
 

New. Finally, cheap broadband ONLY (no phone) - Virgin '£19/mth' mega-fast

Many complain to us: 'I only want b'band - why do I need a landline too?' So this 100Mb deal will make some smile

Nearly two-thirds of you have told us you don't use a landline at all. However, for a long time the cheapest broadband & line deals have massively undercut cheap broadband-only plans. It has been a couple of years since we've seen a decent broadband-only deal and this latest comes at serious speed - though only 50% of the UK can get it. Having said that, you can just sign up to broadband & line deals and not bother plugging a phone in.

All of the short-lived promos below are for new customers only, and are postcode-dependent - so use our Broadband Unbundled tool to find the best in your area (links in the table go there). Here's a rundown...

TOP BROADBAND DEALS FOR NEW CUSTOMERS (1)
PROVIDER & LINK AVG SPEED EQUIVALENT COST OVER CONTRACT PERIOD (2)
New. Virgin Media
Broadband ONLY
108Mb 
(mega-fast fibre)
'£18.75/mth' over 1yr contract. Apply by 27 Jun via our special link ONLY, and you get a £75 bill credit which covers the first three months' cost (so in practice you pay nothing), then you pay the £25 monthly fee for the rest of the year. In total, that's £225 over the 12mths - which if spread equally would be £18.75/mth.
Post Office
Broadband & line
11Mb 
(standard speed)
'£11.74/mth' over 1yr contract. If you apply by 30 Jun, it's £15.90/mth, but you can claim and spend a £50 Amazon vch. If you factor that in as a price reduction, it's equiv to £11.74/mth over the year.
Vodafone
Broadband & line
35Mb 
(fibre)
'£16.45/mth' over 18mth contract. If you apply via our link, it's £22/mth, but you can claim and spend a £100 Amazon, Currys PC World, John Lewis or M&S vch. If you factor that in as a price reduction, it's equiv to £16.45/mth over the 18mth deal.
Vodafone
Broadband & line
63Mb 
(fast fibre) 
'£21.45/mth' over 18mth contract. If you apply via our link, it's £27/mth, but you can claim and spend a £100 Amazon, Currys PC World, John Lewis or M&S vch. If you factor that in as a price reduction, it's equiv to £21.45/mth over the 18mth contract.
(1) 'New customer' definition varies - see firms' rules in links. (2) To compare, we use 'equivalent prices' - adding all fixed costs, deducting promo vouchers & averaging it over the contract.


  • What broadband speed do you actually need? Standard average 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 as you can see above, even with fibre there are differences, and the faster you go, the more of a luxury it is.

  • Will I get the advertised speed? The 'average' speed quoted is what at least 50% of customers get at peak times. You'll also be told the minimum speed you'll get before you sign up by most big providers. With some (incl Virgin Media from those above), if you don't get that speed and it's not fixed within 30 days, you've the right to cancel penalty-free. See how to check your speed.
 

Nab FREE food from Pret, posh cafes & bakeries. Via app for stores to give stuff away they'd otherwise chuck - we've seen sarnies, yogurts, pastries and more. Plus find out where to bag huge discounts at other restaurants and takeaways for food they'd otherwise bin - see free and cheap food for the full lowdown.

£41ish of No7 beauty products for £12. Incl mascara, eyeliner, SPF15 face cream & lip cream. No7 trick

1.45% Post Office easy-access savings. It was massively popular last week, so in case you missed it, the Post Office* has launched an easy-access account that's near the top of the table at 1.45% (incl a 1.2% fixed 1yr bonus). That's only just behind leaders Marcus at 1.5% (incl a 0.15% fixed 1yr bonus) and Cynergy, also at 1.5% (incl a fixed 0.5% 1yr fixed bonus). They all have £85k savings protection and all rates are AER variable. Full info in Top Savings.

Warning. Airports have hiked drop-off charges to as high as £7 for 10 mins - how to do it free. Many were pricey anyway, but our probe found eight airports raised prices further over the last year. See Kiss & fly charge hike for full info.

Free Body Shop £5, free £17.50 MAC lipstick & more freebies for returning used beauty pots. Their packaging is notoriously hard to recycle, but many stores help you go green AND save. Rewards for recycling

Seen the 'Arnie' 10 weeks left to reclaim PPI ads? Remember you needn't pay to reclaim, use our FREE tool. The complaints deadline's 29 August. See our Free PPI reclaiming tool.

 
 

New. Top balance transfer deal - shift debt to 0% for 29mths (3% fee) and, unlike most long deals, if accepted you ALWAYS get the full 0% length

If you pay interest on credit or store card debt, consider a balance transfer - where you get a new card to pay off debt on other cards, so you owe it instead, but at 0%. This means you're debt-free quicker as more of your repayments go towards clearing the debt, rather than servicing the interest.

Unfortunately, in recent times the longest 0% lengths have shrunk. Many long interest-free balance transfer cards have 'up to' 0% lengths, so even some who are accepted can get a far shorter 0% than advertised. That's why we're headlining this new joint-longest 0% - because it's not an 'up to', so if accepted you'll definitely get the full 29mths 0%.

Find cards most likely to accept you BEFORE you apply. Those below include a link to our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calc which shows your acceptance odds before you apply, and doesn't affect your creditworthiness.

BEST 0% NEW-CARDHOLDER BALANCE TRANSFER CARDs
Go for the lowest fee in the time you're sure you can repay in. If unsure, play safe and go long
CARD + KEY INFO 0% LENGTH (REP APR AFTER) FEE (1)
New. Virgin Money (eligibility calc / apply*) Joint-longest 0% & you get the full 0% length if accepted.
29mths (21.9%) 3%
MBNA (eligibility calc / apply*) Joint-longest 0%, but it's an 'up to'.
Up to 29mths (19.9%) 2.75%-3.49% (2)
NatWest (eligibility calc / apply*) or RBS (apply) Longest NO-FEE 0% & you get the full 0% length if accepted.
Alert: You can only apply if you're a customer of the relevant bank (3).
23mths (19.9%) None
Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) Good 0% no fee, but it's an 'up to'.
Up to 20mths (19.9%) None
(1) As a percentage of debt shifted. (2) Depending on your credit score. (3) Only for existing NatWest or RBS current account, savings, credit card or mortgage customers - if you want, you could open a savings account with £1 and, hey presto, you qualify.


Always follow the Balance Transfer Golden Rules. Full info in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

a) Never miss the min monthly repayment, or you could lose the 0% deal and it'll cost far more.
b) Clear the card or balance-transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to the higher APR.
c) Don't spend/withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and withdrawals hit your creditworthiness.
d) You must usually balance-transfer within 60 or 90 days to get the 0%.

 

Strewth. Australia £450 return from London - bonzer, but won't last long. It's for limited Oct-Dec dates on China Southern, but there are also decent £560 flights from Manchester on Etihad in Feb-Mar. We were tipped off by Jack's Flight Club, which sends alerts for mega-cheap deals which are hard to spot and short-lived - such as this. Full info of the Oz deals, plus how to nab 1,000 free trials for Jack's Flight Club, in Cheap flight alerts.

Kate Spade 20% extra off sale code. MSE Blagged. Online & in stores at the fashion retailer till Fri. Kate Spade

Eurostar £58 returns to Paris, Lille or Brussels for SUMMER travel. Book by 27 Jun for 30 Jul-16 Oct travel, but you'll need to be flexible on times as availability is limited. Eurostar

BT TV or BT Sport customer? Many will be hit by up to £48/yr hikes - your rights. See BT hike help.

200 free Boots points & how to earn them without the card. See these and more Boots boosters.

FREE Apple Store kids' summer workshops. For 8 to 12-year-olds to learn skills such as coding and film-making at Apple Camp '19.

 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: Virgin Money* 29mths 0%, 3% fee (21.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: 
NatWest / RBS 23mths 0% - existing custs only but there's a trick for others (19.9% rep APR)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  1. MoneySupermarket*
  2. Confused.com*
  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Zopa* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: M&S Bank* 2.9% rep APR (1-7 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Post Office equiv £11.74/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone equiv £16.45/mth

Free £175 to switch and stay + 2% bills cashback: RBS
Free £175 to switch: HSBC

 

Martin: 'Is peer-to-peer 'saving' worth the risk? One platform has gone bust, the regulator's warning people to limit saving. So should you?'

With top easy-access savings paying just 1.5%, and fixed less than 2.7%, there's no surprise the 5%+ from peer-to-peer sites attracts many. Yet while it looks like saving, it isn't, it's investing, as there's a risk. That doesn't mean it's always wrong, indeed I do it myself with a small portion of my assets. Yet it is definitely wrong if you don't understand it and the risks.

Recently, lesser-known platform Lendy went bust, leaving 24,000 investors uncertain about the fate of their £150m. Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority is cracking down too, saying from Dec new investors may only invest up to 10% of their assets in peer-to-peer unless they've received advice. So I thought it would be a good time to take stock...

  • What is peer-to-peer lending? Websites pair up investors hunting for good returns with borrowers - usually lending your money to 100s of people, in small chunks, to spread the risk. As the bank is cut out, borrowers often get slightly cheaper rates, while investors get higher rates than savings.

    These days, long-standing players such as Zopa, Ratesetter & Funding Circle have been joined by many other platforms - lending to individuals, businesses, secured lending (eg, mortgages) or a combination. The platforms do the credit-scoring and repayment-chasing for you - though how well they do it is crucial. More in our Peer-to-Peer Investing guide.

  • There are real risks and you MUST understand them. See our detailed Peer-to-Peer Risks analysis, but in brief...

    1) There's NO savings safety back-up if firms go bust, unlike with normal savings.

    2) Of course individual borrowers may be unable to repay. Though most firms try to mitigate this risk by spreading lending over many borrowers - and giving you a targeted return.
    3) With mainstream peer-to-peer platforms, legally the loan is usually between you and the borrower. If a platform goes bust, you're still owed, and they should have plans in place (eg, insurance) to keep collection services going. Though this is mostly untested.
    4) Getting your money out if you want it quickly may be difficult, especially if others try at the same time.

    5) As it's a new industry, we've always warned there's a risk of unknown unknowns no one's thought of. One that's materialising is just how dependent you are on the company's management and processes being up to speed.

  • So is it worth starting - and is it worth stopping if I already do it? Without a crystal ball, there are no certainties. Yet it'd be very risky to do this with a substantial proportion of your assets, or if you're in debt. Currently, Brexit uncertainty adds another worry. Many peer-to-peer sites are set up to deliver back roughly what they promise except in exceptional circumstances, and right now, it's hard not to feel like in many areas of life exceptions are the rule.

    So if you see peer-to-peer money as risk capital you're prepared to lose in return for higher possible gain, that's fine. If you see it as savings, to grow safely without risk, your money is in the wrong place. If it's a bit of both, reduce the amount.
 

Free & cheap gym passes, incl DW Fitness First, Anytime Fitness. Plus we've blagged 30% off Hussle (formerly PayAsUGym) monthly pass for newbies. Let's get physical

BREAKDOWN HAGGLE SUCCESS - SUCCESS OF THE WEEK:
"I cut my annual RAC breakdown cover premium by £58 and got three months free, with free onward travel. I used your breakdown haggling guide and it just took a phone call."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Do you have a joint bank account with your partner? Back in the day, the huge majority of (then-married) couples had joint accounts. But what about now? If you're in a couple living together, do you have a joint bank account? 

MoneySavers spend most on wedding gifts for close relatives. Last week we asked how much you'd spend on a wedding gift, and unsurprisingly the answer depended on your relationship with the happy couple. Some 42% said they'd spend more than £100 on a close relative, but only 19% would on a close friend. Just 2% would spend £100+ on a colleague or acquaintance, with most shelling out £40 or less. See our full wedding gift poll results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I make my friend pay rent? My best friend recently moved in with me and my partner after a break-up. We thought it'd be short-term, but she hasn't settled on a new flat yet. We suggested once that if she stays longer-term, she could contribute a small amount (about half 'normal' rent), but this hasn't been mentioned since and she hasn't offered any money. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I make my friend pay rent? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: SOA, help please
- Competitions thread of the week: Trip to Saint Lucia
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Who else forages?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Family history query
- Discussion of the week: Do you have holidays if in debt?

 

Summer sales - Incl Asos, H&M, Ikea & more
No7 - £41ish of beauty products for £12 at Boots
Body Shop - Free £5 for recycling empty beauty containers
Eurostar - £58 return to Paris, Brussels or Lille
Kate Spade - 20% extra off sale code till Fri

Boots - Free eye test (normally £25)
Amazon - 99p Echo Dot with £15 'Family' music plan
Hussle (FKA PayAsUGym) - 30% off Monthly+ Pass
Apple - Free kids' summer workshops for 8 to 12-year-olds
Homebuilding Show - Free tickets to Surrey & other shows

Sweet Sundays - Free ticket with £2 promo sweet pouches
Meerkat Movies - Year's 2for1 Tue/Wed tickets for £1ish
Odeon - Two tickets for £7 for Vodafone customers
Vue - £4-£5.50 'Super Mondays' tickets via code
Kids' deals - Weekend/school hol offers, eg, £2.50 Cineworld

Quick Forum Tips

Lidl weekend offers, incl 89p granola. Cerealously
Sainsbury's Tu 'up to 50% off' sale. Tu good to miss
Joules 'up to 50% off' sale. Joule as a cucumber

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 19 JUN ONWARDS)

Wed 19 Jun - The Martin Lewis Money Show roadshow at the Lincolnshire Showground, from 11.30am
Thu 20 Jun - The Martin Lewis Money Show roadshow at the Lincolnshire Showground, from 9am
Mon 24 Jun - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 24 Jun - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (MOST SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 19 Jun - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 21 Jun 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 24 Jun
- TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Mon 24 Jun 
- BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 25 Jun 
- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I've just bought a new laptop - do I need to tell my home insurer or will it already be covered? Paul, by email

MSE Tony's A:
 
It should automatically be covered, provided it doesn't push you over the total "sum insured" for all your contents and isn't really expensive (typically costing more than £1,500). However, basic policies usually only cover your laptop when it's within the home. If you're planning to take it outside, you'll need what's called personal possessions/all-risks cover too.

If you don't know if you already have this, call your insurer to check. Make sure that the total limit (for your portable items) is sufficient and also that the single item limit covers your laptop. If you don't have the extension, you can usually add it for an extra £25-£50 - see our Cheap Home Insurance guide for more help.

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

 

#InsideMSE - SEE HOW WE PUT THIS EMAIL TOGETHER

That's it for this week, but before we go... next Tuesday (25 June), we'll be doing a day-long event on Twitter - taking you behind the scenes at MSE Towers and showing you just how the team writes and sends out this email each week. But first we want to hear from you - what do you want to know? Whether it's where we find deals, how all the figures are checked or even just what Martin has for lunch to keep his brain going, let us know in our behind-the-scenes Twitter chat. Then on Tuesday, follow us putting together next week's email under the hashtag #InsideMSE.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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