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Weekly Email
This email was sent
19th Sep 2018
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 This info may be out of date.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 September 2018
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.


New. MSE Big Energy Switch Event 11

To beat the bill hike triple-whammy, we've 30,000 cheaper-than-the-cheapest LONG fixes - save £280, price protected for two winters. Yet they'll likely go quick.

A message from Martin: Brace yourself. Energy bills are being hit by a triple whammy on the back of oil price rises. To help we've launched two MSE collective switches. But first, here's the problem...

1) Four Big 6 firms have hiked prices for the 2nd time this year. Brit Gas's & Scot Power's will hit in the next few weeks.
2) Many of the cheapest switchers' deals are being pulled, and replaced by far more expensive ones. Eg, the cheapest 1yr fix on 10 Aug was £867/yr based on typical usage, now it's £938.
3) There's the Stark warning that "winter is coming" - so use rises as a trigger to act.

So ensure you're on your cheapest tariff, delaying risks paying more.

Over the last few weeks, the team has been pushing providers to lower prices for our 11th special MSE deal (including improved service). Yet with rapidly rising prices none would cut their short-term fixes, so we focused on deals that let you lock in a rate for longer, securing cheap two-winter fixes, substantially cheaper than the market's cheapest. But we've only 30,000 available. It may sound a lot, but in past years you've snapped up that many in less than a week. 

And sorting your energy bills can mean big savings, as Peter tweeted: "Thanks @MartinSLewis after hearing you advise many times to switch energy providers, I finally got my finger out and have just saved £807/yr in 5 minutes." Over to the team to run through the deals...

Lock in for TWO winters with the MSE collective winners...

The predictions are price rises will continue. If so, locking in to a longer cheap fix will be a winner, as the rate you pay is certain not to rise. It also means you'll need to switch less often.  

The price & saving we list is based on 'typical use', which for a big 6 standard tariff averages £1,221/yr.  As your exact saving & cheapest depends on usage & location, all our links take you via a comparison.

  • MSE Winner 1: Green Network Energy 18mth fix - only 15,000 avail. Avg price (incl MSE cashback): £962/yr. Saving: £280 (over the 18 months). Service rating: 61% great (but only 36 votes) and 7.7/10 of 890 revews on Trustpilot. 

    The GNE MSE 18mth fixed exclusive locks in the price until c. March 2020, so you get two winters' peace of mind. It's only £24/yr more than the cheapest 1yr fix, so the extra protection comes cheaply. And it's a whopping £63/yr cheaper than the open market's cheapest long fix (though that's 2 years).  

    The firm is a relative newcomer to the UK, backed by a large Italian firm (don't confuse it with our past collective winner Green Star). We have arranged enhanced customer service for this deal, so basically if it doesn't sort the problem we can get involved.

    To see how it compares, use our Energy Club long-fix comparison (untick the 'long fix' filter to see other options). Here's further info...

    - It's for new custs, paying by monthly direct debit, on paperless bills.
    - There are early exit fees of £25/fuel (so £50 dual fuel).
    - It's not portable, so you can't take it with you if you move.
    - It's for dual fuel (ie, gas & elec), elec-only but NOT gas-only.

  • MSE Winner 2: Avro 18mth fix - top customer service rating - only 15,000 availableAvg price (incl MSE cashback): £983/yr. Saving: £250 (over the 18 months). Service rating: 66% great (217 votes) and 9.1/10 of 7,800 reviews on Trustpilot. 

    Avro Energy's Simple and MSE collective is similar to GNE, but a little costlier, though still far cheaper than any other long fix. We went for two tariffs, both so there's bigger capacity and also as this is a bigger (500,000 customers) company, which has been around longer and has a much stronger customer service rating.

    To see how it compares, use our Energy Club long-fix comparison (untick the 'long fix' filter to see other options). Here's further info...

    - It's for new & existing customers getting both gas & elec (ie, dual fuel) paying by monthly direct debit & getting paperless bills.
    - To be eligible, you must have signed up to receive our weekly email or be a member of our Cheap Energy Club - and use the email you have for either. 
    - There are dual fuel exit fees of £60.  
    - It's due to end at 10pm on 9 Oct or when all 15,000 switches go, whichever's sooner. 
    - It's not portable, so you can't take it with you if you move. 
The market's cheapest shorter term deals

You can get a lower annual price than our collective winners, but the price surety doesn't last as long. So here's our rundown of the key deals based on price, type (ie, fixed or variable) service & whether you've heard of them.

  • THE CHEAPEST: Outfox the Market, but it's variable (so prices could and likely will rise as we're seeing with other variables now). Avg price £859/yr - no exit fees. It is a newish small provider (but the limited feedback we've had is decent). The issue here is it's variable, so you've no price certainty - not good in a rising price environment, though currently it's very cheap.  

    To see its price and the other cheap variable deals for you, do an Energy Club full market comparison.

  • CHEAPEST 1YR FIX: One Select - new firm, little feedback. Avg price: £938/yr - no exit fees. It currently tops the table for cheapest tariffs among those where you know the rate won't increase. Yet it's small, newish, and the little feedback we have is OK (but not great), though one advantage is no early exit fees. There are also a few small regional suppliers which can be cheaper in some areas.

    Your exact winner depends on use & region, so to see do an Energy Club cheap fix comparison (untick the 'cheap fix' filter to see other options).
  • CHEAPEST 1YR FIX WITH TOP SERVICE: Avro. Avg price (including MSE cashback) £962/yr - no exit fees. As we explained above, Avro has regularly been up there for customer service. It has a cheap 1yr tariff too, though you only typically pay £21/yr more to lock in for an extra winter with it using our collective. However, its 1yr fix has no exit fees giving greater flexibility.

    Your exact winner depends on use & region, so to see do an Energy Club superb service comparison (untick the 'superb service' filter to see other options).

  • URGENT. CHEAPEST BIG NAME 1YR FIXES: You've told us before your biggest switching turn-off is tiddler firms you've never heard of. Right now there are a couple of rare Big 6 deals which are cheap - and even let existing customers switch to them too - but one's about to be pulled.

    Ends midday-ish WedE.on. Avg price (incl MSE cashback) £971/yr - £30/fuel exit fees. 
    - British Gas. 
    Avg price (incl MSE cashback) £995/yr - £30/fuel exit fees. Plus most homeowners get £50 1yr boiler cover thrown in.

    To see which is your cheapest biggie, use our Energy Club big name provider comparison (untick the filter to see more options).

  • SWITCH WITHOUT SWITCHING. If you don't want to switch, at least move off your firm's hideously expensive standard tariff to its cheapest deal (same energy, same service, same safety, cheaper price), eg, the rare, cheap British Gas deal above that's open to existing customers.

    To find your current firm's cheapest, use our Energy Club my current supplier comparison (untick the filter to see more options).
On prepay or live in Northern Ireland? 

You can still switch and save...

- Prepay customers: Try our prepay comparison - savings are smaller, typically £130/yr, but it could still be worth doing. For bigger savings, see if you can switch to a credit meter. See cut prepay energy costs.

- Northern Ireland: Our Energy Club, like all UK comparison sites, does not currently include Northern Ireland, but you can do a comparison via Cheap NI Electricity or the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland's tool.

Your common energy switching questions answered...

For more, see the full Cheap Energy Club FAQs.

Q.  Hold on, I thought there was a price cap coming in? The regulator Ofgem is introducing a cap on standard prices by the end of the year, currently planned to be £1,136/yr for someone with typical use. Ofgem calls this a 'fair' price, but that doesn't mean it is a 'good' price - plus the cap is reviewed every 6 months, and we suspect it will rise then.

As the cap will reduce the standard tariff costs, where we've listed 'savings' above, we've assumed those prices will drop to the cap when it launches (and the cap will remain at that level). However, because it's not 100% confirmed we cannot alter the Cheap Energy Club predicted prices, they'll still be based on current standard prices. 

Q. What info do I need to switch? It's best if you have a bill, and input kilowatt hours (kWh) into the Cheap Energy Club, rather than cost. But don't worry if you don't know your usage, the tool can guesstimate for you. While the answer won't be perfect, the sin of inaction is bigger than the sin of inaccuracy. 

Q. Does MSE make money from this? Yes. Like all energy comparison sites, we're paid each time you switch through us, yet we give you about half (that's what the cashback is - money you don't get if you go direct), so it's a win-win. The rest helps cover our costs and hopefully makes us some profit.

Q. How does Cheap Energy Club work? It does three things:
1) We compare ALL market tariffs to show your price and saving.
2) You get £25 dual-fuel cashback (£12.50 single fuel) if we can switch you. It's paid roughly 90 days later.
3) We monitor for better deals. You set a 'trigger saving', eg, £150/yr, then we alert you if you can save this by switching again.

And lots more help, incl...

Switching with smart meters | why's price risen when I'm fixed? | reclaim credit | switching in debt help | switching if I've solar panels | how direct debits are set | I've an independent gas transporter - can I switch? | can I pick a switch date? | how do you compare my rates?


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Lots of scam ads that litter social media lie that we or Martin promote Bitcoin, binary trading etc. See Fake ads warning.



On Sun, BT walloped millions with price rises of up to £30/yr on its broadband and line rental plans. While some rates were already eye-watering, the worst are now £45.50/mth. If you pay anything like those rip-off prices, STOP. Unless on a special promo you're almost certainly out of contract and pay way more than the cheapest newbies' deals below...

  • New. Trick to stick with BT & save up to £420/yr on 10Mb avg speed b'band. We know many like a big name such as BT, so we've blagged a Plusnet 1yr b'band & line deal which is the cheapest standard speed broadband today. While a different brand name, Plusnet is actually part of the BT Group but with much better service than BT. It was best-ranked of the biggies in our twice-yearly broadband customer service poll in Aug - as it's been for 6yrs.

    - What does the deal cost? To get the cheapest price, it's cheapest to pay £197.88 upfront for 1yr's line. B'band at an avg 10Mb speed is thrown in 'free' for 1yr, and you're automatically sent a £75 cheque within 30 days of activation, making it an equiv £10.24/mth before calls. If you pay line rental monthly at £18.99/mth, it's an equiv £12.74/mth before calls. Like many hot deals it's short-lived and only on till 27 Sep.

    - Who can get it? To qualify, you can't currently have Plusnet b'band & line, but just having a BT or other line is fine. It's available to 99% of the UK based on postcode - while that's almost everyone, to be safe, you can see if you can get it via the link above which includes a postcode eligibility checker. 

    - Already got Plusnet? As you're not eligible, use our Broadband Unbundled tool for the best alternatives.

  • Need faster fibre? Get from '£18/mth'. Standard avg 10Mb-ish speeds are fine for browsing or streaming. Anything faster is best for heavy streamers, gamers or if many use it at once, and the faster you go the more of a luxury it is. So if you've the need for speed, here are the top deals for newbies right now (links take you to a postcode eligibility checker, while speeds mentioned are averages)...

    Ends Thu. 36Mb fibre & line. Until Thu, TalkTalk newbies can pay £22.50/mth for 18mths and can claim a £75 vch for Amazon, Tesco, Argos or Ticketmaster. If you'd spend that anyway, it's an equiv £18.34/mth. But it's worst of the biggies on service.
    - New. 63Mb faster fibre & line: Newbies to Vodafone broadband can pay a straight £25/mth for 18mths (£24/mth if you've a Vodafone mobile Sim.)

Lots more options in our Broadband Unbundled tool, and for more help on how switching works, see our Cheap Broadband guide.


Super-cheap Easyjet flights for March-June 2019. But you'll need to be quick. Incl Easter hols. Cheap Easyjet 

New. Get PAID £20 to shift £2k+ debt to 24mths 0% This is about 0% balance transfers where you get a new credit card that pays off debts on existing credit card(s) so you owe the new one instead, but at 0%. Right now, Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) offers up to 24mths 0%, plus £20 cashback, if you shift £2k+ within 60 days. There's in effect no fee, though bizarrely it initially charges a 2% fee of the amount transferred but refunds it within 28 working days. Always pay the min each month and clear the card before the 0% ends or it's 19.9% rep APR. Full info and more options in Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Passport renewal warning - you could lose up to 9mths. This was widely reported after we revealed the stealth change last week. See the original story and exactly what the overhaul means for you: Passport shake-up

Top Tesco Clubcard reward to be scrapped as part of latest revamp. Full info in Clubcard overhaul.

No official confirmation, but likely from Sat. See .

New iPhones - how to get up to £600 off a 2yr contract. Plus £100 off an iPhone 8. They're not MoneySaving, and early adopters often overpay, but if you're set on getting one now, at least do it cheapest. iPhone help.


Ho, ho, oh no. 100 days till Chr****** - 8 things to do now to save then

We're not celebrating early, as we'd rather not say the C-word yet. It's about planning early to make & save £100s

January can be bleak enough without being skint from Christmas. But it's not an unexpected cost - it happens on 25 December every year. And while we don't want to wheel out Mariah Carey before December any more than you do, many festive savers only work if you do them early. As last weekend marked 100 days till Christmas, the countdown is on, so we've updated our 45 Saves of Christmas, which includes...

  1. Agree with friends to ban unnecessary presents. Many feel the pressure to buy for all and sundry but tit-for-tat giving means we often end up with tat. The best gift may be releasing someone from the obligation to buy. See Martin's Ban Unnecessary Xmas Gifts blog for a full explanation. 

  2. Make £150 in time for Christmas by switching bank (+ £50 later). If your bank is pants, switchers to HSBC Advance* get £150 within 30 days of the switch completing, plus £50 in a year - good for next Xmas. To get it all you need to open the account and do a full switch incl 2+ direct debits or standing orders within 30 days, register for online or mobile banking & pay in a min £1,750/mth (equiv £25,900/yr salary). Also, you can't have had an HSBC account since 2015. Full info and options in Best Bank Accounts.

  3. Pounce on presents when they're cheapest. Decide what you want now and if you spot a planned gift on sale, get it early, then pop it in a Christmas cupboard. Regularly check vouchers, hot bargains and sales on our deals pages.  

  4. Flog stuff you've not used since last Xmas to boost your coffers. Walk around your home and do a personal stock check, but as it can take time do it ASAP. Then see how to flog your junk.

  5. Free £100 Amazon/M&S voucher in time for Christmas. New American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card customers get 20,000 bonus points for spending £2,000+ in the first 3mths. These can be swapped for a £100 Amazon/M&S etc gift card or airline/hotel points. Full info and more options in Reward Credit Cards.

  6. Book Xmas & New Year trains 10-12 weeks ahead. That's when most cheap tix launch so for the festive period you should start looking in a week or two. See how to get an alert when your journey goes on sale.

  7. 5% cashback on Xmas shopping. The Amex Platinum Everyday (eligibility calc / apply*) credit card pays 5% cashback in your first 3mths (max £100) - so apply now and you'll get the boost on Xmas spending (though cashback's paid after a year, so you'll get it for next Xmas). After 3mths you get the usual up to 1%. Repay IN FULL each month to avoid the 22.9% rep APR and you need to spend £3k+ in a year to get any cashback. Full help: Reward Credit Cards.

  8. Try our DemoHoHotivator tool to see what you can save to boost your Xmas kitty. Small sacrifices add up. Eg, if you stop buying a £2 coffee every working day, you'll have £155 extra by Christmas. See our DemoHoHotivator.


36 'lucky dip' perennial plants £7 delivered. MSE Blagged. Plus 'free' garden snips, 3,000 avail. Thompson & Morgan

New. Help to Save scheme - can you get an up to £1,200 bonus? How it works & who on lower incomes qualifies - see Help to Save.

Sky Sports backdoor price hike alert for some. If you're out of contract and don't have HD, you may pay £24/yr more. See Sky price hike, incl your rights to leave penalty-free.

TWO pairs of prescription specs £16. MSE Blagged. Cheaper than its normal deal, free del. Ends Mon. Glasses Direct

House of Fraser U-turn as it outrageously WON'T refund cancelled orders. See your rights - including the ongoing saga with gift cards - in House of Fraser help.

£22 Ciaté nail polish set (£65ish bought separately). MSE Blagged. 10 full-size polishes incl glitter & shimmer effects. 800 avail


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Longest 0%: Tesco Bank up to 36 mths 0%, 2.69% fee (18.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27 mths 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR) 

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Sainsbury's Bank* 3.3% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs)
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs) 

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
TalkTalk equiv £18.34/mth

£150 to switch + £50 if you stay a year: HSBC
5% interest fixed for a year:
Nationwide FlexDirect


6 ways to protect your data, incl help if hit by the big BA hack

We live in an age of data leaks & hacks which give scammers more ways to target us. Here's how to fight back

The recent British Airways hack which saw card and other personal details of 380,000 stolen is yet another example of the threat we all face. More hacks mean scammers know more about us, and they're getting more sophisticated too, so it's vital to know how to keep yourself safe. Our Stop Scams guide has the full rundown, here are six key tips...

  1. Use a tool to check if your data has been stolen. See if passwords, email addresses, postal addresses, phone numbers or your DOB have got into the wrong hands. While it won't include all hacks, millions of victims are on the system from dozens of high profile hacks. See hack checker tool.

  2. British Airways hack help, incl if card details were stolen. You may know if you're a victim as BA has contacted everyone whose card details were nicked - which is almost everyone who made a payment on its app or site from 21 Aug-5 Sep. If hit, monitor your account for fraud, though if you've had money stolen you've a right to a refund. See BA hack help.

  3. Never give personal details if they call, text or email. The classic scam is fraudsters phoning or sending messages asking for details to break into accounts, claiming to be from a bank, insurer, HMRC or even the police. These scams have all sorts of names such as 'phishing', 'smishing' and 'vishing'. See phishing etc help. Some have even lied that they're calling from MSE, as we found when we called back PPI fraudsters pretending to be us.

  4. Beware fake Martin Lewis ads. MSE founder Martin Lewis's face has been plastered all over the internet, in ads wrongly claiming he's endorsing binary trading, PPI companies and more. NONE of these scam ads are genuine - don't be fooled. There's more in our Fake Martin Ads guide - plus, read why Martin's suing Facebook over scam ads.

  5. When is not the BBC? Not all links are genuine - fraudsters exploit this a lot. But there are ways to check where a link takes you BEFORE you click. Always look where you click. (We bet you checked this BBC one.)

  6. Ensure you've antivirus software - how to get it FREE. Hackers constantly cook up new bugs which can leave your data vulnerable. See our Free Antivirus Software guide for simple solutions.

Extra 25% off FitFlop code, incl sale, eg, £26 trainers (norm £75). MSE Blagged. Ends Sun. FitFlop

Student deals, incl free Microsoft Office, 15% off 16-25 Railcard. Also 10% off groceries at Co-op & Iceland, three months of Spotify Premium 99p. See ALL Student Deals.

"I used your template letter to claim over £700 for two of us after a delayed flight from Menorca this summer. Many thanks."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Habitat 25% off almost everything. Thu-Sun, via online code or automatic discount in stores. Habitat code



Is a degree earnings-enhancing, life-enhancing or both? The debate about the cost and value of university rumbles on, so we want to test your 'big picture' view. Imagine you were telling a bright 18-year-old about whether they should go or not. Is getting a degree earnings-enhancing and life-enhancing?

Easiest companies to haggle with revealed. Last week, we asked which firms you've haggled with over the past year and whether or not you were successful in getting a discount or cheaper prices. Interestingly, Sky seemed the most open to cutting a deal, with 85% of its TV/broadband and 83% of its mobile customers reporting success. In other categories, those who haggled with Admiral Insurance and RAC breakdown cover were often rewarded. See full haggling poll results.



Should my sister-in-law give up her house after her husband's death? Her late husband's two grown-up kids will inherit it, but only after her death. It's large and they are pressuring her to downsize and give them the cash difference now. She's reluctant as it's been her home for 20+ years, and has all the memories of her husband. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my sister-in-law give up her house? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Who do I pay? Debt collection or original company?
- Competitions thread of the week: Lenovo IdeaPad 330S Gleam
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Thickening sauce in the slow cooker
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Schools providing sanitary protection
- Discussion of the week: Have you ever seen your old car after you got rid of it?


'Free' cinema ticket - on Sundays when you buy £3 chocs
Specsavers - free eye test voucher valid at 500+ stores
20% off gift cards - incl Cineworld, Pizza Express, Gap
Grand Designs Live - free Birmingham tickets (10-14 Oct)
Free drink - at Greene King pubs via O2 (Thu 5-9pm)

Domino's - 35% off £25 orders for students (every day)
Pizza Express - 30% off students' food & drink (Sun-Thu)
Yo! Sushi - 25% off food for students (Tue-Fri & Sun)
Papa John's - 40% off £25 pizzas for students (every day)
Prezzo - 25% dine-in student discount (Sun-Thu)

Photo mug - £3.50 incl delivery via Truprint (norm £11)
Moonpig - 20% off ALL cards, incl photo/personalised
Ted Baker - £30 specs or £40 prescription sunnies
Heartier - £30 free-range steak hamper (norm £54)
16-25 Railcard - 15% off one-year railcard

Quick Forum Tips

Free printable colouring pages incl Disney. Take the Mickey
Debenhams 50% off 800-880g sweet jars. Yumbelievable
Lidl up to 50% off selected items this weekend. A Lidl preview



Thu 20 Sep - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 21 Sep - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 24 Sep - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 24 Sep - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again
Tue 25 Sep - The Martin Lewis Money Show Live, 8pm on ITV


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



Q: I want to be accepted for a mortgage in the near future, how can I improve my credit score so I can access the best mortgage deals? Bob, via email.

MSE Karl's A: Getting the best mortgage deal doesn't just depend on your credit score, but it certainly helps if you can boost it - for full help, see our Boost Your Mortgage Chances guide. 

To help with your credit score ensure you are on the electoral roll, pay all bills on time and minimise new credit applications. It's worth signing up to MSE's free Credit Club, which gives you your Experian credit file, credit hit rate, and credit and affordability scores. That way you can check how you're doing and spot any errors. Also see how to check reports from other credit agencies for free. 

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... how often do you give your washing machine a good clean? Our forumites are discussing MoneySaving methods to do this on the cheap. One of the responses was filling the powder tray with vinegar and running a boil wash. Do you have any suggestions others could give a spin? And what do you think of others' ideas? Let us know in our washing machine cleaning forum thread.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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