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Weekly Email
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20th Jul 2016
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

"Hi. This free, spam free weekly email is the key way to save. We put all the latest deals, guides and loopholes in, yet many close within hours. Don't miss out, join the 12m who get it each week."

20 July 2016
Martin's Briefing: 14 ways to make £100s or £1,000s of quick cash
Savings crisis - some pay 0.01% - rate cuts possible - 5 ways to max interest
Last chance £300/yr energy saving?
Late hol deals, eg, Tenerife 2wks £250
'Free' 12-month £80 Tastecard trick
R. Lauren 20% extra off 50% sale
New. Longest-ever 41mth 0% card
Lowcostholidays collapse help & vid
£56 Ray-Bans via sunnies code
Going abroad? Must-read checklist
£100 15-piece Zyliss knife block £27
London Anniversary Games 20% off tix to see Mo, Usain & our Martin
Vodafone cust? Must-read success 'I got £575 back after overcharging'
9 lavender plants bundle £7 all-in
Student loan interest worries? Ignore it
Cheapest Harry Potter & Cursed Child

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

14 ways to make quick cash

Tricks and tips to make £100s or even £1,000s, some within weeks

When I started MSE 13 years ago it was just me. Today we've a large team, many of whom are pretty obsessive about MoneySaving too. I delighted in overhearing MSE Sarah and MSE Megan comparing who made more from being bank tarts. Don't worry, I'm not being rude, that's what we call anyone who repeatedly switches to get free cash (Sarah's £825 topped Megan's £800).

Their tales inspired me to collate a host of different ways to speedily stuff cash in your coffers. So here goes...

1. Free £150+ for switching to a better bank account. The fierce competition in the banking market means some bribe you to switch. As often these are best-buys anyway, take it and smile. Some pay quicker than others - the times I give are the days after your switch completes.

- Free £150 PLUS £4+/mth.
Co-op* pays £150 within 45 days. Plus its Everyday Rewards scheme pays £4+/mth if you qualify. Its customer service rating's a strong 70% 'great'. Full eligibility info: Co-op Bank.

- Free £100, No.1 service, 6% linked savings & 0% overdraft. First Direct's* won every service poll we've ever done; 91% rate it 'great'. On top of a free £100 within 44 days, switchers get a £250 0% overdraft and you can put up to £300/mth in its linked 6% regular saver. Full eligibility info in our First Direct review.

- Free £100 M&S gift card plus £10/mth.
M&S Bank doesn't pay cash, but does give a £100 gift card within 30 days, plus pay in £1,000+ a month and you get £10/mth added for a year. Its service is a strong 68% 'great'. It also has a £100 0% overdraft and a linked 6% regular saver. Full eligibility info in M&S review.

- Free £100 plus £5/mth. Halifax pays £100 after just 3 days and also pays £5 each month you're in credit - its service is also 68% 'great'. Yet beware its overdraft which is very costly. Full eligibility info: Halifax Rewards review.

And don't worry, I did a Twitter poll and 83% who've switched since 7-day switching launched in 2013 said it's no hassle. They simply close your old account, move direct debits & standing orders and auto-forward payments.
2. Bank tartMake £1,500+ as a serial bank-account switcher. It's not just my team who are bank tarts. In fact after we did a story on an £800+ profit, you've been competing to be Britain's biggest bank tart.

Simon Bartram and his wife have now earnt £1,565 over four years: "Inspired by Martin Lewis, we started switching... keeping track of the cash takes some doing but it's well worth it". For help, pros & cons, see Bank tarting champs.
3. Get PAID to walk... via a fitness tracker or app, more if you use the gym. See the new Get Paid To Walk app.
4. Free £100 Amazon/M&S voucher within 3 months. Accepted new applicants for the Amex Gold Charge Card (eligibility calc / apply*) get 20,000 reward points if they spend £2,000 in the first 3 months. This isn't a call to spend more, just do normal spending on it as long as it's £700+/mth. The voucher usually lands within 3mths.

- What are the points worth?
The 20,000 bonus is enough for a £100 voucher for Amazon, M&S and more (or you can transfer to airline & hotel loyalty-schemes). You earn 1pt per £1 spend on the card too.

- Warning: After a year there's a £140 fee. The £140 annual fee is waived in year 1, so diarise to cancel if you want to avoid it.

- It's a charge card, not a credit card.
So you MUST repay IN FULL every month, or face a £12 penalty and a mark on your credit file. Best do it via direct debit. Full help in credit card freebies.
5. Switched energy in last 6 years? Get £100s back in minutes. Disgustingly, when you left an energy firm, if you were in credit it ran a 'don't ask, don't get' policy. That's mostly changed now, but if you didn't get your money - even if years ago - you can still ask.

It only takes a few minutes, see my Get Old Energy Credit Back guide. Many get £100s, some more, like forumite Col.Escargot: "The balance owing from 17mths ago was £1,364. Brilliant, but I do feel an idiot for not knowing how much I'd overpaid. I'd urge everyone to check."
6. Find £100s of lost Tesco vouchers. Speedily check if you can reclaim lost/unused Tesco vouchers, like forumite McTaggus, who said: "You netted me £276 in unused vouchers. Thank you MSE." And the guide also shows how you can increase their value up to fourfold.
7. Bank with Nationwide? Get £100 for you and a friend. If you've a Nationwide FlexAccount, FlexDirect or FlexPlus account, and you rate it, if you refer a friend who opens one, you get £100 and so do they, and you can refer up to 10 friends each year, so that's a grand.
8. Flog old wedding gowns - for hundreds. Call me a cold-hearted beast, but that frock's not going to make another appearance. So ask yourself what'd make you happier: it sitting in a drawer, or having some cash in your pocket to have fun with (or paying off debts).

We lift the veil in wedding dress flogging and it works, as forumite fran-o says: "I put my dress on Preloved, and someone who'd tried it on in a shop came and bought it for £550. Very happy."
9. 'Asked for bank fees back on Sat, it offered £2,000 on Monday'. If you've ever had a packaged bank account (where you pay £10-£20/mth for add-ons such as travel insurance) you didn't ask for, or couldn't use the benefits, try our free Reclaim Packaged Bank Fees tool, like Claire: "Submitted a claim on Saturday, on Monday the bank rang to offer to refund 5yrs of fees - a whopping £1,996. Thank you."
10. £25ish/mth to watch vids & play games. Mega-popular with forumites, Swagbucks gets paid for ads/market research, and you get a cut - often being paid in a month. Plus we've a link for you to accrue £5 & get a bonus £10. Leah tweeted: "Thanks to your email I'm a Swagbucks addict. I've got nearly £18 of Amazon cards in 10 days."
11. Get PAID £10 to check your credit file(s). It's crucial to ensure your credit files are correct and you should check them regularly. Do it right and we've a trick that gets you PAID to check your credit file.
12. Check shops' prices & get paid to scan shopping receipts. If you've an iPhone, take on a mission (should you choose to accept it) from free app Field Agent; it pays up to £10/job to check prices/snap photos. Yet you're competing against others for jobs, so don't get too excited. Also join the waiting list to earn up to £10/mth in vouchers at Shop and Scan. The cash is usually paid in one week.
13. Got a credit card and always repay in full? Make it PAY YOU. When you use a card, the retailer has to pay the card firm a transaction fee. With a cashback card you effectively get this put in your pocket. Those fees have been cut recently, except for Amex, so it still pays a good whack, though here you wait a year for cash.

The fee-free Amex Everyday (eligibility calc / apply*) pays 5% cashback (max £100) for 3mths, then tiered up to 1.25% after. The money's paid on the anniversary of getting the card (you need to spend £3,000+ to get any cashback). Anna tweeted: "@MartinSLewis Glad I read about Amex cashback: I'll get over £200 paid".

Amex isn't accepted everywhere, so a top alternative is Asda Mastercard (apply*), at 0.5% cashback (1% in Asda) - and it pays cashback monthly.

But only do this if you'll set up a direct debit to repay IN FULL each month. If not, they're 22.9%/18.9% rep APR interest, which more than wipes the cashback gain. Full options in Top Cashback Credit Cards.
14. Flog stuff you never use for £100s. Look around your possessions and ask yourself "have I used it in the last year?" If not, consider flogging it. As Gavin said: "@MoneySavingExp - made £200 in one weekend selling two items on Facebook". For help, see 40+ eBay Sellers' Tricks and 27 Facebook Selling Tips.

PS: In or near Cardiff? My TV roadshow is in town Thu: Come to St. David’s Shopping Centre to ask a question, tell of a success or just say hi. Full Cardiff Roadshow info

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Savings in crisis - some pay only 0.01% - 5 ways to max interest

We thought it couldn't get worse. It has. If you've savings this is a must-read. Do it right and you can earn 6%

Three facts. While the Bank of England left the UK base rate at 0.5% last week, it said an August cut may still happen. Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority's revealed £160bn of savings earn less than a spitworthily low 0.5% - check yours NOW. And the top UK easy access account now pays just 1.3% (1yr ago it was 1.6%), and the only likely direction is down. So you need to make your money work for you. ALL accounts here (incl sharia ones) have full UK £75,000 savings safety protection.

  1. Don't worry about savings tax. Since 6 April you can earn £1,000/yr interest tax-free (£500 for 40% taxpayers), so most people's savings are now tax-free. Thus focus on the highest rate you can get. Full info in personal savings allowance.

  2. Earn 3% easy access on up to £20,000 (£60,000 if a couple). For big savings by far the best payer is the Santander 123* current account. It pays 3% AER on £3k to £20k for a £5/mth fee, but for most that's easily covered by the up to 3% cashback it gives if you pay bills by direct debit. Even without cashback, on c. £8,600+ for most it beats owt else.

    Everyone can get one (provided they pass its credit check), but couples can also get a joint one, meaning they can save £60,000 between them. Though as it's a bank account each must meet its terms, eg, paying in £500/mth and having two direct debits.

    On smaller amounts, other bank accounts pay more. TSB Classic Plus* is 5% AER on up to £2k or Club Lloyds is 4% AER on £4k to £5k (but it has a high min £1,500/mth pay-in). Full info & help in Best Bank Accounts.

  3. Earn up to 6% on smaller amounts with regular savings. Here you put up to c. £300 aside each month. Three accounts pay 6% AER fixed for a year, but are only accessible if you've that bank's current account: First Direct, HSBC and M&S. If you bank with Nationwide or Santander, they also have regular savers paying 5%. The top payer that anyone can open is Leeds BS at 3.05%. Full info and options in 6% Regular Savings.

  4. Never owned a home? Get a 25% savings boost. If you're a first-time buyer, or hope to be, a Help to Buy ISA's a no-brainer. For every £200/mth you save, £50 is added when you buy a home. Full info: Top Help to Buy ISAs.

  5. Lock savings away to earn 2%. If you're willing to forgo access to your money, you can earn more. The top 1yr fix is Charter Savings 1.79%, 2yrs is also Charter 1.91%, for 3yrs Bank of Cyprus 2%. Sharia compliant savings beat even these, yet Islam bars interest, so here it's an 'expected profit rate'. Al Rayan Bank is 2.02% for 2yrs, 2.32% for 3yrs. It has always paid out, though by definition it's not certain. Anyone can open this. See Top fixes. Got savings questions? We're doing a Twitter Q&A at 12-12.30pm Fri. Tweet questions to @MoneySavingExp.

FOR MORE SEE: Top Savings | Top Cash ISAs | Related: Earn more but up the risk in peer-to-peer saving


Free 12-month £80 Tastecard trick (OK, you pay £4 delivery). MSE Blagged. Go with us here. We've blagged a free trial for Supercard (not the travel one of the same name), a new discount card for beauty treatments, hotels etc. As part of that it gives you a free 1yr Tastecard - which gives 2for1s at over 6,500 restaurants. Tastecard Supercard trick

Ralph Lauren extra 20% off + free delivery codes on 'up to 50% off' sale (eg, £70 shirt for £28). MSE Blagged.It's never dirt cheap, but with these codes prices drop rapidly, eg, £105 maxi dress £42. Ralph Lauren

New. Longest-EVER 41mth 0% balance transfer credit card. Another week, another top card for cutting existing credit & store card debt costs. Accepted cardholders can shift debt to Virgin Money (eligibility calc / apply*) for 41mths 0% with a hefty 4% fee. Yet our view is the one-month shorter 40mth MBNA card (PRE-approval eligibility calc / apply*) with just a 2.47% fee is better value for most. Ensure you pay at least the monthly minimum, and clear the card before the 0% ends, or they jump to 20.9% rep APR. Full info and card options: Top Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Lowcostholidays collapse - 'get your money back' guide & video. If you're one of the 140,000 who booked with the now-defunct company, see our Guide & Martin's video: Lowcostholidays money back. And pls share it with anyone affected.

Designer sunnies code, eg, £56 Ray-Bans (norm £98). MSE Blagged. Ends Mon. Incl sale. Ltd stock. Sunnies

Going abroad? You MUST READ our 12-point holiday checklist first. Or it could cost you £100s. Holiday tips



- £100 Zyliss knife block £27 del via code Ends Mon

- 9 lavender plants bundle £7 all-in 4,000 avail

- Gardening book & seeds £1.95 del While stocks last


- 'Are you due a share of potential £19bn Mastercard refund?'

- Cheapest-ever 10-YEAR mortgage fix - should you grab it?

- Tesco Direct up to 60% off toys, furniture & electricals

- £19 for 2 specs OR 90 contact lenses £27 via codes

- Best-buy student bank accounts 2016/17 incl 4 yr railcard


Warning: Hidden energy price hikes - last chance to save £300/year?

Exclusive MSE research shows the cheapest deals are disappearing, likely due to Brexit & the weak pound

If you're licking an ice cream, winter energy bills will seem distant. Yet this may be the last chance to lock in a cheap price for when the cold comes. Everyone should do a 5-min energy comparison ASAP. Here's why...

  • Energy The cheapest deals are disappearing. We've researched price trends and it isn't good. Back in May, someone with typical use could lock in for a year at just £724, and four other firms were offering tariffs under £750. Today the cheapest is £758.

    Why? Experts at Mitie Energy say: "Wholesale UK gas & power prices have increased by 40% & 29% since April". Plus the weakened pound means all imports cost more. There are also concerns not enough gas is currently stored in the UK so more imports than usual may be needed. Changes take time to feed through, so this may be just the start.

  • How to save £300/year if you ACT NOW. Most people are massively overpaying already - 70% are on a Big 6 provider's (British Gas, E.on, SSE, Npower, Scot Power, EDF) standard dual fuel tariff, which with typical use costs an average £1,063/yr. Though for the same use, the cheapest tariff as above is just £758/yr, and as it's a one-year fix, grab it and the rate's locked in for a year (what you pay of course depends on usage too). However, as always, it could be pulled at any time.

    - Want pure cheapest? Your winner depends on where you are and what you use. Use our Cheap Energy Club 5-min comparison to find it. Plus get an extra £30 dual fuel cashback (£15 single) if we can switch you.

    - Want help to choose?
    Use our Cheap Energy Club top picks comparison, where we include full reviews and help about which firm and tariff to choose (you still get cashback & can click to see the whole of the market).

    - Don't want to switch firm?
    You won't be able to save as much, but in most cases switching tariff at your existing provider will save you something. See Switch without switching.

  • Worried about switching? Here are 5 easy need-to-knows. Full info in Cheap Gas & Elec, in brief...

    1) There's no downtime when you switch. Your electricity and gas stay on.
    2) It's the same gas, same electricity, same safety. The only things that change are customer service and price.
    3) To get the lowest price, pay by monthly direct debit. Just ensure you give regular meter readings.
    4) If you're in credit when you switch, the provider should give you money back. If not, see Get Credit Back.
    5) If your existing tariff has exit fees, factor these in. Do note, they can't charge 'em in a fix's last 49 days.

PS: We aim to do another collective switch soon - hopefully undercutting the market's cheapest when it launches. Yet if markets continue to rise, it may be more expensive than today's cheapest. It's a wait-and-see.


£100 15-piece Zyliss knife block £27, via extra 20% off code on discounted kitchenware. MSE Blagged. Ends Mon. Code for Keller Cookshop, an official outlet for Jamie Oliver, Ken Hom & Zyliss. Stock limited. Keller Cookshop

Anniversary Games 20% off tix - see Usain Bolt, Mo Farah (& surprisingly our Martin) this Fri/Sat. See the world's best athletes at London's Olympic Stadium. And why Martin's appearing, all revealed in athletics tickets.

VODAFONE CUSTOMER? MUST-READ SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Thank you for encouraging Vodafone customers to check their bills. I noticed I was overcharged £330. After contacting it, I'm going to be credited with £575 as it found I was overcharged more than once."
If you're a Vodafone customer, read Vodafone Warning - Check bills for errors and more.

9 lavender plants bundle £7 all-in (next cheapest £14ish). MSE Blagged. Or 18 plants for £10 del at Park Promotions. Or, get free 'Grow Your Own' book & seeds bundle for £1.95 del at Unwins.

Panicked about interest on your student loan statement? Ignore it. It's nonsense. Why? Read Martin's Student interest blog.


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LATES holiday deals have started, eg, 14nts Tenerife £250pp (incl flight)

This is the time package holidays for the summer get heavily reduced. There's less choice, but serious bargains

We're now in the summer 'lates' market, where there are serious discounts to be had on package holidays. Tour operators have already paid for plane seats and hotel rooms which they're getting desperate to shift, so it's a buyer's market as long as you're flexible about where and when you go. Full info in our updated Cheap Package Holidays guide. In brief...

  • Holiday deals How cheap is cheap? Of course they change by the day, but on Tue we found the following. All include flights, hotels and usually transfers and are for 2 or 4 people.

    Crete, 3-star, self-catering, 7nts, £180pp | Bodrum, 3.5-star, B&B, 7nts, £220pp | Tenerife, 3-star, self-catering, 14nts, £250pp | Dubai, 5-star, room-only, 7nts, £431pp | Orlando, 3-star, room-only, 14nts, £478pp

  • How to find the cheap deals. Start by benchmarking prices with comparison sites TravelSup* and*, then check sites such as Holiday Pirates for flash deals.

    However, often for the real bargains it's about getting on the phone to travel agents to see what they can find. And remember tour operators make holidays, travel agents just sell them, so the same holiday can be different prices at different agents. See our Holiday haggling tips.

  • Flexibility of travel and mind is key. The best way to do this is to be open to going anywhere, at any time (obviously that's not good for young children). Quick tips...

    The last two weeks of the school hols are cheaper. Prices drop rapidly for the end of the August holidays.
    - Midweek travel is cheaper. Sometimes even just a day can make a big difference to the cost, eg, fly Mon - Mon.
    - Look for out-of-favour destinations. Turkey's recent problems mean it's cheap right now. The Independent's travel editor Simon Calder said on This Morning: "I wouldn't hesitate... to get on an aircraft with my family and go to Turkey". Though always check Govt travel advice before booking.

  • Are you protected? As the case of Lowcostholidays above shows, ensuring your firm has ATOL or ABTA protection is very important, as it means if the firm goes bust, your holiday is safe. So always check. See Travel protection help.


Harry Potter & The Cursed Child - where's it cheapest? The script for the new play is out. A wizard deal

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

£50 (or free for some) four-week summer activity breaks for 16-17yr-olds. National Citizen Service in Eng & NI offers summer adventure courses, incl trips away, capped at £50 (free with bursary). See National Citizen Service.

FREE £10 Doncaster Races tickets code. Summer Festival Race Evening this Thu (21 Jul), 3,000 avail. Giddy up

Xbox One price war: console & game for under £200 (norm £230ish). Incl FIFA 16. See Xbox One deals.

It's on - Next sale, at least 50% off. As predicted last week, the Next sale is on. See all our Summer sales boosts.



Has a holiday in rural England burnt a hole in your pocket? A committee of MPs is looking at the costs of holidaying in the English countryside. They also want to know what kind of problems crop up with transport and places to stay, and what can be done to balance development with protecting local character. If you've holidayed in rural England (even if you live elsewhere in GB), tell 'em what you think.


Are you going on holiday this summer? What are your summer holiday plans (if you've more than one holiday planned, answer for the main one)?

Two hours of your time is enough for personal admin. In last week's poll we asked how much time you spent each week on personal admin (excluding cleaning). Results were fairly consistent across genders and household types, with you most commonly saying (27% of you) that it takes between one and two hours of your week. At the extremes 4% of you claim to take no time at all, while 5% take more than 10 hours. See the full results of our personal admin poll.



- Top story: MPs debate retrospective student loan changes in Parliament

- Travellers left unable to use Supercards after PIN problems

- Bank of England holds base rate at 0.5%

- Shoppers with mental health conditions 'need support controlling their spending'

- Savers could get texts or email alerts when rates drop



Should I keep the cashback paid out on my replacement car hire? I was recently in a car accident deemed to be the other driver's fault. I was told to arrange car hire while mine's in the garage, and to claim back the cost on insurance. However, it looks like I can get 10% cashback on the car hire, which wouldn't show on the invoice. Would it be right for me to keep it? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I keep the cashback on my replacement car hire? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Completely Crazy Clothes Challenge 2016
- Competitions thread of the week: £10,000 home makeover
- Old-style board thread of the week: Is my food shopping too much?
- Discussion of the week: What is £1 worth to you?


- Panicked about interest on your student loan statement? For many it's nonsense


- 'Free' 12-month £80 Tastecard Trick

- Totally FREE posh New Covent Garden Soup (norm £2ish)



Thu 21 Jul - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Thu 21 Jul - The Martin Lewis Roadshow, St. David’s Shopping Centre, Cardiff, noon till late
Fri 22 Jul - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. View previous
Fri 22 Jul - Müller Anniversary Games, 6pm - 10pm
Sat 23 Jul - Müller Anniversary Games, 2pm - 4.30pm
Mon 25 Jul - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 25 Jul - BBC Radio 5 Live, Martin Lewis Live, noon - 1pm. Subscribe to podcast


Wed 20 Jul - Share Radio, 11.20am
Thu 21 Jul - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm
Tue 26 Jul - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm



Q: Do I need gap insurance on a brand new car? Kevin, by email.

MSE Tony's A: No, you don't. Almost all comprehensive car insurance policies already offer what's called 'new car replacement' for new vehicles (although a handful don't, so double-check). As long as your car's less than a year old, your insurer'll give you an identical as new vehicle if it's damaged beyond repair or stolen.

If your policy doesn't provide a new car replacement, whether to buy gap cover (which covers the 'gap' between the payout from your insurer if it's written off and what a replacement vehicle would actually cost you) will come down to attitude - for many, it's a waste of money. If you still want it, try an online broker rather than the car dealer; it can be a quarter of the price. For tips and where to buy, see our Gap insurance guide.

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



That's it for this week, but before we go, test your word power with this thread from the forum: Vocabulary test.

We're the first to hold our hands up and say our MSE style of writing is far from formal, but nonetheless we're asking how well you know your antonyms from your synonyms? This vocabulary test we've found will definitely put your skills to the test. Many of our forumites have found that they're in the top 1% of test takers, so why not see if you can join them?

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

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