Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

26 September 2018

Over 50 ways to save incl... Premium Bond alert, 50+ birthday freebies, urgent Big Energy Switch, cheap Easyjet, slash mobile costs, £10 Asos vch?, 4.5% kids’ savings, £10/mth b’band

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


Pay £10+/mth for your mobile? STOP

- Millions pay £100s/yr for a handset they ALREADY own
- Happy with your handset? Cheap Sims start from £5/mth  

- Save £400+ on new contract deals, incl iPhone XS

Millions overpay for their mobile. Either they let contracts roll over and in effect pay for a phone they already own, or they overpay for airtime (calls, texts & data). That's highly likely for anyone who's had a Sim for a few years, as prices have dived recently - with many top Sim-only deals now sub-£10/mth.

If you're out of contract you're free to switch, so STOP paying rip-off rates and check if you can save £100s/yr. Jodie did: "@MartinSLewis would be proud of me getting my mobile bill down from £39/mth to £13.50/mth [saving more than £300/yr]." 

  1. Avoid overpaying by knowing your usage - check with a nifty tool. Buy too low an allowance and you pay over the odds for the extra. Go too high and you overpay for the contract. 

    So check old bills, or try the free Billmonitor* tool, which tells you your past use and matches you to the best deal. As it actually views your mobile account you need to give it your login details - you're then emailed what it considers to be your best deal. Yet it doesn't search all deals, so for ease, we've pulled out our top picks below. 

  2. Happy with your handset? Easily slash your monthly bill to under £10/mth with a cheap Sim-only deal. Your Sim is the little chip that slots into your phone, which dictates your calls, texts and data allowance. Replacing yours with a better deal is an easy way to save.

    Our research shows most people use less than 5GB of data and at this level there's lots at sub-£10/mth - though we've also included a higher use deal if you stream all day. Our top picks for new customers are below, all on 1mth contracts - so you've flexibility if an even cheaper deal comes along:

    1GB, 500 mins & unltd texts for £5/mth from iD Mobile* (uses Three's network)

    4GB, 2,000 mins & 2,000 texts for £8.50/mth from Plusnet* (EE)
    10GB, 500 mins & unltd texts for £12/mth from iD Mobile* (Three)

    Full help and more deals in Top Sims. Make sure your phone's unlocked if switching network - full info on how to do this for free is in the need-to-knows below.

  3. Want a new handset? Trick gets up to £445 off O2, Three & Vodafone contracts. Snazzy new smartphones aren't MoneySaving, but if you'll get one anyway, at least get it cheap. It's usually best to buy a new handset and pair it with a cheap Sim. Yet occasionally a few contract deals - where you pay a monthly fee for the airtime and to pay off the handset over the contract length - win on price.

    The key is NOT to go direct to a network. Instead, mobile resellers often offer the SAME or similar deals for MUCH less, in one case below, at £445 cheaper over 2yrs. Your contract is still with the main network, so you get the same service, just via a cheaper source.

    We've picked some of the best contract deals for popular phones at specific usage levels below - as of Tue night they were the cheapest we could see in their category. All go via except the Samsung S8 deal via Of course, these may not be right for you so for other options see comparison sites Billmonitor* or MobilePhoneChecker*.

    - iPhone XS: Vodafone newbies can get a 64GB iPhone XS* with 4GB of data, unltd mins & texts for £540 upfront. It's then £23/mth, making it £1,092 over 2yrs. So it's £445 cheaper over 2yrs than the same deal direct from Vodafone.
    - iPhone X: O2 newbies can get a 64GB iPhone X* with 3GB of data, 1,000 mins & unltd texts for £520 upfront. It's then £23/mth, making it £1,072 over 2yrs. It's £405 cheaper over 2yrs than an equiv deal direct from O2.

    - iPhone 8: O2 newbies can get a 64GB iPhone 8* with 3GB of data, 1,000 mins & unltd texts for £240 upfront. It's then £23/mth, making it £792 over 2yrs. It's £360 cheaper over 2yrs than an equiv deal direct from O2.
    - Samsung S9: O2 newbies can get a 64GB Samsung S9* with 3GB of data, 1,000 mins & unltd texts for £135 upfront. It's then £23/mth, making it £687 over 2yrs. It's £395 cheaper over 2yrs than an equiv deal direct from O2.

    - Samsung S8: Three newbies can get a 64GB Samsung S8* with 4GB of data and unltd mins & texts for £25/mth, with nothing to pay upfront. You're also automatically paid £50 cashback, making it £550 over 2yrs. It's £50 cheaper over 2yrs than the same deal direct from Three.

    For more options and help, see our 30+ Cheap Mobile Tips, plus our Cheap iPhone and Samsung guides. Also see Cheap smartphone alternatives

  4. Prefer to own a new handset outright? £150 off an iPhone X. It's rare to get a discount on the major handsets but here are some we've found on these 64GB unlocked phones, which you could then pair with one of the top Sims above:

    - iPhone X: £849 at Very* (was £999 at Apple before it stopped selling that handset)
     - Samsung S9: £599 from Direct Mobiles* (norm £639)
     - Samsung S8: £489 from* (norm £499)

    Can't afford to pay in one go? You may be able to spread the cost. With the new iPhones costing up to £1,449, the latest handsets could set you back serious cash. But Apple's iPhone Payments lets you spread the cost on the latest XS, XS Max or XR models. Also consider a credit card with 0% interest on spending on these or other phones.

Mobile phone switching need-to-knows

  • Switching's quick & you can keep your number. Just request a 'PAC' (porting authorisation code) from your current network and give it to the new one, and your number's switched the following working day. See how to keep your number.

  • If switching network, you may need to unlock your phone. Many providers stop you using other firms' Sims, but if you're locked to one network, you can usually get your phone unlocked for free

  • Get £100s for old handsets. While you normally get more via eBay, it's usually easier via mobile-reselling sites such as Sell My Mobile*, Compare My Mobile* and Compare And Recycle. To show what you can get, we found one site paying £350 for a 64GB iPhone 8. For how it all works, see Sell Old Mobiles.

  • Do you need mobile insurance? Many don't - it's about whether you're a loser. See our Mobile Insurance guide to help decide and find top picks from less than £7/mth per person, which beat networks' policies.

  • You're credit-checked getting a contract. If your history's poor, PAYG may be your only option. If you've a bad credit record you may struggle to be approved for a phone or Sim contract. Pay-as-you-go deals aren't as cheap, but crucially you won't be credit-checked.

  • Contract up? Haggling can net a bargain. Mobile firms are among the easiest to haggle with - 77% of EE customers and 76% of Vodafone customers said they had success in our latest haggling poll. David did and saved £115/yr: "Used your tips and phoned my provider. I was paying £15.59/mth, now £6/mth. Thanks for the inspiration." See Mobile Haggling for more 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.



 MSE Big Energy Switch Event 11

Likely to end Wed. Beat energy hike triple whammy, with cheaper-than-the-cheapest LONG fixes - save £280, with price protected for two winters  

There's a triple whammy hitting energy bills. 1) Four Big 6 firms have hiked prices for the 2nd time this year - Brit Gas's and Scot Power's will hit in the next few weeks. 2) Many of the cheapest deals are being pulled. 3) There's the 'Stark' warning winter is coming. 

So we've launched the MSE Big Switch 11 with two cheap two-winter fixes (with improved customer service). With rising prices no firms would cut short-term fix costs, so we've deals where you lock in a rate for longer, at much cheaper than the market's cheapest. Yet they're running out..

  • Urgent - only about 2,500 switches left. MSE WINNER 1Green Network Energy 18mth fixAvg price on typical use (incl MSE cashback): £962/yr. Saving vs avg Big 6 standard tariff over 18mths £280. The GNE 18mth fixed exclusive locks in the price till Mar 2020 - so the rate is set for two winters. It's cheaper than all 1yr fixes available UK-wide, and £60/yr cheaper than the top 2yr deal. It's for new dual-fuel (ie, gas & elec) and elec-only customers. But hurry - 2,500 are unlikely to last throughout Wed.

    The impact can be huge, as Matt tweeted: "Thanks. I've switched and will save over £350/yr on an 18mth fixed deal." To see how it compares, use our Cheap Energy Club long-fix comparison (untick the 'long fix' filter for other options).

  • MSE WINNER 2Avro 18mth fix + top service - 9,500 switches available. Avg price on typical use (incl MSE cashback): £983/yrSaving vs avg Big 6 standard tariff over 18mths: £250. Avro Energy's Simple and MSE collective tariff is a tad costlier, though still far cheaper than any other long fix. It's a bigger firm than GNE with a stronger customer service rating and its deal is for new and existing customers on dual fuel. 

    You can't get it direct and you must have signed up to get our weekly email or be a member of our Cheap Energy Club before 18 Sep to qualify. To see how it compares, use our superb service comparison (untick the 'long fix' filter for other options).

  • CHEAPEST BIG NAME: Urgent. Cheap EDF 2yr fix - great for some, pants for others. Avg price on typical use (incl MSE cashback): £1,059/yr. Saving vs avg Big 6 standard tariff over 2 yrs: £175The EDF 2yr Easy Online Exclusive Oct20 tariff gives even longer protection and can be a winner depending on where you live. It's for new and existing dual-fuel custs and is £982/yr at its cheapest, but regional variations are huge. The best rates are in parts of London, Scot, the Mids, the N East, E Anglia, S Wales and the South. Check your price via our big name supplier comparison. But as the market is volatile we don't know how long it'll last so don't hang about.

  • Are there cheaper dealsYou can save a little more with a variable tariff, but prices could will rise - in fact, over the last week the cheapest variable deal rose by £60/yr. To find the cheapest, do a full market comparison.

  • Switching's easy - it's the same gas, elec, pipes etc. Only price and service change. But if you want more info, see our Switching FAQs. Sadly, the deals above aren't available in Northern Ireland or on prepay.

50+ FREEBIES for your birthday, eg, Body Shop £5, doughnuts, prosecco & more. As late Sep's the most popular birth time (go back 9mths to guess why), we've updated our 50+ birthday freebies round-up.

Check if you're due one of 1.5m+ unclaimed Premium Bond prizes. Latest figures show more than £60m is out there, with some prizes going back to the 1950s. See Premium Bonds prize check.

Super-cheap Easyjet flights, this time for summer 2019. Last week it released cheap flights for next spring, this week it's doing the same for Jun-Sep 2019. But you'll need to be quick. Cheap Easyjet

Asos to axe its 'A-List' loyalty scheme - but check if you're due a £10 voucher. See Asos A-List axed.

Ends Thu. Broadband & line equiv to £10.24/mth from BT-owned Plusnet. Standard speed b'band for new Plusnet customers. It's a good trick to stick with BT but save up to £420/yr over its standard rates. For more options, incl faster fibre, use our Broadband Unbundled tool. IMPORTANT: Plusnet's been the top biggie for customer service in our polls for 6yrs but last week we uncovered a billing blunder, so weigh up if it's still right for you.

£25 Avon beauty box code (£90ish bought separately). MSE Blagged. Incl nine full-size products, eg, perfume, mascara, eye cream. 1,200 available. Latest In Beauty


'I reclaimed £4,000 in packaged bank account fees using MSE's tool' 

Ever paid monthly account fees? You may be due £100s or even £1,000s. But NEVER pay to reclaim

If you've got or had a packaged bank account - where you pay a monthly fee for extras incl travel, mobile or breakdown cover - you may be owed £1,000s. Many get these accounts for cheap insurance. Yet they've also been mis-sold on a mass scale. To help, we've got a reclaim tool that we built with complaints specialist Resolver to make getting your money back easy. 

Alice discovered reclaiming can be fruitful: "I used Resolver to reclaim packaged account fees from 1995 to 2018 and got a whopping £3,902 cheque. Thanks." Our Free Packaged Bank Account Reclaiming Tool and guide has full info, but here are the key details...

  • Do I need a packaged bank account? The key is whether you need the insurance and whether you can get it cheaper elsewhere. If the insurance is right for you, think of the costs yearly, so £15/mth is £180/yr. That makes it easy to compare against annual insurance costs.

  • Cancel NOW if the account is not worth it. Then switch to a fee-free deal and earn up to £200 to do so. Doing this doesn't affect your claim if you were mis-sold. See Top Standard Bank Accounts.

  • Check if you've been mis-sold. Banks needed to check cover was suitable in the first place. If you were wrongly told you had to have your packaged account, you weren't eligible for the insurance (eg, you were too old for travel insurance) or you were "upgraded" without permission, you were mis-sold. See full mis-selling checklist.

  • If you were mis-sold, it's easy to reclaim for FREE (never use a claims firm). It's been almost three years since we launched our Packaged Bank Account Reclaim tool. It's part of our collaboration with Resolver, merging our template letters and experience with its technology. Enter your details and it helps draft the complaint, sends it, keeps track and escalates it to the ombudsman if necessary. 

Smyths Toys £10 off each £50 spend (so £20 off £100 etc). Good for Xmas. Till Sun in stores only. Smyths

MSE win as Welsh Govt to help more 'severely mentally impaired' residents get council tax discount. We've campaigned on this for almost two years and want Eng and Scot to follow. Council tax discounts

Moonpig 20% off ALL cards. MSE Blagged. Valid on single cards and packs, including personalised. Ends Sun. Moonpig

Ends Fri. 40%+ off BT Sport if you've a Sky subscription. Makes it an equiv £16/mth, £21/mth with HD. BT Sport discount

£3.50 personalised photo mug. MSE Blagged. Cheapest we've seen in months - incl delivery. Truprint mug


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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 £19.17/mth

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


It's all change in the children's savings account market as one of the biggest providers revamps its range

Last week, Nationwide overhauled its children's savings products, launching a brand new 'Future Saver' account, which has a decent rate for some. At the same time it closed its junior ISA to new applicants. Yet is the Future Saver the right place to save for your little'un? We've full info in children's easy-access accounts, but in brief...

  • Kids SavingsTop for small amounts or for putting money aside each month - up to 4.5%. The Halifax Kids' Monthly Saver pays 4.5%, while the Saffron BS Children's Reg Saver pays 4%, both fixed for a year. Both allow you to save up to £100/mth, though there's no compulsion to save regularly. Saffron allows unlimited withdrawals whereas with Halifax you must close your account if you want your money. Full info in kids' regular savings accounts.

  • Top for bigger lump sums - up to 3.5%. The new Nationwide Future Saver allows you to put up to £5,000 a year in it. If you're the child's parent or guardian and you have a Nationwide current account (not FlexBasic), you get 3.5% AER variable, for others it's 2.5%. It only allows children to make one penalty-free withdrawal a year, though. Alternatively HSBC MySavings pays 3% variable on up to £3,000 with unlimited withdrawals, so may be better.   

  • Top children's bank account with interest. The Santander 123 Mini pays 3% variable on £300-£2,000 - if your child's 11 or over they can also get a debit or cash card with it. If your child is under 13, you need to have a Santander current account and open it for them in branch. Anyone aged 13 or over must open it themselves. 

  • Are junior ISAs (JISAs) worth it? The benefit of a JISA has always been that the interest is tax-free. But these days as most parents don't pay tax on interest, most kids won't either, so the gain's diluted. Plus, the big problem with JISAs is only your child can withdraw the money, and once they're 18 it's theirs to blow on booze if they want to. You can deposit up to £4,260/yr in one, with the top payer Coventry BS at 3.6% variable. Full info in Top JISAs.

  • What if I've a Child Trust FundIt's best to convert it to a JISA. For why, see Child Trust Fund help.

There's lots more help in Children's Savings. And if you're interested in a prepaid card, see Cards for U-18s.


Free MOT reminder - helps avoid an up to £1,000 fine. Takes just a minute. Free MOT reminder

Interflora 20% off everything code. MSE Blagged. On flowers, chocs etc. No min spend, ends Sun. Save a bunch

"Followed your guidance to  haggle for a better deal  on my Virgin package and got £16/mth off my bill plus £20 credit. Keep up the good work."
( Send us yours  on this or any topic.)

Want an MSE Charity grant? If you do, go quick - our charity's latest grant-giving round closes on Friday, or sooner, if it receives 40 applications. It's offering up to £7,500 each to organisations that aim to improve people's mental health and independence by teaching money and budgeting skills. You can take a quiz to check if your organisation's eligible.



Have you used Experian or Clearscore? The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the proposed merger between Experian and Clearscore - companies that provide credit-score checking and other financial services. If you've used Clearscore or Experian (which also powers our Credit Club) the CMA wants to hear from you to help inform its investigation. Have your say via the CMA's MSE Forum thread.



Which stores do you LOVE or LOATHE? Retailers love us to have a relationship with them. Indeed, many shoppers feel an almost intimate connection with some brands, but wouldn't be seen dead crossing others' thresholds. So tell us which stores you love or loathe.

Those who went to uni are more likely to believe it's earnings-enhancing and life-enhancing... In last week's poll we asked if getting a degree is worthwhile, and 5,000+ responded. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who went to uni were more likely to view the experience positively. The biggest advocates among those who'd been were the 50-64 age group, with almost half considering it earnings AND life-enhancing. Find out how other groups rated the cost and value of university.



Should my friend contribute to my parking fine? I drove my friend to the station so we could get a train together. We parked in a space that had to be reserved, and got a parking ticket. Should I pay the whole fine, or should she make a contribution? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my friend contribute to parking fine? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Dealing with family debt
- Competitions thread of the week: Two-night stay with breakfast & dinner at the Balmoral Edinburgh
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Heinz 'Mayochup'
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Tips for getting child to read
- Discussion of the week: What's your all-time favourite board game?


Free gym passes - incl Anytime Fitness, DW Fitness First
Baileys - £12 Original Irish Cream 1L (norm £20)
Ben & Jerry's - £2.50 500ml ice cream tubs at Tesco
Cake & Bake Show - two tickets for £11.75 (norm £27.75)
Heartier - free-range steak hamper £30 (norm £54)

Pizza Hut - £10ish unlimited Sunday buffet
Harvester - £10 off £30 spend via app
Ask Italian - 25% off all food voucher
Burger King - £1.99 'King of the Day' burger
Papa John's - 40% off £25 student discount

Make-up - free £17.50 lipstick and other skincare rewards
Hot drinks - up to 50p off when you use a reusable cup
H&M - £5 off £25 when you recycle clothes, towels etc
Cash for trash - earn money at charity litter picking events
M&S - £5 off £35 when you recycle unwanted clothes

Quick Forum Tips

Free Space Invaders car sticker. Out of this world
Tesco F&F 25% off rumour. Don't hanger-round
25% off 6+ bottles of wine at Sainsbury's. Corking



Thu 27 Sep - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 28 Sep - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 1 Oct - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 1 Oct - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again


Wed 26 Sep - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 28 Sep - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 1 Oct - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 2 Oct - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm 



Q: If I switch bank, do I have to close my old account? Sarah, via email.

MSE Rosie's A: Yes, if you switch via the seven-working-day Current Account Switch Service. As part of the process, your new bank will automatically close your old account and move all payments, eg, direct debits and standing orders.

If you'd rather keep your old account open, you'll need to use the older, slower and more complicated system, which you can ask for. Your payments will still be switched over, but there's less protection if anything goes wrong, and it's likely you won't get any switch incentives on offer. For more on bank switching, see our Best Bank Accounts guide.

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... An unfortunate typo was spotted on the side of a Cathay Pacific plane last week, after it came back from the painters missing the 'F' in Pacific. The Hong Kong-based airline at least saw the funny side and had a laugh at itself on social media. But it got us thinking... is this the biggest branding blunder you've seen, or have you spotted worse? Share your stories and see the Cathay mess-up in our Cathay Paciic Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team