Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

05 December 2018

Over 50 ways to save incl... Big Soap & Glory set, 2.15% savings, Lloyds overdraft alert, No7 trick, 10p/L off petrol, free Amazon deliv, £110 on £1k investment, iPhone/Samsung deals

This info may be out of date. Read this week's emails
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.


Mobile phones: HO-t tariffs, HO-t handset deals, and HO-w to halve your costs

- Firms pump out deals this Christmas on iPhones, Samsungs etc
- Millions massively overpay when out of contract
- If you pay £10+/mth you probably overspend

The festive season is a big marketing opportunity for mobile firms as they know many buy handsets as gifts, so this competition means it's a good time to assess your bill.

It's vital you do, as millions allow contracts to roll over, thus paying for a phone they already own. Or they overpay for calls, texts & data - highly likely if you've had a Sim card for years, as prices have dived, with Sims now starting at £5/mth. So if out of contract, you could make big savings.

One tool you could use is the free Billmonitor*. You need to give it your online mobile account login and it then accesses your account to assess your past usage to match you to cheap tariffs. But it doesn't search them all, so we've pulled out our top picks below.

Happy with your handset? Slash bills to under £10/mth

This is about getting a cheaper Sim - the chip in your phone that allows you to make calls, texts and use data, and dictates your allowances.

Which one is right for you is often about data, and our research shows most use 5GB/mth or less and at this level there are many deals at sub-£10/mth. See our top picks below, for new customers to that network.

  • 1GB, 500 mins & unltd texts - £5/mth. From iD Mobile* (uses Three's network), part of Carphone Warehouse, on a 1mth contract. 
  • New. 4GB, unltd mins & unltd texts - £10mth. From Smarty* (uses Three's network). You pay upfront each month with no min term. If you activate a Sim in Dec, and pay for the first month, you get the next two 'free', so over 1yr, it's an equiv £8.34/mth.
  • 20GB, unltd mins & texts - £20/mth. From Vodafone*£80 auto cashback after 2mths, making it an equiv £13.34/mth over the 1yr contract.

If switching network, you'll need an unlocked phone, see how to unlock your handset for free. Full help and more deals in Top Sims.

Want a new handset? Hot deals, incl £550 off an iPhone XR contract, Samsung discounts & more

Shiny new smartphones are not MoneySaving, but if you're going to get one, as many do at Christmas, at least do it the cheapest way. Sometimes we talk about uber-cheap refurbished deals, but there aren't many available now (you may see more in January). So today we'll focus on new.

Often buying via a contract is a rip-off as you pay more for the handset, and firms effectively loan you the cost of the phone with high interest. So if you can afford it, it's usually far cheaper to buy the handset outright and then get a cheap Sim (from the list above).

But right now, on specific deals, a few contracts win for some, so we've both options. First...

Cheapest places to buy the latest handsets

It's rare to get a discount, but here are deals we've uncovered from various reseller sites, with availability correct as of 6pm on Tue 4 Dec.

For more tips, incl how to spread new iPhone costs, see cheap handsets. Also consider a credit card with 0% interest on spending to spread costs.

Currently some NEW hot contract deals beat handset & Sim combos, incl a cracking iPhone XR offer

The key is NEVER to go direct to a network. Instead, resellers often offer the SAME or similar deals for MUCH less - 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* (part of Carphone Warehouse) and are for newbies to that network, on 2yr contracts.

  • iPhone XR 64GB* on O2 for £75 upfront, then £38/mth, if you apply use voucher code MSE10 at the basket stage. You get 30GB data + unlimited mins & texts. It's £987 over 2yrs, £550 cheaper than going direct, and about the same price as 4GB via 
  • iPhone XS 64GB* on Vodafone for £599 upfront, then £23/mth. You get 4GB data + unltd mins & texts. It's £1,151 over 2yrs, £385 less than going direct.
  • iPhone 8 64GB* on O2 for £90 upfront, then £29/mth. You get 4GB data + unltd mins & texts. It's £786 over 2yrs, £410 cheaper than going direct.
  • Samsung S9 64GB* on O2 for £50 upfront, then £23/mth. You get 3GB data, 1,000 mins & unltd texts. It's £602 over 2yrs, £280 cheaper than going direct. Plus via the link there's info on how to claim £100 cashback from Samsung, making this even cheaper.
  • Huawei P20 Pro 128GB* on Vodafone for £145 upfront, then £23/mth. You get 4GB of data, unltd mins & texts. That's £697 over 2yrs, £310 cheaper than going direct.

These combos may not be right for you, so for other contract options see comparison sites Billmonitor* or MobilePhoneChecker*.

Remember to diarise the contract end date, so you switch when it's over - or you'll likely keep paying for a handset you already own.

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.

  • 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 £220 for a 32GB iPhone 7. For how it all works, see Sell Old Mobiles.

  • Can't switch network as yours is the only one with a good signal? Find a cheap piggyback. There are actually only four UK networks: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. All other providers piggyback onto one of them, eg, Tesco is on O2, Asda is on EE. So if stuck with an expensive network, there may be a way out - see our mobile piggyback help.

  • 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, which beat networks' policies.

  • You're credit-checked when getting a contract. (If your history's poor, you may struggle to be approved for a phone or Sim contract - PAYG may be your only option.) Sadly, Pay-as-you-go deals often 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. See Mobile Haggling for more help.

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

The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm, Mon 10 Dec

How to cut the cost of new or existing mortgages by £1,000s

Over to Martin... "The biggest topic I've been asked about on my roadshows is property. How do you get on the housing ladder? What does Brexit mean for mortgage rates? Should I wait to switch deals? And more. So whether you're a first timer, or have an existing mortgage, I'll answer your questions and show you how to check if you can save thousands. Do watch, or set the Betamax (and watch this week's energy in crisis show on the ITV Hub)."


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. Trick to get 2.15% 1yr fixed savings + 1.5% easy access

Many languish on pathetic 0.1% rates or worse, so with rates bubbling nicely make the most of it to boost returns

Do your savings earn a pittance? If so, sort it NOW as easy-access rates haven't been higher in almost 3yrs, and now four providers offer the top 1.5% rate. Plus, there's a new top deal on 1yr fixed savings if you've £10k+. All below have £85,000 UK savings protection...

  • Top 1.5% easy access. With easy-access accounts, you can add money when you want and withdraw cash with no notice. The top pick is Marcus Bank* (min £1) - a UK arm of US giant Goldman Sachs - at 1.5%. It has been joined at the same rate by Kent Reliance, but that has a higher minimum of £1,000. There are now a couple more paying 1.5% with restrictions, as well as the good old Post Office* (min £1) at 1.45%. More info and the full raft of deals in top easy-access savings.

    All these accounts are AER variable rates, and some include one-year bonuses, so ensure you regularly check the rate and if it drops, ditch and switch. 

  • New. Trick to get 2.15% 1yr fix on £10,000 or easy way to get 2.05% from £50. If you're prepared to lock your money away without access, fixed-rate savings pay more, and unlike easy access, the rate is locked in.

    The top straightforward 1yr fixes pay 2.05% AER, from app-only bank Atom (min £50), Tandem (min £1,000) and Investec (min £25,000).

    Yet there is a new trick for some to beat these. UK-based Bank & Clients offers 1.9% AER, but get it via savings marketplace Raisin and newbies can claim £25 cashback on £10,000-£39,999, £80 on further sums up to £74,999 and £100 on £75k+. So the best result is to put in exactly £10k to get the equiv of 2.15% with the cashback, or exactly £40k to get the equiv of 2.1%, then put the rest in the 2.05% accounts. For longer fixed savings and more help, see fixed savings.

  • Get up to 5% on smaller sums. Here are more ways to spice up your savings:
    - Earn 5% on regular savings. Save up to £300/mth if you have - or switch to - special bank accounts.
    - Earn 5% on smaller savings. Some current accounts give 5% on up to £2,500, but with strict criteria.
    - Saving for a first home? Get a 25% boost from the state. See Help to Buy ISAs and Lifetime ISAs.


Trick gets £41 of No7 beauty products for £12Incl eye shadow, mascara & eyeliner. No7 beauty

New. Get £110 cashback on £1,000+ Ratesetter 3%-ish investment. Peer-to-peer investing isn't saving, as this is not risk-free, so it's not for everyone. Yet if you are going to do it, our special link gives the first 5,000 newbies an 11% head start on £1k. Full explanation and pros and cons in Peer-to-peer lending.

Heads up: £30 Soap & Glory 'Bubble Act' body care set (norm £60). The one many wait for. 'Star Gift' incl body butter, face mask & mascara. Soap & Glory. We correctly predicted it'd be this week - see more Christmas deals predictions.

'How I collected £7,000 of Nectar points'. See the story of one dad-of-four's Nectar bonanza.

10p/litre off Morrisons petrol & diesel deal. Useful as prices are close to 4yr highs. See Cheap Petrol.

Martin: '100,000 attempt debt suicide each year - stop the debt threats.' New authoritative research by the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute charity (founded by Martin) is frightening reading, as the number of people in debt who attempt suicide is huge. And as Martin says: "The law doesn't just allow companies to use intimidating language when collecting debts, it near forces them to do so." It's calling on people to sign a petition for change, see Stop the debt threats.


You've got to fight, for your right... to beat unfair parking fines

New figures reveal the number of appeals against unfair tickets is falling. Yet most who fight on, win

Parking tickets are as welcome as pre-Christmas colds, but recent figures for council tickets show an 8% annual drop in the number of motorists who fought all the way to the independent adjudicator. However of those who did, the majority - 56% - WON. The threat of parking tickets stops people wrongly blocking roads and annoying us all, so if they're fair, pay 'em. Yet sometimes they're unfair - eg, due to poor signage, faded markings or human error. If so, here's how to fight back.

  • How to spot the difference between council and private tickets - it's crucial. Official parking fines from councils are usually called 'Penalty Charge Notices'. Yet as you can see below, tickets from private firms such as those that manage car parks at supermarkets or retail outlets do better impressions than Alistair McGowan. They're NOT A FINE, JUST AN INVOICE. See how to spot Public vs Private parking tickets.

  • Got an unfair ticket? Become a modern-day Sherlock Holmes to help beat them. Whether your ticket's official or private, be a detective extraordinaire and gather as much evidence as possible, as soon as possible - it's often about poor signage, so photos are key. Also, gather witness statements and save key documents. See full evidence help. Then what you do depends on the type of ticket.

    - Official council ticket? You must either pay them or appeal. First appeal to the council and, if that fails, there are independent tribunals that can hear your case. For full help and free template letters, see how to appeal council parking fines (and it'll help with police-issued tickets too).

    - Private parking firm ticket? As they're invoices, some militant campaigners suggest ignoring tickets as private firms may not want to go to court to enforce them - but you could lose if they do, while any judge may not be impressed at a lack of response. The safer route is to fight it. Full help and free template letters in fight private parking tickets.

Warning. Lloyds, Halifax & Bank of Scotland to hike overdraft fees for millions. Some will pay £100+/yr more from next year. See full Lloyds overdraft hikes info & what to do.

Ends today (Wed). FREE Amazon standard delivery. On all items it dispatches. Free Amazon delivery

Vodafone mobile customer? Get a pair of Odeon tickets for £7 every week. See cinema deal.

Ends Sun. Airport lounge access from £15. Blagged code gets up to 40% off, eg, Birmingham (£17-£28), Edinburgh (£16-£21), Gatwick (£15-£32) and Heathrow (£20-£36). Use by end of 2019. See Cheap Airport Lounges.

Get all your money back on one in 10 transactions at Boots, M&S, Tui & more. MSE Blagged. It's a little complex, but quite fun, so click to read how Boom25's boost or bust offer works.

Last chance. Free letter from Santa. Post kids' wishlists ASAP to get a reply from Santa. Plus, how to get a free personalised Santa video.


Tell your friends about us

They can get this email free every week



Longest 0%: Post Office up to 32mths 0%, 2% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27 months 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: Admiral* 3.4% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Ends Thu. Sky equiv £13/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Ends Thu. TalkTalk equiv £18.45/mth

Top service + choice of £130 Fitbit & more: First Direct
5% interest fixed for a year: 
Nationwide FlexDirect


'I saved £500 by switching home insurance for first time in 13yrs'

Loyalty rarely pays. Our cost-cutting system helps smash your renewal quote, incl hidden deals

We often shout from the rooftops about how to save on your home insurance, and we want to celebrate a huge success using our system, but one that also shows the danger of staying loyal. Here's Gregor's story: "Thank you for saving me £499 on my home insurance this year by switching. I was loyal to one company for 13yrs+ and we never gave it much thought till we read your tips." Our Cheap Home Insurance guide has full info on how you too can save, here are the foundations...

  • NEVER auto-renew. Instead COMBINE comparisons to scour 100s of insurers in mins. They don't search identical insurers, nor give identical prices, plus they can offer special deals with different insurers.

    So combine them three weeks ahead, as that's when our research shows it's typically cheapest. Our current order's MoneySupermarket*, Compare The Market*, Gocompare* and*. See how we rank them.

  • Then check HOT deals that comparisons miss, eg, £75 Amazon gift card. Check prices from Aviva* and Direct Line* as they're not listed on comparisons and can be competitive. Also check these deals we've blagged on combined buildings and contents insurance (vouchers can take up to 120 days to arrive) - with full help in home insurance promos:

    £75 Amazon gift card via this Age Co* link.
    - £40 Amazon voucher via these Direct Line* or Churchill* links.
    - £40 Amazon gift card via the Leisure Guard* link.

  • Struggle to get cover, eg, you're prone to flooding? There's full help in our home insurance struggles section.

  • Home insurance need-to-knows:
    - Buildings insurance is usually only for freeholders, contents insurance for all.
    Many wrongly insure their home's value. Instead use a calc for the rebuild cost if it were knocked down, and cover that.
    Don't underinsure contents, thinking you'll never claim it all - you may not get a full payout.

You may also be able to haggle your price or get cashback - full help in our Cheap Home Insurance guide.


"Thank you.  I noticed your article about free TV licences for over-75s. My father will be 80 next year and I realised he was still paying. We reclaimed and he has received a £692 cheque."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

40% extra off Hot Diamonds outlet code, eg, £15 earrings (were £50). MSE Blagged. £5 delivery. Hot Diamonds



Help those who can't afford the essentials this Christmas with a reverse Advent calendar. Rather than take something out of a box for 24 days, put food, drink and toiletries in one and take it to your local food bank. And for inspiration there's a big reverse Advent calendar for food banks campaign going now.



How much of your Christmas shopping have you now done? We've now fewer than three weeks to go until the big day. So are you a Christmas pre-planner or do you leave it until the last minute? How much of your Christmas shopping have you done so far?

Most of you WOULD cancel Christmas if given the choice. Last week, we asked if you had a CANCEL CHRISTMAS button that'd make the whole thing disappear, would you press it? More than 13,500 voted - and a whopping 58% of you would. Only parents of school-age or younger kids disagreed - and even then, 37% of mums and 40% of dads would prefer to give Santa the boot. Bah humbug. See a full breakdown in the Cancel Xmas poll results.



How much should my boyfriend contribute to the flat? My housemate owns our flat and it's just the two of us living there now, but she's allowing my boyfriend to move in. How much is fair to add to the rent, considering we're taking up the same amount of space and it's only the bills going up? Enter the Money Moral Maze: How much should my boyfriend contribute to the flat? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: What did you do to get into debt?
- Competitions thread of the week: Luxury Christmas hamper and food and drink prizes worth £500
- Old-Style board thread of the week: How often do you clean your drawers?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Elderly mother showing signs of dementia - what to do?
- Discussion of the week: Infuriating board game suggestions


London theatre - £10-£40 West End tickets for Jan/Feb
SpeckyFourEyes - £30 Calvin Klein, Davidoff & Jaguar specs
Heartier - £64 Xmas turkey bundle, feeds 10-12 (norm £104)
PlayStation Plus - December's 'free' games
The Works - 10 kids' picture books for £10 mix & match

McDonald's - 20+ hacks, eg, £2.20 off 'McChicken Sandwich'
Papa John's - 50% off £15 spend on pizzas with PayPal
Frankie & Benny's - 40% off mains
Pizza Express - 15%-25% off food (Mon-Thu)
Prezzo - 30% off food

Topman - At least 20% off everything
FitFlop - 30% off almost everything via code
Thorntons - 3 for 2 Christmas chocolate gifts
WHSmith - FREE Sharpie metallic markers via app
Ikea - '£5' Xmas tree, £25 but gets you a £20 voucher

Quick Forum Tips

10% off Iceland for emergency service workers. Brr-illiant
24 days of No7 deals at Boots. Bootiful
Lidl weekend offers. 
A Lidl help



Thu 6 Dec - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 7 Dec - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 10 Dec - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 10 Dec - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again
Mon 10 Dec - The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm. See previous


Wed 5 Dec - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm, how to save money on train fares
Fri 7 Dec - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 10 Dec - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Mon 10 Dec - BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 11 Dec - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: My car was damaged by a pothole, and I've spent over £300 on repairs. How do I go about claiming for the damage? Jakub, via email.

MSE Kelvin's A: Oof. You may be able to claim - some MoneySavers have got £100s back. But it depends on whether the road has been maintained properly by the local authority. If, say, a kitchen sink falls out of a van, causes a pothole and minutes later you hit it, you've no right to claim as there's nothing the authority could reasonably have done. But if it's been negligent, you may be able to as it has a legal duty to maintain the roads so they're safe to use.

If you're eligible to claim, gather evidence - if it's safe to do so, measure the pothole and take photos, and keep a record of the damage and cost of repairs. See our Pothole Claims guide for step-by-step help.

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... Christmas lights are now up and twinkling in town centres, but this year some high street celebrations have left shoppers a little underwhelmed. One Christmas parade reportedly consisted of just three floats, while elsewhere the brave decision to go with a 'Christmas owl' instead of the usual tree backfired. Other places have gone all-out though, including the pub which has covered itself in 95 trees. So has your local display disappointed... or brightened up your night? Let us know - and send us your pics - in our Xmas lights forum thread.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team