Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

17 April 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... Wrestle a pelican, free Boots pts, Martin on Brexit, free Whopper, 28mths 0%, £7/mth Sim, 2for1 Kew Gardens, payday loan alert, free audiobooks

This info may be out of date.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.


It's Easter bank holiday week, so to help you while away the time on those extra free days off, what could be better than tackling your 10 biggest bills? (Please don't answer that.) We make no apology that regular MoneySavers may know all this as our aim is to help those who aren't always super diligent. (PS: No animals were hurt in the writing of this.)

  1. Pay just £10/mth for broadband AND line. Many fork out up to £45/mth for the slowest broadband speeds. Yet hot, short-lived promos can help you dramatically slice costs - and right now many deals give you broadband for less than BT standard line rent.

    For standard broadband and line, Plusnet is equiv £10.24/mth. For faster fibre, Vodafone starts at equiv £18.89/mth. Check our Broadband Unbundled tool for loads more deals.

  2. Drive down petrol costs by a third. Fuel is up nearly 20p a litre over the last three years. A nifty tool finds the cheapest petrol station near you which can cut costs by 10%+, but a few simple tips to make your car and your driving more efficient can help you to slash costs. See our same speed, less fuel tips. 

  3. British Gas customer? Slash £300+/yr off typical bills WITHOUT switching firm. Energy prices rose by 10% at the start of the month for about 11m households on Big 6 standard tariffs. Yet at the same time as the hikes, the biggest firm of the lot launched its British Gas Energy Plus Boiler Cover April 2020 tariff, which is £300/yr cheaper for someone with standard bills. It's only available via comparison sites (the link above takes you to ours).

    - Not with British Gas? Others can still save £100s/yr. Just do a comparison and see if there are huge savings too. Use our Cheap Energy Club.

  4. Save £1,000s on council tax. Typical bills are over £1,000s a year, but many have been overpaying. Here are the key ways to cut back.

    - Are you in the wrong council tax band? Up to 400,000 are, so use our council tax check and challenge system to see if you're one of them. If so, you can reclaim all overpayments from past years too. Karen emailed: "I queried our band, and we've been given a £6,300 refund, plus our monthly charge is now around £45 less. Thank you so much."

    - Are you the only grown-up in the home? If so, you're entitled to the 25% off single person reduction.

    - Can you get a 'Severely Mentally Impaired' discount? Our full Severely Mentally Impaired council tax help will show you if you're eligible and how to claim.

    - Moved home since 1993? Check if you're owed council tax credit.  

  5. Cut £1,000s off your mortgage. Some 2m pay far too much by sticking with their lender's standard variable rate (SVR) - which most fixed or discount deals revert to when over.

    On a £150,000 mortgage, you could save £6,000 over 2yrs by switching from an avg 4.9% SVR to the best 2yr fix. What's more, 5yr mortgages are at their cheapest levels in 18mths. Read the MSE Remortgage Guide for help picking a deal and use our Mortgage Best Buys tool to unearth the best rates.

  6. Pay credit card interest? Take 2mins to see if you can cut it to 0%. A balance transfer card repays debts on old cards for you, so you owe it instead, but at 0% for up to 29 months. The problem is being accepted, so find the cards most likely to accept you with our eligibility calculator.

    This can really slash your interest, as Hayley discovered: "I finally got off my backside and did a balance transfer. Thanks to @MartinSLewis and @MoneySavingExp for making it so easy. Here's to saving £300/yr." 

  7. Can you save up to £500/yr switching to a water meter? You can't switch supplier to save, but some may be better off with a water meter.

    Martin's rule of thumb is: "If there are more or the same number of bedrooms in your home than people, it's definitely worth checking." See our Cut your water bills guide, which includes links to easy calculators.

    Umesh tweeted: "Best decision I made to swap to a water meter. Should have done it 10 years before. Saved at least £500+/yr. @MartinSLewis."

  8. 34 ways to cut your supermarket bills. It's not a bill in the traditional sense, which is almost a shame. If, instead of paying £100/week, you got a one-off annual demand for £5,000, it'd probably fire you up even more to slash costs.

    To help, we've 34 Supermarket Tips incl how to max discounts and play the Downshift Challenge by going a brand level lower, sometimes with little taste difference. James saved: "@MartinSLewis, just took the MSE Downshift Challenge and cut the weekly shop from £133 to £89."    

  9. Cut £100s off car and home insurance. Insurers rely on people's laziness to jack up renewal prices, so always compare before you renew. Our research shows the perfect time to do that is 21 days before renewal - it can make a huge difference, as Simon told us: "Got a car insurance quote 21 days before renewal and saved over £1,000. Thank you. #martinlewis". Full help in our Cheap Car Insurance and Cheap Home Insurance guides, but in brief:

    (i) Use comparison sites to check dozens of insurers in mins - but they don't all cover the same providers, so check a few. Our current orders are...

    Car insurance: MoneySup*, Confused*, Gocompare* & CTM*.
    Home insurance: MoneySup*, Confused*, CTM* & Gocompare*.

    (ii) Biggies Direct Line* & Aviva* aren't on comparisons, so try 'em.

    (iii) Check hot car insurance deals comparisons miss, which incl a £60 M&S vch. Then check hot home insurance deals comparisons miss, incl a £65 Amazon vch.

  10. How to pay '£7/mth' for your mobile. If out of contract, happy with your handset and you've had your Sim a while, you can probably slash costs as prices have dived in recent years. This week has seen a flurry of great offers, so we've a full round-up a bit further below.


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.



Martin: 'Had a payday loan? URGENTLY check if you were mis-sold' 

There's a hidden clock ticking. Don't pay to reclaim - use our FREE tool & guide to reclaim £100s or even £1,000s

Wonga, Wage Day Advance and Juo Loans have all gone bust. These irresponsible firms fell to the weight of unaffordable mis-selling claims and the regulator's price cap. While I'm far from mourning them, I've one concern...

If, as is likely, other payday dominoes continue to fall, reclaiming will become 'first come, first served'. If you were mis-sold and a firm is solvent you get the full amount back, but if it goes bust you're just one of the creditors, and will be lucky to get a few pence per pound. So hurry. Use our FREE reclaim payday loan guide & tool. Here are my brief tips...

  • What counts as mis-selling? Lenders must examine your finances to ensure you can afford the loan and fees. If, as was common, that wasn't done properly and you shouldn't have been lent the cash, or the costs or the repayment timetable weren't clear, you were mis-sold. See the full 'was I mis-sold a payday loan?' checklist - even if the loan is now paid off.

  • Payouts can be in the £1,000s. If you were mis-sold you are due back all the interest, fees and charges and 8% per year on top since you took it out. Forumite Paydayloanalice is one of many successes: "I followed MSE's tips after getting 16 payday loans in 2yrs. I received Lending Stream's refund and got over £1,600. This has allowed me to pay off a credit card, so I'm looking forward to less stress."  You can also ask for missed payments to be taken off your credit file.

  • You needn't pay a claims firm, use our FREE TOOL. Claims firms can take 25% + VAT off your claim, so instead use our totally FREE Payday Loan Reclaiming Tool. It combines complaints site Resolver's tech with our template letter text. All you do is enter your details - it helps draft the complaint, sends it to the lender, and keeps track.

    If the payday lender rejects you, don't think it's over. More than 60% of people who then take their case on to the free Financial Ombudsman Service win. Our free tool automatically escalates it for you where appropriate.

  • Wonga claimants can now lodge claims easily. Accountants Grant Thornton - which now administers the collapsed firm - opened a Wonga claims portal on Monday. Wonga borrowers who think they've been mis-sold can simply pop in their ID details and if these match Wonga's records, it'll count as you making a claim, which will then be examined. Though sadly if you were mis-sold you won't get the full amount back, you'll just be a creditor and could get only pennies in the pound.

200 totally FREE Boots Advantage points. Dead simple way to get £2 worth. Free Boots pts

Updated. Martin's view on how the Brexit extension impacts mortgages, flights, your rights & more. The EU has given the UK an extended deadline of 31 October to leave. See facts where there are facts & Martin's analysis where there aren't in our 25 Brexit need-to-knows.

'Free' YEAR'S 2for1 garden pass in £5 mag, incl Eden Project & Kew Gardens. Valid at 400+ UK gardens. 2for1 garden pass

Go quick. Our top-pick debt shift credit card - 28mths 0%, 1.4% fee. This is about 0% balance transfers, where you get a new card that pays off debt on existing credit cards so you owe the new one instead, but at 0%. And with many top deals being axed recently, it's best to hurry if this HSBC card (eligibility calc / apply*) is for you. It's 28mths 0% with a 1.4% fee (min £5). Unlike many long 0% deals, you definitely get the full 0% length if accepted. Always pay the monthly min and clear the card before the 0% ends, or it's 21.9% rep APR. Full info and more options in Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

FREE Whopper at Burger King - Wed only. See how to grab this Whopper of a deal.

Married? You may now be entitled to a FREE £1,150. About 700,000 couples who are married or in a civil partnership still don't claim the marriage tax allowance. It's worth up to £250 this year + a further £900 for previous years. Marriage tax allowance check


Act now to bag FULL SERVICE breakdown cover for just £48/yr

It's been our top deal for years. AutoAid gives home start, onward travel and more, but its price will soon jump

Think of roadside recovery and the big names that come to mind tend to be the AA and RAC. Not on MSE though. Our top pick for a decade has been AutoAid, as it gives more cover, for a lower price and with similar call-out times. Yet its price is about to rise, so here's what you need to know...

  • Ending. £48/yr for full service breakdown cover for you + spouse. AutoAid* currently costs £48.31/yr, but that rises to £60 on 15 May. It covers any car you or your spouse/civil partner drives and, unlike basic policies which only cover breakdowns away from home, this covers them at home too. Plus it gives onward travel for up to five passengers if you need it after a breakdown elsewhere. To put the price in context, equivalent AA cover costs well over £100.

  • Slash the cost of basic AA/RAC cover to £23/yr. AA or RAC cover that only includes breakdowns away from home is £45, yet use the right cashback sites and you can cut this to £23+ for basic cover or £75+ for full service cover.

  • Driving your car in Europe? While you can often upgrade a UK policy from about £30 for a week, if you know you're going to hit the Continent's roads, you can get UK and Euro cover from £46/yr. See our Cheap European Cover section.

  • Want to stick with a big firm? NEVER just auto-renew, always haggle with the AA and RACWhen your renewal hits, don't simply accept the price. The success rates for those who haggle are higher here than in any other call centre-type industry. Some 88% of AA customers and 85% of RAC customers succeeded in haggling according to our latest poll. Huw emailed: "Followed your hints and halved my AA renewal. Well worth those few mins." There's a full how-to in our Breakdown Cover Haggling guide. If that doesn't work, Green Flag says it'll halve AA/RAC renewal prices.


CONFIRMED: Pay £15 for a £49 Google Home Mini (or 'free' if you've Spotify Family). A month ago, we revealed how on paper you could manipulate a deal from the music streaming service. Now we've proof it works, eg, Siobhan said: "Got a free Mini thanks to @MSE_Deals... best five mins ever." 'Free' or cheap Google Home Mini

Got an APP-etite to save? 25 free apps to slash costs, incl free food, free Amazon vchs & two cinema tix for £7. See top free apps.

Sainsbury's Energy customers, you're being moved to British Gas. Your tariff stays the same, just the name on the bill changes. But many are overpaying, so make it your trigger to check as some could save £300+/yr. Full Sainsbury's Energy help, incl how to save £300+/yr.

Two free audiobooks (four for some). ANY title allowed, eg, £70 Sherlock Holmes collection. Audible (part of Amazon) has boosted its free trial freebies. How to get two (or four) free audiobooks.

Hurrah. Student loan accounts to be updated weekly. The amount of interest you pay on your student loan should become clearer and you should be less likely to overpay. See student loan news.

24 craft beers for £30 delivered (norm £57ish). MSE Blagged. One-off box including Wild Beer and Five Points via Beer52.


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Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 29mths 0%, 2.75% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Sainsbury's Bank* up to 22mths 0% (20.9% rep APR)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

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

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Zopa* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: M&S Bank* 2.8% rep APR (1-3 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone equiv £18.89/mth

£175 to switch and stay + 2% bills cashback: NatWest
Free £100 + great service: First Direct


Ends Thu. '£7/mth' unltd mobile mins, texts & 4GB data (enough for most)

Do you massively overpay? Check your bill NOW as many who are out of contract could slash costs by £100s/yr

Now's a great time to get a new Sim - the little chip in your mobile that dictates your allowances - and take advantage of the host of hot deals out there. If you're out of contract and happy with your handset, there's nothing to stop you ditching and switching. And with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone upping prices this spring, make all this your trigger to check if you can save.

  • The key is how much data you use & calls you make. To keep costs down, ensure you match your allowance to your usage. As most Sim packages come with unlimited texts and a generous amount of mins, it's data that's key. And in our recent poll, 70% said they use less than 3GB of data each month. So check your bills for your use or use a free usage checker.

  • Today's top Sims - some can save £100s/yr. We've listed the cheapest for new customers, with lots more in our Best Sims guides - especially useful if you can't get decent signal on the networks below.
Provider (network)
Monthly allowance
Cost (ii) & contract length
Virgin* (EE)
2GB, 1,000 mins, unltd texts
£6/mth. On a 1yr contract.
Ends Thu. Plusnet* (EE) 4GB, unltd mins & texts (i)
'£6.67/mth'. Via this MSE Blagged deal, you pay £10/mth but are sent a £40 cheque within 45 days, so it's an equiv £6.67/mth over the 1yr contract.
Virgin* (EE)
10GB, 5,000 mins, unltd texts
£10/mth. On a 1yr contract.
New. O2*
15GB, unltd mins & texts
'£12.59/mth'. You pay £23/mth but use the code MSE5 and you're sent a £125 cheque within 2mths, so it's an equiv £12.59/mth over the 1yr contract. 
(i) Existing Plusnet Broadband customers can get 4.5GB. (ii) Assuming you don't go over your allowance.

  • Top switching tips.
    - Keeping your number's easy. Switching it over normally takes just one working day. See Number porting.
    - You may need to unlock your phone. Firms MUST let you if you're out of contract. See Unlock your phone for free.
    - Don't want to switch? Haggle. Mobile firms are among the easiest to haggle with. See Haggling help.

23 Beatrix Potter books £28 delivered, incl Peter Rabbit. MSE Blagged. See the latest Book People deal.

"Read your article about  SMI council tax discounts . I submitted the form for my mother-in-law and got a refund of £1,300 for last year. She will pay nothing going forward. Thanks . "

(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Five 'lucky dip' Plain Lazy T-shirts £35 all-in (norm £110). MSE Blagged. Men's or women's. Plain Lazy code



Are you financially better off than your parents at your age? The world is richer than it used to be, but do you feel it? Taking into account financial wealth and income (and factoring in inflation), overall how do you stand compared with your parents?

Men are more likely to ask for a pay rise. Last week we asked if you've ever requested a pay rise, and if so, how successful you were. From 4,000 respondents, 60% of men vs 56% of women said they have asked for one. But how successful were they? See full pay rise poll results.



Should I pay for food from the kids' menu? When I take my two-year-old into cafes and restaurants I bring food from outside for her, and it's never been an issue with staff. But at what age does this become morally dubious, given she does now eat most of the food you find on the kids' menu? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I pay for food from the kids' menu? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: My SOA and Situation Realisation
- Competitions thread of the week: Volvo XC60
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Eat for 50p a day
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Goldfish v Herons
- Discussion of the week: Comfortable Pension for a Single Person


Burger King - FREE Whopper via app (Wed only)
£5 for a YEAR'S 2for1 garden pass - Incl Kew, Eden Project
'Free' Google Home Mini - Or £15 via Spotify Family
Audiobooks for free - Get two Audible credits (four for some)
The Book People - 23 Beatrix Potter books for £28 all-in

170+ free museums & galleries - Find your nearest
Cinema - Kids' screenings £2.50, incl for grown-ups
Kids eat 'free' or for '£1' - Incl Giraffe, Harvester, Yo Sushi
2for1 at Merlin attractions - Legoland etc, via £3ish cereal
Free in-store activities - Incl Hobbycraft, Pets at Home

24 craft beers for £30 delivered - One-off box from Beer52
£1 off Wilko pick & mix - Sweet deal in stores (ends Mon)
Cheap wine - Incl £4 prosecco, 25% off six bottles
Thorntons - Two personalised Easter eggs £11ish (ends Wed)
Cheap veg - Incl 19p for 1kg of carrots (or 9p via cashback)

Quick Forum Tips

25% off all Tu clothing. Suits Tu
Up to 92% off at Figleaves Outlet. You better Figleave it
Three Easter eggs for £8 at Asda. Egg-cellent



Thu 18 Apr - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 19 Apr - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am


Wed 17 Apr - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm, marriage tax allowance
Fri 19 Apr - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Tue 23 Apr - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: On a recent journey none of the three toilets on my train was working. What are my rights in this situation? Can I claim compensation? Richard, via email.

MSE Kelvin's A: You can try, but while you may well get something back, there's no certainty of success as the rules do not specifically cover this issue nor the amount of likely compensation. However, the Consumer Rights Act lays out that firms should provide a service with "reasonable care and skill".

So if you've paid umpteen pounds for your ticket, we reckon it's only 'reasonable' to expect to be able to spend a penny on board. First complain to the rail firm quoting this rule. If you're unhappy with the rail firm's response, you can escalate your complaint. MSE Sarah got money back for poor service when the air con was broken, so complaining can work. See our Train Delays guide for full info.

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... a forumite asked this interesting question last week. It's stimulated debate not only on the MSE Forum but among staff at MSE Towers, with some saying "if you know, you know", but others asking "why do you need to get married?" As it's been so popular, we want to hear your thoughts. Let us know on our How soon is too soon? Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team