Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

01 May 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... 5yr mortgage 1.8%, Tesco deals shake-up, cheap BT b’band, free Lego, April pay warning, 2.3% savings, eBay v Facebook, McD’s deals, 10p off fuel

This info may be out of date.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.


5yr fixed mortgages at their cheapest since March 2018 - many below 2%, offering certainty in an uncertain time. Can you save £1,000s?

A message from Martin:

 Our country is in an unprecedented state of political and economic uncertainty due to the Brexit stalemate. In most cases, that's negative for our personal finances, and in all cases, it makes planning your financial future more difficult. Yet there is one silver lining, as the uncertainty has helped ramp down fixed mortgage rates.

"It's happened partly as the markets don't view the UK economic future with much glee, and weak growth tends to mean a lower interest rate policy. Thus predictions of the UK's long-term interest rates have dropped - and those predictions are roughly what mortgage fix rates are based upon.

"On top of that, there's currently fierce mortgage competition, so the cheapest 5yr fixed-rate mortgage is 1.79%, which is seriously cheap, and 2yr fixes are as low as 1.39%. 

"Of course that doesn't mean they can't drop further, but there's not that far to go, whereas there's a lot of room for them to rise. So this is likely to be a great time to get a new mortgage deal and everyone with an existing mortgage should check now if you can save £1,000s.

"Yet that's not the same as saying it's a great time to buy or change a property - uncertainty could see property prices swing. Though as no one has a crystal ball, if you're buying your first home, provided you're not overstretching and it's the right property, you may as well get on with it. Now over to the team, for the practicals of checking & getting a deal.

  • Know your mortgage deal. If you're remortgaging, it's wise to understand how your current deal works to see if it's worth switching. If buying a home, it's also important to know the following about your prospective deal to help compare:
    a) What's the rate? Plus monthly payments & outstanding debt.
    b) What type is it? Is it a fix, tracker, SVR etc? See Fixes v variables.
    c) When's the intro deal over? Eg, when does the 2yr fix end?
    d) When must it all be repaid? Eg, in 10, 20, 25yrs?
    e) Will I be penalised to switch? Any early repayment/exit penalties?
    f) What's the loan to value (LTV) - the proportion of the home's value you borrow? Eg, £180k on a £200k home is 90% LTV. See LTV help.

  • Compare your deal to the market's best. Put your info into our mortgage comparison tool (which also factors in fees) to get a benchmark for your best deal, then read on.
Fix, 2yrs at 60%
1.43% + £1,034 £7,490
Fix, 2yrs at 90%
1.78% + £1,034 £7,890
Fix, 5yrs at 60%
1.79% + £1,499
Fix, 5yrs at 90%
2.25% + £1,007 £8,040
Tracker, 2yrs at 60%
1.43% + £1,025 £7,450
Tracker, 2yrs at 90%
2.09% + £1,029 £8,220
Typical SVR rate 4.24% £9,732
(1) Cost per year during intro period, eg, 2yrs on 2yr fix, incl all fees. Assumes 25yr mortgage term.

  • HUGE savings are possible if you're one of 2m languishing on your lender's standard variable rate (SVR). This is the rate most fixes and trackers revert to after an intro deal. They're often exorbitant, and to show the size of possible savings, here are some major lenders' main SVRs (also see SVR help).

    Barclays 4.24% | Coventry BS 4.99% | HSBC 4.19% |
    Lloyds & Halifax 4.24% | Nationwide 4.24% | RBS & NatWest 4.24% | Santander 4.99% | Virgin Money 4.99% |
    Yorkshire BS 4.99%

    Note: some have lower rates for long-standing customers, so check.

    So someone moving from a £150k mortgage with 20 years remaining at 4.24% SVR to a 5yr fix at 1.79% will save about £10,000 over 5yrs - even after taking £1,500 fees into account. See how this works for you: Compare Mortgages Calc.

  • Remortgaging? We've a FREE 60-page booklet with everything you need to know. Your mortgage is likely your biggest expenditure, and just because you've done it once, it doesn't mean it's the same again. Our guide helps you know what you're doing.

    - Remortgage Booklet: Download instant PDF or order printed version.
    - Remortgage-help 5-min video: Sometimes it's easier to watch than read. See Martin's remortgage help video.

    MSE user @Barry_Carter tweeted us: "Your remortgage guide did the business for me as always... locked in a good 5-year deal."

  • First-time buyer? We've a separate guide. While much of the info above remains the same - eg, fixes vs trackers or how LTVs work - our First-Time Buyers' Guide has specific help, incl how to boost your acceptance chances and save for a deposit.

  • Look for a deal 3-6 months before your current mortgage ends. Many lenders let you lock in a rate this far ahead, so you could grab one now while cheap. But there are risks of paying possible advance fees if rates fall again. See Long lock-in mortgage help for full info.

  • It isn't just about the best deal, it's about getting accepted, and a broker can often help. There are a few possible hurdles, incl:

    - A rotten credit report can torpedo a home loan application. So double-check yours ASAP - here's how.

    - Lenders must also obey strict rules to check if you can afford mortgage repayments - not just at current rates, but if they rocketed to 6-7%. They want evidence of income, bills, expenses and sometimes even eating out. So being frugal in the months before will help.

    - You may also be frozen out of some deals if you're buying or live in certain properties, such as high rises or above a shop.

    All this complexity means it can be difficult to find who will accept you, if anyone, which is why we suggest you use a broker. They've all that info, incl criteria that's not easily available to the public, to match you with the right deal. See Top mortgage brokers.

    However, some lenders only sell direct to the public. So some brokers can and do exclude them - we suggest you use one with our mortgage comparison, which has broker and direct deals.

  • Use savings to bag a better mortgage. The lower your LTV, the better the deal. Rates tend to improve as you move down to 90%, 80%, 75% and 60% LTV, so savings could get you into one of these lower bands. For example:

    If you've a £150k home, and want a £137k remortgage, that's 91% LTV, and the top 5yr fix is 2.99%. But use £2,000 of savings to reduce the borrowing and you'd be at 90% LTV - where the top 5yr fix is 2.25%, so you pay about £700/yr less in repayments. See how pumping more savings into your mortgage can help you save.

  • Can I afford it? What will it cost? We've an array of calculators to help. Try the following:

    Basic mortgage calc - incl what it'll cost? | Compare two mortgages | Compare fixed-rate mortgages | Ditch your fix? | How much can I borrow?

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.



The key to getting cheap broadband is short-lived promos, and there are a raft of them on right now, incl a rare cheap deal from telecoms juggernaut BT. This is especially important for anyone who's out of contract, as you almost invariably pay well over the odds, possibly by £100s/yr. Check how much you're spending and compare that to the hot deals below as savings can be huge. As all b'band deals are postcode-dependent - links go via our Broadband Unbundled tool to check if you can get 'em.

  • New. BT fibre b'band & line '£21/mth' - how does it compare? Many of you prefer BT, and this deal's a doozy - in fact, for the speed you get it's the market's cheapest, factoring in vouchers. But it's only for those who haven't been a BT customer in the last 12mths. If you are a BT customer on its standard tariff, you can't get this deal but you could be paying £45/mth, so switching to the other deals below could easily save you £300 in the first year. Here's a rundown...

Shell Energy 
(was First Utility)
'£11.66/mth' over 18mth contract. MSE Blagged. Via our special link, you pay £14.99/mth and will receive £60 bill credit after 3mths, making it an equiv £11.66/mth.
SSE 35Mb (fibre) Ends Sun. '£19.95/mth' over 18mth contract. You pay £23/mth, but claim and spend a £55 prepaid Mastercard or Amazon vch & the price is an equiv £19.95/mth.
BT 50Mb (fibre) Ends Thu. '£20.55/mth' over 18mth contract. You pay £9.99 delivery upfront & £10/mth for broadband, plus £19.99/mth for line rent (though it's cheaper to pay 1yr's line upfront for £219.84 - to do so, opt for it after sign-up). You can claim a £110 prepaid Mastercard & £50 Amazon vch. Factor those in and it's equiv £20.55/mth.
TalkTalk 63Mb (fibre)  Ends Thu. '£22.68/mth' over 18mth contract. You pay £25.45/mth but can claim a £50 Amazon, Argos, Tesco or Ticketmaster vch. Spend it & the price is equiv £22.68/mth. But it's consistently had a poor customer service rating for many years.
(1) 'New customer' definition varies - see firms' rules in links. (2) To compare, we use 'equivalent prices' - adding all fixed costs, deducting promo vouchers & averaging it over the contract.

  • Will I get the average speed? Things have certainly improved in this market with lots of regulation changes over the last year. Advertising rules now mean the 'average' speed you're quoted is what at least 50% of customers get at peak times. You'll also be told the minimum speed you'll get before you sign up. With some firms (incl BT & TalkTalk from those above), if you don't get that speed and it's not fixed within 30 days, you've now the right to cancel. 

See our cheap broadband guide for lots more help and ways to save.


Tesco secret Clubcard discount plans for May revealed - up to 50% off coffee, crisps & more. Docs we've seen show basic plans of the promo that starts next week. Tesco says it'll release full info shortly & we'll have updates in Clubcard news.

Don't believe your April payslip - MILLIONS are wrong. All employees have a tax code, which dictates what tax your employer should take. Your April payslip is the first under the new tax year's code. Frustratingly though, millions of tax codes each year are wrong - and it's YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to check, not your employer's or HMRC's. If it's wrong you could be overpaying or underpaying tax, both of which can be a nightmare. Use our free Tax Code Checker.

Ends Sun. McDonald's deals, incl free hot drink & £3 off £10 spend. See these and more McD's hacks.

FREE mini Lego for kids this Saturday. Available at selected toy stores. Lego Giveaway

The MoneySavingIdiot tackles travel: 'I felt like a cross between Martin Lewis and Michael Palin.' Our writer Kelvin - who's great at helping you save, but admits he's not so great with his own cash - says he's turned over a new leaf on his travels. On a recent trip to Prague he cut costs on flights, spending, insurance and more - find out how much the MoneySavingIdiot saved abroad. (And if you missed it, see how the MoneySavingIdiot claimed for a train delay.)

New. Top 1yr and 2yr fixed savings - 2.03% and 2.3%. Both via app-only Atom Bank. Full help and more options in fixed savings.


New. Top 0% credit card for debt shifting AND spending - 28mths 0%

Two 'double-use' cards offer the top 0% for spending and near table-topping balance transfer deals too

Credit cards may all have the same shape, but they don't have the same use. Normally we suggest you pick the perfect card for each purpose. Yet now the top double-use 0% deals are challenging the single-use best buys in two categories.

- 0% balance transfers: 
Here the new card pays off your existing card(s), so you owe it but at 0%.
- 0% spending: Here you get interest-free new borrowing when you spend. But be careful, ONLY do this for planned one-offs, where you've budgeted and can afford the repayments.

In fact if you need a 0% for spending card, the double-use cards from Barclaycard* and Sainsbury's* (which also gives Nectar points) are top of the table at up to 28mths 0%. But they're also near table-topping for balance transfers too. So if you may need to do both, you can get them in one card, protecting your credit score as it means fewer applications. The table below shows the market's best buys, but the key is acceptance, so use our eligibility calc to get personalised best buys of which cards are most likely to accept you.

New. Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) Up to 28mths 0% (19.9%)
Up to 28mths 0% (2.7%) (2)
Sainsbury's Bank (eligibility calc / apply*) Up to 28mths 0% (20.9%)
Up to 28mths 0% (3% - min £3)
Virgin Money (eligibility calc / apply*)
23mths 0% (21.9%)
23mths 0% (2.9%)
The best standalone balance transfer deals for comparison
MBNA (eligibility calc / apply*)
N/A (19.9%) Up to 29mths 0% (2.75%) (3)
HSBC (eligibility calc / apply*)
N/A (21.9%) (4) 28mths 0% (1.4% - min £5)
Sainsbury's Bank (eligibility calc / apply*)
N/A (20.9%) (4) Up to 22mths 0% (NO FEE)
(1) % of debt shifted. (2) 3.5% fee charged, but 0.8% refunded within 2 working days. (3) 21.93% after 0% balance transfer ends. (4) You actually get 3mths 0% spending, but it's not worth picking for that. Full info: Double-use 0% Cards (APR Examples).

  • 6 IMPORTANT tips and rules for picking and using these cards...

    a) For balance transfers, go for the lowest fee in the time you're sure you can repay. Unsure? Play safe & go LONG.
    b) 'Up-to' cards mean you could get a shorter deal if accepted. If you've good chances of a non up-to, it's a better bet.
    c) Never miss the min monthly repayment, or you could lose the 0% deal and it'll cost far more.
    d) Clear the card or balance transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to the higher APR.
    e) Don't withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and withdrawals hit your creditworthiness.
    f) You must usually balance transfer within 60 or 90 days to get the 0%.

How to get a 10p/L voucher off Sainsbury's petrol & diesel. Or 5p/L off at Morrisons. Cheaper fuel.

Warning. Don't let Brexit stop you renewing your EHIC - 5.4m expire this year, renewals down 23%. The free European Health Insurance Card gives you medical care in state-run hospitals at the same price as a local, so if it's free for them, it's free for you. Yet renewals are down 23% this year, with 450,000 fewer cards out there, likely due to Brexit. But the card still works, so if you're travelling check if yours is valid and Renew your EHIC for FREE.

20,000 FREE Ideal Home Show Scotland tickets (norm £13-£16). 24-27 May in Glasgow. Free Ideal Home

£10 Halfords MOT (norm £35) with 50p spend. Make a purchase by 15 May for MOTs till May 2020. '£10' MOT.

200,000 Lloyds, Halifax & Bank of Scot customers due payouts after admin blunder. Check if you're owed.

Free or cheap sailing and windsurfing taster sessions. In May at 350+ venues. Push the Boat Out


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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:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss:
Direct Line* (£40 Amazon vch for new custs)

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Zopa* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: M&S Bank* 2.9% rep APR (1-7 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Shell Energy equiv £11.66/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
SSE equiv £19.95/mth

£175 to switch and stay + 2% bills cashback: NatWest/RBS
Free £125 + great service: First Direct

Top easy-access: Marcus 1.5%, min £1
New. Top one-year fix: Atom Bank 2.03%, min £50


Flog what you've got: we test eBay vs Facebook - which wins?

This bank hol weekend is an opportune time to declutter and make quick cash. Here's how to take it to the max...

Second-hand selling used to be all about eBay, but now local Facebook selling groups and the social network's Marketplace are hot on its heels. With Facebook, the best bit is there are NO fees, so you keep all the profit. Yet with eBay, you've a wider audience, as most Facebook sales are local. So now we've put it to the test, pitting eBay vs Facebook - plus if you're planning to have a clear-out this weekend and flog what you don't use, we've more tips to boost your takings...

  • New. Spot-check of eBay vs Facebook prices - where can you make the most? It's not an exact science, but we've crunched the sold prices for 20 items, from trainers to Nutribullets, to see which pays best. eBay vs Facebook analysis

  • 'How much can I get for this?' fun checker app. Snap a pic of that old ukelele or unicycle, then this tool finds similar items on eBay to benchmark a price - even if you're selling on Facebook or elsewhere. Price checker app

  • Wait for eBay's 'sell for £1 max' promos to sell high-value gear. eBay usually takes 10% of an item's final price, incl postage, yet every few weekends fees are capped at £1. It never gives us advance warning of the promos, but our eBay expert MSE Jenny expects one on at least one of the May bank hols. Sell for £1 max

  • End eBay auctions on Sun evening. That's one of the busiest times for buyers and could help boost your final price.

  • Flog old mobiles for up to £500. While you normally get more on eBay, it's usually easier via mobile-reselling sites, eg, £450+ for a 64GB iPhone X. See how to sell old mobiles.

  • Flog old jam jars, coat hangers & more for cash. Make an average of £2.42 per jam jar, 6p per loo roll and £3.97 per perfume bottle. Sounds like rubbish, but it works. Sell your junk


New. Martin's 'The energy price cap is broken' video. Complete with transcript, he explains why the price cap is broken and doesn't reflect what people should be paying. Martin's broken energy price cap video

"Just used your Meerkat loophole. Worked a treat. £1.01 for a whole year of 2for1 on food and films. Think of all the savings."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Monzo launches paid-for bank account with travel insurance - is it any good? See Monzo analysis.

Want a job to help run MSE's forum? We're recruiting a forum executive in a full-time, London-based role. MSE jobs



Should 1p and 2p pieces be ditched? A year ago, the Chancellor called 1p and 2p coins obsolete. This week, he'll announce his decision on whether to scrap them (it's expected he won't). The likes of Australia, Canada and Sweden have already ditched their copper equivalents, so should the UK follow suit? Is it time to ditch 1p and 2p coins?

Cash isn't king for the young. Last week, we asked how often you use cash and received more than 9,500 votes. Interestingly, a massive 84% of those under 25 NEVER or rarely use cash, compared to just 22% of those aged 65+, suggesting we're well on the way to a cashless society. Of those who still use cash, most do so for smaller transactions. See full poll results.



Should I ask my partner to pay a bigger share of the rent? My partner and I are planning to move in together. She earns quite a lot more than I do and wants to rent a flat that's nicer, and therefore pricier, than what I'd usually go for given my salary. I don't want to disappoint her by making her move somewhere she doesn't like - so should I ask her if she'll pay more? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should my partner pay a bigger share of the rent? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Scared and don't know where to start
- Competitions thread of the week: Win 2 meet and greet tickets for Take That at the O2 London
- Old-Style board thread of the week: May 2019 Grocery Challenge
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: How to research your family tree?
- Discussion of the week: The all-new 2019 growing your own thread!


McDonald's - £1-£5 off via app, plus free drink for some
Mini lego - Free giveaway at toy stores this Sat
Halfords - £10 MOT with 50p+ spend
Ideal Home Show Scotland - 20,000 free tickets
Royal Yachting Association - Free or cheap sailing sessions

Beer52 - 15 craft beers for £18 delivered
Easyhotel - 20% off at 20 hotels
eBay - 15% off code
Iceland - £5 for three pizzas, garlic bread & Pepsi
Optical Express - FREE eye test

Asos - 25% off code (ends Thu)
Co-op Food - 10% off groceries
Topman - 20% off (ends Wed)
Topshop - 20% off (ends Wed)
Yo Sushi - 25% off food

Quick Forum Tips

Lidl weekend offers, incl 59p lager. Thank brew
£1 Pure dairy & gluten-free spread. You butter believe it
Free McDonald's kids' football classes. Eat my goal



Thu 2 May - Good Morning Britain, ITV, from 7.35am
Fri 3 May - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am


Wed 1 May - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 3 May 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 6 May 
- BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 7 May
- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: My passport's up for renewal in April 2020. Should I get a new one before Brexit or will things not change? Pat, via email

MSE Callum's A: Passports renewed pre- and post-Brexit will work exactly the same (though if you renew from October 2019, it'll be blue instead of burgundy). So there's no need to rush to get a passport before Brexit happens.

It is worth noting though that you currently need up to six months' validity left on your passport in order to be able to travel to certain countries outside the EU, and if there's a no-deal Brexit, you may need six months' validity to travel to most EU countries too (including France, Spain and Italy - see a full list). So if that's a concern you may need to renew before next April. For full help on this plus other topics including flights, mortgages and visas, see our 25 Brexit need-to-knows.

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



That's it for this week, but before we go... next week's bank holiday means many will work a four-day week. In fact this year, in most of the UK, that happens FOUR times in April and May. So MoneySavers have been debating if a four-day working week should be the norm. Many have jumped at the idea, with some arguing it actually makes them more productive and leads to a better work-life balance. But not everyone's convinced - one MoneySaver says "NOPE... people live in a fantasy world", and another "not if it includes school kids too". Let us know what you think in our Four-day week Facebook discussion.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team