Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

22 May 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... £10/mth b’band, Nectar hack, free £175, cheapest Big 6 energy in 1yr, Huawei rights, Martin’s car hire fight, Thomas Cook help, 10p off petrol, cheap iPhone

This info may be out of date.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.


Telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced new rules to stop 11m broadband, landline and TV customers (and a further 10m mobile users) being ripped off when their contract ends. Providers will have to alert you before switching you to sky-high out-of-contract prices.

Yet that doesn't start until 2020, so we want to show you how to save NOW. Luckily this week, there are some hot promo deals which can save many £100s/yr. You'll find them via our Broadband Unbundled tool - worth using as it shows which are available where you live. Here's the key info...

  • First check if you're shelling out £100s/yr too much, then see the hot deals below. Here are typical out-of-contract prices with the biggies - which you could be paying if you've not switched or haggled in years. Not only are they huge, but firms usually don't tell you when they roll you on to them.

    - BT standard: £45.49/mth (£546/yr), fibre: £52.49/mth (£630/yr)
    - Sky standard: £25/mth (£300/yr), fibre: £32/mth (£384/yr)
    - TalkTalk standard: £27/mth (£324/yr), fibre: £33.50/mth (£402/yr)
    - Virgin: £44/mth (£528/yr) - it only does fibre

    If you're being stung, keep reading for how to save, though be warned - the deals below won't last for long.
(avail to 99% of UK)
Ends Thu. '£10.24/mth' over 1yr contract. Via our link ONLY, b'band is 'free' so you only pay line rent. You can choose to pay £18.99/mth but it's cheaper to fork out £197.88 for 1yr upfront. Plus, you're automatically sent a £75 cheque in a month, making it an equiv £10.24/mth. While the deal technically ends on Thu, it's been about before so may return.
(avail to 90% of UK)
'£16.84/mth' over 18mth contract. You must apply by 29 May. If you do, it's £21/mth, making it £378 over 18mths. Yet you can claim a £75 Amazon, Currys PC World or M&S voucher. Spend that & it's an equiv £16.84/mth.
Virgin Media 
(avail to 50% of UK)

Superfast fibre + TV box (3)

New. '£23.75/mth' over 1yr contract. You must apply by 30 May via our special link ONLY. If you do, you pay £30/mth but get a £75 bill credit, so you actually pay nothing for 2mths. Over the year it's £285 after the credit, equiv to £23.75/mth. 
(1) Usually this means customers who currently don't have that firm's broadband and/or line or haven't in a year - see exact rules via the links. (2) To compare, we use 'equivalent prices' - adding all fixed costs, deducting promo cash or vouchers & averaging it over the contract. (3) The Tivo TV box has Freeview with pause & rewind functions & 500GB storage. You can later upgrade to a better package with sport, movies etc. 

  • Big changes are coming in Feb 2020 - you'll be alerted when a cheap deal ends. Firms will need to warn customers 10-40 days beforehand, to give them a chance to switch to a better deal. Plus if you stick with your provider after your contract ends, you'll be sent a reminder every year.

    Whenever you're alerted, firms will have to show you their best deals, but they probably won't be the best overall as providers won't show competitors' prices. For more, see Contract Warnings news. 

  • What broadband speed do you actually need? Standard average 10/11Mb speed is usually fine for browsing or light streaming. Fibre - the term for fast broadband due to the fibre cables that deliver high speeds - is best for streamers, gamers or if many use it at once in your home. Yet even with fibre there are differences, and the faster you go, the more of a luxury it is.

  • Can I get broadband without a phone line? Virgin is the only biggie to offer this but it's far more expensive than the deals above with broadband AND line. If you don't need a phone, it's still worth paying for a package that includes a line - just don't plug a phone in.

  • Don't want to switch? Haggle. Switching gives the best savings, but big broadband firms are some of the easiest to haggle with. In our last haggling poll, 70%+ of BT, Sky & Virgin customers who replied said they had success. Full help in Broadband Haggling.

  • Could providers hike prices? Sadly, telecoms firms often do - though if that happens and you weren't warned before sign-up, you can leave penalty-free. But first check if there's a better deal.

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. FREE £175 for switching bank - by far the biggest upfront bonus

There is now a host of bribes but a new HSBC deal is the standout if you don't want to wait months for the cash

The bank bribe war is as hot as dragon fire, especially as HSBC has made a fresh move to take the crown in the banks' game of thrones. So if you're fed up with rough treatment or you just want free cash, now's a great time to give your bank the chop. And switching is easy - it takes just 7 working days and the new bank moves all payments. Let us be your Hand as we run you through the top deals below. For all, you must pass a not-too-harsh credit check.

  • New. Top for upfront cash: Free £175 + access to 5% reg saver - from HSBCApply for HSBC's Advance* account and switchers get £175, which should come within 40 days. Plus you can open a 5% fixed regular saver, where you can put up to £250/mth for a year.

    How do I qualify? You must start a switch within 30 days of opening, incl 2+ direct debits or standing orders, and pay in a min £1,750/mth - essentially a £26,000/yr salary paid in. Also, you can't have had an HSBC account since 2016.

    If you don't like HSBC or can't hit the min pay-in, NatWest & RBS also offer £175 (but it's £125 upfront and £50 after a year) with their fee-free Select accounts.

  • Top for bill-payers: Free £175 (over a year) + 2% back on bills - from NatWest or RBS. With the NatWest Reward* or RBS Reward accounts from these sister banks, new switchers get £125 in August, plus £50 more if you're still with them in June 2020. There's a £2/mth fee, but they also give 2% cashback on most bills (eg, energy, phone) paid by direct debit. On average the cashback is worth £60/yr after the fee - but some earn £100+/yr.

    How do I qualify? For the £175, switch, pay in £1,500+ and log in online by 12 Jul (NatWest) or 2 Aug (RBS). Then use your debit card at least once a month. For the cashback, continue to pay in £1,500+/mth (equiv £21,500+/yr salary).

  • Top for service: Free £125 + 'great' service + 5% reg saver - from First Direct. Via our special link, new switchers to First Direct* get £125 in around 40 days (only £100 if you apply direct). You can also access its 5% regular saver and many get a £250 0% overdraft. It's rated highly for customer service - finishing second in our latest poll, the first time it's not won, but only just pipped by app-based Monzo, which doesn't offer a switch bonus.

    How do I qualify? Just ensure you pay in £1k+/mth (equiv £12,500/yr salary) for the bonus and to avoid a £10/mth fee.

For more help and options, including offers from M&S and Halifax, see Best Bank Accounts.


New. Cheapest Big 6 energy deal in more than a year - save £330/yr with E.on. The giant has stormed past British Gas to lead the Big 6 charts with its Fix Online Exclusive tariff. It's an avg £918/yr on typical use, with the rate fixed for 1yr, making it £336/yr cheaper than a typical Big 6 standard tariff. You can't call E.on to get it as it's only available via comparison sites such as ours, and it's only for new customers. Click the link for full info & how it compares against the competition, incl some tiddlers which are a bit cheaper.

Nectar hack: How a £12 Sainsbury's spend can net you £9 in points this weekend. You normally need to spend £1,800 to get that many. See how this Nectar trick works. 

How to blag a posh hotel for free on a long-haul stopover. Lots of airlines offer it. Transit trick

Got a Huawei phone? Google to restrict use of Android software - your rights. See Huawei help, incl Martin's view.

£2.50 for a cinema ticket & two packs of sweets. See Cinema trick.

A request from Martin - pls sign petition to help prevent debt suicide. Martin's Money & Mental Health Policy Institute charity is fighting to change the law which currently forces firms to use intimidating language when collecting debts. If you saw the Killed By My Debt docu-drama you'll know how crucial the way we treat people in financial crisis is. The charity got the issue debated in Parliament on Tue, but wants people to sign the Stop The Debt Threats No.10 petition to keep the pressure up. 


Martin - Beat the Holiday Car Hire Cowboys and PAY just £3/day

They'll give you hell to stop you. They tried with me. I fought back. Let me tool you up with 5 ways to do the same

I admit it. I'd done something awful when I recently arrived at a car hire pick-up desk in Spain... I'd used a broker to get a super-cheap price. There's nowt some car hire firms hate more. They fired salvo after salvo at me aiming to up-sell and fear-sell. I resisted.  And I want to use that experience to help you to do the same.

  1. Book now via a comparison to grab the cheapest price. When to book isn't an exact science, but while summer walk-ins can be £40+/day, book now for mid-Aug and an economy car in Malaga is as little as £3/day, or in Gran Canaria it's £8/day. Use comparison sites Skyscanner* & Kayak* for breadth, and if time, TravelSupermarket* & Carrentals*.

  2. Save up to 90% getting excess insurance BEFORE you go. Basic car insurance is included in the hire. Yet at the pick-up desk, they often try to fear-sell excess protection as an add-on, with "you'll pay the first £1,000 of any damage". And indeed, have a scratch and some unscrupulous firms charge many times the repair cost (even if they won't bother to repair it).

    These add-on policies can cost an extra £150+/week. But you can get a standalone policy before you go for as little as £15/week via Moneymaxim's comparison site* and checking MSE's up to 25% off car hire insurers' codes. Then at the desk, tell them you don't want cover, and they'll ask for a credit (not debit) card deposit often of £800+. If you do have an accident, they take this and you reclaim it from the standalone policy.

  3. Compare fuel polices. You get a full tank, but some say return full, some empty, others just give a pro-rata refund of unused fuel. 'Return empty' can be costly if you don't drive far, as you'll have paid £50-£100 for fuel you don't end up using.

  4. Be prepared for the hard sell - they tried it on with me. After three times trying (& failing) to sell me a car upgrade, the pick-up desk salesperson switched tack to try to charge me to "upgrade my mileage allowance" even though I'd more than enough miles. I pre-empted the 'excess insurance' hard sell by explaining I had my own policy and would pay the €1,200 deposit needed. She informed me my insurance was worthless. I disagreed.

    Frustrated, she started on a long script to push me again. I interrupted to say I knew the rules, so didn't need to listen, let's just do this. In fury, she left the desk, and shouted "you listen or no keys." I wanted to walk away but decided better revenge would be to get the cheap deal without paying more. So, with gritted teeth, I smiled, faced 5mins' more sell, got the keys and left.

  5. Take pics of the car before & after. Many people return cars in what they believe is the same condition as they picked it up in, only to find £100s in charges taken from the deposit later. So take pics at pick-up & drop-off, so you've evidence.

Further tips to cut costs incl cheap child seats, free sat-navs and more in the full Cheap Car Hire guide. 


New. The cheapest way to get an iPhone XR - with a huge 10GB of data. MSE Blagged. A new iPhone is never MoneySaving, but if you'll get one, at least get it for less... like this. O2 newbies can get 10GB of data + unltd mins & texts* on a 64GB handset via It's £135 upfront then £31/mth, plus use code MSE20 at the checkout to be sent a £20 cheque within 2mths. We can't find a cheaper way to get an iPhone XR even with smaller allowances. For more help, see Cheap iPhones.

Revealed: Littlewoods' sister site sells the same stuff up to a third cheaper... find out who it is.

Booking a holiday with Thomas Cook, Tui etc? How to stay protected. Travel firms are in the news after some reported big losses, so see our safe holiday booking tips if you're worried about any going bust. 

How to get 10p/L off Sainsbury's petrol & diesel. A useful discount given the avg price of unleaded has risen by more than 10p/L since Feb. Cheaper fuel

Adidas 33% off online sale, incl outlet stock, eg, get £170 trainers for £56ish. Ends Sun, £4 del. Adi Dazzler

'Free' £11 Bobbi Brown mascara with £5ish mag. Travel size. See Bobbi Brown deals.


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Longest 0%: Sainsbury's Bank* up to 29mths 0%, 1.5% fee (min £3) (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: 
NatWest / RBS 23mths 0% - existing custs only (19.9% 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: Zopa* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: M&S Bank* 2.9% rep APR (1-7 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone equiv £16.84/mth

£175 to switch and stay + 2% bills cashback: NatWest/RBS
New. £175 to switch: HSBC Advance


Warning. You DON'T need to pay to reclaim payday loan costs

Claims firms take a 30%-ish cut - yet two-thirds of claimants use 'em. But it's easy to DIY for FREE with our tool

Payday loans are a nightmare for many as they're hideously expensive and have been mis-sold for years. Now it's time to fight back, but don't automatically rush to a claims firm as tens of thousands have - a huge 27,000 of the 40,000 whose claims were escalated to the Financial Ombudsman Service in the 2018/19 financial year went to one of these firms. But it's easy to reclaim yourself, for FREE, via our Payday Loan Reclaiming Tool. Here's the key info...

  • How to check if you've been mis-sold. Payday loan firms should examine your finances to ensure you can afford the loan and the big fees. If this wasn't done properly and you shouldn't have been lent the money, or if it didn't make costs or the repayment timetable clear, you were mis-sold. See the full mis-selling checklist.

  • Payouts can be in the £1,000s. If you were mis-sold, you are due back all the interest, fees and charges, plus 8% a year on top, since you took the loan out. To inspire you, here's MSE user Hayley's tweet: "A big thank you to Martin Lewis and his wonderful tips. Got £500 wiped and £2,045 refund from a payday loan company." See payouts explained.

  • You needn't pay a claims firm - use our FREE TOOL. Now people are successfully reclaiming - last year 50%+ of people who went all the way to the Financial Ombudsman Service won - claims companies are circling. Yet they often take £100s from any payout, so use our FREE Payday Loan Reclaiming Tool instead.

    It's been developed with complaints site Resolver, which we've worked with for 3yrs. We've merged our template letters and experience with its technology. Enter your details - it helps draft the complaint, sends it to the lender, keeps track and makes it easy to escalate to the ombudsman if necessary.

  • Common payday loan mis-selling questions. Lots more in our Payday Loan Reclaim Tool & Guide.
    - Can I claim if I've paid it back? Yes, though it often must be less than 6yrs since you got the loan.
    - Can I claim if my payday lender has gone bust (eg, Wonga)? Yes, but it's not clear cut - see gone bust help.
    - Will the record of a mis-sold loan and missed payments be taken off my credit file? Usually, but only if you ask for it.

30% off Forever 21 sale items, eg, £5ish dress (norm £26). MSE Blagged. Limited stock, £4 del - see Forever 21.

 "Thanks to your tips I received a three-figure sum for tax paid on PPI interest. I've told all my mates to check if they can also claim back this overpaid tax."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.) 



How to deal with debt - a free guide. The Money Advice Trust has put together a new self-help guide to support people dealing with different types of debt - its three-step process explains how to complete a budget, make the most of your money and choose a debt solution. You can download a free copy, and see more tips in our Debt Problems guide.



How much do you spend on your pet(s) per year? They may provide love and joy, but keeping a pet doesn't come fur free. Whether you've a Kitty, Rover or Nemo, we want to know how much ewe spend on your pet(s) purr year, including on food, insurance, vet costs and owt else. How much do you spend on your pet(s) per year?



Should I keep paying to visit my girlfriend's mum? My girlfriend and I regularly visit her mum, but she lives three and a half hours away on the train and tickets are always eye-wateringly expensive. Would it be wrong to stop visiting - or could I ask my girlfriend to contribute towards the cost of my ticket? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I keep paying to visit my girlfriend's mum? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: 2019 Frugal Living Challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: Amazing cycling holiday in Thailand
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Wash or chuck old pillows?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: How much does it cost to care for a dog?
- Discussion of the week: Financial support for elderly neighbour


Sainsbury's - £12 spend gets £9 in Nectar pts this weekend
Cinema trick - £2.50 for Sunday cinema ticket and sweets
Adidas - 33% off code, including outlet
Forever 21 - 30% off code, including outlet
Bobbi Brown - Free £11ish mascara with £4 magazine

Frankie & Benny's - Instagram your meal for 50% off
Meerkat Meals - Year's 2for1 restaurants for £1ish
Toby Carvery - £5 off £15 food spend for new sign ups
Stonehouse - 'Free' pizza with full-price main via app
Nando's hacks - Including £5 off a meal for two

Get 'paid' to walk - Earn high st vouchers & more for steps
Tesco - 25% off six or more bottles of wine & champagne
Reebok - 30% off including outlet
Bank Holiday deals round-up - Including £1 BBQs
FitFlop - Extra 10% off sale code

Quick Forum Tips

Lidl weekend offers incl 99p cider. Lidl tipple
Half-price Tetley tea at Tesco. Is it tea you're looking for?
M&S dine in with wine for £12. What's the big meal?



Thu 23 May - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 24 May - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am 


Wed 22 May - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm, green MoneySaving tips
Fri 24 May - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, green MoneySaving tips
Mon 27 May - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Mon 27 May - BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 28 May - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm 



 Q: I'm paying a lot of interest on credit card debt. Is there a way I can cut it down so I'm paying less? Jed, via email.

MSE Karl's AIn your situation, assuming your credit rating's good enough, it's likely a balance transfer credit card is your secret weapon. These allow you to transfer existing credit (or store) card debt to them so you owe the new card instead, but at 0% interest for a set period. Do this and more of your repayments go towards clearing debt rather than interest.

Many of the cards with the longest 0% periods charge a one-off fee, yet if you can clear the debt more quickly, it's possible to shift debt without paying a fee. See our Balance Transfers guide for the best-buy cards.

Applying for a card leaves a mark on your credit file, so use our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calc first. It shows your chances of getting top cards without leaving a mark that other lenders can use, so you can home in on the right one before applying.

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



That's it for this week, but before we go... a couple at a well-known restaurant had a pleasant surprise last week when they were accidentally served a £4,500 bottle of wine - quite an upgrade on the £260 Bordeaux they'd ordered. It's got MoneySavers talking about their best-ever upgrades, including better flights and hotel rooms, free meals and even an all-expenses-paid week in San Francisco. It's not all glamour though - one MoneySaver was just happy to get "an extra chicken nugget". See more successes and add your own in our Best accidental upgrade? Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team