Jun
26
2019

Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

26 June 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... Financial abuse, £50 RayBans, £2 Toy Story tix, Wallet Workout, 1.47% AA savings, beat Netflix hike, £19/mth FAST b’band ends

This info may be out of date.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.
                                                           
 


 

Do a 5-min wallet workout - you could GAIN pounds (100s of 'em)

Each year, at this time, we like to delve into your wallet and put it through its paces to ensure you're holstering the right plastic. This is our form of HIIT - but for us, it's high-intensity income training.

So cast off the fluff and random receipts in your wallet or purse, put your cards on the table and let's get a sweat on. 

An easy start point is to join (or log in to) our free Credit Club and use our 
MSE credit card Wallet Workout tool (as it includes your credit file, registration involves giving security info). While this tool analyses the best cards for you from many variations, we include the main items below among many other tips to perfect your purse.

  1. Dig out your photocard driving licence - is it still valid? They only last 10 years, and a whopping 2.3m are out of date - check yours or risk a fine of up to £1,000. What to check and do if it's invalid.

  2. Got credit or store cards you pay interest on? STOP. A 0% balance transfer pays off debt on old cards for you, so you owe the new card instead, but at 0% interest. It means you're debt-free quicker as more of your payments cover the debt, not interest.
     
    Yet the difficulty is getting accepted, as you're credit-checked, so use our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calculator to check your chances first. Then go for the card with the lowest fee in the time you're sure you can repay in. If unsure, go long for safety. Here are the top deals for new customers:
     
     - Longest 0%: Virgin Money (eligibility calc / apply*) is 0% for 29mths with a 3% fee. Unlike some cards, if you're accepted you definitely get the full 0% length (21.9% rep APR interest after).
    - Long no-fee 0%: Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) is up to 20mths 0%, but you could get fewer 0% months (19.9% rep APR after). If you're a NatWest/RBS/Ulster Bank customer, you can apply for 23mths 0% no-fee.
     
    Always follow the Balance Transfer Golden Rules - with full help in Best Balance Transfers (see APR Examples):
     

     a) Clear the card or transfer again before the 0% ends, otherwise you'll pay the high APR.
     b) Never miss the min monthly repayment or you can lose the 0%.
     c) Don't spend/withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate.
     d) You must usually transfer within 60 days of opening to get the 0%.

  3. Got 0% balance transfer cards in your wallet? Stick 'em in the freezer instead. If you've a balance transfer card, it's best not to spend on it again. So don't keep it in your wallet. If you struggle with self-control, Martin's tip is to put it in a bowl of water, then pop it in the freezer. That way you'll need a hammer before you can spend on it - which gives you thinking time to decide if it's worth it.

    NB: MSE deputy editor Guy would like to point out that you could just run boiling water over the bowl - then again he is paid to be a pedant.

  4. Gym card in your wallet? When did you last use it? Paying for the gym doesn't make you lose pounds, going does. And paying for the gym without using it will just lose you £pounds. So if you pay and don't go, cancel (if tied in, see if you can escape your contract penalty-free). Or if you attend irregularly at least see our Free and Cheap Gyms guide to cut costs.

  5. Got an Oyster card or use contactless to travel in the capital? Check if you're due cash back. If you failed to touch your card out at the end of a journey or were delayed 15mins+ by tube, you can often claim (some have got £70+ back just for not touching out). Plus if you've an old Oyster, you can claim a share of £350m+ in old credit sloshing about. See Oyster and London contactless card reclaiming.

  6. Got a credit card and always repay in full? Make it pay YOU. Some pay you to spend via an account credit or in shopping vouchers or airline miles. But only use these cards for everyday spending, avoid withdrawing cash and repay IN FULL each month or interest dwarfs the gain. And don't just apply in hope - first use our eligibility calculator to find the cards you've best odds of getting. Here are the top deals for new cardholders:
     
     - Get paid up to 5% cashback: The fee-free Amex Platinum Everyday (eligibility calc / apply*) cashback credit card gives 5% back for the first 3mths (max £100), up to 1% after. But you need to spend £3k+/yr to get anything (22.9% rep APR). Spend £9k+/yr? The £25/yr Amex Platinum (eligibility calc / apply*) may win as you get an intro 5% (max £125), then up to 1.25% (28.2% rep APR incl fee).

    As Amex isn't universally accepted, the best non-Amex is the Mastercard from app-only Tandem (apply). This pays 0.5% (18.9% rep APR).

    - Free £100 of Nectar points: Accepted Amex Nectar (eligibility calc / apply*) cardholders who spend £2,000 within 3mths get 20,000 bonus Nectar points worth £100 at Nectar retailers such as Sainsbury's. You also earn the normal 2pts per £1 spent. Remember to cancel after 1yr if you want to avoid the £25/yr fee from year 2 (28.2% rep APR incl fee).
     
    Full info on these cards and lots more in Credit Card Rewards (APR Examples).

  7. The MyWaitrose card gives you 'free' daily tea and coffee. You can get a free hot drink every day if you use a reusable cup and buy something - even a 10p banana. See free Waitrose coffee for how.

  8. Does your debit card do it for you? If not, someone will give you £175 to switch to a new one. It's linked to your bank account, and if yours has hideous fees or service, switching's easy - and you can earn big cash. Here are the top deals for newbies, with full info and eligibility help in the links.

    - Ends Fri. Free £175 + 2% bills cashback: Request a switch by 11.59pm on Fri and RBS Reward pays switchers £125 in Aug and £50 more in June 2020. There's a £2/mth charge but the average gain from cashback even after the fee is £60/yr, while some get much more.

     - Free £175 cash + access to a 5% regular savings account: HSBC's Advance pays the biggest upfront bribe.
     
     - Free £100 + great service + access to a 5% regular savings account: First Direct is a great mix of free cash and a good track record for service, as a huge 90% of its customers who voted in our last poll rated it 'great' for service.

    - Free £100 M&S vch with NO min pay-in + £80 more after 1yr if you pay in £1,250/mth + access to a 5% regular savings account: Unlike most deals, with an M&S Bank account, you get the £100 without having to pay anything in, but for the rest you need to jump through some hoops.

  9. Ditch your loyalty cards (without losing points)... A heavy wallet may be good for the biceps, but not for clutter. If you want to get rid of loyalty cards, store 'em in your Apple Wallet, Google Pay, or put them in an app such as Stocard which can replace them all.

  10. ... then max your loyalty points, eg, how to get 200 free Boots points. Never choose where you shop based on a loyalty card, but always have one for where you go regularly. See our points-boosting tricks for Boots | Tesco | Nectar | Morrisons. Don't forget you may have takeaway or fast-food loyalty points kicking about too

  11. Don't wait to file expenses - make those old receipts pay you. If you claim expenses at work then old receipts in your wallet (or elsewhere such as on your phone) may be worth as much as cold hard cash. So look after them, but as some employers say you must claim in a certain time-frame, don't wait. If you've a cashback card, check if you can use it to pay and then reclaim so you earn rewards on expenses.

  12. Get protection... just for spending a penny on a credit card. Under 'Section 75 law', buy something costing £100 to £30,000 and pay for any of it (even 1p) on a credit card, and the card firm's jointly liable with the retailer for the ENTIRE amount. This get-out-of-jail-free protection is hugely powerful if the retailer goes bust or won't play fair. Our Section 75 guide has full help.

  13. Need to borrow for a big purchase? Don't automatically peek in your purse for existing credit cards. Credit cards can be the cheapest way to borrow, but only if they're the right cards used in the right way for the right thing. Just sticking with whatever you have can be costly - so we've full guides with best buys to help...

    - If you're buying something where you can pay on a credit card, see our 0% Purchases guide.
    - If you're buying something where you can't pay on a credit card, but need to borrow, see 0% Money Transfers.
    - If you need a large amount (say £5k+) even with a good credit score, you won't likely get that credit limit on a card, so see Cheap Loans.

    But ONLY borrow for a planned, affordable purchase (eg, replacing a broken fridge). NEVER borrow just to fill income gaps.

  14. Are you entitled to a railcard? Couples, families, under-31s, over-60s, people with disabilities and more can get them. They cost up to £30/yr and get you a third off most train travel (so spend over £90/yr and you can save). See can I get a railcard?

  15. Do you have an NHS organ donor card? If not, it's worth a thought. Joining the NHS Organ Donor Register could mean you save lives. In England, NI and Scotland you must sign up to be on the register. In Wales you're automatically a donor unless you opt out - with Eng and Scot to follow suit next year. Yet even where it's opt out, families will still be approached before donation, so it's important to register your decision so they know you consented.
 
 

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.

 

 
 


Financial abuse is a widespread but hidden issue. A few courageous people have contacted me about it. So I wanted to research and blog on it to raise awareness. Yet as I wrote it, the blog expanded, and I realised the info on relationship money rights, tips and product-by-product info may help reduce friction for anyone starting or already in a relationship. So do take 10 mins to read my Financial abuse, joint accounts & relationships blog...

  • Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence. It is someone controlling another person's access to their finances or earnings ability, to reduce their independence and force reliance. It can be subtle or brutal - from forcing someone to take on debt, to as one tweet told: "My mother cleaned her cousin's home for pocket money when my dad financially controlled her. She ended up homeless and reliant on her abuser." For info on how to spot signs and get help, for you or a friend, see financial abuse.

    PS: Thanks to a brave MSE team member. When she heard I was blogging on this, one MSE team member surprised me by admitting it'd happened to her, and bravely volunteered to share her experience in the blog to help others.

  • Is it worth having a joint account? Your rights if you do. Over 70% of couples have a joint account according to our latest poll - whether for all finances or just bills. But you've fewer rights than you think. See joint accounts for how they work and how to best use them.

  • What are your financial rights within a relationship? Even within a marriage, legally your money is separate, but many things can impact that. Find out more in your relationship financial rights. There is also help on what to do if your partner's pushing you into a financial decision as well as product-by-product rights - savings, mortgages, credit cards & more.
 

New. AA 1.47% easy-access savings overtakes Post Office in the battle of the big names. Last week, we told you the Post Office's* 1.45% AER rate was the new top account from a biggie, but the AA* has just pipped it at 1.47% AER, even closer to market leader Marcus at 1.5% AER (all include a fixed bonus for 1yr, so rates will plummet after). We'd just go for the highest rate, as all have the same £85k UK savings protection (it's £85k combined for AA & Post Office, as both are provided by Bank of Ireland), but we know many want a big name. Full info in Top Savings.

£50ish Ray-Bans via 30% off specs & sunnies code. MSE Blagged. Gets discount on Marc Jacobs, Prada, Tiffany etc for specs or sunnies (with or without prescription). Stock limited. Glasses Direct

Lloyds first to sign up to be mental health accessible. Mental health issues can make communicating with banks or utilities difficult (eg, panic attacks when calling). Martin's Money & Mental Health Policy Institute charity has launched a new set of standards to improve this. Lloyds has been the first to sign up to them. Find out more in Mental Health Accessible standards.

New. 20-40% off airport lounge access, making 'em £15-£32. Works for Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Heathrow (T3 & T4) and Luton. For travel till 30 Sep. Cheap Airport Lounges

Netflix increasing your price? 20 tips to beat it or max your subscription. It's now emailing users about the up to £24/yr rise, which kicks in for many from next month, so we've a sackful of Netflix tips to help.

Ends Thu. MEGA-FAST 100Mb+ broadband-ONLY - '£18.75/mth' from Virgin. MSE Blagged. Many tell us they only want b'band with no landline. This'll make some smile, as you can get just that on the cheap. It's ONLY via our Virgin Media link for newbies at £25/mth, but as you get £75 bill credit it works out at an equivalent £18.75/mth over the 1yr contract. However, only 50% of the UK can get it - check via the link. For more deals, see our Broadband Unbundled tool.

 
 

Warning. You may know free TV licences will soon be linked to pension credit, but the 1.3m failing to claim may also miss out on £1,000s in council tax discounts, cold weather help, free dental care & more. SPREAD WORD


For years we've nagged, and Martin's shouted, that 1.3m of society's poorest miss out on the pension credit benefit, which can top up their income by £1,000s - many don't claim due to a lack of info, or due to pride. Now the BBC has decided to link free TV licences for over-75s to those who GET pension credit (just being eligible isn't enough) - and we think it's incumbent on our public service broadcaster to launch a mainstream campaign to boost take-up. To show its importance, we've been researching what else claiming pension credit opens the door to. Full help in our Pension Credit guide, here's the lowdown...

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD - many eligible won't read this, so if you know someone you think may be entitled, tell 'em.

  • 1.3m miss out on pension credit worth £3,000/yr on average - who's entitled to it? If you're over state pension age and earn less than £167.25/week as a single person or £255.25/wk for couples (including pension, savings income or work) then pension credit tops up your income. If you've some savings, you could get an additional top-up (as if not, it would've been pointless to save). See who's entitled to pension credit for more.

  • Pension credit is also a gateway to... Most of these extras are for those who get the main element of pension credit, rather than those who only get savings credit. See what you're entitled to with pension credit for details, but to whet your appetite...

    - Free TV licence for over-75s (from June 2020) - worth up to £154.50/yr.
    - Council tax reduction worth around £1k/yr typically. 

    - Housing benefit - could be worth £1,000s/yr.

    - Cold weather payments - worth £25/wk when it's really cold. 

    - Warm home discount - 
    worth £140/yr.
    - Free dental care - 
    worth £100s/yr for some.
    - Voucher for glasses/contact lenses - worth £39-£215 a time depending on your prescription.

  • How to apply for pension credit. You can't apply online, so the simplest way is to phone the Pension Service on 0800 99 1234 (or the NI Pension Centre on 0808 100 6165) - they will fill in the form for you, though you can also request it to be posted to you, whether for yourself or someone else.
 

£2 for ticket to Toy Story 4 (or any 2D film) and two packets of sweets. Sundays only, see cinema trick.

Beauty bundles, incl £90ish M&S box for £55 or £100ish Latest in Beauty box for £25. MSE Blagged. Incl Ren, Ciaté, St Tropez and OPI. Beauty boxes

Free Amazon £5 off £20 spend for some Prime members. If you've never signed into the Amazon Music app, check if you're eligible for free Amazon credit.

'I helped to cover the cost of my festival ticket by picking up plastic cups.' Read MSE Rhiannon's cunning 3-in-1 MoneySaving, eco-friendly and rubbish-clearing tips for festival and event-goers. Let's go eco

Is TSB cutting your current account interest? If you have its Classic Plus account, from Tue it'll drop from 5% to 3% on the first £1,500 in there. See other options in Top Savings Accounts.

20% off outlets, incl AO, Halfords, Vax. Eg, £136 Vax cordless vacuum (norm £170). Via eBay outlet code.

 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: Virgin Money* 29mths 0%, 3% fee (21.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: NatWest / RBS 23mths 0% - existing custs only but there's a trick for others (19.9% 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*
Aviva*
Admiral MultiCar (£75 gift card for new custs)

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

Standard b'band & line rent: Post Office equiv £11.74/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone equiv £16.45/mth

Ending. Free £175 to switch and stay + 2% bills cashback: RBS
Free £175 to switch: HSBC 

Top easy-access: Marcus 1.5%, min £1
New. Top one-year fix: 
Smart Save 2.01%, min £10,000

 

Is your home insurer price-sprinting? 'My price jumped from £140 to £1,621'

If you auto-renew, be prepared to face price hikes - it's what they do. Find out how to take 'em on and beat them

In the trade it's known as price-walking. It's where insurers lure you in with a cheap price, then 'walk up' the cost slightly each year on renewal, just because they can. According to Citizens Advice (which submitted a super-complaint to regulators about this), those who stick with an insurer for five years can pay 70% more than switchers. That's why we always say NEVER auto-renew - instead, use our home insurance cost-cutters. And the MoneySaver's story we've just heard can only be described as price-sprinting... 

  • 'Tesco Bank upped my insurance renewal from £140 to £1,621'. MoneySaver Billy was gobsmacked as his Tesco renewal increased 11-fold compared with the year before, even though he hadn't claimed and nothing had changed. Billy said: "I've seen Martin talking about it on TV, but I wasn't prepared for a 1,000%+ hike. So I switched - and paid £182." Read more about his £140 to £1,621 rip-off quote, and do let us know if you've been price-sprinted on home or other insurance.

  • The perfect time to compare is 21 days before renewal. We analysed more than 3m quotes and found the sweet spot is three weeks ahead (though a few days before or after ain't a big deal). Leave it too late and insurers view you as a high risk, so charge more. See our when to compare research. 

  • To find the cheapest, COMBINE comparison sites to scour 100s of insurers in mins. They don't all search the same insurers, and more importantly, they're allowed to charge different prices (as long as they don't cost more than going direct). So don't just use one - our current order's MoneySupermarket*, Confused.com*, Compare The Market* and Gocompare*. See how we rank them.  

  • Then check HOT deals that comparisons miss, eg, £65 Amazon gift card. Check prices from Aviva* and Direct Line* as they're not listed on comparisons and can be competitive. Also compare the following deals for new customers on combined buildings and contents insurance (vouchers can take up to 120 days to arrive) - full help in home insurance promos:

    £65 Amazon gift card via this Age Co* link (ends Sun).
    - £60 Amazon voucher via this Intelligent Insurance* link.
    - £50 Co-op food voucher via Co-op Insurance*.

  • 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 rebuild cost calc to cover the cost to rebuild if knocked down.
    Don't underinsure contents, thinking you'll never claim it all - you may not get a full payout.
    - Comparison sites work best for those with standard circumstances - here's help if you're struggling to get insurance.
    - Once you've found your cheapest insurer, it's worth checking if you can get cashback on it.
 

Ends Sun. 12,000 bonus Virgin Atlantic miles via its credit card. For new customers who spend £1k in 90 days on its fee-free card - enough for an off-peak one-way flight to New York (but you pay taxes). Ends Sun. Full analysis & more options in Airline Credit Cards.

PPI SUCCESS OF THE WEEK FROM THE LAST CENTURY:
"I've just been paid out over £2,700 for PPI from 22 years ago. Great work you guys for bringing this into the open."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Armed Forces Day (this Sat) discounts incl FREE Toby Carvery meal for veterans and military personnel. Plus see our round-up of other discounts available, incl 10% off Starbucks. Armed forces discounts

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Have you tried to reclaim PPI? And if not, why not? There are only two months left to reclaim PPI (reclaim for free here). So we wanted to test whether you've done it - and if not, why not?

Older couples are more likely to pool their money in a joint account. Last week, we asked whether you have a joint bank account with your partner. More than 24,000 responded, and there was a stark difference between age groups. 58% of over-65s living with a partner said they have a joint account for everything, compared to just 21% of under-35s. See full joint bank account poll results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I share energy switch cash with my flatmates? I manage my flat's energy bills, and recently referred a friend to our supplier, meaning we both get £75 credit on our energy accounts. Should I share this with my flatmates, or use it towards my own share of the bills? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I share energy switch cash? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Cash envelopes
- Competitions thread of the week: VIP Wimbledon experience, worth £7,200
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Alternative uses for aftershave
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Boyfriend moving in - how to discuss practicalities
- Discussion of the week: Plague of whiteflies

 

Amazon - Free £5 off £20 for some Prime members
eBay - 20% off outlet, incl AO, Halfords, Vax etc
Glasses Direct - 30% off designer specs
Beauty bundles - Incl £90ish M&S beauty box for £55
Sweet Sundays - £2 for cinema ticket & two packs of sweets

Amazon  - When is Prime Day 2019?

Cheap fans - Round-up of electric fans
Eurostar - £58 return to Paris, Lille or Brussels, ends Thu
Hussle - 30% off a monthly no-contract gym pass
SpeckyFourEyes - £20 Levi or £30 Ted Baker specs

Gap - Up to 60% off
Mothercare - Up to 50% off
Pandora - Up to 50% off, incl £5 charms
Paperchase - Up to 70% off
ShopDisney - Up to 50% off

Quick Forum Tips

Free e-book downloads, eg, 1984. An author you can't refuse
Lidl weekend offers. I get by with a Lidl help from my friends
Debenhams 'up to 50% off' sale. Sale away

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 26 JUN ONWARDS)

Thu 27 Jun - Good Morning Britain, ITV, from 7.35am
Fri 28 Jun - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 1 Jul - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 1 Jul - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, 12.20pm. Listen again

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (MOST SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 26 Jun - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 28 Jun 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, summer travel tips
Fri 28 Jun - BBC Radio Lincolnshire, The Friday Night Takeover with George Smith, from 7pm
Mon 1 Jul
- TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 2 Jul - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I'd like to switch bank to take advantage of free cash and better rates - but can I do this without the new bank closing my existing current account? Alison, via email.

MSE Rosie's A: If you're after a cash incentive for switching bank, unfortunately the answer's 'no'. To get the big bank-switch bonuses, you must use the Current Account Switch Service. This closes your existing current account and moves payments such as your salary and direct debits across. This way, banks ensure you use your new account as your main account. 

However, some banks don't require you to switch if you're after other perks such as monthly cashback on bills or high interest rates - so you may be able to open an account that offers this and keep your existing account too. For full info and options, see Best Bank Accounts.

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

 

WANT TO SEE HOW WE PUT THIS EMAIL TOGETHER?

That's it for this week, but before we go... yesterday (Tuesday) on Twitter we took our users behind the scenes at MSE Towers to show them just what it takes to research, write, edit and publish this very email. Check out the #InsideMSE hashtag for full details, including how the different sections of the email are compiled, a tour of the office, interviews with key members of the team - and what we did when the ceiling started leaking...

We hope you save some money, 
The MSE team