Aug
07
2019

Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

07 August 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... £250k PPI reclaim, 70 coupons, secret £4 theatre tix, 3.2% loan, train delay rights, McD’s £3off vch, Monzo warning, Boohoo code

This info may be out of date.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 back. Energy price war: Big British Gas & EDF cuts, save £260+/yr

Don't be fooled by today's likely price cut announcement - millions can still save £100s/yr with lots of cheap deals such as these 

British Gas and EDF have reignited the price war that had raged among the Big 6 earlier this year. They now have by far the cheapest deals from the biggies, and can only be beaten on price by a few small firms, which we know many don't want to switch to. While not one of the Big 6, well-rated Bulb has also thrown its hat in the ring with a good deal that's greener, but a tad pricier.

We suspect the trio have cut prices as they know energy will be in the news this week. The regulator today (Wed) announced that 11m households on standard tariffs will see bills fall by an average £75/yr from Oct (more info below). Yet standard tariffs are a huge rip-off now, and still will be in Oct. So check NOW if you can save via our Cheap Energy Club - here's the key info...

Today's hottest energy deals 

In the table below we've the headline info for the top deals and we show the huge savings possible vs a Big 6 standard tariff - even after the predicted standard-rate cut. We've also included links which take you to more help and give you the chance to do a comparison via our Cheap Energy Club where you can switch.

Crucially, you won't find these prices if you apply direct with the trio mentioned below - all three deals come with £25 dual-fuel MSE cashback if you use our Cheap Energy Club. Sadly, you can't get them on prepay or in NI. 

HOT DEALS VS STANDARD TARIFFS - THE SIZE OF THE SAVINGS
Tariff Cost/yr (1) Saving/yr (2)
Avg Big 6 standard tariff £1,192 (3) N/A
EDF 1yr fix - cheapest Big 6, new custs only £924 £270
British Gas 1yr fix - for new AND existing custs £929 £265
Bulb variable - greenest of the cheap deals £935 £255
Cheapest overall - from a tiddler £846 £345
(1) Avg dual-fuel (gas & elec) price, based on typical use, incl £25 MSE cashback & £40 extra bill credit for Bulb only. (2) Saving vs standard tariff after the £75/yr drop from Oct. Rounded to nearest £5. (3) Assumes 2mths on today's rate, 10mths on new rate after £75/yr cut.


- Which wins? Obviously it's partly down to the type of deal you want but doing a comparison via the links is key. That's because prices vary based on your usage and postcode so, for instance, you may find BG is the cheapest Big 6 deal for you but as they're so close in price, your neighbour could be better off with EDF. Note the three deals have some eligibility restrictions and some have additional features such as insurance or that they're green. Here's more info on them to help...

  • EDF's 1yr fix is the cheapest Big 6 on typical use. Its Simply Online 1 Year Fix Sep20v2 tariff is fixed till, er, Sep 2020 so the rate (not what you pay; that depends on your use) won't change for a year. However, you can only get it if you're not currently an EDF customer. It's for dual fuel or elec-only and, importantly, it's only via comparisons such as ours so you can't get it direct.

  • But British Gas's 1yr fix is very close behind AND existing customers qualify AND it's green. BG's Energy Plus Protection Green Aug 2020v2 tariff for dual-fuel customers is fixed till Aug 2020. Plus existing customers qualify, though it's a DON'T ASK, DON'T GET deal, only via comparison sites such as ours, so not direct from BG.

    It also has 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon offset gas. Plus most get a year's central heating, plumbing, drains and home electrical cover for 'free'. However, it charges for the insurance after, so cancel then if you don't want it.

  • Bulb - the greenest of the cheap deals (there are cheaper and there are greener, but this is the best combo). Bulb's Vari-Fair tariff comes with £40 credit via our link, as well as £25 MSE cashback, to bring it down to the typical £935/yr. However, you only get the £40 boost if you switch both gas & elec. It's a variable rate so prices can rise or fall (Bulb's last two moves have been cuts) yet if it rises, you can leave penalty-free.

    It has 100% renewable electricity, 10% of its gas is from renewable sources, and it pays to carbon-offset the remaining 90%. It also has an excellent service record - receiving an 88% 'great' rating in our service poll.

  • You can beat these prices if you go for names you may not know. Many tell us they want to avoid small suppliers, especially as nine have gone bust in the past year. They instead look for big firms or those with good service. But if you're simply determined to get the cheapest, find your winner via a Cheap Energy Club comparison.

Don't be fooled by the price cap cut - most will still be RIPPED OFF

Ofgem announced today that it will lower the price cap for most standard tariffs by £75/yr from Oct, meaning 11m on these tariffs will see bills drop accordingly. Yet you'll still vastly overpay on one, as the table above shows. For lots more help, see our Energy bills to fall, but don't be fooled news story and Martin's energy rip-off alert.

Don't worry - switching is easy

Some are worried by it, but your supply won't be cut off, no one visits your home (unless you want a smart meter) and it's the same gas, same electricity, even same safety. The only things that change are price and service. See our Switching FAQs for more help. 

 
 

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. Cheapest EVER loan for £5k-£7,499 - at 3.2%

If you've a big, planned upcoming purchase, now's a good time to borrow - but only do it if you really need to 

Loans in 2019 are like buses. Barely any standout products launch and then lots come at once. After a barren period, two weeks ago we revealed the increasing number of lenders offering the market-leading 2.9% rate for £7,500-£15,000 loans, and on Friday Zopa joined that pack. Then on Monday, Hitachi cut its rate to 3.2% for those borrowing £5,000-£7,499 - we've never seen lower for that amount. Here's what you need to know...

  • Should I get a loan? We're not suggesting you rush in just because they're cheap. Only apply if you NEED one (eg, your car has packed up), it's budgeted for and affordable. If in doubt, don't. If struggling with debt, ignore all of this and read our Debt Help guide.

  • Lowest loan rates for £3k-£15k loans. It's best to use our Loans Eligibility Calculator first to find which loans you're most likely to get, without damaging your credit score. Here are the top picks... ALL are 'representative APR' - see explanation below. Most are for 1-5 years, a few have different lengths:

     - £7,500-£15,000: 2.9% from M&S*
    Admiral*, John Lewis*Tesco*Zopa* (new), and ONLY if you've got its Nectar card, Sainsbury's
     - £5,000-£7,499: 3.2% from 
    Hitachi* (new), 3.3% from Yorkshire Bank* / Clydesdale Bank*
     - £3,000-£4,999: 8.2% from Admiral*, 8.5% from Hitachi*

  • Need to borrow under £3k? If so, a special credit card is usually cheaper than the loans below. But if you still want a loan, like we say above, it's best to go via our Loans Eligibility Calc first. All are rep APR and for 1-5 years.

     - £2,000-£2,999: 13.2% from Admiral*, 13.4% from Ikano Bank*
     - £1,000-£1,999: 13.2% from 
    Admiral*, 13.5% from Santander

  • Beware: 'representative rates' mean you may NOT get the advertised rate. Sadly, ONLY 51% of those accepted need to get the advertised rate - others can pay more, and there's no limit. So a '2.9% loan' could cost 20%. Unfortunately there's no way of knowing this without applying (but we're urgently working on that), as even if you use our eligibility calc, high chances of acceptance don't automatically mean you'll get the cheap rate.
      
  • Always follow the Loan Golden Rules. Full info and options in Cheap Personal Loans (APR Examples).
     
      a) Minimise the amount you borrow and repay as quickly as possible.
      b) Pay on time (preferably by direct debit) or you may get a charge and credit black mark.
      c) If you're applying to pay off credit cards, a balance transfer may be cheaper.
 

'I reclaimed £250,000 in PPI' - the most we've EVER seen. Urgently check if you can claim too. The clock's ticking with just three weeks till the 29 Aug PPI deadline - use our free PPI reclaim tool & guide and see MoneySaver Mike's astonishing £250k PPI success as inspiration.

Ending. Top-secret theatre tickets from £4 incl West End shows... but only if you keep hush. Special site sells last-min unsold seats at dirt-cheap prices, but only if you agree to keep quiet so you don't upset people who paid full whack. Skip the waiting list via our link - but only till Wednesday next week: top-secret tickets

70+ coupons, incl 'free' Lipton ice tea, Little Dish meal & Persil washing device. See August's coupons.

Ends Sun. Post Office fast fibre b'band & line '£19.84/mth'. The Holy Grail for cheap fibre is sub-£20/mth and the Post Office has delivered that for newbies. See '£19.84/mth' fibre - from that link you can check other deals/speeds.

McDonald's £3 off £10, or £5 off £20. Till Sun, please eat responsibly. See this and more McD's hacks.

Alert. Wearing flip-flops, jaywalking, inhaling Vicks etc may land you a holiday fine. Acceptable UK customs may hit you in the pocket elsewhere - to help, see our holiday habits alert.

 
 

'I saved £1,000 thanks to MSE's 21-day car insurance trick'

Amid warnings of accelerating prices, we show you how to slash costs at a busy time for renewals

It's a year since we revealed the best time to get car insurance is about three weeks before renewal, following a major investigation of 18m+ quotes. And we've been inundated with successes since, eg, Simon tweeted: "Got a quote 21 days before renewal and saved £1,000+. Thank you." And Cam said: "Took your 21-day advice. Was paying £148/mth, now £68/mth [saving £960/yr]." 

Now's a good time to remind you as we're entering that sweet spot for anyone renewing in Sep, one of the busiest car insurance months. It also comes as insurers warn of imminent price hikes, as rule changes to compensation payouts for personal injuries will leave them paying out more than they'd expected. Full info in Cheap Car Insurance, but here are the key steps in brief... 

 

Warning. 1.3m pensioners miss out on pension credit - and there's an URGENT deadline for 1,000s to claim this income boost worth up to £7,000/yr.  See pension credit countdown.

£5 dresses, £8 shoes & more via Boohoo code. MSE Blagged. It was already running an up-to 80%-off sale - its biggest in over a year - and our code gets an extra 5% off. Ends Fri, limited stock. Boohoo sale

Monzo customer? Check if you need to change your PIN. It's advising 480,000 of its 2.6m+ customers to act after PINs were stored where they could have been accessed by some of its staff. Monzo alert

Reminder. Off to Malaga, Marbella, Torremolinos etc? 43 Costa-cutting tips. If you missed it last week, see our Costa del Sol MoneySaving tips.

Kurt Geiger shoes from £14ish via 25% off code. MSE Blagged. Valid on ALL brands in the Shoeaholics outlet incl Converse, Hunter and Ted Baker. Step this way

Don't get stung for euros, dollars etc at the airport - compare 30+ bureaux in secs. Need cash? Use our TravelMoneyMax comparison tool which speedily shows where to bag the best rates.

 
 

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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. Compare The Market*
  4. Gocompare*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*
Aviva*

New. Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Hitachi* 3.2% rep APR (2-5 yrs)
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: 
Post Office equiv £19.84/mth

Great service + free £50: First Direct
Free £100 gift card + £80 after a year: 
M&S Bank

 

A huge £100 million A YEAR in train compensation goes unclaimed. Know your rights so you can go full steam ahead and claim 


Train delays create daily passenger pain, and the recent heatwave ratcheted up the misery. The silver lining is many can grab compensation, yet watchdog Transport Focus has found passengers leave a huge £100m/yr unclaimedSo we're here to signal your rights - whether you get delayed in future or were affected in the past month or so, as that's how long you often have to claim. Full help is in our Train Delays guide, but here are the basics to get you on the right track (GB only - rules differ in NI). Choo choo... 

  1. EVERY time a train's late, check if you're due 25-100% back via 'Delay Repay'. Of 30 rail firms, 22 use this system, which pays out even when it wasn't the train firm's fault. Megan emailed: "We filled in the online form, which took 5 mins, and less than 3 weeks later received a refund for £104."
     
    - The Delay Repay system sometimes pays out for 15min delays. But the minimum delay varies by firm, and can be 30mins. Similarly, the amount of compensation varies by firm and length of delay, from 
    25% to the full fare back. See firm-by-firm rules. (A handy tool also shows delay times, though not for NI.)

    - How to claim. You can do it online or by post, and you usually have to do so within 28 days. See how to claim (incl next steps if the firm says no).

  2. Can't use Delay Repay (eg, Chiltern, TfL Rail)? You may still be due cash. That duo plus Eurostar, Grand Central, Heathrow Express, Hull Trains, London Overground and Merseyrail have their own compensation systems. Here, the minimum delay to get anything back ranges from 15-60mins. Unlike with Delay Repay, they may only pay out if it was their fault. You have about 28 days to claim (though Eurostar allows a year). See firm-by-firm rules.

  3. Got a season ticket? Check if you're due even more cash. Most firms let season ticket holders claim for delays as above. But some let you claim extra if there's been a series of problems. See season ticket help.

  4. Awful onboard service, eg, no seats, loos (b)locked up? You can complain to train firms, quoting the Consumer Rights Act for delays or shoddy service. MSE Sarah got cash back when the air con was broken on her trip. See how to complain about poor service.

  5. You can claim for London tube and DLR delays too. If you've suffered a 15min+ delay and it was the operator's fault, you can get your full fare back regardless of how you paid, ie, contactless or paper tickets. See tube delay rights.
 

Get 10p/litre off Tesco petrol & diesel. Useful with unleaded prices 15p/L up on 2017. Cheap fuel

FREE 3mth My Spa Pass - gets 15-20% off 200+ hotel spas, incl Mercure & Malmaison. MSE Blagged. A bit like Tastecard for discounts on spa days and treatments. Norm £3.75/mth. My Spa Pass

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK:
"Wanted to say thanks for your super guides, which gave me a kick to evaluate our utilities. We installed a water meter, upgraded our broadband to fibre (but on a cheaper bill) and switched our energy. Overall our annual savings should be around £387."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

£35 for seven bottles of wine & two glasses (norm £70+). MSE Blagged. 1,500 cases avail for Naked Wines newbies. Please be Drinkaware.

Beware of scam letter claiming to be from MoneySavingExpert.com. And watch what happened when we confronted the fraudsters. See PPI scam alert.

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

How do you spend when abroad? It's peak summer, so time for a question we ask every year... if and when you travel abroad, how do you usually spend?

Younger MoneySavers are more likely to do most of their shopping online. Last week, we asked you how much of your shopping you do online vs in stores. Almost 5,000 responded, with 66% of under-25s doing the majority of shopping online, while older folk prefer the high street, with 54% of over-65s doing most of their shopping in stores. See full poll results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I offer my kids a better exchange rate? My young daughters have been given £10 each by their grandmother to buy a treat on holiday in Greece. I've 'banked' the £10 and said they have €10 each to spend. It's not the best exchange rate for them - though probably better than they'd get at the airport - but I thought I'd keep it simple. Am I being unreasonable? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I offer my kids a better exchange rate? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Awesome August's No Spend Days challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a family trip to Legoland Windsor
- Old-Style board thread of the week: How to clean off years of dried baked stuff from oven dish?
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Collecting GCSE results
- Discussion of the week: I feel guilty if I have to take money out of my savings account

 

Supermarket coupons - 70+ coupons worth £70+
McDonald's - £3 off £10 or £5 off £20
Boohoo - Extra 5% off up-to 80%-off sale code. Ends Fri
Shoeaholics - Extra 25% off everything code
My Spa Pass - FREE 3mth pass gets 15-20% off spas

Lidl - £1.50 for 5kg box of fruit and veg
M&S - Two pizzas and three sides or desserts for £10
Morrisons - £5 for 19-piece 'Big Daddy' breakfast
Naked Wines - £35 for seven bottles of wine & two glasses
Nando's - 'Free' £4ish chicken or starter on exam results day

Ikea - Check your emails for a voucher, eg, £5 off £40 spend
Kindle - FREE comic books & graphic novels
Morrisons - 'Free' breakfast for kids
O2 Priority - 50% off Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Sea Life etc
The Book People - 10% off code for full-price and sale items

Quick Forum Tips

Free dog treats via £1 off coupon - Paw-fect
River Island up to 70% off - Sale away
McDonald's spicy nuggets - Yum-believable

 
 

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Fri 9 Aug - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, Guy Anker
Mon 12 Aug
- TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 13 Aug
- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm 

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I know I had PPI with a particular lender, but I don't have the paperwork. Can I still reclaim? Jane, via email.

MSE Kit's A: Yes, you can - as long as you know the name of the lender, you can submit a claim. While the more info you have, the speedier any reclaim can be, with the 29 August deadline looming, it's important you just log any complaint before then.

You can actually request paperwork if you want, which banks must keep if the account was active in the past six years, but that could take time to arrive - so don't let it hold up your claim, as you don't actually need the paperworkSee our Reclaim PPI for FREE guide for more.

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

 

EXTREME MONEYSAVING: 'I TAKE THE BATTERIES OUT OF MY CLOCKS WHEN I GO AWAY'

That's it for this week, but before we go... we asked people to share their top MoneySaving hacks and were flooded with some extreme tips. Using old dish/bathwater to flush the toilet and water the garden, and using homegrown herbs instead of an air freshener were two of the greenest examples. The cheekiest? The MoneySaver who doesn't buy new clothes, but instead waits for friends' and family's hand-me-downs. See the full list and add your own in our MoneySaving Hacks Facebook post. 

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team