Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

18 September 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... Cheap Easyjet, '1.6%' savings, urgent Dyson code, 100Mb b'band £19/mth, beat energy hikes, Next sale?

This info may be out of date.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.


Martin: 'PPI's over, but I've THIRTEEN more ways you can reclaim possibly £1,000s from big firms or the govt - unlucky for them.'

I'm no fan of a compensation culture. Instead MSE and I have long, proudly been at the forefront of reclaiming - that's getting YOUR money back when it shouldn't have been taken (or if you weren't paid what you should've been). Compensation is different, it's using the law to get extra money, often as a punishment.

PPI is by far the biggest reclaim we've seen - it's now thought the total payout will be close to £50bn. Staggering. Yet while it's now over (barring processing the final claims), there are still a host of other reasons why you may be owed.

With all of these, THERE'S NO NEED TO PAY ANYONE to reclaim, you can easily DIY. In each I've indicated the rough scale of magnitude the reclaim can get to. So scan through the list and see if you're due...

  1. Mis-sold packaged bank accounts - ever paid a monthly fee for your bank account? Reclaim £1,000s. Packaged bank accounts are those where you pay a monthly fee for extras such as travel insurance, mobile or breakdown cover (accounts incl Lloyds Gold, Barclays Additions and NatWest Advantage Gold). Mis-selling was rife, I suspect there are still hundreds of millions of pounds to be repaid.

    However, packaged accounts aren't all bad - if you made an active choice to get them, they can be great value. The danger sign is if you were called up or called in for a bank review and pushed into getting one, or even told there wasn't a choice. If so, they often didn't check suitability (eg, you were 66 and the insurance only covered up to age 65). Any of these issues may mean you're due years of fees back.

    Our guide includes the 
    FREE packaged bank account reclaim tool (via Resolver) that helps draft a claim and escalates it if needed.     

    As Lauren emailed: "I took out a Lloyds Silver Account after being told I needed it to keep my mortgage rate. I got a full refund, plus interest, for £1,400."  And Wayne tweeted: "@MartinSLewis got £2,400 back of fees dating back to 1992. Thank you."

  2. Unwittingly paid for Amazon Prime? Reclaim £79. If your account's been debited by Amazon without you knowing why, here's how to get an Amazon Prime refund.

  3. Reclaim student loan overpayments if you started paying too soon. Reclaim £100s. Regardless of what you earn, you shouldn't start repaying student loans until the Apr after you leave, but many employers wrongly took/take it, via the payroll. In fact, over just 3 years 100,000+ university leavers repaid their student loans unnecessarily (according to our Freedom of Information request).

    If that's you, and you started uni after 1998, you can get the money back. See our Student Loan Overpayments guide. As Lyndsey emailed us: "Thanks to watching Martin Lewis, I contacted the Student Loans Company and have got £706 back as I started paying straightaway."

  4. Mis-sold payday loans - was the lender irresponsible? Reclaim £100sThankfully the immoral scourge of payday lending is less prevalent, as many firms are going bust due to a surge of successful reclaims.

    The main forms of mis-selling were that they lent money to people who couldn't realistically pay it back, and/or they didn't provide people with full info. If that's you, you can reclaim the interest, which was often huge. Our guide includes a FREE reclaim payday loans tool.

    We've had some reclaims of up to £4,000, including Hayley, who tweeted: "A big thank you for wonderful advice, got £500 wiped and a £2,045 refund from a payday loan company."

    Lender gone bust? You can still reclaim from the administrator, but it's likely you'll be just one of many 'creditors' to the company, meaning you'll at best only get a few pence in the pound back.

    WONGA WARNING: There's a special process to reclaim Wonga loans, but the last time you can do this is Mon 30 Sep.

  5. Delayed or overpaid for the (London) tube? Reclaim £10s. If you're delayed over 15mins, you may be able to claim a late refund. Plus in 2018, £114m extra was charged to customers who didn't tap out, so check for tap out refunds. Also, there's a whopping £387m sitting on unused Oyster cards - see get an Oyster refund.

  6. Reclaim unfair bank charges for busting your overdraft. Reclaim £100sThis was my first big reclaim campaign, starting way back in 2004. We got people over £1bn back, until the Supreme Court kiboshed it on a technicality in 2009. Yet the death of bank charges reclaiming has been exaggerated.

    While it's no longer: 'Had charges? Get 'em back', if you are in financial hardship and bank charges were a contributing factor, you may be able to get them back. We've downloadable template letters to help in Reclaim bank charges for free.

    Forumite Tombo wrote: "I used MSE's template letter, adjusting it to my situation of being on ESA, having had health issues and a difficult year - NatWest refunded me £104."

  7. Get PPI payout tax back. Reclaim £100s. When you get/got a PPI payout, part of the payment is 'statutory interest', which has tax automatically taken off before you get it. Yet most people needn't pay this tax and are due it back. Full help in my reclaim PPI tax blog.

    As Chris tweeted: "@MartinSLewis just received a cheque from HMRC for a £650 tax refund on PPI. Thanks for your help."

  8. Energy credit - are you due money back? Reclaim £100s. If you were in credit when you switched energy firm, the old provider should give you the money back. Yet they used to operate a 'don't ask, don't get' system - meaning millions weren't given their cash back.

    Things have improved in recent years. So this is mainly about switches from a good few years back, making it - in many ways - a last chance saloon as firms won't hold on to your data forever. Still, it can be worth calling up former providers and checking. See more on energy credit reclaiming.

  9. Council tax - are you in the wrong band? Reclaim £1,000s. Up to 400,000 homes may be in the wrong band - many in too high a band, and thus paying too much. I came up with my council tax check and challenge system back in 2007, and it went viral (before the word viral went viral). I then did an ITV show on it, which is still my highest-ever rating, nearly 6m from memory.

    So it's no surprise we've been swamped with successes ever since. If you're in too high a band, you can get it lowered and get a backdated payout. As 
    James emailed: "A few letters and some emails showing evidence and I have had my property banding lowered and repaid back to 1993 - a refund of £7,330."

  10. Flight cancelled or delayed at any time since 2013? You may be due. Fixed compensation £110-£530/person. This isn't a reclaim, it's a set amount of compensation you're due under EU rule 261/2004. So you should decide yourself if you feel you were badly treated, and if so, go for it. To qualify, your flight must've been three things...

    a) an EU-regulated flight, b) either cancelled or delayed with arrival 3+ hrs late, and c) the problem must've been the airline's fault.

    Use our FREE flight delay reclaim tool to manage your claim.

    Katherine tweeted: "Many thanks. Followed your advice after a 5hr delay with Turkish Airlines. Used Resolver and have just been awarded €600 each - which is £4,000."

  11. Severe Mental Impairment (eg, Alzheimer's / Stroke / Parkinson's) council tax discount. Reclaim £1,000s. Please help spread the word that some of society's most vulnerable are missing out.

    If someone has a diagnosed 'Severe Mental Impairment' (I just call it an SMI, as I think it's a horrid term), they are entitled to be disregarded for council tax purposes, ie, they don't pay it if they live alone, and get 25% off if they live with someone else.

    Yet this is massively underpublicised. Our Claim a Severe Mental Impairment council tax discount  shows how to claim, plus if you do, many councils will also backdate it.

    Pam emailed us: "My brother has Parkinson's and I told him what Martin had said. He made a claim and received £2,500. He was also informed he would no longer be charged council tax. Thank you."

  12. Wear a uniform to work? Claim tax back. Reclaim £60+. If you wear a branded T-shirt, overalls or other uniform for work, wash it yourself and don't wear it elsewhere, you're entitled to a small tax rebate, which is backdateable. See Uniform tax refund. 

  13. Married/civil partners? Can you backclaim 5yrs of marriage tax allowance? Reclaim £1,150 per couple. 700,000 eligible couples haven't claimed the marriage tax allowance.

    To qualify, one of you needs to be a basic 20% rate taxpayer, and the other a non-taxpayer. If that's you, read our Marriage Tax Allowance guide for full help to get the cash. As Ian tweeted: "Thanks @MartinSLewis I got a £660 marriage tax refund for me and my wife Vanessa." 

    Please report any successes to us, either via emailing  MSE successes , or  tweet MSE  or  tweet me .

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.



Alert. Cheapest energy deals vanish due to global events, but you can still save £300+/yr - do it ASAP in case more disappear

Saudi oil attacks, plus issues with French nuclear plants, Dutch gas fields & Russian pipelines are hitting prices

After weeks of price cuts, British Gas, EDF and others have reversed course and upped the cost of their cheapest deals by up to £75/yr in recent days. It's due to a rise in the wholesale price energy firms pay. Analysts Cornwall Insight say this is due to the huge Saudi oil field attacks, concerns over French nuclear supplies, gas restrictions from Russia, and the early closure of a major Dutch gas field. It said on Mon it expected "higher customer tariffs, while existing fixes may be withdrawn". 

That forecast was immediately proved correct as EDF pulled its top deal later that day. So if you haven't sorted a cheap deal for winter, DO IT NOW as more may go. There are still huge savings vs the £1,178/yr people will pay on typical usage on Big 6 standard tariffs from Oct, when a new, lower price cap comes in. Here's a quick briefing (prices are based on typical use for easy comparison):

  • Cheapest variable-rate deals, including an MSE special tariff (100% renewable elec + enhanced service) - save £290/yr. Do a whole of market comparison and you'll find a firm called Outfox the Market is likely cheapest, but its customer service rating is hideous as it's 65% poor - so be careful. Yet we've arranged a special Pure Planet 100% Green tariff deal for only a little more at £890/yr, including the usual £25 dual-fuel MSE cashback and a £47 bill credit.

    Pure's customer service rating is 95% great, and if you have any problems getting this deal from Pure, let us know and we can intervene - it's provided a special hotline for us to get in touch with it. As it's variable there's a risk prices can rise, yet if that happens there are no exit fees to switch. It can only be operated online, and it's for dual fuel (gas & elec) only.

  • Cheapest fixed rate - save £280+/yr. If you want to lock the rate in, so it can't rise, you need a fix - a sensible move given rising prices. Avro's Simple & SuperSave is £891/yr, its customer service feedback is decent, BUT regulator Ofgem banned it from taking new customers in May for failing to join the smart meter network in time. It has also been slow to hand over some customers' cashback. The deal is for dual-fuel custs only - see how it rates with a fixed-rate comparison.

  • Top big-name fixes, eg, British Gas for new AND existing customers - save £220+/yr. We know many prefer a name they know and there are still big savings from the top Big 6 deals - while pricier than a week ago, they're still less than in Jul before the price war erupted. The cheapest is Scottish Power's Super Saver Sep 2020 at £936/yr, but it has 56% poor customer service. British Gas's Energy Plus Protection Green Oct 2020 is £958/yr with OK service.

    Both include the £25 dual-fuel cashback you get switching via our Cheap Energy Club and both are for new AND existing customers. While Scot Power is for dual fuel and elec-only customers, BG is dual fuel only. Click the links to see how they compare against deals from big names.

    Update 11am Wed: EDF has since launched its Simply Online 1 Year Fix Oct20v3 for new custs only. It's just £1/yr more than Scottish Power on typical use, but has much better service at 40% great.    

PS: Switching is easy. Some are worried by it, but the energy never goes off, nobody visits you (unless you want a smart meter) and it's the same gas, electricity & safety. In reality, only price and service change. See our switching FAQs.


12 quick MoneySaving tips for disabled people (please tell us more). We're starting to compile help, such as how to get a Blue Badge, accessible toilet keys or 'free' cinema and football tix for friends/carers. This is the start, so have a read, then suggest more, so we can build a compendium. Quick MoneySaving tips for disabled people 

Super-cheap Easyjet flights for Mar-Aug 2020, incl Easter and summer. But go quick. Easyjet

New. 1.6% easy-access savings which smashes the best buys - but it's a sharia account. Savings rates have dived recently, with the two top payers Marcus and Cynergy dropping their rates to 1.45%. Yet sharia bank Al Rayan* has just launched an easy-access deal at a huge 1.6% (min £500). Yet sharia accounts - in accordance with Islamic principles - ban interest, so 1.6% is an 'expected profit rate'. However, we've never heard of any UK sharia bank failing to pay it, and you don't need to be Islamic to open one. All these accounts have the full £85,000 per person UK savings protection. Full info and more options in {Top Savings}.

 Unconfirmed, but we've done the digging and are almost certain it's this week. Next sale

'Bought a Dyson V6 using your code and saved £50 - thanks MSE.' MSE Blagged Normally £200, but our code gets £50 off - making it the cheapest new cordless stick Dyson we've seen. It was mega popular last week and as we've been inundated with successes, such as Ann's message above, we thought we'd remind you about the £150 Dyson we've blagged.

Warning. If your work pension has the wrong retirement date, it could cost you £1,000s. It may mean your pension pot's moved into a low-risk fund too soon, which could hit returns. So see how to check your pension date.


10 days only. Virgin's mega-fast 100+Mb b'band & line '£19/mth'

The secret to ditching rip-offs is to pounce on short-lived promos such as these, which can save you £300+/yr

Got déjà vu? Think you've seen this before? You're right. It's an on-off Virgin promo that the giant revives when it craves new business. It last appeared in July and now it's back, but only for 10 days via MSE. The big boon is you get superfast broadband and phone for less than half of what many pay for slow speeds. But it's not the only hot deal about, so if you're one of the 11m out of contract, now's a good time to slash costs. We've the top deals below, with some key points first:

- Diarise to switch when your deal ends. As always, these promos only last for 12-18mths, after which prices soar.
- Broadband deals are postcode-dependent - eg, only 50% can get Virgin. Links below go to our Broadband Unbundled tool to check your eligibility. If you can't get a deal, it'll suggest alternatives.

Cheapest superfast broadband - best if you've a real need for speed
Ends 26 Sept
MSE Blagged
Apply via this special Virgin Media link and you pay £25/mth over the 1yr contract, but you get an automatic £75 bill credit, so there's nothing to pay for 3mths. That makes it £225 in total, which is equiv to £18.75/mth.
Cheapest fast fibre broadband   best for heavy streamers, gamers or if many use it at once in your home
Ends Thu
You pay £23/mth, which is £414 over the 18mth Vodafone contract. Plus you can claim a £100 Amazon, Currys, John Lewis or M&S vch. If you do, and if you'd have spent that anyway, the price is an equiv £17.45/mth.
  Ends 29 Sept
You pay £22.99/mth over the 1yr Shell contract, but as you automatically receive a £75 bill credit in late Dec, it's an equiv £16.74/mth.
Cheapest standard speed broadband - usually fine for browsing or light streaming
Ends 30 Sept
You pay £15.90/mth, which is £191 over the 1yr Post Office contract. Plus you can claim a £50 Amazon vch. If you do, and if you'd have spent it anyway, it's an equiv £11.74/mth.
(1) Rules differ by firm - see exact terms via the links. (2) To compare, we use 'equivalent prices' - adding all fixed costs, deducting promo cash or vouchers and averaging it over the contract.

  • Will I get the advertised speed? The 'average' speed 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 by most big providers. With some (incl Virgin Media from those above), if you don't get that speed and it's not fixed within 30 days, you've the right to cancel penalty-free. See how to check your speed.

The cheapest way to get a new iPhone 11 - up to £460 off. They're not MoneySaving, the new models are arguably not much of an upgrade, and it's usually cheaper to wait a few weeks after launch - which is this Friday. You can see we're not fans, yet if you're still determined to get one of the new iPhone 11 models we've a host of tips, incl how to get up to £460 off a contract and how to spread the handset cost over 20mths at 0% interest. 'Cheap' iPhones

Posh 'zero-plastic' shampoo bar for £4 delivered - norm £12. MSE Blagged. From grooming company Gruum, this should last for up to 60 washes, so 2mths' supply if you're a daily hair washer. Clean up

Warning. If your work pension has the wrong retirement date, it could cost you £1,000s. It may mean your pension pot's moved into a low-risk fund too soon, which could hit returns. So see how to check your pension date.

Wetherspoon pubs 7.5% off for ONE DAY only. There's a 24hr discount on all food & drink at 900+ pubs (excl booze in Scot). Full info and more tricks, incl getting your meal up to 44% cheaper, in Wetherspoon tips. Please be Drinkaware.

 Unconfirmed, but we've done the digging and are almost certain it's this week. Next sale

TWO pairs of prescription glasses for £16. MSE Blagged. Incl frames, lenses & delivery. You specsy thing


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Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 29mths 0%, 2.75%-3.49% fee + £20 cashback on £1k+ transfers (20.9% 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*
  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

Standard b'band & line rent: Post Office equiv £11.74/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Shell Energy equiv £16.74/mth

New. Get £175 to switch: HSBC Advance
£150 to switch + 2% cashback: NatWest Reward


NEED to borrow? Get up to 27mths interest-free on new spending

Credit cards are like fire, used right and they're a useful tool, but used wrong and you'll get burnt

If you've budgeted, planned, affordable borrowing that you NEED to do (ie, replacing a worn-out sofa or old fridge), 0% credit cards are the cheapest way if used right. You can currently get up to 27mths 0% but as we always say, NEVER borrow willy-nilly to fill income gaps or use these cards as an excuse to overspend. First an important eligibility point, then best buys...

We've the pick of the bunch below, but don't just apply. First use our 0% Eligibility Calculator to find which you've the best chance of getting without hitting your credit score (sadly Tesco and Bank of Ireland UK aren't in it).

MBNA (eligibility calc / apply*) - Longest 0%, but only 0% on purchases in the first 60 days
Up to 27mths (20.9%)
Tesco Bank (apply) - Next-longest 0%  Up[ to 26mths (19.9%)
Sainsbury's Bank (eligibility calc / apply*) - Long 0% + £37.50 Nectar pts (1)  Up to 25mths (20.9%)
Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) - Long 0% (2) Up to 25mths (19.9%)
 Bank of Ireland UK (apply) - Longest non 'up to' so you'll definitely get the full 0% period if accepted CHECK 24mths (19.9%)
(1) 750 bonus Nectar pts (worth £3.75) per £35+ spent at Sains in the first 2mths, up to a max 7,500 pts (so split big shops to max the gain). (2) You can't have had a Barclaycard in the last 6mths.  

  • Tip 1 - Some cards are 'up to' a certain 0% length, so you may get a shorter 0% even if accepted. If not an 'up to', you get the full length if accepted.

  • Tip 2 - Fix payments to clear within the 0% time to avoid interest. Divide what you owe by the number of 0% months and repay by direct debit or standing order. Eg, spend £2.7k and over 27mths it's £100/mth to clear.

  • Follow the 0% Card Golden Rules. Full info in 0% Spending Cards (APR Examples), but in brief...
    a) Always pay at least the set monthly minimum and stick within the limit or you can lose the 0%.
    b) Plan to clear the card (or balance-transfer away) before the 0% ends or rates jump to the rep APR.
    c) These cards are usually ONLY cheap for spending, so avoid cash withdrawals or shifting debt to them.
    d) As £3k-£5k limits are typical, if you need to borrow more, see Cheap Loans from 2.9%.


"Just haggled a £126 discount on this year's renewal for building and contents insurance. Worth the 20 mins of research and call. Thanks for the encouragement."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

18,000 FREE Grand Designs Live Birmingham tickets. For 9-13 Oct, norm up to £20 each. Grand Designs



Which stores do you LOVE and LOATHE? Retailers love us to have a relationship with them. Indeed, many feel an almost intimate connection with some brands, but wouldn't be seen dead crossing others' thresholds. Which stores do you love and loathe?

Most schools' uniform rules AREN'T very wallet-friendly. Last week, we asked if you're allowed to buy cheap school uniform - 2,795 people responded. Over half of parents (55%) with school-age children told us everything except shirts/trousers/skirts must be bought from a specific supplier, while just a quarter said the whole uniform can be generic or bought from supermarkets. See full school uniform poll results.



Would it be wrong to keep compensation for a flight my employer paid for? On a recent business trip to the USA, my return flight was overbooked, so the airline offered passengers $800 to fly the next day instead. Delaying my flight wouldn't have affected my return to work as it was over a weekend, but as my company paid for my flights, I wasn't sure I should take the offer. Next time, would it be wrong to fly later and keep the compensation for myself? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Would it be wrong to keep compensation for a flight my employer paid for? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: The Debt Free Roll of Honour
- Competitions thread of the week: Tickets to James Corden - One Man, Two Guvnors
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Pocket money jobs
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: How much do you spend on your children's hobbies?
- Discussion of the week: Which debt to overpay?


Next - 50% off sale rumour (starts this weekend?)
PayPal - Check your account for £5-£50 free cash
Wetherspoon - 7.5% off all food and drink
Glasses Direct - Two pairs of specs for £16 delivered
Gruum - £4 shampoo bar delivered (norm £12)

Cake & Bake Show - Two tickets for £15 (London, 4-6 Oct)
Frankie & Benny's - 'Free' pizza with £3ish drink (Fri only)
Morrisons - £3.50 wonky veg box
Naked Wines - £35 for seven bottles of wine & two glasses
Open House London - Free entry to 800+ London properties

Build-A-Bear - 25% off site-wide code (ends Wed)
Habitat - 25% off everything via code (Thu-Sun)
Halfords - 20% off bikes/scooters via trade-in
Ikea - £10 voucher off £50 spend for students
Vision Direct - 10 'free' contact lenses, just pay £2.98 delivery

Quick Forum Tips

75p Terry's Chocolate Orange. Orange you glad
Discounted MAC make-up at TK Maxx. Maxx your savings
Free No7 face mask for some app users. 'Appy with that



Thu 19 Sep - Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.35am
Fri 20 Sep - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 23 Sep - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 23 Sep 
- BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, 12.20pm. Listen again


Wed 18 Sep - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm, Jordon Cox on good hacks
Fri 20 Sep - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, Guy Anker
Mon 23 Sep -
TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 24 Sep - 
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: Pet insurers want about £15/mth to insure my healthy kitten. Is pet insurance worth having, or would it be better to set up a savings account and pay into it each month? Pat, via email.

MSE Tony's A: Whether you should get insurance depends on your attitude to risk and your pet's health. If you'd make 'em better at all costs, it's the key safety net, as there's no pet NHS. Taking the self-insure route by putting money aside in a savings account is also not a bad option, but it relies on you having enough cash to hand when the vet needs paying. The risk here is you may not have saved enough at the point your pet needs expensive treatment.

One compromise is to go for a policy with a higher excess, to keep the monthly cost down, and then save enough money to cover the excess if you need to claim. For full help and the pros and cons, see our Cheap Pet Insurance guide.

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



That's it for this week, but before we go... two MoneySavers who found they'd exceeded their Ryanair luggage allowance recently managed to avoid paying an extra £88 fee by, er, wearing half their luggage on the plane. Now others have been sharing their tips for cutting luggage costs on different airlines, from taking portable luggage scales and rolling clothes to squeeze more in, to posting a parcel of clothes to their destination. Read more tips (and see photos of the two rather overdressed Ryanair passengers) in our Beating baggage fees Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team