Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

09 October 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... Free Ideal Home, Xmas trains, Brexit help, £50 beauty bundle, new Clubcard Plus, 'free' Glastonbury

This info may be out of date.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.


New. MSE Big Energy Switch 14

Save £290/yr based on typical usage

Tariff 1: Pure Planet 10k avail. Our cheapest, renewable, top service
Tariff 2: E.on 1yr FIX - cheapest Big 6 deal we've seen in 18mths+
Tariff 3: Bulb - cheapest PREPAY, 88% top service

According to the stats, this is the week many turn on the heating for winter, supercharging (in a bad way) their energy bills. So we're launching our MSE Big Energy Switch 14, where we lever our huge user base - the 10m+ who get this email & 4.2m Cheap Energy Club members - to get special deals.

Our aim's to secure cheaper than the market's cheapest deals. We did it for prepay, but didn't quite make it for the others, as there's an anomalously cheap small provider, with a 65% POOR customer service rating. Yet all three are seriously cheap deals from big names or top service providers. To see how they shape up, use our whole of market comparison.

Savings can be huge, as Derek tweeted after a previous Big Switch Event: "@MartinSLewis I've three family members signed up, saving them annually £600, £700 & best of all, my niece, £1,500."

For more info on each tariff, click the link which takes you via our comparison - crucial, as your price & winner depends on location and usage.

Our savings are for someone with typical dual-fuel use compared to the typical Big 6 standard of £1,178/yr. To find your personal price and saving, do a comparison.

  • MSE Tariff 1: Pure Planet. Our cheapest, it's renewable and has 95% 'great' service - only 10,000 availSAVE £288/yr  on typical use.  This MSE Pure Planet 100% Green tariff online-only deal is capped at 10,000 switches (though if it goes, we'll push for more).

    Pure Planet is a mid-sized supplier with 100,000 customers. It's been around since 2017 and got a 95% 'great' score in our last customer service poll. This tariff is its normal cheap variable deal, but we've arranged an extra £47 credit on your bill (ie, a reduction), plus you get our standard £25 MSE dual-fuel cashback if you switch to it. It means on avg it's £890/yr based on typical use.

    The fact it's 'variable' means its rates can change, though it has been competitively positioned for a while, and mainly only changed prices in the past when wholesale prices (which energy firms pay) shifted.

    MSE customer service score: 95% great (246 votes) + MSE enhanced - ie, we can escalate issues to a dedicated team.
    Renewable? 100% renewable electricity, gas is 100% carbon offset.
    Fixed? No, it's variable so prices can change.
    Early exit fees? No, you can leave penalty-free at any time.
    Dual-fuel only? Yes, you must get both gas & electricity.
    Payment: It must be by monthly direct debit.
    Smart meters: It has started a small scale optional roll out.

    PS. Click the Pure Planet link above, do a comparison and our filters exclude all but 'top service' results (you can undo the filters).
  • MSE Tariff 2. E.on 1yr FIX. Cheapest Big 6, 100% renewable elec. SAVE £279/yr on typical use. This E.on 1 Year Fix Exclusive Autumn 2019 tariff, scheduled to last till 25 Oct, at an avg £899/yr based on typical dual-fuel use, is the first sub-£900 Big 6 deal we've seen in over 18mths (including the MSE £25 dual-fuel cashback). It's only £35/yr more than the very cheapest small firm, so if you want a name you know, it's a winner.

    As it's a fix, the rate you pay can't rise for the first year, though what you pay will of course depend on your usage.

    But it's ONLY for new customers. 
    Unfortunately, E.on won't allow existing customers to switch to it. We fought that hard, but it wouldn't budge and we didn't want to deny others the cheap deal. We'd suggest existing E.on customers look at switching to the other options here to save.

    MSE customer service score: 32% great, 33% OK (217 votes).
    Renewable? 100% renewable electricity, gas isn't green.
    Fixed? Yes, for 12mths from supply start date.
    Early exit fees? £30/fuel if you leave more than 49 days before the fix ends.
    Dual-fuel only? No. It can be dual-fuel or elec-only (incl Eco 7).
    Payment: Monthly direct debit is cheapest, but avail other ways too.
    Smart meters: They're available for free, on request.

    PS. Click the E.on link above, do a comparison and our filters exclude all but 'big name' results (you can undo the filters).

  • MSE Tariff 3. Bulb. Cheapest PREPAY, 100% renewable elec, top service. SAVE £228/yr on typical PREPAY use.  It's never easy to get a special tariff for those on key or card meters - so we're delighted to include this one. Bulb is one of the biggest suppliers outside the Big 6, with over 1m customers. It has been around since 2016.

    This Bulb Vari-Fair Prepay deal is scheduled to last until 25 Oct. In effect it is Bulb's normal variable tariff, but we've arranged an extra £30 dual-fuel cashback (£15 elec-only), on top of the usual £25 MSE dual-fuel cashback (£12.50 elec-only) for new customers. Bulb cashback will take up to 90 days to arrive, ours up to 6mths.

    Including that, on avg it's the cheapest prepay on the market at a typical £989/yr, compared to £1,217/yr for someone on a Big 6 standard prepay tariff. Of course, as it's variable the rate can change, though most prepay tariffs are variable.

    MSE customer service score: 
    88% great (732 votes).
    Renewable? 100% elec, 10% green gas & the rest carbon offset - about as good as it gets outside of super-green deals.
    Fixed? No, it's variable so prices can change.
    Early exit fees? No, you can leave any time penalty-free.
    Dual-fuel only? No. You can do dual-fuel (gas & elec) or elec-only.
    Payment: Prepayment.
    Smart meters: Sadly, if you already have them you can't get this tariff.

If you're reluctant to switch firm, you may be able to save large without doing so. Use our switch without switching comparison to check if you're on your firm's cheapest tariff. In particular, there are two 'comparison site only' deals we'd like to point out...

  • British Gas's new AND existing customers 1yr fix. SAVE £260/yr on typical use (incl MSE cashback). BG's Energy Plus Protection Green Sep 2020 dual-fuel tariff is fixed till, er, Sep 2020. Existing BG customers can get it, though it's a DON'T ASK, DON'T GET deal, only avail via comparison sites (incl our link, which includes our £25 MSE cashback). It has £60 early exit fees.

    It has 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon offset gas. You'll need smart meters (it'll install one for gas and one for elec for free if you don't have them already). You also get a year's central heating, plumbing, drains and home electrical cover for 'free' if you don't already have it. The insurance auto-renews after a year, so cancel then if you don't want it.

  • EDF new AND existing customer 1yr fix. SAVE £245/yr on typical use (incl MSE cashback). EDF's Simply Online 1 Year Fix Nov20 is fixed until 30 Nov 2020, and it allows existing dual-fuel or elec-only customers to get it, as well as newbies.

    Again, it is only available via comparison sites (incl via our link, which gives £25 MSE dual-fuel cashback). You'll need smart meters (it'll install them for free if you don't have them already). It has £35/fuel early exit fees.
Common energy switching questions
Here's a quick Q&A - for more, see the full Cheap Energy Club FAQs.

Q. Is switching risky? Could I be cut off? No. No-one visits your home (unless you want a smart meter) and it's the same gas, same electricity & same safety. The only things that change are price and service. See our Switching FAQs.

Q. I live in Northern Ireland. Can I get these deals? Unfortunately not. No UK comparisons include NI, but see Cheap NI Electricity or the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland's tool.

Q. Does MSE make money from this? Yes. Like all energy comparison sites, we're paid each time you switch through us, yet we give you roughly half (that's £25 dual-fuel, £12.50 single-fuel cashback).

This is money you wouldn't get if you went direct (not that the deals above are available directly anyway). Thus it's a win-win. The rest helps cover our costs and hopefully makes us some profit.

Lots more help, incl...

Switching with smart meters | Why's my price risen when I'm fixed? | Reclaim credit | Switching in debt help | Switching if I've solar panels | How direct debits are set | I've an independent gas transporter, can I switch? | Can I pick a switch date? | How do you compare my rates?


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.



Martin: 'Aaargh. Half of credit card-holders pay interest. STOP. Take five mins to check if you can cut the cost to 0% and save £100s or £1,000s.'

Spank me lightly with a chamois leather and call me Albert... I recently noticed depressing official figures that show 53% of UK credit card balances incur interest - typically at 20%-ish rates. For some it's because they can't get anything cheaper, but many are just wasting money. So let me make it plain...

If you pay interest, just enter your details to do a  0% eligibility check  to see which cheap debt-shift cards are most likely to accept you. There's no impact on your creditworthiness.

This check is specifically for 0% balance transfers - where you get a new card that pays off debt on your existing card(s) for you, so you owe it, but at a lower rate. The result is more of your repayments clear the actual debt, not just repay interest. Even if you only get a small credit limit, shift what you can to save.

Alicia tweeted: "Thanks @MoneySavingExp @MartinSLewis. Went on your site, got accepted for a 0% balance transfer for 27mths. Can now pay off my two existing 29% APR CCs". While acceptance is key, here are quick best buys.

Get lowest fee (inc cashback) in the time you can repay. Unsure? Play safe & go long
'Up-to' cards mean you may get a shorter 0%
CARD 0% LENGTH (rep APR after) FEE as a % of debt shifted
MBNA (eligibility calc / apply*) Up to 29mths (20.9%)
2.75% to 3.49% depending on credit score, but if you shift £1,000+ there's £20 cashback, making it cheaper.
Virgin Money (eligibility calc / apply*)
29mths (21.9%) 3%
Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*)
Up to 28mths (19.9%)
1.75% (initially 3.5%, but half refunded after a few days.)
Sainsbury's Bank (eligibility calc / apply*)
Up to 20mths (20.9%) NONE (but existing RBS and NatWest customers can get a longer 0% fee-free card from them.)

Always follow the Balance Transfer Golden Rules. Full info in Best Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

a) Never miss the min monthly repayment, or you could lose the 0% deal and it'll cost far more.
b) Try to clear the card or balance transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to the higher APR.
c) If the go-to APR after it ends is higher than the card you're shifting from, only move money to the 0% you're sure you can clear within that time.
d) Don't spend/withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and withdrawals hit your creditworthiness.
e) You must usually balance transfer within 60 or 90 days to get the 0%.

PS: While 53% of UK cardholders pay interest, our latest poll asks how many MoneySavers do?


20,000 FREE £15ish Ideal Home Show Christmas (London) tickets. We've managed to get you freebies for the 20-24 Nov show at London's Olympia. They tend to go quick, though. Ideal Home Show

Three weeks to Brexit? How it's likely to impact mortgages, flights, your rights & more. With huge political uncertainty over how, when and even if the UK will leave the EU, here's a reminder that we've facts where there are facts & Martin's analysis where there aren't. See our 25 Brexit need-to-knows.

£50 beauty 'Advent calendar' with £220 of products inside, incl Molton Brown, Moroccanoil, Sanctuary Spa. MSE Blagged. Advent calendars are a good way to bag cheap beauty items, and the 2019 bandwagon has begun. 5,000 avail. Latest In Beauty

New. Free £2 Nando's peri-peri sauce with £10 spend - and 12 more tips. See Nando's hacks.

Missed out on Glastonbury tickets? How you can still go for FREE. On Sun, it sold out in 34mins... but we've four ways to get to Glasto for free (though most involve a bit of work).

'I ran up £1,000s of debt while suffering from depression... now I'm digging myself out' - MSE Kelvin's story. There's a link between debt and mental health issues and it's a marriage made in hell. Today, Kelvin opens up to help others, marking Thu's World Mental Health Day. Read his struggle with depression & debt. Need help? Download our free Mental Health & Debt booklet. Want to help break the link? Join the experts by experience community at Martin's Money & Mental Health Policy Institute charity, to help tell politicians, regulators and firms what to do.


'I broke up with my daughter and saved £400 on my car insurance'

Fear not, it ain't a relationship issue, it's a multi-car insurance issue. Find out if it's a winner or loser for you

A multi-car policy is one that covers, er, multiple cars, which usually have to be registered at the same address. For some it's a big saver, for others a big loser - we've written before about how to choose. Yet this email we received from Michael is an example of the big swings available: "I saved £416 by breaking up with my daughter. Our 'multi-car' policy wanted £1,255 to renew. I looked around, and by going our separate ways, found I could get mine for £249, and my daughter's for £490 (for a better policy). Keep up the good work, guys." So should you split up or get together? Read on...

  • Is a multi-car policy a winner? It can be... if you haven't got one. What tends to happen is multi-car newbies get hot offers to suck 'em in, but that advantage can disappear at renewal. Martin's multi-car renewal rule of thumb is... if you've currently got a multi-car policy, check separate quotes for each vehicle first (see below for how) - if you've separate policies, check multi-car first.

  • Different renewal dates? Multi-car insurance is still possible. Three multi-car insurers - Admiral*, LV* and Aviva* - let you set up a policy at your 1st car's renewal, while the other car(s) stay with their existing insurer until their renewal. Quotes will include an 'annual equivalent price', as if all the vehicles were insured for a full year, to help you compare.

    This works well for those with policies that renew within a few months. If renewals are further apart, comparing can be tricky, as for a long period only one car will be insured on the multi-car policy - so will it be sufficiently discounted to beat a standalone policy? The answer differs with each insurer - see multi-car split renewals for details. Yet if the savings are large, it can be worth multi-car insuring both cars straightaway and cancelling the 2nd car's existing policy - see switching not at renewal for how.

  • The top multi-car options. Comparison sites don't do multi-car searches, so you have to check quotes manually by trial and error. Try the three more specialist multi-car insurers - Admiral*, LV* and Aviva* - first.

    But some other insurers simply give a reduction for each additional policy added, while keeping the policies separate - so each car has its own policy and renewal date. This can be an especially easy route if an insurer already covers one of your cars, so check the price when the 2nd, 3rd, 4th car's up for renewal. The ones doing this are More Than* (15% off), Axa* (up to 15%), Esure* (10%), Privilege (varies) and Sheilas' Wheels* (10%). Plus Direct Line* and Churchill* offer multi-policy discounts - ie, for two car policies, or a home and car policy etc.

  • Compare against cheapest standalone (ie, separate) policies. Just use a comparison site for each vehicle. Yet as comparison sites don't search identical insurers, and can have different prices for the same firm, it's best to check a few for a wider spread. Our current order's MoneySupermarket*, Confused.com*, Gocompare* and Compare The Market*. (Why? See comparison order.) If you've more time, also check our list of hot deals comparison sites miss.

For further help and many more cost-cutting tricks, see our Cheap Car Insurance and Under-25s' Car Insurance guides.


New. Free £125 and six free cinema tickets bank switch. Lloyds has entered the price switching war. Find out how it stacks up in our Best Bank Accounts guide.

Tesco to launch £8/mth 'Clubcard Plus'. It's a few weeks off and details are sketchy. See what we know so far.

Free eye tests at Boots, Specsavers & Vision Express. Save £20+ in Oct with a host of vouchers. Eye tests

Thomas Cook ATOL refund scheme opens. Find out how to make a claim if you're one of the 100,000s with now-defunct bookings, plus what to do if you're not protected by the official scheme. Thomas Cook collapse help

400 left. Get £40 cashback for investing £400. MSE Blagged. If you plan to 'robo-invest' - where investments are selected for you based on your attitude to risk - then after fees, this Wealthify deal is equiv to a 9.5% head start if you took the money after 6mths (the earliest you can). But just 400 of 1,500 deals are still available. See Robo-investing cashback.

24 craft beers £20 delivered. MSE Blagged. 1,500 one-off cases via Flavourly. Please be Drinkaware.


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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*
  2. Confused.com*
  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* 3.4% 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: 
Vodafone equiv £17.84/mth

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


Why it's the PERFECT time to book Christmas trains + a carriage-load more cheap fares tips, incl split ticketing and singles vs returns

Even Mr Spock couldn't work out the UK train ticket system's logic. It's confusing, opaque and often means many overpay. For years we've promoted tips to avoid derailing your finances via high costs, and as this is a key moment for Christmas tickets, it's a good time to remind you of our 17 cheap train ticket tricks. Here's a first class selection of top tips & tricks...

  • It's the PERFECT time to book many Christmas fares. Rail companies usually put their cheapest advance tickets on sale 10-12 weeks ahead. As such, 17 of the 30 firms have now released their best fares up to the start of the Christmas period, and a few to the end of Dec, so the best time to bag tickets is now or very shortly. To show the savings, for 22-27 Dec, we found London-Birmingham for £24 return vs £85 on the day. We've release dates, plus how to get a free alert when yours appear, in Xmas trains.

  • The split ticket trick. It's totally illogical, but can work. Same train, same time, buy two tickets and you may save large. We saw Manchester-Edinburgh one-way for £110. Yet the train stops at Newcastle (you needn't change), so buying Manc-Newc and Newc-Edin one-way was £47 in total. See how to split your tickets.

  • The 'buy an advance ticket on the day' trick. They're unlikely to be as cheap as getting them weeks ahead, but you can still make big savings vs the standard price, as some advance tickets are sold just 10 mins before departure - useful if unable to book ahead. We've firm-by-firm deadlines in book early... late.

  • The 'buy two singles' trick. Returns should be better value, but often aren't - lots of top deals are only available on one-way fares, so always check. Singles vs returns

  • The £10 railcard trick. Railcards - for families, couples, under-26s, over-60s, disabled people and more - get 1/3 off many journeys. And if you or a pal have a season ticket in the south of Eng or the West Mids, you can bag a £10 railcard instead of the normal £20-£30. Other offers include a railcard for £10 of Clubcard points and a students' 5% discount off a 16-25 Railcard. See all railcard types.

Free and cheap flu jabs. Winter is coming... find the cheapest lurgy protection.

"I would like to thank Martin. I had successes with PPI totalling thousands, and now I have just reclaimed for £476 on tax paid on my payout."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

We're improving our MSE Forum - want to get involved? It's time to update our forum. We've started work on it for early 2020 - the aim is to move it to a shiny new platform. Find out what's happening and how to get involved.



Have you suffered because you had to wait to use an ombudsman? MSE's campaigning to shorten the time you have to wait before taking a complaint to an ombudsman, such as the Financial Ombudsman Service or Energy Ombudsman. Right now, you have to wait eight weeks from filing your complaint (unless the firm rejects your complaint sooner), which we believe is far too long. To prove it, and get the campaign in the news, we need real-life examples. So if you've had a bad experience because you had to wait, eg, if the delay unfairly cost you, please email us your story.



Do you use credit cards? They're like fire. Used right they're a useful tool, but get it wrong and they burn. So this week, we want to know if you have a credit card and if you do, how much debt - at 0% or otherwise - do you have on it? Do you use credit cards?

A typical MoneySaver is married, has a university degree and prefers football to rugby or cricket... See more in last week's sixth annual MSE census results.



Should we split our holiday refund? I booked a holiday for me and a friend, and we split the cost equally. The accommodation wasn't the best, and my friend felt he'd had such a bad experience with dirt, insects and mould that he wrote to complain, explicitly saying the complaint was just from him. The company responded to us both, as I booked the holiday, and refunded 20% of the cost to my credit card. My friend says he should get the full refund as it was his complaint - should we split it? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should we split our holiday refund? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Take your lunch to work in October
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a three-night trip to Iceland
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Wartime recipes, substitutions and other related austerity hints
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: What are your top MoneySaving tips when it comes to children's Halloween outfits?
- Discussion of the week: The 'Not Buying It' thread 2019/20 - a consumer holiday


Latest In Beauty - £220ish of beauty products for £50 all-in
Nando's hacks - Incl 'free' £2 bottle of peri-peri sauce
Ideal Home Show - 20,000 free Christmas London tickets (Nov)
Free eye tests - Boots, Optical Express & Vision Express
Flavourly - 24 beers for £20 delivered (1,500 cases avail)

Adidas - 25% off full-price and outlet code
Chiquito - £1 tacos (norm £13ish) this Thu only
Theatre - 20% off Billionaire Boy tickets (limited avail)
Royal Mint - Commemorative coins 50% off code
Virgin Wines - Six bottles for £27, red, white or mixed

Leftover lemons? - Ways to squeeze more use out of them
Food reductions - Save at Aldi, Lidl, Boots & more
Smartphones - How MSE Rhiannon replaced hers for 'free'
Nail polish - Tips to reuse & recycle old nail polish
Clothes swap - Swap 'till you drop & save the planet

Quick Forum Tips

Boots No7 Advent calendar waiting list open. No7 heaven
Radley jewellery sale, eg, £25 watches. Tickety-boo
£12 Baileys 1L at Tesco. Cream of the crop



Thu 10 Oct - Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.35am
Fri 11 Oct - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am


Wed 9 Oct - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm, Steve Nowottny
Fri 11 Oct 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, Guy Anker
Mon 14 Oct 
- TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am, Oli Townsend
Tue 15 Oct 
- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: I recently tried to spend a gift voucher I'd received, only to be told it had 'expired'. Is it correct that gift vouchers can expire? John, via email.

MSE Sarah's A: Unfortunately yes, they can expire. In fact, if you check carefully, most gift cards and vouchers have expiry dates, which is one reason we're not big fans of them here at MSE.

If you do receive a gift voucher, it's always best to spend it as soon as possible. If you don't, there's also the risk that the shop could go bust and the voucher becomes worthless. What's more, some cards gradually reduce in value if you don't use them - for example, 18 months after you buy one popular multi-store card, it starts deducting 90p/mth from the card's balance. See our Gift cards and vouchers guide for full info.

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... if you're at an all-you-can-eat buffet, how many times is it acceptable to go back for more? When we asked MoneySavers, most were pretty relaxed on refill etiquette, with one suggesting "eat until you can't move" and another claiming to have spent SEVEN hours at a buffet in Vegas. Others urged restraint though, saying "don't be so greedy". So what's a reasonable limit? Have your say on our Buffet etiquette Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team