Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

16 October 2019

Over 50 ways to save incl... Big Energy Switch, No7 calendar alert, KFC tricks, 0% for 26mths, MoneySaving for disabled people

This info may be out of date.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.


Ends Fri. Cheapest 5GB Sim we've seen, at '£6.67/mth' + lots more mobile MoneySavers

Incl how to easily keep your number, bag cheap contracts, cut roaming costs & make £100s from old phones

Many are glued to their mobile, yet millions overpay on pricey deals. So with the return of the cheapest 5GB Sim we've seen - but only for a few days - now's a good time to bring you a host of top deals if you're one of the 9m out of contract and free to switch, plus lots more ways to save.

  1. Crucially, only pay for what you use. Don't simply fall for high data deals pushed by networks. Our many polls have shown most people use less than 3GB/mth, while new stats from regulator Ofcom show only 10% use 5GB/mth+.

    To find your use, check old bills or use a tool such as Billmonitor* - you give it your mobile account login and it assesses your past usage to match you to cheap tariffs. But it doesn't search all deals, so we've pulled out our top picks below.

  2. Happy with your handset? Check if you can save by switching Sim, incl the return of the cheapest 5GB deal we've seen - from Vodafone, but only till Fri. Many overpay because they're on a rubbish deal and/or they still pay the handset cost after their contract is up - so they're paying for a phone they already own outright.

    But you can fix this if out of contract with a new Sim - the chip in your phone that dictates your allowances. Remember, most people need less than 3GB data, but the hot, short-lived Vodafone deal is effectively a sub-3GB price with a big buffer, while even if you're a data gobbler there are lots of good deals below - more options in Best Sims. All have unlimited texts on 1yr contracts, unless stated.

    PROVIDER (Network)
    iD Mobile* (Three) 1GB + 500 mins £5/mth (1mth contract)
    Ends Fri. Vodafone*
    MSE Blagged
    5GB + unlimited mins '£6.67/mth.' £15/mth, but via our link you're sent a £100 Amazon vch within 4mths. If you'd spend it anyway, it's equiv to £6.67/mth. (1)
    Ends Thu. Sky Mobile* (O2) 10GB + unlimited mins £10/mth
    Ends Mon. Three* MSE Blagged
    Unltd data + unlimited mins £18/mth
    (1) As Vodafone does on all its packages, it adds 'free' anti-virus protection for 3mths then it's £1/mth, so cancel ASAP if you don't want it.


  1. How to unlock your phone for free. If switching network, a new Sim won't work if your handset is tied to a specific provider, but you can unlock your phone for free if out of contract.

  2. Out of phone storage? Claw some back to save 'upgrading' to pricey mobiles. Don't assume because you've run out of capacity, you need to shell out for a new, higher-spec device. There are lots of ways to save space via simple checks - some don't even require you to delete any photos, messages etc. See our tips to boost your phone's available storage. MSE Guy says: "I grabbed 20GB back pretty easily... so I could get a cheaper iPhone."

  3. Desperate for the latest model or need a new device? Get up to £479 off standard contracts. Snazzy new smartphones aren't MoneySaving, but if you'll get one anyway, at least get it cheap.

    It's usually best to buy a new handset and pair it with a cheap Sim.
    Yet occasionally, via specialist resellers, some contract deals win - where you pay a monthly fee for airtime and pay off the handset over the contract. These can be £100s cheaper than exactly the same deals bought direct from networks.

    Now is one of those good times, as we've blagged three hot deals for popular phones with 5GB data + unlimited mins & texts. They're via Mobiles.co.uk and savings listed are vs exactly the same deal bought direct. They're just three from thousands of combos, so see cheap contracts to compare others.

    iPhone 11, 64GB* - save £479. O2 newbies can get this for £315 upfront, then £24/mth using code MSE15OFF at the checkout, making it £891 over the 2yr contract.

    iPhone 8, 128GB* - save £288. Vodafone newbies can get this for £125 upfront, then £24/mth. Use the code MSE10AUTO at the checkout & you're sent a £10 cheque within 2mths, making it £691 over the 2yr contract. It's actually cheaper than the 64GB version.

    Samsung S10e, 128GB* - save £374. Vodafone newbies can get this for £135 upfront, then £24/mth. Use the code MSE20OFF at the checkout, making it £711 over the 2yr contract. You can also claim 'free' Galaxy Buds headphones from Samsung - full info via the link.

    PS: We know most use less than 5GB data, but these are virtually the same price as 2GB/3GB deals, yet with much more data.

  4. It's easy to keep your number if switching network. Simply send a free text and you're sent a code to give to your new network and it does the transfer within one working day.

  5. Want a new handset? Refurbished models can be as good as new. As we say above, it's sometimes cheaper to buy a handset outright and pair it with a cheap Sim (assuming you can afford the cost, though there are ways to spread payments).

    It's difficult to cut standard new handset costs, but one trick is refurbished models as they're often just returns from customers who've changed their mind or with small problems that have been fixed. MSE Rhiannon says: "My Samsung refurb came in a non-original box, but it looked in perfect condition and had a charger."

  6. Don't want to switch network? Haggle. Loyalty sadly doesn't pay, but if you'd prefer to stay put, mobile firms are among the easiest to haggle with. For example, 77% of Three and 76% of EE customers said they had success in our latest haggling poll. Margaret emailed: "I haggled and got freebies, a big discount and a phone upgrade as I followed your tips. Thanks." See Mobile Haggling for full help.
  7. Got an old mobile gathering dust in a drawer? Dig it out and flog it to bag £100s. While you normally get more via eBay, it's usually easier via special mobile-reselling sites. We found one site paying £400 for a 64GB iPhone X. See Sell Old Mobiles.

  8. Heading away? Ensure your mobile is holiday ready to avoid huge costs. As things stand, you can use your phone in the EU for the same price as in the UK (incl using your allowances), but it's unclear what will happen after Brexit. Beyond the EU (and if charges are later applied to Europe) it can get costly, but most providers offer cheap roaming bundlesMore help in Cheap Roaming.

  9. Add a spending cap to stop eye-watering bills. There have been many horror stories of people running up HUGE surprise bills. Yet you may be able to set a personalised spending cap.

  10. Are you a loser? Do you need mobile insurance? It's not right for everyone, but if you're prone to losing things it may be worth it. See Mobile Insurance to help you decide and for our top pick policies.

  11. And as always in life... use protection. Accidents happen, but don't let them cost you, so protect your device with a decent case and screen protector to avoid £100s in repair costs, especially as not all insurance policies cover accidental damage.

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.



The MSE Big Energy Switch 14

Save £290/yr via our deals or British Gas's new cheapest fix in 18mths

We've cheapest top service, Big 6 & prepay + it's sparked a price war as the biggie, British Gas, enters the fray

The MSE Big Energy Switch 14 began last week, where we leverage our huge user base to get firms to provide special tariffs. As often happens with our events, other firms launch eye-catching deals to grab market share as they know it's a time when many switch, and on Fri, British Gas did just that to compete with our three MSE deals. The full quartet is below (ranked by biggest average savings) - they're hot but aren't quite the cheapest, as there's an outlying cheap, small firm with poor service.

Links take you via our Cheap Energy Club to see how the deals compare - crucial, as which wins for you depends on location and use. Or do a full market comparison to find your cheapest. Savings are for typical dual-fuel use compared to the typical £1,178/yr Big 6 standard tariff cost (£1,217 on prepay).

  • MSE Tariff 1: 4,500 left. Pure Planet variable rate. Top service & it's renewable - save £288/yrThis Pure Planet 100% Green online-only deal for new dual-fuel custs is its normal cheap variable deal, but we've arranged an extra £47 bill credit, plus you get £25 MSE cashback, making it £890/yr on typical use. It's a variable deal, so prices can change, but there are no early exit fees. Pure - which has 100,000 customers and has been about since 2017 - offers 100% renewable elec and 100% carbon offset gas, and it got a 95% 'great' score in our last customer service poll. Plus we've arranged enhanced MSE service, so we can get involved if it doesn't sort an issue.

  • MSE Tariff 2: Ends Fri 25 Oct. E.on 1yr fix. Cheapest Big 6 in 18mths & 100% renewable elec - save £279/yr. This E.on 1 Year Fix Exclusive Autumn 2019 tariff is for new dual-fuel and elec-only custs. We tried to get it for existing custs, but it wouldn't budge, yet we've kept it as we didn't want to deny others a cheap deal. The rate is fixed for 1yr and it comes with 100% renewable elec. Including the usual £25 MSE cashback, it's £899/yr on typical dual-fuel use.

  • New. Cheapest British Gas 1yr fix in 18mths. For new AND existing custs & it's 100% renewable elec. Save £277/yrThis Energy Plus Boiler Cover Green Oct 2020v2 tariff for dual-fuel custs is only a tad more than the E.on deal above on avg, though as prices vary by usage and region, it'll win for some. Existing BG custs can get it, though it's a DON'T ASK, DON'T GET deal, and it's only avail via comparison sites such as ours. With the £25 MSE cashback, it's £901/yr based on typical use, plus it has 100% renewable elec and 100% carbon offset gas. You get 1yr's 'free' heating cover, but it auto-renews, so cancel then if you don't want it after the year.

  • MSE Tariff 3: Ends Fri 25 Oct. Bulb variable rate. Cheapest prepay, top service & it's renewable - save £228/yr. This Bulb Vari-Fair Prepay is its normal 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 custs. Including that, on avg it's the cheapest prepay deal at £989/yr based on typical dual-fuel use, while it got an 88% 'great' score in our last customer service poll. As it's variable the rate can change, but there are no early exit fees to switch.

£174 of No7 for £42 via beauty Advent calendar. It's out next week, but as it's always popular it's best to sign up to a waiting list now so you've a good chance of getting it. See our beauty Advent round-up for info and more deals.

Updated. 31 quick MoneySaving tips for disabled people. Last month we started to compile help, and thanks to your feedback we've lots more tips. See MoneySaving tips for disabled people, incl how to get a blue badge, discounts on utility bills and help making phone calls if you've a speech or hearing impairment.

Are you due one of 2.1m+ unclaimed Premium Bond prizes? New figures show almost £77m is out there - incl £14m in prizes awarded in the last 18mths. See Premium Bonds prize check.

New. 10 finger-lickin' KFC MoneySaving tricks, incl FREE fries & £4 of food for £2. See all KFC tips.

Sainsbury's up to 50% off ALL toys sale. How to bag discounts on Barbie, Disney, Playmobil etc: Sainsbury's toy sale.

Martin helped ease my gut-wrenching panic: SUCCESS OF THE WEEK
"I watched Martin's student loans video and my gut-wrenching panic subsided. My son just started sixth form and we've had so much conflicting info about what to do. We even considered equity release as a drastic option. The presentation was brilliant and dispelled so much misinformation."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

IMPORTANT: Get MSE emails sent to Hotmail, Live or Outlook addresses? If you're reading this, then great. But Microsoft (which runs those services & more) is sadly directing many of our emails to people's junk. We're working on it, but it's best to check your junk folder in future weeks till it's sorted.


How to borrow at 0% for up to 26mths (but only if you really need to)

This is about specialist credit cards that charge no interest for a set time, but they're not an excuse to overspend

If you NEED to borrow for a planned, affordable buy (eg, a broken fridge), 0% interest is unbeatable - and you can get this via special credit cards that often win for sub-£5k purchasesYet 0% lengths have been shrinking, as we've often warned. In 2017 you could get 32mths at 0%, two weeks ago it was 27mths. And the axe has since been wielded again, as the longest is down to 26mths. We don't know how long the current crop will last, so if you need a 0% card, why wait? Here's full help:

- Don't just apply. Use our 0% Eligibility Calculator to find which cards you've the best chance of getting without hitting your credit score (sadly, Bank of Ireland isn't in it). While it's best to use that calc first, we've the current best buys below.
Some cards are 'up to' a certain 0% length, so you may get a shorter 0%. So non-'up tos' give more certainty.
- Spending £5k+ or shop doesn't take card? See cheap loans (for £5k+) or 0% money transfers (if cards not accepted).

MBNA (eligibility calc / apply*) - IMPORTANT: Only 0% on spends in first 60 days
Up to 26mths (20.9%)
Sainsbury's Bank (eligibility calc / apply*) - Plus up to £37.50 in Nectar pts (1) Up to 25mths (20.9%)
Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) (2) Up to 25mths (19.9%)
Bank of Ireland (apply) - It's not an 'up to', so you get the full 0% period if accepted 24mths (19.9%)
(1) 750 bonus Nectar pts (worth £3.75) per £35+ spent at Sainsbury's in the first 2mths, up to a max 7,500 pts (worth £37.50). So split big shops to max the gain. (2) You can't have had a Barclaycard in the last 6mths.

  • 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) These cards are usually only cheap for spending, so avoid cash withdrawals or shifting debt to them.
    c) Plan to clear the card (or balance-transfer away) before the 0% ends, or rates jump to the rep APR. 


£1 UK car hire for 24 hours - but what's the catch? A major rental firm's launched an eye-catching promo which will work for some, but has key drawbacks for others. See £1 car hire analysis.

Update 8am Wed - now sold out. £33 Elle magazine make-up box with £220+ of products, incl MAC, Marc Jacobs & Benefit. MSE Blagged. Normally £55, but with a big discount. Incl lipstick, eyeliner, polish and perfume. 2,000 avail. Make-up box

As HSBC & First Direct slash regular savings rates... are these types of accounts still worth it? There used to be a trio paying 5% for 1yr on up to £250-£300/mth saved. Now there's one. See should you bother with a regular saver?

100+ cheap things to do with the kids, incl 2for1 Alton Towers & London Zoo etc, £1-£2.50 cinema tickets & restaurant deals. We've tons of ideas for a MoneySaving half-term. School's out

Get 10p/litre off Tesco petrol & diesel. It's back again. Cheaper fuel


Tell your friends about us

They can get this email free every week



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


New. 10 ways to turn unwanted clothes into CASH

We show you how and where to sell to raise your returns - whether it's Gucci, Ghost, Gap or more

If you're hunting for extra income with Christmas looming, one way could be via unwanted clobber, as many have £100s in unused clothes gathering dust. You may prefer to give items to charity or hand stuff down, which is great, but if you want hard cash we've 10 ways to profit from clothing cast-offs. Here are four to whet your appetite:

  • Time it right for eBay's 'sell for £1 max' promos, especially for high-value pieces. The e-commerce giant can be a sellers' paradise, but it typically takes 10% of the final price. Yet every fortnight it usually caps fees at £1, and we expect that to happen this weekend. See full eBay selling tricks.

  • Sell clobber for FREE on Facebook. It's advantage over eBay is there are NO fees, though as you often need to find local buyers, you may need to wait longer. Our Facebook Selling Tips include what to sell on Facebook vs eBay. Forumite Chocolatelover93 says: "House was overflowing with kids' clothes - I sold a bundle on FB for £25. A positive experience."

  • Designer gear can fetch more via specialists. Buyers are often willing to pay more on specialist sites that sell unwanted designer pieces, incl Marni, Moschino and Michael Kors. MSE Jenny says: "I listed some Sézane boots on eBay and Vestiaire Collective. They sold for £82 on Vestiaire, the highest eBay offer was £65."

  • Turn a profit on "vintage" clothes. Items from the 1990s and 2000s are trendy now and a fashion marketplace where people often model their wares to attract buyers can be fruitful. We've seen a rare 1990s Blur T-shirt with an asking price of £100 and a 1990s Kappa shell-suit jacket for £40. Forumite Emmaaar22 says: "I often get at least two sales a week, which contributes towards my hols." PS: Some at MSE Towers this got a shock at the 1990s being vintage - showing our age...

Totally FREE gym passes at DW Fitness First, Anytime Fitness, Nuffield Health & more. Plus lots more fitness deals. Let's get physical

'Free' wills - sort appointments NOW as places go fast. There are two schemes running. 1) Over-55s can get a will via 'Free' Wills Month till 31 Oct in some parts of the UK - it's run by charities in the hope you leave 'em something in your will. 2) Nov's Will Aid month, where anyone can get a solicitor-drafted will for a suggested £100 charity donation.



When did you last use your bank branch? Whether it's down to customer behaviour, cost-cutting or both, banks are closing branches left, right and centre - in fact, 100s of branches have been shutting their doors every year. So this week we want to know, when did you last use your bank branch?

Most MoneySavers pay off their credit cards IN FULL each month. Last week, we asked whether you use credit cards - 9,931 of you responded. A whopping 96% said they have one - and hearteningly, 68% of those with credit cards say they pay them off IN FULL each month, while a further 17% say all their debt is at 0% interest. See the full credit card poll results.



Should I tell hotel staff the vending machine is dispensing free snacks? I regularly stay at a certain budget hotel, which has a vending machine near the entrance. Recently it's had an 'out of order' sign, but when I last stayed, I spotted some other guests using it. When I tried it out, I got a pack of crisps. So the machine is working... it's just not asking for any money before dispensing items. Should I tell hotel staff? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I tell hotel staff the vending machine is dispensing free snacks? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: What small DFW things will you do w/c 14 October?
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a Samsung smart 4K TV and a Samsung wireless sound bar
- Old-Style board thread of the week: The Weekly Flylady Thread Pick'n'Mix 13 October 2019
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: MoneySaving ways to go trick or treating
- Discussion of the week: 'I ran up £1,000s in debt while suffering from depression... now I'm digging myself out of it'


Beauty calendars - £174 of No7 products for £42 & more
Elle - £33 for £220 of make-up etc, incl MAC, Benefit
KFC tricks - 10 finger-lickin' MoneySaving tips
Sainsbury's - Up to 50% off ALL toys, incl Disney, Playmobil
Free gym passes - Nuffield Health, DW Fitness First etc

Pizza Express - 2for1 on all mains with voucher (Sun-Thu)
Subway - 'Savers' menu is back with items from 99p
Yo Sushi - Armed forces get 20% off Sun-Tue & Thu-Fri
Bella Italia - Kids eat free with a paying grown-up
Greggs - Free bake for selected Rewards app users

Ideal Home Show - Two tickets for £15
Smyths Toys - Half-price sale
Office - Up to 50% off shoes sale
Iceland - 20% off for emergency services
Regatta Outlet - Up to 75% off RRP

Quick Forum Tips

Persil laundry liquid sample. Sud-thing for nothing
Free Boots face mask. Don't mask, don't get
M&S 25% off boxes of biscuits. Slam dunk



Mon 21 Oct - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 21 OctBBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, 12.20pm


Wed 16 Oct - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 18 Oct 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, Guy Anker
Mon 21 Oct 
- TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am, Oli Townsend
Tue 22 Oct 
- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: My energy supplier recently offered me a smart meter. I've heard mixed reviews on whether they help cut bills - are they worth it or not? Melanie, via email.

Chris's A: Just having a smart meter won't necessarily cut your bills, but getting one does offer benefits and may help you cut your usage. It'll send meter readings to your supplier automatically, so no more estimated bills. Plus you can see your usage in real-time, which may help you reduce how much energy you use. Smart meters aren't compulsory though, and if you get a first generation meter installed there is a risk it could go 'dumb' if you then switch - see our Smart Meters guide for full info.

If you're looking to save on your energy bills, the greatest savings are to be made by switching - most can save £100s/yr. Use our Cheap Energy Club to do a full market comparison and find your cheapest deal.

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... when Londoner Simon Byford found a wallet in the road on Monday, he wasn't sure how to track down its owner - until he hit on an ingenious solution. He sent four separate 1p bank transfers to the owner of the debit card in the wallet - each with a snippet of a message attached. Read the full story - and the complete bank transfer message - in our Good Samaritan returns wallet MSE News story.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team