Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

20 November 2019

Over 50 ways to save, incl... 1.45% savings, cheap No7, free £175, Netflix/Sky etc tricks, free radiator packs, 0.98% mortgage

This info may be out of date.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.


Black Friday mobile deals come early, incl...

Cheapest ever 8GB Sim is back - £8/mth. Plus save £100s on iPhone & Samsung contracts, boost storage & more

Tech firms tend to stretch the term Black Friday to its limit. Even though it's 10 days away, mobile phone firms have launched a price war to win your custom - great if you're out of contract and free to switch, as some deals live up to the hype. So we'll take you through 'em, plus hacks to get more from your mobile for less.

But first, if you're confused about usage, then if you're with O2, Vodafone, EE, Three and Tesco Mobile you can use the Billmonitor* tool to analyse your bill to check if you're on the best type of tariff. But you have to give it your login and it won't include all the deals below.

  • HOT Sim deals - incl the return of the cheapest 8GB deal we've seen. Check what you pay compared with the deals below - as a new Sim (the chip in your phone that dictates your allowance) can save many £100s/yr. Data is key and most people use less than 3GB/mth, but if you can get more without paying more, it gives you a big buffer.
All with UNLIMITED MINS & TEXTS unless stated 
PROVIDER (network)
COST & lock-in
iD Mobile* (Three) 3GB (500 mins)
£7/mth - none
New. Plusnet* (EE)
MSE Blagged
8GB '£7.92/mth' - 1yr contract. £10/mth but you're sent a £25 prepaid Mastercard within 45 days. As you can spend on it in most places it's an equiv £7.92/mth
New. Smarty* (Three) 12GB  £10/mth - none (1)
Smarty* (Three) 45GB  £15/mth - none (1)
(1) Select 'auto-renew' at sign-up to secure the deal for 12mths, but you can cancel this at any time. Note: All bar Plusnet are 1mth contracts that you can leave at any time. See Best Sims for more.

  • Cheap iPhone & Samsung contracts - save £100s. A snazzy smartphone isn't MoneySaving, but if you'll get one anyway, at least get it cheap. It's often best to buy a new handset outright and pair it with a cheap Sim, but there are currently hot deals via specialist resellers where contracts win and save £100s vs going direct to a network.

    We've blagged four hot deals for popular phones with monthly allowances of varying data amounts and unlimited mins & texts. Savings are vs the same deal bought direct. 
    These are just a few from 1,000s of combos - see Cheap iPhones or Cheap Samsungs for more.

    iPhone 11, 64GB* - save £430. Vodafone newbies can get this 5GB/mth data deal for £290 upfront when using code MSE10, then £24/mth, making it £866 over the 2yr contract.

    iPhone XR, 64GB* - save £550. O2 newbies can get this 5GB/mth data deal for £210 upfront when using code MSE10, then £24/mth. You'll also get a £75 cheque within 2mths, making it £711 over the 2yr contract.

    Samsung S10, 128GB* - save £617. O2 newbies can get this 10GB/mth deal for £119.99 upfront, then £26/mth, making it £743.99 over the 2yr contract. 

    Samsung S10e, 128GB* - save £254. EE newbies can get this 4GB/mth deal for £109.99 upfront when using code FHMSE15, then £23/mth, making it £661.99 over the 2yr contract.

    PS: We know most use less than 4GB of data, but these are cheaper than 2GB/3GB deals.

  • Cheap, cheaper smartphones. You don't need to go with expensive iPhones or Samsungs as you can get a decent alternative with 4GB/mth of data for as little as £552 over two years. See cheap contracts for more info on how to compare these.

  • How to unlock your phone for free. If you're 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.

  • 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 etc. See Storage Boosters.

  • 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 transfers the number over within one working day.

  • Want a new handset? Refurbished can be as good as new. It's difficult to cut standard new handset costs bought outside a contract, but one trick is refurbished models as they're often just returns from customers who have changed their mind or have small problems that have been fixed. 

  • Is your network the only one with a good signal? Find a cheap 'piggyback'. There are actually only four UK networks: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. All others piggyback on one of them, eg, Tesco is on O2, Asda on EE. So if stuck with an expensive network, there may be an escape - see mobile piggyback help.

  • 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. See Mobile Haggling for full help.

  • Got an old mobile gathering dust? Dig it out & flog it to bag £100s. While you normally get more via eBay, it's usually easier via special mobile-reselling sites. We found one that pays £200 for a 64GB iPhone 8. See Sell Old Mobiles.

  • Going on holiday? 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 it can get costly, but most providers offer cheap roaming bundles. More help in Cheap Roaming.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • And as always in life... use protection. Accidents happen, but don't let them cost you - 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.



Martin's MORTGAGE holders' alert
'Mortgage rates are rock bottom - the cheapest since 2017. Some have even limboed under 1%. So check NOW if you can save £1,000s'

The UK and world economic uncertainty has a silver lining for mortgage holders. Long-term interest rate forecasts are low right now, and these feed into the mortgage rates lenders offer. The cheapest 2yr fix is 1.05%, 5yrs 1.44% - both the lowest we've seen since 2017. There's even a 2yr tracker at 0.98%. These deals have specific terms, require decent equity and charge £1k-ish fees, so they're not recommendations, more a totem of how competitive the market is.

So EVERYONE with a mortgage should check now if you can switch and save. The impact can be huge. As Sam kindly tweeted: "Thanks to @MartinSLewis I try to be financially savvy. I've just fixed my mortgage for 5 years, saving £160 per month. Nearly £10,000 saved over the fixed period. Wow."

  1. First check your mortgage details (and your bank for its best deal). This info underpins all your decisions. If you don't know, find out...

    a) What's your mortgage's current rate? Plus monthly payments & outstanding debt.
    b) What type is it? A fix, tracker or standard variable rate? See fixes vs variables.
    c) When's your fix/tracker deal over? And what rate will it go to after?
    d) When must it all be repaid? What's the term, eg, in 10, 20, 25yrs?
    e) Are there early exit penalties if I switch? If so, these may mean it's not worth switching.
    f) What's your current LTV (loan to value)? This is the proportion of a home's value you will borrow, eg, £180k on a £200k home is 90% LTV. Generally each 5% lower your LTV is, down to 60%, the cheaper deals get. As it is based on your home's current value, if its value has risen this may help. Equally if you've savings, using them to reduce your borrowing may help you get a better rate too. See loan-to-value help.

    If your rate's about to end, ask your existing lender what its best deals are. These can have low fees as you're not switching lenders - and it can set a benchmark for what to beat.

  2. How to find the cheapest deals. Use our mortgage comparison tool as a benchmark to see what's out there for your situation. Yet remember, the real key is what's the best deal you'll be accepted for. This is dependent on your property type, credit history and lenders' affordability checks. These can be tough, which is why using a mortgage broker can work for many - as they have information that's not publicly available on which mortgages are likely to accept you (and they should help answer all your questions too).

  3. FREE 66-page printed remortgage guide to help. Grab a free printed copy or download a PDF of my Remortgage Guide 2019 - this will take you through decisions such as whether you should fix or not (the more you want certainty, the more you should hedge towards fixing, and fixing longer). There's also a First-Time Buyers' Guide.

  4. Use our range of calculators to do the numbers for you. We've different mortgage calculators to help you work out most things you need, including... Basic mortgage cost calc | Compare two mortgages | Compare fixed rate  mortgages Ditch your fix? | How much can I borrow? | Mortgage overpay calc

Last chance. Up to £175 free for Christmas. A number of banks pay you to switch. Do so today to one of the following trio and the bonus may come in time for Xmas (it takes a max 40 days), or a little after when the bills squeeze is on. HSBC Advance* pays £175, M&S Bank* gives a £100 M&S gift card upfront and £80 more if you're still with it in a year (for next Xmas), while First Direct* pays £50 and has top-rated service. For full details incl crucial ELIGIBILITY info - eg, all but First Direct require you to switch a minimum number of direct debits - see our Bank Switching guide.

£87 of No7 beauty for £25 - it's a cracker. Or get £104 worth for £35. Cheap No7

New. 22 MoneySaving TV tricks - Netflix (The Crown for free?), Sky, Now TV, Freeview etc. Plus free tool to show what's on where and the 'pretend to cancel' trick. See TV MoneySaving.

New top easy-access savings - 1.45%. The Marcus account*, from investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, is back on top of the best-buy table paying 1.45% AER variable (incl 0.1% fixed 1yr bonus; min £1). It's not put its rate up, but the previous 1.46% best has just been pulled. Then again, that had limited withdrawals, while Marcus is unlimited. See Top Savings for more deals. 

FREE Radflek radiator reflector pack - can you get one? MSE Blagged. They help save energy, and while there are 1,000 available, they always go in seconds, so see it as a bonus if you're lucky. We won't launch the link till later this week to be fair to everyone - see how to try to grab a pack in Radflek freebies.

Updated. MSE Deals Predictor 2019, eg, Soap & Glory, Asos & when Jan sales will be boosted. A reminder that our festive forecaster is back - predicting the biggest offers to help you home in on the cheapest deals at the right time. And we've extended it this week to include when Jan sales are likely to get even better. Deals Predictor 2019 

A Martin Lewis on the telly BOGOF - ITV, 8pm Mon and 8pm Tue. The ITV Martin Lewis Money Show series 9 starts on Mon, where our boss'll talk you through all you need to know about the urgent Help to Buy ISA deadline and more. Then on Tue it's a LIVE 1hr 'Ask Martin Anything' special, plus his much-anticipated festive forecaster run-through of Black Fri and Christmas deals predictions. So don't bogoff, enjoy the Martin BOGOF.


Top 2-in-1 interest-free credit card: the longest (26mths) 0% on new spending also lets you shift existing debt - better for your credit score

Every application for a credit card marks your credit report, so if you need one for two purposes, going for a single card is less harmful to your creditworthiness. Right now, the longest 0% card for new borrowing also lets you shift debts to it at 0% for the same length. So if you need, or may need, both functions this makes it easier. As always, what counts is what is the best card you'll get, so first use our 2in1 0% cards eligibility calc which shows your chances. But NEVER spend willy-nilly. Ensure it's a planned, one-off purchase you've budgeted for & is affordable. If in doubt, avoid.

  • Up to 26mths 0% on new borrowing AND shifting debts. Accepted new MBNA (eligibility calc apply*cardholders who spend IN THE FIRST 60 DAYS get it at up to 26mths 0% (some get fewer months based on their credit score), plus they can shift credit and store card debt to it (again in the first 60 days) at 0% for the same length, for a one-off 2.89% or 3% fee of the sum shifted. Clear it before the 0% ends or the rate jumps to its 20.9% rep APR.

    HOWEVER... accepted new Barclaycard cardholders (eligibility calc / apply*) get up to 25mths 0% on spending, and it follows the usual pattern of charging 0% on any spending in that time, so it's better for some. It also allows you to shift debt to it (in the first 60 days) at 0% for the same period but with a lower 2.7% fee. So it's cheaper if you can clear the debt in that time - do that, or the rate jumps to its 21.9% rep APR.

  • These are the longest 0% spending cards anyway.  So if it's new borrowing you need, they're the winners. It is worth noting the shorter Bank of Ireland (apply / not in our eligibility calc) 24mth deal isn't an 'up to', so with it - if you're accepted - you'll definitely get the full 0% length (19.9% rep APR). More help in Top 0% Spending Cards.

  • However you can get longer balance transfers, up to 29mths 0%. These are where you get a new card and it shifts the balance from old cards for you, so you owe it instead. There are longer balance transfer deals than the 2-in-1s, so if that is your sole purpose, these win. If accepted for the Virgin card you get the full 0% length, Barclaycard is an 'up to', so you may be accepted and offered fewer months. Halifax is more complex - see below. The general rule is go for the lowest fee, factoring in cashback, in the time you're sure you can repay. Full help & options: 0% Balance Transfers.

    Virgin Money (eligibility calc / apply*): 29mths 0% with a 3% fee (21.9% rep APR).
    - Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*): A different B'card gives up to 28mths 0% with a 1.75% fee (21.9% rep APR).
    - Halifax (eligibility calc / apply*)25mths 0% for a 1% fee + £20 cashback if shifting £1k+ (19.9% rep APR). But some will be offered a different card with 16mths 0% (3% fee) and no cashback.
  • The 0% Card Golden Rules. Full info in 0% All Rounder and Top Balance Transfer Cards, but in brief...
    a) Never miss min monthly repayments, or you can lose your 0% deal.
    b) Clear the debt or shift again before the 0% ends, or it rockets to the standard APR (APR examples).
    c) You must usually balance-transfer within 60 or 90 days to get the 0%.
    d) Never withdraw cash. It's often not at 0%, and just doing it can hurt your credit score.

Urgent. One week warning to anyone 16+ who's never owned a home. Help to Buy ISAs are closing. Put £1+ in now or risk missing out on free £1,000s. Full info: Help to Buy ISAs.

Amazon Black Friday 'lightning' deals start this week - are they worth it? Full info TBC but its annual event tends to include electricals, toys, beauty etc. Full analysis & deals updates as we get them in our Amazon round-up.

'£9' Ikea real Christmas tree. Buy one of its £29 full-size trees from Thu and get a £20 in-store voucher. Ikea tree

A4-ish photo canvas £5 delivered via code. MSE Blagged. A nice low-budget Xmas gift, norm £40ish. MyPicture

Last chance to register to vote (or postal-vote) in the general election. The deadline's in the next few days. Why are we covering it? Well, both as a public service, and because we can show you how to do it and not get bombarded with marketing. Plus, doing it has a positive impact on your credit file. See voting help.


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Longest 0%: Virgin Money* 29mths 0%, 3% fee (21.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: NatWest / RBS 20mths 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: Admiral* 3.4% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Cahoot* 2.8% rep APR

Standard b'band & line rent: Shell equiv £10.74/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Post Office equiv £17.90/mth

Get £175 to switch: HSBC Advance
£150 to switch: NatWest Reward


'I reclaimed over £6,000 from payday lenders, thanks'

MoneySaver Joseph wrote in after managing to reclaim from SIX payday firms that lent to him irresponsibly

If you ever took out a payday loan, you need to read Joseph's email below. We've been campaigning for years to say you can reclaim mis-sold payday loans - see Reclaim mis-sold payday loans via our free tool. The fact is many lenders lent to people they shouldn't have, or didn't explain the debt or repayments. If that happened, you may be due money back. Joseph took our info on board, acted, and just look at the result...

From: Joseph
Sent: 13 November 2019 22:37
Subject: Payday loan reclaim success thanks to Martin Lewis


I would like to share my success getting refunds from companies that lent to me irresponsibly. I first heard about this in Dec 2018, and up until today I have been fighting six payday loan companies. And I'm proud to say I beat them ALL. I would like to personally thank Martin for raising this issue, and letting me know I could claim monies back from these terrible payday loan companies

The amounts are returned interest, plus 8% statutory interest. I was in a bad place when I was in this much debt, over roughly 2-3 years while I was at university and had no income. These companies were horrible and declined or made pitiful offers to settle complaints, but I stuck with it and the process massively paid off. Please see below for how much I  'won' over the last 11mths from payday loan firms, after I took my cases to the ombudsman:

  • £1,406.38 
  • £3,169.37
  • £1,259.65
  • £120.48
  • £52.22
  • £97.90

In total that's £6,106 - I am gobsmacked at how much I have claimed back. I've used this money to clear every debt I have over my head, and I am now debt-free completely. I'm now able to graduate from my master's course in January 2020 and the future looks extremely bright.

PS: Don't leave it too late. We've already seen Wonga and QuickQuid go into administration (boohoo) on the back of the scale of mis-selling claims after their hideous behaviour. The problem when a firm goes under is that you're then unlikely to get much (or possibly any) money back, so don't leave it too late as the same could happen to others.


Hot Diamonds EXTRA 30% off everything, eg, £18 bangle (was £50). MSE Blagged. Code valid on full-price and already reduced jewellery. Hot Diamonds

"Got my TV package down by haggling with Sky. A £792 saving over 18mths - thanks, was worth the time."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)



Have you haggled on the high street in the last year? Haggling isn't just reserved for call centres and market stalls - some even do it at high street chains. If you have, did you succeed? Whether it's asking 'em to throw in extras or negotiating a discount, do you haggle on the high street?

Your key questions for the MSE Leaders' Debate. Last week we asked which consumer finance issues you'd like us to quiz political party leaders on in our Leaders' Debate, ahead of the general election. A total of 23,511 of you responded, and your views will shape our final set of questions - state pension inequality, affordable housing and social care will be among topics covered. See full debate poll results.



Should I pay my friend for a smashed bottle of wine? I asked a friend to buy me an expensive bottle of wine while she was away on holiday. Unfortunately it smashed in her case on the way home. Should I still pay her as she's been left out of pocket, or should I not? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I pay my friend for a smashed bottle of wine? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: What small Debt-Free Wannabe things will you do this week?
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a Christmas tree
- Old-Style board thread of the week: The 2020 Sealed Pot Challenge
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Buying a house with differing attitudes
- Discussion of the week: How much does it cost you to get to work every month?


No7 - £87 of No7 beauty products for £25
Amazon - Black Friday 'lightning deals' - any good?
Ikea - '£9' real Christmas tree via £20 voucher
Photo canvas - A4 size £5 delivered (norm £40ish)
Hot Diamonds - 30% off everything code + free del

Brewers Fayre - £9.50 unlimited breakfast
Cafe Rouge - 40% off food
Ikea - £1.75 for a six-piece cooked breakfast
Virgin Wines - Six bottles of wine + two glasses £30 all-in - Discounts on 100s of items before Black Friday
Lookfantastic - 22% off make-up & beauty via code
SpeckyFourEyes - £22 Superdry prescription specs
Xercise4Less - £1 for 1mth membership, no joining fee

Quick Forum Tips

£7ish O'Keeffe's Working Hands cream. Keeffe it to me baby
Tesco 25% off wine & bubbly. We are the champagne-ons
Free 2020 calendar via MyWaitrose card. Oh my days



Thu 21 Nov - Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.35am
Fri 22 Nov This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 25 Nov 
- This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 25 Nov - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, 12.20pm. Listen again
Mon 25 Nov - The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm
Tue 26 Nov - The Martin Lewis Money Show Live, ITV, 8pm


Wed 20 Nov - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm, Katie Watts
Fri 22 Nov 
- BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am, Guy Anker
Mon 25 Nov
- TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 26 Nov 
- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: My son wants gift vouchers for Christmas. I'd like to oblige but am worried about companies going bust - is it safe to buy them? Julia, via email.

MSE Sarah's A: We're not big fans of gift vouchers here at MSE because (as you say) there's always the risk that the shop could go bust - and if that happens, vouchers could become worthless overnight. 

What's more, some vouchers expire, or gradually reduce in value if you don't use them - for example, after 18 months one popular multi-store gift card starts deducting 90p/mth from its balance. So while you may not like the idea of giving cash this Christmas, it's much safer than vouchers. 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... Usually when we hear from those who have successfully reclaimed for mis-sold PPI, the payouts run into the £100s or even £1,000s. But when MoneySaver Debbie got her cheque through last month, she was stunned to find it was for the princely sum of two pence - a fraction of what it cost to actually post it. Read what happened in our 2p PPI reclaim news story.

We hope you save (a bit more) money,
The MSE team