Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

23 December 2019

Over 50 ways to save, €/$, £4 prosecco, 1.41% savings, £300+/yr off energy, 29mths 0%, track Santa, 30GB Sim £10/mth, beat train hikes

This info may be out of date.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.

13 MoneySaving Christmas crackers - incl up to 60% off sales (eg, Asos & Topshop), cheap €/$, cut debt to 0% and £4 prosecco

It's Christmas week, so if you're at a loose end, bored at work or just want to escape the relatives, we've a sackful of tips to boost your coffers. Some are timely, some are simply good ways to save if you've time to spare...

  1. MEGA sales on NOW, incl up to 60% off at Asos, Miss Selfridge and Topshop, up to 50% off at Boots, Debenhams, M&S and Ted Baker. Plus our predictions, incl John Lewis. So-called 'Boxing Day' sales now start before Christmas. So if you still have gifts to buy or just want a bargain for yourself, see our sales round-up. Yet as discounts often get bigger after Christmas, check our Deals Predictor for when they might boost (though stock levels can drop if you wait, of course).
  2. Follow Santa as he delivers presents. A great way to get kids excited. Track Santa 

  3. Urgent. Bag up to 1.41% easy-access savings and give rubbish rates the heave ho-ho-ho. Top rates have dived recently, so in case more drop we suggest you go quick if your savings earn a pittance. For genuine easy access, Marcus* and Ford Money* pay 1.35% AER variable (min £1) and allow unlimited withdrawals.

    There's also Shawbrook Bank which wins on rate at 1.41% AER variable, but it's on a min £1k and when you withdraw the min is £500 each time, so it's arguably not true easy access. All have up to £85,000 per person UK savings protection. More info and accounts in Top savings.

  4. £4 prosecco, 15p veg and cheap chocs + more festive food & drink. If you're stocking up for Christmas or want to see in the New Year with some fizz, we've rounded up the best Christmas food & drink deals. Please be Drinkaware.

  5. Save up to £340/yr switching energy. We're heading into the high-use winter months, so make sure you are on the best possible deal ASAP. The problem is that more than 50% of households are on expensive Big 6 standard tariffs, paying an average £1,178/yr on typical use.

    Yet there are three standout deals from a trio of Big 6 firms that smash standard rates by about £300/yr on average, but you can only get them via comparisons sites such as our Cheap Energy Club. Two of those deals - a British Gas 1yr fix and an EDF 1yr fix - are for new AND existing customers, while E.on's 1yr fix is for newbies only. They're great if you're one of the many who prefer a big name.

    Links above take you to our Cheap Energy Club for full info and to compare against other big names, which is important as your winner depends on your usage and where you live. We suggest you go quick as many top deals from biggies have been pulled recently, and with prices still low, why wait and risk more disappearing?

    If you just want the cheapest, you can slash up to £340/yr on average vs those Big 6 standard rates with some smaller firms - if so, do a full market comparison.

  6. Going away and need cold, hard currency? Our TravelMoneyMax comparison tool compares 30+ bureaux in secs.

  7. Stuck for present ideas? Pledge to do something nice with our free Christmas gift cheques. They're a way to give time to a loved one, eg, breakfast in bed or an offer to baby-sit. Use our Christmas gift cheques.

  8. New. Check if you can save on mobile bills by switching Sim, incl a massive 30GB/mth for £10/mth. While most use less than 3GB/mth of data, you can get a huge 30GB/mth + unlimited mins and texts for just £10/mth from Smarty* (runs on the Three network), and you can cancel it at any time. It's only a little pricier than many 3GB deals, but if you want cheaper, see Top Sims.

  9. Married? Can you give yourself and your partner the gift of a free £1,150? About 2.4m married couples and civil partners miss out on an easy tax break that works if one is a basic-rate taxpayer and the other doesn't pay tax. You can get £250 back for this year and up to £900 for the past four. Our Marriage Tax Allowance guide explains all.

  10. STOP paying credit or store card interest - get 29mths 0%. If you've card debt - eg, you overdid it on Christmas shopping - a 0% balance transfer can be your financial saviour. It's where you get a new card to pay off other cards, so you owe the new one, but at 0%.

    We've the top deals below, but what really counts is which card you'll be accepted for, so use our 0% Balance Transfer Eligibility Calc to check your chances of getting them before you apply, without harming your credit score.

    - Longest 0%. Virgin Money (eligibility calc / apply*) gives 29mths at 0% for a 3% fee of the amount shifted (21.9% rep APR after). If accepted, you'll definitely get the full 0% length.

    - Long 0% with a low fee. This Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) is up to 28mths 0% with a 1.75% fee of the amount shifted (21.9% rep APR after). Note, you could be accepted and get fewer months at 0%.

    - Longest 0% with no-fee (that's open to all). Santander (eligibility calc / apply*) gives 18mths 0% and if accepted, you get the full 0% length (18.9% rep APR after).

    IMPORTANT: Clear the debt or transfer again before the 0% ends and never miss the min monthly payment. Plus you usually need to transfer within 60 days to get the 0%. More help in Best Balance Transfers (also see APR examples).

  11. Haven't decked the halls yet? There's still time to do it cheaply, eg, 30% off M&S and John Lewis. Take advantage as stores try to clear stock on leftover trees, lights and trimmings. See cheap decorations.

  12. Beat the Jan train and tube season ticket hikes if your ticket expires soon. Prices rise on Thu 2 Jan by up to 2.8%, but buy before and you pay 2019 prices for 2020 travel (almost always cheaper). This can save big, eg, an annual Leeds to Birmingham season ticket jumps by £230. To check if you should renew early to bag 2019 prices, plus more help, see our Cheaper Train Tickets guide.

    - Can't pay your season ticket upfront? Cut the cost of a monthly payment plan. MSE Blagged. Under the CommuterClub scheme, it buys your annual ticket (incl London travelcards) for you, then you pay it back in 12 monthly instalments - but with 65% off the first month and 50% off the final month via our link. While the cheapest way to get a 1yr ticket is to pay it all in one go, this is cheaper than buying it monthly from a train firm, and we've blagged you a bigger discount than normal.

  13. Got serious debt? Make an appointment with a debt adviser ASAP. Many struggle at this time, and if your non-mortgage and non-student loan debts are bigger than a year's after-tax income, you can't meet your minimum repayments or you're having sleepless nights over debt, a non-profit debt advice agency is the place to turn. They get rammed in Jan, so if you're going to do it, book your appointment now.

    There's free, one-on-one help from Citizens Advice, National Debtline, and StepChange, which also runs an online full debt advice service that operates 24 hours a day, every day incl over Christmas. Full info in Debt Crisis Help. Remember, these agencies are there to help, not judge. The most common thing we hear after is: "I finally got a good night's sleep".

PS: This special festive week email is shorter than usual, but we'll be back IN FULL after the holiday season on Thu 2 Jan.


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.




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. Compare The Market*
  4. Gocompare*

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: Post Office equiv £11.74/mth 
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Post Office equiv £15.49/mth

Great service + free £50 + 0% overdraft: First Direct
5% interest fixed for a year: 
Nationwide FlexDirect

Top easy-access: Shawbrook Bank 1.41%, min £1,000 (with restrictions) or Marcus and Ford Money at 1.35%, min £1 (truly easy access)
Top one-year fix: 
Metro Bank 1.7%, min £500


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What's your favourite Christmas song? For this week's poll, we're going for a bit of fun. We've selected some of the most loved festive songs and we'd like you to pick your favourites.

Most of you would cancel Christmas if given the choice. Last week, we asked you if you had a CANCEL CHRISTMAS button that'd make the whole thing disappear, would you press it? More than 7,000 voted - and a massive 63% of you would. Bah humbug. See full Cancel Christmas poll results.



That's all for this week, but before we go... to wish you a Merry Christmas, we've paid for tetanus vaccines for 18,000 children via the charity Unicef. With that in mind, if you still need to buy for family and friends and you want to avoid tat, why not agree to give to good causes in each other's name instead and do a really good deed? Our Charity Gift guide is packed with lots of ideas.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas time and a financially fabulous New Year,
The MSE team