Apr
01
2020

Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

01 April 2020

Over 50 ways to save, incl... cheap energy, £16/mth fibre, 1.45% savings, marriage tax alert, cheap loans, how to be tight

This info may be out of date.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's coronavirus update

18 NEW need-to-knows, incl self-employed & ltd co help, make overdrafts 0%, left a job help, BT Sport credit, students' rights, home-moving & more

The extraordinary has become the ordinary. We live in times that will be long remembered. Today's quaranteenagers will tell their grandchildren how the nation is forging together by staying apart, to protect the vulnerable and fight disease.

State support mechanisms have been built in days that normally take decades. These will provide wealth support for millions - but not all. There are holes. Some won't be helped - more victims of this pandemic.

The team and I are working hard to ask questions and provide information on your behalf. The answers go in what are now four (as they've grown we've split them) constantly updated guides... 

- Coronavirus finance & bills help incl mortgages, energy, TV
- Coronavirus life-in-lockdown help
incl MOTs, food, entertainment 
Coronavirus travel rights

And finally, while we strive for 100% accuracy, right now, as things are changing all the time, you need to give us just a touch of wriggle room. Anyway, on to... 

This week's NEW coronavirus money need-to-knows

1) New Self-Employed Income Support Scheme - the Government pays 80% of profits up to £2,500/mth. This pays a non-repayable grant to support some whose profits have been hit by coronavirus. More details and a Q&A are in our full Self-Employed Income Support Scheme info, and watch my 10-min video briefing - here's a very quick summary:

- You get 80% of your avg monthly profit over 3yrs, up to £2,500/mth.
To qualify your avg trading profits must be under £50,000/yr.
Unlike the employee scheme, here you CAN keep working.
- You do not need to prove coronavirus impact - all who qualify get it.
- It'll be paid by the start of June as a lump sum backdated to March.

For cash in the meantime, you can also claim universal credit.

2) Employee or zero hrs contract / agency worker who's not working? You're due 80% of salary up to £2,500/mth, but what counts as salary? Two weeks ago, the Govt announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which means employers can choose to put any staff who were on their payroll on 28 Feb on 'furlough' (standby), and the Govt will cover 80% of their salary up to £2,500/mth - firms can top it up to 100% but don't need to.

For those with a fixed contract salary, the amount is easy to understand. Yet if your income varies, there was confusion over what counts, but it's now clear. You get the HIGHER of:

- What you earned for that job in the same month last year, OR
- Your average monthly earnings over the 2019/20 tax year.

The amount is based on basic salary including overtime, but not including bonuses and commission. Watch my video briefing for zero hrs contracts / agency / umbrella work. 

A plea to employers. If people can't work for any reason - furlough 'em. It's not cheating the system, it's upholding it
Many firms as well as employees are facing tough times, but please, if your staff can't work, don't make them redundant or put them on unpaid leave - furlough them, so they've something to live on.

The state's made you the gatekeeper to this new welfare, and it actively wants you to use it to support people - that's what'll keep the economy going. YOU'VE GOT DISCRETION, you're allowed to...

- Furlough just the staff with no work; it doesn't need to be all staff.
- Furlough staff who can't work as they need 12 weeks' self-isolation.
- Furlough staff who can't work as they must be home for their kids.
- Furlough those with variable incomes - even those on zero hrs contracts.
- Rehire staff who were on the payroll on 28 Feb, and furlough them.

Please consider it. The state will cover their salary, national insurance and minimum pension contribution. I understand there may be short-term cash flow issues, but if you can, furlough.


3) Applying for universal credit? Be patient - it will happen. I've been badgering the Department for Work and Pensions over universal credit delays, and it let me see the figures. Online applications were up 832% last week - rather than a typical 9,751 a day, it went as high as 105,678. It's swamped. 

If after applying online, you're told to ring for an appointment but can't get through, try to be patient (I know it's hard). It's checking who was missed and WILL call you. 

And remember the call-handling staff are working flat out in difficult circumstances, so try not to vent at them - it's not their fault. To check beforehand if it's likely you'll be accepted, use our 10-min Benefits Calculator (which is up to date, except the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme needs adding).

4) CONFIRMED: Limited company director? You can furlough your PAYE pay. No official scheme has been announced for directors of limited companies, even if they're just one (wo)man bands, and I'm afraid I don't think one is coming, though many are lobbying for it.

However, I have it confirmed from the Treasury that limited company directors, even if they're the only employee, can furlough their PAYE income - ie, get 80% of salary up to £2,500/mth. This isn't likely to be huge as most earn more via dividends (and there's no help there), but it's something, and you can combine it with universal credit.

Unfortunately, unlike the self-employment scheme, if you do this, technically you can't then work for the firm, but you can continue to perform your statutory director's obligations, eg, official legal filings. More in limited company help.

5) CONFIRMED: Old employers can rehire you to furlough you. If you left a job after 28 Feb, that old employer can rehire you to furlough you. The guidance already states they can do this for those they made redundant, yet we asked the Treasury if this applies to those who left voluntarily (eg, to start a new job that's now fallen through), and it has just confirmed it can. 

'Thank you, my old employer kept me on. I'm truly grateful'

Gareth emailed us: "I resigned from my marketing job and was on gardening leave until late March - as you can imagine I've struggled to get work.

"My girlfriend saw your advice on TV about a similar case - ie, asking my previous employer to keep me on the books. I wasn't expecting a good outcome as it is a small old-fashioned firm - so I asked and copied the link of your video into the email. Accounts replied more or less instantly saying they would do it.

As I've a large mortgage and other commitments it has been a constant worry. As you can imagine this is a huge weight off my shoulders. I am truly grateful." (We've changed some details to preserve anonymity.)


Yet while employers can do this, it doesn't mean they have to - and sadly many won't. But I hope Gareth's story inspires you at least to ask. More info in how to get your old employer to furlough you. 

6) If I'm furloughed, what happens to my auto-enrolled workplace pension? For furloughed workers, the Govt covers the minimum basic matching pension contributions - so it should continue. See more in furloughed pensions.

7) Has coronavirus hit your finances in a way that's not covered? There are sadly many holes in the support system (in which case universal credit is the prime option) and some financial problems exist too, incl...

- Salespeople's commission not covered in furlough.
- Limited company directors' dividends not covered.
- The cliff edge that cuts off self-employed help at £50,000 profits.
- Payday lenders that won't give any payment reprieve.
- No help if out of work on 28 Feb, even if employed day before and after.
- No help for those who started self-employment this tax year (or even started last tax year, but it made up less than 50% of annual income).
- Rental property firms that won't give refunds for cancelled bookings.
- Job changers whose old employer won't furlough them.
- Employees whose firms choose unpaid leave rather than furloughing.

And these are just the start. To help our work and to feed through to Govt, take our survey to tell us of coronavirus money problems. Where it's deliberately decided Govt policy I doubt we can help, but where it's just a simple omission we may be able to get it considered.

8) MOT due? You've a 6mth extension. If your vehicle's MOT expiry date is on or after Mon 30 Mar, don't worry - your vehicle is still allowed on the road and you've been given an automatic 6mth extension to your current MOT. See MOTs during coronavirus shutdown.

9) Overdrawn with Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, NatWest, RBS, Santander & more? New help. Regulation changes meant that from the new tax year's start, next Mon, almost all lenders will now be charging about 40% EAR on overdrafts, nearly double high-street credit cards. That makes overdrafts the new danger debt.

Thankfully, many banks are now putting provisions in place, from £300 buffer zones (ie, 0% interest) to suspending the rises, or allowing you to apply for 0% overdrafts. See our bank-by-bank overdraft help.

10) Mortgage lenders are offering extensions so you can delay completion. Homebuyers and renters due to move are being urged by the Govt to delay where possible. To help, mortgage lenders have agreed to offer up to 3mth extensions for those who have already exchanged contracts or agreed completion dates. See home-mover help.

11) I'm about to buy a new home - should I exchange contracts? I've been asked this a lot, and I'm afraid to say I'd urge caution. There's no easy answer. Moving right now is difficult, and the Govt is cautioning against it. Many removal and vehicle-hire firms are shut. And if you're in a chain, it's likely there'll be a break somewhere.

If it's your dream home, you could discuss with the seller whether they'd agree to a delayed completion, so you can exchange now and complete in say 6mths, but you'll need lawyers and mortgage firms to put everything in place, and that mightn't be easy.

12) You now can apply for a mortgage payment holiday online with ALL major lenders (don't just stop your DDs though). Lenders will allow those struggling to pay their mortgage a 3mth break. Ten of the biggest lenders now let you apply online (it was 5 last week). See our apply for a mortgage payment holiday help. Make sure you do apply though, don't just stop direct debits - that'll kill your credit file.                                          

13) You are legally entitled to cash refunds NOT vouchers from flight cancellations. Easyjet grounded all flights this week, and like with other airlines including BA, many people are telling us when they apply for a refund online, they can only see an offer of vouchers.

Yet under EU reg 261/2004 (still in force until Dec), if your flight is cancelled you legally must get a choice between a full refund or an alternative flight. So of course right now that means refunds. 

While the law is plain, some are making you jump through hoops, because the airline industry is on its last legs. So do give some consideration to accepting a voucher.  

But if you want to get cash and it's not offering it, usually the easy route is to call, though expect a long wait. An alternative would be to try using chargeback on your credit or debit card to get your money back. For more options, see how to get a flight refund.

PS: The Govt is organising rescue flights this week to repatriate Brits.

14) Student maintenance will come as normal. The Student Loans Company has confirmed students will be paid their loans/grants next term as normal (eg, if you get an 'away from home' loan you'll still get that even if temporarily at home). 

As for rent... if you live in uni accommodation, some unis are saying they will refund/not charge for next term. If you're renting in private accommodation, you've the same renters' rights as everyone else at this time. If you're in hardship, speak to the uni - it may have a fund. 

15) Home insurance should cover working from home - but not any stock/kit. If you're working from home when you don't normally, provided it's office/clerical work, most insurers are taking a relaxed approach (one key is that no biz visitors come to your home, but that's not likely right now). But if you've brought expensive kit or stock home, it's worth informing it. See full home insurance help

16) NHS staff/key workers free parking. NHS workers will be able to park for free at hospitals, while 'key workers' - which includes NHS staff teachers, supermarket workers etc - can park for free in council spaces and NCP car parks. See free parking.

And thanks to all key workers, you deserve far more than free parking.

17) BT Sport customers can ask for 1mth's bill credit. As there's no live sport, it's relented and is now allowing BT Sport customers to claim bill credit (that link explains how this works on the different platforms). This follows the news we reported last week that Sky Sports customers can pause subscriptions. 

18) Smart meter roll-out delayed, but this won't affect 'smart meter-needed tariffs'. If you recently switched to a cheap tariff that requires you to have a smart meter fitted, don't worry - the fact the roll-out of meters has been stopped won't affect your tariff. You'll just be contacted to have them fitted when the situation allows.

Thu 8pm ITV - The Martin Lewis Money Show LIVE

Huge numbers watched last week, so ITV asked me to do another 'Ask Me Anything' live coronavirus special. This time, I hope to try to present from home (Mrs MSE will floor-manage). If you've got questions, want the latest updates or prefer to watch explanations rather than read them, do tune in, and please let others know. 

 
 

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.

 

 
 

New. Got a need for speed? Cheapest fibre (fast) b'band & line '£16/mth'. Less than HALF what some pay for slower speeds

With most having to stay home, broadband has become even more of a crucial utility, and faster broadband enables more homes to get a good stream, chat, work or schoolwork connection. Couple that with the fact that many pay £40/mth+ (so £480/yr+), and it means by grabbing new, short-lived promo deals we've blagged, you can speed up and pay less.

Will switching cause capacity probs? At this important time, we wanted to check. BT and others below told us their networks and call centres can cope with more people switching and on faster speeds - so thankfully it isn't an issue, and you can switch guilt-free.

TOP BROADBAND & LINE DEALS FOR NEWBIES (1)
Deals avail to 98% of postcodes, links go via our  Broadband Comparison  which checks if you can get them
DEAL & SPEED
EQUIV COST (2)
 HOW GOOD ARE THESE DEALS?
Ends Fri.
Vodafone
63Mb fibre (ie, VERY FAST)
'£19.41/mth'
(£2/mth less for some)
MSE Blagged
Fastest super-cheap broadband deal (provided you'll spend at Amazon anyway). Apply via our Vodafone link by Fri and you'll pay £22.95/mth over the 2yr contract. Do this and you're automatically sent an £85 Amazon vch within 4mths. If you'd have spent that anyway, factor it in and it's equiv to £19.41/mth. Existing Vodafone pay monthly mobile custs pay £2/mth less.
New.
Shell Energy
35Mb fibre (ie, FAST)
'£16.33/mth'
 MSE Blagged
Cheapest fibre broadband. Apply via our Shell Energy link by Mon 13 Apr and you'll pay £22.99/mth. You automatically get £80 bill credit within 3mths, making it a total outlay of £195.88 over the 1yr contract, equiv to £16.33/mth.
11Mb (ie, standard speed)
'£14.91/mth'
MSE Blagged
Cheapest standard broadband - but not much cheaper than the cheapest fibre deal.  Apply via our Shell Energy link by Mon 13 Apr and you'll pay £16.99/mth. You automatically get £25 bill credit within 3mths, making it a total outlay of £178.88 over the 1yr contract, equiv to £14.91/mth.
(1) Definition of newbie differs 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.


  • Virgin Media/cable users can't usually switch to these right now. As you're currently on cable, you'd need a BT Openreach engineer to come to the home (unless you've got the right wires from an old connection) and they can't right now due to social distancing. If you're out of contract and can't switch,  haggle .

  • You may be down for up to 2 hours when you switch. You're given the switch time,  so there's notice and it's usually pretty speedy. In rare cases the outage can be longer if anything goes wrong, but it's worth considering at this time when broadband's so crucial. Hopefully your mobile's broadband can cover the gap.

  • Will I get the advertised speed? The 'average' speed quoted is what 50%+ of custs get at peak times - and many firms have confirmed they're not throttling speeds, despite more demand. Most big providers (incl Shell Energy from those above) tell you the estimated max you're likely to get before you sign up. See how to check your speed and 8 broadband speed tips.
 

New. Cheapest MSE energy deal in nearly 2yrs - save £360+/yr. As oil prices have plummeted, so have energy prices - and the latter is good news with so many people at home. To help, we've blagged a hot deal only available via our comparison, for dual-fuel or elec-only newbies to well-rated Green Network Energy, on its GNE Exclusive Green 12 Month Fix V8 tariff. The rate is fixed for 1yr and it costs an avg £799/yr on typical use, incl £25 MSE cashback (see how it compares via the link). You can get slightly cheaper from some smaller firms, so if you want the cheapest, do a full comparison.

Ends Sun. Claim marriage tax allowance NOW or lose £212 of poss £1,150. A staggering TWO MILLION eligible couples are missing out on the marriage tax allowance. If you're married/civil partners where one's a non-taxpayer, and the other a basic 20% rate payer, apply now and you can backdate claims by up to four years. Yet as the tax year ends on Sun, if you wait, you'll lose the 2015/16 year.

45 tips to be tight (in a good way)... eg, bulldog clips to eke out the last of the toothpaste. When money's tight or you simply don't want to waste stuff, see tips from the MSE team and our Forumites. 45 household hacks

Ends Sun. Saving for a first home? Lifetime ISA year ending - USE IT OR LOSE IT. If you're 18 to 39 and a wannabe first-time buyer, you can open a top Lifetime ISA, which gives a 25% boost on up to £4k saved per tax year. Yet as the tax year ends on Sun, if you wait, you'll lose this year's allowance.

Urgent. If you pay credit or store card interest, shift to a top new 0% balance transfer credit card. Acceptance criteria are rapidly being tightened but there are still decent deals available. If you can repay quick then grab 18mths 0% with NO FEE. For longer, try 29mths with a 3% fee. Use our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calc to apply and check your chances for most of the top cards.

Globe-trot or tour from your sofa, eg, Machu Picchu, the Vatican, 'walk' on a volcano & wild Disney rides. You can't physically get out, but you can have virtual fun for free. I'm there even if I'm not

 
 

New. Marcus (from Goldman Sachs) launches its first 1yr fixed savings account paying 1.45% interest, with early access allowed


The UK base rate has just been cut to its lowest level in the Bank of England's 325yr history. Cuts usually spell bad news for savers - yet rates have just about held up, with many best-buy rates unchanged or having only fallen slightly. And this week, one of the star challenger banks has launched its first ever fixed deal - where the rate is, er, fixed for the term. All below have the full UK £85,000 savings safety protection.

  • New. 1.45% 1yr fixed savings - with EARLY access. Marcus* is the online UK bank from US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs. It joins sister brand Saga* in launching a 1yr fix paying 1.45% AER (min deposit £1). Unusually for a fix, both allow access to your money during the term - you can close your account for a fee equivalent to the first 90 days' interest. So don't do it if you know you'll need cash sooner, but it's a good emergency fallback. Note: Saga and Marcus share the £85,000 safety protection - so that's the limit for both combined.

  • If you can definitely lock money away for 1yr, earn up to 1.6%. The top standard 1yr fix, from Vanquis Bank* (min £1,000), pays 1.6% AER - this means per £1,000 here you'd get £16/yr interest, compared with £14.50 in Marcus, but you can only withdraw from it during the term if you demonstrate you're in financial difficulty. See top fixed savings accounts for more options and full info.

  • Currently you can unlock some fixed savings if you're struggling. Due to coronavirus, many banks are temporarily allowing people who are struggling financially to access cash in normally locked fixed savings - eg, Vanquis above (don't withdraw otherwise, as you'll lose what's probably a higher rate than available now). But we don't know how long that withdrawal leniency will last, other than with Marcus/Saga, where their flexibility is part of their standard terms, not an emergency measure. 

  • Just want easy access to your cash? Earn 1.3%. Here you can put money in and withdraw it whenever you want but the rate is variable, so keep an eye out in case it drops. Virgin Money (min £1) is 1.31% AER, but you can only access cash twice a year. Top with unrestricted withdrawals are again Marcus* and Saga* at 1.3% AER (min £1) - with 'em you get just 10p per £1,000 a year less interest than with Virgin. All easy-access accounts are variable rate, so do keep an eye on them. For full info, see top easy-access savings.

  • Warning. The cash ISA year ends on Sunday - use it or lose it.  If you pay tax on savings (most don't), cash ISAs can protect you. Though you've only until Sun to use your £20k allowance. See Top Cash ISAs for help and best buys.
 

Ends Sun. Had a PPI payout since Apr 2015? You may be due £100s in tax back. With successful PPI reclaims, you're taxed on part of the payout but millions are due this back, as Martin's Reclaim PPI tax blog explains. Yet you can only backdate tax reclaims by up to FOUR tax years. And as the tax year ends on Sun, if you wait, you'll lose the 2015/16 year.

8 things they've made FREE online that you used to pay for. A reminder of this mega-popular blog we featured last week. Incl audiobooks, box sets, learn French/Spanish, hone guitar skills & more. Online freebies

Ending. Cheapest Sim with UNLIMITED data, mins and texts we've seen - £16/mth. MSE Blagged. If you're a data gobbler, newbies to Three* can get this 2yr contract for £16/mth until Sun. More help and deals in Top Sims.

Gruum hair & body wash set for £12 delivered (norm £20ish). MSE Blagged. Incl zero-plastic shampoo bar (lasts up to 60 washes), body bar soap & a choice of hand soap or face wash. Clean up

How to find free 'virtual' pub quizzes. Pubs may be shut, but thousands are coming together for online quizzes.

Sorry to Cheap Energy Club users - if you chose cheque for your cashback, it'll be delayed. Switch energy via the Cheap Energy Club and we roughly split what we get, and give you £25 dual-fuel cashback (that you wouldn't get going direct). Sorry to say that if you switched recently and chose cheque, not BACS, as we're all working from home we can't send them, so it'll be delayed until people return. We hope you'll understand and bear with us.

 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: Virgin Money 29mths 0%, 3% fee (21.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: 
Santander 18mths 0% (18.9% rep APR) or 20mths 0% if you're a NatWest/RBS customer (19.9% rep APR)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

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

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Tesco Bank 3.4% rep APR (1-3yrs)
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: 
Cahoot 2.8% rep APR

Standard b'band & line rent: Shell equiv £14.91/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Shell equiv £16.33/mth
Superfast fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone equiv £19.41/mth

5% interest fixed for a year: Nationwide FlexDirect
1-3% cashback on bills: 
Santander 123 Lite

Top easy-access: Marcus/Saga 1.3%, min £1 (truly easy-access) or Virgin Money 1.31%, min £1 (with restrictions)
Top one-year fix: 
Vanquis Bank 1.6%, min £1,000

 

Lenders pulling cheap loans. If you NEED to borrow, do it ASAP

Loans available from 2.8%, but there are fewer of them and credit scoring is getting tougher

Coronavirus financial worries have caused a seismic shift in the loans market as some lenders have stopped allowing applications (eg, Admiral, Ratesetter & Sainsbury's for £25k+), often as they need to focus call centre staff on vulnerable custs. Others have increased rates, and almost all have tightened acceptance criteria. For now, a few good deals still exist, but we don't know how long for.

Over to Martin on whether you should consider borrowing now: "Normally, I say only borrow for planned, budgeted, affordable, one-off expenditures. Yet I know right now times are tough, and many are looking at loans to supplement cash flow and get them through this. Please be careful, a loan is a big commitment and you will need to be able to make monthly repayments. Always minimise the amount and repay as quickly as you can. If in doubt, don't do it. But if it's the only option, this type of loan's better than payday. If you're already struggling with debt, don't borrow more, instead read our Debt Help guide."

LOWEST LOAN RATES FOR £3,000-£15,000
Important: Some lenders ask that you apply via our eligibility calc, not direct
We've agreed to remove direct links to most lenders from this email. Instead, where possible you'll be directed to our Loans Eligibility Calc to see your acceptance odds, minimising applications and protecting your credit score. Some lenders requested this so only those more likely to be accepted will actually click the 'apply' button, reducing demand and enquiry calls, as they're already over capacity and need to prioritise coronavirus help for vulnerable people.
LOAN RATE & PROVIDER HOW TO APPLY
£7,500-£15,000
2.8% rep APR - Cahoot
Apply (not in eligibility calc)
2.9% rep APR - Yorkshire Bank, Clydesdale, MBNA, TSB
Apply via our eligibility calc
£5,000-£7,499
3.4% rep APR - Tesco Bank
Apply (not in eligibility calc)
3.5% rep APR - Yorkshire Bank, Clydesdale, MBNA, Hitachi
Apply via our eligibility calc
£3,000-£4,999
8.5% rep APR - Hitachi
Apply via our eligibility calc
8.5% rep APR - Tesco Bank
Apply (not in eligibility calc)


  • Lowest rates below £3,000. It's likely to be cheaper to do a money transfer, where you get a credit card to pay cash into your bank account, so you owe it instead, but at 0% (you pay a 3-4% fee of the amount shifted). But if a loan is right for you (eg, you need longer than 24mths to pay), check your chances of getting a sub-£3k loan via the Loans Eligibility Calc, via which you can also apply.

  • Beware, all personal loan rates are 'representative APR'. This means ONLY 51% of those accepted need to get the advertised rate - others may be charged more. Yet you're usually only told the rate after application, so once accepted, ALWAYS check it. Even our eligibility calc currently has to work with rep APRs (though we're working to change that), so a high acceptance chance doesn't always mean a cheap rate.

  • Loan Golden Rules. Full info & options in Cheap Personal Loans (APR Examples).
    a) Minimise the amount you borrow and repay as quickly as possible.
    b) Pay on time (preferably by direct debit) or you may get a charge and a missed payment on your credit report.
    c) If you're getting a loan to pay off credit cards, a balance transfer may be cheaper.

 

15 ways to keep fit for free without a gym - incl yoga, cardio apps & kids' fitness. See keep fit at home.

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK:
"Made a 5-min call about student loan overpayments and was told I was due £939. So easy and the money was in my account within a few days. Thank you."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

12 'healthy' ready meals delivered for £30 (norm £35) + more deliv & takeaway deals. How to eat in for less.

 

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK

Help collect donations for the Trussell Trust foodbank network. During this challenging time, foodbanks need extra volunteers to collect donations from supermarkets, sort and pack items in warehouses and make deliveries to the people in greatest need. Find out how you can help those in crisis where you live.

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

How are you finding staying at home under lockdown? The UK's in lockdown after the Government closed schools, pubs, restaurants, gyms and more, and issued a strict directive for everyone to stay in and work from home where possible. How are you finding life under lockdown so far?

Line of Duty is your favourite TV box set. Last week, we asked you to pick your favourite TV box sets. 4,000 of you voted and Line of Duty came top, with 21% of you picking the twisty drama as one of your top three - more than any other. Other homegrown shows also proved popular - despite only making up 31% of the list, UK productions picked up 41% of the votes. See full TV poll results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I be shopping online during the coronavirus lockdown? Since the Government told people to stay at home, I've been shopping online - admittedly at times for non-essential items - which obviously helps the economy and keeps retailers in business. But would it be more helpful not to shop online, to reduce the risk of exposing stores' warehouse workers, delivery drivers etc to coronavirus? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I be shopping online during the lockdown? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: The value of building an emergency fund
- Competitions thread of the week: Weber BBQ or Smeg appliances
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Bookworms 2020
- Motoring thread of the week: Car battery during lockdown
- Discussion of the week: Cross Stitch & Craft Café 2020

 

Virtual tours - Eg, Machu Picchu, volcanoes, Disney rides
Gruum - Hair & body wash set £12 delivered (norm £20ish)
Keep fit for free - Incl yoga, cardio apps, kids' fitness
Online quizzes - How to find free 'virtual' pub quizzes
Soulful Foods - 12 ready meals for £30 delivered (norm £35)

Glasses Direct - Free £20 glasses for NHS staff
Headspace - Free mindfulness app subscription
Leon - 50% off takeaway food
NCP car parks - Free parking for key workers
Uber Eats - Free £10 food delivery for NHS staff

Amazon Prime Video - Trick for free TV & films for a month
Apple TV+ - Free trial for seven days
Disney+ - Free seven-day trial
WWE Network - Free streaming incl every WrestleMania
Theatre - Incl One Man, Two Guvnors with James Corden

Quick Forum Tips

Free classic video games, eg, Pac-Man. In 8-bits
Stand-up comedy downloads for £1 donation. Sits and giggles
Free coffee sample that brews like tea. Cofftea

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 1 APR ONWARDS)

Wed 1 Apr - LBC, Nick Ferrari, 8.50am
Thu 2 Apr - This Morning, phone-in, ITV, 10.55am
Thu 2 Apr - The Martin Lewis Money Show - Coronavirus Special, ITV, 8pm
Mon 6 Apr - This Morning, phone-in, ITV, 10.55am
Mon 6 Apr - BBC Radio 5 Live, Ask Martin Lewis, 12.15pm. Listen again

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 1 Apr - BBC CWR, Breakfast with Phil Upton, from 8.30am, Katie Watts
Wed 1 Apr - BBC WM, Caroline Martin, from 1.10pm, Katie Watts
Thu 2 Apr - BBC Radio Devon, Afternoons with Michael Chequer, from 2.30pm, Katie Watts
Fri 3 Apr - BBC Radio Devon, Afternoons with Michael Chequer, from 2.30pm, Katie Watts
Mon 6 Apr - BBC Radio Manchester, Drive with Phil Trow, from 2.25pm

 

BICARBONATE OF SODA AND WHITE VINEGAR: YOUR TOP CLEANING HACKS

That's it for this week, but before we go... with many passing the time while stuck indoors by doing a deep spring clean, you've been sharing your cleaning hacks using items you've already got at home. Old-style favourites such as using bicarbonate of soda or white vinegar to shift grease and scrubbing away limescale with a 2p coin are still proving popular, while many parents will likely agree with the tip to get the kids involved now they're off school. Share your tips in our Top cleaning hacks Facebook post. 

We hope you save some money, stay safe,
The MSE team