Apr
29
2020

Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

29 April 2020

Over 50 ways to save, incl... 1yr cheap energy, last chance 5% savings, Ryanair & BA refunds, 26mths 0%, cheap iPhone, water freebies, earn £30 Amzn

This info may be out of date. Read this week's emails
Plus... 26mths 0%, cheap iPhone, water freebies, earn £30 Amzn
                                                           
 


 

Martin's coronavirus update

19 NEW need-to-knows, incl: 
LOCK IN cheap energy | Ryanair refunds | Working-from-home tax back | BA refund offer? | Self-employment update | Trav ins refunds | Supply teacher help | Pay summer hol balance?

 

This is the seventh, and possibly last week, I'll lead the weekly email with my coronavirus need-to-knows. Over that short time, we've seen more financial change than in the prior seven years.

Yet the pace of change is slowing. The state's new systems are set up. Some will find this upsetting to read, as sadly I am predicting that I don't see much new help coming for those caught in the cracks between support schemes.

The team and I will continue to press for change there, and keep you abreast with updates here, on the site, and on social media. But as the volume of coronavirus updates slims, we'll return to more of our usual pure MoneySaving help to protect and boost your pockets. And of course we'll keep working hard at updating our guides...

Coronavirus employees' help, incl furloughing rights
Coronavirus self-employed & small ltd co help, incl income scheme
Coronavirus finance & bills help, incl mortgages, energy & TV
Coronavirus travel rights, incl refunds & insurance
Coronavirus life in lockdown, incl MOTs, food & ents
New.  Coronavirus financial FAQs  - 53 commonly asked Q&As

And finally, while we strive for 100% accuracy, as things are changing all the time, please give us just a touch of wriggle room.

The 19 NEW coronavirus financial NEED-TO-KNOWS

1) LOCK IN super-cheap fixed energy deals to save £300+/yr and take advantage of historically low oil prices. The global sump slump meant that for a day last week, staggeringly the US oil price was negative - they couldn't sell it, so instead they were having to pay to have barrels stored.

This continuingly, unthinkably low oil price feeds into switchers' prices for gas & electricity. They're at their cheapest for about 3yrs. Grab a cheap FIXED deal now, and you lock in today's super-cheap rate, so it can't rise...

Our three TOP-PICK 1-YEAR FIXED energy deals

Savings are based on the avg Big 6 price-capped tariff (which 50%+ are on) for typical £1,126/yr usage. As YOUR winner depends on use and region, links go via our Cheap Energy Club comparison to give specific results and MSE £25 dual-fuel cashback (which you don't get direct).

- Cheapest fix, save £352/yr: The GNE Spring Sunrise V4 1yr fix is for new dual-fuel and elec-only customers. Service rating is good at 54% 'great'. (There's one cheaper fix, but we exclude it due to a v poor service rating, though it does appear in comparisons.)

NewCheapest big name fix, save £343/yr: MSE Blagged. The E.on Fix 1 Year Exclusive April 2020 fix is only at this low price via our Cheap Energy Club. It comes with 100% renewable elec, and is available for new dual-fuel or elec-only customers (sadly existing E.on customers can't get it). You need to agree to have smart meters fitted if you don't already - installed for free once lockdown's over.

NewCheap big name fix & 'free' boiler cover, save £335/yr: The British Gas Energy & Boiler Cover May 2021 fix is also 100% green elec. It's available for new dual-fuel customers (sadly existing BG customers can't get it). It comes with a year's boiler cover included (this normally costs £30/yr, cancel it after the year if you want to avoid that). You don't need to have/get smart meters.

These tariffs are for normal billed meters only (you can do a 
prepayment energy comparison instead though) and don't include Northern Ireland (instead use NI Consumer Council's comparison).


These prices are seriously cheap, though of course there's always a chance they get cheaper. Switching is no big deal, it's the same gas, same elec, same safety - the only changes are customer service and price. Your supply isn't cut off as part of the process and no one visits your home. See our switching FAQs for more help. 

2) Working from home? Claim tax back on additional expenses. We've had a huge response since I first blogged about this. If your employer requires you to work from home, and that increases your costs, eg, heating and electricity, you're entitled to claim something back. See my claim tax back for working from home blog.

3) How to try to beat the Ryanair refund trap. Last week I told you we'd reported Ryanair to regulator the Civil Aviation Authority and Trading Standards as ridiculously, passengers who'd jumped through the hoops to claim cash not vouchers for cancelled flights were... sent vouchers anyway.

This week we've been working through ways you can get money back, including asking card providers, as Kim did: "I got £896 back from Barclays. They asked a couple of questions and checked with supervisors. It was refunded within the hour."  See Ryanair refund tricks.

4) Beware mortgage payment holiday ERRORS - it shouldn't add more than £50/mth. I've had some panicked questions, from people who have been told their mortgage repayments after a 3mth coronavirus payment holiday ends will be doubled or even quadrupled - that's bananas. It can only be an error, so contact the lender. 

I'd typically expect £5-£20/mth to be added to your costs to make up for the missed payments, but about £50/mth is possible, for those with a big mortgage, high interest or not long left of the term. It's worth everyone using a mortgage holiday calc & checking what's reasonable.

5) Got travel insurance you're sure you won't use? Cancel for a refund. If you've an annual travel insurance policy, and are sure you won't use it, some (not all) major insurers such as Axa, Churchill and Direct Line are offering pro-rata refunds. Tracy told us on Facebook: "Didn't occur to me after I got my holiday deposit refunded - just checked and they will refund premium in full. £107, thanks." See travel insurance refunds.

PS: Some private medical insurers are promising rebates too.

6) Small biz owners - are you eligible for a new loan worth up to £50,000? While we don't normally cover biz finance - it's not our expertise - just a note that this week's major announcement was new 100% state-backed biz loans up to £50,000, available whether you're a sole trader or a limited company. Not technically put in place to support your personal income, but they can be used for cash flow, which in effect will do that.

7) British Airways now allowing you to cancel future bookings in return for a voucher - think carefully before accepting. British Airways is allowing anyone who has a flight booked up until 31 July 2020, which hasn't yet been cancelled, to cancel it for free and claim a voucher, valid for 2yrs, for its value, to be used on future bookings.

It's important to be aware, if BA cancels a flight, that you're legally due a full refund. Yet if you voluntarily agree to a voucher for an uncancelled flight, while unconfirmed yet, it's likely you lose your right to a refund. So if you want cash, you're likely better off to hold on and see if it cancels.

Now of course BA is our flag-carrying airline, and the Govt is unlikely to let it fail. So hopefully these vouchers have value, and BA does need support - the firm is talking of 12,000 potential redundancies (which sadly brings into sharp focus the trade-off between individuals' pockets and employment / the economy).

Therefore for BA loyalists who can afford to, taking a voucher is a decent thing to do. Plus if you may choose not to travel anyway, even if the flight's on and the Govt's travel advisory changes, it gives flexibility.

But as they're price-based vouchers, not vouchers for identical flights, there's no certainty you'll get a decent deal, so you could be better off flying with another airline, in which case financially at least, cash wins. See BA cancellation help for more.

8) Furloughed? You're due 80%+ pay, NO LESS - and they CAN'T ask you to work. I've had a number of questions on this. So let me be plain, if your employer furloughs you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, it must pay you at least all the money it receives, ie, 80% of salary and the minimum pension contribution.

Equally, furloughing means you don't work. If your employer tells you to, that is a breach of the regulations (though it can ask you to train - if it's non-revenue making). 

If either of these has happened, first have a polite word - it may just be a confusion. Though as a last resort, you can anonymously report it to HM Revenue & Customs' fraud department.

9) Don't pay a fee to get holiday refund cash off your credit card. Those who have received holiday refunds get it returned to the payment method used. This can often mean being £1,000s in-credit on credit cards. Many people have worried that they'll pay the usual 3%-ish fee to pay this into their bank account - yet those are money transfer fees, for shifting debt.

They shouldn't apply if you contact your bank and request a 'refund of credit balance' - then it should be free.

10) Self-employment scheme UPDATE: The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will provide grants for qualifying self-employed people financially impacted by coronavirus. Those eligible will be contacted in May with details of how to apply; the money will come in early June. Here are a couple of queries you've had that we've got answers to... 

- What's the EXACT cut-off threshold? Those with average profits under £50,000 for tax years 2016 - 2019 get support (see how the averaging works). Some close to the limit have asked exactly where the cut-off is, ie, is £50,000 in or out? We've had it confirmed, average profit up to and including £50,000.00 is eligible - £50,000.01 isn't.

And yes, this is a hideous cliff-hanger drop-off, which means a family of two £45k earners both get it. A family with one £50,001 earner doesn't.

- Self-employed income must be 50%+ to qualify - what counts as income? It will add up total income from property, dividends, savings, pensions and more - full info in Am I eligible for self-employed income support?

11) Car, van and bike finance and buy-now-pay later 3mth payment holidays now IN FORCE. Last week, we told you of the proposals. Now, since Mon, the regulator has put them in place...

- Motor finance 3mth holidays available on request. Whether for a car, van or motorbike, if you've a PCP, leasing or HP deal and are struggling to pay due to coronavirus, you can ask to defer payments for 3mths - this also means they can't repossess your car. More in car finance help.

- Pawnbroking, buy-now-pay-later and rent-to-own 3mth payment holidays on request. Pawnbrokers also won't be allowed to sell your goods, nor can rent-to-own providers repossess them during the payment holiday. See full credit help.

With all these, remember the interest still racks up, so only do it if you really need to. If you've applied for help in these sectors before and have not been offered this, now it's a right, ask again.

12) Payday loans 1mth payment AND interest holidays. Again, new rules from regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that came in on Mon mean you can ask for a 1mth payment holiday and, crucially, the (usually hideous, outrageous) interest won't rack up. If you doubt you'll be able to afford to pick payments back up after that, let it know, and it'll need to consider how to make it easier. Full info in payday loan help.

13) Supply teachers - your firm may be able to furlough you on full pay rather than just minimum wage. I've been working on this for a couple of weeks, there's a small chink in the armour here, but not much. See my new supply teachers' help info.

14) When's 'too late' to apply for a mortgage and other payment holidays? If you don't need a payment holiday, don't do it - the interest still adds up. Yet many are worried if they don't grab it now, and things get worse, they won't be able to get one later. But all the official FCA schemes let you apply up to 3mths after they launched (and if this horror carries on, this may be extended), so here are the deadlines:

- Until at least 17 Jun: Mortgage payment holidays
- Until 9 Jul: Credit & store cards, personal loans, catalogue debt
- Until 27 Jul: Car finance (PCP, lease, HP), pawnbroking, buy-now-pay-later, rent-to-own, payday loan

15) Signed up to an IVA? Payment holidays/reductions now available. Individual Voluntary Arrangements are a formal debt solution for those with large debts to pay off. If your ability to pay has been impacted by coronavirus, you can now ask for a payment holiday of up to 3mths, or a reduction in monthly payments of up to 25%. See full What if I can't pay my IVA? info.

16) Should I pay the balance for my overseas summer holiday? This is a big decision for many who have paid deposits for trips and are currently being asked to pay the remainder or another instalment. Sadly, there is no right answer here - all I can do is help you weigh it up. More in holidays booked with a deposit help.

- If you pay up: We hope you'll go ahead and have a wonderful holiday, but there's a very plausible chance that may not happen. If it's a package hol and the firm cancels, you're due a full refund. If the holiday's available but the Foreign Office is still warning against all but essential travel, provided you got travel insurance before they stopped covering coronavirus, you can likely claim. There are risks though...

1) If restrictions lift but you still choose not to travel, you're not covered.
2) Some travel firms are making it difficult to get refunds for cancellations and only give vouchers.
3) Sadly, the travel industry is under an existential threat, and many firms risk going bust. If it's a package hol, check if you've ATOL or ABTA protection so you would get a full refund if the operator collapsed. If not, you'd be reliant on chargeback or Section 75 protection from your card provider. That should help, but nothing is 100% certain.

- If you don't pay up. Then you're the one essentially cancelling the holiday, not the firm, so you'd likely lose the deposit. Even then, if the deposit is small and the balance large, and you think you're very unlikely to travel, taking this hit may be an easy option.

Unfortunately, there's no correct decision here without a crystal ball, so do what makes you feel most comfortable, and if it's in the balance, maybe factor in the impact on the travel firm too.  

17) Increased funeral costs help. Hard to write, but those on certain benefits (eg, universal credit) can now apply to receive a £1,000 payment - rather than £700 - to help with costs such as funeral directors' fees, a coffin and flowers for their loved one's funeral.

It's part of the broader funeral expenses payment, which helps with essential costs such as burial/cremation fees and travel. The costs are recoverable from the deceased person's estate if they've left one. Full info in funeral costs help.

18) Booked a UK holiday with Hoseasons, Sykes Cottages or others - are you due a cancellation refund? While customers of some UK holiday firms, such as Center Parcs, are getting full refunds, some with others, including Hoseasons and Sykes Cottages, are upset that they're often being refused refunds and are only offered rebooking or vouchers instead.

We've checked out your rights here, and I'm afraid they're not clear-cut (unless you booked via a package holiday) and depend on the contract's exact wording. We do have some help to try though - see UK holiday-booking refund rights for a full step-by-step guide.

19) Going on maternity leave? Rule changes mean your maternity pay isn't impacted by furlough. Statutory maternity pay for the first six weeks is 90% of your standard pay. New rules came in this week that mean if you go on mat leave after 24 Apr your standard pay for statutory purposes (not if they give you more than that) must be assessed on normal earnings rather than furlough pay - so you won't lose out. The rules similarly help those who qualify for maternity allowance instead. See maternity furlough help.

If you went on leave beforehand, while furlough can legally impact it, as it's done on an assessment of the prior 26 weeks' income, it's likely to only have a small impact.

-------------------------
The Martin Lewis Money Show LIVE (from home)
EVERY Thu at 8.02pm (after NHS clap) on ITV


It's the must-watch Thursday financial briefing (well, according to me) - everything you need to know on coronavirus and key MoneySaving, plus I answer your questions live. Got a question? Tweet me @MartinSLewis using the hashtag #MartinLewis (I know that sounds weird, but it's the show's hashtag). Do tune in or set the Betamax.

 
 

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. Top 26mth 0% balance transfer card with a LOW 1.2% fee

If you can't afford to clear your credit or store card debt, you can't afford NOT to try to shift it to 0%

A balance transfer credit card is a core weapon to cut existing credit and store card interest as you get a new card to pay off other credit or store cards, so you owe it instead but at 0% interest. It means more of your repayments clear the actual debt, saving £100s or £1,000s. Yet since Covid-19, the market has been shrinking, with tighter credit scoring and many deals pulled. Yet a couple of providers are bucking the trend. This week Halifax follows TSB in launching a card that makes our best-buys. Still, sorting this sooner is safer. Full info in Top Balance Transfers - here are the top deals...

TOP 0% NEW-CARDHOLDER BALANCE TRANSFER CARDS
Sorted by length. Go for the LOWEST FEE in the time you're sure you can repay in. Unsure? Play safe, go long.
CARD LENGTH & FEE (1) HOW GOOD IS IT?
TSB
Apply* (unlike most other cards, it's NOT in our eligibility calculator, so we can't indicate your acceptance odds)
- Up to 30mths 0%
- 2.95% fee
Longest 0% but an 'up to'. So some with poorer credit scores may be accepted but offered fewer 0% months. After the 0%, it's 19.9% rep APR.
Virgin Money
Apply via eligibility calc (it's asked us to do it this way & not send you direct. See below for why)
- DEFINITE 29mths 0%, if accepted
- 3% fee
Longest card with CERTAIN 0% length. Only 1mth fewer than TSB, and you definitely get the 29mths, if accepted. After the 0%, it's 21.9% rep APR.
New. Halifax
Apply via eligibility calc (it's asked us to do it this way & not send you direct. See below for why)
- Up to 26mths 0%
- 1.2% fee (some will be offered a shorter 0% card with a 3% fee)
Long 0%, low fee (for some), but an 'up to'. If you can repay faster, the fee is substantially lower, though as it's an 'up to' card, not everyone gets the full 26mths - poorer credit scorers may get a shorter card with a higher fee. After the 0%, it's 19.9% rep APR.
MBNA
Apply via eligibility calc (it's asked us to do it this way & not send you direct. See below for why)
- Up to 26mths 0%
- 1% to 3.49% fee, depending on credit score
Long 0%, low fee (for some), but an 'up to'. Similar to Halifax in that poorer credit scorers can get fewer months at 0% and a higher fee. It's hard to separate them, so go for the card you're given the best acceptance odds for in our calc. After the 0%, it's 20.9% rep APR.
Santander
Apply (unlike most other cards, it's NOT in our eligibility calc, so we can't indicate your acceptance odds)
- DEFINITE 18mths 0%, if accepted
- No fee
Longest no-fee 0% & definite 18mth period. If you can repay quickly, and are accepted, this is a winner as there's no fee & the 0% length is fixed. After the 0%, it's 18.9% rep APR. PS: Existing NatWest/RBS custs may get 20mths 0%, no fee.
(1) As a percentage of debt shifted.
Why some lenders ask that you go via our eligibility calc, not direct. As they're experiencing high demand due to coronavirus, they've asked that we put people through our eligibility calc, which shows card-by-card acceptance odds, so people are vetted, meaning only those more likely to be accepted will actually click the 'apply' button, reducing demand & enquiries.


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) Clear the card or balance-transfer again before the 0% ends, or the rate rockets to the higher APR.
c) Don't spend/withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and withdrawals hit your creditworthiness.
d) You must usually balance-transfer within 60 or 90 days to get the 0% - check what your card says.
e) You normally can't balance-transfer between two cards from the same bank (the case for all cards above).

 

Top 1yr fixed energy deals to lock in lowest price for 3yrs - many can save £350/yr. Martin talks about this in detail above, but in case you missed it, switchers' energy deals are at a 3yr low - and with a fixed tariff you can lock in this low price. Our top picks (all for new custs) are - cheapest overall: Green Network Energy; cheapest big names: E.on and British Gas (which also includes boiler cover). The links all go via our Cheap Energy Club, so you get an accurate comparison and savings.

250,000+ water-saving FREEBIES, eg, shower heads & garden hose nozzle. Great at a time many are using more while at home all day, but what you can get depends on your supplier. Free water-saving gadgets

Send free thank you cards to NHS or key workers. Why not make someone's day? Free key worker card

New. Cheapest 64GB iPhone SE with decent data. MSE Blagged. Apple launched a new lower-spec phone last week and if you are going to be an early adopter (not usually that MoneySaving), then this Vodafone deal with a 64GB handset with 6GB/mth data, unlimited mins and texts from Mobiles.co.uk* gets it for £75 upfront, then £22/mth. But use code MSE10 and you'll be sent a £10 cheque within 38 days, so it's £593 over 2yrs, saving £272 compared with the same deal going direct. For more options, see Cheap iPhones.

Vulnerable? Need people to shop for you or to get on supermarket priority lists? We've been exploring options to help those shielding. 1) If you're relying on friends, volunteers and neighbours to shop for you, here are easy, hygienic options to pay 'em safely. 2) If you've struggled to book supermarket deliveries, we've essential grocery help.

 
 

Ends Thu. Grab a YEAR's 5% fixed interest on up to £2,500 - an unbeatable rate, but it comes via a current account


In the last six weeks we've seen already-dire savings rates plummet, and banks pull almost all incentives used to attract new current account customers. Now the deal combining both - the UK's top savings rate via a current account - is due to end. Act quickly though and you can still grab it. For full help and options see Best Bank Accounts, but here's a rundown, including its current account and savings competitors...

  • Nationwide's closing its 5% interest deal at 11.59pm Thursday. Accepted newbies to Nationwide's FlexDirect current account earn 5% AER fixed for a year on up to £2,500 (nowt above - so don't put more in). While the rate drops to 2% from Fri, if you apply now, you'll still get 5% interest for the full year. This rate is nearly DOUBLE the best savings rate available - even on fixed or regular savers, which are normally the top payers.

    As it's a current account, the money is easy access, but you need to have £1,000+/mth going in (equiv to a £12,500 annual salary) to get the interest. If you've temporarily got less, eg, £800 going in, just move £200 of that to another non-Nationwide account and pay it back again to get over the threshold. The rate dives to 0.25% AER variable after a year, so be ready to switch then. The only other current account rate that beats easy-access savings accounts is TSB's Classic Plus*, at 1.5% AER variable on up to £1,500.

  • Top normal savings accounts. Nowt competes with Nationwide on rate. But if you've more to save or don't want to switch current account, the top easy-access deals (where you can put money in and withdraw when you want) are from Marcus*, Saga* (both min £1 deposit) and RCI Bank (min £100), all at 1.2% AER variable. The top 1yr fixes are from FCMB Bank UK (via marketplace Raisin) and Habib Bank Zurich, both at 1.55% AER (min £1,000). For lower amounts, the 1yr fixes from Saga* and Marcus at 1.45% (min £1) win. More info and options in Top Savings.

    You can boost interest to 2.75% on money put aside each month with top regular savings accounts. First-time buyers can get a 25% bonus via top Lifetime ISAs and those on low incomes can get a 50% bonus with Help to Save.

  • Top bank account for bills - many can earn £100+/yr. There are no 'free cash for switching' deals left, but with Santander's 123 Lite* you pay £1/mth and it gives tiered cashback of up to £15/mth on certain household bills paid by direct debit, eg, 3% on broadband, 2% on energy, 1% on council tax. To get cashback, you need to pay in £500+/mth and meet a few 'operate as a normal bank account' criteria. For more options including Barclays and Co-op deals, see Best Bank Accounts.

  • Overdrawn? Get a £500 interest-free buffer if you're struggling. New coronavirus rules mean banks must offer at least the first £500 of authorised overdrafts interest-free for 3mths. Some banks have gone further. See full bank-by-bank overdraft help.
 

Earn £30 in Amazon vouchers doing quick online surveys. MSE Blagged. Popular site with MoneySavers pays you to fill in surveys, do searches and play games. Newbies can bag the biggest bonus it's ever offered. Swagbucks

Martin's secret meeting with Mick Jagger. We stumbled upon this old Martin meets Mick blog, and thought it was fun. It's not that secret, or that recent, but still, what a great headline.

FREE £200+ daily lotto prize, which rolls over too... one MoneySaver even won £2,500. Sounds too good to be true, but it's legit and it costs nothing as it's funded by ads. Free postcode lotto  

New quick and easy way to report 'phishing' emails. If you've spotted a dodgy email that looks like a scam, there's a new service where you can quickly report anything suspicious to the Government's official cyber security department. In its first week, the service has already stopped more than 400 scams from reaching vulnerable people. See how to quickly report scam emails.

Vision Direct 20% off EVERYTHING code. MSE Blagged. Incl contacts & solution. Free del. Sight for sore eyes

 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: TSB* up to 30mths 0%, 2.95% fee (19.9% 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*
Admiral MultiCar (incl £70 Amazon vch. Ends Sun)

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 Energy equiv £15.91mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Shell Energy equiv £17.74/mth
Superfast fibre b'band & line rent: Vodafone equiv £19.83/mth

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

 

Join our exclusive MSE weekly email focus group. We're looking to test different ways of presenting our info in this email, so want to recruit an MSE Money Tips users' panel to tell us what you think. Click the link if interested.

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

How much are your typical monthly bills? As the UK lockdown continues, many are using the extra time at home to review household finances and cut costs where they can. So this week, we want to know how much you USUALLY spend on household bills every month - and how this has changed since the pandemic struck. How much are your typical monthly bills?

One in four MoneySavers with mortgages are taking a payment holiday. Last week, we asked if you've agreed payment holidays on various products (where you stop making payments for a set period, though you may still be charged interest) - and 3,800 people responded. Some 27% of those with mortgages said they've agreed a payment holiday, but just 7% with credit card bills have done so and fewer than 1% have paused energy payments. See full payment holiday poll results.

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should we push for a rent reduction or show 'forbearance'? My housemates and I moved into our house the day before lockdown began. It's in a state - it wasn't cleaned and various things are broken, such as two burners on the cooker, a bed frame and a radiator. We've told the landlord, but he says he can't do anything during the lockdown. While that may be true, we don't think he should have rented out the property in this state. Should we push him to reduce our rent or, given the wider situation, try to tolerate our living conditions? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Request a rent reduction or show 'forbearance'? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

Here is our quick selection of popular things that have recently been made free, which you normally pay for:

- Free National Theatre performances online: Incl Frankenstein, starring Benedict Cumberbatch
- Free coding programme for 12 to 17-year-olds: With Amazon Future Engineer
- Free workouts for 90 days: With a Peloton app trial, incl yoga & cardio
- 100s of free audiobooks for kids: Incl Harry Potter, Beatrix Potter & Winnie the Pooh
- Free meditation via the Headspace & Calm apps: To help those struggling with anxiety & stress at this time

 

Water-saving freebies - Eg, shower heads, garden hose nozzle
Send a free thank you card - To NHS staff or key workers
Swagbucks - Earn £30 Amazon vch doing online surveys
Pick My Postcode - FREE £200+ daily lotto prize
Vision Direct - 20% off everything code & free delivery

World Cup football - Eg, England vs Argentina in 1998
NBA basketball - 2019/20 season & classic games
NFL American football - 2019 season & more
Formula 1 - Full-length past races with free 30-day trial
Premier League football and tennis - Selected matches on Prime

Everything5Pounds - 4,000+ clothes, shoes etc, £2.50 each
Free virtual piano lessons - via Casio Music UK Facebook
Garden Trading - 15% off full-price 'posh' garden furniture
Animal Crossing - Trick to get 7-day free online multiplayer
Nike - 25% off full-price items code (ends Fri)

This week, we've some of our favourite posts from the Old Style MoneySaving board:
Knitting tips - Check this yarn for making your own jumpers etc
Reverse meal planning - how to use what you've already got
Declutter your home - Tips on minimalist MoneySaving

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 29 APR ONWARDS)

Wed 29 Apr - Heart Radio, Breakfast with Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden, from 9am
Thu 30 Apr - This Morning, ITV, from 10am
Thu 30 Apr - The Martin Lewis Money Show - Coronavirus Special, ITV, 8pm
Mon 4 May - This Morning, ITV, 10.55am
Mon 4 May - BBC Radio 5 Live, Ask Martin Lewis, 12.15pm. Listen again

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 29 Apr - BBC Radio Humberside, Breakfast with James Piekos, from 9.10am, Guy Anker
Mon 4 May - BBC Radio Manchester, Drive with Phil Trow, from 2.25pm, Katie Watts
Tue 5 May
- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 12.30pm 

 

IS MINT SAUCE REALLY THE BEST CONDIMENT? MARTIN SPARKS SAUCY DEBATE

That's it for this week, but before we go... while journalists should never reveal their sauces, Martin sparked debate on social media last week by proclaiming mint sauce as the king of condiments. But that didn't cut the mustard for everyone, with others relishing different kinds of accompaniments, from curry sauce to onion chutney. Ketchup with the latest and let us know your favourite flavour in our Facebook post.

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