Archive: MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email

07 July 2021

Over 50 ways to save, incl... £100 off groceries, new top savings, a deal that sucks, SEISS 5, Nectar boost, £51 No7 £10, free Pret, 29mths 0% + £25

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Plus... £51 No7 £10, free Pret, 29mths 0% + £25


Harry Potter and the half-year price
16 tricks of financial wizardry
£100 off groceries, Pret loophole, £1 for a year's 2for1s, free £25, meds for less, turn rubbish into gold and more

MSE's grocery and food delivery tips guideAnother year (half) gone... and as we've been cooking up our fiscal spells for most of that time, Martin (aka the Dumbledore of debt) and the MoneySaving Gryffindors decided it was time to unlock some more magic, with 16 of the best fun tricks, loopholes and money manipulation we've come up with. Alohomora...

  1. New. Grab £100 off groceries by combining 'first-timer-freebies' delivery offers. It wasn't that long ago that online grocery deliveries were a little bit 'ooooh' - now we're all doing it. And a host of new delivery firms are competing, sometimes to get it to your door within 10 minutes, sometimes with deals as good as £15 off if you spend £16+ - though whether you can get them depends on where you live. Use them all and you can make BIG savings - see our first-timer freebies grocery hack list. Related: 40+ supermarket coupons.

  2. Boots: cunningly combine two offers to get £51 of No7 skincare for £11.50. Grab this beauty-ful bargain.

  3. New. Free £25 credit card trick. Accepted M&S 20mths 0% card* newbies (it's best to check your acceptance odds first) get £25 cashback when they spend £100 on it within 90 days. So grab it, do £100 of normal spending then pay it off in full and you're quids in.

    It's also a top 0% spending card. You can stop there, but if you need a 0% spending card (never borrow unnecessarily), it's a near table-topping 20mths 0%. Clear the card before the 0% ends, or you pay 21.9% rep APR interest after. Full help and options in 0% Credit Cards (APR Examples).

  4. Pret a Manger loophole - get a month's free coffees, smoothies, frappes etc... If you know how to play its subscription service right. Free Pret

  5. Free Amazon delivery trick via clever tool. Non-Prime members are charged up to £4.50 delivery for most orders under £20, but the Super Saver Delivery tool can show you cheap ways to scrap that fee.

  6. Trick to pay £1 to get a YEAR's 2for1 at 1,000s of restaurants AND cinemas. With the world opening up, this easy 2for1 meals and movies trick to get discounts at Pizza Hut, Prezzo, Ed's Easy Diner, Odeon, Vue, Cineworld etc is a doozy.

  7. Buy IDENTICAL medication for half the cost (not just same active ingredients, the same tablets). You may already know that what really counts in medicine is the 'active ingredient', not the brand - for example, Nurofen is just ibuprofen.

    Yet there can still be differences, eg, other ingredients, and how it's delivered to speed up impact. Yet if it has an identical 'PL number' on the side of the packets then you have the SAME tablet. Full stop. Take a look at what we found this week...

    An example of two medicines with an identical PL number - PL 12063/0067 - that have very different costs: Asda Max Strength Sinus Relief Capsules cost £1.75, while Sudafed Sinus Max Strength Capsules cost £4

    For far more examples of this and more tricks, see our Slash the cost of identical medications guide.

  8. Fancy some of our Nando's hacky-hacky sauce? We've cheekily got 10 Nando's hacks such as how to save up to £10.45 ordering the exact same food from a different part of the menu.

  9. Get TWO YEARS' tax relief worth up to £250 if you've had to work from home for ONE DAY in each of the last two tax years. If your employer required you to work from home for at least one day between 6 April 2020 and 5 April 2021 you can claim a whole year's tax relief on your working-from-home (WFH) expenses. And regardless of whether you claimed that or not, if you've had to work a day at home since 6 April 2021, you can claim another year - in total it can be worth up to £250. See Martin's WFH tax back blog.

  10. Pay 20p, get £2 Big Mac and fries again and again (but please eat responsibly...). See our Big Mac Big Hack.

    PS: Wed only: 30% off McDonald's entire menu.

  11. Spending £25+ at Amazon before Tue? Check if you can get a hidden £5 or £10 off code. If you were planning to spend anyway, first check if you've bagged a code.

  12. Turn your rubbish into gold (well, cash). Well, we did call it wizardry. Whether it's old crisp bags, empty jam jars, wine corks or old loo-roll tubes, your trash may be others' treasure. See Flog your rubbish for what sells.

  13. Step up the discount by tweaking your Fitbit colour. Bizarrely, the same Fitbit can be £60 cheaper if you choose a different strap colour. Though with some models, you can then just buy a cheap strap and swap it out. Fitbit tricks

  14. Ikea idea - don't pay for missing spare parts, it will deliver them for free. If you've a bolt that's bolted or you've been screwed out of screws, don't buy more - see Ikea tips instead.

  15. Check out Amazon's hidden warehouse of discounted returned goods. Eg, MSE Debs saved £40 compared with Amazon's main site on an 'as-new' kids' trike that only had a damaged box. So why don't you explore the Amazon Warehouse?

  16. Boost your phone's storage for free - it might save you from needing to upgrade. Claw back space using our 14 mobile storage-boosters.

DON'T believe the fake 'Martin Lewis' or 'MSE' ads
Lots of scam ads litter social media and even newspaper websites - some of these lie that we or Martin promote Bitcoin, binary trading etc. See Fake ads warning.



New. Savings boosts. Marcus tops the table again with 0.5% - plus quirk lets 100,000s boost their rate with just a few quick clicks

Savings rates are finally crawling out from rock bottom, with easy-access interest creeping up and some top fixed rates now nearly double their lows back in March. This is likely driven by predictions of long-term interest and inflation rises, plus banks trying to suck in more cash so they can lend it out to satisfy mortgage demand. Whatever the reason, it's worth checking what you earn and taking five minutes to see if you can increase it. All accounts here have the full £85,000 savings safety protection.

  • MSE's guide to the top savings accountsNew. Top 0.5% easy-access account. With easy-access accounts, you can put money in and take it out whenever you want. Goldman Sachs-owned Marcus* has been hugely popular in the last few years and has again upped its rate to pay 0.5% AER variable, joint top with Cynergy Bank. Both only need £1 to open, include a 1yr bonus boost to the interest rate, and unlike many top accounts, don't limit you to a set number of annual withdrawals. Full options in top easy-access savings.

  • Quirk lets existing Marcus customers boost their rate. If you opened a Marcus easy-access account before 1 July you'll be earning 0.4%, but you can increase your interest rate by 0.1% with just a few clicks.

  • Top easy-access cash ISA - 0.54%. A cash ISA is just a savings account you don't pay tax on. We don't often mention them as most people don't pay tax on savings anyway, and ISA rates aren't usually that hot. Currently, though, Cynergy Bank's ISA pays 0.54% AER interest (min £1 deposit) - more than 'normal' savings. So if you're not already using your full £20,000/yr ISA allowance, you may prefer to grab this. More info in Top Cash ISAs.

  • Lock money away and double the interest - top 1.01% 1yr fix. If you're prepared to lock your money away without access, you can earn more and the rate is locked in. Top 1yr fix: Kent Reliance pays 1.01% AER (min £1,000). Top 2yr fixes: Zopa* and Oxbury pay 1.15% AER (both min £1,000). Full help, incl longer fixes paying up to 1.66%, in top fixed savings.

  • Check if you can boost interest even further. More options in our savings section, but these are the standouts...

    - 50% bonus for many receiving universal credit or tax credits. Find out if you qualify for Help to Save.
    - 25% bonus for first-time buyers aged 18-39. 
    Get up to £1,000/yr from the state if saving in a Lifetime ISA.
    - Earn up to 3% if you save each month. Get big interest on smaller amounts with a regular saver.
    - Earn 2.02% on smaller savings. A few current accounts give higher rates, if you jump through hoops to get 'em.
    - Earn '1%' easy access with Premium Bonds, but prizes are a lottery. Full info in Premium Bonds.

This deal sucks! £150 off Shark Lift-Away vacuum - making it the cheapest we've seen for two years. MSE Blagged. Grab and use one of 4,000 codes, valid on two models, and the vacuums can cost just £150, incl a 5yr warranty. £150 off Shark

New. Govt finally reveals full details of the 5th Covid self-employment grant. Even though you can only claim it later this month, it covers 5mths' income, from May to Sep - though sadly, and unfairly compared with furlough, the payment is only 3mths' worth of avg trading profits (max £7,500). And for the first time, this grant will include a "turnover test" which dictates how much you get. Full step-by-step help in our new grant 5 info.

£119 of Boots No7 beauty and skincare products for £32. 10-piece set with 'secret' contents (though previous deals have had mascara, eye pencil, cleanser etc). It's on sale to all next Wed, but you can get access the day before to ensure you bag one.

New. Top balance transfer: shift credit card debt to 29mths 0% (2.75% fee) AND get £25 cashback. With a balance transfer, you get a new card to pay off debt on old cards, so you owe it instead, but at 0% interest. The joint-longest 0% deal is M&S Bank's 29mths 0% (2.75% fee, min £5)* but it now wins as accepted newbies also get £25 cashback if shifting £100+ in the first 90 days. Will you be accepted? Applying affects your ability to get future credit, even if rejected. Instead, first use our 0% Balance Transfer Eligibility Tool which shows which top cards, incl M&S, you're most likely to be accepted for. If you do get a card, always pay at least the monthly min, and clear the card before the 0% ends or it goes to the full rep APR (for M&S 21.9%). For full help, read Martin's Debt Shifting Credit Card Masterclass or see Top Balance Transfers (APR Examples).

Nectar points boost if you connect your payment plastic to your account - eg, 20pts (10p) per £1 at Costa. It's a new reward route from the loyalty points scheme - see our Nectar Connect boost analysis

Warning: Igloo Energy to hike prices by 12%. We'd warned it was likely to raise prices - it has, slightly more than we predicted, though even after that it's still one of the cheaper players. See Martin's Igloo hike analysis.

New top Sim: '£6/mth' for unlimited calls & texts + 8GB data. MSE Blagged. Newbies to Lebara (uses Vodafone's network)* can get 8GB/mth data + unlimited calls & texts. It's a 1mth rolling contract at £8/mth, but you get the first 6mths half-price, making it equiv to £6/mth over a year. Want a different network / handset / less data? Use our powerful Cheap Mobile Finder tool.


Martin: 'Do you pay to bank with Thinkmoney, Pockit, Monese, Vox Money, MoneyMona or other prepaid card accounts? If so, I'm worried you may be wasting your money'

MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis - linking to MSE's Top Basic Bank Accounts guideSadly there are still a million people unbanked in the UK - usually on low incomes. In recent years a range of easy-to-get prepaid cards have filled the gap, but they can charge hefty fees. For example, Thinkmoney is £10/mth, Pockit £2/mth but 99p for ATM withdrawals and paying bills. Some have chosen these accounts deliberately for functionality, but my focus here is on those who did it as they felt they couldn't get a free bank account.

Bank accounts are strongly governed and have the full £85,000 UK savings safety guarantee. Prepaid cards just have 'e-money protection', where money is kept in a ring-fenced account at a bank. There are two relevant types of bank account...

  • You likely applied for a 'current account'. For those with decent incomes and credit scores these win, as they give financial benefits. Right now HSBC pays switchers £125, and First Direct pays £100 plus also has top customer service (see Best Bank Accounts). The issue is banks often direct people to apply for these - even if you say you've a poor credit score or no income, when rejection is likely - without always telling people...

  • ... basic bank accounts are much easier to get. These are simple, no-overdraft accounts many banks offer (and the regulations force some to). Anyone can get them - barring those with a history of fraud - even undischarged bankrupts. If you thought you couldn't get an account, this is where to start - though you will need to be able to provide ID and proof of address if asked.

    Our top picks are banks which seem more proactive towards getting basic bank account customers. All three let you set up direct debits and standing orders and give you a debit card for spending and cash (though Santander's is one you have to top up beforehand).

    - Co-op's Cashminder - open online, only uses 'soft' credit check for ID purposes
    - Santander Basic Current Account - open online, only uses 'soft' credit check for ID purposes
    - Virgin Money M Account - open online (via applying for another account), does 'hard' credit check though

    If you apply for a basic account in a bank branch, always refer to it by name, or you may be given forms for a different account. See our Basic Bank Accounts guide for more info. And if you do succeed, you should then move all payments over from the prepaid card, and then cancel it to save on the fee. 

 Not confirmed, but we're almost certain it starts Sat. See Next sale updates.

Warning. Now TV to show ads, unless you pay extra. Full info in Now warningUpdate Wed 7 Jul: This email originally said those who sign up to Now's Boost in the next few days will be charged an ongoing £3/mth. However Sky's now confirmed new Boost customers who sign up before 15 Jul will pay £3/mth initially but then £5/mth from their next billing date after 15 Jul. You can cancel penalty-free at any time. Related: Many with free Apple TV+ to be charged £5/mth.

5,000+ mags & newspapers for free via app, eg, OK, Gardeners' World, Good Housekeeping. MSE Blagged. 3mths' free access to tablet and phone app that lets you read mags offline. Mag-nificent

'I HALVED the cost of my breakdown cover thanks to your haggling tips.' Success of the week. Robert used our breakdown haggling tips to slash the cost of his cover. He emailed: "My renewal was £159/yr but using your site I found similar cover for £79.79/yr elsewhere. I then haggled a price of £79.59/yr with my existing provider - HALF the initial renewal cost. You helped me negotiate a fantastic deal, thank you." Please send your MoneySaving successes on this or anything else.


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New. Longest 0%: M&S Bank (check eligibility / apply*) 29mths 0%, 2.75% fee (min £5) + £25 cashback if shifting £100+ in first 90 days (21.9% rep APR interest after)
No-fee 0%: 
Santander (check eligibility / apply*) 18mths 0% (20.9% rep APR)

Cheapest top-service deal: Green variable, save £191/yr
Cheapest top-service fix: Green 12mth fix, save £108/yr
Want us to help you pick a tariff and switch you yearly? Try MSE Pick Me A Tariff Every Year

Savings include £25 MSE cashback (where paid). Assumes typical use vs current price cap (but it's predicted to rise £100+/yr in Oct). Links go via Cheap Energy Club.

Top standard easy access: Marcus 0.5%, min £1 deposit
Top easy-access cash ISA: 
Cynergy Bank 0.54%, min £1
Top one-year fix: 
UBL UK 1.06%, min £2,000

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

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

Cheapest for £5k - £7.5k: Ratesetter (check eligibility / apply*) - 2.8% rep APR interest
Cheapest for £7.5k - £15k: 
Cahoot (check eligibility / apply*), Ratesetter (check eligibility / apply*) & MBNA (check eligibility / apply*) - all 2.8% rep APR

Free £125 + 1% regular saver: HSBC Advance
Free £150 experience day gift card: 
Virgin Money



How much time does your personal admin take? We all have to do it - deal with bills, file letters and receipts, sort out problems with the home and more. But how long does your personal admin take?

Over a third of MoneySavers haven't checked their credit report in at least 10 years. Last week, we asked when you last checked your credit report. Over 2,500 people responded - and 38% said they'd NEVER checked their report, or hadn't in the last 10 years. It varied a lot by age though - 72% of under-35s said they've checked it in the past 3mths, compared with just 32% of over-65s. See full credit report poll results.



Should I ask my daughter to share her Child Trust Fund with her siblings? I have four children, but only one has a Child Trust Fund - she was the only one born when the Government was offering them with a £250 contribution from the state. When she turns 18, should I tell her the money is all hers to do with as she pleases, or ask if she'll consider sharing it with my other three children, as they don't have their own Child Trust Funds? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I ask my daughter to share her Child Trust Fund? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs



Thu 8 Jul - This Morning, ITV, 10.55am, then phone-in from 11.25am 


Thu 8 Jul - TalkRadio, Early Breakfast with James Max, personal finance news review with Steve Nowottny, from 5.35am
Sat 10 Jul - BBC Radio Leicester, Mid-morning with Summaya Mughal, from 11am
Mon 12 Jul - BBC Radio Manchester, Drive with Phil Trow, from 2.20pm
Tue 13 Jul - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Mid-morning with Jeremy Sallis, from 12.40pm



That's all for this week, but before we go... a debate kicked off on the MSE Forum this week over house-sale etiquette, with one MoneySaver who's selling theirs asking what state they should leave it in for the buyer. They're planning to deep-clean, fix holes in the walls and fill in hairline cracks, though one Forumite said they went much further, repainting a whole wall and leaving a bottle of wine to boot. But others argue all that's required is making sure it's not filthy, and some say it all boils down to how the buyer's been. Join the conversation on our How should you leave your home for its new owners? forum thread.

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