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Weekly Email
This email was sent
22nd Jun 2016
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

Quick message from Martin - Get this emailed

"Hi. This free, spam free weekly email is the key way to save. We put all the latest deals, guides and loopholes in, yet many close within hours. Don't miss out, join the 12m who get it each week."

22 June 2016
Martin's Briefing: Boost savings to 6% TAX-FREE
Undecided? Martin's 'In or Out' guide
'Buy before EU vote' euro/dollar trick
New 40mth 0% pre-approved card
Warning. Booked hols but no ins?
Get paid to drink & more U25s' tips
Hi-Tec 25% off EVERYTHING code
Last-ever Tesco Clubcard double-up
2 specs & 'free' £10 tint for £20 code
60+ FREE summer festivals
Kurt Geiger shoes from £17 code
'Free' £10 Amzn etc vch via £25 spend
£16 hanging baskets & plants bundle
Can you beat Vodafone's price hike?
Up to 50% off sales at Habitat, J Lewis, D'hams, ASOS, Selfridges etc
FREE £15 6-point summer car check

Get up to 6% savings interest TAX-FREE

- Many accounts pay a pittance - urgently shift to boost interest
- Some rates have dived by a quarter since the start of 2016

- All savings are now paid tax-free

Savings rates have been depressed for years and have dropped further in 2016. The top standard easy-access deal paid 1.65% in Jan: it's now 1.27% - and it's a similar tale on other accounts for new & existing customers. The chief reason cited by many is banks simply don't need your cash as they've enough already.

Whatever the cause, we never thought rates would go so low, and as they’ve dived, EVERYONE should check...

The savings fountain - earn max interest

 Savings FountainYou may have noticed since April, all interest is paid tax-free. Under the personal savings allowance (PSA) basic-rate taxpayers get £1k/yr interest tax-free (higher rate, £500). Go over, and you pay tax on the difference - full info in our PSA guide. This has changed the logic and dulled the shine of tax-free ISAs a tad - getting the top rate is now the key.

Using our savings fountain below, put money in each level, and when full, overflow to the next to max every penny. ALL savings mentioned here have the full UK £75,000 savings safety protection unless stated.
Before you start Repay costly debts and possibly mortgages. £1,000 on a typical credit card costs £190/yr interest, £1,000 in easy-access savings earns £15/yr - so clear the debt with the savings and you're £175/yr up. Some will think "I need savings in case of emergencies", yet that can be a mistake. See our Should I repay my debt or save? guide for why.

With mortgages, see if your mortgage rate is higher than the potential rate on savings and, if so, consider paying it off instead. See Should I overpay my mortgage or save? for pros & cons and use our Overpayment Calculator to work out the gain.
Level 1:
Top tier
Help to Buy ISAs: Up to £3k FREE for first-time buyers. For anyone 16+ who's never owned a home and may want to, these are usually a no-brainer. This is because as well as the interest, you can use it towards a mortgage deposit and 25% is added, up to a max of a free £3k. To get the bonus, the home you buy cannot exceed £250k (£450k in London) - though if you're not planning to buy just yet, you can convert it into a Lifetime ISA next year (the limit's £450k for all). Full FAQs & best buys in Top 3% Help to Buy ISAs.
Level 2:
Top for lump sums
Earn 5% now tax-free & easy access via bank accounts. Some offer high in-credit savings rates to entice you - it's the only way to earn decent interest on larger amounts.

- Bigger savers earn 3%: Santander 123* pays 3% AER variable if you've £3,000 to £20,000. It has a £5/mth fee: for most that's easily covered by the up-to-3% cashback if you use it to pay bills, eg, council tax, energy, broadband (pay min £500/mth).

Even without that, and including the fee, it's the top deal if you've £8,600+ saved. Couples can have 3 accounts between them covering £60k (one each & a joint). See my Is Santander 123 worth it? blog. The interest is so good that for higher 40% rate taxpayers, if you max one out you'll be over your PSA limit (so then ISAs below look good).

- Up to 5% for smaller savings: TSB Classic Plus* pays 5% on up to £2,000 and up to £5/mth cashback on contactless card spending; Nationwide FlexDirect* is 5% on a slightly bigger £2,500, but only for a year. Club Lloyds pays 4% on £4,000 to £5,000 (but you need to pay in £1,500/mth). Alternatively check out £150 bank switching bonuses.

- Can anyone get these accounts? You usually need to pass a credit check, meet monthly min pay-ins & set up two direct debits. Full info incl eligibility criteria in Best Bank Accounts.
Level 3:
Top for monthly saving
Earn up to 6% with regular savings accounts. These pay high interest but only on small sums, generally for a short time and you often must meet min & max monthly deposits. They're great for, er, saving regularly, but you can also trickle lump sums in.

- The top payers are 'bank-linked':
So you need a specific current account to open them - luckily they tend to be best buys. First Direct gives £100 to switchers and is no.1 for customer service (you need to pay in £1,000/mth or there's a fee) and it has a linked regular saver letting you save up to £300 a month at 6% AER fixed.

Other top payers include M&S Bank and HSBC, which also offer switching bribes, plus most of the 'Level 2' accounts above have linked regular savers paying 4%+.

- Anyone can earn 3.05%:
The top non-linked account is Leeds BS Regular Saver at 3.05% AER variable, if you pay in £50 to £250 every month. Full info in Top Regular Savings Accounts.
Level 4:
Only for bigger savers
£15,240 cash ISA allowance - 1.7% tax-free. A cash ISA is just a savings account that's always tax-free. You've a £15,240 annual allowance and, crucially, interest from this doesn't count towards the PSA limit - so it's good if you'll earn more.

For who should & shouldn't get them, see our Is it time to ditch cash ISAs? guide. Full best buys in Top Cash ISAs, briefly...

- Top easy-access ISAs:
If you want to withdraw any time, Coventry BS is 1.3% AER variable for new money only. To transfer in poorly-paying old ISAs, M&S Bank also pays 1.3% AER variable, but the rate is dropping to 1.1% in July, or Virgin Money pays 1.26% AER variable though only allows three withdrawals per year.

- Earn more in fixed ISAs: Here the rate's fixed. You're supposed to lock cash away, but unlike normal savings fixes, they have to allow you early access to your cash, yet can charge you a fee. The Clydesdale Bank 1yr fix is 1.35%, Virgin Money 2yr is 1.4% and Shawbrook Bank 3yr is 1.7%.

PS: If you've kids, don't forget about the £4,080 Junior ISA or Child Trust Fund allowance. Click the links for full help and info.
Level 5:
If you can lock cash away
Earn up to 2.45% in fixed-rate savings. These pay more than normal savings, & the rate is certain, but you can't withdraw early. Full help & best buys in Top Fixed-Rate Savings, in brief...

- The top straightforward fixes:
Top 1yr is Charter Savings' 1.79% AER (min £1k), Charter Savings is 1.91% for 2yrs (min £1k) and United Trust Bank is 2.05% for 3yrs (min £500).

- Earn more (probably) in top sharia banking fix:
Al Rayan Bank pays 1.76% over 18mths and 2.02% over 2yrs. We say 'probably' as Islam bars interest, so it's an 'expected profit rate'. It has always fully paid out, but by definition isn't certain. Not a bad option - anyone can open it.

- Earn more but not UK-protected:
Fidor Bank pays 1.8% for 1yr, 2.2% for 2yrs and 2.45% for 3yrs, but it's German-protected to a similar amount (up to €100,000, about £77,000). So in the unlikely event it went bust, you need to consider that you're reliant on the German govt to bail you out.
Level 6:
Top normal savings
Earn up to 1.45% easy access. The most flexible savings, allowing big amounts and withdrawals whenever you need. Rates are variable, so once you get 'em, keep an eye on 'em. Full best buys in Top Savings.

- Top straightforward deal:
Tesco Bank pays 1.27% (min £1) and allows unlimited penalty-free withdrawals a year, or Virgin Money pays 1.26% (min £1), though to get that rate you can only make three withdrawals/yr.

- Earn more but not UK-protected: RCI Bank, at 1.45% easy access with unlimited withdrawals, tops many best-buy tables, but it's French-protected (up to €100,000). So in the unlikely event it went bust, consider that you're reliant on the French govt to bail you out. Not necessarily a problem, but worth knowing.

PS from Martin: I'm off, see you for the vote. I'm taking a couple of days to be a daddy & husband. Back Thu for the ITV referendum all-nighter. So this week's email's in the very capable hands of MSE Guy & the team.

Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via


New. Shift debt to PRE-APPROVED 40mth 0% card

The price war hots up with new top balance transfer - cut £100s or even £1,000s off the cost of existing debt

The cheapest-ever 40mth 0% balance transfer card launched last week - now, there's a new even-cheaper card, as MBNA has fired itself into top spot with a lower fee. A balance transfer card pays off existing credit & store cards for you, so you owe it instead, but at 0%. Repayments clear the debt rather than just paying interest, so you're debt-free quicker.

Yet will you be accepted? Applying marks your credit file, so to avoid this, our Balance Transfer Eligibility Calc shows which you've best odds of getting, letting you minimise applications. Simon emailed: "Owed £2,555 paying £90/mth interest. Used your calc, got 37mths 0%. Saved a fortune." That's c. £3,300 saved over 37mths. Plus for the MBNA card, some will have a '100% chance', ie, pre-approval (if they pass an ID check).

TOP 0% Balance transfer cards 0% deal (REP APR AFTER 0% ENDS) ONE-OFF FEE
New. MBNA (eligibility calc / apply*) - longest, lowest fee, pre-approved Up to 40mths 0% (20.9%) 2.5%
Virgin (eligibility calc / apply*) - joint-longest 0%, not an 'up to' length 40mths 0% (20.9%) 2.53% (min £3)
Barclaycard (eligibility calc / apply*) - long, lower-fee Up to 32mths 0% (18.9%) 0.72%
Virgin (eligibility calc / apply*) - long 0% low-fee that isn't an 'up to' 32mths 0% (19.9%) 0.99% (min £3)
AA (eligibility calc / apply*) - longest NO-FEE 0% 24mths 0% (i) (19.9%) NONE
(i) Must transfer at least £500, otherwise you get 22mths 0% (if accepted)

  • Tip 1: Go for the lowest fee in the time you're sure you can repay. Most 0% cards charge a fee to transfer your balance, eg, 2.5% is £25 per £1,000 shifted. So calculate how long you think you'll take to clear the debt, add a bit for safety, then pick the lowest fee within that time. Unsure? Play safe and go long, even with a bigger fee.

  • Tip 2: Some are 'up to' 0%s, so you may get a shorter deal. That's why we include the best non 'up-to' options. If the eligibility calc suggests you've good odds of getting these, unlike the others, you know what you'll get.

  • Balance Transfer Golden Rules. Full help, get cashback & ALL best buys: Balance Transfers (APR Examples).
    a) Never miss the min monthly repayment, or you can 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 on these. It usually isn't at the cheap rate and cash withdrawals hit your credit file.


Undecided? Martin's 'In or Out?' guide. The vote's tomorrow. No spin - what are the facts? EU In or Out? PS: Why not take your kids to the booth & teach them about democracy?

New. Should you buy euros/dollars before EU vote result? New trick solves this problem. Euros/dollars etc trick

Hi-Tec 25% off EVERYTHING incl sale code, eg, £14 sandals, £18 trainers. MSE Blagged. Extra discount on clothes & footwear. Hi-Tec code

Ends Sun. Last-EVER Tesco Clubcard double-up. Every £5 of points gets £10 of vouchers across 11 categories incl toys, home, entertainment & garden. See Reclaim and Boost Tesco Vouchers.

Code gets 2x specs for £20 plus 'free' £10 tint. MSE Blagged. Cheapest we've seen it, by stacking code with online offers. Glasses Direct

60+ free UK summer festivals - partaaay. With Glastonbury kicking off this week, we've rounded up the top FREE festivals. Most suitable for families. Incl Coventry’s Godiva festival (Scouting for Girls and The Boomtown Rats playing), Rochdale’s Feel Good Festival (The Fratellis) and Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Free festivals



- £16 for lucky-dip hanging baskets & plants 1,000 avail

- 2,400 Kurt Geiger shoe styles from £17 via code Ends Sun

- 'Free' £10 Amzn/M&S etc vch via £25 spend Ends 19 Jul

- 38-piece meat bundle for £29 via code Ends Sun

- Ocado 25% off £60 AND 6mths' free delivery Ends 17 Jul


- 'Quotes, misquotes & me in the Stronger In Europe leaflet'

- 'I escaped mortgage & saved £3,600 thanks to MSE'

- Free tool: '£2,080 packaged bank fees reclaimed in 24 hrs'

- Speedily find cheep pet insurance eg, 'free' £60 pet Vax


Warning. Booked a holiday but not got insurance? Get it from £5

Do it ASAP so you're covered for cancellation - it doesn't cost any more to be prepared and buy ahead

Sun, sea, sand and sangria is around the corner for many as holidays loom, but you risk a financial catastrophe if you've paid to go away and haven't got insurance. Without it, if you fall ill lasting till you go away, or a death in the family forces you to cancel, you're not covered. Full info in Cheap Travel Insurance - in short:

  • Travel insuranceCover a year's hols from £10. If you go away 2+ times a year (incl UK), annual policies often win. Your cheapest depends on age and destination. Our top picks that meet our min cover levels are Coverwise*, Holidaysafe Lite* & Leisure Guard Lite* - cover starts from £10 for a 30-yr-old in Europe, £49 for a family worldwide. For top value (incl feedback & past payout record), LV* is from £64 (Europe) or £106 (w/wide) for solos, families from £98 & £162. MoneySup*'s comparison can often win too, so check. Full best buys in Annual policies.

  • Just want insurance for one holiday? Cheapest single-trip policies from £5. Leisure Guard Lite* tends to be cheapest, eg, 1wk Europe from £5 for solos (£14 w/wide) and from £10 for families (£28 w/wide). It's worth checking Holidaysafe* too, as there often isn't much between them. See Single-trip travel insurance.

  • Over 65 or pre-existing condition? Don't get fleeced, here's our lowdown...
    - Aged 65+? Prices can rocket, but there are competitive options from £17/yr. See Over-65s Travel Insurance.
    - Have medical issues? Always declare them. If getting cover's tough, see Pre-Existing Medical Conditions help.

PS: Travel ins questions? MSE Helen & Tony are doing a Twitter Q&A at 1-1.30pm on Thu. Ask via @MoneySavingExp.


2,400 Kurt Geiger shoe styles from £17 via code. MSE Blagged. Gets an extra 20% off its already-reduced Shoeaholics outlet stock, eg, £35 sandals for £17 deliv. Limited stock per style, ends Sun. Kurt Geiger

'Free' £10 Amazon/M&S etc vch via £25 spend at 500 retailers. MSE Blagged. Plus trick to boost to £12 for Amazon vch. For newbies to Swagbucks' cashback offers. £10 voucher

£16 lucky-dip hanging baskets and plants bundle (norm £36). MSE Blagged. Two baskets (petunias, begonias or fuchsias) and selection of six jumbo plug plants (eg, busy lizzies, geraniums). 1,000 avail. Jersey Plants Direct

Can you beat Vodafone's hike? The mobile giant's raising out-of-bundle charges by up to 94%. Beat Vodafone hike. Plus as we reported this month, ALL customers should urgently check bills for errors - see Vodafone warning.

Up to 50% off sales at Asos, Habitat, Debenhams, John Lewis, Selfridges, Mulberry & more. The summer sales have kicked off with a bumper set. Summer sales round-up

FREE £15 6-point summer car check. Battery, bulbs, wipers, oil, screenwash (incl free refill) & air con. Halfords


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Get paid to drink & more under-25s' MoneySaving tips

Plus free £3k towards a first home, free Office software, build your credit score & 16-25 Railcard trick

Starting out in your financial life can be confusing, and most tips are focused on students. Yet while we have those, we've also help for ALL young people in our 47 MoneySaving tips for under-25s. Here are a few to get you going:

  • Young saving Get paid to drink (yes, really). If you're 18 or 19, get up to £20 per outing to be a pub mystery shopper. Don't worry, it's responsible - you're checking if pubs, clubs and even bingo halls serve alcohol without asking for ID. Pls be Drinkaware.

  • The best place to start saving is a Help to Buy ISA. Whether or not you end up buying a home with it, the interest rates are decent, up to 3%. And if you use it to buy, the state adds 25% on top, up to £3k. Either way, it's a sensible place to stash spare cash - see full info and top picks in our Help to Buy ISAs guide.

  • Student? FREE Microsoft Office & huge Apple discounts. Student status unlocks a world of discounts, incl FREE Microsoft Office, plus up to £200 off Macs/£40 off iPads + Beats headphones thrown in. See loads more Student Deals & Discounts incl cheap music streaming and money off shopping.

  • Time to build your credit history. At some point as life moves on you'll probably want a mortgage or to borrow. For that you need a decent credit history - and that can be tricky if you've little credit. To help build one, there's a new trick to make paying rent on time boost your credit score. Plus see 36 Credit Score Boosting Tips.

  • 10-12% off a 16-25 Railcard AND get it until you're nearly 27. The 16-25 Railcard gives 1/3 off most rail fares - it's normally £30 for 1yr but students with an NUS Extra card can get 12% off, and for everyone else there's a 10% off code till Sun. Plus play your cards right and you can get one until you're almost 27 - see Railcard trick.

Related: 59 Student MoneySaving Tips | 55 Tips for Renters | Student Bank Accounts | Graduate Bank Accounts


England, Wales & NI all through. Euro 2016 deals - cheapest replica shirts, Papa John's 33% off & BBQ, beer & cider offers. Get replica shirts from £50, sizzling BBQs & cheap grub, Papa John's 33% off, plus 20x 440ml beers for £10. Please be Drinkaware. Full Euro 2016 deals.

38-piece meat bundle for £29 via code (norm £49). MSE Blagged. Includes chicken, steaks, burgers, mince, meatballs and sausages. Ends Sun. Muscle Food

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I can't believe it. Renewed my car insurance after getting your email - the cheapest quote was nearly £600 cheaper than my renewal price, plus £200 off the policy excess. MASSIVE thanks."

Ocado triple code - 25% off £60, 10% off brands AND 6mths' free delivery. MSE Blagged. Used cleverly, this newbies' code gets 1) 25% off a £60 spend; 2) A free anytime delivery pass (norm £50); 3) 10% off 1,000+ brands (Ocado already price-matches Tesco). See Ocado newbies code.

£1.29 strawberries, £12 1L Pimm's (was £20). Stocking up for the tennis? See how to net the best Wimbledeals, incl strawberries & cream, Pimm's and champers. Pls be Drinkaware.



Free mobile game to help dementia research. Charity Alzheimer's Research UK has a free mobile game to help scientists better understand how the brain works. Take the job of a captain steering a ship, and answer questions such as how much sleep you get. The anonymous data is sent to scientists, who will analyse it to help them understand how the brain deals with navigation.


How good is your mobile network's service & coverage? Please vote for your current provider based on customer service AND coverage over the last year.

Asda | BT | Co-operative | EE | Giffgaff | iD | Life | O2 | PG
Post Office | Talk | Tesco | Three | Virgin | Vodafone | Other

No touching. 22,918 of you told us what you thought of contactless cards for spending in last week's poll. Overall, 32% don't use them or think they shouldn't be allowed, 26% like them with the current spending limit of £30, while 16% would prefer a personalised limit. See contactless cards poll results.



- Top story: Student loans petition could be debated despite Government rejection

- School dinners chaos after parents caught out by revamp of ParentPay system

- Rewards scheme unveiled for Android Pay users - could you benefit?

- Data hacking victims should have help claiming compensation, report finds

- Best-buy savings accounts often beat investing in the stock market, study finds



'Who Stole My Spear?' A sharp, funny look at the life of modern men. Fifty copies blagged for MoneySavers. Want one?


Should I share winnings from my secret lottery tickets? I'm part of a weekly lottery pool of five, and the one responsible for buying tickets. We all put forward a set of numbers, but if I put them all on twice and pay for the second lot on my own, would it be wrong of me to keep half if we hit the jackpot? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I share secret lottery ticket winnings? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: The 'No More Buying Books' challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: Trip to New York
- Old-style board thread of the week: Weekly meal planner and cost
- Discussion of the week: Do you send cards for anniversaries?


- £20+ of free beer deals including Carling, Amstel, Kozel and Sol



Thu 23 Jun - Good Morning Britain, ITV, 7.40am. Read previous
Fri 24 Jun - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. View previous
Mon 27 Jun - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 27 Jun - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast


Wed 22 Jun - Share Radio, 11.20am
Thu 23 Jun - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.20pm
Tue 28 Jun - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm



Q: I made a big mistake - I booked non-refundable accommodation online but need to cancel it, as I booked the wrong place for a trade show I'm visiting. Do I have a 14-day cooling-off period as with some other services? Bridget, by email.

MSE Megan's A: Unfortunately not. It sounds like you're thinking of the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013, which give you 14 days to cancel a service ordered online, starting the day after you place your order.

Unfortunately, accommodation booked for a specific time is exempt from this law, so you haven't got a cooling-off period. However, there's no harm in trying your luck to see if the company will help you out, as it may want to keep you as a customer. See our Consumer Rights guide for lots more information.

Please suggest a question of the week (we can't reply to individual emails).



That's it for this week, but before we go, check out this thread from the forum: Footie widow or super fan? Whether you've displayed a tactical masterclass to rearrange your work schedule to see all the games or you'd rather give the action a red card (one forumite said he'd rather poke himself in the eye than watch), have your say about the current football feast.

We hope you save some money,
Martin & the MSE team

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