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22nd Aug 2018
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 This info may be out of date.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 August 2018
         
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.
                                                           
 


 

The top MoneySaving hacks of 2018 (so far)

Incl 10p/L off petrol, Ikea tricks, McDonald's hack, savings loophole & beat airline seat rip-offs

This year we've brought you another bumper crop of quick and easy MoneySaving tips - and these little tricks often mean BIG savings. And as time's running out for some of them, now's a great time to recap. See the Best MoneySaving Hacks for the full list, here's the pick of the bunch...

  1. NOW ENDED. How to get 10p/litre off Tesco petrol & diesel. Till Sun. Big saving with prices among the highest in 4yrs. See Cheap Petrol.
     
  2. Get-out-of-jail-free trick to bag top savings deals, incl 2.06% 1yr fixed rate. Bag today's top rates but hedge your bets with the freedom to switch if they rise soon - which may happen given the recent base rate jump. See savings trick.

  3. Sit together for FREE on BA, Easyjet, Virgin etc. They've sneaky ways to tempt you to pay, but we've airline-by-airline tips to beat 'em.

  4. 20+ Ikea hacks, incl store shortcuts, half-price delivery & bargain corner. Swerve the crowds and save with our Ikea tips. Andrew told us: "Asked if I could buy a display model - got 40% off."

  5. Save £550+/yr by getting car insurance at the right time. See our when to get a new policy trick. Hayley tweeted: "I read MSE's tip and saved £57/mth [£684/yr]. Very happy."

  6. Use contact lenses? How to get 'em cheaper. MSE Sarah M discovered this contact lens trick that gets up to 20% off. 

  7. Get a YEAR's 2for1 at 1,000s of restaurants AND cinemas for £1ish. At Zizzi, Pizza Hut, Frankie & Benny's, independents and more. Plus Odeon, Vue, Cineworld etc. See 2for1 meals and movies trick. Francesca emailed: "I paid £1.05 and have 2for1 meals and movies till July 2019. Thanks for sharing."

  8. How to pay 30p for £1.90 meds. Watch Martin's drugs bust and his 5 top tips for cutting medicine costs.
     
  9. Little-known ways to bank at the post office - works with most banks. See post office banking functions.  

  10. Married? Don't miss out on a FREE £900. More than 1m eligible people who are married or in a civil partnership still don't claim the marriage tax allowance. Su & Mike emailed: "Took 2 mins to fill in the form, 5 days later received refund for previous years. Many thanks."

  11. McDonald's hack: pay 59p, get £2 Big Mac & fries again & again. See our McDonald's hack. Lee's loving it: "I've had eight this month." (But please eat responsibly.)

  12. Rare Amazon cashback - if you have (or know) a kid. Most big cashback sites don't work on at the giant, yet it can be possible to bag Amazon cashback.

  13. Travel in London? Free tool auto-claims when you're delayed. Full info in tube and train refunds. MSE Kelvin's happy: "Got a refund the day I connected my account - didn't even realise I'd been delayed."

  14. Use less plastic AND save cash. Incl when it's cheaper to buy unpackaged food, where to get free water refills and the soap vs shower gel debate. How to live with less plastic. 

  15. How to beat school hols travel price hikes. Eg, hidden cheap booking dates, £608 per-person holiday for £324. Beat school hols hikes. Wendy told us: "We saved £2,000 all-in flying out of Glasgow instead of Gatwick as Scottish children were back at school."

  16. Make old £1 coins spendable again. A whopping 169m are still down sofas, in piggybanks etc. See £1 coin help.
 
 

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.

 

 
 

Cheapest EVER loans still available at 2.7% - but only just

Record low rates are fast-vanishing but some are clinging on to life. Yet ONLY borrow if you need to

Loan rates have been on the up since this month's base rate hike. Sainsbury's offers many standout deals but last week it upped rates from a cheapest-ever 3.2% on £5k-£7,499. It's also raised them on £20k-£25k loans - which we don't normally cover in this email. But on £7.5k-£15k it's kept the lowest-ever 2.7% rate intact. We can't predict the future as both competition and the base rate have an effect, but we can't see rates going lower. So if you need to borrow (eg, for a new kitchen), now's a good time.

Yet getting accepted is often the issue, so ALWAYS use our Loans Eligibility Calculator first. It shows which loans you've the best chance of getting before you apply, without hitting your creditworthiness.

  • Should you get a loan? We're not suggesting you borrow just because it's cheap. Only get a loan if you NEED it, you've budgeted and can afford repayments. 

  • Cheapest personal loans (but beware representative rates). All loans are 'rep APR', so that rate ONLY needs to be given to 51% of those accepted - others can be charged more. All below are for 1-5yrs.

TODAY'S CHEAPEST LOANS
AMOUNT PROVIDER & RATE (REP APR)
£7.5k-£15k
Sainsbury's Bank* (needs free Nectar card) - 2.7%-2.8%, Cahoot* - 2.8%
£5k-£7,499
Sainsbury's Bank* (needs free Nectar card) - 3.3%-3.4%, Zopa* - 3.4%
£3k-£4,999
Zopa* - 5%-6.9%, Ratesetter* / Admiral* - 6.7%
£2k-£2,999
Ratesetter* - 6.7%. But usually beaten by credit card loans
£1k-£1,999
Ratesetter* - 6.7%. Usually beaten by credit card loans.


  • With Nationwide? It beats most rates by 0.5 percentage points for Nationwide current-account holders.

  • Loan Golden Rules. Full help in our Cheap Loans guide.
    a) Minimise the amount and repay as quickly as you can.
    b) Pay on time or risk a charge and credit black mark.
    c) If borrowing to repay card debt, balance transfers are often cheaper.
 

FREE Harry Potter Lego mini toy - Sat only. At certain toy shops, but limited stock. A-brick-cadabra

New. Top easy-access savings: 1.41%. Here you can fund and withdraw at will. Bank of Cyprus UK* with its new 1.41% AER variable account has edged ahead of Coventry Building Society's* 1.4% AER variable deal. Both can be opened with £1+ and have £85k per person UK protection, but you can only make a max 3 penalty-free withdrawals/yr with Coventry. But rates will dive in a year so ditch 'em, as they've a 0.56% and 0.25% 1yr bonus, respectively. See Top Savings for more.

170 autumn flowering plug plants £10 delivered. MSE Blagged. Norm £18. Choice of pansy, primrose, polyanthus or wallflower. Or get four varieties (680 plants) for £20. 2,000 avail. Jersey Plants

How to declutter & make £100s this bank holiday. See our 40+ eBay and 25+ Facebook selling tips.

And in a big month for broadband & phone line news, there's more...

Alert. Beat Virgin Media price hikes. 5m face up to £48/yr b'band, phone & TV rises. Virgin hikes

Ends Thu. Cheapest fibre broadband & line in a year - '£16.67/mth'. Via this 1yr newbies' deal from Sky-owned Now Broadband, available to 83% of the UK (check your eligibility via the link).

 
 

Urgent. Save possible £350/yr with rare, uber-cheap Big 6 energy deal

This EDF tariff is a stonker in some areas, a stinker in others. For some, it's a powerhouse weapon to beat hikes

Wow, a Big 6 tariff worth shouting about. We've crunched the numbers and this is the cheapest big name deal in nine of the 14 Eng, Scot and Wales energy regions, based on typical use. In some, it's close to the cheapest overall - a rarity in a year dominated by small firms. Yet it's a flop in the other five. So with Big 6 price hikes galore, it's a good escape for some.

  • Is EDF the cheapest big name for you? The regions where it wins. We know a big switching turn-off for many is moving to firms you've never heard of. So if a biggie is important use our Cheap Energy Club big name supplier comparison to check if this EDF Easy Online Exclusive Sep19 - fixed for 1yr and dual-fuel only (gas & elec) - is your cheapest among the big boys. Importantly, you can't get it direct from EDF.

    The list below is where it's cheapest - incl the cost on typical use after £25 MSE cashback which you get via our Cheap Energy Club. Most regions below are sub-£900/yr which is rare for the Big 6 now. For comparison, the avg Big 6 standard tariff on typical use is a whopping £1,210/yr. We're not saying it'll definitely win in these areas as prices vary based on use, but it's worth checking:

    - Eastern, £860/yr (incl parts of London & Essex + all of East Anglia, Bucks, Herts etc)
    - Yorkshire, £865/yr
    - East Midlands, £876/yr
    - Northern, £880/yr (mainly north east England)
    - Swalec, £885/yr (mainly South Wales)
    - Norweb, £888/yr (big parts of north west England)
    - Southern, £890/yr (big parts of south England, eg, Hampshire, Sussex, Dorset, and parts of London)
    - Scottish Power, £893/yr (broadly the southern half of Scotland, incl Edinburgh and parts of Glasgow)
    - Midlands, £907/yr

    Update, 23 Aug, 10.20am. EDF has changed the tariff a touch, making it about £10/yr more expensive on avg than the figures above, but all the principles written still apply, including the point below that this revamped version is unlikely to be available for long.

    - Can I get it if I'm with EDF? Yes, and you get the £25 dual-fuel MSE cashback via the link above. Some EDF custs may be charged exit fees to switch, so check. But if you're one of the 1.3m on its standard tariff, you won't pay 'em.

    - How long will it be around? There's no official end date but we expect to go soon given it's cheap for many.

  • Just want the cheapest? Ditching Big 6 standard tariffs for the cheapest saves an avg £360/yr on typical use - do a full market comparison to check. We've also filters for only 'Good' or 'Superb' service firms. Those links incl small firm deals. 
 

Confirmed. Tesco WILL let you spend Clubcard points as soon as you get 'em. It's finally released full Clubcard shake-up info - news of which we broke in July.

Switch to the top service bank and get either £160 Bose headphones, £150 Expedia vch or £140 Fitbit. First Direct's won every bank customer service poll we've done and last week came top of the competition watchdog's first official ratings table. So if service is key, new First Direct* switchers can choose a freebie from the above and more. There's also a linked 5% regular saver and some get a £250 0% overdraft. You must pay in £1k+/mth to avoid a £10/mth fee. See Top Bank Accounts for more info and how switching works.

£35 for 7 bottles of wine & 2 glasses. MSE Blagged. Wine alone norm £80. Via Naked Wines newbies' code. 1,400 avail (pls be Drinkaware).

Apple student deals: buy a Mac or iPad Pro & get up to 10% off + 'free' £130-£250 Beats headphones. Also for teachers, parents and anyone who works in education. How to bag an Apple discount.

15% off Poundshop.com, eg, 85p 40 PG Tips tea bags. MSE Blagged. Del £5 and min £10 spend, so best on bulk-buys. Poundshop

 
 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 36 mths 0%, 2.49% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27 mths 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR) 

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  1. MoneySupermarket.com*
  2. Confused.com*
  3. CompareTheMarket*
  4. Gocompare*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*
Aviva*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Sainsbury's Bank* 3.3% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs)
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.7% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs) 

Standard b'band & line rent: Now equiv £11.67/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Now equiv £16.67./mth

Choice of £150 Expedia vch, tech gadget & more: First Direct
5% interest fixed for a year: Nationwide FlexDirect 

 

7 cheap train tips - as fares set to rise AGAIN

You can't stop the annual hikes (grrrr) which hit in Jan, but these clever tips can keep costs on track NOW 

Comparisons have shown UK fares are already up to 10x some European equivalents. And it'll get worse in the New Year, when millions will see fares jump by about 3%, as announced last week. But turn the understandable anger into action, as you can cut costs right away, whether travelling this bank holiday or beyond...

  • Train ticket savings tips. Without further delay (though we can't say the same about the trains):

    1. Get 3x Clubcard vouchers' value. Make £10 worth £30 at rail-ticket site RedSpottedHanky - our top Tesco reward.

    2. Pay £10 for a £30 railcard. Gets 1/3 off for families, couples, under-26s, over-60s etc in parts of the UK. £10 railcard

    3. Spread the cost of season tickets. They're usually cheapest, but can cost £1,000s - see season ticket help.

    4. Check if two singles beat a return. It may sound counter-logical, though that's train ticketing for you...

    5. Cheap seats are released 10-12 weeks ahead - pounce ASAP. You can get a free alert the day they're on sale.

    6. You can sometimes get a cheap 'advance' ticket just 10 mins before departure. See firm-by-firm deadlines.

    7. Check if split-ticketing saves. Yvonne's example explains it: "Instead of buying Manchester Airport to Scarborough, I got a ticket from Manchester Airport to York, and another from York to Scarborough - I saved £60." See split tickets.

  • Plus you've strong rights if delayed. High prices are just one gripe, so too are constant delays. But you've often a right to compensation as most train firms pay at least 50% of the fare back for 30min+ delays, whatever the reason. Full help in Train Delays.
 

New. Top student bank accounts 2018/19, incl up to £3,000 0% overdraft. If you're off to uni (or know someone who is), our updated guide has the top student accounts 2018/19. 

SKY HAGGLE - SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: 
"My father-in-law was paying £71.50/mth for Sky. I haggled for him and he's now paying £42/mth. Thanks for all your help, MSE team."
 (Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Want an MSE Charity grant? Our charity's offering up to £7,500 each to organisations that aim to improve people's mental health and independence by teaching practical money and budgeting skills. Its latest grant-giving round opens for applications on Mon 3 Sep - and you can now take a quiz to check if your organisation's eligible.

 

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK

Have your say on rail fares (just as another hike was announced last week). A reform of train fares is being planned by the rail industry and passenger watchdog Transport Focus, which could change the way tickets are priced and sold. If you want to have your say, don't miss the boat (or train) - respond to their survey.

 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

How do you rate your bank account's service? Every six months we ask for your help to track the quality of banks' customer service. By comparing your answers with last time, we can see which have got better or worse. How do you rate your bank account's service?

Zen tops our broadband customer service poll. In our twice-yearly broadband service poll, Zen emerged triumphant, with 94% of its customers rating it 'great'. Origin came bottom - 56% of its customers considered its service 'poor'. Of the biggies, Plusnet came top while TalkTalk claimed the wooden spoon. See full broadband poll results

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I keep paying rent? I'm renting a room off someone who's subletting it to me and a letter just arrived telling him to vacate the property due to non-payment of rent. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I carry on paying rent when I know someone else is pocketing it? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Should my brother be receiving more support?
- Competitions thread of the week: £150 Debenhams voucher
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Help - flies
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Hiring the children's other parent as nanny
- Discussion of the week: Help - hundreds of dog poos in shared garden

 

No7 - £37 of make-up for £12, ends Tue
Spartoo - 10% off Converse & Birkenstock, incl sale
Merlin - 50% off theme parks, eg, Legoland, when you recycle
Iceland - £5 off £40 online shop if you've a Matalan card
Lush - 'free' £7.50 face mask when you recycle

Toby Carvery - For £1 when a grown-up buys a main
Prezzo - For £1 when a grown-up buys a main
Harvester - For £1 when a grown-up buys a main
Sizzling Pubs - For £1 when a grown-up buys a main
Bella Italia - Free when a grown-up buys a main

H&M - £5 off £25 when you recycle clothes
Free outdoor gyms - Save £100+ on annual membership
Halfords - FREE summer car check
Cheap BBQs - Incl disposables from £1, kettle BBQs from £9
£1 sun cream - Plus five-star UVA protection creams from £2

Quick Forum Tips

25% off 6 bottles of wine at Tesco. Corking
£15 Soap and Glory set (norm £40) at Boots. Clean up
Free Purina cat food sample. Me-wow

 
 

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Fri 24 Aug - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Tue 28 Aug 
- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I've just moved into my first property and don't know where to start with my energy. How do I find who the current provider is and do I need to contact it? Nikhil, by email.

MSE Steve B's A: Firstly, take meter readings so you're only billed for the usage after you moved in. To find the supplier, there are helpline numbers you can ring - see our Cheap Energy Club FAQs to locate them as they vary by region. 

But don't just blindly stick with the previous supplier once you know who it is. Our club shows the cheapest tariff in your area and the odds are it won't be the one you're on. Many can save £300+/yr by switching - go to our Cheap Energy Club for full help. 

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

 

'I HAD TO LISTEN TO JESS GLYNNE FOR 5 HOURS STRAIGHT'

That's all for this week, but before we go... there's been an uproar on Twitter after delayed Jet2 customers had to listen to Jess Glynne's 'Hold My Hand' on a loop for up to 5 hours. She may be some people's cup of tea, but clearly not everyone's. Burger King staff also played Toto's 'Africa' for a whole day on a loop at one London outlet after a Twitter contest. So what songs have big firms embedded in your head, whether from ads, because you've been on hold for ages, or just heard it on repeat in their stores? Share your stories on our music on repeat forum thread.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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