Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

The MoneySaving Forum: join to chat & swap tips with other MoneySavers. Learn how in the Forum Introduction Guide


Share on:


Weekly Email
This email was sent
23rd Jan 2019
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 This info may be out of date.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."

23 January 2019
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.


Exclusive. Energy price cap to rise by '£100' in Apr, millions on standard tariffs to pay more

SWITCH NOW, save £100s & beat the hike incl Bulb special, cheap deal

First over to Martin: "If you've not switched tariff in the last year, it's very likely you're paying over the odds on your energy firm's expensive standard tariff. You may think 'isn't there a price cap on standard tariffs, which protects me?' There is, it launched on 1 Jan, but it ain't the best, and it's about to get worse. Here are my five price cap need-to-knows...

1. It's not actually a cap on prices. Instead, it caps the rate charged. Some have reported the cap is £1,137/yr as the max anyone will pay - that is untrue. 

2.  Your cap depends on your usage. The £1,137/yr average figure is what the cap would be for someone with typical usage. If you use more, your cap will be higher. Use less, and it's lower.

3. The cap reduced many standard tariffs by 10%, but switching would've saved 25%. The cap did act to cut costs, but far bigger savings are possible by doing a comparison and switching. 

4. The cap will RISE by about 10% in April. The first price cap rate only lasts from 1 Jan to 31 Mar after which it changes. That's because the cap is reviewed by regulator Ofgem - which sets it based on a published formula about wholesale prices (what energy firms pay) over a 6mth period, the latest of which ends at the end of Jan.  

As that period is nearly over, we've worked with an energy analyst's data and we can now pretty accurately predict the cap will rise by about 10% in April. So for someone with typical use it'll rise from £1,137/yr to about £1,240/yr.

5. Compare and your PREDICTED SAVINGS ARE UNDERESTIMATED. If you're on a standard tariff, price comparisons, including our own Cheap Energy Club, base your savings on the current energy price. Yet all the big six prices are within a quid or two of the cap, and will almost certainly jump with it. So your savings are substantially underestimated - and don't let small savings stop you switching.  

Now over to the team to review the top tariffs..." 

The cheapest energy firms (that we know)

These days the top of any comparison will likely feature small firms you've not heard of. If we're honest, often we don't know much about them either, as weak regulations almost mean one man and his dog can set up a firm. So you've little or no knowledge of their service or financial strength - hence why eight firms have gone bust in the last year.

Of the eight current cheapest, we've only decent info and feedback on three as the others are tiddlers or newbies. So we decided to review the ones we know (though all will show in our full comparison).

Savings below assume you pay the current price cap based on typical use till Mar, then the estimated £1,240/yr cap after. However, the exact amount you pay is based on your tariff, usage and region so everyone's savings vary. And don't forget, as Martin says above, comparisons currently underestimate your likely saving if you're on a standard tariff.

  • New. Cheapest variable: Bulb, top service and special MSE £50 boost - save £240/yr 

    Bulb has 860,000 customers and one of the highest customer service ratings at 76% 'great'. Switch to the Bulb Vari-Fair tariff via this link and you get the usual £25 Cheap Energy Club cashback plus an extra £25 bill credit.

    Factor that in, for the first year, and for someone on typical bills it's an avg £970/yr, the cheapest variable deal, though there are two tiddler firms with cheaper fixes.

    The price is variable so can rise, but if it does, there are no exit fees to leave. Bulb imposed three rises last year, at a combined 19%, but the fact it's still in the best buys shows this is less than much of the competition. Here are the key points (yet if you want price certainty, go for the fixes below)...

    - It's for dual-fuel (ie, gas & elec) custs only.

    - It's not avail in N Ireland.
    - Bulb pays any exit fees your current supplier charges, up to £60/fuel.
    - You can't keep it if you move home.
    - You must pay by monthly direct debit & get paperless bills to qualify. 

    - Prepay customer? The deal's available for a typical £1,011/yr.

    PS: Bulb has a refer-a-friend scheme, which normally pays the referrer and newbie £50 each if the newbie switches to this tariff via Bulb. Our deal pays the newbie the same but you don't need to know an existing customer. 

  • Cheapest fixed rates: Avro for 12mths. Or protect from price hikes longer via Green Network Energy for 18mths. Both with good service and save £220/yr  

    With a fix, the rate per unit of energy is, er, fixed for the term but of course, if you use more, you pay more. Here are the standout deals:

    - 12mth fix for a typical £987/yr (but no cashback). This is from Avro, which has been around since Dec 2015 and has over 500,000 customers, plus it always performs well in our customer service polls, with 65% rating it 'great' in our most recent. See how it compares via a cheap fix comparison.

    - 18mth fix for a typical £989/yr incl MSE cashback. It's from Green Network Energy, which has been supplying UK homes since Oct 2016, is backed by a large Italian firm and has 200,000+ customers. We've worked with it in numerous with recent energy exclusives without any significant issues, and it was rated 69% 'great' in our latest poll. See our long fix comparison to see how it compares for you.

    The fixed deals above are undercut by cheaper tiddlers - incl Lumo, Orbit Energy, People's Energy, Pure Planet and Utility Point - starting at £963/yr incl MSE cashback based on typical use.

  • Prefer a big name supplier? Right now the cheapest from a Big 6 firm is a British Gas 1yr fix at a typical £1,027/yr after MSE cashback - plus most homeowners get 'free' boiler cover for a year. Use our big name provider comparison to see how it compares.

  • Switch without switching. Even though switching is usually best, if you really don't want to, at least move off your firm's expensive standard tariff to its cheapest deal (same energy, same service, same safety, cheaper price). To find your current firm's cheapest, use our my current supplier comparison.

  • Live in Northern Ireland? Our Cheap Energy Club, like all UK comparison sites, does not currently include Northern Ireland, but you can do a comparison via Cheap NI Electricity or the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland's tool.

Parents of under-18s - a MUST-WATCH 
Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm Mon

Back to Martin: "A massive 3.6m of you watched last week's car and home insurance cost-cutting tricks show (if not, watch it here). Next week, how much do you need to save in case your kids go to uni? This isn't about tuition fees, it's about the hidden parental contribution of £1,000s. Every parent (and grandparent, and student) should watch. Plus, reclaiming PPI for the deceased, and Brexit currency questions. Do watch, or program the VCR."


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.



Car insurance costs RISING again - act now to drive down costs 

 Our car insurance system can help you save £100s, even if you're not at renewal

Car insurance was one of the few household expenses to fall over much of 2018, but the latest AA figures show the trend is in reverse. There was a 2.7% rise in the final three months of last year, and other surveys predict prices could continue climbing. So slam the brakes on hikes with our Cheap Car Insurance guide - here's our system in brief...

  • Everyone - check if you can get a cheaper price NOW, even if not at renewal. With prices rising, the sooner you check, the better. If midway into a policy and you find much cheaper cover, as long as you've not claimed you can often cancel your policy for a pro-rata refund (minus a £50ish fee, often worth paying for the saving). But you won't get that year's no-claims discount - see switching mid-policy help. MoneySaver John said: "Cancelled £1,726 policy midway for a £345 deal. Amazing, thanks." Ready to check prices? Here's what to do...

  • Step 1. NEVER auto-renew & instead combine comparisons to scour 100s of insurers in mins. The optimum time to check is 21 days before renewal or start of a first policy. If you're closer than that to renewal, hurry, as prices often rise the nearer you get. Comparison sites don't search identical insurers, nor give identical prices, so try as many as you've time for in this order: MoneySupermarket*,*, Gocompare*, Compare The Market*. See how we rank 'em.

  • Step 2. Then check big insurers not listed on comparison sites. Aviva* and Direct Line* don't appear, and as they can be competitive, they're worth looking into.

  • Step 3. Then check special deals comparisons miss, incl 'free' £60 Amazon gift card. We've a list of the top deals and while they won't always be best for you, they're worth factoring into your comparison. The standouts are:

    - £60 Amazon gift card via this Esure* link (ends Sat).
    - £55 Amazon gift card via this Age Co* link.
    - £50 in Co-op food vouchers via this Co-op Insurance* link.
    Rewards can take up to 120 days from policy start date to arrive.

  • Also check if these counter-logical tricks work... 
    Use trial & error to see if comprehensive is cheaper than 3rd party.
    - Check if adding extra drivers slashes costs. If they're a lower risk than you, it can bring the cost down.
    - See if legitimately tweaking your job description cuts costs.

More help in our Cheap Car Insurance and Under-25s' Car Insurance guides, including how to bag extra cashback.


FREE McDonald's cheeseburger or hamburger via its app till Fri. Dead simple, see free McDonald's.

Ends Thu. Cheapest ever 100+Mb fibre broadband & line - '£18.75/mth' from Virgin. As we told you about last week. It's via this special Virgin Media link for newbies on a 12mth deal - available to 50% of the UK (check eligibility via the link). For more options, see our Broadband Unbundled tool.

90+ supermarket coupons, incl FREE £3ish PG Tips. Worth £85+. See top January coupons

Brexit passport checker - will yours still be valid in Europe if there's no deal? It's all about when your passport's end date is. See if you may need to renew early with a Govt passport checker

More ways to BEAT school holiday travel price hikes. We've new tricks incl extra hidden cheap booking dates, how to exploit the Avios system and flying from Scotland. Wendy said: "We live near London but saved £2,000 on our family trip to Crete flying from Glasgow - same hotel, board and dates." See MSE Jenny's Beat school holiday hikes blog.

Warning. Pension credit benefit change could cost some £7,000/yr. This applies to many who are over state retirement age, but their partner isn't. Pension credit alert


New. Trick to use sharia savings to beat the best buys

Willing to try? Combine a UK Islamic bank + cashback to supercharge 1yr fixed savings, eg, to 2.25% on £10,000

Many people's savings are at dire rates, earning less than 1%, which means in real terms they're losings not savings, once you factor in inflation. If you want to earn more, we've simple best buys to up your interest. However, if you're an aggressive saver who likes to be on top of the best rates, we've a trick to boost what you earn further. Let's start with the simple stuff... (All providers below have full £85,000 per person, per institution, savings protection.)

  • SavingsTop simple savings rates: NEW 1.55% easy access or 2.03% for 1yr. With easy access, you can add and withdraw cash at will, but the rate is variable and can change. With a fix, your money is locked away for a set time, usually in return for a higher and, er, fixed rate.

    - New. 1.55% AER easy access. ICICI Bank UK pays that rate; next best is Marcus* at 1.5% AER. Both are variable rates from a min £1 deposit and incl a 1yr fixed bonus. Keep checking 'em in case the rate drops - for more help and options, see easy-access savings.

    - 2.03% 1yr fix. Charter Savings Bank pays 2.03% AER (min £1k), or if you've less, app-only Atom Bank offers 2% AER (min £50). If you want to fix for 2yrs, Investec is 2.35% AER (min £25k) or app-only Tandem is 2.3% AER (min £1k). More info, plus longer fixes, in top fixed savings.

  • New. Trick to up your rate - use a UK-regulated sharia fix and grab cashback on top. A sharia savings account is one that follows the Islamic rule that prohibits interest, so the rate paid is an 'expected profit', not interest. It also follows the rule not to invest in the likes of gambling and alcohol. They are open to anyone, of any faith.

    While there is less certainty you'll be paid the 'expected profit', we're not aware of any UK-based sharia banks that have failed to do so. The 'profit' is taxed like interest.

    - 1yr fixes. Top payer is Gatehouse Bank which gives a 2.15% 'expected profit' AER on a 1yr fix (min £1k). Yet newbies who apply via savings marketplace Raisin (not direct to Gatehouse) get £10 cashback on £10k to £39,999 (more on larger sums). This in effect ups the rate to 2.25% on £10k.
    - 2yr fixes. Gatehouse pays 2.35% AER (min £1k), less than fellow Islamic bank Al Rayan at 2.42% AER (min £1k), but via Raisin again Gatehouse pays £10+ cashback if you've at least £10k, which means it can win for some.

New. Cheap iPhone XR - with a huge 15GB data for the price of 2GB. The latest iPhone is never MoneySaving, but if you'll get one, at least do it cheapest... like this. We've blagged a top deal for O2 newbies* (via to get 15GB data + unltd mins & texts on a 64GB handset. Use code 10MSE at the checkout and it's £165 upfront then £34/mth, plus you're sent a £100 cheque within 3mths. Over the 2yr contract it's about the same price as the cheapest way to bag 2GB with the same phone on any network. For more help, see Cheap iPhones.  

Boots up to 70% clearance - will it happen? It seemed set to start last week but didn't. We're still chasing, full updates in Boots boost

£20 Ciaté nail polish set (norm £72). MSE Blagged. 12 mini polishes (6ml), incl shimmer & glitter effects. Ciaté

Tesco to ditch 3x Clubcard value on rail fares via Redspottedhanky. Due to last till Thu 31 Jan but could be derailed earlier. Rail discount

FREE £20 eye test at Optical Express. MSE Blagged. Plus 10% off glasses & free second pair. Free eye test

TalkTalk to hit 100,000s of TV customers with £4/mth price rise - how to avoid it. See TalkTalk help.


Tell your friends about us

They can get this email free every week



Longest 0%: HSBC* 32 months 0%, 1.4% fee (21.9% rep APR) plus £25 cashback if you shift £300+
No-fee 0%: Santander* 27 months 0%, no fee (18.9% rep APR) 

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  1. MoneySupermarket*
  3. Gocompare*
  4. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* 3.4% rep APR 
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.8% rep APR (Nectar custs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Sky Broadband equiv £14.67/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
TalkTalk equiv £18.39/mth

Top for service + free switching £125: First Direct 
Free £150 to switch + 2% bills cashback: NatWest Reward 


8 PlanetSaving tips, incl recycle the 'unrecyclable'

Plus often save cash in the process - incl FREE £17.50 MAC lipstick & up to 50p off coffee every time

Let's be frank, sometimes 'going green' can cost you. But with environmental issues rightly in the spotlight, we've ways you can help save the planet through often lesser known methods AND sometimes save money or even make a few bob. (Of course, while the energy article at the top of this email is about cutting bills, using less is also a good way to go green.)

  • New. Free way to recycle the 'unrecyclable'. From contact lenses to toothpaste tubes, there's a lot we chuck in the general waste, as councils won't always accept them in the recycling bin. Yet we've found ways you can recycle these and lots of other 'unrecyclables' at no cost and help charity too. Forumite arbrighton has been busy recycling coffee pods: "We found local(ish) drop-off points - and go three or four times a year."

  • New. Get cash for tech 'leftovers', eg, empty boxes, instruction manuals & remote controls. To avoid yet more waste, flog them so in effect you recycle the items and get paid. Eg, we've seen Samsung TV remotes go for £50. Get cash for junk

  • Flog old mobiles for up to £500. While you normally get more on eBay, it's usually easier via mobile-reselling sites, eg, £505 for a 64GB iPhone X. Plus specialist sites often test them & sell them on in the developing world at reasonable prices. See how to sell old mobiles.

  • Free water bottle refills. To avoid plastic waste, we've found an app that lists cafés, shops etc that let you fill up for free. This and more in 13 ways to use less plastic AND save cash. Related: Tap water rights in restaurants and bars.

  • Free £17.50 MAC lipstick & other beauty freebies for recycling old containers. Some big brands give freebies if you take certain used containers back. How to bag FREE beauty products.

  • Get £5 off £25 at H&M by recycling old towels, clothes & more. You can take ANY old textiles (eg, clothes, towels, sheets) no matter the brand or condition. How to get a £5 off £25 voucher.

  • Buy a £1 reusable cup to get up to 50p off most Costa, Pret & Starbucks drinks EVERY time. Cut the cost of caffeine. See our coffee cup trick for where to find the cheapest cups and how much it'll save you.

  • Keep the RIGHT food in the fridge to avoid waste. Where's best to store food is a source of debate, but doing it right can lengthen its life. Check where you should keep bread, fruit, veg and more in 12 ways to STOP food-and-drink waste.
"Thanks. After seeing Martin talk about how some people have been paying too much towards their student loans, I called and within 10 mins was refunded over £1,000."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

Thorntons extra 15% off sale chocolates via code. MSE Blagged. Even valid on 3for2. £4 del. Thorntons



How much data do you use on your mobile? With the growing use of social networks, streaming services, gaming and more all done on mobiles, we wanted to ask how much data do you crunch in a month?

MoneySavers say it's acceptable to borrow for houses and cars - but not for Christmas. Last week, we asked what you thought it was right or wrong to borrow for. MoneySavers overwhelmingly said it's OK to borrow for a new home or car, but not for Christmas or hobby gear such as cameras or ski equipment. See full poll results.



Should our friends pay for part of our holiday? They've asked if we'd like to go on holiday with them. We've given the dates we're free but the only weeks they can travel are more expensive. Is it OK to ask them to pay the difference, given we could've gone for a cheaper deal? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should our friends pay for part of our holiday? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: The 'Make up to £10 a day' challenge
- Competitions thread of the week: Four cases of Proudly Vegan wine
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Old-Style weight loss part 11
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: Trying to conceive
- Discussion of the week: Which professions do you think are overworked/underpaid?


Cadbury Freddo - 10p (norm 26p) for a limited time
Free fitness - via videos and smartphone apps
Debenhams - 'Beauty Club' freebies
Amazon - 'free' £5 credit for some
£30 specs - incl Calvin Klein, Davidoff & Jaguar

Toby Carvery - 33% off mains (ends Thu)
Pizza Express - 2for1 on mains (Sun-Thu)
GBK - classic burger, chips and drink £10 (after 5pm)
Zizzi - 40% off food (days vary)
Harvester - 33% off mains (ends Thu)

Meerkat Movies trick - year's 2for1 on Tue/Wed from £1ish
Odeon - two tickets for £7 any day for Vodafone customers
Vue - £4-£5.50 cinema tickets on Mondays with code
Cineworld - £10 off Unlimited card code
Odeon - 'Screen Unseen' £5ish preview tickets

Quick Forum Tips

Nip + Fab £5 sale. Fab-ulous
Sell unwanted gift cards. Play your cards right
Lidl weekend offers.A Lidl treat



Thu 24 Jan - Good Morning Britain - Deals of the Week, ITV, 7.40am
Fri 25 Jan - This Morning - Martin's Quick Deals, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 28 Jan - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 28 Jan - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again
Mon 28 Jan - The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm. See previous


Wed 23 Jan - BBC Radio Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Wed 23 Jan - BBC Radio 4, You & Yours with Winifred Robinson, from 12.15pm, Ryanair
Fri 25 Jan - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 28 Jan - TalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Mon 28 Jan - BBC Radio York, Beth McCarthy, from 7pm
Tue 29 Jan - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Lunchtime Live with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: My annual travel insurance ends in February this year and I'm looking to book a July holiday now. If I fall ill and have to cancel the trip, will I be covered? Mohamed, by email.

MSE Tony's A: If you need to cancel your trip between now and February, you'll be covered under your current policy as insurers base their decision on the date you cancel, NOT the date of the holiday.

If you have to cancel between February and your holiday, to be covered you'll need a new or renewed policy in place at the time and it's best to start it as soon as the old one ends to avoid a gap in cover.

Remember, if you plan more than one holiday, consider an annual policy, but if the July trip will be your only one, a single-trip policy could be cheaper. See full help in Cheap Travel Insurance.



That's it for this week, but before we go... MSE Mark waltzed into the office last week rocking a pair of boots he's owned for a whopping 10 years - and you wouldn't have known it from looking at them. We used this inspiration to ask MoneySavers on Facebook what golden-oldie items they still wear - they came back with 23-year-old slippers, a 30-year-old jacket and lots more. So in the spirit of vintage MoneySaving, what's the oldest item you still wear? Let us know in our vintage and going strong Facebook thread.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

Get The Free Weekly Moneysaving Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out

Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes - join the 12m who get it. Don't miss out