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WEEKLY EMAIL

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This email was sent
26th Apr 2017
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 This info may be out of date.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."

26 April 2017
         
 
THE TOP TIPS IN THIS EMAIL
New. MSE's Big Energy Switch Event 7 is on. Slash bills by £280/yr
New. Free £30 if you spend over £100
Up to 4% top children's savings
New. 10x Nectar & 500 'free' Tesco pts
£5 Next, Zara, Topshop etc clothes
Buy euros/dollars before election?
Ending. £100 Amzn with Virgin TV & b'band
Warning. Section 75 cover can fail
'Free' yr's 2for1 entry to UK gardens
Cheap Easyjet 2018 flights
FREE £500 daily prize draw
Now TWO cards cut debt costs to 0% even if you've poor credit
Up to £2k tax-free childcare launched
5GB data, 1,500 mins - £10/mth
Apple 'office' programs FREE for all
Free £8 photo mug for £3 del
McDonald's Monopoly ending
 

New. MSE Big Energy Switch Event 7

It's on! Slash your energy bill by £280/year

- We've 50,000 deals - all-in cheaper than the market's cheapest
- It's with a decent provider that's won before & has the MSE stamp
- The rate is FIXED for a year, ensuring no price hikes


The election talk is about capping energy prices and saving those on standard tariffs typically £100 a year. Frankly we'd be embarrassed to save 'em that little. So today we launch our 7th MSE collective switch with typical savings of £280 a year. This isn't a manifesto pledge. It's on now - but not for long.

A collective switch is where a trusted intermediary (eg, a council or us) gets energy firms bidding to provide special tariffs. With prices rising, this one's taken time coming, as suppliers have been unwilling to play ball. Yet now we've done it, but with limited numbers, so don't delay. Past collectives saved some large...

Carrie said: "I'm thrilled with a saving of £526/yr on our dual-fuel bill thanks to MSE's Big Switch Event." And Julie: "Really pleased - saving over £800/yr."

Are you eligible for Big Switch 7? Rules from regulator Ofgem mean you need to pre-register. IF YOU GET THIS EMAIL YOU'RE PRE-REGISTERED, provided you were signed up by 23 April. You must use the same email address though. Existing members of our Cheap Energy Club by the same date also count.

So speed straight over and do a quick Cheap Energy Club comparison. If you're not pre-registered you'll see your cheapest deal, but not our collective winner. Yet big savings are still possible.
Our winner. Green Star Energy 1-year fix. We're chuffed with this Green Star Energy Rate Saver 12month Fixed MSE deal. It's available across Britain (but sadly not NI), and the rate is locked in for a year, though of course the amount you pay varies with usage. Factor in the £30 MSE dual-fuel cashback we give you and it's easily the market's cheapest fix.

It's available for dual fuel AND gas-only AND elec-only AND Eco 7. You can pay by monthly (cheapest way) or quarterly direct debit, or quarterly, cash or cheque, but NOT prepay.

Haven't heard of Green Star? It's been in the UK since 2013 and has nearly 200,000 UK customers. It's owned by a Canadian energy giant with £2.3bn in annual sales. It's offered one of our winning collective tariffs four times before and has always been well received.

How it compares for someone with typical usage
Avg price on Ofgem typical dual-fuel direct-debit use (varies by region)

Typical cost: Current avg Big 6 standard tariff: £1,138/yr
MSE Big Switch: Green Star fix: £884/yr + £30 MSE cashback: £854/yr
Next-cheapest fix: Green Network Energy: £878/yr, no cashback

Get YOUR EXACT PRICE & saving via a full market comparison


- It's capped at 50,000 switches: The deal is currently capped at 50,000 dual-fuel (100,000 single-fuel) switches - we will try for more, but we can't be sure. Either way it closes at 10pm Thu 11 May at the latest. So go quick.

- We give you £30 dual-fuel (£15 single-fuel) cashback: For tariffs where we get paid if you switch (we show all regardless of whether you do or not), we share roughly half in cashback, so it's win-win. To help we've now a filter to order savings including cashback, and this email's links default to that. The cashback's paid into your bank account within 3mths.

- Boosted customer service: Green Star got 56% 'great' feedback in our last customer service poll, though that's based on 39 votes. We've also negotiated bolstered support, so it has a special help team just for this. And while Green Star is responsible for the tariff, we take our bit seriously, so if something goes wrong, and it won't help, let us know and we'll try to help.

- Early exit penalties:
There are £30 per fuel exit penalties (unless you leave if moving home). Existing Green Star customers will have them waived if they switch to this.

- NO credit check and NO upfront payment needed:
Unlike others.

- You CAN'T get the Warm Home Discount: If you get it, this likely isn't for you. Instead do a quick comparison and use our 'Warm Home Discount' filter.

- It's not a renewable tariff: Green Star sometimes offers them (which tend to be costlier) - this one isn't.
No bidders for green, prepaid & long fixes, but you CAN save. As always, we tried to get a deal for each of these, but no supplier even tried to bid, never mind offered a market-leading tariff. Yet there are still some good deals on the open market. So here's what to do...

- Cheapest Green Tariff: Just do a quick comparison and click the '100% renewable' box in the filter on our results page.

- Cheapest Prepaid Tariff:
Just do a quick prepaid comparison - make sure you select prepayment options when filling in the form.

- Cheapest 'Long Fixes': To lock in for longer to save you from having to switch as often, and protect against future hikes, you usually pay a slightly higher rate (though many still save). So we pull out the best long fix in our top picks comparison.

The MSE Big Switch Event 7 FAQs
For more detailed answers, see the full MSE collective FAQs


Q. What practically happens when I switch? Very little. No one visits your home. You don't lose supply. Just give your new supplier a meter reading and then after a few weeks in the background you're switched over. It's the same gas, same electricity, even same safety - the only change is price & call centre.

Q. What info do I need to switch? It's best if you have a bill, and input kilowatt hours (kWh) into Cheap Energy Club, rather than cost. Yet DON'T WORRY if you don't know your usage, Cheap Energy Club can help you guesstimate. While the answer won't be perfect, it's usually far better than doing nowt.

Q. Why must I compare? Can't I just click a link and get the deal? Exact costs vary by region & usage, so it's important you see how it compares to the rest of the market - on principle we do a full comparison with our collectives.

Q. I'm on a fix now - should I switch to this? Do a comparison and see if you'll save, factoring in any exit fees and the length the fix is protecting you from price hikes. Remember, if you've fewer than 50 days until your fix ends your supplier CAN'T charge exit fees anyway.

Q. How does Cheap Energy Club work? It does 3 things:

1) We show your exact price & saving, & compare to ALL market tariffs.
2) You get £30 dual-fuel cashback (£15 single-fuel) any time we switch you. It's sent roughly 60-90 days later.
3) We check for better deals. You set a 'trigger saving', eg, £150/yr, then we alert you if you can save this by switching again.

Q. Is it worth locking in? Could prices get cheaper again? Over to Martin:

"We've already seen big price hikes announced. Npower's and Scottish Power's have hit, E.on's hits today, SSE's on Friday, and EDF's 2nd rise is on Wed 21 Jun (all those rises are factored in to your comparison results). British Gas has frozen prices until Aug, though it's still far from cheap. I suspect it may increase prices then, to catch the others up.

"Otherwise wholesale prices (those energy firms pay) have come off slightly, after big rises, so no big price changes seem imminent. The big issue is the proposed Tory price cap (if they win). Depending how it's structured, it could bring the most expensive prices down (though by less than switching saves you), but at the cost of increasing some of the cheap deals' prices.

"Overall if you can lock in to a cheap fix and save, that's the safest move. In the very unlikely event prices plummet, you could just pay the exit fees and leave."

Quick FAQs:

Q. Can I switch if with an independent gas transporter? Yes, see IGT help.
Q. I'm in credit - will I get it back if I switch? Yes. See Reclaim credit.
Q. I'm in debt - can I switch? Yes, usually - see Switching in debt help.
Q. Can I switch if I'm renting? Yes. See our renters' switching info.
Q. Can I see the standing charge and kWh costs? They vary by region, so we display YOUR exact cost in the Cheap Energy Club comparison result.
Q. Can I switch if I've solar panels & a feed-in tariff? Yes. Solar & FIT info
Q. I'm on a smart meter. Can I switch? Yes, but you may lose functionality. Smart meters & switching info
Q. Can I get paper bills? Yes but for £15/yr if you've dual fuel. See paper bills.
Q. Is paying by direct debit cheapest? Yes, but do regular meter readings.
Q. Can suppliers put my price up on a cheap fix? The rate's fixed, but use more (or if it's estimated you will) & the direct debit can rise. See Fight Unfair Direct Debits.
Q. Can I pick a date for when my switch will happen? We get asked this over and over - sadly, providers don't let you do this. See Switching FAQs.
Q. Can I get this in Northern Ireland? Sadly no, but see Cheap Northern Ireland Energy for help.

 
 
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New. FREE £30 if you spend over £100 (and get access to 25mths 0%)

This M&S card includes a great way to make free money, and if you need to borrow, you can do it interest-free


This is a new offer that can be used in two ways. You can get it just for free money, or you can do new borrowing (where you'll also pocket the money). We always warn to be careful with new borrowing, but if you need it, there's no cheaper way than interest-free - just ensure it's planned and repayments are budgeted for. Full info and more options in Top 0% Cards - but briefly...

  • Cashback New. Free £30 cashback + £5 voucher + 25mth 0% spending. Accepted new M&S Bank (eligibility calc / apply*) credit card-holders who apply via our link by Wed 31 May and spend over £100 on it by Fri 30 June get £30 cashback credited to their card account.

    - You can also earn another £5 to spend at M&S. You're sent a voucher with the card - just swipe it at the till or quote the code online when you buy most things at M&S, incl food. You'll then get 500 points, worth £5, added to your account. Plus you'll earn one point (worth 1p) for every £1 spent in M&S and for every £5 spent elsewhere.

    - Will it affect my credit score? An application leaves a footprint on your file, which is trivial unless you do many in a short time or are about to make an important credit application, eg, a mortgage. It's best to check your chances first using our free eligibility calc, which doesn't leave a footprint.

  • Need a longer 0%? You can get up to 30mths 0% with the AA (eligibility calc / apply*) or Halifax (eligibility calc / apply*). Sainsbury's (eligibility calc / apply*) offers 29mths 0% and 5,000 bonus Nectar pts (worth £25) if you spend four times in Sainsbury's in a month, as well as ongoing rewards. Full info and top picks in 0% Spending Cards.

  • 0% Card Golden Rules.
    a) Never miss paying at least the monthly min or you can lose the 0% (and stick within the credit limit).
    b) Plan to clear the card (or balance-transfer) before the 0% ends or the interest rate jumps - the cards above are 18.9% rep APR after the 0%.
    c) These cards are usually ONLY cheap for spending, not balance transfers or cash withdrawals.

 

£5 Next, River Island, Topshop, M&S, Zara etc clothes & shoes. MSE Blagged. Discount-retailer Everything5pounds.com sells de-tagged surplus stock for £5, and with our code you get free delivery (norm £3.95-£20), plus the 6th item free. Everything5pounds.com code


'Should I buy summer euros/dollars etc before the general election?' Martin's gazed into his crystal ball after last week's shock election announcement prompted loads of questions. Read his new Should I buy euros now? blog.


Ends tonight (Wed). £100 Amazon/M&S/John Lewis with FAST Virgin b'band, TV & line. Costs £31/mth incl set-up but spend the vch and it's equiv to £22/mth. It's as good a Virgin deal as we've seen in a while. See full info and more TV, b'band & line best buys.


Warning. Section 75 credit card protection can fail. Our investigation has uncovered a hazardous loophole. See Section 75 warning. If you've had a claim rejected let us know.


'Free' 2for1 entry card to 400ish UK gardens FOR A YEAR incl Kew/Eden Project. With £4.75 mag. Year's garden pass


Urgent. Cheap Feb/Mar 2018 Easyjet flights, incl half-term & Valentine's Day. But you need to be ready to pounce. See Urgent Easyjet trick.

 

BLAGGED FOR MSE

- Everything5pounds.com free del code Ends Tue

- £10/mth Plusnet Sim, 5GB data, 1,500 mins Ends Tue 9 May

- Free £8 photo mug (£3 del) via code 10,000 avail

- £105ish Nails Inc set £29 delivered via code 5,000 avail

- £56 meat hamper £30 delivered via code Ends Sun 7 May

DID YOU MISS?

- Pssst. Wanna buy cheap stolen goods?

- Cheaper Power of Attorney

- £15 A2-ish photo canvas via code (norm £58)

- Car insurers banned from hiding renewal mark-ups

 
 

Top children's savings accounts - earn up to 4%

From instant access to regular savers and junior ISAs, being a little'un can give big returns


We've been inundated with questions about kids' savings - from 'How best to save for my (grand)child?' to 'Should I transfer their Child Trust Fund to a junior ISA?' And while standard savings rates are dire, there are some better deals for kids... if you know where to look. Full info in Best Children's Savings, but here are your key questions answered...

  • Kids SavingsI want to save for my (grand)child. What are the top children's savings accounts? If you (or they) can save regularly, the Halifax Kids' Reg Saver and Saffron BS Children's Reg Saver pay 4% interest and let you put in up to £100/mth. If you've a lump sum, HSBC pays 2.75% on up to £3,000; Nationwide is 2.25% on up to £50,000, but allows only one annual withdrawal.

  • I want one that comes with a debit card so they can spend. What's best? If they're 11+, Santander 123 Mini pays 3% on £300-£2,000 and gives a debit card. Or for 7+, Halifax Young Saver pays 2% and has an ATM card, though you'll need to manage the account for them.

  • Should I get a junior ISA? The big benefit of a junior ISA (JISA) has always been that the interest is tax-free. But frankly, these days as most parents don't pay tax on their interest, most kids won't either, so there's no gain. There are a few exceptions though, so see how kids' tax on interest works in detail.

    The big problem with junior ISAs is that you can never take the money out. Only your child can, once they're 18, and it's theirs to spend on whatever they like, so putting cash in a junior ISA is a long-term decision. However, if you or your child will pay tax on savings, or you like the idea of locking cash away each year, you can put in £4,128/yr.

    The top-paying cash JISAs currently beat kids' savings accounts, with Coventry BS paying 3.25%, followed by Nationwide and Tesco paying 3%. Full info in Top JISAs.

  • My child has one of the old Child Trust Funds - what should I do? Kids aged 6-14 may still have a Child Trust Fund (CTF), which were opened automatically by the Government. They've been replaced by JISAs, but if you've still got one (and there are over 700,000 dormant ones), it's likely to be paying rubbish interest. Don't fret though - since 2015 you've been allowed to convert it to a JISA. Full info, incl how to transfer, in Top CTFs.

  • Other questions incl 'Should I save to avoid my child getting into uni debt?' and 'What's wrong with saving in a piggybank?' For the answers to these and more, see Should I pay uni fees upfront?, Tips on teaching kids to save and our general Piggybank warning.

 

FREE daily prize draw - jackpot boosted to £500 a day. Sounds too good to be true, but it's legit. MoneySaver Irene did it: "The money was in my PayPal in 2 days. Great surprise for minimum effort and no cost." Free Postcode Lottery


Now TWO cards cut your debt costs to 0% even if you've poor credit. If you've debts on existing cards, there are now two cards that allow you to shift it to them and pay 0% interest for 6mths, even if you've a history of defaults and/or county court judgments. To find out if you can get them - or even longer 0% cards - use our eligibility calculator including pre-approval. For some people, the calc can say if you've 100% chance of acceptance (subject to ID checks), without impacting your credit rating.


New. Tax-Free Childcare now launched - you can apply for up to £2,000 free per child. Parents of under-4s are first to get the new Govt top-up. See our Tax-Free Childcare guide.


5GB (4G) data, 1,500 mins, unltd texts just £10/mth on EE network. MSE Blagged. We've blagged a super-cheap Sim-only deal from BT-owned Plusnet* (which uses EE's network). It's a 30-day rolling contract and for new and existing customers - Sim-ply the best of the current crop at this usage level. Full info & more options in Sim top picks.


Free £8 photo mug for £3 delivery. MSE Blagged. Gets your mug (or any other snap) on a mug. 10,000 avail


New. Premium Apple 'office' programs now FREE for ALL Mac and iOS users. Good alternative to Microsoft Office. Full info and other options incl video & music editing apps in Free Office Software.

 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS
 

New. 10x Nectar points boost AND 500 'free' points at Tesco

If you love loyalty points, there are lots of ways to boost 'em - and right now we've a couple of short-lived corkers


Never let a loyalty scheme dictate where you shop, but collecting supermarket points can give great savings over time. Plus you can boost your points massively if you spot flash promos, then spend 'em the right way. We've hordes of points in our full Tesco, Nectar, Morrisons More and Boots Advantage boosting help, but here are our top 5 tricks...

  • NectarNew. Earn 10x Nectar points at Sainsbury's. This bank holiday weekend (plus Fri), get 10x the normal 1pt per £1 spent in store, and on online groceries (so each £1 spend gets points worth 5p, rather than the usual 0.5p). Also earn 10pts per litre at petrol stations. For full details and a few exclusions, see Nectar points boosting.

  • Using 'My Coupons' at Sainsbury's? You've only till 6 May to redeem them. The store is cancelling its long-running My Coupons bonus scheme, and you'll lose them if you don't use 'em.

  • Ending. 'Free' 500 Clubcard points, worth up to £20. Newbies and some existing customers who use Tesco's PayQwiq app get a bonus 50pts per transaction (up to 500pts). There's no min spend, but the deal ends when stores close on 7 May. 'Free' points

  • Find £100s of lost Tesco vouchers. It takes two minutes to reclaim lost/unused Tesco vouchers and can be very lucrative, as Andy tweeted: "@MartinSLewis we checked yesterday and have £111 of Tesco Clubcard vouchers unused. Putting it towards a new TV. Yippee."

  • Boost your points by donating to Oxfam or searching online. See how to earn Nectar and Tesco points WITHOUT spending anything.

 

McDonald's Monopoly ending. See how to max your chances of winning. Related: £1.99 Big Mac & fries hack.


£105ish Nails Inc nail polish collection £29 all-in. MSE Blagged. Seven-polish set incl spray-on polish, top & base coat plus four colours. 5,000 avail


SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Thank you for your guidance on reclaiming council tax. I discovered I'd been incorrectly banded and my local authority reimbursed me almost £9,500 - a welcome top-up for our pension."


56-piece meat bundle for £30 via code (norm £56) - cheaper than supermarkets. MSE Blagged. Incl chicken, steak, burgers, meatballs, sausages and bacon. Muscle Food


Rare Hobbs 20% off all full-price items code. Incl clothes, shoes & bags. Online and in stores, ends Mon. Shoe-in

 
 

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK

Are the new fivers ethical? Tell the Bank of England what you think about the use of animal-derived additives in the new polymer fivers, following concerns raised by campaigners. The purpose is to gather info to influence how the new £20 notes are made before they go into production. Read the report and respond at the Bank of England website or join the conversation in the MSE Forum. Don't forget to spend or bank your old fivers before Fri 5 May before they go out of circulation.
 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

How much do you spend on your pet(s)?  They may provide love and joy, but keeping a pet doesn't come fur free. Whether you've a Kitty, Rover, Tabby or Nemo, we want to know how much ewe spend on your pet(s) purr year...

Click here to tell us how much you spend

Most of you welcome the June general election. Although it's those who usually vote Conservative who are most likely to (87% welcome it), while first-time voters are least likely to (24%). See our full snap election poll results.

 

MONEYSAVING NEWS

- Top story: Register by 22 May to vote in general election - act now if not on electoral roll

- YBS wades in on mortgage price war with lowest rate EVER of 0.89%

- Tough new penalties for speeding rolled out

- Probate fee hike ditched by Government - but plan could be revisited after election

- Motor insurance rates expected to rise yet further as 'whiplash reforms' are axed

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I report shoddy engineer service, meaning he gets his pay cut? I had a TV engineer visit recently who did a poor job, unnecessarily telling me I needed someone else to come out (at extra cost). I feel like complaining and asking for the call-out fee to be refunded - however, he told me if he gets anything less than perfect feedback, his pay gets docked. Should I complain? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I report shoddy service from an engineer? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES
- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: I've come into some money... what to do now?
- Competitions thread of the week: Win a £200 Ryanair gift card
- Old-style board thread of the week: Family meal budgeting
- Discussion of the week: What is the best game you've ever played?
 
 

MARTIN'S BLOG

- 'Should I buy summer euros/dollars etc before the general election?'

MSE TEAM BLOG

- Norwegian does it again - £180 one-way from London to Singapore

DEALS HUNTERS' BLOG

- McDonald's Monopoly ending

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 26 APR ONWARD)

Thu 27 Apr - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Fri 28 Apr - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. View previous

MSE TEAM APPEARANCES (SUBJECTS TBC)

Wed 26 Apr - BBC Radio Cumbria, 'Money Talks', from 6pm
Thu 27 Apr - BBC Radio Tees, 10.35am
Fri 28 Apr
- BBC South West stations, breakfast
Tue 2 May - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I was reading about a railcard for £20 for people with disabilities. I have two hearing aids and wondered if I would qualify? Eileen, via email.

MSE Megan's A: Yes, you wouMegan Frenchld qualify for the Disabled Persons Railcard, which will get a third off most fares for you and a friend.

The railcard is for anyone with a disability that makes travelling by train difficult, which includes being registered as deaf or having a hearing aid. Other examples of those eligible include anyone who gets personal independence payments, disability living allowance or war pensioners' mobility supplement. For the full list, see the railcard* website.

The card costs £20 a year or £54 for three years, or if you have Tesco Clubcard points you could swap £10 of vouchers for a one-year railcard. See our Cheap Trains guide for more tips to save on fares.

 

Would you PAY someone to queue for you?

That's it for this week, but before we go, while the stereotypical Brit loves to queue, across the pond it may be different, with one American entrepreneur who queues for people professionally. Earning 45 dollars for the first two hours and 10 dollars more for every extra half hour, Robert Samuel runs a queuing business. Plain bonkers or entrepreneurial magic? Watch his story and tell us what queuing's worth to you in our 'Would you PAY someone to queue for you?' Facebook post.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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