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WEEKLY EMAIL

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 This info may be out of date.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

26 October 2016
         
 
THE TOP TIPS IN THIS EMAIL
Everything you need to know about energy, incl stop wasting £300/yr
New cheapest-ever loan rate - 3.1%
£600 of insurance for £120
Can you save £1,500/yr on groceries?
£150 of No7 beauty for £39
Family & Friends Railcard 15% off
Married? You could be due £432
Ends Sun. Free £200 to switch bank
Free personalised photo mug - £3 del
Get paid for 30-sec Google surveys
Ending. BT fibre & line '£219' for 1yr
£45 Yankee Candle gift set £23
£30 Ted Baker specs, £40 sunnies
'I saved £1,150 on council tax due to my husband's illness'
£110 Nails Inc polish £25 all-in
£30 meat hamper - costs £60 at supermarkets
 

Everything you need to know about energy

- Stop wasting £300/yr on rip-off gas & elec - switching's easy
- Get unlimited energy at a fixed fee
- Should you leave your heating on low? Plus more mythbusters


WinterWinter's coming... the weather's turning, the thermals are coming out and the nights are drawing in. So now's the time to finally sort your energy bills and batten down the hatches with some top tips to help freeze (or cut) costs ahead of the bitter cold.

1. Clocks go back 2am Sunday - remember to change your heating timer. There's no point in it coming on when no one's in. And if you're on Economy 7 or 10 it could cost. With both, electricity is cheaper at certain times of the day, so the clocks changing can mean you move to a higher, more expensive rate. Full Economy 7 & Economy 10 help.
2. Stop wasting £300/yr on energy bills - it's easy to lock in to a cheap fix. If you've not switched recently, you're likely massively overpaying. Switching's no big deal - it's the same pipes, gas, meter & safety. The only differences are price and customer service.

As prices can vary by usage and region, do a full comparison on our Cheap Energy Club BEFORE the high-use winter period hits; and BEFORE possible price hikes (see point 3). Nikki did: "Took 10 mins to compare and start a switch - cut my bill from £102/mth to £68/mth" [that's £408/yr saved]. Here's the killer point...

If you're one of the 66% still on a standard tariff with the Big 6 - Brit Gas, E.on, EDF, Scot Power, SSE & Npower - you're being ripped off. On typical use, these cost £1,063/yr. The market's cheapest is £776/yr - nearly £300/yr less.


EDF's 1yr fix for new customers only is £780/yr based on typical use and is portable (you can take it to a new home), plus via our Cheap Energy Club you can get £30 cashback. Avro Energy's 1yr fix is £776/yr based on typical use and unlike most deals, charges no exit fees to leave early. But it doesn't offer cashback via our Cheap Energy Club, it isn't portable and we've little feedback.

With prices possibly rising, if you want the security of a longer-term fix, the top 3yr fix is from iSupply at £794 (+ £30 cashback via our Cheap Energy Club) based on typical use, but it isn't portable.

All costs above assume you pay by monthly direct debit on gas & elec. But beware, these deals could be pulled at any moment.
3. Warning: Price hikes likely this winter - do nowt and you'll pay more. There have already been hidden energy price rises this year as the cheapest deals now cost about £50/yr more for a typical customer than in May. According to Martin, this could just be the start...

"The drop in the pound and the increase in the price energy firms pay on the wholesale market means that I think there's a better than 50/50 chance of the Big 6 firms hiking energy prices by 5%+ this winter, probably by the end of January.

"So let me be plain, if you do nothing, and you're not on a fixed deal, you're already being hugely overcharged and your bill is likely to rise even more. This makes it vital for those who aren't on a good tariff to consider locking in now to a cheap fix deal which protects you against price hikes.

"And if you're the type who can't be bothered to switch regularly, you're probably better off locking in for longer, eg, on a cheap 3-year fix, which while not the very cheapest solution, is an easy one."
See above.
4. Get 'unlimited' energy for a fixed fee with this unique account. If you're on a big six standard tariff you can cut your bills and get unlimited energy. Green Star's Unlimited tariff* lets you pay a fixed amount every month regardless of how much energy you use - great for anyone freezing in their home and fearful of putting the heating on.

Prices are tailored to you - simply provide Green Star with past bills. It then calculates your flat monthly rate, fixed for 12 months. A typical price for medium users is £936/yr or £78/mth. Plus Green Star assures us it'll honour the deal even if your usage substantially increases. It's likely there are cheaper fixed deals, so you may need to balance price with price certainty, and there are £30/fuel early exit fees. See is Green Star any good?
5. Is it REALLY cheaper to leave the heating on low all day? We separate fact from fiction with this & 16 more common energy-use conundrums - eg, should you paint radiators black? See Energy Mythbusters.
6 Paying by monthly direct debit is cheaper. Suppliers offer discounts of around 6% if you pay this way. Always give regular meter readings to get accurate bills. If estimated, you could end up with overly inflated monthly payments or face a bill shock if you've not paid enough. And if you think it's too high, you've a right to challenge it - see Fight Unfair Energy Direct Debits.
7. If you've switched check if you're owed £100s from your old energy firm. If you pay by direct debit, you've likely built up credit over the low-use summer period. Most providers give it back automatically, but if they don't, ask.

If you've switched in the past six years, your old supplier may still owe you. Our Reclaim Energy Bill Credit guide shows you how to get it. Forumite Lorna said: "Just rang E.on - getting a refund of nearly £300. Thank you."
8. Loyal to British Gas? Switch to BG-operated Sainsbury's Energy to save a possible £240/yr. See BG vs Sainsbury's for full info. Richard tweeted: "@MartinSLewis Switched from BG to Sainsbury's on gas and electricity, saved nearly £600."
9. Switch without switching to save up to £200/yr. If you think moving firm is a hassle (it's not), at least move to your provider's cheapest tariff. The biggest saving is for those with Npower - someone with typical usage on its standard variable tariff could save a massive £200/yr by moving to its cheapest fix. See switching without switching for full help.
10. Skewer your spuds & stop screensavers... plus more quick tricks to cut energy usage. For why and many more electricians' tips see, 16 easy ways to cut energy use.
11. Don't get burned by boiler cover, get it from just £5/mth. Many energy providers use fears of losing your heating or hot water to charge hefty insurance. One provider charges £17.70/mth (as a special offer) but for similar service, cover from a standalone provider can be as low as £9.50/mth - a £98 annual difference. See our Cheap Boiler Cover guide to insulate your wallet from mega costs.
12. Stock up now on heating oil before prices soar further. Heating oil prices have risen for an average three-bed house from £616/yr in April to £676/yr in July (the latest available figures). This is because the weaker pound makes buying oil in dollars more expensive for suppliers. As prices tend to jump further each winter, peaking in December, beat the hikes now with our Cheap Heating Oil guide with full info on slashing costs.
13. Stay toasty with a sausage dog. Keep warm this winter with our thrifty heat-saving tips, including DIY sausage dog draft excluders, Chimney Sheep and lining your curtains with cheap fleece. Plus forum old-stylers give tips in the Winter Prep thread.
14. Are you entitled to extra winter help? Winter can be a tough time. But there's help available, especially for those on low incomes...

a) Winter Fuel Payments. If you were born on or before 5 May 1953, regardless of your income, you're eligible for the up-to-£300 one-off winter fuel payment. If you get certain benefits, eg, state pension, pension credit or jobseeker's allowance, you'll usually get it automatically - otherwise you may have to claim. See Winter Fuel Payments info.

b) Warm Home Discount. If you were on pension credit on 10 Jul, you'll get an automatic one-off £140 rebate on your electricity bill sometime between Oct and Apr, unless you're with some smaller energy firms. If you've a prepay or pay-as-you-go meter you won't get it automatically, but you can apply by 28 Feb 17. Check if your provider pays the discount.

c) Cold Weather Payments. Anyone on certain benefits, eg, specific income support/jobseeker's allowance/pension credit, gets £25 for every 7 consecutive days it's sub-zero from 1 Nov. It's paid automatically. Full details: Cold Weather Payments.

d) Choosing between heating and eating? If you're seriously behind, or in general financial hardship, you may be eligible for special tariffs/help. Try the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234 for England, Wales & NI or Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282. Also see our Housing & Energy Grants & Debt Help guides.
 
 
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New. Cheapest-ever loan rate - 3.1% APR

Huge competition as three banks go head to head; use our eligibility calc to find the best for you


Loan rates have come crashing down over the past couple of years, especially on higher amounts and at the mo there are three market leaders. But be warned: debt's like fire - a great tool, yet use it badly and you get burnt. So if you need a loan, ensure it's planned, budgeted for and affordable. Full info in Cheap Loans, but briefly...

  • LoansLowest rates from £1,000-£15,000. You're credit-checked when applying, so best practice is to use our free Loans Quick Eligibility Calc or our FULL Credit Club Loans Eligibility Calc, where you also get a free Credit & Affordability Score. These will tell you which loans you've best chance of getting (not Ikano yet), without hitting your credit score. All are for 1-5yr borrowing, unless stated.

    - £7k-£14,999: New. Ikano* and Sainsbury's* (over 1-3yrs, needs Nectar card) are 3.1% rep APR on a min £7,500. Some can get cheaper: HSBC's* 3.3% rep APR with £50 cashback (via this link, min £7k) wins if borrowing for up to three years; if longer, it's touch and go.
    - £5k-£6,999: M&S Bank* (1-7yrs) and Cahoot* are 3.8% rep APR.
    - £3k-£4,999: Zopa's* 4.6%-6.9% rep APR, Ikano* 5.2% rep APR.
    - £2k-£2,999: Zopa's* 6.9%-7.9% rep APR, Ikano* 7.9% rep APR. (Yet credit card loans are often cheaper.)
    - £1k-£1,999: Zopa* is 9.9% rep APR (2-5 yrs), Ikano* 11.9% rep APR. (Credit card loans are often cheaper.)

  • Be warned. All personal loans are 'representative APR'. That means, sadly, the advertised rate needs to be given to ONLY 51% of those accepted. Anecdotally the higher your eligibility chance, the more likely you are to get the advertised rate.

  • Nationwide customer? Trick to beat the cheapest. If you've already got, or get accepted for, any of its current accounts, it'll beat the rate you get from any bank/building soc (not peer-to-peer lenders, eg, Zopa) by 0.5 percentage points. See Nationwide loan trick.

  • The Loan Golden Rules.

    a) Only borrow for planned, budgeted-for spending (eg, car); minimise the amount & repay as quickly as you can.
    b) Pay on time or you may get a charge & a credit black-mark (set up a direct debit so you never miss paying).
    c) If you're applying to pay off credit cards, a balance transfer may be cheaper.

 

No7 beauty products worth £150ish for £39. Ltd stock. We reveal the best deals behind this year's beauty advent calendar doors - incl Body Shop & Sanctuary Spa too. Beauty advent


Family & Friends Railcard 15% off code. Norm £30, code gets it for £25.50. Gets up to 4 grown-ups a third off tickets, if travelling with 1-4 kids, who all get 60% off. Ends Mon. Family & Friends


Married or in a civil partnership? You could be due £432. One million have successfully claimed the marriage tax allowance in the past 18 months but a whopping 3.2m eligible claimants still haven't come forward. Don't miss out. Marriage tax allowance check


Ends Sun. Free £200 to switch banks. Accepted new HSBC Advance* custs get £150 free when switching 2+ direct debits or standing orders. Register for online/mobile banking & pay in a min £1,750/mth for at least 9mths to get another £50 after 1yr. You can also save up to £250/mth in its linked 5% fixed regular saver, plus it has a 6mth 0% overdraft. Customer service is generally only 'OK'. For a full rundown & other options, see Best Bank Accounts.


Free photo mug - just pay £3 deliv (norm £11 all-in). MSE Blagged. 25,000 avail. Good for Xmas. Mugshot


Get paid to take '30-sec' Google surveys. A super-quick way for Android users to get credit for apps / movies / books etc - some have earned £45+. Google Opinion Rewards + more Online Survey Sites.

 

BLAGGED FOR MSE

- Free photo mug - £3 delivery 25,000 avail

- £30 Ted Baker specs (norm £139) Ends Mon

- £110 Nails Inc polish set £25 all-in 1,100 avail

- £30 meat hamper (£60+ at supermarkets) 2,000 avail

- 2for1 Ideal Home Show at Xmas tix Ends Tue 8 Nov

DID YOU MISS?

- Beware Apple iPhone Upgrade Programme - DIY is cheaper

- Warning. Ryanair's cut its free check-in window to four days

- Petrol prices 'to rise 5p/L' - our cost-cutters

- £1 for 100-day Kids Pass (incl 50% off major attractions)

 
 

£600 insurance incl travel, mobile and breakdown for £120

Packaged bank accounts offer great rewards yet mis-selling means always check they're right for you


We always call packaged bank accounts the Marmite of banking. Choose cleverly and they're a great way to get £100s of insurance and other benefits for a fraction of the cost. Yet if your bank insisted you have it, as the financial regulator has just warned again, you could be due money back for mis-selling. So let's do the goodies, then the baddies...

  • Packaged AccountsGet up to £600/yr of insurance for £120/yr. By far the star account for us is Nationwide's FlexPlus*. It has a £10/mth fee and overall customer service is rated at 80% 'great'. And while you get 3% on balances up to £2,500, plus extended warranty on new-ish electrical goods, crucially it includes the following insurance, all of which are strong policies.

    1. Mobile cover for all the family's smartphones: Now for an iPhone even the cheapest costs £70 a year (see Cheap Mobile Insurance) so if there are four of you, that's £280's worth.
    2. World family travel insurance. This includes winter sports, golf and business, and unusually covers you up to age 74. The cheapest cover we've found elsewhere is £60-£180. See Cheap Travel Insurance.
    3. European breakdown cover. Covers you in any car. Cheapest similar cover we've found elsewhere is £70. See Cheap Breakdown Cover.

    - Is it worth it? You're paying £120 a year for the account, so work out which of the insurance policies you'd buy anyway, and add up how much they'd cost. If it's more than £120 a year, you're on to a winner. Quick note though, if your main need is travel insurance, Nationwide's FlexAccount* is fee-free and includes European-only travel insurance up to age 74 for the account holder only (min £750/mth pay-in).

  • Got large monthly bills? NatWest may beat it. NatWest's Reward Platinum* costs £18/mth (£216/yr) and includes world family travel insurance up to age 69 plus smartphone insurance (for the account holders only) and UK breakdown cover. But it pays you 3% cashback on most bills including council tax, gas and electricity, and broadband paid from it by direct debit. So of course if this insurance suits and you'd earn over £96 a year cashback, it's actually better value. We estimate you need bills of c. £270/mth for this to win.

For full info on all accounts above incl insurance eligibility, see Top Packaged Accounts.

  • Already got one and not happy with it? Check now if you were mis-sold - many reclaim £1,000s. If you were sold a packaged bank account check if it's worth it, if it is - great (or is the above better?). If not, cancel, and also see our Packaged Bank Account Reclaim Tool info to see if you were mis-sold, like Nicola did: "I used it on a Tuesday and by the Friday Lloyds said it would pay back £3,150. Thanks."

 

Ends Thu. Fast BT fibre and line rent '£219' for 1yr. Up to 52Mb, for BT broadband newbies. Costs £394 but claim £175 back. Full info: Cheap Broadband. Already got BT? Haggle


£45 Yankee Candle gift set £23. Boots 'Star Gift'. Incl 'Winter Glow' jar, 'Xmas Cookie' tea lights. From Thu. Boots


£30 Ted Baker specs & £40 prescription sunnies code. MSE Blagged. Norm £139-£149. Ends Mon. Specs


SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"My husband has a rare degenerative disease so I contacted my council for a council tax reduction. I got a £731 refund plus have nothing to pay for the rest of the year (£1,150 saved). I've been shouting MSE's praises for the tip."


£110ish Nails Inc nail polish collection £25 all-in. MSE Blagged. Incl glitter & foil effect. 1,100 avail. Nails Inc


£30 autumn meat hamper (£60+ at supermarkets). MSE Blagged. All outdoor-reared UK meat. Incl beef brisket, gammon & venison sausages. Market Porter

 

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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS
 

Can you slash £1,500 off your yearly grocery bill?

With costs about to rise, take a bite out of your bills with our frugal food tips


Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned of impending food price hikes because the weak pound makes buying from outside the UK pricier - and nearly half our nosh is imported. To get more mince, marg or mange tout for your money, our 33 Supermarket Tricks guide has cost-cutting ideas not to be scoffed at, incl...

  • Slash £1,500 off your annual grocery bill. Why fork out for 'Finest'? Use the Downshift Challenge tool (works better on desktop) to show how you can chop your bill by 30% by dropping a brand level on everything you buy. For a family's £100 weekly shop, that's a possible £1,500 saved a year.

  • Shopping'Price was £48 - with coupons, just £20'. That's one forumite's HUGE saving at Tesco using coupons. Save over £100 with our 119 Supermarket Coupons, incl free Pringles, free Yazoo drink and 40p off Marmite. Extreme couponers source and hoard 100s of product and store coupons, then combine them for huge code-stacking discounts. See 30 Extreme Couponing Tips.

  • More quick savers. Take on the supermarkets with our food shopping tips, incl:
    - Know when to shop for reduced food.
    Use our yellow ticket timings table to sniff out the discounts.
    - Eat for free. If you dare, a food sharing app links you with others nearby who have surplus grub to give away.
    - Compare different supermarket prices. The Mysupermarket comparison lets you check basket prices by store.
    - Find recipes to combine leftovers. This free online recipe generator helps you find what they'll make.
    - Loose fruit and veg can save you a packet... literally. They're often the same as pre-packed at different prices. See MSE Jordon's video on Facebook.

 

Hold on to your Nectar points... From 16 Nov, you can double their value at Sainsbury's. See Nectar boost.


£52 Eurostar rtns to Paris, Lille or Brussels - cheapest we've seen all year. Norm £58-£319. Travel from 2 Nov-31 Dec, excl Xmas. 20,000 avail, book by Thu. Eurostar


2for1 Ideal Home Show at Christmas tickets (Ldn & Manc). MSE Blagged. If you missed the freebies earlier this month, we've 2for1s for London (23-27 Nov) and Manchester (10-13 Nov). Ideal Home Show


FitFlop 25% off EVERYTHING code. On full-price and sale items. Eg, £85 loafers £45. Ltd stock, ends Mon. FitFlop

 
 

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK

Have your say on constituency changes. The number of MPs is expected to fall from 650 to 600 by 2020 and the Boundary Commission for England is looking where to draw the new lines as the number of constituencies drops. You can use its interactive map of England to see how you'll be affected and then tell it what you think of any proposed changes. The commission will report to Parliament in 2018. Boundary commissions for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are running similar reviews.
 

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Do you eat out more than you eat in? How often do you eat out for your EVENING meal (including takeaways)...?


Plusnet retains its customer service crown while TalkTalk gets the wooden spoon... That's according to the 15,181 votes cast in last week's phone & broadband customer service poll at least on established broadband and phone providers. Overall 60% of Plusnet's home phone customers and 51% of its broadband customers thought it 'great'. In contrast just 28% of TalkTalk's home phone customers and 18% of its broadband customers thought it 'great'. See the full broadband customer service results.

 

MONEYSAVING NEWS

- Top story: Couple wins full refund for Lowcostholidays trip PLUS the extra £300 it cost to rebook

- Call for 'breathing space' bill to give those with debt a year’s respite

- Finance company seeks jail time for customer who defaulted on car loan

- NatWest to bin benefits offered on its Black credit card - leaving some without travel insurance

- Lifetime ISA and Help to Save applicants need guidance, Martin Lewis tells MPs

- Most UK businesses don't properly understand rules on 'unfair terms' - know your rights

- Campaigners raise thousands for legal challenge to women's state pension changes

- Energy suppliers ordered to provide extra support to 100,000s more vulnerable customers from 2017

- Bosses of nuisance call companies to face fines of up to £500,000

 
 

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Is it cheeky to ask to 'rent' my neighbour's Wi-Fi? I've just moved into a new place and it'll be a month before my broadband's ready. Would it be OK to offer to pay my neighbour to use their Wi-Fi in the meantime? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I 'rent' neighbour's Wi-Fi? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES
- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Living richly, simply and debt-freely
- Competitions thread of the week: Win an all-inclusive Alpe D'Huez cycling holiday
- Old-style board thread of the week: Having the kitchen and lounge in the same room
- Discussion of the week: Feeling ill, dragging myself to work as I don't want disciplinary
 
 

DEALS HUNTERS' BLOG

- No7 Advent Calendar worth £150ish for £39

- Don't spend a latte on coffee - where to find them for £1

- MSE's battle of the cake mixers - which will rise to the challenge?

MSE TEAM BLOG

- 16 easy ways to cut energy use

- Help to Buy and other mortgage schemes - make sure you have all the info

- Halloween MoneySaving and the scary spider that kept coming back

 
 

MARTIN'S APPEARANCES (WED 26 OCT ONWARD)

Thu 27 Oct - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. View previous
Fri 28 Oct - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. View previous
Mon 31 Oct - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 31 Oct - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast

TEAM APPEARANCES

Wed 26 Oct - Share Radio, 11.20am
Thu 27 Oct - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm
Tue 1 Nov - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm

 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: Why did my car insurance cost go up at renewal when someone had hit me but I didn't claim on my insurance? Mandy, by email.

MSE Tony's A: It sounds like you've reported the incident to your insurer (which you need to do, even if it wasn't your fault).

The fact you were involved in an incident may make the insurer deem you a higher risk, which can mean it charges you more in future. While the renewal cost may rise, you shouldn't lose any no-claims bonus - which is a set discount off whatever the premium is - as you didn't claim.

We understand the hike may feel like a kick in the teeth, but renewal prices are almost always a rip-off anyway, so use our Cheap Car Insurance guide to shop around.

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

 

Our MoneySaving version of the Great British Bake Off

That's it for this week, but before we go, check out this MSE video. As the Great British Bake Off draws to an end, we ask "Do you really need to spend a lot of dough to make, er, dough?" We put a 'top of the range' cake mixer, cheaper alternatives and a wooden spoon to the test. Enjoy the video and let us know your thoughts...

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

 
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