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Weekly Email
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27th Dec 2017
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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27 December 2017


Switch, switch, switch - how to save £1,000s BEFORE the New Year 

- Get £100 FREE to switch bank
- Pay 0% interest on card debt for 38mths 
- Save £300+/yr switching energy 

Whether it's energy, credit card, mortgage or broadband, switching provider can be one of the best ways to save money. If you're out of contract, your intro deal's up or you've auto-renewed, you're likely massively overpaying.  

Yet as our recent poll found, most stuck with their same provider across a host of key products in 2017 (although being MoneySavers, we expect some are on good deals, so didn't need to switch).

So go cold turkey on the cold turkey, and take a few mins going through your household finances to see if you can save...

  1. STOP paying interest on CREDIT/STORE CARD DEBT - get up to 38mths at 0%. 68% in our poll said they haven't switched. If you've existing card debt, you're likely paying whopping interest on it. Yet shift it to a 0% balance transfer card and you could save £100s, and pay it off quicker, as Kayleigh did: "Managed to get 35 months' 0% interest on balance transfers and moved £3,000. It has lifted a great weight from my shoulders as I feel more positive that I WILL actually pay off my debt." That's a likely saving of around £850 in interest over 35mths.

    For most with ongoing debt the challenge is being accepted, so use our Balance Transfer 0% Eligibility Calc which shows which 0% deal you're most likely to get before you apply, and without affecting your creditworthiness. Here are our top picks:

    - Longest 0%: Barclaycard* up to 38mths, 1.4% fee (19.9% rep APR after).
    - Longest 'non up-to' 0%: 
    Sainsbury's Bank 37mths, 1.98% fee. Needs a Nectar card. It charges a 2.89% fee, refunded down to 1.98% within 60 days (18.9% rep APR after).
    - New. Long low-fee 0% plus £25 cashback: M&S Bank* 32mths 0%, 0.99% fee (min £5). Apply via our link by 31 Jan and transfer £100+ by 31 Mar and you'll get £25 cashback (18.9% rep APR after).
    - Longest NO FEE 0%: Halifax* up to 29mths 0% - you could be offered a worse deal with a massive 3% fee (19.9% rep APR after).
    - Longest 'non up-to' NO FEE 0%: Sainsbury's Bank* 28mths 0%. It charges a 1.5% fee, which is refunded within 60 days (18.9% rep APR after).

    For full info and lots more options, see our Best Balance Transfers guide (APR Examples).

    Always follow the Balance Transfer Golden Rules:
    a) Clear the card or transfer again before the 0% ends or you pay the APR.
    b) Never miss the min monthly repayment or you can lose the 0%.
    c) Don't spend/withdraw cash. It usually isn't at the cheap rate.
    d) You need to ask the new provider to do the transfer - you then owe it instead.
    e) You must usually do the balance transfer within 60/90 days of opening.

  2. Save £300+/yr switching ENERGY. 29% said they haven't switched. An impressive number of respondents said they DID switch this year - hooray. Yet nationally almost 60% are still stuck on standard tariffs, typically overpaying by £300+/yr compared to the cheapest deals.

    Switching is really simple. Our Cheap Energy Club shows how much you can save by comparing all the deals on the market (and also pays £25 dual-fuel cashback if we can switch you). It's the same gas & electricity and same pipes. Nothing changes except the price and provider (and therefore its customer service).

    Plus, because the choice can be bewildering, we've special filters to help find the right tariff for you, factoring in cashback where applicable:
    -  'Top Service Only' filters out all but firms with top customer service.
    -  'Big Name Suppliers' comparison only shows deals from the biggest suppliers.
    - 'My Current Supplier' shows all the deals from your current provider. So even if you're happy with them, at least make sure you're on their cheapest deal.  

  3. Get FREE £100 cash or £125 in vouchers to switch BANK. 70% haven't switched. Update Fri 29 Dec: Since this email went out, HSBC has launched a new switching bonus offering £200 to switch and stay. The best deals come and go, but this is a bit of a no-brainer if you're sick of your bank's service, or even if you just want a bit of free cash. Switching bank only takes seven working days and all your payments in and out are moved across by your new bank. All require a credit check, and you must be a newbie using their official switching services to get the perks. 

    - Free £100 + no.1 service + linked 5% savings. Update Fri 29 Dec: Switchers to First Direct via the following link can now get £125. New switchers to First Direct* get £100, and in our latest poll 90% rated its service 'great'. You also get access to its regular saver which pays 5% fixed interest for 1yr, and some get a £250 0% overdraft. Pay in £1,000 within 3mths to get the bonus, then £1,000/mth to avoid the £10/mth fee.

    - Free £125 M&S gift card + £5/mth + linked 5% savings. New M&S Bank* switchers get a £125 M&S gift card and access to its linked regular saver paying 5% for 1yr. Pay in £1,000+/mth and you get £5/mth extra added to the card for the first year. To get it all, switch and keep 2+ active direct debits.

    More options, help and eligibility info in Best Bank Accounts.

  4. Get 1.3% easy access (or up to 2.5% fixed) on SAVINGS. 55% said they haven't switched in our poll. Not a problem if you're getting over 1% easy access, yet many languish on rates as low as 0.01%. The top easy-access deal - where you can withdraw money at any time - is now the Post Office at 1.3% AER variable. Full info and more options in easy-access savings.

    You can earn up to 2.5% if you're prepared to lock your money away for 1-5 years, but you won't benefit if rates rise as your rate is fixed. See Top fixes for full details, and Bank account savings for how to earn up to 5% on smaller sums.

  5. Take advantage of hot deals to switch BROADBAND, saving £100s. 66% haven't switched. Many languish on astronomical prices but hot short-lived promos are the key to big savings when it comes to broadband and line rental, such as Plusnet's standard-speed deal for an equivalent of £15.83/mth after cashback (£13.33/mth if you pay line rent upfront) or Vodafone's straight £20/mth fibre deal.

    As the best deals for you depend on where you live, use our Broadband Unbundled tool to compare broadband, phone and TV deals in your area from 13 providers (incl the biggies - BT, Sky, TalkTalk & Virgin).

  6. Stop paying more than £10/mth for your MOBILE. 75% haven't switched. We all know mobiles can be expensive. Yet the cost of the Sim inside that gives you calls and data has dived. Last year you'd pay £15/mth for 6GB of data - now it's £9/mth for 5GB. So unless you're a really heavy user, or are still paying for your handset, this is the benchmark price to pay.

    Check how much you pay per month now, and compare to the top picks below:

    - Low users: Go via this link and new iD Mobile* (uses Three's network) customers pay £5/mth for 2.25GB of data, 250 mins & 5,000 texts on a 30-day contract.
    - Medium users: Anyone not in contract with Virgin Mobile* (EE network) can get 5GB, unlimited texts & 1,500 mins for £9/mth on a 12-month contract. BT broadband customer? You can get 6GB for an equiv £7/mth.
    - High users: Via this link, new Three* customers or those who need a second line can get 12GB + unltd mins & texts for £13/mth on a 12-month contract.

    See our Cheap Sim-only guide for lots more, including how to keep your number (it's easy) and how to unlock your phone.

  7. Save £1,000s switching MORTGAGE. 77% haven't switched. You don't need to switch if you're on a long-term intro deal, yet about a quarter of mortgage holders are overpaying on their lender's Standard Variable Rate (SVR) - the rate you usually move to when a fix or tracker ends.

    And they're pricey. The average SVR is 4.75%, yet the top 2yr fix is 1.09% - saving £3,000+/yr on a typical £150,000 mortgage. Even with fees you'd still likely save big. So if you're on an SVR, check if you can save via these links:

    - Benchmark your top new deal: Mortgage Best Buys comparison.
    - See what you'll save: Mortgage Calculators.
    - Full help, incl fixes vs trackers & who qualifies: Remortgage Guide.

  8. Never auto-renew CAR AND HOME INSURANCE. 41% haven't switched. Insurers love loyalty, because rather than reward you, it's an opportunity to massively hike premiums at renewal.  

    So NEVER auto-renew and always search out the best new customer deals, as Angela did: "Recently found out I was paying a whopping £757 for home insurance. Got new insurance for £232. Thank you so much." See our Car Insurance and Home Insurance cost-cutting systems for help on how to save big money in minutes...

PS: You'll have noticed this festive week email is shorter than usual. Don't worry, we'll be back IN FULL with the next one on Wed 3 Jan. From us all here, wishing you a happy and fiscally fantastic 2018.


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Up to 50% off John Lewis, Argos, M&S, Asos etc. The sales are in full swing - see our Jan sales round-up

Unwanted prezzies? Know your rights. If those socks were the wrong colour or you've already got that Ed Sheeran CD, you CAN'T always get an automatic refund. Our Xmas Return Rights guide has full info.

£7.50 Ferrero Rocher 60-piece pyramid, 29p Santa - can you find cheap post-Xmas chocs? Stores are now trying to flog unsold Christmas stock. We've rounded up some of the tastiest bargains in our cheap chocolate blog.

Struggling with debt? Help is at hand. Many struggle at this time of year, yet debt problems AREN'T unsolvable. See what to do and where to get help in our Debt Problems guide. 

£43 car brrr-eakdown cover for 15mths (ie, two winters) incl home start & onward travel. MSE Blagged. Breakdowns are more likely in winter, especially with the current freeze, so we've blagged 15mths of AutoAid* cover for the price of 12, for £43.31. It covers you and your spouse or civil partner in any car. The firm's got good feedback and changed its claim service so you no longer need to pay upfront, then reclaim. Similar AA/RAC cover can cost £100+. Full info in Cheap Breakdown Cover.

£10 champers and £5ish prosecco. If you're seeing in the New Year with bubbly, we've rounded up some corking champagne & prosecco deals. Please be Drinkaware.

Beat the train and tube season ticket hikes. Most prices rise on Tue, but buy before and you pay 2017 prices for 2018 travel (almost always cheaper, though check). This can save big, eg, a year's Peterborough to London season ticket rises by £272. Full info incl restrictions in Cheap Train Tickets.



Longest 0%: Barclaycard* up to 38mths 0%, 1.4% fee (19.9% rep APR)
No-fee 0%: Halifax* up to 29mths 0%, no fee (19.9% rep APR)

Get comparison site quotes in this order:

  3. Gocompare*
  4. CompareTheMarket*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Hitachi* 3.4% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: Sainsbury's Bank* 2.9% rep APR (Nectar custs, 1-3 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £13.33/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Vodafone £20/mth

£100 to switch + top service: First Direct
5% interest fixed for a year: 
Nationwide FlexDirect


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How did you fare financially in 2017? With the year drawing to a close, we want to find out if you're financially better off now than at the start of January 2017. Whether you've saved money, paid off debt, overspent, borrowed, had a pay rise etc, tell us how your household finances have fared over the past year. How did you fare financially in 2017?

James Martin's your preferred Christmas masterchef. Last week, we asked which celebrity chef you'd want to cook your Christmas dinner. Former Saturday Kitchen host James Martin was the most popular choice with 14% of the 7,556 votes, closely followed by Jamie Oliver with 13%. See full celebrity chef poll results.



Thu 28 Dec - talkRADIO, Full Set Breakfast with Paul Ross, 6:45am
Fri 29 Dec - BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Tue 2 Jan - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



That's all for this week, but before we go... what's the strangest Christmas gift you got? We've been inundated with photos from MoneySavers sharing their unexpected presents, including a guinea pig paperweight, a Donald Trump poetry book, a kitchen-roll holder and a 3kg tub of Nutella. If you can beat that, let us know in our Odd Presents Facebook discussion.

We hope you save some money - happy New Year.

The MSE team

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