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28th Feb 2018
Warning! This info may be out of date. Read this week's email

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"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."

28 February 2018
MoneySavingExpert's Money Tips Email
Hi - here are your latest deals, freebies, tricks and messages to help you save.


FLASH broadband price war: Save £250/yr+

- New: £10/mth standard speed - best in six months 
- Ends Wed/Thu: £20/mth fast fibre - BT vs Virgin vs Vodafon

We always say the way to get cheap broadband is to pounce on short-lived promo deals which often work by offering cashback or rewards on top of discounted prices. And there are FOUR scorchers to choose from right now.

Add up what you pay now in broadband and line rental to compare. If on a non-promo tariff with BT, Sky, TalkTalk or Virgin, you'll likely pay £27-£43/mth for up-to-17Mb standard speed and £34-£42/mth for up-to-52Mb fibre, so huge savings are possible.

All deals below are postcode-dependent, so for ease enter yours in our free Broadband Unbundled tool to see which you can get 

Or if you prefer, here we run through all the hot deals, which all come with unlimited downloads, plus we've help choosing the right speed.

Cracking £10/mth standard speed deal 
The cheapest we've seen in six months

  • New. Plusnet, equiv to £10.24/mth. Via this Plusnet* link, you can get up-to-17Mb b'band and line on a 1yr contract if you've not had Plusnet b'band in the past month. It's available to 90% of the UK - use our Broadband Unbundled tool to check if you qualify. Here's how it works...

    - Broadband: 'Free' with this deal, usually £9.99/mth.
    - Line rental: Cheapest to pay for year upfront at £197.88 (equiv to £16.49/mth). After it's the standard £18.99/mth. No calls are included, see Plusnet call costs.
    - You need to CLAIM £75 cashback. You'll get an email within 10 days of activation explaining how, and you must do it within 2mths. It should then arrive within 30 days.

    MSE price analysis. If you pay a year's line rent upfront and factor in the £75 cheque, it's £122.88 (before calls) over the year, or an equiv £10.24/mth. Pay monthly and it's equiv to £12.74/mth.
Need faster? Top fibre b'band & line deals for £20/mth
Take advantage of the fibre price wars
  • Ends 11.59pm Thu. Virgin, equiv to £18.17/mth. It's rarely this cheap, but via this Virgin Media* link anyone who hasn't been a customer in the last year can get up-to-50Mb fibre b'band and line rental on a 1yr contract. It's only available to 50% of the UK, so our message above about checking your eligibility via our Broadband Unbundled tool is key. Here's how it works...

    - Broadband: Discounted to £10/mth, from the usual £21/mth.
    - Line rent: It's the usual £19/mth, incl weekend landline calls (see all call costs).
    - One-off costs: £20 for router delivery and activation.
    - Get £150 credit. It'll automatically be in your account once active.

    MSE price analysis. With the £150 credit it's £218 (before calls) over the year, or an equiv £18.17/mth.

  • Ends 11.59pm Wed. Vodafone, £20/mth. A dead simple deal as there's nothing to claim. Via this Vodafone* link you can get up-to-38Mb fibre and line rental (but no inclusive calls) on an 18mth contract for £20/mth (down from the usual £25/mth) if you don't currently have Vodafone broadband. Available to 83% of the UK - use our Broadband Unbundled tool to check if you can get it. 

  • Ends 11.59pm Thu. BT, equiv to £20.04/mth. This is the latest in a line of hot deals from the broadband behemoth. Via this BT* link you can get up-to-52Mb fibre and line on an 18mth contract if you don't currently have BT b'band. It's available to 83% of the UK - use our Broadband Unbundled tool to check if you can get it. Here's how it works...

    - Broadband: Discounted to £11/mth, from the usual £23/mth.
    - Line rent: Cheapest to pay for first 12mths upfront at £208.80 (equiv to £17.40/mth). After, it's the normal £18.99/mth.
    - One-off cost: £9.99 covers router delivery and activation.
    - You need to CLAIM £170 back. There's this £120 prepaid Mastercard (as good as cash where accepted) and £50 cashback. Use the links within 3mths of activation and they'll arrive within 45 days. Annoyingly, BT won't remind you, so don't forget.

    MSE price analysis. If you pay a year's line rent upfront and factor in the cashback, it's £360.73 (before calls) over 18mths, equiv to £20.04/mth. It's £1ish more/mth if you pay line monthly.
More broadband cost-cutting tips

  • What speed do you need? Fibre's best for downloaders, streamers, gamers or if you'll have lots of people online at the same time.

    To help, here are estimated figures from regulator Ofcom showing what speeds you need per activity for a decent experience (eg, no buffering) - add together if many happen at one time.

    - Browsing/emails or music streaming - 1Mb
    - Standard definition video - 2Mb
    - HD video - 8Mb
    - Ultra HD video - 25Mb

  • Will I definitely get the advertised speed? In a word - no. Outrageously, currently only 10% must get the advertised 'up to' speed. So if performance is most important to you, we reckon go for an 'up to' speed about double your required speed. Eg, 38Mb if you want 17Mb.

    Each big provider gives you an estimated speed before you sign up so also check against that. Plus you can check your current speed via special tools - see how to check your broadband speed.

  • Can I get broadband without a phone line? Virgin is the only major provider to offer it but it's far more expensive than the deals above with broadband and line. If you won't use a phone, just don't plug one in.

  • Don't want to switch? Haggle. The best savings come via switching, but big broadband firms are some of the easiest to haggle with. In our last poll, 86% of Sky customers who replied said they had success haggling, BT 72%. Full help in Broadband Haggling.

  • Could the providers hike prices? Sadly, telecoms firms often do, but if that happens and you weren't warned before sign-up you can leave penalty-free. But check if there's a better deal first.

  • Can I get cashback on these deals? Cashback site members may do, but check deals are like-for-like - they're sometimes different.

    Tell us what you think about your broadband provider via our broadband customer service poll.

Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

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Two (or more) car household? Can multi-car insurance save you £1,000s?

Martin's rule: 'If you've multi-car check standalone first; if you've standalone policies, check multi-car first.'

Are multi-car policies worth it? Suzanne emailed: "Husband had three cars on multi-car, followed your guide and bought three [separate] policies, saving £1,400." Yet forumite BoredwithbeingIgnored says: "Over three cars (incl our 18yr old son's), we saved £4,600 as Admiral MultiCar policy reduced it to a much more manageable £2,600. Thanks MSE." So we can categorically say multi-car is the cheapest... for some... and costly for others. That, er, helps. Read on...

  • Get the opposite quotes to what you've already got first. In a Facebook poll of 2,100 people yesterday, 40% said multi-car won for them, 60% said standalone policies did. What tends to happen is multi-car newbies get hot offers to suck 'em in, then that advantage erodes at renewal. That's the logic behind Martin's renewal rule of thumb: "If you've a multi-car policy, check standalone quotes first; if you've standalone policies, check multi-car first."

  • The top multi-car policies (incl £70 Amazon voucher). Comparison sites don't do multi-car searches, so you have to check quotes manually as trial and error. Try as many of these as you can stomach...

    - Multi-car policies: 
    Here all cars are on one policy. The big one is Admiral*. Go via this link and we've blagged you a £70 Amazon vch (it doesn't show on the landing page but you'll be sent an email to claim it, sadly that can take up to 90 days, so keep an eye out. You must claim your vch within 60 days of receiving the email). Plus Aviva* has up to 33% off multi-car policies and LV* up to 40%.

    - Multi-car discounts: Here you get separate policies, but you get a discount on the cost to insure each 'additional' vehicle. There's More Than* 15% | Axa 10% | Esure 10% | Privilege % varies | Sheilas' Wheels 10%.

    - Multi-policy discounts. 
    Here the discount is for more than one policy, eg, it could be car or home, but two cars would also count. The discount is off each additional policy, ie, if you already have home insurance, you get the discount on your new car policy (and vice versa). For this, try Direct Line* and Churchill* - the discount varies.

    - Tip 1: For the multi-car and multi-policy discounts (not multi-car policies), use comparison sites below and just keep a note of these firms' prices for each vehicle (Direct Line doesn't appear on comparison sites, so go direct).
    - Tip 2: Insure the car with the cheapest premium first because you'll usually get the discount on the next 'additional' (and subsequent) cars.

  • The cheapest standalone policies. For ease, just use a comparison site for each vehicle. Yet as they don't search identical insurers, and can have different prices for the same firm, it's best to do a few checks for a wider spread. Our current order's*, MoneySupermarket*, Gocompare* and CTM*. (Why? See comparison order).

    After that, if you haven't already, do check multi-car policies. If you've still more time, check our list of hot deals comparison sites miss.

Of course it doesn't stop there. There's far more help in our full Cheap Car Insurance and Under-25s' Car Insurance guides, including bagging additional cashback, how comprehensive can be cheaper than third party, and how to haggle. 


British Gas customers can get a £225/yr discount. Based on typical usage. See Martin's British Gas discount blog for how.

The big freeze: Your travel and work rights. Brrrrr. Help if hit with a cancelled/delayed flight or train, or you can't make it to work. See your freezing weather rights.

Free £50 Tempur travel pillow. A dreamy deal just for lying down. Pillow talk    

New. Vanquis to repay £169m to cardholders - ensure you don't miss out. The regulator has cracked down on the card firm (including some Vanquis-issued Argos, Aquis and Chrome cards). Are you owed £100+?    

Hot iPhone 8 & Samsung S8 contracts with 4GB data. It's usually cheapest to buy the phone upfront and pair with a cheap Sim - but these deals for Vodafone newbies win by about £50 over the contract. There's a 64GB iPhone 8* for £250 upfront or 64GB Samsung S8* for £160 upfront when you use the £50-off MSE50 code (to input, click 'add', not your return key - and ignore the £25-off code there). They're both then £23/mth on 2yr contracts with 4GB data, unltd mins & texts. They're not MoneySaving but if you'll do it, this is the cheapest way. See our iPhone & Samsung guides for more.

Can you reclaim £1,000s of council tax? Use our free check & challenge tools to find out, in case you missed the Martin Lewis Money Show this week. Related: Council tax discounts for severe mental impairment


Revealed: The credit score killers

Unique new analysis into what hurts and helps in your quest to become financially fanciable

Apply for credit and each lender scores you by its wish list of what it thinks makes a 'good' customer. The higher your score, the more it'll likely fancy you. Credit reference agencies tap into this by selling 'credit scores'. While somewhat meaningless - as each lender has its own system - they're an indicator of how you'll look, so worth checking regularly.

For over a year, we've given you a Free Credit Score and Report from Experian via the MSE Credit Club - which also includes your Affordability Score, Credit Hit Rate (your overall chances of getting top products), plus help on boosting them. Now we've dived into the data, in a secure and anonymous way, to uncover the credit score killers and helpers (all score changes are the average across Credit Club members, from a max 999)...

  1. Filing for bankruptcy or getting a county court judgment on your credit file - 190 pt DROP. It's a key killer and will stay on your file for six years. There's help in our Credit Club if you're deep in the financial mire.

  2. Missing card, loan, mortgage etc payments - 125 pt DROP (if you miss 1-3 in a month). This is a biggie most can avoid. ALWAYS set up direct debits to make at least the minimum payments (or pay IN FULL if you can). If you're set up for the min but want to overpay, you can do this manually.

  3. Making 4+ applications in one month - 105 pt DROPThis can make you look desperate for credit. Making one application has little impact but if you suddenly add 1-3 more in just a month it can mean an average 15-point drop. Make 4+ more and it's a hefty 105 point hit. Beat this by using Credit Club's eligibility calcs which show the products you're most likely to get, BEFORE you apply.

  4. Getting on the electoral roll - 25 pt BOOST. Not being on it can make it difficult for lenders to ID you when you apply for credit. Yet registering to vote boosts it by an average 25 points - or 55 points if you've a poorer score. If you want to keep your details hidden, you can opt out of the public register. Full help, incl if you're not allowed on it, in registering to vote.

  5. Steer clear of credit limits - 30 pt BOOST. If you borrow too close to your combined limits, lenders may deem you over-reliant on credit. Drop from over 60% 'credit utilisation' to under it (excl mortgages) and you'd see a boost. So pay down debt (a good thing anyway) if you can, but beware automatically closing down old accounts.

Sky to hike TV & broadband prices. Some bills could rise by £36/yr. How to beat the rise (and if you can leave your broadband contract penalty-free, see above for hot alternatives).

Eurostar London-Amsterdam from £35 1-way - but can you get 'em? Full analysis incl how the new direct route compares to flying and ferries, plus 28 more Amsterdam MoneySaving tips.

30% EXTRA off Polo Ralph Lauren at designer outlets. In store, via voucher. See Polo Ralph Lauren 30% off.

Ends 5pm today (Wed). £20 cashback on top travel spending card. Specialist travel credit cards don't charge the usual 3%-ish fee on spending or withdrawals abroad, so you get near-perfect rates. Apply in time for the Halifax Clarity (eligibility calc / apply*) and it gives £20 cashback when you first spend in a foreign currency by Sat 31 Mar (eg, on a hotel). Repay IN FULL to avoid the 18.9% rep APR interest on spending and to minimise it on cash withdrawals, where it's charged daily till fully repaid. Full info in Travel Credit Cards.

£9 magnolia plant, norm £34ish. MSE Blagged. Or two for £13, four for £19. Pink and white blooms. Van Meuwen

5 MILLION cards blocked at some petrol pumps, incl Asda & Tesco. Check if you're hit in pump blocks

£3.50 photo mug delivered (norm £11). MSE Blagged. Good for Mother's Day. Ends Mon. Personalised mug


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Longest 0%: MBNA* up to 37mths 0%, 1.89% 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. Compare The Market*

Then check insurers they miss: 
Direct Line*

Cheapest for £5,000-£7,499: Admiral* 3.3% rep APR
Cheapest £7.5k-£15k: M&S Bank* 2.8% rep APR (1-7 yrs)

Standard b'band & line rent: Plusnet equiv £10.24/mth
Fibre b'band & line rent: 
Virgin Media equiv £18.17/mth

£150 to switch + £50 if you stay a year: HSBC
5% interest fixed for a year:
Nationwide FlexDirect


Beat the 'Beast from the East'

The Siberian blast has hit hard and may last till Saturday - here's how to stay warm & save money  

At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, it's cold, really cold - with snow, frost and freezing temperatures blasting the country in what could be the coldest winter snap in over 25 years. So as we sit here at MSE Towers with woolly hats, ear muffs and thermals at the ready, here are five tips to help you save on your energy bills given your radiators may be working overtime...

  • Make a dog & grab a sheep. We're not talking about sticking livestock round your neck, but cutting draughts to stop heat escaping. Plug the gap between door and floor with a DIY sausage dog draught excluder, or grab a Chimney Sheep to block old chimneys - just two of our old-school or DIY heat-saving tips.

  • Is it REALLY cheaper to leave the heating on low all day? The truth behind this and 16 other common energy-use conundrums - eg, should you paint radiators black? The arguments aren't always clear-cut. See analysis in Energy Mythbusters.

  • Get £25 if the average temperature is 0�C or below for seven days in a row in your area. If you get certain benefits, you'll get £25 to help with heating bills - even if it was just forecast to drop below 0�C. It's already been triggered in some areas. You should get the payment automatically, but it's worth checking to make sure. See cold weather payments for more.

  • If you're sitting in the cold (or you know someone who is) as you can't afford heating... make a call. If you're seriously behind on bills, or in general hardship, you may be eligible for special tariffs/help. Try the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234 for England, Wales and NI or Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282. Also see our Housing & Energy Grants and Debt Help guides. Some energy firms also have emergency funds for those who fall behind - see energy grants.

  • And prepare for the future. FREE loft and cavity wall insulation FOR EVERYONE - worth up to £720. Four of the Big 6 energy companies are offering these to suitable homes, and you don't always need to be a customer - and unlike previous offers you don't need to be on benefits with some firms. They could cut your bills by up to £450/yr. Be warned though, cavity wall insulation isn't right for every home. See how to get it, and check it's right for you.

10 kids' books £10 delivered. MSE Blagged. 200+ titles incl Peppa Pig and The Velveteen Rabbit. £1 kids' books

Mother's Day couriered bouquets £20-£25. It's a week on Sunday. Incl £20 Tesco roses or a mixed bundle, and 100-stem bouquet at M&S for £25. See all Mother's Day deals.

"THANK YOU. Almost didn't reclaim PPI as only had my old bank account number and addresses. The Resolver tool seemed straightforward so I gave it a go - received £9,500."
(Send us yours on this or any topic.)

£24 beauty box (£100ish indiv). MSE Blagged. Incl Monuskin mask, Rodial lip liner etc. 1,000 avail. Beauty box



How do you rate your broadband provider? We can tell you which the cheapest providers are, but to find out if their customer service is any good, we need your help. So tell us how your broadband provider has performed over the past six months. How do you rate your broadband provider?

First Direct tops our banking customer service poll (again). Last week in our biannual poll, we asked you to rate your bank account's service over the last six months and received 6,800+ responses. For the eighth year running, First Direct claimed top spot, with 91% of its customers voting it 'great' and just 2% 'poor'. At the other end RBS retained the wooden spoon, with a whopping 29% of its customers considering it 'poor' and only 28% 'great'. See full banking poll results



Can I spend less on a second wedding gift? I'm going to my mate's second wedding (he was married before but got divorced) and I'm wondering if I can get away with spending less on the present. I got him a big gift the first time and I think it's crazy to spend the same again on the same guy. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Can I spend less on a second wedding gift? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs


- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Should we sell our flat to become debt-free?
- Competitions thread of the week: iPad Pro and iTunes voucher
- Old-Style board thread of the week: Make do, mend and minimise
- Family, marriage, relationships chat: A young man in possession of a good fortune
- Discussion of the week: Is it too late to buy a house at 45?


Heartier - £30 free-range meat hamper (£54ish+ at supermarkets)
20% off gift cards - Odeon, Pizza Express, Gap, New Look
Topcashback - 'free' £3 Easter egg via cashback
Gousto - £10 for three different meals for two (norm £30)
Halfords - free winter car check, incl screen wash top-up

Burger King - deals incl, six nuggets and fries for £1.49
Harvester - two chicken dishes and drinks for £20
McDonald's - Big Mac and fries for £2
Prezzo - 25% off food
Mystery dine - at Wagamama, Giraffe and more

Krispy Kreme - doughnut
Elizabeth Arden - £15 facial at Debenhams
The Body Shop - £5 spend for your birthday
Pets at Home - treat for your pet's birthday
Hotpod yoga - £5 spend for your birthday

Quick Forum Tips

Free Rustlers burger coupon. Let's patty
Free £1.40 tin of Princes mackerel. Holy mackerel
Lidl weekend offers, incl 96p 24-pack crisps. Save a packet



Thu 1 Mar - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am
Fri 2 Mar - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am
Mon 5 Mar - This Morning, ITV, from 10.30am
Mon 5 Mar - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Listen again


Wed 28 Feb - BBC Cumbria, Money Talks with Ben Maeder, from 6pm
Fri 2 Mar
BBC South West stations, Good Morning with Joe Lemer, from 5am
Mon 5 MarTalkRadio, Breakfast with Julia Hartley-Brewer, 9.45am
Tue 6 Mar - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Jeremy Sallis, 2.20pm



Q: I moved my mum on to a water meter, and her bills have dropped from £73/mth to £5/mth. Is there anything I can do retrospectively to challenge the amount she was charged before she went on a meter? Claire, via email. 

MSE Andrew's A: Unfortunately you can't, as in homes where you can either have a meter or get billed the set rate, it's your choice what to get. Our rule of thumb is if there are more bedrooms than people in your home then a meter usually wins because you probably won't use as much water as the providers assume you will. 

Though you can't get back your old overpayments, that's an amazing saving of £68/mth (£816/yr) - everyone should check if they can reduce bills by switching. See Cut your water bills

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



That's all for this week, but before we go... in these subzero temperatures, spare a thought for the many homeless people struggling to keep warm. Charity StreetLink was set up to offer the public a way to act when they see someone sleeping rough. You can alert StreetLink to a homeless person you're concerned about by calling 0300 500 0914 or using its website - so they can get connected to local services. For more info see StreetLink.

We hope you save some money,
The MSE team

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