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28th Oct 2015
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 This info may be out of date.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."

28 October 2015
         
THE TOP TIPS IN THIS EMAIL
Martin's Briefing: Paying too much on your mortgage? ACT NOW
Last chance: Free 150 for Xmas
New free TravelMoneyMax app - cheapest foreign cash home & away
'Won a hol, car & 1k' - comping tips
YEAR'S 2for1 cinema - incl Spectre
Get paid to shift debt to 32mths 0%
Double your Tesco Clubcard points
TalkTalk hack help, incl cancel for free
150 women's coat 54 - via hot La Redoute code
Beat Apple Music 15/mth charge
200 Michael Kors watch 93 via code
16 for two photo canvas prints
16 cheap holiday booking tricks
2for1 Ideal Home Show Xmas tix

Martin's Weekly Briefing: For more tips, alerts & puns, follow Martin on Twitter

Are you paying too much on your mortgage?

- ACT NOW. Fixed mortgages near rock-bottom, eg, 1.15% 2yr fix
- Remortgaging could save you as much as 2,900/yr
- Match your home's value, credit score & spending for top rates


Remortgaging just means switching your deal to a better one - you don't need to be moving or borrowing more. Now's a great time, as rates are near all-time lows (and many think they'll rise in 2016). Done right, you could start saving pre-Christmas.

Before my 14 tips, to inspire you, here are some tweets we got since we covered this in April.

Craig: "@MartinSLewis. Prompted by your email to remortgage. Saving 2,400 over two years and no fees. #TopResult."

Sarah: "Got a new rate with the same bank, saved 289 a month."

1. Check your current deal. Here's what you need to know about it.

a. The current rate: And monthly repayment & amount outstanding.
b. Type: Is it a fix, tracker, discount or standard variable rate (SVR)?
c. Deal deadline: If it's a short-term deal (eg, 2yr fix), when it ends.
d. Term: How long it is, eg, 25yrs, and when it must be fully repaid by.
e. Penalties: Are there early repayment or exit penalties?

Crucially find your CURRENT loan-to-value (LTV) - the proportion of the value you're borrowing, 80k on a 100k property is 80% LTV. For each 5% lower your LTV, until 60%, the cheaper the deal.

So if your home has increased in value since you got your mortgage, you may gain. See LTV Help for full info.
2. Cheap mortgagesFREE 60-page Remortgaging Booklet. A mortgage is most people's biggest expenditure, and just because you've done it once, doesn't mean it's the same this time around. Ensure you know what you're doing. My fully updated guide takes you through it step-by-step. As Katie kindly tweeted: "Fixed rates so low. Excellent #Remortgage Guide from @MoneySavingExp."

- Remortgage Booklet 2015: Download instant PDF | Order printed
- Buy-To-Let Booklet 2015: Download instant PDF | Order printed
- First-Timers' Booklet 2015: Download instant PDF | Order printed

Remortgage help 5-min video: sometimes it's easier to watch than read. See my short remortgage help video.
3. Benchmark your cheapest deal at speed. Rates are low, yet many factors affect your top deal. To find your cheapest we've our...
Mortgage Best Buys
Remortgaging Best Buy Comparison Tool
(alternatively, our First-Time Buyers or Moving Home tools)
4. Are you on your lender's SVR? Beware, you can likely save - especially if you're one of the circa 50% of mortgage holders on an SVR, the go-to-rate after a deal ends. Remortgage deals can be 3.15 percentage points cheaper - saving 2,900/yr on a 150k mortgage.

To highlight how much you could be paying, here are some major lenders' current SVRs, which now average about 4.3%, (see SVR Help for more):

- HSBC - 3.94%
- Lloyds, Halifax, Nationwide & Barclays - 3.99%
- RBS - 4%
- Santander & Coventry BS - 4.74%
- Virgin Money - 4.79%
- Yorkshire BS - 4.99%

Not everyone on an SVR can save, for example, if the rate's decent - some Lloyds & Nationwide customers who signed up years ago still pay 2.5%.
5. What deals could I get? The table below shows typical rates. I've added in the average SVR, for comparison.

Example mortgage deals - costs based on 150k mortgage
Deal Rate + Fee Annual cost during deal term (incl fee) (1)
Typical SVR rate 4.3% 9,800
FIX 2yr at 60% LTV 1.15% + 1,995 7,910
FIX 2yr at 85% LTV 1.82% + 1,675 8,315
FIX 5yr at 60% LTV 2.19% + 999 8,300
FIX 5yr at 85% LTV 2.79% + 999 8,840
TRACKER 2yr at 60% LTV 1.04% + 1,675 7,655
TRACKER 2yr at 85% LTV 1.74% + 975 7,890
(1) Fee spread across deal period + repayments, assumes 25yr term.
6. A tool to factor in fees to see each mortgage's true cost. The smaller your mortgage (especially if sub-100k), the bigger the impact of fees. To assess, spread fees over the fixed or tracker period (as after you may shift deal). To help, the MSE Total Cost Assessment in our best buys comparison factors in fee and rate for your cheapest.
7. Should I get a fix or tracker/discount? With a fix, the amount you repay is, er, fixed - it's insurance against possible rate rises. Variable deals move with UK interest rates (sometimes just at a provider's whim). Currently you only pay a touch more to fix.

We can't predict future interest rates, so focus on your finances - the more crucial the surety of knowing the cost, the more you should hedge towards fixing, and fixing longer. If a rock-bottom deal's your focus, hedge towards short-term trackers. See Fix vs Variable help.
8. Is your credit score good enough? This has become a huge part of whether you'll be accepted, and when possible, you should start preparing months ahead - see my 36 tips to boost your credit score.
9. Try to minimise outgoings AT LEAST 3mths ahead. For the past 18 months or so lenders have had to stress-test if your mortgage would be affordable if rates hit 6-7%. You may have escaped this when you first got a mortgage - now they want evidence of income, big bills, expenses, even eating out. So being frugal in advance helps.

While in general I'm a fan of 'affordability checks', as they ensure people don't push their finances too far, it's not logical for many remortgages. I've had tweets such as: "Circs hadn't changed. No missed payments. No debts bar new cars. 90k equity. Yet no one'd give us a mortgage."

So, ridiculously, people are told they can't afford a CHEAPER deal, and new EU rules next Feb will make it worse, so go quick. For more, see my EU rules could create mortgage prisoners blog.
10. Mortgage brokers can help boost acceptance. You can, and often should, use a broker to help find the right deal. They've info unavailable to consumers, eg, lenders' credit and affordability criteria. A good broker can ease acceptance by matching you to the right deal - and the application process is quicker. See Top Mortgage Brokers.
11. Yet brokers miss some mortgages... A few lenders, incl First Direct, Yorkshire Bank & Tesco, cut brokers out and sell only direct to the public. So some brokers can and do exclude them - we suggest you use a broker in conjunction with our mortgage comparison, which has all these deals.
12. Got savings? They could get you a better mortgage. At every 5% LTV threshold from 95% down to 60%, deals tend to get better, so a little extra can have a big impact on your mortgage rate. Eg...

Imagine you've a 150,000 home, and want a 137,000 remortgage. That's 91% LTV, and the top 5yr fix is 4.49%. Yet if you use 2,000 of savings to reduce the amount needed, you'd then be at 90% LTV, where the top 5yr fix is 2.88%, saving 1,550/year in payments.

See Should I overpay my mortgage? for more and use the mortgage overpayment calc to see how much regular overpayments can help.
13. 8 calculators to interrogate your options. Now you know typical rates, use our mortgage calculators can compare 'em and see what you could save:
Ultimate Mortgage Calculator
Eight tools to home in on the right answer for you, incl...
Basic Mortgage Calc | Compare Two Mortgages | Mortgage Overpay Calc | Compare Fixed Mortgages | Ditch Your Current Fix?
14. Don't fall for the hard sell on mortgage extras. Lenders & brokers may try to flog their mortgage life insurance, home insurance or mortgage PPI. These can be expensive, so use the links above to check what you need & find the cheapest (but check your lender won't charge if you buy elsewhere).

PS, from Martin. I'm taking a couple of days off, so having been through the big stuff, this final email's in the MSE team's more-than-capable hands.

Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

If this email's ever helped you, please forward it to friends and suggest they get it via moneysavingexpert.com/tips.

Last chance. Free 150 in time for Christmas with no.1 bank

The top bank switching bribes are ENDING, so go quick and switch to the TOP BANK & get cash in time for Xmas


As the Competition Authority bemoaned last week, only 3% of people switched bank last year, and 57% have been loyal to theirs for over a decade. No wonder some banks bribe people to switch. So take advantage, do it now and with 58 days to Christmas, the money should arrive in time to be a festive boon. Full info in Top Bank Accounts - in brief:

  • Ends Sun. Free 150, top service, 0% overdraft, 6% linked savings. First Direct* has won every customer service poll we've done (92% rate it 'great'). Apply via this link by 11.59pm Sun and switchers get 150 (100 after). It also has a 250 0% overdraft and gives access to its 6% regular saver.

  • Ends Mon. Free 125, 5 cashback, 5% interest & 5% linked savings. Until 5pm Mon, via this link, TSB* gives accepted switchers a free 125 (nowt after) on its recently launched '555' deal which has 5% cashback on the first 100 of debit card contactless spending a month (till Dec 2016) - so a free monthly 5 for many. Plus there's 5% AER interest on balances up to 2,000, and access to a 5% linked regular saver account.

FREE CASH FOR CHRISTMAS - THE BANKS THAT PAY YOU TO SWITCH

All credit-score you. To get the bonus you need to use their 'switching services' (switches take around 7 days).

Account Intro offer and other benefits CASH SHOULD ARRIVE WITHIN (1)
Halifax Reward* Free 100, pays 5 each month you're in credit 3 working days
Ends Mon. TSB* Free 125, 5% interest to 2k, contactless cashback 28 days
M&S Bank* Free 100 M&S (gift card), 100 0% o'draft, 6% regular saver and unusually NO min monthly pay in needed 1 month
Ends Sun. First Direct* (2) Free 150, top service, 250 0% o'draft, 6% reg saver 28 working days
Co-op* Free 100 plus 25 to charity 45 days
Clydesdale* (3) Free 150, 2% interest to 3k, 9.9% EAR overdraft 70 days (4)
(1) This is no of days AFTER you've switched and satisfied the minimum monthly pay in and set up the required direct debits. (2) If you've been to this page before, it may show a 125 bonus. Clear your cache, or try another browser to get the 150.
(3) Pick the Current Account Direct also available from sister bank Yorkshire*. (4) So maybe not in time for Xmas.

  • Do you earn enough to get 'em? All these deals, except M&S, set a min monthly deposit - as they want you to pay your income in each month (there's a workaround for most). TSB is 500/mth (equiv to a 6k salary), Halifax 750/mth (equiv 9,150), Co-op 800/mth (equiv 9,850), First Direct & Clydesdale 1k/mth (equiv 13,200). To get the bonus you usually need to meet this & have two direct debits set up - only after does the clock start on getting the cash.

  • Got savings? 3% interest may be better. The Santander 123* (81% 'great' service rating) pays 3% AER on balances of 3,000 to 20,000, plus up to 3% cashback on bills, which usually wipes out its fee. That fee's 2/mth now, rising to 5/mth in January - though it usually still wins if you've 10,000+. See Martin's Santander 123 fee hike analysis. More options in Top Interest Paying Bank Accounts.

YEAR'S 2for1 cinema for 2ish manipulating Meerkat Movies, works on new Bond film Spectre. Your licence to be a Mr or Miss MoneySavingPenny (sorry). Cinemas

Ends Fri. Get PAID to shift debt to 32mths 0%. Apply by 5pm Fri and Halifax* lets accepted new cardholders shift debt for 32mths 0% in the first 90 days for a one-off 1.39% fee. If you transfer 1,500+ it gives 35 cashback - if you shift up to 2,500 the cashback's more than the fee. If shifting more, Halifax up to 20mths 0%* & Tesco 19mths 0%* are fee-free, but the 0%'s shorter. Don't just apply in hope, use our eligibility calc first. Fail to repay after the 0% or don't shift again and you pay 18.9% rep APR (Tesco 20.6%). See Balance Transfers & APR Examples.


Got Tesco Clubcard points? Double their value from Monday. Its Xmas Boost is launching, incl gifts, gaming, toys & Christmas trees, eg, Xbox One with Kinect 175 in vouchers (usually 350 cash). Tesco double-up


TalkTalk hack - how to beat its exit fees, protect your finances & password help. Millions may have had data stolen last week, but TalkTalk's playing hardball with those who want to switch. We've full TalkTalk help incl who it'll allow to switch penalty-free & a template statement to challenge exit charges where it won't budge. For alternative deals, see Cheap Phone & Broadband & Digital TV, plus see Martin's tricks to keep passwords safe.


La Redoute 50 off 100 incl sale code, eg, 150 women's coats 54. Ends Fri. Ooh la la

BLAGGED FOR MSE

- 10% off LivingSocial products. Ends: Sunday

- 16 for TWO photo canvas prints. Ends: Tue 24 Nov

- 2for1 Ideal Home Show Xmas tix code. Ends: Sun 8 Nov

- Hot Diamonds 35% off. Ends: Wed 4 Nov

- 24 Nails Inc Xmas set. Ends: Tue 3 Nov

DID YOU MISS?

- Check your Amazon account for 'free' 7

- Are you in the wrong council tax band?

- 100 printable supermarket coupons worth 100+

- Bigger savers - do you really need to spread the cash?

New. Free TravelMoneyMax app - cheapest foreign cash home & away

Building on our currency comparison site, now our new app also shows YOUR cheapest way to spend abroad


Forget Candy Crush and Tinder, there's a new app in town. We've been working on it for a while, and as you'd expect from MSE, it is of course totally free with no pop-up ads. Get it from the iPhone App Store & Android's Google Play.

  • TMMCompare 40 bureaux for the cheapest travel cash (& collection-only local search). Tell it how many euros, dollars, ringgits or whatever you want & it finds the cheapest, incl fees. Plus it's got a new function we've never had on the site - if you select 'collection' you can now limit it only to those within a set distance.

  • When away, it tells you how best to pay. We've built a personalised currency calc where you can store the plastic you have, or what you paid for your holiday cash. Then whenever you buy something it'll tell you the true rate and how much it costs.

  • We've improved the TravelMoneyMax website too. Our online travel money comparison also compares 40 bureaux. In the past, if you wanted collection not delivery, it'd show you rates for all UK bureaux. Now you can choose to input your postcode and say how far you want to travel - then sort by amount or distance within that.

  • Let us know what you think. These are new tools, and we always appreciate feedback, including glitches, so please email TMM feedback (pls say which app you're using, iPhone or Android, or if it's the site version).

Related: 50+ overseas travel tips, 16 Easyjet booking tricks, 15 cheap travel money tips

Signed up to Apple Music? Check NOW if you're being charged up to 15/mth. If you only got it for the 3mth trial, we explain how to escape the fee after + how to reclaim if charged. Apple Music


10% off LivingSocial deals code, eg, 200 Michael Kors women's watch 93 all-in. MSE Blagged. 1,000 watches avail. Code valid till Sunday. LivingSocial


16 all-in for TWO photo canvas prints (norm 84). MSE Blagged. Code gets two A3ish canvases. Photo gifts


16 cheap holiday booking tips. Incl Easyjet summer seats, 40% off Avios & secret 5-star hotels. Holidays


2for1 Ideal Home Show at Christmas tickets code. MSE Blagged. If you missed the freebies two weeks ago, we've 2for1s for London (25-29 Nov) and Manchester (12-15 Nov). Ideal Home


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AT A GLANCE BEST BUYS

40 Laura Ashley bath set 20. Boots 'Star Gift' incl 12ish soap dispenser & 5ish bath soak. Boots


Hot Diamonds 35% off EVERYTHING code - incl up to 60% off sale. MSE Blagged. Discount on women's jewellery site. Eg, 'teardrop' necklace 23 (was 70), diamond locket 50 (was 110). Ends Wed 4 Nov. Hot Diamonds


The Body Shop 40% off most items, incl sale - eg, 14 body butter 4. Via code. The Body Shop


24 Nails Inc Xmas set (70ish separately). MSE Blagged. Six 10ml polishes incl glitter. 2,000 avail

44 comping for cash tips - 'I won a car, holiday to Mauritius & 1k'

Master the art of entering contests as a cash-boosting hobby - maximise your gains with five new tricks


This week alone, MoneySavers in our forum have won a PS4, 5,000 cash & a holiday to Spectre filming locations in the Sahara. It's all about 'comping', a potentially profitable hobby. See 44 Comping Tips, here are a few nuggets:

  • CompingJoin the MSE forum comping team. Comping's not just about entering the odd contest. It's a systematic way of sourcing and entering 100s of the right ones. To help, join the MSE comping team where compers post contests, enter others' contests and cheer when people win, bringing the hobby to life.

  • Turbo-charge your comping. Use web gadgets to form-fill at speed, generate tie-breakers, plus loads more tools in 44 Comping Tips.

  • NEW. Chat for prizes, get lucky on social media & more. We've updated the 44 Comping Tips guide with new tricks, including a Whatsapp-style messaging app that enters you for cash prizes of up to 1,000. Plus how to find and enter comps on Facebook & Twitter and snap-sharing networks Instagram & Pinterest.

    Our new TV Game Shows blog lists 12 shows to apply for & how to boost your chances of getting picked. Plus Comping Apps offer prizes for challenges such as scanning products in shops - forumite poohbear1 got lucky: "I won an iPhone - it really paid off."

  • Another huge MSE comping win: "I won a car, holiday to Mauritius and 1k." While big success isn't certain, it happens. Forumite HollySmith says: "OMG. I won a VW Up car, holiday to Mauritius and 1k through a Channel 4 comp. Cannot believe it." Read her full story.

Sainsbury's Tu 25% off EVERYTHING. Clothes sale till Mon, incl Halloween outfits. Sainsbury's


SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"Thanks @MoneySavingExp. Your local eBay deals finder app found me a Wii for 19. "


Halloween cashback freebies, eg, 'free' 10 costume for newbies. Plus 'free' 3 pumpkin for all. Halloween

CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK

Help make switching easier. The Govt wants to simplify switching, whether bank accounts, energy, broadband or more. Do you switch to get the best deal? Take the Govts online survey, then go to the MSE Forum to tell us what you think.

THIS WEEK'S POLL

Is it time to ditch 1p and 2p coins? Ireland is aiming to stop producing 1 and 2 cent coins - to get there it wants to encourage shops to round prices down or up to the nearest five cents.


Should we aim to ditch copper coins in the UK too? Which is nearest to your view?


Last week 28,131 voted on whether they want the UK to stay in the EU - and most didn't. Only 41% in England thought we should stay, while it was 43% in Wales, 44% in N Ireland and 62% in Scotland. Across the UK, those aged 25 to 34 most want us to stay (65%) - those aged 65+ most want us to leave (71% voted 'leave'). See full results.

MONEYSAVING NEWS

- Top story: Mobile roaming charges will be scrapped in June 2017, confirms EU Parliament

- Payday lender Dollar to refund over 15m to 147,000 borrowers

- Car insurance prices set to spiral by 15% this year, says the AA

- Banks told to make switching easier

MONEY MORAL DILEMMA

Should I make my son wait for the bus? We live rurally and there's a school bus that does one 5pm trip home. Our teenager has a pass but once a week does a half day. I've collected him a few times but it's 25 miles in total and I can't afford the petrol or time. Should I make him wait? Enter the Money Moral Maze: Is it OK to make our teen wait for the bus? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

THE QUICKIES
- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: How open are you about your debt?
- Competitions thread of the week: Flights to LA
- Old-style board thread of the week: Caustic soda tips
- Game of the week: Cuboy Quest
- Discussion of the week: Plastic bag latest

TEAM BLOG

- Can an allotment cut the cost of fruit & veg?

MARTIN APPEARANCES (FROM WED 28 OCT ONWARD)

Thu 29 Oct - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch previous
Fri 30 Oct - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. Watch previous
Mon 2 Nov - This Morning, ITV, Money Monday, from 10.30am.
Mon 2 Nov - Consumer Panel, BBC Radio 5, 12pm-1pm. Subscribe to podcast

TEAM APPEARANCES

Thu 29 Oct - Share Radio, MSE Amy and MSE Rebecca, 11am
Tue 3 Nov - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.30pm

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I own my flat as a leaseholder and have contents insurance - the freeholder's buildings insurance covers the building. Say my washing machine flooded and damaged the building structure, ie, it was 'my fault', would the freeholder's buildings insurance cover it, as I don't have buildings insurance myself? Or would I get a big bill? Adam, by email.

MSE Tony's A: In most cases, you should be OK. We asked a number of major insurers including Admiral, Aviva, AXA, Churchill, Direct Line and LV, plus the trade body that represents insurers, the Association of British Insurers.

They all told us most buildings insurance policies taken by freeholders or management companies on behalf of leaseholders usually cover structural damage even if the problem began in your flat, as long as you didn't do anything reckless. Of course, your contents insurance should cover contents in your home.

Do double-check the precise buildings insurance cover to be safe though. See our Cheap Home Insurance guide for more information on protecting your home.

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

Great Scott! Marty McFly and the Doc arrive back in the future (but where are the hoverboards?)

If you were gripped by last week's Back to the Future Day (21 Oct 2015, the date in the future the 1985 characters travelled to), watch this skit as Marty and Doc Brown arrive in 2015 and their bemusement grows as they learn to take a selfie and ask: "You haven't invented flying cars yet - do you at least have hoverboards?"

We hope you save some money,
Martin & the MSE team

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