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Weekly Email
This email was sent
31st Aug 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 This info may be out of date.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."

31 August 2016
Martin's Briefing: The A-Z of motoring MoneySaving
Time to overpay your mortgage?
7 things to do post-hols incl flight delay compensation
Halve mobile phone ins to £65/yr
Ends Fri. FULL Sky TV 60% off code
Spend a penny for free £25 M&S vch
iPlayer TV licence warning
Free pack of wild flower seeds
Hot Apple deals incl 'free' Beats for students, parents, teachers
Super-cheap MSE Big Energy Switch coming - but you must pre-register
Free KFC hot wings, fries & more
Kids finished exams? Tell the taxman
£100ish of Nails Inc polish £25 all-in
Body Shop 40% off most items code
£6.50 full school uniform

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

The A-Z of motoring MoneySaving

Many spend £3,000+/yr running a car - here are 26 ways to slash costs

Motoring New car registrations launch tomorrow (we're moving to '66' plates if you're wondering). That means September is a big month for car insurance renewals - with costs up 17%.

With petrol prices up from winter's £1/litre, running costs are also increasing. So to stop motoring costs sending you into a spin (sorry), we're revving up (sorry) to drive down (sorry again - well, not really) your spending with our A-Z...

AA/RAC cover - don't just renew, you'll pay way over the odds. When the big two renew, they can cost £100s. Yet breakdown firms are among the easiest to haggle with - in our poll, 88% of AA and 86% of RAC members who tried were successful. Like Liane, who tweeted me: "@MartinSLewis, got my AA renewal down from £210 to £94". See haggle down breakdown cover.

If you're looking for new cover, you can slash basic costs down to £22 a year by buying the right way - see Cheap AA/RAC Cover. Alternatively, for full cover including home start and onward travel via its 'pay and claim policy', AutoAid is £42 a year. Far more help in Cheap Breakdown Cover.

Beat MOT fails - find hidden 'fewer fails' centres. Council MOT centres are mainly to look after buses and ambulances, but they're also open to the public. As they don't do repairs, there's no vested interest to fail you, just to keep you safe. Our Council MOT Centres Help shows your nearest and how it works.

The best result we've seen is forumite Glen7's: "I had a pre-MOT and they said it would fail and cost around £400 to put right. Instead I booked my car into my nearest council MOT centre, they tested my car and it passed."

Car insurance - prices are up 17% this year - act now to lock in at a cheap price. Car insurance prices are 17% higher than a year ago, and the trend to increase is likely to continue. So everyone, whether you're at renewal or not, should check right now to see if you can lock in at the cheapest price. See Cheap Car Insurance for the full cost-cutting system.

The key point is to combine comparison sites, to get max quotes in min time (they search different providers and can have special prices). Our current order to check:*, Gocompare*, CTM & MoneySup*.

Even if you're not at renewal you may be able to save...

- Renewal within 60 days? Some firms, such as Aviva*, Nationwide & LV*, give quotes valid for 60 days (see full list of 20 long-quote insurers) so get one now, then check against quotes at renewal time.

- Midway through a policy? The key here is to find if you can get a cheaper policy than your current one (use the comparison sites and other tips below). If so, then provided you've not claimed, for a £50ish admin fee (factor that in) you can usually cancel your current policy and get the rest of the year refunded. You won't earn this year's no-claims bonus, but if it means you save now and prevent future price rises, it can be a big winner. Full info: Switching mid-policy.

As Mubariz tweeted: "Just had my car insurance HALVED (£543 saving) plus £150 refund by changing mid-policy. HUGE thanks to @MartinSLewis."

Deals comparison sites miss - incl last chance £60 M&S vch. Car insurance comparison sites don't include every insurer. The big two missed are Aviva* and Direct Line*, which can be winners. Yet there are also insurers they include whose promo deals they don't.

As Rebecca tweeted: "Watched @MartinSLewis on TV and went to a car insurer I didn't know was not on comparison websites... saved £200".

So it's worth checking them too - if these deals are a similar price to your cheapest, the promos can make them your winner. Vouchers usually sent within 120 days.

- Ends today (Wed): Age UK*. Get a £60 M&S vch with a policy.
- Ends Mon: Churchill*. Get a £50 Amazon, House of Fraser or Argos vch with a policy.
- Co-op Insurance*. Get £50 in Co-op food vchs with a policy by 18 Nov.
- You may also be able to get cashback on a range of policies.

Efficient driving - cut petrol costs by 30% (and I don't mean go slow). Drive clever and you drive cheap. 7 tricks to use less fuel

Fuel prices - find YOUR cheapest petrol or diesel in seconds. A nifty tool finds the cheapest forecourt near you. The differences can be huge, eg, central London 105.9p to 174.9p, Leeds 106.6p to 122.9p. Petrol price comparison

Glove box parking aid - parking self-defence, print & put it in your car. Avoid fines, and what to do when ticketed in our free glove-box guide.

Halfords - FREE £15 summer car check. Get your battery, wipers, oil, screenwash (with free refill), bulbs & air-con checked & sorted at no cost. Free car check-up

I paid 96p for a year's car insurance (fully comp) - can you beat our all-time record result? The insurance tips above are the tip of the iceberg; the full MSE car insurance system has a host more, and we compete to find the all-time cheapest. The current record is grandmother Barbara's 96p annual insurance made up of a £120.96 quote, but getting £120 cashback.

Job titles - tweak 'em to cut car insurance costs. Our fun Job Picker tool (it's old, we plan to update it soon) may help. As @fabsternation tweeted us: "I saved £300+ going from creative director to marketing manager. Crazy."

Kids in the car? You'll be fined £50 if caught smoking. In Eng and Wales it's illegal to smoke in a vehicle if there's an under 18 in it, & it'll soon be the same in Scotland and N. Ireland.

Licence warning - Over 2m risk a £1,000 fine for out-of-date photos. You must renew every 10yrs, millions haven't. See photo licence warning.

MOTs - hidden tricks to pre-test your car. Many fail needlessly, yet a simple 5min pre-check fixes that with 9 pre-MOT tricks to avoid fails.

No such thing as 'monthly' car insurance - it's a hidden loan. Firms call it monthly insurance - in fact they pay it upfront and you pay back a loan. The rates can be as high as 101% APR; here's a list of car insurers' 'monthly pay' APRs to check yours. If you can't pay in one go, a 0% credit card is far cheaper, just ensure you clear it within the year.

On two wheels? Nail the best motorbike or scooter insurance deals. It's not just car drivers who can save; if you think two wheels beat four, check out our motorbike insurance cost-cutting system.

ParkingPrivate parking firms - don't believe their 'fines', they're just invoices. Yet many will try to make you think they're council tickets. Take a look at these two tickets - can you spot which is an official council ticket? Answer at the end of this A-Z.

If you do get a private ticket and it's unfair, you can fight it; see our fight unfair PRIVATE parking tickets guide. Alexandra tweeted: "@MartinSLewis, followed your template on private parking tickets and it helped me win the appeal for my wrongful parking ticket, so thank you".

Quintessentially British? Check if your caravan needs cover. If you love your caravan, it's worth considering whether it should be insured separately from your car insurance. To help you decide and find the cheapest, read our new Caravan Insurance guide.

Rent someone's driveway - cut the cost of parking by over 50%. If you're struggling to park, many sites now let you speedily check if you can rent a private parking space for less. We found £10/day in Ldn compared with NCP's £22.

Second drivers - adding mum, dad or Aunt Dot can CUT not ADD to costs. You'd think more drivers means a higher price. Yet adding a responsible driver can lower your risk average and reduce your car insurance costs. As Megan told us: "My daughter added my partner to her quote and it dropped £207 to £753".

Third-party insurance - don't assume it's the cheapest. Bizarrely many find that they get fully comprehensive cheaper - for why see 3rd party vs fully comp.

Unfair council parking ticket? Over 50% win, even after initial rejection. Even though council tickets are legit, they can be given unfairly. If that happens to you, take them on. Of those who go all the way to the final tribunal, 56% win. See fight unfair COUNCIL parking tickets.

Vot holes? Don't let the council fob you off. OK, I was struggling to find a 'V' and I wanted to include potholes. If your car or bike is damaged by one, you do have rights. Use our Pothole Damage Claims full guide to see if you're due and how you can claim your money back.

Worn tyres? It just takes 20p to find out. Use this quick 20p check to ensure your tyres are legal, plus where you can change 'em wheely cheap.

(E)Xorbitant gap insurance? Do you need it? Gap insurance covers the difference between an insurance payout for a write-off and the purchase price. See Do I need gap insurance?

Young driver? How to slash costs, eg, 'I saved £600'. Youngsters can pay through the roof if they're not careful, but our Young Drivers' Insurance guide has top tips for you or your kids to drop prices down a gear. Julie tweeted "@MoneySavingExp thanks to your tips my daughter saved £50 a month on car insurance #happydriver".

Zoom over to our 50+ tips. We've a trunkload more tips in our 50 Motoring MoneySaving tips guide. And if you've got any motoring MoneySaving questions, MSE Megan & Tony are doing a Twitter Q&A at 1-1.30pm on Thu. Send 'em in advance to @MoneySavingExp using #MSEMotoring.

DID YOU SPOT THE DIFFERENCE? The 'Penalty Charge Notice' ticket at the top is an official council ticket, the 'Parking Charge Notice' mimicking it is from a private firm.

PS: I'm now back from my August sabbatical, thanks for all your good wishes, I'm raring to go to save you lots of money. Martin.

Saved cash? Shout it from the rooftops.

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'Savings rates are dire - time to overpay your mortgage'

With savings interest diving, Martin Lewis calls on everyone with a mortgage to check if they should overpay

The recent UK base rate cut has devastated savings interest, eg, NatWest's cash ISA's dropping to just 0.01% and Santander 123's halving interest. Mortgage holders are meant to be the beneficiaries, but with millions locked in on fixed rates, or paying over the odds, for many there's little gain. That's why today, MSE founder Martin Lewis is calling on everyone with a mortgage and spare cash to check if overpaying is their best form of saving. Full help in Overpay your mortgage?, at speed...

  • MortgagesTHE BIG QUESTION. Is your mortgage rate higher than the rate your savings pay? If so, overpaying adds up. Eg, £1,000 saved at 1% earns £10/yr. Instead use this cash to reduce a 4% mortgage and your interest costs £40/yr less, so you're £30/yr better off. Yet if you're lucky enough to have a mortgage rate that's lower than your savings rate, don't overpay.

    To see the power of clearing your mortgage quicker, use our free Mortgage Overpayment Calc. For example: overpay £250/mth on a 20-year £150,000 mortgage at the current average standard variable rate of 4.8%, and you'd clear the mortgage 6 years earlier, saving £27,000 in interest.

  • Yet, you can earn 5% to 6% on smaller amounts, so use these before overpaying. Some bank accounts pay higher rates than most mortgages cost, so fill them up before overpaying. Top picks include TSB* at 5% AER variable (so it could change) on up to £2,000, and Nationwide* 5% fixed on up to £2,500 (but only in the first year). Then there's First Direct*, which gives switchers £100, then lets them put up to £300/mth into a 6% regular savings account. Full eligibility & options in Top Bank Accounts.

  • Are you allowed to overpay? Most mortgages let you overpay up to 10% of your mortgage balance annually, and more if you're on a standard variable rate. Though check, as overpayment penalties usually defeat the gain.

  • Ensure you've an emergency cash fund. Even if you'd overpaid, if you then lost your job, you could face mortgage arrears. So always keep an emergency cash fund to cover at least three and preferably six months of all bills (the high interest accounts above are great for this). The only exception is for those with flexible mortgages allowing you to withdraw overpayments - as you could then do just that in the event of emergency.

  • Can you get a cheaper mortgage? Rather than just overpaying, see if you can slash your mortgage rate first. Rates are at record lows; see our Free Remortgage booklet and use our Mortgage Best Buys comparison tool.

    Like Kperat, who emailed: "Following your email we did some research, fixed at 1.24% for 2 yrs, and reduced term to 13 yrs [effectively overpaying - ML] without paying more a month. Will be saving about £20,000 even after fees. THANKS." Though do also read my Don't shorten mortgage term if you can overpay blog.

  • Overpaying may get you a cheaper remortgage in future. It reduces your mortgage debt, so has a positive impact on your Loan To Value (LTV - the % of the price borrowed against the total house value) ratio. Deals get cheaper each 5% lower the LTV, down to 60%, eg, the cheapest 2yr fix at 95% LTV is over 3%, but at 90% LTV it's under 2%. On a £150,000 mortgage that's over £1,000 a year less.


ENDS FRI. 17,000 Sky TV 60% off codes for FULL package at £30/mth incl sports & movies. MSE Blagged. Ends 11.59pm Fri. 12mth contract, see all avail packages via Hot Sky codes. Already got Sky? Haggle

Free £25 M&S voucher for spending a penny. A reminder: in last week's email we flushed out a great deal - see how to get a free £25 M&S vch.

Warning. If you watch iPlayer, you'll need a TV licence from Thu. See new TV licence rules.

FREE £2ish packet of wild flower seeds. Covers 2m2, 50,000 avail - they'll post 'em. Free seeds

Hot iPad & Mac deals incl 'free' £225 Beats headphones for students, parents, teachers. See Apple trick.

Super-cheap MSE Big Energy Switch coming soon BUT you must be pre-registered. Our past collective switches have seen 300,000+ get tariffs cheaper than the market's cheapest. On 13 Sept we hope to do it again. Yet the rules mean we can only offer it to 'members', which means email addresses getting this email, or energy club members, so check if you're registered. If not, sign up to this newsletter or join Cheap Energy Club. PLS SPREAD WORD TO FRIENDS/FAMILY.



- £100ish Nails Inc nail polish collection £25 all-in 1,200 avail

- Body Shop 40% off most items code Ends Sun

- Boohoo £4ish dresses via extra 15% off sale code Ends Sun

- Holland & Barrett 15% off code Ends 6 Sept

- £39 FitFlops £27 del via extra 10% off sale code Ends Fri


- 100+ supermarket coupons worth £100+

- Beat Virgin Media's price hike

- Is the Help to Buy ISA a 'con'?

- 70 selling tricks - eBay vs Facebook


Been away on holiday? 7 things to do now you're back

Flight delay compensation | Free photo prints | Cheap ways to change back your cash | Passport renewal & more

The summer holidays are almost over & school's nearly back. Our post-holiday checklist could save you cash & hassle...

  1. Holiday checklistFlight delayed by over 3hrs this summer (or any time in past six years)? EU regulation 261/2004 means you may be due fixed compensation of up to £510/person. To check and get step-by-step help, use our free Flight Delays Compensation tool. Lisa emailed: "Delayed 5hrs to Dominican Republic. Used your online tool, took about 5mins, within 7 weeks we received £850. Big thanks."

  2. 75 'free' photo prints, just pay £2.25 delivery (or 200 prints for £3.75). If you got snap-happy on holiday, use our blagged codes to print 'em cheap. See Cheap Prints.

  3. Got euros, dollars or even dong leftover? Changing currency back is expensive: bureaux usually take a wodge of commission on top of poor rates, so check your receipt when you bought to see if you had a 'buyback guarantee' rate which can help. Yet, if it's a small amount and you're likely to need them again (euros especially), just keep 'em. Or see if a friend or family member wants them - then check the spot rate and let them buy off you for that - you'll get more pounds, they get more currency than via bureaux. If all else fails our limited buyback comparison may help.

  4. Check your bank / credit card statement for 'non-sterling transaction fees'. These 3%-ish fees that most firms charge when you spend overseas used to be hidden, but the rules now mean they must show you. Yet a few specialist overseas credit cards don't have these fees, giving you near-perfect rates when spending abroad. If you've been stung, get one now for your next trip.

    Top picks are Halifax Clarity (eligibility calc / apply*) and the Creation Everyday (apply*), as they also have low cash-withdrawal charges. Though as they're credit cards always repay IN FULL each month or they're 18.9% & 12.9% rep APR. If you're new to this, read the full Top Travel Credit Cards (APR Examples) for help.

  5. When do your passport & EHIC expire? If your passport's close to renewal, do it now, as any time left, up to a max of nine months, is added to the new one. See our Passport Renewal guide. Also, check the 'valid by' date on your European Health Insurance Card - if before your next trip, renew now. Yet NEVER pay. See free EHICs.

  6. Is your annual travel insurance soon to lapse? If you've any holidays booked or are about to, it's important to always have valid insurance. If not, and something happens while you don't have cover (eg, an illness/diagnosis that stops holidays, or a family death), you won't be covered. So be ready to get new cover to start as the other policy ends. Full top picks in Annual Travel Insurance from £9, Over-65s' Travel Insurance or Pre-Existing Conditions Ins.

  7. Can't wait to go away again? For some, the only way to deal with a holiday hangover is to book the next one. If that's you, see Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels & Cheap Package Holidays, plus 50+ Overseas Travel Tips.


Free KFC hot wings, fries or popcorn chicken. No purchase necessary. Via app. Free KFC

URGENT. Got kids who have just finished their GCSEs? Tell the taxman. If you've children who'll keep studying, fail to tell HMRC by 11.59pm tonight and you could lose out on child tax credits and child benefit. Tell 'em now

£100ish Nails Inc nail polish collection £25 all-in. MSE Blagged. Incl glitter & holographic effects. 1,200 avail

Body Shop 40% off most items code. MSE Blagged. Online or in stores till Sunday. Body Shop

£6.50 full school uniform. If you've left it late for your kids' new term, see our cheapest school uniform round-up.


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Halve your mobile phone insurance costs - to £65 a year

Cover smartphones - even the latest iPhone 6s and Samsung S7 & Note - for half what many pay

Insuring mobiles via your network often means paying more than you need (eg, O2 charges up to £12.50/mth, Vodafone up to £12/mth - over a year that could add up to £150). Plus, networks sometimes can be 'handset blind', so dodgy old phones cost the same as tech-chocka latest models. Big savings are possible with standalone insurance. Full info in Cheap Mobile Insurance - but let's dial up some quick wins...

  • Phone insuranceTop-pick mobile insurance deals. These are the cheapest policies with decent feedback that include cover for accident, loss & theft.

    - iPhone incl 6s & 6 Plus. Go via this Insurance2Go* link with the code MSEIPHONE to get £900 of cover from £65 (£70/yr with loss). You pay the first £50 of a claim as an excess (£75 for loss).
    - Samsung incl 7 / Edge / Note. Go via this Insurance2Go* link with the code MSE5 to get £875 of cover from £65 (£70/yr with loss). £50 excess (£75 for loss).
    - Other smartphones. Go via this Insurance2Go* link with the code MSE5 to get £875 of cover from £65 (£70/year with loss). £25 excess (£50 for loss).
    - Other (thick) phones. Gadget Cover's* £45/yr (£35/yr without loss) for up to £250 cover. Excess £25 (any claim).

  • Cover ALL the family's phones for £120/yr plus get world travel insurance & breakdown cover. If one of you switches to the Nationwide FlexPlus* bank account, which has a £10/mth fee, the mobile of each family member living in the home is covered up to a huge £1,000 limit per phone (more than the policies above), and you get worldwide family travel insurance and European car breakdown cover for the account holder(s). See Best Packaged Accounts.

  • The three key mobile-insurance questions. Before plumping for a policy, ask yourself:
    1. Are you a loser? If you're unlikely to lose your phone, self-insuring can win. Regular losers, stick with insurance.
    2. Are you already covered? Check your home insurance or fee-paying bank account. See Am I covered?
    3. Need a super-quick replacement? If every minute counts, then networks' cover is often fastest.

  • Got an iPhone or iPad? Urgent warning to install security-fix update. See iPhone/iPad alert.


Sneak Preview: MSE Credit Club - a free Experian credit score & more. Our revolutionary free Credit Club's launching soon, designed to help you boost your creditworthiness. It gives 1) A free credit score. 2) Our unique affordability score. 3) Eligibility tools to show your best credit deals. 4) Our unique Credit Hit Rate (the percentage of top deals you're likely to get). 5) Your credit pros & cons. We'd love you to try the pre-launch version & then pls feed back.

Boohoo £4ish dresses via extra 15% off sale code. MSE Blagged. Incl £1 next-day del. Ends Sun. Boohoo

SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic)
"I used your Resolver tool to ask Barclays for a refund on my packaged bank account fees - I got £2,700 back within a week. Thank you MSE."

Holland & Barrett 15% off code. MSE Blagged. Health foods & beauty products, eg, Burt's Bees tinted lip balm £4. Holland & Barrett

FREE A Place in the Sun Live tix - Birm (23-25 Sep) & Glasgow (29 & 30 Oct). 40,000 avail. Place in the Sun



Do you support renationalisation of rail, energy, water and more? Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has argued the railways should be taken back into public ownership following their privatisation. It’s a complex argument, but we’re most interested in testing public sentiment. So we want you to let us know if you'd rather the following were renationalised or kept private...

Have you been to uni? Last week's poll asked if you've been to university, and 71% of you told us you either have, or are currently studying for a degree. But 25% of voters haven't been to uni, while 4% are intending on studying. See the full University poll results.



- Top story: 'I reclaimed £1,300 after Lowcostholidays collapsed, so thanks MSE' - readers share their success stories

- British Gas customers put on most expensive tariff in smart meter error

- RBS and NatWest to give 10,000s refund after student account overdraft mistake

- Fed up with charities cold-calling? New Fundraising Preference Service will let you opt out from next year

- Is a new wave of price hikes about to hit the energy market?



Should I leave my inheritance to just my daughter? I have a daughter and a stepson. Given my stepson is due to inherit from his father, is it wrong to leave my own inheritance entirely to my daughter? I would suggest my and my wife's estate be split 50/50 with my half going to our daughter, and my wife's half being split between our daughter and her son. Enter the Money Moral Maze: Should I leave my inheritance to just my daughter? | Suggest an MMD | View past MMDs

- Debt-Free Wannabe chat of the week: Quit everything, and start again over 50?
- Competitions thread of the week: Win an Australian adventure for two
- Old-style board thread of the week: New kitchen: must-haves or what to avoid?
- Discussion of the week: Separated, how much should I provide?


- How to legitimately dodge queues at gyms, attractions, restaurants, etc

- Avoid horrid €1 to £1 airport exchange rates


- Freebies you can claim right now - incl Purina pet food, Body Shop face masks & Coke Zero



Thu 1 Sept - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch previous
Fri 2 Sept - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. Watch previous
Fri 2 Sept - Fake Britain, BBC One, 9.15am
Mon 5 Sept - This Morning, ITV, Money Monday, from 10.30am. Watch previous
Mon 5 Sept - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, noon. Subscribe to podcast


Wed 31 Aug - Share Radio, 11.20am
Thu 1 Sept - BBC Radio Manchester, 4.50pm
Tue 6 Sept - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 2.20pm



Q: My energy supplier has a cheaper tariff and I want to switch to it, but the firm still wants to charge me the exit fee. Is this right? Fiona, via email.

MSE Andrew's A: Unfortunately yes, it's allowed, and while some suppliers waive the fee for internal switches, not all do.

The policy for levying exit fees - charged when you leave if still within the minimum term of your tariff - should be laid out clearly in the terms and conditions. However, if you're within 49 days of the end of your tariff, exit fees can't be charged, so check the date your tariff ends.

Before switching, do a full comparison via our Cheap Energy Club. You may find even better savings.

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


A London house for less than £2,000. Eh?

That's it for this week, but before we go, yes, you read that headline right. Though sadly, the home cost that in 1950. Back then a litre of fuel was a mere 3p and a pint of milk would set you back just 8p. If you fancy a bit of wishful thinking, head to the How much did things cost in another decade? thread and add more examples yourself.

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

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