Deals and discounts for the Manchester area and also Nationwide offers - spread the word!
Most bargains are limited time one day only offers so if you see something you like don't hesitate and buy today!
While E.on, SSE & now Scottish Power have announced price cuts to their standard tariffs, these are trivial, leaving most still overpaying £300/yr+. It only takes 5 mins to slash the amount you pay for gas & electricity, then it's switched over in just 17 days - perfect for lowering bills this winter.
Today, to take it up a notch, we're launching our 4th MSE collective switch, where a trusted intermediary (eg, a council or us) gets firms to bid to provide special deals not available direct. Our huge 11m email recipients & 1.9m Cheap Energy Club members mean ours smash even the market's cheapest for most. Here are tweets from our last one...
Chris:"Just switched gas & electricity with @MartinSLewis' Cheap Energy Club and saved over £460/year. Thanks for the tip."
Smiffy: "Got quote on other sites, came here, saved an extra £397/yr. Ta."
As you get this email, HURRAH you're eligible for Big Switch 4. Ofgem rules now effectively require us to pre-register people for collective switches, yet being signed up to get this email or being a Cheap Energy Club member (before 1 Feb) counts. The fact we're sending you this means you did.
So HURRAH, you're in. If you're a member of our Cheap Energy Club just log in. If not use your "firstname.lastname@example.org" email address to sign up to it (not for Northern Ireland, sadly) and the collective will be in your comparison. To see if you're signed up via a different email, use our Can I get the collective? checker.
Can I sign up under a different email? First use the registered email and click to switch to the collective deal, then when filling in the final switch form you can give the supplier a different email (if you want, return after switching & change your registered email with the Cheap Energy Club).
Winner 1: Cheapest dual fuel.100,000 special British Gas £345/yr cheaper tariff. It's not often the UK's largest supplier competes on price, but this MSE British Gas 12-month tariff saves someone with typical bills on a big 6 standard tariff £345/yr. And yes, EXISTING BRITISH GAS CUSTOMERS CAN GET IT TOO (as can Sainsbury's Energy customers). Key facts...
- You also get £30 dual fuel cashback from Cheap Energy Club. - It's available for dual fuel (gas & elec together) incl Eco 7 dual fuel. - It is capped at 100,000 switches. That's a lot, but to be safe go soon. - You must opt to pay by monthly direct debit. - Leave early and there's a £30 exit fee per fuel. - As it's a fix, the rate (not cost, that depends on use) is fixed for 1yr. - If you move home you can take it with you. - Existing BG & Sainsbury's Energy custs can switch to it with no exit fee regardless of their tariff, and you get the £30 cashback.
How it compares for someone with typical usage Avg price on Ofgem typical dual fuel direct-debit use (varies by region)
Typical cost: Current average of big six standard tariffs: £1,089/yr Typical cost: British Gas standard tariff:£1,075/yr MSE Special: MSE BG fix: £744/yr + £30 cashback (exit fees £60) Next cheapest fix: GB Energy 12mth fix: £765/yr - no exit fee
- Good for you if: 1) You want the cheapest deal. 2) You're with BG & don't want to change firm. 3) You're OK to switch again in 12mths (if not see winner 2).
- Not for you if: 1) You only want electricity. 2) You want to be able to switch again penalty-free within the year.
- How's customer service? British Gas scored 38% 'great' and 28% 'poor' in our Nov 2015 poll - but as part of this collective we've arranged for it to provide boosted customer service resources for our switch.
Winner 2: Cheapest THREE-WINTER fix.Green Star - switch & forget. If you're not the type to play the market and just want a long-term cheap deal, the MSE Green Star 36mth fix is a corker, as once you get it the rate is locked in for 3 years from the date you're switched over.
- You also get £30 dual fuel cashback from Cheap Energy Club. - It's available for dual fuel, gas-only & elec-only, incl Economy 7. - You can opt to pay by monthly direct debit or costlier quarterly cash / cheque / direct debit. - Leave early and there's a £25 exit fee per fuel. - As it's a fix, the rate (not cost, that depends on use) is fixed for 3yrs. - Existing custs can get it without paying an exit fee. - If you move home you cannot take it with you.
How it compares for someone with typical usage Avg price on Ofgem typical dual fuel direct-debit use (varies by region) Typical cost: Current average of big six standard tariffs: £1,089/yr MSE Special: Green Star 36mth: £876/yr + £30 cashback (early exit £25/fuel) Next cheapest 3yr fix: SSE 3yr fix: £1,068/yr - £25/fuel exit fee
- Good for you if: 1) You don't usually switch & often forget, as do this now & you needn't act again until 2019. 2) You're worried about future price hikes & prefer to bag the certainty of a long-term cheap price.
- Not for you if: 1) You just want the cheapest price. 2) You want to be able to switch penalty-free. 3) You may move home soon.
- How's customer service? We only had limited feedback (45 votes) on Green Star in our Nov 2015 poll but what we had was good - 67% 'great' and 13% 'poor'. Green Star has featured in our previous Big Switch Events and we've had few reported problems, and we've set up boosted customer service.
Winner 3: Cheapest GREEN tariff. 1,000 Bulb 100% renewable tariff plus £12.50/fuel J Lewis vch. This is for those who want to do their bit for the environment and still save massively over standard tariffs. The winning bid, from a tariff that's generated 100% of its elec from renewable sources and a very rare 10% of its gas from biomethane, is the MSE Bulb 12mth fix.
- You also get £30 dual fuel cashback from Cheap Energy Club. - It's capped at 1,000: reasonable for a green deal, but speed is safer. - It's a very green tariff - see its full green credentials. - It's available for dual fuel & electricity-only. - Bulb sends a £12.50/fuel John Lewis vch 2mths after you switch. - You must opt to pay by monthly direct debit. - Leave early and there's a £5/fuel exit fee. - As it's a fix, the rate (not cost, that depends on use) is fixed for 1yr. - If you move home you can take the tariff with you.
How it compares for someone with typical usage Avg price on Ofgem typical dual fuel direct-debit use (varies by region)
Typical cost: Big six standard tariff: £1,089/yr MSE Special: Bulb 12mth fix: £869/yr + £30 cashback (early exit £5/fuel) Next cheapest 100% renewable: Ovo 12mth fix: £883/yr - no exit fees
- Good for you if: 1) You want a competitive price but will pay a little more for green. 2) You're happy to switch again in a year.
- Not for you if: 1) You just want the cheapest price. 2) You want to be able to switch penalty-free (though the penalty is small). 3) You're with an independent gas transporter (IGT), as Bulb charges an extra £8.33/mth (£100/yr).
- How's customer service? Bulb is a small, new supplier, so we've no feedback on its service - however we have visited it, checked it can handle the traffic and set up boosted customer service for our switch. Hopefully all good.
Winner 4: Cheapest ELECTRICITY-ONLY tariff. E.on 12mth fix. Our winner is the MSE E.on 12mth fix, but we need to be straight as it won't always win. It's best at mid to low use especially when you factor in our cashback. Click the link and you'll get a comparison showing you - if it doesn't win, you'll likely be shown you still save elsewhere.
- Existing E.on customers can get it without paying an exit fee regardless of what elec tariff they're on, even if part of a dual fuel deal. - You also get £15 switching cashback from Cheap Energy Club. - Tick 'sign up to E.on points' during sign up & over 12mths you'll get 1,500 pts, convertible into 1,500 Tesco Clubcard pts or a £15 high st vch (eg, Argos). - It works on electricity-only including Economy 7. - You can opt to pay by monthly direct debit or costlier quarterly cash / cheque / direct debit. - Leave early and there's a £30 exit fee. - As it's a fix, the rate (not cost, that depends on use) is fixed for 1yr.
How it compares Roughly based on the ELEC-ONLY usage of someone with oil/other heating
Typical cost: Big six standard tariff: £508/yr MSE Special:E.on 12mth fix: £380/yr + £15 cashback (early exit fees £30) Next cheapest fix: GB Energy 12mth fix: £380/yr - no cashback (no exit fee)
- Good for you if: 1) You don't have gas. 2) You are happy to switch again in a year. 3) You shop at Tesco and collect Clubcard points.
- Not for you if: 1) You're an electricity-only user but have high usage - but then still click the link to do a full comparison. 2) You want to be able to switch penalty-free within the year.
- How's customer service? In our last customer service poll E.on did well, scoring 58% 'great' and 11% 'poor' from 688 votes. We've worked with E.on in our previous Big Switch Events, have boosted customer service resources for it, and found it good at dealing with issues.
Cheapest prepaid - SADLY no winner. We tried for a key or card tariff, but no supplier beat the market's best buys, so we wouldn't put our name to it. Yet use our Prepay Comparison to find your cheapest - many can save £120/year.
Q. I'm already with one of these providers (eg, BG). Can I still switch? Yes, plus you won't have to pay any exit fees & you still get our cashback.
Q. Will the collective tariffs always win? Mostly, not always. It depends where you live and your usage, which is why we do this via a comparison.
Q. My fix ends soon (incl MSE's Big Switch Event 2), can I do this? Yes, within 49 days of your fix ending THEY CAN'T CHARGE exit fees.
Q. How does Cheap Energy Club work? When you join, 3 things happen:
1) We show your exact price, saving & compare to ALL market tariffs. While our collective tariffs usually win, there can be regional & usage variations. 2) You get £30 dual fuel cashback (£15 elec-only). Any time we can switch you (collective switch or not) we give this, sent roughly 60-90 days later. 3) We monitor that it stays cheap. You set a 'trigger saving', eg, £150/yr, then we alert you if you can save this by switching again - perfect for fixes where cheap rates go quick. This takes the hassle out of energy tarting, where you constantly switch to get the cheapest rate.
Q.What do I need to switch? A bill - preferably your annual bill - would be good, and use kWh rather than cost if you can. But if you don't have that, estimate your usage (if you're moving home the comparison does it for you) and while the answer won't be perfect, it shouldn't be too far out.
Q. Does MSE make money from this? Yes. We're paid £60ish/dual fuel switch & give you £30 as cashback. After supplier costs we get £11 for costs & profit.
Q. I'm locked into a fix - should I switch? Possibly. Just do our comparison, which shows how much you'd save compared to your current fix & the price it jumps to after. Just ensure you factor in any exit fees.
Q. Who's responsible for these tariffs - MSE or the energy firm? The energy firm is, and you pay it. Yet we take our bit seriously and ask all providers to set up special customer help teams with max 48-hour response times. If something goes wrong, and it won't help, let us know and we'll try to help.
Q. If prices are dropping, should I wait? Standard price cuts are trivial compared with the savings possible here. If other cheap deals launch during our collective, they'll be shown in your comparison. Prices may continue to fall after, but switching now means saving now. Drops would need be huge to overcome that, and if they are, save now and pay the exit fees to switch then.
More quick FAQs:
Q. I'm in credit - will I get it back if I switch? Yes. See Reclaim credit. Q. I'm in debt - can I switch? Yes, usually - see switching in debt help. Q. Can I see the standing charge and kWh costs? They vary by region, so we display YOUR exact cost in the Cheap Energy Club comparison result. Q. Can I switch if I've solar & FIT? Yes. See full solar & FIT info. Q. Can I switch firm if I've a smart meter? You may lose some functionality. Q. Do I keep my Warm Home Discount? It depends, see Warm Home info. Q. Is there a credit check? BG and E.on yes (unless you're an existing customer), Green Star and Bulb no. See collective credit check info. Q. Can I get paper bills? Yes (not Bulb) but you'll pay up to £15/yr more - see paper bills. Q. Can I switch if with an independent gas transporter? Yes, see IGT help. Q. Is paying by direct debit cheapest? Yes, but do regular meter readings. Q. Can they put my price up on a cheap fix? The rate's fixed, but use more (or if it's estimated you will) & the direct debit can rise. See Fight Unfair Direct Debits. Q. Can I switch if I'm renting? Yes. See our Renters' Factsheet.
A bank price war is raging, yet while many complain about banks, few leave them. So stop bitching, start switching. Of those using the 7-day switching service launched in 2013 (they close your old account, move direct debits & standing orders and auto-forward payments to the new account) 82% tell us it's easy & hassle-free. Full info in Best Bank Accounts; here are top picks. Most require a 'min monthly pay-in' - banks' way of getting your income paid in. Plus you'll need to use their switching service, pass a (not too harsh) credit check and usually have 2+ direct debits.
Ends Mon 4pm. Free £100, £5/mth cashback, 5% interest & 5% linked savings. Via this link, switchers to TSB's* Classic Plus get £100 (nowt direct). It gives 5% cashback on up to £100/mth contactless debit card spending (ie, max £5) till Dec, 5% interest on up to £2k, and access to 5% regular savings. Min pay-in: £500/mth. Customer service: 58% 'great'.
New. Free £150 + 2% interest. Clydesdale* / Yorkshire* banks' £150 switching bonus is back, and with their Current Account Direct you also earn 2% interest on up to £3k. Min pay-in: £1,000/mth. Service: 43% 'great'.
Free £150, 6% linked savings, 0% overdraft & no. 1 service. Via this link First Direct* gives switchers £150 (£125 direct). It has a £250 0% overdraft and 6% regular savings. Min pay-in: £1,000/mth. Service: 92% 'great'.
Free £100 M&S, 6% linked savings, 0% overdraft with no min pay-in (or £10/mth if you do). Switch to M&S Bank* and get a £100 M&S gift card, £100 0% overdraft and 6% linked regular savings, with no min pay-in. If you do pay in £1,000/mth, it adds £10 to the gift card each month for a year. Service: 67% 'great'.
Free £100 + £5/mth. Halifax* gives £5 each month you're in credit. Min pay-in £750/mth. Service: 66% 'great'.
Got savings? 3% interest. Santander 123* pays 3% AER on £3k-20k balances & up to 3% cashback on bills paid from it, which at least usually covers its £5/mth fee. Even if not, it's the best easy access when saving £9,000+ (for basic-rate taxpayers). Min pay-in £500/mth. Service: 81% 'great'. See Martin's Is Santander worth it?
Romance is great. Over-commercialised peer pressure ain't. Don't be forced into spending to show your love, but if you want to, our aim's to ensure you get the best deals for less. THIS WEEK is usually the time deals are on - discounts run low next week as they know people will spend in desperation. See our full 2016 Valentine's Deals page, but for now...
SUCCESS OF THE WEEK: (Send us yours on this or any topic) "Last week I used your article on PPI reclaiming, filled in the online claim and a week later received a letter from Barclays awarding me £1,439. I'm over the moon. Much easier than expected."
The AA is predicting home insurance costs could rise for the first time in years - by 5%+ in 2016 if there's more severe weather. Don't auto-renew, you'll likely overpay. As John emailed: "Thanks MSE. I saved £900+ on buildings & contents. It's lost a longstanding client." Our Cheap Home Insurance system shows how, here are the 4 key foundations...
COMBINE comparison sites to search 100s of insurers in minutes. Comparison sites don't search identical insurers, nor give identical prices, so combine them. Our current order's Confused.com*, Gocompare*, Compare The Market, MoneySup* (see full comparison order and why). As Vicki emailed: "My renewal quote was £700+. Using comp sites got it to £188 with a better policy. Thanks."
Check HOT deals comparisons miss, eg, bonus £75 M&S vch. Even after combining comparison sites, some special promos can be missed. We try to list these in our home insurance promos section. Here are the biggies (freebies/vouchers can take up to 120 days to arrive): - £75 M&S e-gift voucher with combined buildings & contents: Get via this MSE Blagged Together Mutual* link. - Fitbit Wristband (worth £60) with combined buildings & contents: Get via this MSE Blagged Direct Line* link. - £40 M&S food voucher with buildings, contents or combined: If you get cover direct from M&S*. - £50 Co-op food voucher with combined buildings & contents: With cover direct from Co-op*.
Not beaten your renewal yet? The Post Office says it'll do it by £50. The Post Office says it'll beat renewals by up to £50 for like-for-like buildings, contents or combined cover, but its T&Cs are tight.
Know the right amount to cover. a) BUILDINGS - usually only needed by freeholders. Many wrongly insure their home's value. Instead use a rebuild calc to see the cost of rebuilding if it were knocked down & cover that. b) CONTENTS - for all. Don't under-insure, thinking you'll never claim the full amount - if you cover £10k, have £20k of stuff & your £1,000 TV breaks, you may only get £500. Use a contents calc to check you're properly covered.
Don't fret about your finances if you're a student. Next week is the National Association of Student Money Advisers' sixth Student Money Week. This year's theme is students, money and mental health. If you're a student with money or mental health worries, or in need of funding facts, first read our 20 student mythbusters and if you still need help get in touch with an adviser for info on the financial support you could be entitled to.
Last week, we discovered the cosmetic surgeries of choice for women are tummy tucks and eyelid surgery: for men it’s cosmetic dentistry. Among the 10,511 voters, women were far more likely than men to pay for cosmetic surgery - only 10% of women would never have anything, compared with 38% of men. See the full results.
Thu 4 Feb - Good Morning Britain, ITV, Deals of the Week, 7.40am. Watch previous Fri 5 Feb - This Morning, ITV, Martin's Quick Deals, from 10.30am. Watch previous Fri 5 Feb - The Martin Lewis Money Show, ITV, 8pm. Watch previous Mon 8 Feb - This Morning, ITV, Money Monday, from 10.30am. Watch previous Mon 8 Feb - BBC Radio 5 Live, Lunch Money Martin, 12noon. Subscribe to podcast
Wed 3 Feb - BBC Radio Gloucester, 10.10am Wed 3 Feb - Share Radio, 11.20am Thu 4 Feb - BBC Radio Manchester, 3.30pm-4.30pm Fri 5 Feb - BBC Radio 4, 12.15pm
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: Can someone who has been bankrupt in the past get a bank account that pays interest or get money to switch?Lynne, via email.
MSE Rosie's A: Yes and no. It depends how long ago you were bankrupt. Certainly if you're an undischarged bankrupt - ie, you're still bankrupt -you'll find it very hard to get a bank account. But there are special Basic Bank Accounts that should be available to you.
Once you've been discharged from bankruptcy, it'll stay on your credit file for six years. During this time it can still be difficult to get accepted for a hot deal - the longer ago it was and the more you've rebuilt your credit file since, the better your chances (see Boost your credit score), but otherwise you'll be limited to basic accounts.
After six years when the bankruptcy has dropped off your file though, assuming all else is good and you've started to rehabilitate your credit meanwhile, it should get a lot easier to find yourself an interest or bonus-paying account.
'IT WAS TWO MONTHS BEFORE I FIRST FARTED IN FRONT OF HUBBY'
That's it for this week, but before we go, forgive us, when we read this request for advice in the forum, we just couldn't help but want to share it... how long before it's acceptable to fart in front of your partner? Once asked it started a long-winded (sorry) debate at MSE Towers. Do let us know via the link where you stand on this scent-sitive issue.
We hope you save some money, Martin & the MSE team
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What you need to know
This info does not constitute financial advice, always do your own research on top to ensure it's right for your specific circumstances - and remember we focus on rates not service.
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Always remember anyone can post on the MSE forums, so it can be very different from our opinion.
What is MoneySavingExpert.com? Founded in February 2003, it's now the UK's biggest consumer help website with more than 10 million people getting this email and about 13 million using the site every month. In September 2012 it became part of the MoneySupermarket Group PLC. Its focus is simple: saving cash and fighting for financial justice on anything and everything. The site has over 80 full time staff, more than a third of whom are editorial - researching, analysing and writing to continually find ways to save money. More info: See About MSE.
Who is Martin Lewis? Martin set up and runs MSE, and still writes this email each week (unless it says so). He's an ultra-focused money-saving journalist and consumer campaigner with his own ITV prime-time show The Martin Lewis Money Show and weekly slots on Radio 5 Live, This Morning and Good Morning Britain, among others. He's a columnist for publications including the Telegraph, Sunday Mirror and Woman magazine. More info: See Martin Lewis' biography.
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