Top fixed savings, let a firefighter wash your car, interest-free Apple 0% and Eurostar seat sale. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.
Plus, he gives us his view on the new Budget.
Remember, deals can change quickly, even while I’m on the programme. So always double-check the terms and conditions before spending. Plus, while I hope these deals will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.
An ‘appy rate of interest
Savings rates have been in the doldrums for a long time now. Just scraping to get 1% from the top easy-access deals is a struggle. The best rates come from current accounts (see Martin’s 5% interest-paying bank accounts guide) but they’re on smaller amounts of cash. However, if you’ve got more to save it can be a real problem.
Yet you can usually earn a little more if you’re prepared to lock cash away. Right now Atom Bank has a very big new best buy. It’s paying 2% for a year’s fixed if you sign up by 11.59pm tonight (it’ll be 1.8% for a one-year from tomorrow, 2.1% for two years, 2.2% for three years or 2.4% for five years) on up to £100,000 – the next best one-year is just 1.62%. But you can only open and manage the account via its app (available on Android or Apple). Atom Bank is a fully regulated UK bank which means in the unlikely event something goes wrong you get the full UK £85,000 per person, per institution savings safety guarantee.
Get a firefighter to use their big hose on your car. There’s a special month-long charity event this month by firefighters, with over 1,000 stations around the country participating – and while some are using sponges, there are some who’ll get their big hoses out. They’re doing this in return for a donation to The Fire Fighters Charity – it provides injured and ill UK firefighters with help, such as psychological therapy and physio to help them recover and return to work as quickly as possible. Check if your local station is doing it first – it’s mainly on Saturday, and if so just turn up. Be prepared to queue and obviously an emergency takes priority. Some fire stations may recommend a minimum donation of £5, which seems fair.
12-month 0% on iPhones, Macs, iPads ends Tuesday. New Apple devices aren’t cheap, and so think carefully before buying. But if you are going to, especially if you’re thinking of getting a contract for it and spreading the cost that way (or borrowing another way), there is what’s usually a cheaper option available until Tuesday. Apple normally has its iPhone Payments scheme that is interest-free for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, yet until Tuesday, via the Apple website, another financing scheme is available on a range of other phones and devices. Here you can buy a new iPhone, iPad, Mac or other device and pay for it in 12 monthly instalments, interest-free.
You will have to pass a credit check to get this. Once you’ve added the Apple items (it also works on non-Apple items) to your basket and you’re in the checkout stage you can either opt to pay via PayPal (min spend £99) or Barclays (min spend £399, non-Apple items can’t make up more than a third of the total order cost). Depending on your credit score, you may get fewer months at 0%. You need to ensure you pay it each month, so the easiest way is to set up a direct debit.
This is borrowing though (then again, so usually is getting a handset and paying for it as part of a contract) so be careful. And also do check if the product would be available cheaper if not bought direct from Apple. Of course an alternative route is to use a 0% for purchases credit card, which could allow you to spread the cost interest-free for longer.
Eurostar seat sale. Bookonline at Eurostar or via its app by 11.59pm on Thursday 16 March and check to see if you can find single train tickets to Paris, Brussels, Lille or Calais from London St Pancras, Ebbsfleet or Ashford International for £29. That’s a £58 return – you can travel from Tuesday 21 March to Thursday 25 May (excluding Easter dates between Friday 31 March to Monday 17 April). Return tickets can normally cost £58 if booked well in advance, though these seats are usually very limited, and they can be as much as £319, so these are a good deal. There are 30,000 one-way seats on the Paris route and 20,000 one-way seats on the Lille, Calais and Brussels route.