Save £200 a year on your gas bill - but only if you ask
British Gas £200/year off but only if you ask for it, new free £200 bank switch bribe, free MOT, free Stonehouse carvery meal, and new NHS prescription checker. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Deals of the Week.
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.
Yet if you’re loyal and want to stick with British Gas, don’t just sit on your hands. The energy giant has launched a new dual fuel, direct debit tariff (i.e. where you get both gas & electricity from it) called ‘Energy Plus Boiler Cover Oct 19’ and this is available for both new customers and existing British Gas customers. Plus it’s one of the cheapest deals from a big six company (not factoring in the boiler cover).
On average it is £1,020/year (though it depends on your region) and the price is fixed for a year, so it won’t rise in October – meaning a typical saving of £180/year plus it also includes British Gas Boiler Insurance for no extra cost, as you’d normally pay £50 for that takes the saving to over £200. If you don’t already have a British Gas Smart meter, it will install one as part of this. All that means is you won't need to give meter readings in future.
So if you’re currently a British Gas customer, and want to stick with it, this is often a no-brainer saving.
Free £200 for switching banks is back Free cash for switching bank accounts has mostly disappeared in the last few months, but the biggie from HSBC’s Advance Account is back, paying new customers up to £200, which is £150 upfront plus another £50 if you stay with it a year. To qualify you need to use the switching service to move to it (with a minimum of two direct debits) and pay in £1,750+/mth, effectively a way of saying pay you salary in if you earn over £26,000. It also requires you to register for online/mobile banking.
If the monthly pay in is too high, you can gemmy it by simply withdrawing cash (or moving it to another account) then paying it back. E.g. if you get £1,000 a month, just withdraw £750 each month and pay it straight back in (if you’re organised you can do it via standing orders).
Alternatively First Direct, which has won every customer service poll I’ve done, and gives free gadgets such as £170 Bose headphones, or £150 Expedia voucher. Or switch to M&S Bank you can get a £125 gift card, plus on going £5/mth gift card for year. With both there’s minimum criteria you need to meet, so read the details online before you apply.
In practice switching accounts is easy. Within seven days your old account is closed, any direct debits and standing orders are moved across and any payments going to your old account is auto-forwarded to your new one. Though note, when opening a bank account you will be credit scored.
‘Free’ £55 MOT at Halfords. Until Sunday 14 October, buyanything online or in-store from a Halfords and you can get a voucher code for a free MOT for your car, which normally costs up to £55. The cheapest item I spotted that qualifies was a £1 car air freshener, and as you've got until the end of October next year (2019) to claim the free MOT, even if your MOT isn't due until next year, you can still take advantage. You’ll need to book the MOT online at your nearest Autocentre and add your voucher code (which you’ll get via email or in your paperwork at delivery) during the checkout process.
This is best for those who are pretty sure you’ll pass your MOT. If you’re going to need repairs the MOT centre at Halfords Autocentre may not be the cheapest for repairs.
'Free' £10ish pizza or carvery at Stonehouse restaurants. Download the Stonehouse app and register your details on it by next Saturday 22 September, and in the “my wallet” section, you’ll find a code which will get you a free classic pizza or standard carvery (norm up to £10ish) when you dine in and purchase a drink (from £2ish). You have 28 days to use the code before it expires, and you can use it Mon–Sat from 11.30am at any of the 97 Stonehouse restaurants in England, Scotland and Wales (find your nearest).
New free NHS England prescription checker. As part of its ‘check before you tick’ campaign, the NHS have recently launched a new tool which allows you to check if you’re entitled to free NHS prescriptions or entitled to any other help with health costs - which is useful as if you claim free NHS prescriptions when you’re not meant to, even if it’s by a mistake, you could face a £100 penalty charge. It asks a series of questions about your personal circumstances and health history, and takes around three minutes to use.
Generally though under 16s (or 16-18 and still in full-time education) and over 60s don’t pay, nor do you if you're pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months (and have a valid Maternity Exemption certificate), some on low incomes and with certain medical conditions. Of course those in the rest of the UK always get free prescriptions.