Cheap fibre broadband deals, 'free' £175 bank switch bonus, Barclays, NatWest/RBS overdraft charges hike, £58 Eurostar tickets, free pub drink and rare 2for1 Carluccio’s. 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.
Ends tonight. Cheapest fibre broadband '£15/mth' from Post Office
There are 9million people out of contract who are likely massively overpaying on their broadband and line rental. Some shell out a huge £45/mth, that's £540/year, for slow broadband, but you could boost speed to faster fibre deals while slashing costs.
And as I always say thesecret to bagging a top broadband deal is to pounce on hot, short-lived promos and there's a couple available right now – but you’ll have to go quick as they end midnight tonight (Thursday). But as all broadband deals are postcode-dependent, to check whether you can get them use Martin’s ‘Broadband Unbundled’ tool.
Go via comparison site Broadband Genie by 11.59pm tonight (Thursday), and you can get standard 11Mb fibre broadband and line with the Post Office for equivalent £11.74/mth on a 12 month contract. You pay £15.90/mth (£190.80 over the 1yr contract), but you can claim a £50 Amazon voucher. So if you'd have spent that anyway, it's equivalent to £11.74/mth. Alternatively if you want faster speeds it has a similar deal with 38Mb fast fibre for equivalent £15.50/mth - it's £21/month but here you can claim a £65 Amazon voucher. You should be sent an email with the details on how to claim to voucher - so make sure you claim.
If you want even fast speeds, then Plusnet (via a range of comparison sites) is giving 66Mb faster fibre for equivalent £21/mth. You pay £24.99/mth (£450 over the 18mth contract), plus you can claim a £75 cheque. Do that and it's equivalent to £21/mth. This ends next Thursday 16 January.
Bank bonuses are back – HSBC £175 and First Direct £100
To kick start the New Year, two banks have relaunched their bonuses for switching accounts. Very useful if the coffers are a little short. New switchers to HSBC Advance account get £175. You need to switch minimum 2 direct debits and pay in at least £1,750/month, for most that just means paying in a salary of around £25,900/year. You also get access to a 2.75% linked regular saving account you can put up to £250 a month in.
Alternatively First Direct – which topped my last customer service poll - is now giving £100 free bonus for switching – it was giving £50 last year. You can also save up to £300 a month with its 2.75% linked regular savings account, and most customers get a 0% £250 overdraft too. You need to pay in £1,000 in the first three months.
And don’t forget 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. Plus when opening a bank account you will be credit scored.
Martin’s Quickies: Barclays, NatWest and RBS announce new overdraft fees. There’s a huge shake up going on in the overdraft market, due to new rules by the regulator the FCA. This week we’ve seen the latest three banks to announce their changes and it looks like they’re all around 40% - double the cost of a credit card cost is to be the new normal.
- On 22 March Barclays will start charging 35% (currently up to £3/day)
- On 27 March RBS will start charging 39.5% (currently 19.9% + £6/mth fee)
- On 1 April NatWest will start charging 39.5% (currently 19.9% + £6/mth fee)
£58 Eurostar returns to Paris, Lille, Calais or Brussels:Go online at Eurostar from now till 20 January, and you could grab £58 return train tickets to Paris, Lille, Calais or Brussels from London St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International or Ashford International, for travel between Tuesday 21 January to 1 April. Normally return prices range from £58 to £319, so you could get a good deal here. The sale seats are randomly spread across all included dates on peak and off-peak trains, so it could be a bit of trial and error to find the cheap seats. There are 59,000 one-way seats on the Paris route and 33,500 one-way seats on the Lille, Calais and Brussels route.
January vouchers: Pubs and restaurants are short of trade in January so this is a great time to look for vouchers. Some examples includeGreat British Pubs where newbies registering details online can get a free pint of beer, ale or cider (norm £3.50ish) or soft drink (norm £2ish) at 1,200 pubs in England and Wales until 19 Jan or 100,000 free drinks are redeemed.
And a rare offer from Italian restaurant Carluccio's - order two main courses and you'll get the cheapest for £1 - so you effectively pay £1 for a 2for1. Just fill out an online form to receive a voucher code by email, which is valid every day until Tue 11 Feb. One voucher works for a table of up to six people. With mains priced up to £16.50 you could make a decent saving.
And finally, ifyou’re giving up alcohol this month, or you don’t drink it anyway, it’s worth knowing your tap water rights. Legally only places that serves alcohol in the UK (except northern Ireland) has to give paying customers free drinking water – so that includes all bars, pubs, and restaurants that serve it (and in practice most do), yet not cafes as they generally don’t have a licence to sell alcohol.
It’s worth noting too that many take away restaurants which sell bottled water will give you tap water if you ask, including fast food joints like KFC and coffee shops like Pret and Costa.