Save on your mortgage as rates crash to lowest since 2017
**Super cheap Black Friday sim, ultra-low mortgage rates, Amazon Black Friday analysis, Help to Buy ISA deadline warning and £87 No7 beauty for £25. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Tips of the Week.**
Remember, tips 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 tips will save you cash, don’t spend if you can’t afford it, don’t need it, or won’t use it.
Cheap 8GB sim only for £8/mth - are you paying more than £10 a month for your mobile?
Tech firms tend to be the worst at stretching the definition of Black Friday. So even though it's 8 days to go, mobile phone firms have launched a price war to try and win your custom. The good news is some of the prices really do live up to the hype - so if like millions you’re out of contract (and many still pay extra fees for their handset even though it’s paid off) – you may be able to save huge amounts switching to them.
The real key to this is how much data you use; most people use less than 3GB (but if you can get more without paying more, it gives you a big buffer in high use months), so unless you watch a lot of TV via your mobile signal, stream films, or games then that’s probably you. You can find your usage on old bills or use a tool such as Billmonitor - you give it your mobile account login and it assesses your past usage to match you to cheap tariffs. But it doesn't search all deals, and there’s lots out there, so for me here are the top ones …
- Three is £8/month and gives unlimited minutes and texts on a 12 month contract. This is cheaper than the cheapest 5GB deals and the cheapest I remember ever seeing for this much data. So if you’re paying more a month ask yourself why (acceptable answers include paying off your handset or huge data use or need a specific networks signal).
- For higher users, the Smarty sim (also on Three network) gives a massive 45GB data, unlimited minutes and texts for £15/mth on a 12 month contract. Alternatively Virgin Mobile (uses EE network) have a 10GB sim-only, with 5000 minutes and unlimited texts for £10 or 15GB for £13.
And remember you can do this and switch your current number over to it in just one working day. You may need to unlock your phone, but provided you’re out of contract your existing firm should let you do this free of charge.
Mortgage rates are rock bottom - the cheapest since 2017. So check NOW if you can save £1,000s
The UK and world's economic uncertainty has a silver lining for mortgage holders. Long term interest rate forecasts are low right now, and these feed into the mortgage rates lenders offer. The cheapest 2yr fix is 1.05% from Halifax, 5yrs 1.44% from Skipton and TSB, all the lowest we've seen since 2017. There's even a 2yr tracker at 0.98% from Halifax. To get these deals, you'll need decent equity and to pay a big fee, so see them more as a totem of how competitive the market is.
So EVERYONE with a mortgage should check now if you can switch and save. The impact can be huge. As Sam kindly tweeted "Thanks to @MartinSLewisI try to be financially savvy. I’ve just fixed my mortgage for 5 years, saving £160 per month.Nearly £10,000 saved over the fixed period. Wow."
Here’s what you need to do.
1) Check out your own mortgage details:
- What's the rate? Plus monthly payments and outstanding debt.
- What type is it? A fix, tracker or standard variable rate?
- When's the intro deal over? Eg, when does the 2yr, 5yr fix end? And what rate will it go to?
- When must it all be repaid? Eg, in 10, 20, 25yrs?
- Will I be penalised to switch? Any early repayment/exit penalties?
- The proportion of a home's current value you borrow - the loan-to-value. Eg, £180k on a £200k home is 90% LTV.
If your rate's about to end, ask your existing lender what its best deals are. These can have low fees as you're not switching between lenders, so don't need to pay costly fees - and it can set a benchmark for what to beat.
2) Then use Martin’s mortgage comparison tool or MoneyFacts as a benchmark to see what's out there for your situation. Yet remember, the real key is what's the best deal you'll be accepted for. This is dependent on your property type, credit score and lenders' affordability checks. These can be tough, which is why using a 'The Beauty Wardrobe' gift set with £87-worth of beauty products inside for £25 (currently half price from £50 till 3 December). The set contains eight full-size and mini beauty products, including mascara, eyeshadow and shimmer palette. At normal full price, these would cost £87 if you were to buy the included products separately – so getting it all for £25 is a cracking deal. It also has a No7 'Treasure Treats' gift set, with £104-worth of beauty and skincare products, for £35 (special Black Friday deal price). This set contains 10 full-size and mini items. Again a cracking deal – plus remember you don’t have to use it all, you can always split the products to give as multiple gifts to different people.
Amazon eight days of black Friday deals – is it worth it? From 0.01am tomorrow (Friday 22 November), Amazon will launch its Black Friday sale early, running for eight days until 11.59pm on Friday 29 November (Black Friday itself). Then its 'Cyber Monday sale' will start from 00.01am on Saturday 30 Nov until 11.59pm on Monday 2 Dec – so really it's 11 days of deals altogether.
Last year, as in previous years, it had two types of discounts:
- ‘Deals Of The Day' – big discounts on a limited number of products, typically for 24 hours. Last year it included the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker for £79.99 (was £119.30) - which was cheap - and GHD Original styler and air hair dryer for £109.99 (was £148.99).
- 'Lightning Deals' – posted as often as every five minutes with limited stock and a countdown timer. Last year it included Yankee Candle large jars for £13.49 (was £17) and a Philips steam iron for £48 (was £65) – not all were great prices but some were, so worth keeping your eyes open.
While Amazon is keeping tight-lipped for now on exactly which products will be included, it says it will offer thousands of deals on electronics, technology, toys, sports, fashion and beauty. If it’s anything like last year it tends to have stronger discounts on its own products like Echo dot/Alexa and Kindles. And other retailers will start to pump out their Black Friday deals too next week.
But before getting sucked into the buying hype remember to always do a price comparison first to check its cheapest and follow my money mantras – ask yourself: 'Do I need it, is it worth it, have I checked whether it's cheaper elsewhere?' If the answer to any of those is no, don't buy it. And even if it's yes, ensure you can afford it.