Martin's deals: Fast-food freebies and go to the cinema for £5ish!
Top mobile phone sim deals, beat school holiday flight price, McDonald’s freebies and £5ish Odeon tickets. These are our Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’ Quick Deals.
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.
Hot mobile phone sims – and you can stick with the network you like
A whopping 9m customers are out of contract on their mobile and free to switch. And many vastly overpay as prices for a new Sim - the chip in your phone that dictates your data, calls and texts allowance - have dived in recent years. The good news is lots of deals that easily give enough data and calls for most people cost less than £10/mth, and acre across every main network.
And remember, while there are many different providers, most piggyback off the main four networks, essentially borrowing their network space. And as many tell me you don't like to switch network as you're are worried about changes in signal, this is an easy way to stay on the same network and take advantage of new customer deals. Here’s the top deals…
Three: iD mobile 1GB data, unlimited minutes and texts for £6/mth on a one month rolling contract (it’s £5/mth if you go via comparison sites including Compare The Market, Broadband Choices and Uswitch). Smarty – a no-frills Three sim – has 30GB data sim with unlimited minutes and texts for £10/mth, also a one-month rolling contract.
02: Sky Mobile piggybacks off 02 and has a 3GB sim with unlimited minutes and texts for £6/mth on a 12-month contract. GiffGaff also on 02’s network has 6GB with unlimited minutes and texts for £10/mth on a one-month contact.
EE:Virgin Mobile piggybacks of EE and has a 2GB with 1,000 mins and unlimited texts for £6/mth on a 12mth contract, or 8GB with 5,000 minutes for £9/mth.
Vodafone:Vodafone’s Basic sim is 1.5GB for £6/mth with unlimited minutes and texts on a 12-month contract or Voxi has 8GB sim with unlimited minutes and texts for £10/mth on a one-month contract.
Beat the school holiday flight price hike trick
There's a collective 'GRRRRR' from parents about holiday price hikes when term ends – the cost of flights, hotels and package holidays always seems to rocket. But there’s a little trick to beat the flight hike costs.
Easyjet's 'Flexifares' let you switch dates by a few weeks without paying anything extra. So, book a ‘flexi-fare’ on the same route at a less busy time when flights are cheaper, then provided there's capacity, 24 hours after booking you can switch to the dates you originally wanted at no extra charge, possibly saving you £100s. You can only move the phantom ticket one week earlier or three weeks later, so don’t just book any old date.
Now this is a bit of a risk in case there isn’t availability for the date you actually wanted, but a good indicator is to first check there are at least 20 seats are available on the date you want to fly. To do this, go through the process to book standard tickets for a large party on the dates you actually want to fly but don't actually go through with the purchase. If you can still get a quote for, say, 20 seats, chances are there'll still be room once you switch flights. The fewer seats there are left, the more of a gamble you're taking.
You'll usually pay more than a standard flight for a Flexi fare ticket, but as you'll get the flexibility to switch dates, so long as it's cheaper than the cost of a peak time standard ticket you win. Plus as an added bonus you'll also get speedy boarding, a seat near the front, up to £7 to spend on onboard food and drinks and one piece of hold luggage (max 23kg) free per person. At some airports, you'll also get fast-track security. It's worth noting Flexi fares aren't available on every flight and are only available 120 days in advance. Someone in my team saved £431 on flights to Sardinia – so the savings could be large. Do let me know how you get on.
Free McDonalds fries and McMuffin this weekend
Those who’ve downloaded the free McDonald’s app until Sunday 26 Jan can get its daily deals, where you can get discounted or even free food. The deals are available to new and existing users of the app. Today (Friday 24 Jan) you can get totally free regular fries (normally £1ish), and on Sunday 26 Jan you can get a free McMuffin (normally £2ish). For the freebies you don’t need to buy anything else, just show the code which you’ll find in the app at the cash desk. Most but not all McDonald’s restaurants are participating – you can easily find out via the app whether your local one is included.
‘£5ish’Odeon cinema tickets
Go online to deals site Groupon by Friday 6 March and you can get five Odeon tickets for £23.75 or two for £11.50 (factoring in the 75p per ticket booking fee). You don't have to use all the tickets in one go and they can be used by different people – so ideal for families or a group of mates. They need using by 20 March, and work with most 2D screenings barring some upcoming movies, eg, Bad Boys for Life and Dolittle, before certain dates – usually during their first week or so of release. Whether it’s a winner depends on your local Odeon as standard prices vary between £3 and £18.