Rebecca Goodman

I am an award-winning freelance journalist with more than 10 years’ experience working for online and print consumer publications in the personal finance sector. I now regularly write for The Guardian, The Independent, The Mirror, and The Telegraph. I also regularly take on corporate content projects and in my spare time set up my own successful baking blog and social media network. 

Parking fines on private land – to pay or not to…

While if it’s issued by a local council, it’s usually called a ‘Penalty Charge Notice’. It’s a tiny thing but it means the difference in who you contact to challenge a ticket (and how likely you are to succeed). The first thing to do is work out if the ticket is genuine and who issued it. If it’s been given on private land - which can include supermarkets, hospitals, or private streets - a privately-owned company will have done the deed. The wording is important here as it will be called a ‘Par

Going it alone: how to make it as a freelancer

Freelance workers operate in all areas of working life, from writers and designers to hairdressers and chefs, and what makes them freelance is not only their ability to choose when and how they work (hello morning lie-ins) but also the fact they usually pay tax at the end of the year because it’s not taken from their wages before getting paid. The thought of not having a regular wage, benefits, or company pension contributions can make most people panic, but it doesn’t have to be scary and for

How to find insurance you’re a ‘high-risk’ traveller

It has been a long time coming but finally, the summer of (a bit more) freedom is here. The Portugal debacle notwithstanding, we’re embracing the chance the travel, even if it is mostly within our own shores for now. But as we settle in to a new normal some of the old restrictions are coming back to haunt us – not least when it comes to insuring that summer break. “We went into 2020 as a normal, healthy family that could pick up cheap travel insurance quickly,” says Kate MacKenzie, from Somer

What to do with savings if you’re steering clear of the property frenzy

If you’re one of the nation’s savers you’d be forgiven for experiencing an overwhelming sense of frustration. A year’s worth of headlines suggest you should be laughing all the way to the bank – having, perhaps, saved far more than usual thanks to a unique set of circumstances. But that cash probably hasn’t done you many favours since, especially if it is languishing in a savings account. Interest rates are dismally low, and providers have snatched away those that once paid out anything approa

House prices rise 10% in a year, the fastest growth since 2007, government data shows

The average price for a house in the UK rose to £256,405 in March, up 10.2% in 12 months, according to the government’s latest Land Registry house price report. It’s the first time annual house price rises have hit double digits since 2007 and means that buying a house is now £25,000 more expensive than it was a year ago. The average price for a house in the UK rose to £256,405 in March, up 10.2% in 12 months, according to the government’s latest Land Registry house price report. On a mont

The new financial tools supporting those hit hardest by Covid

By now you really won’t need us to tell you that the pandemic was devastating – from lives lost to livelihoods destroyed. In financial terms alone, the economy shrank by a record 9.9 per cent last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. The overall decline in output was more than twice as bad as the 2009 recession. With the UK now reopening, and further relaxations of the rules this week, rapid recovery is widely expected, thanks in part to the vaccine rollout and the government

The real price of friendship

We’ve all been there, out for dinner with a group of friends and someone orders the most expensive thing on the menu. You, however, still have three days until payday and are looking at just a side salad. When it comes time to settle-up, do you become ‘that person’ and ask if everyone can pay exactly what they owe? Or do you just reach for the credit card and agree to split the bill for the sake of keeping the peace? Managing money is hard but when you throw friends and social situations in

UK house prices rise to another record high of £258,204 in April, Halifax reports

House prices are expected to remain on the same upwards trajectory for the next few months largely thanks to the extension to stamp duty which is not due to return to pre-pandemic levels until October. Separate data from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) shows that property transactions for March were at their highest ever levels of 190,980, a rise of 32.2% from February. Between January and March this year, transactions were also 31.2% higher than for the three months at the end of 2020. Why have h

How National Insurance Works

You can pay National Insurance (NI) through your wages or via a self-assessment tax return and the amount you need to pay depends on factors including the type of work you do. National Insurance is paid by both employees in a pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) system and self-employed workers. The amount of National Insurance you need to pay depends upon which system you’re in, how much you earn, and your personal circumstances. Not everyone has to pay National Insurance and some people are exempt, so it’

What is Universal Credit and How Can I Apply?

Universal Credit is the means-tested benefit system paid monthly to those with low or no income. It was first introduced in 2013 and gradually rolled out across the UK, replacing six previous benefits for workers with low incomes, those who have lost jobs, and those who are unable to work. It is paid monthly (twice monthly to some in Scotland) and is means-tested, so the amount of money you receive will depend on things like your wages, how many hours you work, and if you have any existing sav

Bank of England holds interest rates at 0.1% in March 2021 |

What the MPC announced this week What has happened with the base rate? What do Bank of England interest rates mean for borrowers and savers? When are rates expected to rise? “There was an expectation in the market of negative bank rate (it was priced in), but the BofE has managed to steer clear of doing that as financial institutions were not operationally ready for it until August 2021. By that point though the economy will be in a much better place, so it will not be needed.” What is the

Government-backed 95% mortgage deals launched |

The new scheme means more lenders are accepting borrowers with just a 5% deposit, but it comes as house prices reach record highs - forcing new buyers to take an even bigger step to reach the first rung on the property ladder. So will the new scheme actually have a meaningful impact on those struggling to afford their first home and are the deals worth grabbing before they run out in December or is it better to hold out for a bigger deposit and a standard mortgage? We take a closer look. It wi

Women won’t benefit from flexible working until childcare costs fall

Trillions of US dollars were set officially aside this week to help boost the post-Covid economy by lowering childcare costs. Just like they are in the US, childcare fees are one of the biggest expenses for UK parents or carers with young children. Childcare costs are up 2 per cent in the past year, to an average of £263 a week for a full-time place and £138 a week for part-time care, according to the Money Advice Service. That’s around £14,000 a year for just one child in full-time care, alth

YOLO and FOMO: how your mindset affects your money

The world has become a lot smaller in the last year, and while YOLO and FOMO used to be about the latest restaurant openings, sunny beach holidays, or relaxing spa weekends, they’re now the newest cook-at-home meal boxes, banana bread challenges, and the next jigsaw puzzle to get through. YOLO, in case you don’t know, stands for “You Only Live Once”, while FOMO is an acronym for “Fear of Missing Out”. Think of it as a mindset – a way to rationalise your spending – especially impulse purchases c

How to cash in on this summer’s staycation boom

Demand for staycation accommodation is predicted to massively outstrip supply – so if you’ve ever considered making some extra money from renting your home out, is now the time to do it? It could be a great opportunity to make some extra cash, which could help offset some of the economic consequences of the worst recession on record. Research from Vanquis Bank showed that in Manchester, for example, property owners could make an annual average of £7,124 from renting out a private room in a home

Why getting married still offers a boost to your finances

It is a rare case, but one that highlights the different ways unmarried couples are still treated by the law, especially when it comes to the sticky matter of their finances. One way to eradicate this situation is to have a will in place, but despite a surge in demand for wills in the past year, around 40 per cent of UK adults do not have one. “It’s particularly important for unmarried couples to write wills, as dying without a will means the law will decide what happens to your assets. In Eng

Is the pandemic destroying your pension pot?

In the last three months of 2020, 360,000 savers accessed their pension early, an increase of 10 per cent in the same period of 2019, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has warned. Between them, they took out £2.4bn early, up from £2.2bn in the same three months the previous year. The rules around early withdrawals from long-term savings pots changed in April 2015 when those aged 55 or over (rising to 57 in 2028) were first allowed to access money early from their pension pots without the eye-watering

Guide to life insurance

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to life cover and the policy you buy will be tailored to your needs and your family situation. Here are the most common types of life insurance policy you can choose from: This type of policy lets you choose for how long you want it to be in place and to specify a fixed amount of money for your insurer to pay out if you die within this term – and the payout will remain the same at whatever point you pass away during the term. For example, if you want

How to Open a Bank Account

You can open a current account quickly and easily with a form of ID and proof of your address. Opening a new current account online or using an app takes around 15 minutes. However, if that’s not possible for you, you can still open one in a branch or in some cases over the phone. And from basic to premium current accounts, there’s a wide range to choose from to help you start managing your money, organising your household bills and planning your future banking and savings goals. Here we e
Load More Articles