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. 

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

How Overdrafts Work

When you open a current account you may be given an overdraft, which allows you to borrow from your bank if your balance drops to zero. All banks and building societies charge an annual interest rate on their overdrafts. Through October 2020, all banks had been told to offer customers the first £500 of their overdraft interest-free, if they were struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the moment, new rules require firms to offer tailored options for anyone who is struggling

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

How to Switch Your Current Account

If you aren’t happy with your current account or you have found a better deal elsewhere, switching is easy, and the entire process can take just seven working days. You can switch joint accounts as well, you just need each party to agree. The Current Account Switch Service (CASS) makes the process of switching from one account to another quick and straightforward. All you need to do is open a new account. The rest is organised between the banks. All direct debits or outstanding regular payment

Cheques: How to Write and Use Them

The number of cheques we use has fallen significantly over the past decade, although some people still use them to send gifts or pay bills. Cheques account for around 1% of payments in the UK, according to the most recent data from UK Finance, but if you need to write one it’s important you do it correctly so it’s not rejected by a bank. Here we explain what you need to know about writing a cheque, what happens if it bounces because there’s not enough money in the current account it’s drawing

Good for kids, good for the planet: the power of trees | OVO Energy

To celebrate our tree-planting news, we commissioned research into the link between kids’ wellbeing and nature. Here, our writer-in-residence, Rebecca Goodman, shares the findings – and reflects on what nature and trees mean for her and her daughter. There’s no getting away from it, the past 6 months have been a strange and testing time for most of us, wherever we live in the UK. Living in London with a child who learnt to walk in lockdown, I’ve spent a lot of it trying to find green spaces fo

8 best baby monitors for peace of mind, from video to audio models

Baby monitors allow you to keep an eye on your baby or toddler when you’re not in the same room with them, whether that’s by listening to the sounds they make or by watching and interacting with them via a video monitor. There is a baby monitor to suit every parenting style, whether you’re happy with just audio or you are more comfortable with something able to track elements such as the room temperature or even your baby’s breathing. While most offer night vision, two-way talking, and play a

Avoid the latest online scams | Boundless by CSMA

Don't be a victim of internet fraud – here, we explain what to look out for and how to protect your assets The coronavirus and the changes it has brought upon our personal finances, health and lifestyle has provided a perfect breeding ground for criminals looking to exploit people through fraud. With the UK spending more time on the internet, whether that’s for Zoom catch-ups with friends or for online banking or shopping, there has been a huge rise in online fraud. According to Action Fraud,

Create a foraged feast, throw a festival, and try wild swimming: How to make a staycation your best holiday yet | OVO Energy

This year we’re more likely to go on holiday in our back garden than the Algarve and it could be just the opportunity we’ve all been waiting for. As a child we went to the Lake District every year for our summer holidays, and now with a one-year old I’ve reinstated this tradition. Rain or shine, it’s the perfect escape with all the fresh air you can muster, breathtaking views, and the peace and tranquility I spend a lot of my London life searching for. But wherever you are in the country, the

Interrupting children and dodgy wifi: How to interview well from home and avoid disaster to interview well from home and avoid disaster

As the coronavirus pandemic shifts from a medical to a financial crisis, millions of people are now facing unemployment, with fears that one in seven workers will lose their jobs if a second wave of the virus hits. In fact, even if the virus is kept under control, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has predicted unemployment to hit 11.7 per cent, which would see around four million people in the UK out of work. Many people have already lost their jobs and when th

How to make yourself more employable if you’ve lost your job

The UK is opening up after the coronavirus lockdown but the financial impact of the virus, including the country facing its worst outlook for jobs for 30 years, and the economy contracting faster than after the 2008 financial crash, means the downturn is far from over. More than a quarter of workers are now on the government’s furlough scheme, with those in the leisure, retail, and hospitality sectors some of the worst affected. It has so far cost the Treasury around £20bn. Some will have alrea

Grandparents can get £260 pension credits for looking after kids over the phone during lockdown

MILLIONS of grandparents who look after their grandkids could be missing out on £250 a year, new figures have revealed. The help given doesn't need to be in person either as grandparents looking after children on the phone or by video while their parents are working can claim valuable tax credits. ⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates The government has changed the rules around these credits because many grandparents aren't currently able to visit their grandchildren

When you need to apply for mortgage, loan and car finance payments by

IF you’re struggling financially because of the pandemic, help is available from mortgage holidays to breaks on paying back loans. The government has announced a range of measures and here we have listed the deadlines you need to know about for applying for help. ⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates When the Prime Minister brought in the coronavirus lockdown on March 23, many people were left without work or a reduced income. This has put a lot of pressure on finan

Wedding venues 'could be exploiting T&Cs to avoid giving refunds' says Which?

WEDDING venues could be breaking the law to avoid giving refunds for cancelled ceremonies, according to a report by Which?. The consumer group says they may be exploiting unfair terms - with some couples claiming they've been charged fees for postponing weddings because of the coronavirus outbreak. ⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates Which? heard from 25 couples who are having problems receiving refunds, sometimes worth tens of thousands of pounds, for cancelled or

Budgets, bills and emergency savings: How to financially brace yourself for a coronavirus recession

The coronavirus pandemic has not only caused thousands of deaths, including more than 50,000 in the UK alone, but has also triggered a worldwide economic crisis, with rising unemployment, falling wages, and a slowdown of business. On 13 May, Office for National Statistics figures showed the UK economy contracted at its fastest pace since the 2008 financial crisis during the first quarter of 2020. We won’t know until the summer if the UK is officially in recession – technically classified as a

'My smart meter is spying on me' and nine other myths busted

Are you keen to have a smart meter installed or do you worry about the negative stories surrounding them? Here, energy experts help to debunk some common misconceptions Smart meters are designed to save households money and give people more control over their energy usage. This type of gas and electricity meter works by sending your meter readings digitally to your energy supplier and bringing an end to estimated bills. However, the £11 billion government rollout, which began in 2016, has been

How to live the good life (and save a fortune at the same time)

Have you ever dreamed of growing your own fruit and vegetables or rearing hens or bees for an endless supply of eggs and honey? It may sound idyllic, but just how achievable is the good life – and will it save you any money? Getting back to nature and shifting away from buying everything at the supermarket is becoming increasingly popular. There are around 100,000 people currently on allotment waiting lists and it’s not just a hobby for the retired either. According to a recent study by Wyeval
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