Personal finance and consumer articles

Loyalty doesn’t pay: why I’m ditching Santander

Lovemoney, January 2020

After being a customer for years, the decision to slash incentives on its current account (whilst keeping its monthly fee unchanged) has convinced me its time to leave Santander.

Buy-to-let mortgages: should you use a broker or apply direct?, November 2019

The fixed term on my buy-to-let mortgage recently came to an end and I faced the dreaded task of remortgaging. In my experience, remortgaging involves reams of paperwork, the collation of endless bank statements, arranging surveys and keeping on top of constant emails and texts from solicitors.

Mortgage stick or twist? It may pay to remain loyal

The Times, August 2018

With the Bank of England’s base rate rise last week, and potential further rises ahead, it’s clear that anyone nearing the end of their mortgage deal should be looking at their options.

How to hire a tradesperson you can trust

Moneywise, May 2016

I started to have doubts about the man I’d hired to fit my kitchen at the end of the first day. I saw that he’d failed to cut down the end panels to fit the overhead cabinets, which had resulted in a bizarre-looking array of mismatched parts.

E.on cuts gas prices (slightly), January 2015

E.on has today become the first energy provider to cut its standard energy prices this year, but the move will shave only £24 from an average customer’s annual gas bill. Far greater savings are available to those who switch.

HMRC to email self-assessment reminders, January 2015

If you’re among those who need to file a self-assessment tax return but have left it almost until the last minute, you’re likely to receive a nudge via email from HM Revenue and Customs.

When self-employment meant the end of my mortgage hopes

The Guardian, April 2012 

 My husband David and I were recently thinking about moving house. We are expecting visitors from our native Australia over the coming year, so we thought it might be a good time to move up the property ladder and gain a bit more space.

Top insurance tips for first-time buyers

Moneywise, April 2011

Taking that first step onto the property ladder can be pretty daunting. With lenders now demanding borrowers jump through all kinds of hoops to secure a mortgage, first-time buyers could be forgiven for devoting all their energy to the task of simply getting a loan.

Make sure delayed charges don’t damage your credit rating 

Moneywise, October 2010

At a recent meeting with my mortgage adviser, she described me as “squeaky clean” on the credit front. And she was right – I’ve never missed a payment and have never gone over my credit limit.

Should we really challenge bank charges?

Moneywise, October 2008

Britain is one of the few countries where banking is still free. But the legal battle over banks charges is putting free banking at risk. Maybe we should be careful what we wish for.

Don’t rely on plastic to keep you afloat abroad

Moneywise, August 2008
We were down to our last few Thai baht when I saw a cash machine. Without a second thought, I put in my card, punched in my pin and waited for the cash to come out. Except it didn’t. And neither did my card. My frantic button pushing produced nothing more than a message on the screen telling me to contact my card issuer.

Money matters

Fresh Direction, September 2007
If you’re about to start university, you’ve probably already taken a good hard look at your finances. Hopefully, you’ll have organised your loans and bank account, worked out a budget and planned how you’re going to stretch your limited funds over the year.

High price of banking abroad, April 26 2007
If you’re one of the many Britons planning to emigrate, you might assume you’ll be glad to leave behind the UK banking system and its excessive overdraft charges, pitiful interest rates and poor customer service. But if you think you’ll be any better off in your new country, you may be in for a rude shock.