Laura Whitcombe

How to beat villa holiday scams

There’s been a surge in fake villa rental websites setting up since January, with fraudsters targeting properties listed on the popular Villa Plus and Airbnb websites, according to this week’s Sunday Times. The scam sites use stolen images of real villas listed on legitimate rental websites and list them under bogus names to entice holidaymakers to

How to keep your dog safe from thieves

Five dogs are stolen every day in the UK and only one gets reunited with its owner, according to police data analysed by insurer Direct Line. In 2016, there were 1,774 reported dog thefts, with just 21 per cent recovered. The number of thefts was up 19 per cent compared to 1,491 just two years

Credit cards: don’t be fooled by long balance transfer deals

If you’re looking for a balance transfer credit card deal, don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll save the most money by plumping for the card that comes with the longest interest-free period. Such cards usually charge a fee for switching your debt and can render the deal far less cost effective. The longest interest-free balance

Five simple ways to beat soaring car insurance premiums

The average annual car insurance bill is expected to hit a record high of £800 this month, according to comparison website comparethemarket. The cost has increased by around £200 over the past two years thanks to factors including the soaring cost to the industry of dealing with whiplash claims. And from today, the government is

How to finance home improvements with a mortgage

A property should have two bathrooms for every three bedrooms to maximise its value and desirability. That’s according to 70 per cent of real estate experts from across the UK who were quizzed by Direct Line Home Insurance. On average, they estimated an extra bathroom could add just under 7 per cent to the £174,340

Four ways to protect your finances on holiday

British families are forecast to spend £1,284.54 per person on this year’s summer holiday. That’s up more than £200 on what they forked out last year, says charitable shopping website Give as you Live. And with inflation gathering momentum and the pound still weak, many of us will feel we’re not getting a lot of

How to check, amend and repair your credit record

When was the last time you checked your credit history? This vitally important information can seriously affect many aspects of your financial life, from your ability to get a smartphone contract to obtaining a mortgage. Every time you apply to borrow money, the lender will run a search on you to try and determine how likely

Failing to bank online could cost you dear

People who don’t bank online are more likely to face financial trouble than their more internet-savvy peers. That’s according to research by the University of Bristol for investment website Momentum UK which found that those who bank by phone are five times more likely than internet bankers to miss bill payments and nine times more

NS&I’s 2.2 per cent bond is the best of a bad bunch

The government has made good on its Autumn Statement pledge to introduce a new ‘market-leading’ bond through National Savings & Investments (NS&I) – it’s just a shame the market is still in the doldrums. The Investment Guaranteed Growth Bond will pay 2.2 per cent to savers depositing between £100 and £3,000. Launching the NS&I bond

What does the new tax year mean for your pocket?

Today marks the start of the new 2017/18 tax year, and this month a long list of changes come into effect that could impact on your household finances. There’s good news for the low paid thanks to an increase in the National Living Wage, and middle earners also stand to benefit from a rise in

Seven things you need to know before buying pet insurance

We’re a nation of cat and dog lovers with an estimated 40 per cent of UK households owning a pet. This Saturday marks the start of National Pet Month. Celebrating its 28th birthday with events across the country and online, the main aim is to promote responsible pet ownership. The headline sponsor is Tesco Bank

Last-minute tips to cut your tax bill

The clock’s ticking to shield your savings and investments from the taxman for the 2016/17 tax year, which ends on Wednesday 5 April. But if you’re quick, there’s still time to to take advantage of tax relief that could save you thousands of pounds. Here’s a reminder of the key allowances to make the most

How to get the best deal on your travel money

It’s one month until Easter and if you’re planning to make the most of the long weekend or the school holidays with a trip abroad be sure to also make the most of your travel money purchase. The fall in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote last June has made foreign holidays more

What the final Spring Budget means for your pocket

With the Chancellor’s Budget moving to a single event from later this year, yesterday’s final Spring Budget went out with a muffled pop rather than a bang. After announcing an improved forecast for economic growth throughout the rest of year and revealing that employment has reached a record high, the biggest personal finance changes set out will

Car insurance costs to soar

It’s been a painful week for drivers – and it’s only going to get worse. Insurance costs are set to soar and tough new penalties have been introduced for common motoring offences. Together these could cost drivers hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds. Here’s a look at what’s changed and how you could be affected.

How to beat rising energy bills

With the winter chill showing no sign of letting up any time soon, it’s even more depressing that some of the big energy suppliers are hiking their prices yet again. Scottish Power customers will see their gas and electricity costs rise 7.8 per cent on average from the end of March, adding £86 on to

What you need to know about the Lifetime ISA

Eight weeks today the Lifetime ISA will launch to help people save towards buying their first home or retirement. In reward for their efforts, some savers could receive a government bonus of up to £32,000. But seeing as more than two thirds of people don’t even know what a Lifetime ISA is (according to pension

Where to find free help for your money worries

This week is one of the gloomiest of the year for people who work for themselves because they’ve had to settle up with the taxman. And it’s not just this week they feel the pain of self-employment, or just them who shoulder the burden. The financial impact of the way they work is taking its