Securely Managing Your Online Finances

In today’s growing online world, it’s essential to securely manage and protect your online finances. There are various reports and news articles about huge data breaches, phishing emails and so on.

Also, people use the internet more and more when it comes to payments and managing online finances, which means it’s more lucrative for hackers since the success ratio is higher too.

Therefore, I’ve created a list of important ways to securely manage and protect your online finances.

Let’s get started:

Securely Managing Your Online Finances - laptop and finance image

Photo by from Pexels

1.   Phishing Emails

An increasingly more employed method by hackers to obtain personal data, payment information and other sensitive information is through phishing emails. Phishing emails are fake emails, the hacker often pretends to be your bank, credit card company or other institution that often emails invoices (e.g. Google Play Store or Apple Store).

Most people trust these institutions and are more likely to open the email. While opening the email isn’t harmful but clicking on a URL in the email or opening the attachment is harmful. The attachment usually contains some kind of malicious file to infect your system. Think about a virus, keylogger, spyware, ransomware, and so on. Whereas the link may redirect you to a domain that automatically starts the download of a malicious file upon visiting.

Phishing emails is a numbers game but it’s still rather effective. Once your system is infected, it’s highly likely that hackers can monitor what you’re doing on your computer and see your username and password combination.

The hackers can then use this information to access your online banking accounts or credit card statements and use it for fraudulent activities.

It’s therefore important to be able to recognize these phishing emails and avoid opening them. There are quite a few methods and tactics you can use to “test” the email in order to find out whether it’s a legit sender.

2.   HTTP vs HTTPS

Whenever you make payments or leave sensitive information on a website, always make sure the website in question is protected by the HTTPS protocol.

You can recognize a secure website by the green padlock and “s” after “http.” This means that all the traffic between you and the web server is protected by an encryption method and unreadable for hackers (even if they manage to steal the data, it’s useless).

3.   Passwords

A strong and unique password for every online account is incredibly important in order to access your online finances. It’s an essential aspect of security in case one of your accounts (be that email, social media, etc) gets hacked. The hacker won’t be able to use the very same login details to login to your credit card or bank account, if you have different combinations for each account.

It’s hard to remember a unique and strong password for every account that you own, therefore, I recommend using an app like LastPass to store your login details. You can also use LastPass’ tool to generate strong passwords.

Two-factor authentication is also a great feature to opt for as it ensures a double check, for example, with a generator on your smartphone or other application.

4.   Download the Right Apps

Most people who manage their finance online use an application, such as a mobile banking app or a dedicated app from their credit card provider.

However, most people aren’t aware that many of these apps are not super tight on security. Of course, there are security protocols, but and increasing amount of hackers attempting to steal credentials raises the issue.

Never ever download a third-party mobile banking application that is not officially backed and authorized by your own bank. Especially apps with very few downloads, ratings and reviews are usually not apps you should opt for.

5.   Avoid Public Wi-Fi

One of the least protected networks you can join are free Wi-Fi networks, for example, Free Airport Wi-Fi. These types of Wi-Fi connections, without a required password to join, are extremely easy targets for hackers.

Never do your online finances while being connected to a Wi-Fi connection without a password in airports, cafes, trains, etc. If you do find yourself relying on these public hotspots in your daily routine, using a VPN is highly recommended.

6.   Alert

For most of your cards, you can enable alert options. Generally, activity alerts are not enabled in the default settings, so make sure to check and opt in.

That means you’ll receive a text message or email every time there’s activity on your bank account or credit card. Even buying a single coffee will trigger an alert. So, you can take immediate action when you receive an alert when you didn’t buy anything.

7.   Antivirus & Anti-malware

It’s almost too obvious to tell, however, you’d be surprised how many people fall victim to hackers simply because they failed to updated their protection software to the latest version.

Antivirus and anti-malware software providers constantly update their programs to patch out gaps and loops that could be exposed by hackers. So, you’re not doing this, you’ll be more vulnerable to hackers.

Always make sure to update your protection software to the latest version, preferably opt in for automatic updates.

Bill here from My blog is all about making the world of online security accessible to everyone. I pride myself in writing guides that I’m certain even my own mom could read! Be sure to head over to my blog if you’re interested in keeping your private information just that: Private!


5 ways to make money on a car lease!

When you are preparing to turn in a lease, always remember to make the right decisions. It would be better to educate yourself on car lease options so you know how to get a substantial cash back on your lease. The extra cash you get can offer you a down payment for buying another car or can be used to apply for a new lease. Here are five ways to earn some cash on a lease.

5 ways to make money on a car lease! - new car image

Photo by Dominik Stötter on Unsplash

Go for the right car

All cars lose substantial parts of their value over the first few years of service. Car leasing companies basically use this anticipated rate of depreciation to determine the value that a car will be worth when the lease ends. The residual value depends on the model of the car. The crystal balls that the leasing companies use to determine the value are usually very accurate. However, if your leased car maintains more value as opposed to the expected one, you stand a chance of earning some money at the end of your lease.

Take all numbers into account

Most consumers will focus on only three numbers when leasing. However, you need to account for other numbers if you want to have a potential for money back when the lease ends and if you want to keep your pocketbook safe. Do not focus on the monthly payment alone. Just like when you would be buying a car, you focus on the total cost.

It would be good if you arrange for a discount from the set selling price. Experts also advise that you only discuss the residual value after the sales price is determined. The aim here is to ensure that you end up with a residual that is going to be lower than the actual trade-in value of the car when the lease ends.

Watch the miles

The mileage on a leased car is just like a two-edged sword. A mileage cap will be set in the leasing terms, therefore, you will have to pay extra cash for extra mileage covered when the leasing period ends. It is important to keep to the mileage cap, though there is no guarantee that a low mileage will maintain a high value for the car. Despite this, note that the vehicle`s trade-in value might be higher as compared to the lease residual value. This means you will be walking away with some cash.

Take care of your leased car

Treating the car with tenderness may not guarantee you cash back but it is a sure way to increase your chances of getting a cash back on your lease and also avoid unnecessary expenses at the end of the leasing period. Dealers will allow for a specified level of wear and tear. If you keep the car in a good condition than expected, the trade-in value may obscure the car’s residual value. This way, you stand a chance to receive a cash back.

Shop around for the best deal when the leasing period comes to an end

As your leasing period ends, it would be wise to begin evaluating the car`s trade-in value in order to know if you have equity in excess of residual value. In case the trade-in value of the car is notably less than the residual value, it is better to take it back to the dealer. In case the trade-in value is greater than or equal to the residual, it would be better for you to begin shopping your car to various dealers in order to determine the one who can offer you the highest amount.

A Love For Letting: Making Money on the Rental Market

If you’re looking for a long term investment that’s safe, earns you far more than a high interest savings account at the bank and makes a fun project then why not consider property? Particularly, renting out property. If you get an estate agent to manage things for you then it’s something that you can easily do around a full time job or other commitments as there’s no hassle to you. It also makes a great retirement fund later on, as each month you have the tenants rent landing in your bank account- if the property is paid off by then it’s money you can spend as you wish. However there are a few things you will need to do first to ensure you’re all set up and ready to go.

A Love For Letting: Making Money on the Rental Market - property letting image

From this site


Decorating a property for the rental market takes a few extra considerations. You don’t want to give yourself lots of added work or have to spend significant money between tenants redecorating. For this reason, keep it as a blank canvas. If you give tenants the freedom to redecorate, put a clause in the tenancy agreement that things must be returned back to normal at the end. A coat of paint and the use of a carpet cleaner will always be needed as fair wear and tear is allowed, but it beats having to spend hundreds or even thousands getting things back to the right condition. Keep walls plain and paint them white or magnolia, not only does this create a blank canvas for tenants but it’s cheap to repaint. Put down wooden floors downstairs and hard wearing carpets in a darker colour upstairs, these will stay looking nice for many years. If you want to offer the home as furnished, for example as a student let, you can actually buy furniture designed for the rental market. It’s usually more hardwearing and is often built in so it’s extra sturdy.

Contracts and Credit Checks

If you’re working with an agency this is something they can do for you, but you always have the option of drawing up your own contract. If you choose to go private and not use an agent then this is of course something you will need to do yourself. Again, if you’re using an agent they can arrange things like credit checking and vetting tenants so there’s no hassle to you,  but you always have the option of doing this yourself. If you are very against tenants having pets, smoking for example- make sure this is very clear in the agreement. When doing credit checks, decide how lenient you will be. For example, missed payments or defaults from four or five years ago may not reflect how the person manages their money today. But in some cases, you might prefer to take someone with a perfect or near perfect record to minimise your risk.


Communication is key when it comes to property lettings. It might be your property, but it’s home to the person you’re renting to so you need to bear in mind their rights and considerations. If you want to inspect the property, you will usually need to give fair advance notice. It could be best to set out the terms of inspection in your tenancy agreement so everyone knows where they stand.

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Lifestyle?

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Lifestyle? - pretty girl in a cafe image

Right now, it’s far too easy to get wrapped up in an ideal. You know that you want to live well. You see your friends living big, you see celebrities living big, and you want to live big too. So, you go for it. You spend more. You get those possessions that you think you need to feel good about yourself. But then you’re left feeling nothing short of empty – in every sense of the word. Because your bank account is empty and you’re feeling stuck financially. It’s okay to have a nice car and lead a lovely lifestyle, but only if it’s within your reach. Having extortionate car payments, a hefty mortgage, and ridiculous monthly expenses is only ever going to leave you feeling sick and stressed out. If you feel like you’re paying way too much for your lifestyle, now’s the time to make a change.

If you’re in debt, you’re overspending, and you really don’t feel financially free, the chances are that you’re not happy either. No matter how much stuff you have around you, you will feel in a bad place. The worries and financial burden that you have just isn’t worth it. Instead, you have to think about the kind of lifestyle that you should be living – the one that you can afford. And, at the same time, working to get yourself into a better financial position so that, one day in the future, you will have the life you want. So let’s take a look at what you need to do to get yourself into a better place.

Break Down Your Income

To get you started, you need to be really aware of what you earn. So right now, you think you earn a set salary each year. But how much do you really earn? After taxes and benefits and different payments, you may earn less than you think. So the first thing to do is really break it all down. Ideally, you’ll do this with both yours and your spouse’s incomes. That way, you’ll be able to work out what comes into the household each month.

Write Down Your Expenses

Next, you need to be really transparent with the monthly bills that you have. So write them down. Really dig deep and work out what bills you pay each month. From your mortgage to your water bill, include it all. Anything that goes out to pay for the house or your personal lifestyles should be included here. Even if you have regular purchases, such as salon visits or a members club, this all needs to be written down.

Cull, Cull, Cull!

Now, you’re probably going to be incredibly shocked by what you see. And that’s normal. Because we never really know how much we spend each month until we see it in front of us. You may even realize that you’re spending way more than you bring in, and it’s going to stress you out.But only for a second. Because now you’re going to slash it all in half! You’re going to be drastic and cut your expenses so much, removing anything that’s not a necessity, so that things are looking a little more flattering.

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Lifestyle? - couple image

Create A Budget

The next step is to set up a budget online or in a spreadsheet. And be tough. Doing this is the only way that you can have any kind of control over your money. Allocate portions of money to your bills and different spending areas, then stick to it.

Track Your Spending

To complement your budget, you then need to track your spending. Keep your receipts and log them. If you can plug something into your bank account, then do it. But just make sure that you are honest and you’re tracking things accurately. This is the best way to make sure that you’re bringing the cost of your lifestyle down.

Shop Around

From here, you’re then going to want to work on bringing your monthly bills down. Shop around and use a site such as moneypug to save money. Compare energy options, get a better deal on your broadband, and reduce your insurance premiums. Do what you can to really reduce what you’re paying to keep your home running.


Next, you need to think about how you can control some of the payments that it’s not so easy to shop around for. If you know that you have a huge mortgage on a house that is probably a bit too aspirational for you now, downgrade. Find something more affordable and move. As drastic as this may seem, you know it’s what you need to do. And do the same with your car lease. Change what you have for something more practical and affordable.

Are You Paying Too Much For Your Lifestyle? - man standing at sunset

Change Your Circles

If you’re worried about what people will think of your drastic lifestyle change, then it’s time to change your circles. When you change your friends, you change your life. If the people you socialize with are bad influences, they put pressure on you, and you feel like you need to keep up with the Joneses, it’s time to let them go. True friends won’t care what you have, they’ll only care about the kind of people that you are! This will also help you to stay on track with your new frugal lifestyle.

Think About The Future

Now, you’re then going to want to start thinking ahead. You need to be sure that you are able to put a plan in place for where you want to be in five or ten years time. Right now, you don’t have the lifestyle that you want. You may have faked it and felt like you had it, but it was damaging you financially. So now you need to work out what you need to do to actually get there.

Go All In

Finally, to help you do that, you need to make sure that you’re going all in with an actionable career plan. You have to work out what you can do with your career to increase your income and really create that style of life that you want. It will take work, and you’ll need to make sacrifices, but if you give it your all, you know you can make it work.

What Happens When You Get Stuck In A Financial Ditch

What Happens When You Get Stuck In A Financial Ditch - spilled coins and cash

It doesn’t matter who you are; money is always going to be an important part of your life. You might think that that’s not the case. That you only do the job you do because you’re passionate about it, and that you and your family can get by without lots of expensive things. And this is probably true, but money rules more of your life than just those things. After all, the food on your table and roof over your head are all there because of the fact that you can afford them. Now, you might not think that that’s fair, but that’s the way things are in the world. And because of those things, it’s often a lot easier than many people realize to get into some serious financial trouble. People assume that they’re finances will always be secure, but that’s simply not the case. Of course, people then assume that, once they’re in financial trouble, there’s nothing that they can do to get out of it. However, that’s not the case either. With that in mind, here are some things that you can do in order to pull yourself out of a financial ditch.

Consolidate your debts

One of the very first things that you’ll want to deal with when you’re trying to pull yourself out of financial straits is your debts. Debts can often feel like a black mark on your entire life and getting out of debt alone can feel like an impossible task. One of the very best things that you can do in order to minimize the debt in your life is to consolidate them. Trying to stay on top of multiple debts can be incredibly difficult and overwhelming, so consolidating them down into a single payment can make life a lot easier. Not only that but you may even be able to reduce your overall monthly expenses this way.


You may have become accustomed to a certain standard of living but when you’re in financial trouble the time has come to start making some compromises. The first and most significant compromise that you can make is your home. Your mortgage payments will likely be the most significant expense to come out of your home and downsizing can reduce that burden considerably. Companies like Repossession Stoppers are specifically in place to help those dealing with financial problems get back into the black. When you’ve sold your home, you can think about moving somewhere smaller and cheaper, at least until you’re back on your feet.

Cut back

Of course, your home isn’t the only thing that you’re going to be spending money on. You also need to think about other places where you may be able to make some cutbacks. Things like luxuries can go until you’re more secure. The same goes for your grocery shopping. Don’t always go for the top shelf items that are more expensive. You can often halve the cost of your food shop just by getting non-branded items when you go grocery shopping.

Reach out for help

One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people make is that they refuse to talk to anyone about the financial problems they’re having. They feel ashamed of what they’re going through and are frightened that people will judge them for it. Of course, the truth is that you probably have plenty of people in your life who would be more than happy to lend you a helping hand when you need it. The idea of asking to borrow money from anyone in your life can be scary, but the wellbeing of you and your family is more important than preserving your pride. Not only that but there are plenty of debt based and financial charities out there that you can talk to about your problems. They will be able to help you figure out exactly what you need to do in order to make the most of your current situation and get your finances back on track.

It’s often incredibly easy to feel as though you’re all out of options and all out of hope when you find yourself at the bottom of a financial pit. However, it’s important that you remember that, no matter how difficult things might get, there are always things that you can do in order to get out of it. Sure, these things might seem small, and they may take time, but sticking with them really can make all the difference in helping you and your family feel secure again.