The internet has changed the way we do a lot of things, including our finances. It’s possible to earn money online, do your banking online, and of course, read the latest financial news. But while the internet can be great for your finances, it can also be damaging to them.
Fraudsters can make your money an easy target, making you want to hide your money in the mattress like the good old days.
However, with the right approach to your money online, you can learn to keep your finances secure. You should be able to use the internet for your financial affairs, without having to worry about risks.
Don’t want to be a fool with your finances? Take a look at the following tips.
Maximize Your Security
If you’re going to manage your finances online, you’re going to need to make sure your online security is up to date. To protect your personal and financial information online, you’re going to need to ensure your antivirus software is up to date, that your passwords are complex and changed regularly, and that you don’t make any careless mistakes with your money online.
Be Cautious with Spending Online
There are some fantastic ways to make money online, but many of the methods you’ll read about will likely be too good to be true. It’s essential to do your research carefully when making any online transaction. Whether you’re shopping online or making an investment, it’s critical to verify that your money is being handled safely.
Many people are looking at ways to make money quickly, and while avenues such as Bitcoin are proving fruitful for some people, it’s not for everyone. Doing your research into making money with Bitcoin and looking at a complete list of best Bitcoin Exchanges can help you understand the market better and whether or not it’s really for you. If you’re unsure of a situation, it’s better to walk away than be the victim of an investment gone wrong.
Use the Internet to Your Advantage
While it’s essential to be cautious with your finances online, there are ways that you can use it to your financial advantage. While some money-making schemes will result in nothing, there are ways you can generate passive income online, in addition to some great offline options too.
Many people adopt a side hustle that enables them to boost their income online. From starting a blog to using affiliate marketing, there are different ways you can make money online safely and effectively. Some side hustles eventually become full-time ventures, so who knows where your side hustle might take you.
Protecting your online finances online is vital. If you leave yourself open to threats, you could have your data stolen, as well as your hard-earned money. The online world doesn’t always feel real, but it certainly is practical for your finances. Take the right precautions with your money online as you would offline, to help keep you and your finances safe.
Protect Your Credit: Income to Debt Ratio
While you can change jobs or careers to improve your income, you make what you make, and that is what you have to work with. You can add additional jobs, but that may not drastically change your income.
This is where you are mostly in the driver's seat. Some bills and debts you can negotiate down if you work hard enough, some you cant. Replacing or eliminating some of your recurring bills (changing from high-end cable to streaming devices, for example) will reduce your monthly debts and give you some cash back.
In general, you want to stay under a 15% utilization on your rotating debts. By continuously pushing to drive down the balances on your debts will help your ratios.
Cash on Hand
I know how paychecks come into the account, get divvied out to your bills, and little is leftover, but setting some aside for you is just as critical as paying your bills. When the power goes out, and you can't get cash from any ATM's or banks, cash on hand will be essential to pay for some immediate short-term need.
Knowing what is on your credit report is crucial. Continuously work to improve your scores by removing false data and paying down your debt.
Stop spending on stuff you don't need. Don't buy brand new (electronics, games, movies, vehicles) unless necessary. While some big-name stores offer gear for far lower prices, the equipment doesn't hold up after it's first used, so spend a bit more on the quality that will last. Small changes in your spending habits add up in cash on hand or savings very quickly.
Clean your credit report – You can obtain a copy of your credit report from the three major companies once per year for free (listed below). No sign-up, no credit card, write them a request.
- Experian: https://www.experian.com
- Transunion: https://www.transunion.com
- Equifax: https://www.equifax.com
Budget – Write out a real number budget, hold to it, take the unspent money, and roll it towards a bill or your savings account. Plenty of resources to help you with this.
Refinance – If you purchased something a while back on a high-interest loan, but now your credit score has improved, refinance that loan at a lower interest rate.
Consolidate – Move your multiple high-interest credit card balances into a low or zero interest card or loan to save yourself.
Reduce spending waste – You may want, but you don't need those magazine subscriptions, those monthly box subscriptions, the latest gadget. While there is the convenience of shopping local, you can almost always find the same thing online for cheaper.
Save where you can – Don't be above using coupons or discounts, shop for deals. Ask, the worst someone will tell you is “no.”
Move to a Credit Union – This one is simple: help your money help you and others instead of putting money in someone else account.
Evaluate your money – From reviewing your savings account (there are higher interest accounts available) to reviewing your 401k investments, evaluating what your money is doing is essential. Make smart decisions to earn you more.
Find resources to learn more – One of my favorite sites to review financial information from different sources is NerdWallet.
Planning and preparing for an event or disaster includes all kinds of prep; this includes having your finances and debt in order. Having a stockpile of money in your retirement accounts, having a savings account, and always have some cash on hand, just in case.
Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.