The Internet: How it Can Both Help and Hinder Your Personal Finances

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The internet is here to stay, and I think we’ve all accepted that by now.

And it has an impact on pretty much every area of our lives; there’s no doubt about that. This includes your personal finances.

How we manage our money, how we spend it and how we think about it have all changed in recent years. There are not many people who don’t use the internet to spend or manage their money, and it’s time to think about the impact this has on us.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing that we use the internet in this way. But it’s not a 100% positive thing either.

There are good things and bad things that come about as a result of it. It’s important to understand how you can be helped and how you can be hindered by the internet when it comes to managing your personal finances, however.

When you have that understanding, you will be more aware of what you’re doing with your money and how to avoid potential pitfalls. Carry on reading if you want to find out more about this important issue.

 

How Can it Help You?

#1 Money Saving Tips Can be Shared on Forums, Blogs, and Social Media

Sharing things is what the internet is all about. And above all, this means sharing information and ideas between one another.

That’s the basic premise of social media, and it’s also how blogs and forums work as well. If you want to share money saving tips and information with others and get some in return, you should find some relevant blogs and forums.

You can then read up on what other people are saying and doing, and then you can implement these ideas in your own daily life as well. You could learn about ideas you would never have otherwise thought of.

 

#2 Comparing Options Ahead of a Purchase Couldn’t be Simpler

Anyone who has spent a lot of money on an item knows it can be a tough decision. Parting with a large sum of money is never easy.

You’re not sure whether it’s the right thing to do or whether you can really afford it right now.

But now we have the internet, it couldn’t be simpler to compare options and find cheaper deals outside of the mainstream. This is what most people are now doing.

There are even price comparison sites for various different niches. So, if you’re looking to switch internet service providers or want to buy a new car, use these comparison sites.

 

#3 Online Banking Makes it Easier for You to Control Your Money

If you’re not already using online banking services, this is something that you should definitely change.

When you use online banking, you instantly get much more control over your personal finances. You can switch money between accounts and plan out your spending for the week or month ahead if you want to.

If you have a problem sticking to your overdraft limit and staying in good financial health throughout the month, online banking can really help.

All that information is at your fingertips whenever you need it. That’s something that you should definitely take advantage of.

 

#4 Coupons and Discounts Can be Found Online

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Coupons and discounts are a big deal right now, and that’s all thanks to websites that are providing them to people.

Couponing has never been a bigger deal thanks to the internet. Of course, the majority of people don’t make the most of these online coupons, but more people should.

You can save so much money each week by doing this, so there is no reason not to. There are lots of amazing sites for you to explore; you should see which of them is best suited to you and the things that you tend to spend your money on.

 

#5  You Can Access Loans Easily

Loans can be used in positive ways, and they can be used in negative ways.

It all depends on what you do with that money and how much planning you do before you take out the loan.

You need to make sure that you’re going to be able to pay the money back without too many problems. The internet makes the process of finding and applying for a loan so much faster and easier than it ever has been in the past.

And this is something you should make the most of, as long as you’ve done your planning and calculations beforehand.

 

#6 It’s Now Much Easier to Invest

These days, investing is really the only way to make your money grow. Interest rates are at record lows, so saving your money doesn’t pay off in the way it used to.

Luckily, investing your money has never been as easy as it is right now. You can access funds and let someone else manage your investments.

Or you can download a trading platform and trade stocks and shares at any time of the day or night. You can even use your phone or tablet to do this.

If you’ve always thought about investing, but haven’t done it yet, now is a good time to try it.

 

How Can it Hinder You?

#1 It Can Sometimes Complicate Things Too Much

Having so much control over your finances and having so many options available to you when you want to spend your money might sound like a good thing.

And in many ways, it certainly is, but there is also a risk that things could become unnecessarily complicated for you.

Making things more complex and more confusing than they really ought to be can cause even more headaches.

So, keep this in mind when you are thinking about how you should manage and spend your money online.

 

#2 Many People Overspend Because of the Ease Provided by Online Shopping

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Let’s face it; it’s so easy to buy things without even thinking about what you’re doing these days.

You just have to log onto a website, click on an item to add it to your basket and then pay. It doesn’t even feel like you’re spending money because it’s all done on a screen.

The danger of this is that you overspend and don’t think about the consequences of doing so until you’re in a financial mess.

This has happened to many of us, and it’s something that you have to battle against if you want to remain in strong financial shape.

 

#3 It’s Easy to Focus on The Financial Success of Others

The internet forces the lives of others into our faces. Every time you log onto Facebook, you can see and read about the latest development in an old friend’s life.

Maybe they’ve just moved into a bigger house or bought themselves a brand new car.

It’s easy to start comparing your situation to theirs, and that’s when people start aiming to buy things that they really can’t afford.

Instead of worrying about what other people are doing, you should try to focus on what’s best for you and your situation. That way, you will find it easier to control your spending.

 

#4 There Are So Many Ways to Get Scammed Online

Online scams are so prevalent that pretty much everyone has been exposed to them, even if you haven’t fallen for them. Phishing scams are the most common.

These come in the form of emails usually. They tell you to click a link and enter your details; they might get you to do this by telling you that they’re from your bank or Paypal.

But that’s usually not the case, so you should treat those kinds of emails with caution. You don’t want to get caught out and scammed out of money that’s yours and not theirs.

 

#5 It’s Easier to be Tempted by Bad Loan Options

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As I mentioned above, getting loans online is very simple.

But one of the consequences of this is that many people are tempted by bad loan deals. If you fail to weigh up the options and look at the interest rate attached to a particular loan, you will make a mistake that could have negative repercussions.

People can also get sucked into bad credit card options when they search for online deals. This article, called How to Save Money Online: Debit vs. Credit Cards, can help you make sure you use your credit cards properly.

Always be aware of what you’re getting into before you make any financial decision online.

 

#6 Online Advertising Methods Make You Easy to Target

Companies don’t spend millions on online advertising and marketing for no reason. They do so because they know that it’s money well-spent.

Targeting is more precise and more successful than ever before. And although no one can make you buy anything you don’t want to buy, it is easier to be tempted when you have so many adverts being thrown your way each day.

It can often feel like you’re being bombarded. And only those with the strongest willpower can resist the temptation not to give in and buy something on a whim from time to time.

So how about you, has the internet helped or hindered you when it comes to your finances?  I would love to here your thougths on this.

Cheers!

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