TAPE

Losing data can be catastrophic for a company, regardless of how big or small it is. Recovering from such a devastating blow can set the evolution and growth of your company back too and so avoiding this is synonymous with running a company in today’s modern world.

Tape drives are just one option for saving, storing and archiving important data but, avoiding tape drive failure is important too. Here we have collated some of the best hints and tips for preventing this from happening… and saving your invaluable data in the process!

Tape drives are robust and reliable in the main but…

Don’t overwork your tape drive

These drives have a specified ‘duty cycle’ and this will be an indication of the workload the drive can endure on a day and, in some cases, nightly basis. For this reason, it is essential you invest in a tape drive with the correct capacity for your business.

For example, investing in tape drives that have a duty cycle of 50% will mean that they soon become overwhelmed in a situation where they are operated 24 hours a day, as opposed to 12 hours. Getting the right advice to get the right product for you and your business (or home) is essential!

Data transfer speed

pic1Not many people realise that there needs to be compatibility between the transfer speed of data from the computer system to the tape drive. Wear and tear on the tape tends to happen in cases where the transfer of date from the computer system to the tape drive is significantly lower than the speed of operation of the tape drive.

When this occurs, the tape drive will effectively go into a ‘start/stop’ mode which places an inordinate amount of stress of the tape. As the drive waits for information, it will stop but as the data starts to arrive again, it kicks back in to action.

The tape may be able to tolerate this every now and then, but a continual ‘start/stop’ motion will cause it to quickly malfunction. In other words, the quality of the date recorded on the tape is severely degraded, almost unusable in some cases.

Poor handling and storage

On one hand, technology is robust and yet, it can be sensitive and liable to ‘break’ or be compromised in the event that it is not handled or stored well.

Dropping tapes and storing them in places where temperatures fluctuate wildly can mean that the quality of the tape, along with the data that is stored on them soon becomes compromised.

Many companies also operate policies where tapes are stored off site and whilst this is an excellent idea, the storage facilities need to be conducive to the tapes retaining the data and integrity. Not many people how easily the tape itself can be contaminated; fibres form carpets are attracted to the magnetism of the tape and these small, almost invisible to the naked eye fibres, can cause problems with the tape itself.

Clean environment

And it is these contaminants that are worthy of closer examination when it comes to malfunctions of recording data and information on the magnetic tapes. Dust, fibres and the like can float in the atmosphere undetected and so operating the tape drives in a clean, hygienic, almost sterile place can significantly lengthen the life of both the tape, and the drive itself.

Keeping the tape drive clean

On one hand, tape drives need cleaning but, did you know that being too fastidious in keeping it clean can actually decrease its lifespan. And so, many experts suggest a request-based approach to cleaning rather than a firm rota that is adhered to without deviation. There are cleaning tapes that can perform this function and these should be used once, and then discarded.

Check humidity and temperature

Tape drives and the tapes are sensitive to humidity and temperature; just as rough handling, dropping tapes etc. can compromise their ability to record information, so can fluctuations in humidity and temperature levels.

Normal ‘safe’ operating temperatures are between 10° and 45°, with storage being smaller tolerance range of 16° to 35°. Humidity should be between 20 and 80%, although this drops to below 50% for when tapes are archived.

Retire tapes that are old or error-prone

In many case, corrupted data or inefficient recordings are on tapes that have seen far better days in terms of their age and the number of times they have been used! But, it is surprising the number of times companies carry on using tapes that have recorded significant errors in the past.

Tapes are relatively inexpensive, and commonly used by various companies across the globe but it is sheer folly to carry on using tapes that have shown themselves to be defective!

And finally, if failure does occur then it is important out find out why – and correct it immediately.

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As a new business owner, you will no doubt, have a lot on your mind. You may be trying to decide what software is vital for helping your business grow and develop, and what is less of a necessity. You may have a limited budget and may be trying to save money at every possible opportunity. However, one investment area that should not be sidestepped, is software.

For new businesses, the most important software is made up of programs that are designed to help internal processes run effectively. The most popular software packages for startups, include programs to aid account management. As well as, to track office productivity and keep on top of emails and communication.

Is business software worthwhile?

You may be wondering is business software is as worthwhile as it seems, especially with the financial cost that comes with it. The long and the short of it is, that investing in business software is one of the most important investments any new business can make. It is an essential invest that helps to aid business growth and development. As well as saving you money in the long run.

To help keep the cost as low as possible, choose your software package carefully. Aim to choose a package that does exactly what you need it to do, without the cost of added extras. If you choose a software package that will be beneficial to you company, by increasing productivity. As well as by making your processes more efficient or by saving you time, then the investment is worthwhile. Especially as companies, such as felinesoft, have various packages and price ranges to choose from.

What types of software is available?

There are many different types of software available. Most companies choose to use software that is compatible with Microsoft Office. The type of software you choose will depend on your businesses needs and your budget.

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What works best, desktop or web-based software?

With developments in technology and mobile computing, the choice of business-based software has expanded. With so many options to choose from, many business owners  feel unsure of what type of software would work best for their company. If you find it hard to choose, consider exactly what you need the software to do and choose a package that does just that.

When choosing your software type, the first thing to note is that desktop software tends to offer better functionality than internet-based tools. This is because it can access the computers operating system and storage easier than online software can.

However, desktop based systems tend to be a lot more expensive than web-based ones, this can be the deciding factor for many new business owners. The major benefit of internet-based software is that it is much more accessible, and can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

Bespoke or off-the-shelf software?

Bespoke software is software that is created specifically to fit your business’s needs, it can be tailored to different areas of the business or to just one specific area – it is up to you. Whereas off-the-shelf packages are designed to work well for various businesses. They provide features that would be most beneficial to the majority of businesses. As every business has its own unique needs, it is often hard to find an off-the-shelf software package that covers all your business’s needs. In this case, investing in a bespoke software package can be the best option. This will allow you to determine the exact functionality required and how you would like the software to run and perform.

Is accounting software necessary?

Few businesses can function without the use of accounting software. Accounting software can be used for various tasks, including for billing purposes, invoice creation and for payroll processes. It can also provides a simple way of recording sales, profits and costs, and can be set to automatic so that it  generates invoices as needed.

If your employees are overworked, trying to keep up with the administrational side of the business, they may lose focus elsewhere. This could affect your business and make your team less efficient. For example, if your bookkeeper struggles to keep up to date with taxes, reductions and paychecks. It might be worth considering investing in some helpful software.

Although initially setting up the software with each employees details, tax code and deductions may take some time. Once the program is set up, your bookkeeper will be able to easily keep on top of your accounts. It is also possible to set up your accounting software to ensure that you tax payments are correct and paid each month as required.

Instead of keeping a hard copy of a list of your clients, you can use accounting software to keep an online copy. This would allow you to enter relevant client details into the database. Such as contact information, credit card details and product prices, in a simplistic format that can be easily accessed when necessary. You can also set up customized sections to help track any extra information required, spending habits, for example.

Stock records are a great way of keeping track of everything you sell, complete with detailed descriptions and product codes. The software can be linked to the stock so that each time the company sells a product, the stock level on the database goes down. This is a great way of allowing all staff members to keep on top of stock levels and have numbers to hand, when dealing with a client. This is a more efficient way to manage your stock levels.

Is free antivirus protection as effective as a business antivirus solution?

Although antivirus and security software is available online for free. It is not as effective at protecting your business as a business-based antivirus solution. This is mainly because free downloads can be removed from individual computers by their users. As well as the fact, that most free antivirus programs are not aimed at business-based computer systems.

A specialised business antivirus solution may seem like an unnecessary cost, but in the long run it will pay off.  Specialised software will have extra functionality and be easier to use over your entire company network. You will also be able to manage the entire program from a central location, such as from your laptop. This allows you to put your preferred choice of settings in place and means that the software is unable to be removed unless you authorize it.

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For the most part, when people owe third parties money they pay them back when they’re supposed to. Pretty much everyone owes money to someone in the world. It might be a few dollars, or it might be hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Debt is a part of life in today’s modern world and is something even the wealthy cannot avoid. When you run a business, it’s likely you will have to spend part of your time chasing your customers for payment of their invoices.

Sometimes a few rogue customers might “disappear” and take your unpaid goods with them. Is this something that has happened to you? And do they owe you a lot of money? If so, today’s article will show you how you can track them down.

Visit their last known address in person

If they aren’t answering any phone calls, the first step is to go down to their last known address and find out if they are still there. With commercial customers, it’s often the case that you will get greeted with an empty building.

When that happens, you can contact the firm that owns the building and ask them if they know where their former tenant has moved to.

Do a reverse number lookup

If their phone numbers are still in service, it’s likely they might have told their phone companies where they moved to. Website like www.realphonelookup.com/ can help you find out where they might have moved to.

These services will often provide the full address details of where the person or organization has moved to.

Call them from different numbers

Debtors will ignore your phone calls, and they will ignore withheld numbers too. One tactic that you can try is to call them from different landline or cell phone numbers. These numbers should be ones that aren’t published or listed anywhere.

Quite often you will be in luck, and the debtor will answer your call. This is a tactic that often gets used by debt collection companies.

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Check company records

Companies have to provide the government with a list of directors or partners. And that information needs to be accessible to the public. You can do a search using their names to find out if they are running a new company somewhere else.

It’s a great way of learning what area they might be operating from, as it’s likely they will also live in the same area where their company is. You might have to pay to get any company details, so bear that in mind when searching.

Hire a debt collection company

If all else fails and you just can’t trace them, it might be time to give up and pay a debt collection company to trace the debtors for you.

These firms have a high degree of success when tracing people. If you don’t want to chase the debt anymore, you can always “sell” the debt to a collection company. The value of the debt isn’t what they will pay you. But it means you get some money towards the original debt rather than nothing. Good luck!

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3D printing has seen something of a revolution in the last few years. Now, more and more people are keen to get their hands on an awesome 3D printer. But, are there are any business benefits to implementing this keen piece of technology in your business? In short, yes. Many different industries can benefit from the uses of 3D printers.

What is a 3D Printer?

3D printing is where people can print 3D objects. So, if you have a manufacturing lead business, you can probably see the benefits of this more clearly than others. But, 3D printing can help a wide range of industries. If you ‘create stuff’ in-house, it can have a significant advantage for your business. Usually, 3D printers will help you cut out the middle man and ensure that you complete processes in-house.

Many people believe that 3D printing is expensive. But with the innovation of the desktop 3D printer, it’s now an affordable solution for all businesses. 3D printing is set to change the course of the business world. After all, you are only limited by your imagination when it comes to the heady world of 3D printing.

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Fdecomite

Prototypes

Many companies are often required to complete prototypes. This is  before they set their goods for general release. A prototype can be expensive to outsource. What’s more, an outsourced company may not get the finer details of your prototype right. A 3D printer means that you can produce prototypes in house and allow your processes to be streamlined. This makes for a cheaper solution to outsourcing. But, it also ensures that you are generating ideas within your venture. Prototypes are the best way of cheaply ensuring that your products are fit for consumption by the masses. What is more, prototypes enable you to test the product and ensure that you are not investing in a product that is not right for your company.

Designing and Printing

Many companies outsource this need. But, 3D printers will ensure that you don’t have to worry about this kind of expensive means of outsourcing. Design and production via a 3D printer is vital. You need to ensure that you can download and design products within your company. You can ensure that your customers are getting the best from your company too. If they lose a vital component of your product, you can knock them up a replacement with ease using your 3D printer. This is a great way of making sure that your customers experience is enhanced. You can streamline your internal processes. But, you can also ensure that lead times are cut too. The result of all of this? A very happy and satisfied customer. It’s a win-win situation.

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Creative Tools

Reduction in Development Costs

When it comes to being a leader in your industry, 3D printing is the best way of ensuring that your company is technologically advanced. Usually, this is costly. Having a 3D printer can ensure that you are reducing your overheads. This will then lead to higher profit margins. The ROI, when it comes to 3D printers, can be huge.

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After the holidays, many people feel that they want to uplift and revitalise their business. But, when it comes to branding it’s all about knowing the right people and getting the timing right. After all, a rebrand is a significant shift in any business. You need to ensure that you are doing it for the right reasons. If you feel that your business needs a boost, a rebrand and a new image is just what you need for the New Year. After all, you don’t want to be stuck in the same routine and not seeing business growth. You need to ensure that you have a viable and long term business. A rebrand can help with this.

Let’s take a look at some considerations that you need to make:

Logos, Website and Graphic Design

Launching a rebrand means having a new logo and new look. Professional graphic design can ensure that you hit the right tone when it comes to the new look of your company. You need to make sure that you are utilising the online world to its full capacity. Take a look at your competitors. What do they offer? What ethos do they have? Once you ascertain this, you can find ways that you can make your business different. You need to have a business model that fits with your industry, but you need to look different to your competition. This can be difficult to achieve. But, if you hire professional graphic designers and talk to marketing agencies, they will be able to help you figure this out.

Think about your company image. Do you want to portray a family image? Do you want to be seen as a fresh, alternative brand? Think about your image projection and start building around this idea.

Updating Your Social Media

Social media are vital when it comes to a relaunch. You can ensure that you are building hype around your brand new look. But, you can also determine what your demographic wants from a company like yours. You can use Insights on Facebook to determine your demographic. You can then tailor your rebrand around this. Be smart and use social media to your full advantage.

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Assess Your Website

Now you have determined your rebrand strategy and focus, it’s time to look at your website. This time, look at it as a customer. What are the negative aspects of your site? Where does it need to be improved?

Once you have assessed this, start fixing this ASAP. A poorly designed and malfunctioning website can have a negative impact on your overall brand.

When the errors have been fixed, make sure that you are incorporating your new logos, strap line and updated rebrand information on to your website. This should be done prior to the launch date.

Have a Launch Date and Brag About It

In order to build hype around your launch, you need to have a launch date. Talk about it prominently on social media. Send out PR campaigns to local businesses. Get your voice heard on the radio. You need to make sure that you are building hype around your company. Having a fixed launch date is the best way to do this. Start the countdown and make sure people are aware of it.

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Starting a business can be hard, there is so much to do and not enough time to do it in. However, bringing your idea to life and being your own boss, makes the challenges you face as a new business owner, incredibly worthwhile.

Although the long hours and hard work that come with running a business are not that desirable, the result is that, over time, your business will begin to grow.

However, many new business owners make the mistake of taking on too much at once, trying to handle every aspect of the business themselves. These are the business owners who don’t make it past the first year mark. The key to this, is hiring a little bit of low cost help.

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Hire a virtual office or personal assistant

If you work from home, a virtual office allows you to have a non-residential business address where all business related mail can be sent. This gives your company a more professional image and helps you keep your correspondence in order.

If you already rent an office, you will have no need for a virtual one. However, you may find a virtual personal assistant incredibly helpful. Your personal assistant will work from her own office answering your phone calls and taking enquiries for you, before sending all the information over to you. There is also the option of having your phone calls answered and then transferred to your personal phone. This gives your business an essential degree of credibility.

These services will help to keep your office running more smoothly, as well as taking some of the pressure off of you.

Hire IT Support

As a new business owner it is important to know just how valuable a good knowledge of IT is. You may think that you handle your IT yourself, but when you are incredibly busy and all of a sudden a server crashes, you may not have the time to fix it.

Of course you could sign up to an over-the-phone IT support service, and with their guidance fix it yourself. However, with a lack of time, it is best to invest in managed IT support from a specialised company. Although this will cost slightly more, what you should consider is whether you can afford to be unable to work and run your business properly because of problems with IT.

Hiring a managed IT support service will allow you to get on with running your business regardless of what IT issues may occur.

Offer an internship

If you are struggling to do everything yourself, but can’t afford to employ a paid member of staff, then consider offering an internship. Experience is required in every industry, and internships are an excellent way for students and new graduates to gain experience.

Consider what you can offer an intern and then decide on what you would need from them in return. Advertise the position in local newspaper and websites. Invite the best candidates for an interview and then choose the most suitable one for your business’s needs.

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We all dreamed of that futuristic house when we were young. Households of science-fiction always promised sliding doors and flying robots to help with the washing up. We haven’t quite got what we dreamed of yet. However, there are many technological advances that are helping us in the home. If we look to the future, there are plenty more on the way.

From appliances that think like humans to smart health monitors, technology in the home will soon outsmart us. Of course, we will see significant advances in entertainment and gaming systems. These things are at the core of our home. We also be more connected to the internet than ever before. We will become more and more reliant on our home to monitor energy consumption too.

 

Health detectors

In the future, our bathroom mirrors will be able to provide a quick health check. While you’re brushing your teeth, your mirror can scan your eye movements. It can detect changes in brain function and alert you. Hand held sensors will monitor blood pressure. They will even spot the first sign of strokes and heart attacks. Smart toilets already exist in Japan. They can detect signs of diabetes. Some can now indicate pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

 

Entertainment

Entertainment is the most visible sign of technology change in our homes. Whether it’s laptops, tablets or TVs, they are constantly evolving. TVs that can be rolled up and put away are just around the corner. We might not all have cinema rooms just yet, but you can make one yourself. An Optoma projector can be used to project your favourite films onto a clear wall. Scatter some cushions around and you’ve got a cinema! Sound systems are becoming more interconnected and voice controlled too.

 

Home robots

The technology for a human sized helper to cook and clean is a long way off. But, certain cleaning robots do already exist. Small hoover robots can scuttle around the floor tidying up after you. Some even have arms to pick up large pieces of litter. They can scale stairs and switch between surfaces. We are just beginning to see the birth of this home robot technology. It will only grow and help us in ways we didn’t even know we needed.

 

The internet of things

The internet of things is a new concept on the lips of every tech genius. It’s a clunky phrase that essentially means that our appliances and equipment will be smarter. It means our fridges will know when we run out of milk and automatically add it to our online shopping lists. It means that our electricity systems will monitor how much energy we are using and switch off appliances. It will even keep an eye on your personal finances. It will connect every aspect of our lives, learn our routines and adapt with us.

Our homes are slowly growing into the futuristic houses we dreamed of. The idea of robots and appliances that think like humans is a little scary. However, it will make our homes smarter, more efficient and safer. It is an exciting time for home technology development.

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There are so many things we can do with technology today to improve business and relationships with customers. As well as the internet and computers, we also have phone and mobile technology. There is now a lot of emphasis on reaching out to your customers online, including using social media and email. But it can still be very important for some businesses to use telecommunications. There are many ways that telephones can help you to improve your business’s efficiency and your relations with your customers. Among them are call answering services and text messaging. The internet is slowly taking larger percentages of businesses’ total marketing spends. But businesses shouldn’t ignore the more traditional method of telecommunications. And nor should the advances that have been made in the area.

Text Messages

Many businesses use email to stay in touch with their customer base, but fewer firms think about using text messaging. The reason for this might be that they are hesitant to ask for their customer’s phone numbers. But many business activities will involve collecting customer phone numbers for other purposes. If when selling products online or over the phone you need to ask for your customers’ phone numbers, you can ask permission to contact them at the same time. Mass text messaging can give you better access than sending out emails. An email could go into the spam folder, or the customer could delete it without reading it. But a text message immediately appears on your customer’s phone. They’re more likely to open it and see what it says, so it’s a great method for sending special offers, news and more. You can use services like Smart Numbers. They can manage your texts of anything from season’s greetings to promotions.

Call Answering Services

Virtual businesses are growing in popularity, with the advancement of the internet and different telecom services. One of the great advantages of this is that you no longer need the space for an entire team of people in your office, or the money to hire them. As well as using virtual PAs, you can also try a virtual reception service. These firms can act as a call answering service for you, so you don’t have to hire permanent employees to do the job. It’s a much cheaper option than hiring someone to be on your phones all day. Technology allows them to see easily that someone is calling for your company. They can then provide the customer with the correct greeting and information. It can make your business look bigger and more established than it is, which can be great for your reputation.

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Call Conferencing

Another way that telecommunications has improved in recent years is the ease with which you can hold a conference call. You might be talking over telephone lines or using a phone application on the internet. It’s easy to make calls and video calls with clients and business partners. You can also now record any calls for future reference, so there’s no need to pay anyone to take minutes.

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Looking after your Mac is important if you want to extend its lifespan, but you have to spend time performing maintenance tasks to keep it going. Many people may not know how to care for their Mac properly, especially if they previously used a Windows or Linux computer. Apple suggests that Macs need little maintenance, but it’s important to consider it in spite of this. You might have lots of questions about maintaining your Mac’s good health. If you don’t know how to start caring for your Mac, find the answers to your questions below.

Do I Need to Install Updates?

Just like with a PC, you’ll need to install regular updates for your Mac’s system. Look under the software updates part of your Apple menu to check for updates. You can configure the updates to install automatically, so you don’t have to keep checking for new ones. Updates are important, as they will fix vulnerabilities and security risks. They also make sure that you don’t have any old data or software that’s incompatible with your system.

Do I Need to Create Backups?

On any computer system, it’s important to create backups. If anything happens resulting in lost or damaged files, it’s reassuring to know that you have created backups to help you restore your system. Apple has a built-in Time Machine application that creates backups, but you can use another software too. Some backup programs will automatically create a backup at regular intervals, taking away the need to remember to create them yourself.

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Dan Taylor

How Do I Keep My Mac Running Quickly?

If you don’t perform maintenance on your Mac, your system could start to slow down. Keeping your files organized can be a big help in making sure that your system doesn’t start slowing down. You can keep your files in order, archive old files and clean your computer. There are several programs to help you clean up the files on your computer. You might have heard about MacKeeper, which can get rid of any files you don’t need. These junk files weigh down your Mac and slow everything down, so getting rid of them can improve your computer’s performance. If your next question is “does MacKeeper cost money?”, the answer is yes. You can use it for free for a trial period, but after that it will cost $40-$60.

What Else Can I Do?

Something else that helps you keep your Mac running smoothly is using the Apple Disk Utility to scan your drive for any errors and repair disk permissions. If you run Disk Utility every two or three months, you may be able to prevent your system from running into several problems. Find it under the Utilities folder on your Mac. You can also keep the outside of your Mac clean, so dust and dirt doesn’t slow the system down.

If you look after your Mac and perform regular maintenance tasks, it will last longer. Just these few simple tasks can save you a lot of money.

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Here in 2014, it’s more difficult than ever to keep watch over your personal finances. With more ways to get credit, set up direct debits and standing orders than ever before, and contactless payment making it even simpler to spend a little bit here and a little bit there, it’s easy to see why people are falling behind in their personal finances.

Although the government is keen to show that the UK’s economy is growing and expanding, this isn’t the case for ordinary, hardworking people, who all around the country are feeling as though the economic plan for the country is not an economic plan to help them, but instead, to help the 1% in the City of London. Could this be one of the reasons people are more in debt now than they ever have been? Whether it is or not, we’ve come up with a plan to help you keep better watch of your personal finances.

Step 1: Acknowledge That Technology Is Your Friend

Although it might be the case that technology has facilitated all of the extra finance options and methods (mentioned above) that have potentially led to the complex nature of personal finance in the 21st century, technology can also help to rescue us from the mire of complicated spreadsheets that are our bank accounts.

If you’re not particularly tech savvy, then now is the time to be afraid of technology, as there are plenty of ways that you can put it to good use, helping you to budget better, save more, and avoid more debt.

Step 2: Stop Being Afraid of Internet Banking

The next step, if you’re not already doing it, is to bank online. Many younger people would find the idea of not banking online an enormous hassle, but there are plenty of people in the community who are not yet accustomed to doing all of their banking online. Instead, they prefer to do their banking in branch. Despite this, banking online actually simplifies your personal finances enormously, and soon, you’ll be doing everything on a computer screen in-branch too, so you may as well make the change now.

So why does banking online help you? Well, for a start it’s easy to see immediately what direct debits and standing orders you have, to whom, and the associated values. If you want to adjust a payment date, you can, and if you want to cancel something, you can. In addition, you can view your entire statement in one place, and you can even download it into a spreadsheet for you to look over and analyze.

Step 3: Make Your Life Easier with Apps

Last but by no means least; you can make your personal finances easier by downloading a range of financing apps for your phone. This will help you see where you’re spending your money, when and what on. The value of this data is that once you know your money-spending habits, you can then train yourself to be more careful with your cash.

This is the ultimate example of saving smarter, without having to save harder. In other words, you don’t need to cut down on every spending purchase to save money and manage your personal finances better, all you need to do is know precisely where your financial “problem areas” are, and this will allow you to minimize the damage.

If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to hunting down the best apps for the tracking your finances, this article by Different Money includes five of the best, meaning they’ve done all the hard work for you.

Ultimately then, although technology has significantly complicated our personal finances, we can also use it to make finance easier. Follow the above advice and learn how to keep a digital eye on your bank balance.