MICRO CENTER: COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS
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Tech Take-Apart
Financial Survival Tips
by kp

Have you ever wondered where all of your money goes by the end of the month? All you have is a pile of receipts, and nothing to show for it. Worse yet is finding undocumented (or unauthorized) charges to your accounts. Don't get stuck in a quandary — here are a few helpful tips to help you get on track:

Quicken Starter Edition
Quicken Starter Edition
Get Organized
The first part of monitoring your outgoing expenses is to get organized. This means more than just keeping your receipts — you need a tool to help you record your transactions so that you can categorize and check against a balance sheet. Quicken offers an easy solution with Quicken 2009 Starter Edition. This software can not only help with your money management, but also sync with your online banking to give you a real-time view of your cash flow. In addition, Quicken can check your other accounts including credit cards so that you are always current with your charges. You won't miss a bill again with the built-in reminders to alert you when invoices are due. Quicken has also launched a new service called Quicken Picks that offers merchant discounts with your purchase of any Quicken 2009 software.

For taxes, you have an advantage by using Quicken, because it integrates easily with TurboTax. It can import your Quicken files, and you get a head start on your taxes. Turbo Tax also contains an eFile feature to help you get your refund fast. Plus, it has support for state filing.

Protect your Identity
Nothing can ruin your credit more than having your identity stolen. You don't have to be blind-sided when you go to apply for credit, then find out that your credit has been ruined. One way to keep this from happening is to have online access to your accounts, and monitor them frequently using Quicken. Another option is to sign up for a credit monitoring service from Experian. Experian has an existing partnership with Quicken, and can send you a notice any time a credit inquiry is made or a balance on an account increases over a set amount. Plus, you have access to your credit report to correct mistakes and monitor your credit score. Equifax offers a comparable service with similar features. To simply view your credit report for free, go to annualcreditreport.com. This can be a lifesaver (or credit saver) if you can catch an issue ahead of time.

Keep Updated
If you are using your computer to track your finances, it is crucially important that you protect your system. You can guard your personal information is by doing regular housekeeping on your computer. This includes cleaning your browser cache, cookies and temporary files out in addition to password protecting your accounts. In Windows, go to your Control Panel -> Internet Options to delete browser files, and in Firefox, go to Tools -> Clear Private Data. For Mac users with Safari, go to Safari -> Reset Safari.

ESET Smart Security
ESET Smart Security

Another important way to safeguard your computer is to install anti-virus and firewall software. ESET Smart Security provides a full line of protection from all types of malware including adware, bots, rootkits, trojans and more. Mac users are not immune to invasion - your computer is susceptible of being infected with malware too. Symantec offers Personal Firewall software to protect your Mac while surfing the Web.

It's never too late to get control of your finances. With these low cost tools, you can be on your way to financial harmony, and you don't have to worry about an end of the month crisis.

Shop:
Quicken 2009 Starter Edition
TurboTax Basic 2008
Norton Personal Firewall 3.0 for Macintosh
ESET Smart Security Home Edition

Reference:
Quicken Starter Edition Features
TurboTax Product Ccomparison
TurboTax Import Into TurboTax Desktop
Experian Credit Monitoring
Equifax Credit Products
AnnualCreditReport.com

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