Thursday, February 1

6 Tips For Safer Online Shopping

6 Tips For Safer Online Shopping

Ecommerce platforms are a great place to find the best deals, compare prices, and ship products straight to your front door. However, there are malicious actors out there taking advantage of vulnerable people. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center receives several reports relating to non-delivery scams annually. From identifying suspicious websites to turning down too-good-to-be-true deals, you can do a lot to buy goods safely online. Here are some proven tips for safe online shopping.

1. Shop with reputable merchants
Shopping safely is easier when you know the merchant and their reputation. You can trust that an online shopping site is safe if you verify that others have had consistently positive experiences with it. A reputable merchant can help you if there is any issue with your transaction. Take extra precautions when buying from a store you don’t know. You can do your background check by considering online reviews. Bad reviews could mean you have to think twice about ordering from the website. 

2. Avoid using e-stores that ask for too much information 

Ecommerce sites may ask buyers to provide some payment details, telephone numbers, and email addresses. But walking away is advisable when the merchant requires sensitive information like social security numbers, driver's licenses, and bank account deals. Some brands may ask you about your interest, but this is not mandatory. It would be best if you could check the merchant’s privacy policy page to understand how they use and process your information. Most online retailers state that they won't share or sell your information; meanwhile, others may claim ownership of your info and use it for abuse. Therefore, stick with online merchants that value and respect your privacy. 

 3. Use a secure connection and clear cookies 

Only a handful of internet users adequately protect their devices. Meanwhile, not protecting your network can make your passwords and financial information prone to hackers. A secure connection is a must for online shoppers who want to stay on the safer side. Consider encrypting your wireless network if you use it for online shopping. This will make it impossible for bad people looking around to steal your information. Virtual private network (VPN) apps can create an encrypted tunnel between your device and the server. They can mask your IP so that cybercriminals can’t see your actual location or steal your sensitive information. A VPN is the best tool to secure your connection when using public WiFi. It's important to note that clearing malicious cookies is also important for online safety. Ecommerce websites use cookies to track your identity and preferences. Unfortunately, some bad cookies can cause web browser issues on Android and iOS devices. You can read this article on how do i clear cookies on my iphone for more info. 

4. Don’t use your debit card

Scammers can directly access your bank account funds if your debit card is compromised. Therefore, use a mobile app or credit card instead to shop online. Some financial institutions provide disposable debit card numbers to boost shopping safety. Consider reviewing your electronic statements for credit and debit cards, and make sure you call your bank to address any matter promptly if you find out something is wrong. Credit card users will want to ensure the charges are accurate before they pay. You usually have up to 30 days to notify your bank or card issuer of problems, but it is worth noting that you may be liable for the charges.

5. Run away from too-good-to-be-true deals
Many retailers promote incredible deals to persuade buyers into their online stores. Unfortunately, cybercriminals understand this well and may attempt to take advantage of those searching for the best bargains. The rule of thumb is if a product’s price is too good to be true, it’s probably a trap. For instance, that high-quality 50-inch Ultra HD TV that usually costs thousands may show up selling for a few hundred. While rushing to click on the buy button can be tempting, you may want to take a step back and research. Find the authenticity of the company by looking it up to ensure it’s not a scam.

6. Activate multiple-factor authentication
Enabling multiple-factor authentication will add an extra layer of security to your online shopping accounts. Rather than relying on your regular password, MFA requires you to provide extra information to confirm your identity. For example, you may want to activate face recognition and one-time shortcodes from authenticator apps like Google to boost your account security. Multiple-factor authentication can deny unauthorized users access to your account, safeguarding your personal information.

Tuesday, January 23

Top Tips To Encourage Stubborn Children Into Parting With Old Toys

Picture Credit: CC0 License

Dealing with a seemingly never-ending onslaught of toys can be stressful as a parent. After all, no matter how much you try to clear things away, most kids have enough toys that they can make a mess again in seconds. Not to mention that, throughout the year, occasions like Christmas and birthdays can turn an already tight toy storage situation into an impossible avalanche.

Luckily, kids do tend to stop playing with previous favorite toys as they grow. This provides a great opportunity to clear some space and finally make room for all of the toys they’ve acquired more recently. Until your child sees you in action, that is, and decides that forgotten toy absolutely must remain in their possession.

Before long, the toy situation can feel like an unwinnable battle. But there are some simple ways to encourage even stubborn children to part with old toys, and we’ll consider them here.

Put power in their hands

There’s nothing wrong with saying that your child has to lose some toys before getting anything new. And, let’s be honest, your child probably won’t care all that much about the toys they haven’t played with in years. More often, children fight against their parents just coming along and taking their stuff. So, if you want them to have a clear out, set some boundaries and let them take the lead. If you outline how many toys they need to get rid of but leave them to pick out what they don’t want anymore, this can be more of a joint, easy process for everyone.

Siphon toys away

When you have young children, it’s tempting to just have a clear-out and be done with it. But, even toddlers have a good grasp on what toys they have, and where, and a meltdown will inevitably ensue if you get rid of something that they end up wanting in a few weeks. Instead, it may be better to siphon those unwanted toys away, either in the attic or in a storage unit for a month or so. That way, you can still enjoy additional space, but you have the backup of accessing that old toy if necessary. Then, if your child has gone a whole month without looking for it, you’re probably fine to give it away.

Provide an incentive

If all else fails, an incentive can be a great drive for encouraging your kids to have a clear out at last. After all, every child dreams of a great bedroom, so promising something like a new bedroom layout if they clear the space for it can work wonders for reducing their protests. Equally, if they want a specific new toy or video game, you could put conditions in place before you buy it, such as the need to get rid of five old toys in advance. That’s sure to see them giving things away happily.

Clearing old toys is a never-ending task that’s made much harder by unwilling children. Get your kids onside with regular clearouts using these tips.

Thursday, July 13

Subaru has the best customer service for Special Needs families.

I wanted to share how great CMA Colonial Subaru in Virginia treated us when our Outback needed work done. I was referred to them by Eve at customer Service, everything unfortunately was out of Warranty but we still received a $500 off Rebate which almost covered the entire cost of the AC being fixed, and because of that I had enough to pay for the Wheel Bearing replacement as well.

I drive my son to his developmental center that's almost 44 minutes away from my house (one way) every day, and a safe, reliable car is a must for that. I really appreciate great customer service and that's what my experience with Subaru was.

The waiting room had a relaxed environment, with complimentary snack, drinks, and caffeine.  Even Sy had room in his adaptive stroller while we waited for the initial diagnostic to be done. When the technicians were done, and we were informed by Mindy at CMA the cost, and how long the work would take Subaru CMA Colonial in Chesterfield had a rental available that day, and was allowed to use it the entire time the work was being completed. I'm not used to being taken care of like that.. I kept thinking what fees are going to be added on.. but there were none. I'm definitely going back to that location for all future work. I found out the place I was taking my outback to for it's oil changes was using the wrong Oil in it, and I was paying almost double what CMA charges for an oil change. Mindy was very kind, and got us a good deal as well.  

Oh, and I got a code for a Free car wash at their automatic laser car wash that's in the same parking lot.

It sucks having to spend a lot on car maintenance and sometimes the world feels like it's always against me but it's very important to have a safe vehicle, and important to

remember there are still good companies out there with great customer service. So from my Special Needs family to the Subaru family - THANK YOU for helping us out, and thank you for the 2023 Subaru Outback Rental. It was niiiice. 

I would love to afford a newer Subaru but that's not in the budget since I stopped working to take my son to school. I still have a few smaller things to update on my Subaru but this helped a lot!! 

Thursday, November 24

Scan every and any receipt for free Cash Back

I've been cashing mine out for Amazon Gift cards. It's helping a lot with Birthdays & Holidays.  You can also use Credit, Debit, Cash & EBT at the stores as payment & then scan your receipts in Fetch for the Cash Back. 

Fetch is my 2nd favorite app. Mostly because it is very easy to use. You sign up and can scan every and any receipt for Cash back. There is no clipping anything. There are promotions to get more points for cash back at certain stores & products but no matter what receipt - you will always atleast get 25 points for taking an in app photo of it.  

$300 in cash back from buying food!!


Ibotta takes all types of payment for purchases, debit, credit, cash, EBT for cash back. Walmart you link your Payment cards to account, and Food Lion you link your MVP Card. It's really easy to use at those stores and I have no need to upload a receipt, just make sure your Wallet at is up to date, and your items you are buying in Ibotta are clipped in the Ibotta app (with a check mark.)  

I've only been doing Ibotta for a few months now and it's already helped me with extra items around the house. 

If you'd like to sign up under my Ibotta it would mean the world to me. If you have any questions about the app, or need help with the app - just Email me. I really do enjoy helping others save money.  

Love you,

Cash back for buying Gas!

I am always trying new apps to get cash back on things I HAVE to buy that I don't want to buy. My first trip I made back $9.46. 

Like Gas.

Gas is crazy expensive right now, and Upside is a free app that is easy to use and WORKS.  

Download it here, This free app gets you cash back on gas! Use promo code 9NJ7SM to get an extra 15c/gal bonus on your first purchase.

Heres how it works;

1. Sign up - verify & complete your profile in app.

2. Add into your Wallet your payment method you use at the pump. It only asks you for your First 6 Numbers and Last 4 of Card. 

3. Scroll down participating gas stations from the list & Claim which location you'd like to redeem at.  You have 4 hours to redeem your claimed location.

4. Once you arrive the pumps, go back into your Claimed Offers & Check In.  It is very important that you check in befre pumping.  You can do steps 3 & 4 at the same time at the pump before getting Gas.  

5. For Cashing out you can choose Gift Cards or link your Bank account using Plaid.  

Thursday, September 29

Easy Cash Back at stores you already shop with EBT

Hey! Thought you'd like to download Ibotta to save money! It's a free app that gets you cash back on everyday purchases. Just sign up with my referral code 'aic8q'. Sign up at →