Growing up I was taught to save and I did this by putting money (either the ones gifted to me on my birthday or by my parents) in a wood box built by the local carpenter. It was an exciting time for me as I get to put every naira or kobo in the box. What’s more exciting was, I could also include notes in the ‘safe’ or ‘Kolo’ as it was locally called in Nigeria.

My favourite moment is when I have to go withdraw cash from my ‘safe’ either to give my mum to get something for me or go to the shop to buy sweets for myself. I did this with a lot of excitement, sometimes desperation and anger on my face if my broomstick refuses to pick out the notes I want or picks nothing at all. Those days, when I look through the safe hole, I get excited at the green and red notes (N10/N20- 10/20Naira)staring back at me as back then, these notes were a lot of money and I could get new stuff for school or simply treat myself.

When I got a little older, I was gifted with a beautiful piggy bank with a lock. Oh how I cherished it. I kept it safe and wouldn’t let anyone touch it. By now I have mastered the art of saving and understood the need to invest.  Understanding this was priceless.

I remember travelling out of the country less than a year after I got gifted with my fancy piggy bank and had to part ways with it. That was one sad day for me- I had to give out this gift. According to my aunt, I wouldn’t need it in the country I am travelling to and since she needed something to remember me by, the bank came in handy. As painful as it was, I unlocked the bank, removed my money ( of course I had to )and gave her my little piggy bank.

Here is a very close sample of my fancy piggy bank. Mine was a square shape

Now as an adult, even though I have a bank account, I still find myself going shopping for a piggy bank to drop my 1p,50p, £1 and every change I can gather because I am sure, a time would come when I need to cash out. I remember having a chat with my friend last week and I said, rather than getting rid of my 10 and 5p’s, I will keep them in my piggy bank (I no longer call it safe)  and that will sort out the shopping bags and 17p water as you know in the UK, you no longer get shopping bags for free, you now pay for your bags when you go shopping in most supermarkets and if you haven’t got a 5 pence to complete your purchase, you won’t go out with it. Now see why every penny counts.

Here is my little piggy bank.

Another thing I do when it comes to saving is to randomly put cash in any of my bags. According to my mum, having spare cash at home helps for rainy days. Let me share this story.

One time during my undergrad, I travelled to a different city on holiday on my return, the taxi driver didn’t have change and it was a Sunday so shops were closed and I didn’t want to walk to the cash machine. Luckily, I remembered I had some cash and I paid him off. What my mum said was exactly true as having cash to lay aside saved the situation.

Another example was when I went to a restaurant in January this year. I opened my bag and saw the extra money I had randomly left. When it was time to pay, I realised the money i brought initially wasn’t enough. Rather than paying with my card, my random note paid off. Indeed laying money aside helps save for rainy days.

What are you into, do you still save with a piggy bank or do you randomly put cash away?

Let me know from the list mentioned what method you prefer to use when it comes to saving those notes and pennies or would you rather put all in the bank?

Today, I would like to educate you on how I stay safe and how you can keep yourself safe and share tips to look out for so you don’t get caught up with the wrong guys.

I used to be a victim of hackers ( I say ‘used to’ because at the time, I didn’t know what I know now). One time, they hacked into my yahoo account and sent silly messages pretending to be me and they also sent links to my contacts to click and view (I am aware some of you if not all have experience this as well). These links can sometimes be embarrassing as they contain ‘not so good images’.  Not only did they hack into my yahoo account, they also hacked into my Skype account to send links and my Facebook account to write a post. Luckily for me, I realized quickly and took necessary steps to prevent this from repeating itself.

There is a probability you are aware of what to do to remain safe online and there are obviously several ways of being safe but I would be sharing a few which I feel are not often mentioned when the issue of online security is brought up.

Number one tip  for me, was to learn to avoid remembering my password or username on my personal computers or laptop when it pops up, especially when it is unattended. (I know it saves a lot of time when it comes to remembering passwords, nonetheless hackers might track down information when a person remain signed in). Presently, I make an effort not to remember my password and username on my laptop.  It is strongly advisable you do not tick the option to prevent your credentials from being stored on the computer too.

Secondly, I cultivate the habit of logging out of sites that involve my signing in at all time. Also, I avoid signing in to unknown wifi spot when out or leaving my Bluetooth on when it is not in use. This is because, I don’t want to leave anything to chance. Most importantly, I am cautious of what sites I visit. I try avoiding sites without https:// as can be seen below

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If the page is not secure/ or safe, I could always try finding the site by typing the https// before the URL in the location bar that way my information won’t be stolen by eavesdroppers and attackers. For instance, when trying to visit a website called ‘Stay Safe Online’, (for the purpose of this post I have used a dummy web page) rather than being tempted to put ‘staysafeonline’ in the URL, I make an effort by inserting ‘https:// staysafeonline’. Try and put this in practice – it would help a lot.

Additionally, something I find annoying which is another means by which hackers tend to strike is by sending out malicious web link while pretending to be an authentic site. This is known as ‘Phishing’ this means, the emails they send to a person looks genuine and they request for that person to reset their  password. Unfortunately these emails are dangerous because they look real and when you click on the link it would give the attacker access to your personal information.

Also, I am very careful what link I accept and what I share with others as I do not want to cause others to be victims. Also I am weary when opening attached files or clicking on web link in emails.

Below is an email I got from a fake Amazon team asking me to change my password as it has been reset.  Obviously I didn’t reset my password whatsoever, so I was tempted to click on the link provided and change the password. This is often our first impulse when we receive such emails. Luckily I suspected the link and didn’t sign in. Then I asked a friend of mine who also confirmed the email was fake.

1Lastly, hackers pretend to be authentic by altering URL addresses with the aim of causing confusion and if you fall for it would infect your computer with virus or spyware. For example, what hackers do to deceive people is rather than put ‘Citybank.com’ in the url, the attacker uses ‘citibank.com’. (As you can see, the difference in both sites is a letter ‘I’). This method of attack is called ‘Spoofing (Masquerade attack)’. As I always suggest, be on guard always when you receive a link from what you believe to be a well-known source.

This brings me to my conclusion. You might be wondering ‘what is the big deal with securing my device?’. One out of many which I believe is what most of us are always concerned about is the issue of ‘Identity Theft’.  This occurs when forms of identity are obtained in ones name and if this happens, the hackers might use your personal details to set up a bank account or obtain credit cards, loans and benefits in your name. So you want to be very mindful of people manipulating your details.

I hope my experience and how I try to stay safe has shed light and help you understand why it is important to keep yourself safe online.

Please feel free to make contributions or suggestions. Let us educate ourselves and reduce the number of people that get hacked.

Till I write to you again, stay safe and educate others to do same.

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