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One incredibly useful task to do with your smartphone right now

One incredibly useful task to do with your smartphone right now
© Alexander Shalamov | Dreamstime.com Dreamstime.com

If you're like most people, the frigid air this time of year makes you think, "Let's go on vacation." If you have kids or you're just a budget-conscious planner, you're probably already saving money for your summer getaway.

Whether you'll travel a few minutes to the beach or take your family thousands of miles away, you must make sure your home is safe when you're gone. We've got a few tips you probably never thought of that will help you retrieve your valuables, or get compensated for them if they're stolen or destroyed.

Fortunately, technology has made this so easy to do. It starts with taking videos of your home and its contents.

The idea is to have a recording of everything you own, from your washer and dryer to your car and all valuables in between. Walk around your house until you've captured everything.

You won't believe how helpful this video will be to your insurance company if your home is burglarized. The police will need this information, too.

Note: Keep reading to find out which items you should record.

Your "Valuables" Video

All you have to do is take out your smartphone and start recording. If you use an Android smartphone, you'll most likely have an app that says "camera" on your home screen >> tap on the red dot to start recording >> tap it again to turn it off.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, look for the camera app >> highlight the word Video by sliding up or down where you see Photo >> tap the red dot to start recording and again to stop.

Here's What to Record

Do you remember your license plate number and VIN? What if your appliances, laptops and PCs are stolen?

Do you have all those brand names, models and serial numbers handy? Of course not.

Be sure to capture those details as you walk around your home. You may need to turn on your smartphone's flashlight to capture items in the dark.

Tip in a Tip: To turn on your smartphone flashlight, try this. Unlock your lockscreen >> swipe down from the top of the screen >> swipe left and right on the menu, where you see Wi-Fi and Bluetooth until you see Flashlight >> tap it to turn it on.

Start recording in one room and take your time going from room to room, to the garage and outside. Record expensive items like TVs and PCs, of course, but also record less costly things that you might not think about like routers, clothes, dishes and linens.

Store it in the Cloud

You've heard about the cloud. It's that strange-sounding concept where you save your photos, videos and documents to websites like Facebook, Google Drive and Amazon Drive, instead of storing them on your laptop or smartphone.

There are many cloud sites, so search around for FREE or low-cost options.

But even the cloud is a target for hackers threatening to wipe your devices, or leave your files inaccessible when you need them.  That's why you need a really great backup service like iDrive to keep your data completely safe.

One-Touch App

home inventory app for cataloging belongings

Have you taken photos of all your belongings? If so, it can get tricky to store everything in one space.

Try an app like the FREE-for-everyone Home Gallery app from Liberty Mutual. You take photos and input details, like an item's price and purchase date.

The app stores everything. You can add and delete items whenever you want, to keep your records up-to-date.

Could you imagine coming home to discover that it has been ransacked and burglarized? We hope that never happens, but keeping good records will help you get your valuables back or money from your insurance company.

5 best sites for finding travel deals

Kim Komando loves to travel. As a Komando.com reader, you know that she also loves to help you save money. We've rounded up five travel sites that Kim Komando uses to book her trips.

Click here to find out how you can save money the next time you travel!

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