I started caring about privacy and security a year ago, in fact my anniversary for Privacy and Security is coming up, I decided to give some advice on how to get started and different kinds of software you can use to maintain your digital privacy and security. I consider it giving back to the community in a way. I present this without a threat model in mind it is up to you to figure that out for yourself.
This is simple, avoid Windows, use MacOS if you have to, but try to use Linux.
Google, Microsoft and Yahoo (do people use Yahoo?) scan your emails and that isn't cool, so you need to use privacy respecting email providers. Here's a few good ones.
For an extremely detailed articles about email providers give this a read
Signal is the best encrypted messenger you can get your hands on, great metadata protection, wonderful track record and easy for your normie friends to use. It does require a phone number which I don't think is too bad because I'm not a person of interest and doubt I'll be targeted but for some threat models makes Signal completely unusable. I will present a few other apps but remember they all suck compared to signal. Matrix is a federated system that can be completely anonymous when using a homeserver that doesn't require any information to sign up and Tor friendly. Matrix has a lot of metadata problems but if you host your own server and everyone you communicate with uses that server matrix is a great option for messaging. Briar is an app that is designed for people who need the utmost privacy and security like whistleblowers, activists and political refugees for anyone reading this is probably overkill. Use Signal bro.
I use Brave. Yeah, I know. I think it's really good if you disable the cryptocurrency garbage, maybe I'll make a post debunking the main arguments against Brave. I use Brave because of Chromium's security which I consider to be necessary. I recommend Brave to most if not all people but I will give you a few more options. Ungoogled Chromium is also really good for Privacy but disables CFI and doesn't have auto-updates which is a security downgrade from Brave. Firefox is terrible for security but is a choice for privacy there are many guides on how to configue Firefox for privacy. In my opinion Brave is the move but to each their own. On Android use Bromite and on iOS use Brave I guess.
Use Libreddit for Reddit. Piped for Youtube Bibliogram for Instagram and Nitter for Twitter.
By far the best option is Grapheneos, it is highly private and with new sandboxed google play services has great app support. Calyxosis another option that annoys be since it is far less secure and uses MicroG. It's really just a worse Grapheneoos. Lineageos is very insecure but will increase privacy compared to stock, personally I'd recommend just biting the bullet and getting a pixel. Stock Android vs an iPhone, the two trade blows, Android has the greater open source support thanks to F-Droid but iPhones phone home less and have a greater ability to prevent apps to spy on you. I'd err on the side of Stock Android but the choice is up to you.
Bitwarden is the best cloud based password manager, but due to it being cloud based it has a severe security vulnerability because your passwords are being stored on someone else's computer. KeepassXC is an offline option which is far less convinient but way more secure since your passwords are stored on your computer so for a breach to happen you'd need to be targeted specifically. Use 2FA for all of your accounts try to avoid SMS based versions and use Aegis on android or Tofu on iOS or for maximum security use a hardware based key like Yubikey or Nitrokey.
VPNs are very cringe and aren't that useful. They offer no security advantage and a minor privacy improvement by hiding your IP even though Tor is a far better option. It is my opinion that you do not need a VPN and shouldn't bother with one. If you really want one I've heard good things about MullVad and IVPN.