Sometimes I think I can remember everything without writing it down or using any kind of organizational computer program. After all, I always remember my hair appointments, both my kids’ birthdays, and how many Cadbury Creme eggs I ate last night (answer: these hips don’t lie). But then my Internet gets shut off for forgetting to pay the bill or I learn that I let ten years of accrued frequent flier miles expire and I realize I need help, especially when it comes to organizing my finances. I don’t care if you’re the love child of Suze Orman and Warren Buffet, everyone can use a little help getting their financial life in order. Most of us have so many financial dealings that staying on top of things can best be described as a maddening cyclone of clutter, due dates, and money haphazardly being thrown in and out of our accounts. Seriously, how can you even balance your checkbook when you don’t know which one of your nine purses it’s in? To help regain control, consider using a free, easy-to-use online service like Manilla.com to organize and manage your financial life. After checking out the site, I think it would be a helpful tool, although there are definitely distinct things I like and dislike about the service:
- Your account statements from financial institutions you’ve linked to your Manilla account are automatically imported to the accounts tab section of your dashboard. Since many of my financial institutions only keep a year’s worth of statements online, I download and print each statement so I can compile a more complete record of my statements. On Manilla, you can keep these imported online statements for as long as you want—as such, I’m not wasting time doing the monthly download/print/file routine, and these statements aren’t taking up room on my hard drive or in my file cabinet.
- I’m a text message kind of gal, so I love that Manilla lets you set up custom SMS alerts to remind you when you bills are due. Choose whether you want alerts sent 1, 3, or 7 days before the bill is due, when a bill becomes past due or when there’s an account issue. You can also set up email alerts in the same manner.
- I loved having a place to put in all my “modern-day” financial dealings and subscriptions like my Groupon purchases and their expiration dates, my Netflix subscription information, and when I needed to cancel my free Hulu Plus trial in order to avoid paying the monthly subscription fee. You can tell that the creators of Manilla definitely have their fingers on the pulse of popular financial culture.
- Manilla has developed mobile phone applications that make it easy to check your account when you’re away from your computer. Unfortunately, these mobile apps are only for the Android and the iPhone. What about us BlackBerry users? Don’t we still make up a significant chunk of the smart phone market? Just because I abhor touch screen typing and refuse to wait on line outside the Apple store for the latest iPhone release doesn’t mean I should be discriminated against! All I have to say is that not’s Berry nice!
- I could not link up my Manilla account to my local utility and cable provider; as such, I couldn’t pay these bills directly through my Manilla account. Since Manilla is still in its Beta testing stage, maybe these providers will soon be added.
- I like to see my financial health represented graphically. Manilla didn’t have any graphics like tables or pie charts to show my budgeting or financial forecasting information. If I want features like this, I will have to also sign up for a Mint.com account.
Interested? Here’s how to sign up for Manilla.com:
- Click Here to head to Manilla.
- Enter your name, zip code, email address, two security questions and their corresponding answers in the designated boxes. Then click on the blue “Sign Up” button.
- On the next page, click on the orange “Start Adding Accounts”. You will then be asked to sync your bank accounts using your log in and password information. You can rest assured that your sensitive information will be safe because Manilla uses TRUSTe site validation services and the same security systems as major banks.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Manilla.