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How Manilla Saved My Finances

Grayson Bell


I hate to admit it, but I am a creature of habit. Habits allow me to stay in a comfortable place and keep a routine. The problem that I have noticed with habits is that I can keep ones that are not helpful. I got into credit card debt because I was stuck in my old ways. Spending more than I was making, along with continuously making terrible money decisions, is what led me to owing more creditors than I wish to mention.

Once I decided to get out of debt, I wanted and needed to change my habits. In order to make my life easier during my four-year debt payoff journey, I decided to go back to the basics with regards to my bills. I bought a whiteboard and listed all of my bills and when they were due. Each month, I would put a checkmark next to each bill after it was paid. It was a very visual and physical experience. This process kept me accountable. It worked for me.

Though my whiteboard bill process was easy for me to understand, it was flawed because there were too many ways that I could miss a bill. I always have a lot going on, so my mind is not set on each bill that I owe. This became evident when I stopped working in my home office each day. Seeing the board gave me an idea of what was going on. It was a rudimentary system, but it worked for me. It worked — until it didn’t.

My wakeup call came when I was working one day and my car insurance company called me. I don’t like to answer my cell phone while at work, so I let it go to voicemail. When I checked it, I realized they were calling me because I hadn’t paid my car insurance bill. It was the first time that I missed a bill in about 13 years. This showed that my system was broken and I needed a change.

Enter Manilla.

Because I write mostly about personal finance, I get to see all different people talk about how they organize their finances. One day, I was scanning articles and noticed someone talking about Manilla. The name brought two images in my head. One of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and the other was of manilla folders. Interested, I headed over to Manilla.com and was instantly hooked. The solution to my whiteboard problem was right there.

Manilla is a free service that lets you put all of your bills and accounts in one place in one secure dashboard. That means you can access all of your financial accounts, utilities, daily deals, subscriptions, healthcare accounts, travel programs and more through Manilla.com or the free mobile apps — all with one password.

It’s perfect for me because I love aggregation technology. I first got hooked when I setup an account with Mint.com, which focuses more on financial forecasting.  Ever since, I have just loved the ease of use. I noticed that Manilla, which is different and quite complementary to Mint, offered a platform that allowed me to see everything in one place, and I wanted to be a part of it.

I signed up within a few minutes and loaded in my billing account. I set up the proper notifications for each bill and then sat back with my mind at ease. Because I work online and have my smartphone with me everywhere I go, I knew that getting emails about my upcoming bills was the best way for me to handle my obligations. Manilla was the perfect answer for me. I am glad I found it and I plan on making this one of my good habits.

Grayson Bell is the founder of the personal finance blog, Debt Roundup. There he shares his journey through fighting debt and growing his wealth, while attempting to make personal finance easy to understand. He is an avid DIY’er and loves to work on cars and brew beer in his spare time. He is also a freelance writer working everyday on his side hustle empire. Extra income rocks!

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