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Geezeo: Money Management With A Perk

Geezeo: Money Management With A Perk

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    Geezeo

    isn’t the newest online money management tool on the block. It’s been around for over a year and a half — an eternity as far as these things go. But the site does have an unusual promotion going on right now, turning basic money management options into incentives.

    Geezeo’s Perks

    The Great Geezeo Bailout includes a whole list of prizes for the site’s users, all geared toward improving those users’ finances. The largest prize is $6,000 intended to cover a few months worth of mortgage payments or help a user get out of debt. But there are other prizes up for grabs:

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    • 12 months of identity protection from Identity Guard
    • $1,000 investment account from Trade Monster
    • $500 lending account from Lending Club

    To be eligible for Geezeo’s bailout package, users have to login into Geezeo between now and March 31, 2009 — and you receive one entry into the sweepstakes for every day you login during the contest period.

    But Is Geezeo Worth Your While?

    It’s all well and good for a website to give away money. But what makes Geezeo any different from the lists of other online money management tools? There are plenty of similarities, of course: once you’ve created an account on Geezeo, you can import the information from your variety of bank and credit card accounts. The site can categorize purchases, helping you to see just where you money is going. And you can easily set a budget based on your goals and your past expenses. But that’s where Geezeo starts to split off from the rest of the pack.

    Geezeo places a huge emphasis on community, drawing a comparison from dieting: for most people, dieting is much easier when they’re on the buddy system. Geezeo holds that the same is true in paying off debt and meeting financial goals. Once you have a profile in place, you can join groups, share goals (and progress) and even take your efforts a step further. You can share your financial confessions on the site — you can share where you’re having problems and get reassurance that your struggles with money aren’t unusual.

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    The Geezeo community is more than a support structure, though. It provides access to tips in specific area and help from both other users — people who have already been in the position you’re working on — as well as from experts who administer groups that cover specific topics. Those experts are full participants on Geezeo, as well. They routinely share goals and confessions of their own.

    The last unusual component to Geezeo is the site’s public feed: it’s a real-time look at what Geezeo members are doing. Whether they’re creating goals, posting questions or making purchases, as long as users have chosen to share their profiles, you can see the steps that they’re taking to get their finances on solid ground. While it may seem on the surface that the public feed is simply a community-building tool, it actually has a lot of value for helping users move forward on their finances. It’s easy to get ideas on how to proceed on your own goals (or even an idea of what your goals might be) by seeing what other people are doing.

    Geezeo’s Security

    I’ve long been concerned with the security of personal finance websites. Handing over pretty much all of your financial information to a website, no matter how many cool tools or perks it offers, requires a little more information. Geezeo has made an explanation of its security measures available on its website. This personal finance site has taken some very reasonable measures to protect information, including using both SSL and SSH to transmit information and storing a minimal amount of data. The security policy even explains that Geezeo’s developers have taken extensive steps (including filtering information out of their system logs) to ensure that even they can’t access a user’s information.

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    Because I’m not be entirely sold on the idea of sharing all my personal information with the entirety of the Geezeo network, I’m comforted by the fact that the site’s security policy specifically states that users’ actual balances are never shared. I also like the fact that Geezeo makes a point of never selling your data to a third party: there are more than a few financial sites that have turned sharing your information — prequalifying you for loans, for instance — into a feature of their sites as well as a main method of monetization. Geezeo does provide a marketplace, where you can browse through financial products, but the decision to do so is entirely up to the user.

    Should You Switch To Geezeo?

    If you’ve been trying to decide on a tool to manage your money, Geezeo is likely to be a good option — and its bailout sweepstakes does add a little extra incentive. If you’ve been working with a particular tool, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend making a switch, though. The important thing about any personal finance tool is whether it works for you: you don’t need an account on every shiny money management website, even if you manage to maintain multiple social networking profiles.

    I know that Geezeo’s social nature isn’t a positive for everyone. If you aren’t entirely comfortable with sharing even a few details with the rest of the internet, you do have the option to keep your information private — and there are plenty of other money management tools that might serve you better.

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    If you have any experiences with Geezeo that you would like to share, please share them in the comments.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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