Many Reasons to Celebrate, Using Envelopes Budgeting!

Brooke, Ryan, and their daughter

Brooke, Ryan, and their daughter

Brooke and Ryan, from eastern Utah, had a lot of reasons to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. In fact, for them, 2008 was an amazing year! On January 1, 2008, their total debt (besides their mortgage) was $30,482.52. Just 12 months later, on December 31, 2008, their mortgage is their only debt! In addition to clearing up all that consumer debt, their assets now total over $22,000!

Brooke cheerfully states, “There’s no more guessing about what we can afford! The spending plan offered by Mvelopes Envelopes Budgeting is invaluable. Now we can make sure we are paying ourselves first EVERY paycheck. To go from the anxiety of debt to the security we feel from watching our savings grow has been incredible. Thank you so much for helping us to achieve so many of our goals!”

During a delightful telephone interview, Brooke also provided the following insights into their use of Mvelopes and how it has helped them accomplish such extraordinary financial success.

Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?

A: Just about a year.

Q: How has the Mvelopes Money Management Software assisted you in living within your income?

A: It lets me know–immediately–what I can afford and what I cannot.

Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?

A: As mentioned, exactly $30,482.52.

Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?

A: Approximately $20,000.

Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?

A: I used to try and never let our checking account balance go below $500, and we averaged a balance of approximately $1,000. Now our average checking account balance is between $7,000-$8,000.

Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?

A: We paid off all our consumer debt. We have also started putting money away for retirement, we’re saving money for college for our children, and we save ahead for medical and dental expenses and even furniture purchases. Now we make sure we have the money before we spend it (as opposed to making a purchase and then trying to pay for it).

Q: What are your next financial goals?

A: To pay off our mortgage.

Q: How many envelopes have you created?

A: We have about 30 envelopes.

Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?

A: To go from owing everybody money to watching our savings increase is indescribable. I don’t worry about whether I’m going to be able to afford Christmas, because I know I’ll have money put away. The decision is already made by the time our paychecks arrive. We don’t have to wonder what we’re going to do with each paycheck–we already know.

Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?

A: Because we’ve already made decisions about where our money will go, there’s no arguing about it. My husband is also using Mvelopes for his business. We don’t have to discuss money much, because we know it’s there, and we’ve already planned where it will go. Prior to having Mvelopes, we never really argued, but there was fear and stress. Now we don’t have that fear and stress.

Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?

A: Give it some time to work out the kinks. Anytime you start a new budget, it will take awhile to get into the flow–to determine what envelopes you’re going to need, and which ones you won’t need. Don’t be afraid of changing. And don’t lie to yourself. In other words, don’t get into the habit of simply borrowing from one envelope to cover a negative balance in another envelope. Be honest about your money and your spending.

Brooke, we sincerely hope that 2009 will bring you, Ryan, and your family even more financial success and peace of mind. We’re confident that you’ll continue to reach the goals you’ve set. You’ve definitely proven that you’ve got what it takes! Thank you for taking time to share your phenomenal success story with us.

“Ecstatic” Mvelopes Money Management Software User Since January 2007

Clay and his family

Clay and his family

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Clay from Columbus Ohio. Clay refers to himself as an “ecstatic” user of Mvelopes Money Management Software and explains why.

In 1994, Clay got his first job after graduating from college and decided it was a perfect time to start a budget. So, after completing Larry Burkett’s “Money Management” workbook, he got out his pen and paper, and began. He later upgraded his system to a spreadsheet and, in 2005, purchased Larry Burkett’s “Money Matters” software. Even though Clay’s system had improved over the years, it still fell short of his expectations, in several areas. For example, the manual entry of his expenses was very time-consuming and greatly increased the chances of user error.

Additionally, he struggled to reconcile his accounts and was never certain if he was correct on the totals in his accounts. He was also frustrated by the fact that he was unable to truly manage his day-to-day expenses. It was always a guessing game and he would not find out until much later how he had done.

Clay often put off working on his budget, and would typically only work on it once a month. He would then have frustrating marathon sessions of 4-6 hours alone in the basement working out the details. Needless to say, Clay dreaded the process of budgeting because it had become a time-consuming, confusing, ineffective, inefficient, and often frustrating venture.

Then Clay discovered Mvelopes Money Management Software and was “ecstatic.” Clay states that the Mvelopes approach gave him the power over his spending that he had always wanted, while giving him a real-time snapshot of his financial health, with very little day-to-day management. Clay outlined the things he loves most about Mvelopes:

“I don’t have to manually enter anything. Mvelopes does all the hard work. It pulls in all the transactions from my accounts so I can simply drag and drop them into the appropriate envelopes.”

“I can access it anywhere. Whether I’m at home, at work, on vacation, or even at the library—I can work on my budget.”

“It’s real time. Since I have all my accounts entered into the system, I know where my account balances stand today, so I can easily decide where I can spend tomorrow.”

“It is simple–simple enough for me to trust my wife to do it without having to fear that she’ll stray from ‘my system.’”

“It doesn’t take much time, so no more marathon budgeting sessions in the basement.”

In a delightful telephone interview I had with Clay, he shared the following additional insights.

Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: For exactly one year–I started using Mvelopes on January 1, 2007.

Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: We know, real-time, what we have spent and what we have left to spend. It takes all the guesswork out of figuring out what we have left to spend in each area. With one click of a button, it takes my paycheck and automatically distributes the money into the envelopes. It gives me knowledge.

Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: That’s not my story. We’ve not been in debt since using the product.

Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: We’ve saved approximately $10,000.

Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: We have 38 envelopes.

Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: Our average checking account balance has increased by approximately $3,000 (from an average $7,000 balance to $10,000).

Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: We bought a new car and paid cash for it. We’ve also been able to plan better for vacations, Christmas and birthday gifts. We’re also no longer blindsided by household or car expenses. For example, our air conditioner recently went out, and we had to get new brakes on the car. Because we’re putting aside extra money for these types of expenses, it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to. We set aside money for a rainy day.

Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: Better savings for retirement and college funds. We have three children (ages 5, 4 and 1) and are already setting aside money for their college educations.

Q: Has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: Absolutely—without question.

Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: One of the neat things it has done for my marriage is to make our finances more transparent. Now our conversations about finances are more pleasant and are based on real data. Since we can both look at the budget together and feel like we are caught up, we can have constructive conversations about our money. My wife has always had all her ducks in a row, and I’ve always been the finance guy. Years ago, before finding Mvelopes, when my wife would ask me questions about our finances, if I wasn’t caught up, I’d become defensive, she’d become frustrated, and it created unnecessary tension between us. Now we can both know where we’re at and we’re a team. We can both look at our budget and make decisions together about our spending plan.

Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Do the necessary work up front to set aside a spending plan and think through your envelopes. Really embrace the process, because it will pay off. During the 30-day free trial, it seems like there’s a lot of work to do, but it gets easier. Give it 90 days and you’ll start to see the payback.

Clay, congratulations on the financial success you have created for yourself and your family. And thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Happy New Year.