In March, Joe, an enthusiastic new Mvelopes member from Tempe, Arizona, wrote to thank us for helping him eliminate his credit card debt. Joe wrote:
“I used Microsoft Money to budget my money for years. I had no idea what a terrible job it was doing for me until I switched to you, Mvelopes. In a little over six months, I went from having $9,000 in credit card debt to being debt free. I tell everyone I know about you guys. Thanks!”
After reading his comments, I contacted Joe and asked if he’d be willing to provide me with more detailed information. He willingly agreed and answered the following questions:
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: Approximately 8-9 months now.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: It has really made me aware of areas where I’ve been spending. In particular, it made me much more aware of where my discretionary income was being spent–on things like going out to eat, entertainment, etc. When I realized just how much I was spending in those areas, I was actually shocked. I was able to quickly cut back my spending, which freed up a lot of extra income, allowing me to quickly eliminate my credit card debt.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: I eliminated $9,000 in credit card debt in the first six months of using Mvelopes.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: During the same time I was reducing my debt, I was able to save for an engagement ring and I am now happily engaged to Melinda. Above and beyond saving for the engagement ring, I have also saved approximately $2,500.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: My checking account balance has increased by about $1,000–mainly due to the fact that I’m saving money for car insurance, etc. My average balance used to linger around $300-$400 and now it’s closer to $1,300.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: Well, as I mentioned, I was able to eliminate my credit card debt and start a savings account. I’m now saving 15% to 18% of my income–part towards retirement and part towards a down payment on a house.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: I’m saving for a honeymoon (to the Caribbean) and, as mentioned, a down payment on a house.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: I use the majority of the default envelopes that come with the program, and then I’ve probably only created 5-6 on my own, so I’m guessing I have about 30 envelopes. The main one is my savings envelope and then I have subdivided that envelope with house, insurance, travel, etc. I like that I’m able to be specific.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: I no longer have a credit card payment and it has freed up cash flow for so many other things, which has been a big burden lifted off my shoulders. I used to go out to lunch every day with co-workers and now I go home four days a week and I make my own lunch. I’m also eating healthier (I’ve lost a little weight) and now I just go out to eat with co-workers once a week. I don’t feel that I’m missing out at all. In fact, I really like being able to go home, relax, and spend time with my dog, Frank.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: As mentioned, Melinda and I are engaged to be married, so this doesn’t apply to me yet. However, Melinda and I are having a “savings” competition. I’ve shared with her the information about Mvelopes and she understands how it works, so when we get married, we will develop a budget and use Mvelopes together.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Start right away with the basics of what Mvelopes provides. Focus on areas where you know you tend to overspend. Try to make your budget realistic. Don’t try to overdo it because it may be difficult to reach your goals. Be realistic when creating the budget.
Joe, I really enjoyed speaking with you. It’s fun to talk with someone who has so many positive things happening in his life–the elimination of debt, a recent engagement, and plans for a wonderful future with your fiancée, Melinda. As I mentioned during our conversation, we’d love to update your story sometime–perhaps a year from now. We look forward to hearing about the wedding, the trip to the Caribbean, and the search for your dream home. We wish you and Melinda continued financial success and much happiness!