Not long after Lisa (from Phoenix, Arizona) and her husband discovered Mvelopes, she shared with us the following:
Seeing the Big Picture with Mvelopes
My husband and I made the transition from being youth pastors to missionaries two years ago. We’ve made two international moves and had another child since then. We raised a lot of money and spent even more. With four different bank accounts representing three countries (and three currencies), our finances were so hard to manage. We were in and out of debt and just couldn’t see the big picture.
Last December, my husband heard about Mvelopes. We started in January, and haven’t looked back since. We have our US-based banks and credit cards linked online, and we can manually enter our transactions with our international banks. At last, I can see our whole financial situation in one place. And the calculator is fabulous for converting currencies. We’ve been debt free since May and now have a spend plan in place to FINISH the year debt free too. And for Christmas, we’ll be going back to the US for a visit, and we’ve got the money for the plane tickets in our travel envelope already!
As I read Lisa’s comments, I found it so interesting that she and her husband were using Mvelopes with multiple accounts (US and international banks). Because of Mvelopes, they were able to successfully manage their unique financial situation. In a recent, very delightful telephone conversation with Lisa, I asked her the following questions and learned even more:
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: Just over two years.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: It has helped us to see what our income is and to be able to budget.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: I think, when we joined in January of 2007, we had about $7,000 in consumer debt that we were able to eliminate in the first five months. Since then we’ve been able to remain out of debt.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: We have managed to save up a good three months’ worth of reserves in case we ever lost a job, etc.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: Probably about $3,000 to $4,000. It used to get closer to zero than we would’ve liked, but now we keep it closer to $5,000.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: First off, we were able to pay off that debt that I mentioned, which was wonderful, and save up our reserves. We’ve been able to live more within our means and that feels good. We had four bank accounts in three different countries. For me, Mvelopes was great because we were able to see our entire financial package and manage our various accounts. We had a “ministry travel” envelope for our plane tickets and it was wonderful to have our travel funds available when we needed them.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: We are hoping to continue to save. We’d like to start 529 accounts for our sons and we’re hoping to increase our family in the future. We’re planning to build wealth instead of going into debt and save for the future.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: We have 30 envelopes.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: It has been huge. Just being able to see everything in one place helped a lot. Being able to get out of debt and the freedom that has come from that, and being able to move back to the United States and not go into debt doing that.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: I do the finances in our family, but I can quickly go to the website and show my husband where we are. When it is time to communicate about our finances, we simply go to the website and discuss what’s there.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Stick with it. It does take a little while. You need to be persistent, to stick with it, and develop the habit of assigning transaction or occasionally manually entering them. One of the things that we love the most about the Mvelopes system is the ability to plan for future expenses. We have really benefited from setting aside money for things that are ahead of us. Make the most of that feature and plan for future expenses.
Q: If you could create a “tag line” for Mvelopes–keeping in mind what it’s done for you–what would the tag line be?
A: Budget not only for today, but budget for the future.
Lisa, thank you for sharing your success story with us. We are so glad that Mvelopes has helped you manage your somewhat complicated finances. We wish you and your family continued financial success and much happiness.