A few years ago, Halli shared the following comments with us:
We have been using Mvelopes for 3½ years now and it has been one of the BEST INVESTMENTS WE’VE EVER MADE!
We’ve always been budgeters, but before Mvelopes it was a very time consuming and complicated process. Believe it or not, we actually used a big ledger and would manually write down our transactions into the appropriate categories as they cleared. This worked OK, but it was a huge time investment, was prone to errors, and didn’t give us any way to easily query past spending patterns as our budget needs changed (which they did when we graduated from college and started having kids).
When we discovered Mvelopes, we immediately knew that it was going to be the perfect budget application. It is extremely easy to use and immune from errors. It is incredibly convenient to have all the data from our bank and credit cards imported automatically each day with no additional work on our part. At this point it’s hard to imagine what we would do without Mvelopes!
We’ve recommended Mvelopes to many of our friends and family and will continue to do so. Thanks for writing such an excellent piece of software!
Just the other day, I telephoned Halli to get an update on her use of the Mvelopes product. Halli shared some great insights with me and I wanted to pass them on to you. Our conversation included the following questions (asked by me) and answers (provided by Halli):
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: We have been using Mvelopes for six years. We used to budget using a similar budget system, but we would write everything down in a ledger book. We tried using other software programs, and my husband even wrote a program that worked well for awhile, but when we found Mvelopes, it was perfect.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: Well, we know exactly how much we spend on everything–our car payment, groceries, our mortgage, etc. Before we purchase something now, we know exactly what we have to spend. If I overspend in an area, I can see exactly where I’m overspending and either cut back, or made adjustments to the budget to allow for the increased spending. We only use credit cards–that way, we can get all the benefits that credit cards offer (rebates, air miles, gift cards, etc.). Mvelopes downloads our statements and we always pay the credit cards off every month.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: We are completely out of debt, with the exception of our mortgage. We are scheduled to pay our mortgage off early. We haven’t ever really had consumer debt, but we did owe money on our cars. We have only paid interest once or twice–mainly because we’d forget to record something and we’d incur a charge (this was before using Mvelopes). Now that never happens. We can use Mvelopes from home or from work, any time we want.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: We are big savers, so we probably save about 30 percent of our income annually.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: Well, we don’t use a traditional checking account (as I mentioned, we only use credit cards for purchases). With one of the credit cards we use, we get 5% back annually, so I typically get $1,000 back at the end of the year. That’s one of the main reasons I use credit cards. I like the perks. Since using Mvelopes, I’ve never paid a late fee or interest on a credit card, and I pay the cards off every month. If I didn’t have Mvelopes, however, I would never be able to do that.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: We had two car loans that are now paid off. Now, instead of making a car payment, we put that money into a savings envelope so that when we need a new car, the money will just be there. We’ll be able to pay cash for our next car. We’ll never have to get a car loan again–and we’ll have a lot more buying power because we won’t have to deal with financing.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: We have a 30-year mortgage, but we hope to have it paid off in the next six years. We’re not in debt-we’re budgeted, we know where the money is going. We can do more things. For example, if we want to start piano lessons for our children, we know the money is there before we make the decision. We want to help our children with college and help our son serve a mission for our church. We like to travel, so we take a family vacation once a year. We want to be financially independent-financially secure–and not owe anyone (and not have to worry about the future).
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: We have 39-40 envelopes.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: I feel that the only reason we’re not in debt is because we’re on a budget. We’re not any more disciplined than anyone else. But because we have the budget and have made it a priority, we don’t have financial worries. We’re not loaded, but I don’t have to stay awake at night wondering how I’m going to pay our electric bill. I don’t think it matters how much you make–it’s just a matter of managing what you have. This budget has made it so that we don’t fight about money, and we don’t worry about money. There are times that we don’t do things because we don’t have the money there, but that’s fine. It’s our choice.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: It brings a lot of integrity to our marriage. I know couples who hide purchases from their spouses. If one or even both partners do that, there would be a lot of problems. My husband and I both know what we have and where it’s going. We each have personal envelopes so that we have money to spend on whatever we want. We don’t have to justify any purchases we make from the funds in our personal envelopes. That has been a huge help. If I need something or want something, I don’t have to explain why or ask permission. Also, my husband can order a book online, or make other purchases he wants, because he knows what’s in his personal envelope. We work on our budget together. Once or twice a year, or if there’s a job or income change, we redo our budget. We make sure we have adequate money in each envelope. If we have excess funds in an envelope (we’re not spending as much as we’re setting aside), then we’re able to make adjustments. We can see-down to the penny-where everything is going.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Stick with it. It’s very easy (customer support is also very helpful). It may take some time to get the budget set up the way you want it, but don’t give up. Make it a habit–something you do every day (or every few days). In the long run, it is so worth it. If you make it a priority, it will give you so much more freedom in the future. Any financial pressure you may have will soon be lifted. When my husband and I first got married, we had nothing. We have been diligent, we have paid for school, as well as many other things, and we have made some huge headway. It’s really worth it.
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: Budgeting with Mvelopes is one of the easiest ways to bring peace of mind.
Halli, thank you so much for taking time to speak with me and for sharing your Mvelopes experiences with us. You have provided some great advice! Let’s chat again in another three years or so (there definitely appears to be a pattern here). We wish you and your wonderful family continued financial success.