Recently, Steven (from New York) sent us the following comments about the success he has found using Mvelopes.
I’ve been using Mvelopes now for about 2 years. All I can say is that this application has turned my life around. Before Mvelopes I lived paycheck to paycheck–most of the time not having enough to pay all my bills. Since I started subscribing to the Mvelopes service I have gained a much better picture of my spending habits and have been able to learn and gain the discipline necessary to achieve my financial goals. I’m writing to you now having reduced my monthly bills, paid off all of my credit cards, and saved a five digit figure toward the purchase of a house. I am finally free of the endless credit cycle. Now when I want to make a big purchase, I can pay for it in cash knowing that Mvelopes will be there to help me track my purchases and continue to avoid getting over extended. Thank you to every member of the Mvelopes team for helping to create such a life-altering product.
In a follow-up telephone conversation I had with Steven, I asked him to share just a bit more information about his amazing success. Steven answered the following questions.
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: About two years.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: It gives me a much better picture of my spending habits, for starters, and being able to categorize things into different envelopes is extremely helpful. When your paycheck comes in, you have a predefined spending pattern. For example, if I have a bill–let’s say my car payment–I know exactly what I owe and can divide that out. I was not living within my income prior to using Mvelopes. I was caught in the credit cycle, like many people today. When I would have a life event happen (car repairs, etc.), because I was living paycheck to paycheck, I had to draw on my credit to pay bills. I also played the “balance transfer” game, obtaining larger credit limits with lower interest rates. At one point I started thinking, how am I going to dig myself out of this hole? Eventually you get to the point when you realize that you’re so deep down into the hole that it feels overwhelming. My grandfather lived to be 93 years old and he taught me that in order to get to the light at the end of the tunnel, you have to start walking. I think that’s where the Mvelopes product really shines. It takes away the fear. It teaches you to start walking.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: I probably cleared up about $20,000 of consumer debt. I estimated that it would take me about 10 years to get out of debt, and then I figured it would take me another 10 years to save, but I’ve been amazed at how quickly I was able to find success.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: I have saved about $12,000 for a down-payment on a house.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: In the past, the money in my checking out literally went out of the account as quickly as it went in. I don’t believe my average balance was ever above $500. My financial institution pays interest with a specific minimum balance, and now my balance never falls below $1,500 and can stay upwards of $3,000 for quite a long time. The only reason the balance decreases is because I’ll occasionally transfer money to the house savings account.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: When I started using Mvelopes, I had three separate goals. First, I wanted to eliminate all high interest credit card debt by and adjust my spending habits. I planned to make more than the minimum payment and close the accounts when I paid them off. I am pleased to say that I have been consumer debt free for quite awhile now and I still don’t have a credit card. I will not do that again! My next goal was to eliminate all unnecessary loans. I had a couple of loans that were kind of unsecured things. Now I have one loan for the vehicle that I currently drive and, in actuality, I am making larger payments and will have it paid off in 3 years, rather than 5. My third goal is to create a nest egg for starting a family and building a house. Then I will start a retirement plan and build it.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: I figure that since I’ve been able to accomplish what I have, my future financial goals are to become independently wealthy. I want to get to a point in my life where I work because I want to, not because I have to. I’ve decided to up the ante. The area where I live is forever plagued with layoffs. I have seen far too many of my friends get laid off from jobs where they have worked for decades. I want to be in a position, at some point in my future, so that if I lose my primary employment, it’s not going to kill me.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: Somewhere in the range of 15-25.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: One thing that it does is it makes reconciling my checkbook a breeze. The overall concept really helped to reduce my stress, especially when I realized I was well on my way out of the vicious credit cycle. I was able to take a breath and know that things truly were going to be all right. Once I got a couple of bills paid off, I was able to take the money that I was spending on those and apply them to other things–and I was even able to occasionally treat myself for doing such a good job.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: I started using Mvelopes prior to the start of the relationship I currently have with my girlfriend. Once we got to the point in our relationship where we became serious, we sat down and talked through our financial situation. We made things fair with the joint bills and we adjusted our automatic deposits to match. We are probably the only couple I know that doesn’t fight about finances. We make adjustments and collaborate probably on a weekly basis. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you are constantly checking balances and worrying. Now my financial world consists of focusing on things for about 5 minutes on a Saturday and if I’m not near a computer, I can always use the mobile version.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Definitely go through the tutorials. Once you’re through the tutorials, try to nail down the concept, and play with the application. Don’t fear that it’s going to do anything with your money. It doesn’t actually move your money-it just mirrors your account register, so don’t be afraid of it. If you screw something up, there’s always the reset tool. Help it help you!
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: Well, as I just said, “Help it help you!”
I truly had a delightful time speaking with Steven. His excitement about being free from the vicious credit card cycle is inspiring. I especially appreciated the comment he shared from his grandfather. Steven, thank you so much for taking time to speak with me and for sharing your success with us! We wish you continued financial success and much happiness.