I had the privilege of speaking with Dan from Nashville, Tennessee, about his appreciation for the Mvelopes budgeting system and how it has positively affected his life. Let me share our discussion with you.
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: Close to three years.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: Before I started the program, I used to overspend consistently. For example, I incurred $1,200 in overdraft fees on my checking account. I just didn’t see the big picture. Since I started using Mvelopes, I have not had one overdraft charge. I also used to spend about $500 a month on eating out and now I’ve reduced that to about $100 a month. Using Mvelopes has definitely helped me see where I need to adjust my spending.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: Prior to discovering Mvelopes, I had incurred debt in excess of $52,000, and have reduced that debt by approximately $22,000.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: I have saved $1,000 in an emergency fund, and I have built up my 401(k) plan by approximately $4,000. However, I’m really putting all my focus right now on paying off my debt.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: I spend within the spending plan now, where I was always in the negative before, so my average account balance has definitely increased.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: Not overspending is the first one. Having peace of mind has also been a huge goal that I’ve achieved. I used to have extreme stress in the past, and now I don’t.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: Becoming 100% debt free. I plan to pay off my remaining $30,000 debt by the end of 2010. I also want to put about six months of my income into my emergency fund, and to continue to add to my retirement account.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: 70 to 80. I am very specific with my envelopes. For example, I definitely have an envelope for each of my basic living expenses, but I also have envelopes for iTunes, eBay, donations, haircuts, along with monthly charges, energy-saving products, dog expenses, etc.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: Mvelopes has helped out tremendously in that part of my life. Prior to using the product, I wouldn’t open the bills I received in the mail because I was so concerned about how much I owed and how I was going to pay them. I also had a difficult time sleeping because I worried so much about my financial situation. Now that’s no longer a problem. I no longer stress about my financial situation.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: At first, it may be a bit confusing on how it works, but just be patient. When I started using Mvelopes, I was pretty much clueless about finances. However, after seeing how every single money decision affects other future money decisions, you will soon get a better appreciation of money and budgeting. Plan, plan, plan. You now have the tools to plan and see all your expenses and income, so there shouldn’t be unexpected issues. Take advantage of the spending plan and plan for vacations, holidays, gifts, car maintenance, and taxes—in advance. If you do this, you won’t fret about not having enough money for things. That is priceless to me. And don’t get stressed out when you make mistakes, particularly if you overspend in a certain envelope. You can easily make a correction and prevent that same problem from happening in the future. Using Mvelopes will definitely help you find peace with regard to your finances.
Dan, thank you for taking time to share your Mvelopes’ experience with us. We wish you continued success in paying off the remainder of your debt, as well as being able to increase your retirement and emergency savings funds. It is also our hope that your sleepless nights (worrying about your finances) are over for good!