L’Tanya (from Valencia, California) signed up for Mvelopes a few months ago and decided to participate in the coaching program so that she could fully understand all of the amazing features that Mvelopes offers. I recently had the privilege of speaking with L’Tanya about both her coaching and Mvelopes experience. The majority of our conversation follows.
Q: How many coaching Sessions did you complete?
A: After the initial introduction, I completed four.
Q: What coaching session(s) did you find most valuable?
A: After receiving the basics, I was able to get help to deal with specific issues I was having with my account. Nick, my coach, was able to help me with these issues and things are much better now. Prior to receiving this help, I had been very confused and frustrated, but the coaching cleared up a lot of issues for me.
Q: How has the coaching program helped you take control of your money?
A: It has helped me by providing me with a visual of everything I’m spending. Because I have the clear picture of my financial situation, I now also have accountability for everything I’m spending. It has really changed my focus. When I’m tempted to make impulsive purchases, I now find that a cooling off period is good and very helpful.
Q: How has the coaching program helped you reduce consumer debt?
A: Just having an awareness of everything that is out there has helped me focus on reducing my debt. I pay more attention to interest rates. The roll-down debt feature is very helpful, too. I now have the technical means to look at all of my debt and try to get control of it. Also, when I look at the combined interest payments I’ve made in the past and realize that I could’ve had an additional $250 a month to spend, it really makes me think differently about credit cards.
Q: How has the coaching program helped you reduce your stress related to money?
A: Just by giving me options and making me more aware of resources. I have the information I need now. I now also know exactly how to get the information I need. That reduces a lot of stress. The help is there when I need it.
Q: How much has your budgeting and money management knowledge increased since you started the coaching program?
A: My knowledge has increased about 20%. Because I work in the business finance industry, I already had a strong knowledge of budgeting and money management, but I now have a better handle on my personal financial situation.
Q: How much has the knowledge of the envelope method helped you manage your money?
A: It helped me to have an awareness of every penny that I spend. It breaks out everything I spend into specifics. For example, I was consistently under-budgeting for groceries. I was budgeting $300 to $350 a month on food, but was consistently spending $400 plus on groceries. Things are more realistic for me now. I know exactly how much I spend and how much I have to spend. Now I have a plan and I can use my money more effectively. I am able to prioritize my needs and pay bills off my bills.
Q: How have your attitudes about budgeting and money management changed since you started the coaching program?
A: I feel a little more in control and feel that I have the help I need. I have the Mvelopes software on my mobile phone and I enter every transaction. I have the ability to be more detailed. I no longer forget to record purchases, which has eliminated the frustration I experienced when I’d have to go back and try to figure out where I spent my money.
Q: How has coaching helped you gain a clear overall picture of your spending?
A: Having everything in one place is extremely helpful. When accounts are separated, you only see snapshots. Now I see the whole picture. Previously, I would look at each account (checking, credit cards, etc.) separately and it didn’t have the impact that seeing the whole picture has had.
Q: How has your Mvelopes usage changed since starting the coaching program?
A: I now have the knowledge and ability to customize the program to fit my needs. I know how to add things in and I’m comfortable with changing it–making it work for me.
Q: What advice would you give to new Money for Life Coaching participants?
A: If you are new to the Mvelopes program and you’ve gone through the tutorials and are still frustrated, the coaching program will work for you. It is a huge frustration to not be comfortable with personal finances. Tutorials are helpful, but coaching helps you customize the program for you. Nick was extremely knowledgeable and very patient. During the coaching experience, when I became frustrated and admitted that I wasn’t getting it, that I just wasn’t understanding what he was trying to teach me, Nick would stop and say, “Okay, tell me what parts you understand and we’ll go over those things you don’t.” He was so patient with me and I really appreciated that.
After L’Tanya and I discussed her coaching experience, I then asked her some general questions about her Mvelopes experience and she provided the following responses:
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: About five months.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: I have a system to see all my expenses in one place, on an ongoing basis. When I was overspending before, I wasn’t really aware of it because all the information wasn’t together in one place. Now I realistically know what I have to spend.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: Approximately $2,000. I’m working on paying off the highest interest rate account first, and then will pay off other accounts in time. However, I’m very encouraged by the fact that I have recently been able to pay cash for emergency expenses that, in the past, I would’ve put on my credit card.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: I haven’t saved much yet because I’m working to pay off debt. But I have a second job and I plan to put the income from that job towards savings.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: My average checking account balance has increased by a few hundred dollars.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: I’m organizing a plan for future financial stability. Also, I have two kids in college and I’m able to help them a little more than I’ve been able to do in the past.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: After I pay off my credit cards, I’ll make sure I have a six-month emergency fund and I’m going to work on improving and building my retirement accounts.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: Although I was married for a very long time, I’m not currently married. Now I am very motivated to be able to independently care for myself and support my adult children, if needed. I now have even more reasons to be financially focused. Also, since I’ve started using Mvelopes, my adult children have benefited as I have shared my knowledge with them. It is helping them be more aware of everything they spend, too, which is a very good thing.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Don’t try to do too much at one time. You have to have a little bit of time to understand the system. Listen to all the tutorials a couple of times and make notes-jot down steps so you can quickly learn the processes. Also, take advantage of the user forums. The forums provide a place where you can ask questions about things that you still don’t understand. People will respond to you–and pretty quickly, too.
L’Tanya, thank you so much for sharing with us the amazing insights you’ve gained from using Mvelopes and participating in the coaching program. Congratulations on the success you have achieved so far. We wish you the best as you continue to pay off your debt and begin to increase your retirement funds.