Earlier this month, Cindy (from Putnam Connecticut) shared the following comments with us:
I began using Mvelopes in April 2007. My husband had a very serious injury and was unable to work. Even though we received a paycheck throughout the eight months he was out of work, there was still the worry of medical bills. It seemed as though everything was out of my control . . . then I found Mvelopes! I cannot tell you how helpful it was to spend time learning about Mvelopes and setting up a spending plan. It actually helped take my mind off things that were beyond my control and focus on things that I could control!
We are very fortunate and have a secondary home, but with that home comes two sets of bills. Even though there was enough money to pay those bills, I found it difficult to manage double of everything. We aren’t really big spenders, but we were living paycheck to paycheck. I never really had a budget or any idea of how much I spent for Christmas or anything for that matter. When tax time came around I spent hours digging through drawers trying to find check registers to determine our charitable giving. I no longer have to do that. Now, when my husband asks, I just print out an envelope report. My husband is so impressed, he even brags about Mvelopes now. Using Mvelopes has allowed me to have a savings, to have money set aside in the summer for winter plowing and fuel and . . . I could go on and on.
I love Mvelopes and have recommended it to my friends and family and will continue to do so. Thanks so much for providing such a fabulous tool!
After reading Cindy’s great comments, I telephoned her and asked her to share a bit more information about her use of the Mvelopes money management system. I asked the questions, and Cindy provided the following answers:
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: Almost two years.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: Most of all, it has identified where I am spending my money. I didn’t have a problem with paying bills or being late on bills, but it has really helped us see where we’re spending our money. It has also helped me budget for things I was forgetting that I needed to budget for.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: Probably $5,000. We have been able to rapidly reduce our mortgage, along with a line of credit.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: My husband and I both work for the school system, and we get a balloon check at the end of the school year to carry us through the summer. In the past, by September, we were anxiously waiting for our first check (we’d spent all the funds). After using Mvelopes for a full year, we made our balloon payment stretch, and we ended up having $10,000 in the bank when the school year started.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: Probably about $3,000. My average savings account balance has increased by about $5,000
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: We now have absolutely no credit-card debt. We are paying down our mortgage (we will have it paid off approximately three years earlier than we had anticipated). We are also saving more for retirement.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: I would like to have a bigger retirement fund. I have been evaluating our bills to see if we can cut expenses and I’ve been pleased to find that we have good spending habits-we’re now wisely spending the money that we make. We want to help our grandchildren with college, too.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: I have 54 so far (for two households).
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: That has been fabulous because I’ve been able to really budget, set aside money for fuel, snow plowing, etc. Knowing that money is there when we need it-that’s fantastic. It’s a discipline that I’ve embraced. It has helped me stay accountable, which is great. I’ve gotten tons of mileage on my credit card. We charge, pay off the card at the end of the month, and earn miles. I’ve been able to make my credit card work for me.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: It has been great because I’ve been able to suggest that we hold off spending in a particular envelope until we have enough money in that envelope. We communicate what is in the envelope and what is available. It is great. We have a real good handle on our funds.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Start early. It’s never too late to start using Mvelopes, but the earlier the better. You can quickly get a grasp on what your spending habits are and change those that need to be changed. It helps you prioritize and not spend frivolously. It makes you really think about whether you want to spend. Use it, enjoy it-learn what you can. It’ll help you. I can’t say enough good things about Mvelopes. The tech support is very helpful. They have been patient with me.
Cindy, I truly enjoyed our conversation. Thank you for sharing your success story with us. We wish you and your family continued financial success!