Some time ago, Carey (from Ohio) shared with us the following comments about his appreciation for Mvelopes.
“A friend and his wife were over $60,000 in credit card and consumer debt! They were completely stressed at trying to move money around to keep up with their bills. It contributed much anxiety to their lives. They came and asked me for help and I suggested they get set up on Crown Mvelopes so I can help them track and manage their expenses.”
“Because they live a distance away, it would have been almost impossible for me to really help them without the internet capability of Crown Mvelopes. They are no longer juggling money around and are now at the point where enough money is built up that they can begin to pay down the debt. They are so grateful for my help, but also for the ability Crown Mvelopes has given them to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
I recently contacted Carey to get more information about his experience using the Mvelopes budgeting system and to get an update on his friends who were struggling with debt.
Although the friends still have some debt, Carey indicated that now that they’re using Mvelopes, it is really helping to keep them from creating more debt. They are so aware of everything now because they can see it all in one place.
Carey then shared the following insights about his own use of the Mvelopes budgeting system.
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: It has been at least four years.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: Mvelopes has done a lot for me and my family. My wife and I now have a visual picture of what our finances look like so we have something common to talk about. It has also allowed us to have a program that puts us a month ahead. It causes us to build up the money before we actually spend it. So, the money is in the income cash pool before we need to apply it. There’s something good about knowing the money is there a month in advance and that releases a lot of stress. It helps us to be faithful to what we know is the right thing to do. As Christians, we believe that everything belongs to God and we want to manage the funds in the way He would have us manage them.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: When we started using Mvelopes, we only had our mortgage, which we have since paid off! We did not have any consumer debt. But what it has done is it has kept us from getting into debt because it really allows us to know our net worth snapshot and we’re able to see everything in one place, so it gives us an incentive to stay out of debt.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: Probably around $40,000.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: We continue to see our average checking account balance increase. We were never in the overdraft, but it consistently increases.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: We have put $40,000 in savings, we’ve paid off our mortgage, and we’ve increased our investments. In addition, we increased our charitable giving to our church. We have also started giving to a human trafficking organization. Since we started using Mvelopes, we have been able to identify surplus funds, so we now share those funds with organizations that really help people—particularly those who assist people from all over the world who are being trafficked.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: Well, as I mentioned, one of our goals is to help other people. We have appreciated helping family members and friends with their finances and we want that to continue. We also plan to increase our giving—charitable donations, ministries, and other places where we can provide help. We plan to increase our savings for things like our daughters’ braces and medical expenses that will likely be coming in the future. We are continuing to save for college for our four daughters. We are also proactively investing. And we’re hoping to travel to Germany next year to visit family members who are on a mission there. We want to be able to take that trip without going into debt. And we’ve put aside six months’ worth of income in the event the economy doesn’t turn around. Mvelopes definitely helps us accomplish our goals.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: I have created 91 envelopes, and I have approximately 20 that are hidden (that I don’t use anymore). By the way, I have loved the “chat” feature because the customer support staff taught me how to hide envelopes that I don’t use anymore—however, I didn’t want to delete them. You can get as specific or as general as you want. If I have a specific need or something I’m saving for, I can watch that account grow and track it.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: It has helped us tremendously. Like I mentioned, my wife and I are on the same page. Because I am typically the one who manages the Mvelopes budget on the computer, I run a report every week for us—an envelope balance report. I post it inside our kitchen cabinet so my wife can look at it and she can see where we’re at so that we can be on the same page. We both understand that there are certain limits to the money we have available, and we’re okay with that. We’re faithful to do what we believe are the right things to do with money. Our children (especially our 9-year-old daughter) have shown interest in the budgeting program and now they track their expenses and income (money earned from doing jobs around the house). The children know we love them and will give them things, but it allows them to see that there are limits and that we all need to learn to be responsible.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: We can transfer money from one category to another when we decide our priorities have changed. We discuss things together to determine just how we want to spend our money. My wife values some things that I don’t, and vice versa. But Mvelopes gives us a way to be able to look at the big picture, and to make decisions accordingly.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Be patient. Mvelopes is a wonderful tool and is very easy to use, but it may feel a little intimidating at first. Don’t give up. As quickly as possible, get a month ahead in your spending plan. Don’t let it get to the point where money is coming in and immediately going back out just as quickly. At the beginning of the month, it’s so helpful to have the money to pay the bills before they become due. Create a margin for yourself so that when an emergency occurs, you won’t be thrown off. Get a month ahead and stay a month ahead.
Carey ended our conversation with the following comment:
“The customer support is excellent. It has been very helpful to be able to use the chat feature. They are always very helpful. And it has improved. In the beginning, the support didn’t seem to be what I thought it should be, but I have definitely seen the company improving over time. I really appreciate the progress the company is making.”
Carey, thank you so much for taking time to share your Mvelopes’ experience with us and for letting us get a little glimpse into your life. It is wonderful that you and your family are finding ways to help others who are less fortunate, while creating financial security for yourselves. You’re a great example to all of us! Enjoy that trip to Germany.