“Mvelopes helps you break free from financial bondage.”

Jill and her family

Jill and her family

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Jill from Heber, Utah. Jill had submitted the following comments online and I wanted to follow-up with her to learn more! Jill wrote:

I started using Mvelopes in October 2008. I had tried MANY other online budgeting tools. Mvelopes seemed to have everything I was looking for. Confession time–I am a 47-year-old wife and mother of 4 and I had NEVER budgeted before in my life. I figured it would take a long time before I would see any real difference in our finances. I was wrong. Within months I noticed a significant improvement and, for the first time, felt like I was in control of our money, instead of the other way around. The days of hoping (and praying) we would make it from paycheck to paycheck were over. I was amazed at how fast I started to see a difference not only in our finances but in our overall family well-being. Financial stress can really take a toll on a marriage and a family. In two weeks we are leaving for our first family vacation in 10 years. We are staying at a waterfront beach resort and we are paying for everything in cash! No credit cards. Thank you, Mvelopes. Jill

During our conversation, Jill answered the following questions:

Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?

A: I started in October of 2008.

Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?

A: It has made it possible that we could live within our income. Prior to using Mvelopes, we were living to our income and beyond more often than I’d like to admit. I realized that although we make enough money to support ourselves very well, but we just weren’t handling it well. I tried several other online programs (Mint, Quicken online, etc.) and Mvelopes was definitely the one that I thought suited our needs best and is the one I chose to use.

Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?

A: I have been able to eliminate all of our credit card debt, which was roughly $10,000. Like I said, we make plenty of money, but I just didn’t have a good grasp on where it was going. I just needed the proper tools to help me.

Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?

A: I started an online savings account, which I’d never had before. I started saving for a vacation. I also have another savings account and, between the two accounts, I’ve managed to save approximately $5,000.

Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?

A: Well, instead of frequently being in the red (chuckles), our checking account is now in the black all the time. I used to have a fear of opening the bank statements (I dreaded seeing the red). It’s been so nice to not feel that way anymore. Now our checking account balance is typically anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. In fact, when it gets below $2,500, I start to feel nervous. However, it’s sure a lot different from the way it used to be.

Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?

A: First, we paid off our credit cards. That was our biggest concern and we wanted to pay them off first. Now that we don’t have those payments anymore, I can’t believe what a difference it has made. Our next goal was to go on a vacation. We haven’t taken a family vacation for over 10 years (the last vacation we took was when my second to youngest child was 3 years old, and he’s 13 now). We have saved up the money and we will be taking that vacation next weekend, actually. We’ll be staying in a beautiful waterfront beach resort and we are so excited. The vacation is completely paid for-with cash.

Q: What are your next financial goals?

A: We will definitely be beefing up our savings. We have a son who is serving a mission for our church and we have a daughter who will be going to college in two weeks. I’d like to have more of a savings built up for them. Our two younger sons will also be serving missions when they are older, and we’re going to put money away for them. Ultimately, I’d love to pay off our mortgage, too–and that’s a “down the road” goal of mine.

Q: How many envelopes have you created?

A: Thirty-seven. I’ve kind of fine-tuned it over the months adding a few and deleting a few. It’s so nice to be able to customize things for specific needs. For example, I used to just have a general “food” envelope and now I have it broken out into “groceries,” “eating out,” and “school lunch.” I also recently created an envelope for haircuts, since this is an expense that will be ongoing.

Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?

A: I really can’t put it into words. The stress level is so much less than it was. I think everyone knows how much stress and strain finances can put on a marriage, and mine was no exception. My husband has been so thrilled with this program and now he can concentrate better on his job and what he has to do to support our family. He doesn’t worry anymore. Using Mvelopes has significantly eliminated our financial stress. I can’t even tell you how much. Our marriage, our stress level, and our anxiety have really changed. When I say that Mvelopes has really changed our lives, I mean it–in so many ways.

Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?

A: It’s funny–my husband is kind of a “hands off” person as far as our finances are concerned, so we don’t collaborate a lot. But I can now show details about our financial situation by printing out a report or simply showing him on the computer. It helps him have a better understanding of what everything costs because it’s all there in black and white. So, using Mvelopes has definitely helped us collaborate better. It has really helped us both to be able to see actual numbers.

Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?

A: First of all, don’t be afraid to pay for the service. As I mentioned, I tried free services and nothing comes close to this service. It pays for itself over and over-it’s well worth the cost. Learn to be accountable for your money and know where it’s going. You can’t stick your head in the sand and assume you have enough money to pay your bills. Knowing what you have to spend and managing it is definitely a way to financial freedom–and not just financial freedom–it’s freedom, in general. Using Mvelopes has become a habit for me, a routine, and it has saved my sanity. I actually look forward to looking at my account now. It’s kind of exciting to get online and see where we are, financially. Mvelopes has truly made budgeting fun. Budgeting used to be a four-letter word, but now it’s fun.

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: I used to be afraid of my finances and now I have confidence in my financial situation and I have hope that it can even be better in the future. So the tag line I would create is this–Mvelopes helps you break free from financial bondage. I definitely felt like I was a prisoner of my finances before and I definitely don’t feel that way now. It’s wonderful.

Jill, thank you so much for taking time to speak with me. It was so fun to hear about your success and the family vacation you have planned. I am confident that the days of seeing red in your checking account statements are over! You have really made some significant changes in managing your finances and I’m sure things will only get better from here. We wish you continued financial success and much happiness. Enjoy that vacation–it has been a long time coming.