Vicky (from Gilbert, Arizona) started using Mvelopes almost two years ago. Prior to that time, Vicky and her husband were struggling financially. They attended a 5-week “Crown Money Map” coaching session and here’s what Vicky had to say about that experience:
While attending a 5-week Crown Money Map coaching session, we discovered that our savings program was “upside down.” We had a considerable amount of monies in our 401(k) programs, but no money in a savings account for emergencies. We were struggling with our finances due to the fact that the mortgage industry hit a slump and my “bonuses” dwindled to nothing. We decided to cash in one of our 401(k) accounts. We took that money and paid off our credit card debt. We also started a savings account with 3 months worth of expenses for our emergency fund.
In just 6 short months we were able to pay down our 2nd mortgage by $1,000, save some more money in order to pay cash for our vacations, and save enough money to pay cash for our Christmas presents. We were able to increase our donations as well. We started using Mvelopes and found we have a better handle on where our money goes. We also closed a personal line of credit. We are no longer borrowing money to meet our spending habits. If the money is not in our “envelope” we don’t spend it. What a wonderful feeling to be debt free with the exception of our mortgage!
I recently contacted Vicky to see how the “debt free” life was progressing. During our conversation, Vicky provided answers to the following questions:
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: It’ll be two years in June.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: Two years ago, when we started using Mvelopes, we were in dire straits. We went to visit a Crown Financial coach and we were told that there was no way we were going to be able to live on our income, so we’d need to make drastic changes, get another job, etc. We were struggling. Now, we always have money in our checkbook and it has helped us plan in advance for upcoming holidays, birthdays, vacations, and expenses.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: During the past year, I had to take a 40% cut in pay (I work in the home equity lending business and, as I’m sure you can guess, business has been tough). When we started using Mvelopes, we were so upside down in our savings and we had a lot of debt. We took from our 401(k) enough money to pay off our consumer debt and we have been able to maintain that for two years. We had $36,000+ in debt. Now we are living debt free, except for our house payment.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: We are starting to save and we’re just now at a point where we’re going to rebuild our 401(k). We have an emergency fund, we’ve been able to save and pay for vacations and we fly both my mother and my husband’s mother out to visit us once a year (all expenses paid) and we pay cash for both of those trips.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: About $2,000 a month. We were going from virtually a negative balance (we were floating each month) and now our average checking account balance is $2,100 a month.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: Our first goal was to develop a budget that we could stick to that would allow us to continue to remain debt free. Our second goal was to be able to tithe more and give more to those who need it (our elderly parents, for example), and missions ministry in our church. We have an account set up called “Our God account,” which is simply used for giving when there’s a need. We have had some incredible experiences being able to give and share in ways we never have before.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: Our next financial goals are to build up the emergency fund and we want to get our insurance and other things in order so that we will be in a comfortable place for our retirement. And, of course, we plan to continue to build our retirement account.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: I have about 40 envelopes, including the standard envelopes.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: Two years ago, when we first started using Mvelopes, we couldn’t see how we could even pay our bills. We couldn’t see where the money would come from. I was constantly to the point of tears every time I was forced to look at our financial picture. I work for a bank and do home equity lending, so I’m constantly faced with financial issues and what the current economy is doing. Now, because of Mvelopes, I know where every penny of our money is going, where every penny is coming from, where we can spend and where we can’t. I am able to easily adjust our budget, when necessary, with the help of the reports available through Mvelopes. It has certainly given me (and my husband) peace of mind and more financial freedom.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: Before we used Mvelopes, my husband was always the bill payer (he wrote the checks). I didn’t know where our money was going. Now, I take care of the Mvelopes distribution and he pays the bills. We both always know where we stand within our budget. We plan our finances together now and there is definitely more communication. We share the financial responsibility and work as a team.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: I would recommend that new users distribute their transactions several times as week so as to stay on top of their spending. I’d also recommend that they use the Mvelopes reports at least twice a year to see if their budget needs to be adjusted anywhere, and to look for more opportunities to save. I would recommend that they live within their means, be aware of their financial situation–but don’t worry about it.
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: Mvelopes is a new twist on the old-fashioned way of budgeting.
I really enjoyed speaking with Vicky. As she mentioned, Vicky had to deal with a significant cut in pay last year, but she and her husband still managed to remain debt free. Not only that, but they accomplished many great things because they knew–ahead of time–what they wanted to do with their money and they made it happen.
Vicky, thank you for taking time to speak with me and for sharing your Mvelopes experience. We wish you and your husband continued financial success and much happiness.