Kristen, from Sandy, Utah, recently wrote to us about the financial success she’s been having since she discovered and started using Mvelopes. Kristen wrote:
“I began using Mvelopes in October 2008. It has simplified our family’s finances tremendously–eliminating all of the usual stress associated with budgeting and bill-paying. While both my husband and I work full-time, approximately 75% of my husband’s income is earned by commission. This means that his income varies from month-to-month, making any kind of budgeting very difficult! When periodic or unexpected expenses came up, I felt like all I could do was hope the next commission check was a big one. Likewise, some months I was able to pay off our credit cards in full, but not every month, and I didn’t like that feeling. With Mvelopes, I am able to “pay ahead” into our envelopes when I can, and prioritize envelope funding when money is tight. We are saving for periodic expenses throughout the year, paying our credit cards in full each month, and have a six-month cushion in the bank. We’ve been prepared for unexpected bills, pay cash for large purchases, and are on a fast-track to paying off our mortgage early. I view our envelope balances nearly every day, which really helps to keep impulse-spending in check. Most importantly, we are in control of our money instead of our money controlling us. Mvelopes is a terrific, easy-to-use tool for reaching our financial goals and providing peace of mind in the process.”
We were so impressed with Kristen’s success story, and we wanted to learn more. I telephoned her to get a few more specifics. During our conversation, Kristen answered the following questions:
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: About nine months.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: In three big ways, actually. The first is that because I log into Mvelopes nearly every day, I have a constant visual reminder of how much I have available in any given category, and that has really helped to curb impulse spending. The second thing is that because we’re saving for periodic expenses, such as home repairs, insurance, and vacations, we’re no longer surprised by these expenses. For years, I’ve wanted to allocate and track my money this way, but I just didn’t have a practical way of doing it, until I found Mvelopes. Finally, the third way that Mvelopes has assisted us in living within our income has a lot to do with one of my favorite features. When I use my credit card for a purchase and allocate that purchase to an envelope, the program automatically sets that money aside so that I can pay our credit cards in full each month. I never have to worry about carrying a credit card balance.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: Aside from our mortgage, we have no consumer debt.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: We already had an emergency cushion in place when we began using Mvelopes, so we’ve been focused on paying down our mortgage. In the last nine months, we’ve been able to make a substantial dent in our mortgage balance–more than my entire annual salary! So, we’ve basically been able to live off of one income without any noticeable difference in our lifestyle, which has been awesome.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: It has increased by $3,000 to $4,000. We have a lot of periodic expenses that we’re saving for and that really helps the balance grow.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: We have been able to stay out of debt and we’re making good progress toward paying off our mortgage.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: After we have paid off the house, we plan to save money to replace our cars in a few years, and we will put aside funds for our daughter’s college tuition. That should keep us busy for awhile (chuckles).
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: This one has been huge. Because my husband earns over 75% of his income through commission, our monthly income is very irregular. With Mvelopes, I’m able to fund ahead when we have extra money, or fund only the essential envelopes when money is tight. Combined with saving for those periodic expenses, as I mentioned earlier, there’s always money to pay the bills. I know that some people may be hesitant about paying for a money management program, but for me, you really can’t put a price tag on the peace of mind it provides.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: I handle the day-to-day management of our family’s finances, and thanks to Mvelopes, I always know where we stand. I’m able to easily communicate that information to my husband when we’re discussing our finances. It has also allowed us to spend money that we have in our funded envelopes–without any guilt. And that eliminates a lot of the tension usually associated with discussing finances.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: The best advice I could give would be to have patience. It does take some time to initially set up accounts, decide which envelopes will be needed, and begin funding them. However, once that’s done, the maintenance is very quick and easy. Plus, it’s fun to watch the envelopes grow over time! And it happens faster than you think it will.
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 will help you reach your financial goals sooner–and with peace of mind.
Kristen, thank you so much for speaking with me. Your success story is truly amazing and I know it will give hope and encouragement to anyone who has difficulty budgeting because of a variable income, based on commissions, etc. You are living proof that it’s possible to budget and live within an income, whether or not that income is consistent. Congratulations on the phenomenal progress you’re making in paying off your mortgage and staying out of debt. We wish you and your wonderful family continued financial success and much happiness!