Not long after Matt (from Denver, Colorado) first started using Mvelopes, he shared the following comments with us.
After graduating college my lifestyle quickly inflated to meet, and then exceed my income. I soon bought an expensive new car with little money down and saddled myself with nearly $600/month payments for the next five years. I had planned on paying it off early, but almost a year into the loan and I had barely made a dent in it.
After seeing that I was still over $20,000 in debt, I decided to wise up about my finances and started taking steps to take control. Using Mvelopes and other financial tools, I took control of my budget and put everything extra I had towards paying off my debt. Eight months later, I walked into the bank and put down my last payment.
Even more importantly, Mvelopes has helped me continue to take control of my finances even after I became debt free, helping me put my money towards the goals that are important to me. Most recently, that meant buying a diamond engagement ring for my girlfriend without having to go into debt to do so.
Mvelopes has been an excellent tool in helping me take control of my finances, and I recommend it to almost all of my friends.
We wanted to know how Matt’s life was progressing, so I telephoned him and we had a delightful conversation. Matt is now married, is going to grad school, and life is progressing well. Our conversation went as follows (I asked the questions and Matt provided the answers):
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: Approximately 2 or 2½ years.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: I find that it very helpful in sticking to a budget. I have tried other programs (Quicken and others) before and they can be very good for tracking where my money is going, but they’re aren’t very effective in helping me stick to my budget. Mvelopes has given me more control.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: I paid off two car loans. I was about $20,000 in debt (my car) when I started using Mvelopes and I paid that off within 12 months. About a year later, my fiancé and I bought another car for her and we had to take out a loan for that and paid it off in about six months.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: Tens of thousands of dollars. It is kind of hard to put a number on it. I got married last August and we saved about $20,000 for the wedding and honeymoon (money that has now been spent). I am going to grad school and I saved a lot of money for 6-12 months, but then spent that money on tuition and books. My wife and I have recently started saving for a house and have about $25,000 saved for that. I have also created an emergency fund and have been steadily adding to that since I started using Mvelopes and have about $10,000 in that account now.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: Not that much. I use a kind of methodology. I figure out what I need for our budget with monthly expenses and move everything out into savings accounts (or accounts that will pay interest). Anything that I’m not typically going to spend within a 2-week period gets moved out.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: Well, as I mentioned, my wife and I paid for our wedding (without going into debt). I made the decision to complete grad school without going into debt, so worked hard to set aside money for that. Then, of course, we paid off the two cars mentioned above.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: We are really focusing on saving for a house and we’re also paying off my wife’s student loans.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: I have 45 envelopes.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: Being able to have a budget and stick to it-there’s a peace of mind that comes with that. I have an auto maintenance envelope so I no longer have to worry if my car breaks down–I have prepared for that. Over the 2½ years I’ve been using the program, I’ve been able to prioritize those things that are important to me and I know the money is there and I’m not as tempted to spend impulsively. I think through things more now before making a purchase.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: When my wife and I first started dating, we were both financially responsible. We found a common interest in being that way. We are both very active in our finances and Mvelopes has been helpful. So we are both on the same page and don’t really have issues with collaborating our financial situation.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Be patient, especially if you haven’t had a working budget before. It takes time to realize what your financial needs are, how much money you’ll need to fund your envelopes. Be flexible. It helped me a lot to have a category to put aside funds that I could use flexibly. The amount I have needed for that has decreased over time, but having that in the beginning was very helpful.
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: Organize your finances with Mvelopes.
Matt, thank you for taking time to speak with me about your Mvelopes experience. Congratulations on your recent marriage (you make a very handsome couple–and you look very happy) as well as your decision to go to graduate school. We wish you and your beautiful bride continued financial success and much joy and happiness.