Jill, from St. Augustine, Florida, has used Mvelopes for about 18 months now. Not long after Jill first started using Mvelopes, she shared the following comments with us:
Defeating the Financial Roller Coaster
Our family has only been using Mvelopes for four months, and the changes we’ve experienced already are truly exciting! I was a die-hard user of another popular budgeting software package, and although I faithfully logged our expenses each month, it seemed we were on a constant roller coaster of depleting our savings and then trying to build it back up.
Under the Mvelopes system, we have doubled our monthly retirement savings allocation, built up a nice buffer in savings, and set aside one-fourth of what we need to replace our aging minivan (with cash). All on a single income!
Best of all, budgeting with Mvelopes is actually fun! I love logging in each morning and dragging the new transactions into their envelopes. Reducing our spending to build up the envelope balances is seen as a challenge rather than feeling like deprivation. My husband actually believes that we have money set aside in the different envelopes, whereas with the old software he was convinced it was just allocated “on paper” and wasn’t really there (i.e., we had spent it somewhere else). Mvelopes has given us confidence that our spending is under control, and empowered us to see each dollar as an opportunity to help reach our financial goals.
Thank you, Mvelopes!
It has been over a year since Jill first shared these comments with us. I recently contacted Jill in hopes of learning more about her financial situation. I was pleased to learn that life is good for Jill and her family. During our telephone conversation, I asked Jill the following questions and she provided the answers:
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: Probably a year and a half now.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: It gives me an instant visual of where we are and the categories I’ve set up for the budget. It lets me know in just a glance where we are and if I need to slow down spending, if I can make a purchase I want, etc.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: Actually, we didn’t have any debt at all when we started using Mvelopes.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: That’s the big one for us. We live on a single income and we realized that it was coming time to start saving to replace our aging vehicles. In a year’s time we were able to save $13,000 to be applied towards the purchase of our next vehicle. It was amazing that we were able to free up money we didn’t really think we had. To me, the significance of that is that my husband has always been kind of skeptical when we have savings. With envelopes, it just can’t happen. If it’s in that envelope, it’s really set aside for that purpose. After 3-4 months of seeing the progress, my husband was totally sold. It was a thrill for both of us to see the money accumulate and know it wasn’t set aside for any other purpose.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: We carry about $1,000 as a buffer almost all the time. Prior to using Mvelopes, we would often have transfers from savings to cover checks. It hasn’t happened at all since using Mvelopes.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: As mentioned, we’ve saved $13,000 towards the purchase of a new car. But the biggest goal has been that of creating peace over our finances. It is so wonderful to spend money and know that it’s really there and it really isn’t needed in another category. We have also been able to increase our investments. We have doubled our IRAs, in fact. We have also been able to greatly increase our charitable giving and plan to continue to do so.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: We want to be able to help our kids get off to a great start. We have two teenagers and we currently home-school them. We want them to start out life financially independent. Whether that means that they start a business or make wise investments, we want them to have a great start. I’m a stay-at-home mom and we want our kids to have those types of options, if they choose.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: I have created 68 envelopes.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: Just having the confidence that the money is actually where I think it is, so that when we go to make a purchase, I’m not going to be overshooting my funds.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: As I mentioned before, my husband was always very anxious when we’d be making a significant purchase-there was always a little niggling fear that the money really wasn’t there and that we’d need it for something else. We are both together on the same page with our budget now.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Definitely log in frequently so that you don’t get overwhelmed with too many transactions piling up. Sometimes, when I get behind, even if I have a receipt, I may not remember what it was I bought. Initially, I logged in every day, but I think, at a minimum, to log in every 2-3 days is very helpful, so you don’t have too many transactions waiting to be applied. Also, at the end of every month, before the first of the new month, I always sit down and make transfers so that I start out balancing before I start the next month. I never let a deficit roll forward, unless it’s an annual expense that I’m saving for. I don’t use the sweep feature, but I do use transfers. I want to start out the beginning of each month clean and balanced.
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: Visualize financial freedom.
Jill, it was indeed a privilege to speak with you and to learn how Mvelopes has helped you develop confidence so that you’re able to successfully manage your finances. We definitely wish you and your family continued financial success and much happiness.