Stacy (from Hebron, Indiana) and her husband first started using Mvelopes almost three years ago. It has made such a difference in their lives. After discovering Mvelopes, Stacy shared with us the following comments:
“Since using Mvelopes, my husband and I have been able to maintain a positive balance in our accounts. Prior to this program, we were always playing ‘catch up’ with our finances, which often led to overdraft fees. It was very frustrating. We love this program!”
We wanted to find out more about Stacy’s Mvelopes experience, so I telephoned her and asked the following questions:
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: I would say over two years now-we’re probably going into our third year.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: Wow. It has assisted us because we can see where our money is going now. Before, we weren’t paying attention as much, but Mvelopes has laid it right out where we can see it. My husband gets his paycheck and we just divvy it up so we can see exactly what we have left. We don’t overspend. It has just been amazing. Years ago, when my husband and I were struggling and occasionally incurring overdraft fees (before finding Mvelopes), I was talking with my mother about our situation. She told me that when she and my dad were first married, they’d used a budgeting system where they’d divide their money into envelopes-one for baby food, one for the mortgage payment, etc. When the money ran out, they would stop spending until there was more money to put into the envelope(s). My mother suggested I try doing that. I thought to myself, are you kidding me? I imagined having to go to the bank and get a lot of cash. Then I’d have to bring the cash home and try to manage a lot of envelopes and papers and that just didn’t feel like something that was going to work for me. Then when I found Mvelopes and told my mom about it, we both laughed! It’s her budgeting program, only much, much easier!
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: We used to make minimum payments on our credit cards, car payment, and mortgage. Now, we pay ahead and make additional payments to principle. We’re three months ahead on our mortgage. With our car loan, we’re paying between $50 to $100 more each month-and we’re still putting money into savings. Before, when we were making minimum payments, we never had money left over for savings. This program has helped us to be good stewards.
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: We have been putting away $200 a month into a general savings account, plus $80 into a savings account for our son. We have dipped into our savings from time to time and built it back up, so to give you a grand total would be difficult, but we’re saving a lot more than we ever did before (which was virtually nothing!).
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: We now maintain an average between $1,000 to $2,000. Before, we were always either close to going into the overdraft, or we would occasionally go into overdraft. We had no absolutely no cushion. Now we do.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: Like I said, being three months ahead on our mortgage has been a huge goal for us-and we’ve met that goal. Also, being able to have savings accounts has been huge. We simply weren’t able to save money before Mvelopes, so this has been a big change for us. We just purchased a second car and we’re able to make the payments and still have money left over. It has given us financial freedom. It’s worth every penny that we pay for the service.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: We plan to pay off our car loans early. We took out a 60-month car loan, but we’re making payments as though we have a 48-month loan. We’re hoping to pay off our mortgage. In August, we’ll be putting our son into a private school and we’re going to be able to pay for that, which is another important goal that we’re soon going to meet.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: We have at least 20 envelopes.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: We get our paycheck. We immediately sit down and divvy it up. We don’t wonder where the money will come from for the things we need. We don’t just guess if we have money to pay our bills–we know we have the money. We’ve already set it aside. It’s there. To be able to visually see what we have and what’s left has reduced so much stress.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: We’re still working on that (chuckle). I’m the one who has been managing the finances. When we have a decision to make (perhaps we want to rent a video from Blockbuster), I’ll say, “Well, we only have X amount left in the entertainment envelope. Is that what we want to do with it?” Then we make a decision if that’s how we want to spend our “entertainment” money. It’s right here. It’s the facts. It has decreased arguments because it’s there in black and white.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Stay committed to it. Keep in mind that the program won’t prevent you from overdrawing. There’s definitely a level of commitment that you have to give to it. Be involved with it. Know how much you have to spend and be committed to not going over that amount. You need to be self-disciplined enough to not go outside the budget.
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 helps you to be a good steward. It’s a great tool for stewardship.
Stacy, it is so exciting to hear about all the positive changes that have happened in your life since you started using Mvelopes. It must feel so good to know that you have significantly reduced or eliminated the stress often associated with finances. And you are making such great progress with setting and achieving goals. Thank you so much for taking time to share your Mvelopes experience with us. We wish you and your family continued financial success.