A few weeks ago, Michael, from San Antonio, Texas, shared with us the following comments:
When my lovely wife (Jana) and I got married about 3 and 1/2 years ago, we had to mesh our personal finances together–just like any couple. We both consider ourselves financially savvy–me being an accountant and Jana with banking experience and formerly a bookkeeper, but we simply weren’t happy with the methods we had in place for tracking our expenses, or the popular personal finance software available at the time. Keeping up with receipts was tedious for the number of transactions we do and our process seemed more time-consuming than it needed to be. We desired a better tracking system and we wanted a solution quick before the frustration started affecting our marriage. We started doing research and Jana found Mvelopes online one day, so we decided to give it a trial run. We’ve been using it ever since and haven’t ever looked back. We now have the level of detail in tracking expenses we wanted (real time!), we save incredible time, and we have a peace of mind knowing our finances are running smooth and in order. Mvelopes is one of those things you see in a futuristic movie and hope comes to reality soon. My dream was realized. Thanks Mvelopes team!
I recently had the privilege of speaking with Michael about his and Jana’s Mvelopes experience and gained the following additional insights into their use of this wonderful product.
Q: How long have you been using Mvelopes?
A: For about two years.
Q: How has Mvelopes assisted you in living within your income?
A: Obviously, it forces us to stick to our budget. We are huge Dave Ramsey fans and have learned a lot from him. He has taught us how important it is to stick to our budget. We never have to wonder if we have money. We can check it right now–even on our cell phones. It’s pretty cool.
Q: How much consumer debt have you been able to eliminate during that time?
A: We became debt-free in 2007, prior to using Mvelopes. But I’m sure Mvelopes would’ve helped had we known about it beforehand (laughs).
Q: How much have you been able to save while using Mvelopes?
A: A lot, actually. We’ve saved enough to purchase a used car ($9,000.00), enough to go on a cruise (Cayman Islands), and enough to give a large portion of our money away to people who need it.
Q: How much has your average checking account balance increased while using Mvelopes?
A: Again, an enormous amount–about four or five times what it used to be.
Q: What financial goals have you achieved while using Mvelopes?
A: We have obtained a large net worth (one that we were aiming for) and we have streamlined and simplified our budgeting process, thanks to Mvelopes. It used to take us about two hours once a month to work on our budget. Now it takes us about 30 minutes. We’ve also been able to purchase large assets with cash.
Q: What are your next financial goals?
A: We plan to invest more of our income-we’re already investing 7% and plan to bring it up to 15%. We’re also planning to save for our first house and pay cash for it. We’re about halfway there.
Q: How many envelopes have you created?
A: We have 50-60 Mvelopes. We are both kind of nerds about it. My wife is a bookkeeper and has a financial background and I’m an accountant. I don’t know if Mvelopes is intended to be used this way, but we kind of have a budget within a budget. When we spend money for things we’ve been saving for, like new furniture, we’ll spend it from our checking account and then take the money from our savings account to credit the checking account.
Q: How has Mvelopes helped to reduce financial stress?
A: Not having to wonder–Did I just spend that money that should’ve gone to pay for my utility bill?–or whatever. You don’t have to worry about bouncing checks. You know what’s there, in real time.
Q: If married, how has Mvelopes helped you better collaborate with your spouse?
A: It helps me communicate with my Jana better. We can both log into our account and can both see what our status is. We can check it while we’re in the grocery store with our Smart Phone. It’s really nice. It makes things quick and simple. We still sit down and talk together, but there are fewer of those interactions. When my wife and I plan to spend anything over $100, we will sit down and have a budget committee meeting and discuss where we’re going to be pulling that money from. We can now move money around right there and then without having to discuss every single transaction. It’s nice and easy.
Q: What advice would you give to new Mvelopes users?
A: Sit down and do it. You’re not going to start seeing change in your financial life until you sit down and start making a plan with your money, and Mvelopes will help you do that!
At the conclusion of my interview with Michael, I asked him if there was anything else he’d like to add, and he said this:
After discovering Dave Ramsey, my wife and I paid off over $30,000 in debt in two years, and that was on a pretty modest income. My wife and I are Financial Peace University coordinators teaching the Dave Ramsey plan and we use Mvelopes to help us implement his plan.
It’s obvious that Michael is passionate about budgeting and that he and Jana have found what works for them. It was truly delightful speaking with him. He even turned the interview around and started asking me questions about budgeting, about my knowledge of Dave Ramsey’s plan, etc. Michael and Jana, we wish you much continued financial success and happiness!