Mvelopes Review

Financial FreedomAfter writing my recent review of the best money management software, I realized it’s been a while since I’ve written about Mvelopes.  So I figured I’d better provide an updated Mvelopes review and revisit some the great features with readers.

Mvelopes is personal money management software that is focused on helping you plan and manage your spending.  I’ve used it for several years to manage my own personal budget and spending.  It has truly helped us manage our money better which is important to us since we’re trying to grow our savings.

Mvelopes used to only provide a paid version.  The free version has the following limitations – 4 accounts; 25 envelopes; no bill pay; no debt center; limited chat and support.  But overall, the free version is great way to start using the product.

Why Mvelopes?

I’m convinced that Mvelopes continues to be one of the best money management software programs on the web because it helps people proactively manage their money versus just understand where they’re spending money.  A lot of products just tell you where you’ve spent money, but that’s not putting you in the driver’s seat.

The software is an online version of the timeless money management method of envelope budgeting.  People used to (and many still do) use physical envelopes as their spending categories.  The envelopes are funded each month with cash from their paycheck.   Cash is taken from the appropriate envelope when there is a need to spend.   All spending is based on the remaining cash in the envelope, or by transfering cash from another envelope to meet the spending need.

Mvelopes Basics

As mentioned Mvelopes is an electronic or virtual version of the classic envelope budgeting method.  You proactively decide which electronic envelopes you’re going to to fund or allocate your income towards each month.   You then assign your spending transactions to the appropriate electronic envelopes once they are safely and securely downloaded from your financial institution.  The envelope balances are then reduced so you can immediately see how much money you have left!

Mvelopes

So, now that we’ve discussed the basics, let’s look at some of the key features of Mvelopes.

Mvelopes Features Review

Spending Plan

It’s easy to set up an online spending plan and follow it each month to manage your money.    You can either take advantage of several basic spending envelopes that Mvelopes initially creates for you, or you can create your own.   Enter your income or paychecks and decide how much money you’ll fund towards each of your electronic envelopes when your income is received.   You can automate this by creating a different funding profile for each type of income you receive.

Bill Pay

I leverage the Mvelopes online bill pay each month to pay all of my bills.  You can even leverage it to cut a a personal check to someone and have it delivered.  Bill pay is integrated with the rest of the application.  It automatically reduces the envelope you choose during the paying process.

Mvelopes Mobile

Mvelopes now has an iPhone application that lets you use all the major features on the go.  You can enter and assign spending transactions to envelopes right after you purchase something.  No more need to keep all those receipts.  Bill pay was also made available for premium users.

Automatic Transactions

All banking transactions are downloaded from your financial institutions safely and securely.  I get my transactions from savings and checking and decide which envelope they should be assigned to.  You can also set up rules to auto assign transactions to save time.

Envelope Transfers

We all have tough months when grocery spending is more than usual or some other large expense occurs.  With Mvelopes you can decide where you’re going to get the extra money to cover your spending need and transfer it from one electronic envelope to another.  You’re proactively managing your money and can be confident you won’t spend more than you have available in all your envelopes.

Reporting

I don’t use a lot of reporting, but the reporting Mvelopes provides does a good job.  My favorite report is the cash flow report which allows me to see total spending for any envelope across any time period.  For example, I can see the spending per month for all my envelopes last year and the average amount spent per month.  Having this type of information is extremely helpful in deciding if I need to my make an adjustment to my spending plan.

Debt Center

Mvelopes has added a new feature since I started using the product called the Debt Center.  I haven’t used the Debt Center, but it is fully integrated into the product and your spending plan.  You can choose different pay off methods such as highest interest debt first, or lowest balance debt first and see the results of each to decide which approach works best for you.

Tutorials and Support

I’ve found online video tutorials and the knowledge base to be extremely helpful in helping me use the product and leverage all the features.  The knowledge base is extensive and their are also forums where other members are interacting with tips and answers to questions.

What Could be Improved?

As I mentioned, I’m a big fan of Mvelopes and I think they’ve built the software on a solid approach to proactive personal money management.  However, there are a few features I’d like to see in the product.

Alerts

I’d like to receive an email alert for the electronic envelopes of my choosing.  For example, it would be great for my wife and I to get a reminder that our food envelope has $50 remaining.  At the same time, you can get this information while you’re in the application practively managing your spending.

Spending Tips and Savings Ideas

Could Mvelopes provide spending tips and ways to save money based on which credit card you’re using or even based on your spending history?  This is something we’ve seen other products such as Mint do well.  It would nice for Mvelopes to make such personal finance tips available in the application.

How Much Does Mvelopes Cost?

Mvelopes recently released a free version of their software. This free version doesn’t provide as much functionality as the paid version, but is a great no risk way to check out the software to make sure it meets your needs.

If you’re interested in more functionality there are 3 reasonable membership plans (2 year, 1 year and quarterly).  The quarterly payment equates to $13.20 per month, the yearly plan equates to $10.80 per month and the 2 year plan (the best deal) equates to $7.90 per month.

Is it worth the price?  Of course, if it’s within your budget!  I wouldn’t provide this Mvelopes review if I didn’t think it would help you manage your money better.  Again, I’ve used it for our personal money management for several years.  Its a worthwhile investment for 2 years which gets your monthly charge to just under $8.

Again, Mvelopes has the free version that lets you check out the product and make sure it’s a good fit for your needs.  I recommend taking advantage of the free product to set up your budget and begin manage your spending/cash flow.  You can also review the support forum and even contact Mvelopes with your questions.  Keep in mind you can cancel any time.

Spend with confidence.  Get a spending plan.

About Jason Price

Jason Price is a family man saved by grace, passionate about faithful financial stewardship (1 Cor 4:2 NIV), soccer and the Pacific sun.

  • ryan

    mvelopes did recently release an iphone application. It’s a tad buggy but support mentioned they are aware of the issues and are working on fixes as quickly as possible.

    http://blog.mvelopes.com/mvelopes-iphone-app-now-available/

  • http://www.diosanagroup.com Joseph Diosana

    Bookkeeper. I have a bookkeeper who I would like to have access to the online software. Is there a way for the bookkeeper to have a restricted account so they can download and categorize but not do anything else (e.g. bill pay, etc)?

    Multiple accounts/rollup. I want to manage husband/wife separately but then roll it up into one view.. is that possible?

  • David

    I would’t deal with these guys as they are not honest with their policies. They don’t send you a message about “auto-renewal” and before you know it your credit card is charged. You can’t talk to anyone on a phone as they only use chat. I get just about the same level of functionality from my bank tools(Wells Fargo)

    • http://www.onemoneydesign.com Jason Price

      Hi David, sorry to hear about your experience. Honestly, I’ve never had a problem with the Mvelopes team. It’s a product I feel good about recommending to readers. Also, more and more companies are going to online support and I don’t really like that either. Sometimes it’s nice to talk to someone on the phone. Curious to know…does your Wells Fargo tool provide you a way to do envelope style budgeting?

  • http://www.inexfinance.com/ Dyane

    I’m a contract worker and most of the time I’m away from home. One of the major problems while living in different countries is that you handle transactions in currencies other than US$. Most of the personal finance programs I had previously tried didn’t offer the right solutions for me: the account was either tied to one currency only (US$), or you had to open an account for each currency separately which is quite unpractical (such an option was available in some European financial programs). I recommend https://www.inexfinance.com to people handling multi-currency operations on a regular basis.

  • Dax

    Jason,

    Thanks for the review. The free trial is now only 14 days. They say it has been that way for 2 years.

    Take care,
    Dax

  • MikeH

    Has anyone tried out the free version yet? Opinions?

  • Byerley79

    Can you recommend another software other than mvelopes?  I’ve attempted to work with that software and can’t get our computers to enable the software to work and I need something!  Thanks!
    Beth