Mvelopes

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Mvelopes

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Mvelopes is based on a budgeting concept that is easy for most people to understand. In the old days, you would cash your paycheck and then distribute the cash into separate envelopes labeled with budget categories like rent, groceries, clothing, emergency savings, or electricity. When bills came due, you would remove money from the appropriate envelope to pay them. If you ran out of money in an envelope you would either have to go without that item (e.g., new clothes) or you’d have to take money out of a different envelope to fund it. When you ran out of money in your envelopes, you wouldn’t be able to spend any more until your next paycheck. The envelopes system excelled at helping people stay within their financial means and avoid racking up debt. 

The Good

  • Encryption Technology
  • Assessment and Consultation
  • Coaching Sessions

Mvelopes starts you off with a budget template with pre-made envelopes which you can add to, edit, or delete. Included in the budget list is a category for Goals where you can add things you're saving for like an emergency fund or a vacation. Mvelopes is based on the budgeting concept that you would cash your paycheck and then distribute the cash into separate envelopes labeled with budget categories. Some highlights about Mvelopes include:

  • Assessment questionnaire
  • Free financial coaching consultation
  • Set up guide
  • Past transactions
  • Automated starter budget
  • Mobile apps
  • Google Glass
  • "Budgeting Bootcamp"

Mvelopes uses the 128-bit SSL encryption technology that online banks use, firewalls around their servers, and regular security audits. You can read more details of Mevelopes's security measures on their website. The Mvelopes startup experience begins with an easy checkmark-style questionnaire in order to assess which financial needs are most important to you. After this assessment you are presented with an offer for a free financial coaching consultation (a $60 value) which you can either skip or proceed to making an appointment. Once you get into the application, Mvelopes provides you with a step-by-step guide to setting up your budget:

  1. Add accounts
  2. Define incomes
  3. Create a budget
  4. Fund your envelopes

After you add your accounts, Mvelopes will sync several months of your past transactions in order to set up a automated starter budget template for you to edit. You can access Mvelopes from mobile apps for Apple, Android, and Amazon and your transaction information syncs across all your devices. Mvelopes is even supported on Google Glass. Mvelopes Premium plan offers a credit card debt roll-down plan to get your charges under control and paid off quickly. Along with the free coaching consultation, Mvelopes offers other educational materials, such as the Budgeting Bootcamp, an extra $49.99 fee. For an additional fee, customers have the option to receive future consultations with an Mvelopes Certified Budget Coach. These coaching sessions provide customers with an additional layer of assistance as they try to master their personal finances in regards to paying off debt, saving for emergencies, and planning for the future. Sessions consist of monthly one-on-one phone calls that help assist clients toward their financial goals. To learn more about Mvelopes Certified Budget Coaches and how they can support you, please click our "Financial Coaching" tab.

The Bad

  • Interface is Complex
  • Free plan is Limited
  • Premier Plan is Expensive

The Mvelopes user interface can be intimidating for those new to managing financial accounts. The typeface is very small, the pages are text-heavy, and everything is rendered in Java Server Pages so that zooming in with your browser won't increase the text size. The overall impression that the interface gives is that of a complex console with very little for the eye to make sense of at a glance. There are very few visual displays of data - even on the reports pages - so nearly everything must be read to be understood. Some concerns include:

  • Complex interface
  • Free plan limited
  • Steep pricing for Premier plan

The Mvelopes free plan limits you to only 4 accounts and 25 envelopes, which might not be enough for some people. Also, live chat support is only available through the Premier plan, leaving the basic plan users to help articles and customer forums. The basic breakdown of plans breaks down as follows: Basic plan:

  • 4 bank accounts
  • 25 spending envelopes
  • Compatible with Windows/Mac

Premier plan:

  • Unlimited bank accounts
  • Unlimited envelopes

At $95/year (approximately $7.92/month), the Mvelopes Premier plan is more expensive than most other premium plans which average around $4 - $5 per month.

The Bottom Line

The Mvelopes free plan is a robust tool designed for people who are already budget-savvy and are comfortable with text-heavy consoles of information. The Premier plan offers more support options and a debt roll-down feature, but is fairly pricey compared to other premium online financial plans. Additionally, the interface may be difficult to read for those with vision problems or people who absorb information best from visual displays. Overall, we recommend using Mvelopes for your personal finance needs. Those that use Mvelopes for their personal finance management needs can expect the following from the platform:

  1. Quality and straight-forward budgeting tools
  2. Organize and manage all finances
  3. Expensive premier plan

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User Reviews

Star Rating

3.4
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29 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 star
34%
4 star
28%
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0%
2 star
10%
1 star
28%

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Richard Wagner
May 2nd, 2019 Glenwood City, WI DETAILS
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I've used Mvelopes for over 10 years. The visual envelope at-a-glance is what has been the biggest winner for me. That being said, their technology is years behind and their customer service is terrible. They've tried to release the new version of their on-line software several times and each time they have had to pull it back because of issues. They are still using Flash, which for non-techies is an outdated technology that the major browsers like Google Chrome no longer support. In fact, to currently use Mvelopes in Google Chrome, you have to re-authorize Flash EVERY TIME you want to log in to Mvelopes. The time to bring up the interface on-line can sometimes be minutes long. This morning takes the cake. They have been offline for the last two hours with a service page that says to try back in 5 minutes. There was NO Notification to customers about this downtime. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. I could go on and on about the technology failures and lack of customer support. The ONLY reason I'm still with the company is because of the pain involved with moving everything over to a new budgeting software company. As soon as I can find one that operates in a similar matter, I will be cancelling my account. For these numerous technology and customer service issues, I do NOT recommend getting started with Mvelopes.

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Tamra
February 12th, 2019 Orem, UT DETAILS
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By far the best budget app there is! Easy to use and understand. Make keeping track of expenses so much easier.

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August Moulton
February 6th, 2019 Lehi, UT

I used this app for awhile and loved it. After a ton of research it won out over Mint and YNAB. It was easy to use and well put together. A great money management tool for anyone.

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Shay F
September 12th, 2017

Great product due highly to the visual of the envelopes. Since both my husband and I can view , we set up envelopes directly for himm for clothing and personal. If it is in his envelope and vice versa we can spend with out consulting. We have not fought regarding money since the on line version came out. We began utilizing when it was computer based software.

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steve
July 12th, 2017 Menifee, CA

it appears that mvelopes no longer has the fee account. My wife and I wanted to get some friends started and help them get a handle on their budget's and they don't offer the free account any more...not good

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Sandra Barger
July 5th, 2017 Lansing, MI

I've been using Mvelopes for 1year and am extremely satisfied. It was time consuming to set up, but I was starting a budget from scratch so I had to determine my financial priorities too. I have encountered a few technical issues with connecting to my bank accounts, but that was 8 months ago and I've had no problems since. I use the free version on an iPhone, however I HIGHLY recommend using a desktop/laptop to setup your budget since there are options only available on a desktop that you'll need to create a working budget. Then, I use the phone app for day-to-day activities, like checking my envelope balances and assigning transactions to categories. I have successfully used the free KnowledgeBase many times to find the proper way to: transfer money between accounts, to make credit card payments, to close an account, and tracking non-web based accounts.

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N Davis
May 1st, 2017

When it works it's great. But it disconnects my accounts at least once a week and I fill out tickets to have it looked at. No one ever resolves it that way. I have to get on a chat and tell them to reconnect and they do. Pathetic. I'm not sure why I use it.

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Jeffery Smith
September 28th, 2016 CA

Mvelopes is horrible they promise so much and bring so little I wish I had never signed up they also do bait and switch at the beginning they promise you that you can get out of your contract cheaply then they charge way more to get out and hold a contract over your head they lie and they have the worst customer service I would stay away from them learn from my mistake. They treat you like you are dumb stay away from this company!

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M novatny
July 15th, 2015 Philadelphia, PA

Not sure what I am doing with this company I set up my budget and 3 months later I'm getting lectures about my "behaviors", specifically smoking Gee, ya think I'd quit if I could? This isn't a smoking cessation program Supposedly a money management system So far, not much help with that, at all

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Jessica Chapman
July 10th, 2015 Concord, NH

My husband and I are HUGE Mvelopes fans. I have to say, years ago, we used it and had technical issues, but those problems appear to have been completely resolved. I've been a loyal user for 2 years and even bought the lifetime membership. Tech support is WONDERFUL! If you're ready to start being a grown-up about your finances, hold yourself accountable to your decisions, and actually meet or exceed your savings / budgeting / debt reduction goals: Do this.

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Scott
July 7th, 2015 Buena Vista, VA

We have been using Mvelopes for many years. It has totally changed our financial lives. Between this and Dave Ramsey we have fiannly been able to get control of our finances. There have been a few technical issues over the years but the last few years have been very stable. The concepts are so simple, but it does take some getting used to the interface. I still use the original version. I didn't like the newer interface as well. I highly recommend this for anyone who is ready to get control of their financial lives.

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Lois Dingman-Browne
July 6th, 2015 Big Rapids, MI

Very disappointed with the coach I had. Still paying for a dead horse.

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Robert Barba
July 6th, 2015 Ashburn, VA

I've been an Mvelopes customer from the very beginning. But they haven't really kept the site up with the times and it shows. It would be perfect if they just realized that Flash is heading out the door and AJAX is the standard now.

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EM
July 6th, 2015 Katy, TX

I've been using Mvelopes since it was founded in 2000. It was the first home budgeting system that ever worked for me, and obviously it's still working or I wouldn't have stuck with it. I first discovered Mvelopes when my checking account was overdrawn and I was desperate to find a "newfangled" online system to help me manage my money. In about a year of working diligently with Mvelopes I went from being $40 overdrawn to having $8,000 in savings. Yes, you read that right. Now, no program works if you don't apply its principles, and sadly I got very lax about that a few years ago. I am now once again in debt. But thanks to Mvelopes I know I can turn this around again very quickly. The system can be difficult to 'wrap your head around,' but if you work with the program daily, you will understand it better and better. I bought the lifetime access as soon as they offered it, so I'm not the best person to comment on the cost of Mvelopes versus other programs. What I will say is, for me, it's worth every penny. No other program shows me *how much money I have left to spend* in a given budget line, the way Mvelopes does. And that is its secret. Knowing I only have $50 left in my grocery budget allows me to avoid over-spending. I can't say enough good things about Mvelopes.

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weddingdance
July 2nd, 2015 Knoxville, TN

Way too expensive. Very little time with debt counselor (one half-hour per month). Only works if you actually have enough money to cover your budget in the first place. Excessively long contract length. The free program was good, wish I'd stuck with that.

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Pamela VonStowver
July 1st, 2015 Los Angeles, CA

It is good but it does take a while to really implement it.

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Travis Austin
June 24th, 2015 Spring, TX

So Mvelopes is a little tough to get your head wrapped around. You use templates to fund your Envelopes, use auto-assigned routing to route new transactions into the right envelopes. The reports (which are exported to pdf or excel) tell you how good/bad you are doing. If you are diligent with it, you will like the service. The Mobile App and me are frenemies. It is easy to use when it is working. I've been with them for 5 years I think. I bought the lifetime plan when it was under $200. Money well, well spent.

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Alesia A.
June 22nd, 2015 Birmingham, AL

I LOVE Mvelopes - I've been using it for many years (I've forgotten how many - that's how integrated into my life it is). The first year I used it I found myself very uncomfortable because it made me hyper aware of how out of control and unintentional I was being with my money. It took about a year to get my budget plan adjusted and workable. That's normal with budgeting - it's not a one time thing that you do - it's a work in process that requires reviewing it to see how it's working and making adjustments. Mvelopes made the reviewing and adjusting very easy. I love the visual representation of the envelopes - it is the only thing that has worked for me. Over the years that i have used it I have saved FAR more than the cost of the service. I fully credit Mvelopes with the fact that I have carried zero consumer debt in over 5 to 7 years. I believe this is possible because I can easily save for both expected and unexpected events, I can SEE where my money is going, and I can make better choices because of it. I am a HUGE fan and hope they are around forever because they saved my financial life.

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Jim Tuckett
June 19th, 2015 Phoenix, AZ

It's a good idea and is hopelessly difficult to get and keep working. After 5 years' of frustrations, and paying for a "life time" service, I have given up.

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Ryan Jarvie
June 18th, 2015 Fairchild Air Force Base, WA

I really like using Mvelopes to keep track of my budget. I started out paying and then backed off so I am now using their free service, which meets my needs. I really like how it pulls from all my accounts only with occasional hiccups. There is a bit of a learning curve at first to figure everything out, but once you figure it out, it works well.

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Joy W.
June 17th, 2015 Tucson, AZ

Bad, the first week I was on the sight I discovered what I needed to know. Now I'm stuck with 2 more yrs. of $49.+ / mth and I don't even use this, too complicated, time consuming, and expensive. No personal caring, it's all about getting that money even if one doesn't use it.

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Lindsey
June 12th, 2015 Dallas, TX

Lifetime member here... this system meets my anal-retentive needs and I hope I never have to be without it.

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Anita
June 10th, 2015 Manassas, VA

Signed up for the envelopes systems and paid for a complex system that I was NEVER able to use. Don't waste your time instead do it yourself using a spreadsheet or the old way with actual envelopes.

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Dan
June 10th, 2015 Frisco City, AL

I'm not sure how you are getting away with $95/month. I was sold a plan that is $49.95 month for 3 years or so. Coaching consists of reprimands for not doing "homework", when the "lesson" consisted of "can I have limited control of your computer" and proceed to make changes for me, then we are out of time, let's schedule the next time, on their schedule, not mine. I have not heard a thing in over a year, unless, I don't make the monthly payment, the financing company that handles the billing, calls wondering why you don't want make your payments. Quite disappointed, the program looks good, never was able to get a good grasp. The first coach left for another company, the next one never made a good connection. Probably a good thing for some, but a pricey mistake for us.

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Katherine S Cleveland
June 10th, 2015 Palmyra, PA

Life-changing! We began using Mvelopes when the trial period was 30 days and then you had to pay for the premium plan. There was no free plan available. We are now lifetime members, but I would pay the premium forever. This program is that good. So for newbies to the program a free plan is a great way to learn how the program works. We found it has about a 3-6 month learning curve since most of us have to change the way we think about our spending. We have become debt free except for car and mortgage. It enabled us to save for and purchase our home and has revolutionized the way we think about money. It is a very forgiving program and has a community of users who help by answering questions. We highly recommend for anyone. No other financial program compares.

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Diana
June 8th, 2015 Raleigh, NC

I have been using this since 2010 and love it. Don't know how I would have managed without it!! Keeps me on track. Has helped me pay off debt and save an emergency fund.

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Lynn
June 8th, 2015 Meridian, ID

I LOVE LOVE Mvelopes - I am a lifetime member and would be lost without it!

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Tonya
June 8th, 2015

I've been using Mvelopes for years. I love that this program places money from my budget automatically into the assigned envelopes. It also immediately pulls each transaction into the program (no matter method of payment: debit, credit check etc) to be placed into the appropriate category. I can't imagine my personal finances without this program.

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Dorothy
June 8th, 2015 Oak Harbor, WA

I have been using Mvelopes for about 8 years now and I find it an invaluable budgeting tool. It serves as a bookkeeping and checkbook tracking device, along with monitoring all your bank and credit card accounts. It has allowed our family to become financially solvent enough that both my husband and I took early retirements. At a glance we can tell exactly how much money we have budgeted. This has been a lifesaver! When the money for eating out is gone for the month we either don't eat out or consciously decide to forgo something else. When the credit card bill comes, I pay it in full on the spot because the money has already been set aside in Mvelopes. I do agree that the learning curve can be a little steep, which is why I did not give it a 10. But if you stick with it and take the time to learn (lots of help available via live chat) I think you'll find it will bring real discipline to your budgeting and allow you to spend money on the things you really value.