The Mvelopes app helps you make a budget and stick to it. The app mimics the envelope budgeting system â€” where you place actual cash in physical envelopes â€” on your mobile device. Placing cash in paper envelopes every month is a budget strategy thatâ€™s been around for a long time, and Mvelopes virtualizes this tried-and-true method. If you like the idea of budgeting via envelopes but find it a hassle to use actual physical envelopes and cold, hard cash, Mvelopes may be a budgeting solution for you.
With Mvelopes, you trade the physical cash and paper envelopes of the envelope budgeting system for a website and a mobile app. You synch up bank accounts with Mvelopes, which lets you create virtual envelopes and then assign different amounts to place in each envelope. Mvelopes offers a 30-day free trial, after which youâ€™ll need to decide how many features youâ€™d like to pay for.
Mvelopes has three levels of service: Basic for $6 a month, Plus for $19 a month, and Complete for $59 a month. Choosing to pay annually gives you a discount equal to two months of fees. At the Complete level, Mvelopes gives you a 60-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked.
The Mvelopes Basic account offers the following features:
After you open your Mvelopes account, youâ€™ll see a dashboard with six broad budget categories (bills, everyday, giving, goals, periodic, system), each populated with budgeting envelopes. You can add or remove envelopes from these budget categories at any time.
Under each category, Mvelopes provides envelopes for items like auto maintenance, home maintenance, gifts, auto insurance, electricity, phone and so on. Youâ€™re free to change these envelopes at any time to match up with your own personal budget categories.
After opening your account, youâ€™ll be asked to sync one or more financial accounts to Mvelopes, like a checking or savings account, or a credit card account. Mvelopes will automatically import your transactions from each account. Imported transactions are automatically assigned to your Mvelopes inbox. From there, you are responsible for categorizing your deposits and purchases into the correct envelope.
The Mvelopes dashboard and reporting features allow you to see at a glance all of the information regarding your funding and spending transactions, along with your budgets and the amounts remaining in each envelope.
You can generate three types of interactive reports that help you understand your spending and plan your budget: envelope reports, account reports or spending plan reports. Within these broad categories, you can track envelope transactions and balances, create summary reports and show details of accounts and envelopes.
Live chat is available at all tier levels Monday to Friday from 9 AM MST to 7 PM MST, but not on Saturday or Sunday.
Mvelopes likes to stress the educational component of its services, and in addition to extensive educational information you can find online, Mvelopes hosts weekly webinars on various financial topics.
At the Plus level, you get the features above plus:
The big advantage of the Plus tier is a quarterly check-in with a personal finance trainer, who helps guides you and provide feedback on your budgeting process. In addition, Mvelopes will custom-design a rapid debt reduction plan that is personally tailored to your financial needs. You can discuss your progress on this plan every three months with your personal finance trainer session.
Mvelopes also offers an interactive learning center to help Plus-tier customers understand the keys to financial success across a broad range of topics.
The Plus tier also entitles you to one-on-one startup support to help you establish your account and set up your envelope budgeting program. It also gives you priority when it comes to support issues.
Complete is Mvelopesâ€™ top tier of service, giving customers the following additional benefits:
Top-tier Mvelopes clients get monthly access to a personal finance trainer to help keep them motivated and on track toward their budgeting goals. Working in conjunction with their trainer, Complete-tier customers create a customized financial plan tailored to their personal situation.
In addition to the Plus-tier educational resources, Complete-tier customers can learn additional financial planning techniques and strategies, including financial goal tracking, via trainer-guided education.
Mvelopes is uniquely focused on making the envelope-budgeting system easy to use in an online or mobile format. If youâ€™re already familiar with this type of budgeting, the app may be a perfect fit for you. However, there are other options worth examining.
Goodbudget is one of the few competitor apps to Mvelopes that focuses on the same envelope budgeting system. The apps are very similar, with the main difference in their interfaces and pricing.
Unlike Mvelopes, Goodbudget offers a free option. However, users are only allowed to link a single account. Goodbudgetâ€™s paid account costs $6 per month â€” the same cost as Mvelopesâ€™ Basic account â€” and offers broadly similar functionality at that level. However, Mvelopesâ€™ premium service tiers give you quarterly or monthly access (for higher fees) to personal financial specialists, something Goodbudget doesnâ€™t offer at any price level.
EveryDollar is a budgeting app without the envelopes. As the name implies, EveryDollar allows you to track every dollar that comes into or goes out of your linked financial accounts. Like Mvelopes, youâ€™ll start by setting up your budget categories, such as groceries, restaurants, clothing and health care, and assigning your transactions to each segment. Although the categories are not specifically called â€śenvelopes,â€ť they serve the same purpose as with Mvelopes.
EveryDollar has a free version and a paid version that costs $129.99 per year. The free version includes a personal budget planner and an expense tracker. Access to service and savings experts, such as insurance, real estate and tax professionals, comes with the paid version.
If youâ€™re already familiar with the envelope system of budgeting, Mvelopes might be your go-to budgeting app. However, even at the Basic level, youâ€™ll be paying $6 per month just to digitize your envelopes. Meanwhile, the top tier costs a very steep $59 per month to add monthly financial coaching. The Mvelopes requires you to regularly allocate your funds to individual envelopes, which could be helpful for some users, but cumbersome for others. Whether you stick with Mvelopes depends on your comfort with frequently interacting with your envelopes.
Fees mentioned in the article are accurate as of the date of publishing.