Mvelopes: Automated, Online, Envelope Budgeting System (Plus Bill Pay)

This week (or two) of budgeting reviews continues as I take a look at Mvelopes. Mvelopes is an automated, access-from-anywhere, budgeting tool based on the envelope system of budgeting. It also comes with bill pay.

Upfront, it’s important to tell you that Mvelopes is a subscription based system. So, along with all the nice features, you have to pay a monthly fee. Albeit a very low fee. But Mvelopes is a solid budgeting tool and has been recognized as such: PC World gave them a World Class Award – one of The 100 Best Products of the Year. Here’s how Mvelopes describes themselves:

“Mvelopes is the most effective online personal finance and spending management system ever. Mvelopes Personal is an online budgeting system that makes it easy to create an effective personal budget and track every aspect of your spending as it happens. It will help you always know exactly how much you have left to spend, instantly know the impact of every spending decision, effectively manage credit card spending, and quickly create an easy to use household budgeting plan.”

What You’ll Get with Mvelopes

Financial Account Aggregation – See all your accounts in one place and visualize your financial situation at a glance. This helps you track your net worth effectively.

Traditional Envelope System – Mvelopes, as the name suggests, is built on the idea that at the beginning of the month you put your income into different spending folders (or envelopes). Then you spend the rest of the month using the money from the envelopes. This helps you to spend every dollar before you earn it. That way you can make sure you spend it on things like savings, debt reduction, and giving. Mvelopes sets this up automatically for you each month once you’ve done the initial setup. You can quickly transfer money between envelope (drag and drop), and you can even take into account credit card usage.

Online Based – No download needed. It’s online-based software. You log in to your account from any PC or Mac or mobile device. This is the big advantage Mvelopes has compared with You Need a Budget 3.

Bill Pay – Another big selling point for Mvelopes is the bill pay feature. I’m not aware of any other budgeting software that lets you do this. Pretty handy.

Community – Mvelopes has a very robust community of users who all interact via the community groups and forums. You can also get training, live support, articles, and even premium life coaching services. You can also make some referral money through Mvelopes. They have a refer a friend program where you can earn $15, and your friend saves 20%.

Free E-Book Download

The folks at Mvelopes created a free E-Book to get you motivated and help you start using the Mvelope system. It’s called Money 4 Life. That link is a direct download. Right click and “save as” to put it on your computer and read it at your convenience.

First Steps with Mvelopes

Mvelopes - Online Award Winning Envelope BudgetingI tested out Mvelopes using their free trial and I walked through the first steps. Be aware that you will need to sign up with a credit card for the free trial. You just need to set yourself a reminder to cancel in the event you’re not happy.

When you first sign up and get into the system, you’ll need to add accounts your financial accounts (link bank and credit accounts using online credentials), automate your bill payments, set a spending plan, fund your various envelopes, and finally, set up mobile phone access.


So there you have it. Mvelopes looks like it has some great benefits to offer for those people who want an online system to help them manage their spending and create a better financial future. If you’ve used Mvelopes extensively I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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One Comment

  1. Avatar Eean Crawford says:

    I’ve used Mvelopes since March of 2005 – wow, five years already now. I love it. It makes managing our household finances sooooooo much easier than it would be otherwise. The system is very flexible and adaptable to your specific needs. You can ask me what we spent on anything over the last five years and I can tell you right to the penny. We always know where our money is going because the Mvelopes system is designed to make you proactively decide ahead of time how you will spend. All other systems only track what you’ve spent after the fact. We have made it through four years of a PhD program managing to stay debt free on a graduate student stipend while still saving for a rainy day and for retirement. Without the proactive decision making adopted through the Mvelopes system, we wouldn’t have been able to do it.

    And a side credit to the Mvelopes developers – they are very responsive to customer feedback and feature requests. I have noticed over the five years of using the program that features that I wish were included (e.g., linking online brokerage accounts to the net worth total) have been systematically added to the program and released in automatic updates. No need to buy new releases – the upgrades are released automatically.

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