• Sound budgeting tools
• Understand where your money is going
• Integrated mobile app
• Can be confusing
• Complicated navigation
• No tracking of investment accounts
mvelopes offers a sensible, effective way of managing your money and it does a good job at providing you with the tools to set a realistic budget. Unfortunately the software can be hard to handle, and sometimes it is too complicated to work with. mvelopes has some useful features but other programs are easier to navigate.
The overall concept of the mvelopes system is to give every dollar a job. Don’t simply spend money out of the pot as you go through the month, hoping you’ll have enough left at the end if anything unexpected pops up. You allocate every dollar to a task or expense, so you don’t get caught out and need to rely on credit to see you through until the next payday. Hence the name mvelopes – this product is based on the traditional method of budgeting with actual envelopes, where you place cash into allocated envelopes and take it out to spend on the allocated expense.
The basic mvelopes plan is free but limited in scope - you have up to four online bank accounts, and you can divide your budget into 25 spending envelopes. With the more expensive mvelopes Premier you have unlimited bank accounts and spending envelopes, plus a live chat function.
You don’t move your money between your bank and your mvelopes account, and you don’t add any of your home banking passwords. But you can link your bank accounts and credit card accounts with your mvelopes account so you can reconcile transactions. You don’t have any tools for directly managing investment accounts, however.
The real-time access to all your accounts in the same place is useful, and allows you to gain the full picture of your finances. Once you can see where your money is going you immediately have more power over your spending, and can use this power to set savings goals or to get out of debt.
The process of setting up a budget plan isn't as straightforward as in other software, mainly because there is a lack of predefined categories to start you off. it is also tricky to start the process of getting your accounts and budget sorted out because there is no clear guidance of what steps you need to take to do it. You need to estimate your budget based on what you think you will spend on each “envelope". This is useful for many people, but others will find it too difficult and prefer to work with spending data from previous months.
Once you have set up the amounts in each envelope you can carry these over month by month, or change amounts as you go. As you go over in a category this turns red, allowing you to rectify the situation by moving money into the envelope or letting it go into the negative.
mvelopes has some limited reporting options and you can keep a track on what you are spending with the budget, cash flow, spending, and net worth reports. You can export in PDF or CSV, meaning that you can print reports or store them on your computer.
The mvelopes mobile app is a simple way to handle your transactions on the go. Pay your bills, check your budget, plan ahead and set targets, and see how much you have to spend from an easy to navigate interface. You can also record images of your receipts to attach to your budget. There is a specific app for tablets, too. Both are available for Android or iOS.
mvelopes operates using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption just like the banks, in order to protect your data. You will need to supply a username and password to be able to log on, and data at the mvelopes headquarters is stored on firewall-protected servers.
Help & Support
It's not always particularly easy to see how to complete certain actions and set up the basic settings for accounts, and the help guides are not directly linked to the task in hand. If you opt for the Premier version you can chat with the support team. And you can also browse the Knowledge Base and post questions in the active forums. There are a few FAQs to answer the most common questions.
mvelopes is designed around a solid, effective method of managing your money, allowing you to spend less than you earn and save for a rainy day. If you have the patience to navigate around what at time is a confusing product, mvelopes offers a lot.
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