Anyone use as a budgeting tool?

diginthedirt17January 23, 2007

I've recently signed up for a one month trial period to this budgeting website which uses the "envelopes" method of budgeting. Just wondering if anyone has had luck with it?!

Thanks for any suggestions or advice!

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How much did it cost you?

Probably could have got the equivalent (and more) here ...

... for free.

ole joyful

P.S. Sometimes people figure that if they got it free - it's probably worth about what they paid.

But there's a huge amount of free info on the internet that's hugely valuable.

Our job is to separate the wheat from the chaff - for there's a lot of crap on the internet, as well.

Here's some homework for you: Learn how money works: it's an interesting hobby ...

***that pays well***.

o j

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 5:16PM
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Hey guys - I have used Mvelopes since October 2006 and it has changed how my famiy budgets and spends our money. There is a monthly fee but you get that money back by seeing all the holes in your spending habits. Its kind of scary how much we spend on non-essentials and this makes it very obvious and forces you to spend only whaat you have allocated to each envelope -- the online bill pay tracking is awesome - again its a great way to manage your family & home budget - I highly recommend!

Here is a link that might be useful: mvelopes home budget software

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 10:53AM
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How is this service better than Quicken or Microsoft Money? If I've already paid for a copy of Quicken, is there a compelling reason to switch to this monthly subscription service?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 1:39AM
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Mvelopes website explains that they break up your income for you 'before' you spend it, whereas Quicken and other programs only show you where you spent money after the fact.

I don't agree. I've used Quicken for years and find their Budget componant very functional. I set budget amounts for everything and can see exactly whether I am under or over for the month (or quarter or year). There are triggers to alert you if you are going over, but I don't use those. Works perfectly well for me to just look. I don't need to pay $10 a month to understand that if it is halfway through the moth and I've already spent 3/4 of my monthly budget for entertainment, I should maybe pass on that movie tonight. Actually it is simpler than that: just pull up the 'month to date' budget and slow down on the spending in areas with red numbers. That's not so hard, is it?

The Financial Planner (in the pricier Quicken version) is also excellent. Examine mortgage options, organize savings goals like college funds, and monitor retirement plans etc. I have been very impressed that trajectories are right in line with those from much more sophisticated methods (like Monte Carlo simulators).

I think Quicken can do the job well - for a onetime purchase and no monthly payment. (and those yearly upgrades aren't necessary either). You do have to slog through the initial setup and commit to ongoing data entry and monitoring.

Quicken is a great tool. But you gotta use it to benefit.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 11:31AM
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I'm so frustrated that I could chew nails (not the ones on my fingers!).

I wrote down a guide to setting up a way to record monthly income and to estimate expenditures ...

... but while I was doing it, was disconnected from service provider.

Regained connection, tried to post ...

... "Page cannot be displayed" came up.

When will I learn to highlight and copy, at least, or, preferably, compose on Wordpad, then carry to the relevant forum?


Over half an hour's work ...

... down the drain!

Have yourselves a great weekend, everyone.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 10:16PM
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Don't waste your time with Mvelopes. I tried the product a year or two ago and it was too buggy then to even reliably download transactions. I just gave it another chance last month and encountered yet more problems. First there were more problems downloading transactions with my institutiosn, though these did seemed to get resolved (only after I opened a support ticket and pushed my way through to someone who could fix it). Then I ran into more severe problems with the "spending plan". After you spend many valuable hours of your time creating this detailed this plan you will later find it is corrupted when you attempt to use it to fund your envelopes. Neat. The icing on the cake was that after 3 weeks of trying to get this resolved the company will not provide any estimate as to when the problem will be resolved.

If those weren't enough reasons not to use it I'd further assert that even if it worked as advertised it isn't practical. It sounds great, but you have to manually load balance each envelope at the end of the month (assuming what you really want to do is track your monthly spending and not carry forward deficits/supluses from the month prior) as well as manually categorize each transaction that you spend. The entire notion of pre-emptively funding and then tracking each dollar spent just isn't practical unless you are really trying to manage cash flow on a month to month basis. If on the other hand you aren't having cash flow problems and just want to do budget analysis then far more pratical is to use a tool like Quicken and simply report on your spending. It seems there most of my transactions are automatically categorized so I only have to manually fix those that are wrong.

To be sure I wasn't too impressed with Quicken's budget tracking features, and Money was a step down from that (last I checked was 2005), but I'm going back to Quicken now with my tail between my legs (and out $40).

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 12:59AM
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I'm just using their system but not online. Looks like I just saved myself some money for a PITA service. I bought her book for $15. with a CD for loading the forms.

Sometimes it's faster to do things in what seems a lengthier way when you figure in the time to cope with the computerized version.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 5:45AM
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I use Quicken - I like the buget feature. I also use an "envelope" type system of my own for those annual and biannual payments (property taxes and insurance).

Each month, I transfer 1/12 of the property tax into savings and then subtract from the total the cumulative amount that I've reserved to date. When the time comes to pay the tax (or ins), I pay it and start over. For the biannual payments, I use 1/6 of the amount that will be due. It's fairly painless.

I also created my own spreadsheet for the variable monthly expenses. One column for the budgeted amount, one column for the actual amount spent so far (this month), a column for the actual amount spent last month (and more columns for previous months). Using Quicken reports, it's quite easy to keep track and I have a snapshot of how I'm doing and whether I've budgeted a realistic amount. A budget is useless if it isn't realistic.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 9:17AM
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here is a book that is a modern equivalent of the "envelope" system.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eureka

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 10:03PM
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My frustration with mvelopes is that there is no user manual. I really don't like using the live chat because it's difficult to get what I need across on the computer and the videos don't help me much because I can't watch them and actually do what they suggest at the same time.

I also really don't like all the stuff one still has to do manually that I thought would be automatic. I'm a bit disappointed because I really want to stop feeling like my family is living paycheck to paycheck and not having much to show for it.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 10:45PM
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I have to agree with Kim here. As a newlywed, and simply being young and inexperienced with money, I really wanted this to work. Even though I've stuck with it for the last two months (and will unfortunately have to for another two months, because of the plan we paid for), all I've gotten back is more frustration than I can tell you.

Kim is right, there is no real "user-friendly" manual. There is a live chat over instant message, and a place where you can submit questions, and if you really press, you might be able to get someone on the phone; but unfortunately they're just not any real help. Or at least they weren't to me.

Mvelopes, if you read this you need to desperately improve your way of teaching this program. For myself, I either need someone sitting side-by-side with me showing me each step along the way, (who won't cost an arm and a leg). Or an actual, physical BOOK. Something I can mark up and make notes on. Also, the equipment you use for downloading my bank account information, needs a LOT of improvement. In the two months I have been using you guys, what YOU have said I've had in my account, vs. what my BANK has said I've had; has NEVER been the same thing.

I understand that last issue might be from fault of my own in not knowing how to use your program; but who's fault is it that a perfectly normal person like myself, after MONTHS of trying, can't seem to figure your program out??

If you ever choose to fix these problems, please let me know, because I have felt from the beginning that this would be an excellent program... if you made it worked. Until then however, I'll be moving on...

Thank you! Laurel

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 1:57AM
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