Mvelopes Review

This is the third post in a series of financial software reviews. I reviewed Mint yesterday, and today, I will tackle Mvelopes. With the slogan “The Simple, Smarter Budgeting System”, Mvelopes gives itself a lot to live up to. And Mvelopes delivers.

The Process

Adding an account to Mvelopes is a simple process. Just plug in your information, and Mvelopes takes care of the rest. Setting up your budget is a more involved process, but Mvelopes provides a good tutorial to help you along. Mvelopes makes it easy to budget each paycheck, as long as your paychecks are about the same size every month. I ran into trouble when my husband was paid a base salary plus commission, because I never knew what his commission would look like from month to month. I got around it by budgeting the necessities out of Jim’s base salary and budgeting the variable expenses out of his commission.

When our income became really irregular, due to unemployment checks and various part time income, using the budget feature in Mvelopes was pretty much impossible.

I like that Mvelopes provides tools for balancing your checkbook and online bill pay. It truly is a one stop application for budgeting, tracking spending, and bill pay. Their customer service is also excellent. Anytime I’ve had a problem, a quick call to customer service straightened it out.

If you’re planning on running up credit card debt, Mvelopes is not the program for you. I found out the hard way that running up additional debt is a sure way to screw up the budget you create for yourself in Mvelopes. After doing that, I pretty much had to start over with a new budget.

If you’re trying to pay off your cards, however, and you’re really committed to no new debt, Mvelopes is a great tool. And if you charge purchases and pay them off at the end of the month, Mvelopes also works well. It’s only when you carry a new balance from month to month that things get dicey.

Mvelopes has a pretty steep learning curve when you get started, but once you have it figured out, it’s a powerful program. You can sign up for a 30 day trial to check things out, and 30 days is about the right amount of time to decide whether it will work for you or not.

Pluses and Minuses

The Pros

  • Online, so it’s accessible from any computer.
  • Great customer service.
  • 30 day free trial before you have to pay.
  • Online bill pay.
  • Make your budget before you spend.
  • Reconciling your account is easy.
  • Discourages new debt.

The Cons

  • Cost. It comes to between $6.32 and $10.56 per month, depending on whether you pay quarterly, yearly, or biannually.
  • Steep learning curve.
  • Can be difficult for irregular income.

I’ve used Mvelopes myself for over a year now. The 30 day trial is worth a shot. I’m thinking about switching to another program, solely based on the cost. So far I haven’t found a program that is as thorough as this one, though.

Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow, when I review YNAB!


By , on Dec 27, 2007
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. Matt:

    I decided to stop using mvelopes because it was too slow and buggy. I had trouble interfacing with my banks (it was slow when it worked at all) and then couldn’t delete those accounts that wouldn’t work properly. Although a great concept, the execution is very shoddy.

    But I am writing this review because the cancellation process is abominable. I cancelled (after having to dig around to find that you must cancel via a chat session) and then found a couple of days later that I’d been charged again. I guess I decided to cancel right at the time I was being charged for three more months. The chat person told me to send an email, as has been mentioned by another poster here. I told that individual that I would not send an email, that instead I would dispute with my credit card company, and until I found out it was resolved in my favor, that I would post as many comments about their service as possible. So here I am.

    Good luck with your budgeting and stay away from companies like this.

  2. Kelly:

    I was NOT so happy with mvelopes. In order to use the free trial you must sign uo using a credit card – which I did. I decided during the trial that the system was not for me, based on the multiple duplicates the system pushed out. Anyhow, I tried to call and cancel. However, YOU CANNOT CALL THEM! When you do you are given a prerecorded message to go online. I did and I did an online chat with a rep and got a confirmation #. However I noticed my credit card was charged. I again did an online chat (this time the person was playing games with me). She eventually gave me a second confirmation #. Still on my credit card. I sent an email to dispute resolution and was told that it takes 4-6 weeks to get a refund. In the meantime I had to either pay my credit card with this charge one it or get a finance charge. Mvelopes is a TOTAL SCAM!

  3. NorthernCalGal:

    I love Mvelopes. It is sinple, flexible (easy to customize categories), and has all your data so there is no manually adding of debits and deposits. It has really helped us get a hold on our spending and where we stand financially – definitely worth the money!

  4. Taylor:

    Since this post was from a while ago, I was wondering if you had any experience with any other budgeting software? We are both independent contractors, and therefore have irregular earnings. any other ideas? My husband just signed us up for the Mvelopes 30 day trial. Any info/advise would be helpful.


  5. Patrick L:

    I just tried out mint- and it gave me advice to use CountryWide bank- with a whopping 5.5% interest rate on CDs! I signed up! Thx.

  6. InTheHole:

    Thanks for the reviews. I’m still trying to find a budget program that works for us. Since our income varies from month to month, Mvelopes will probably not work for us.

  7. I’ve tried to find programs that could sort my expenses into neat categories (grocery, eating out) but I’m finding that the programs out there are not always able to properly differentiate items into the right categories. I end up having to do things manually, which defeats the whole time saving goal.

  8. Randall:

    I haven’t actively used cash in over 7 years and was a VERY early adopter of on-line bill pay systems when they came out in the late 1990’s. Unfortunately that means that MVelopes will do virtually no good for me or my family.

    I would recommend it for those people/families that deal with cash on a regular basis though. Cash doesn’t leave a paper trail (usually) so it’s hard to realize how much you’ve spent or where exactly.

  9. Thanks for the review of this product. I have been an excel man for a long time, but I am starting to look at some other things.

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