Mvelopes is essentially personal finance software that aims to bring up to date the time-honored budgeting strategy of putting money in paper envelopes. By allowing Mvelopes to connect directly to your financial institutions, including bank and credit card accounts, a quick insight into your current money situation will always be at hand. Where it falls short against the best personal finance software, however, is the absence of investment tracking, tax reporting and online bill paying.
Mvelopes Review: Plan options
There are three plans available - Basic, Premier and Plus - with the Premier option open for a 30 day free trial before the standard monthly charges kick in, so it's a good place to start.
All plans allow access to unlimited envelopes and financial accounts, and also provide the option to automatically import transactions and, of course, to monitor your account balances. Access to live chat and interactive reports are available across all too. The Premier plan then adds in access to learning and debt reduction centers, assistance in getting set up, and priority support, while Plus encompasses all of this along with a dedicated personal coach, quarterly money coaching sessions, and the chance to make a personalized financial plan.
Mvelopes review: How it works
Syncing to financial institutions is simple with Mvelopes. You can choose from the most popular banks and credit unions, or search for those that may be less well known. After entering your credentials with the bank, this personal accounting software imports all your account balances and transactions.
Transactions are automatically categorized, but you can edit them and customize categories as needed. While this service allows you to connect to brokerage accounts, it only transfers balances, so you can see how your investments contribute to your net worth, but you can't monitor your portfolio performance. This software lacks specific reporting for investment accounts and tax purposes. If you have investments, Quicken Premier (opens in new tab) and Moneyspire (opens in new tab) are definitely better options.
For personal finance management away from your computer, you can download mobile apps for Android and iOS devices, which you can use to manage your accounts, add and edit transactions, adjust your budget and monitor your expenses.
Mvelopes review: Budgeting
When creating a budget, you can first schedule your paychecks out for the month so you have a base amount to work with. From there, you can budget amounts for your expenses. In Mvelope's terms, this is allotting amounts to your envelopes, and you can add or delete envelopes, add limits, and copy budgets from month to month.
You can further edit each envelope individually, selecting the name and category. You can choose to have a bill be monthly, periodically or an everyday expense. From this view, you can schedule out a whole year rather than just a few months. Online bill pay isn't available with this program.
When you exceed the budget in a particular category or envelope, the balance appears in red so you can quickly see where the issue lies. If a transaction will put the envelope at a negative balance, you will be prompted as to how you wish to address the situation, either by adding funds to the envelope or letting it go negative. However, the software doesn't send you alerts if you exceed your budget.
You can run reports to keep track of your envelopes, budget and cash flow, and view reports for spending and funding, balances, net worth and category spending. Reports may be exported in either a PDF or a CSV format, which can be uploaded into programs such as Excel.
Should you choose Mvelopes?
Mvelopes is solid personal finance software for keeping track of your home budget. Syncing to your bank, credit union and credit cards ensures your transactions and balances are up to date, and allocating funds to specific envelopes allows you to keep your spending in check. Mvelopes doesn't track investments, have online bill pay or provide budget warning alerts, but if you want to give this neat idea a try, a free 30 day trial is waiting for you.