I’ve spent years trying to find the best way for Just a Gal and I to manage our money. While I’d like to think that I had the noble motives of being the best steward of the gifts God gave us, the reality was that most of the time I was just trying to figure out how we could pay the bills every month and have money left for food.
When I first began I simply had some paper and a pen. I’d record expenses (which were very few early on) and kept tabs on where money was going and upcoming bills. As expenses grew this method became too time consuming and I transfered to an excel spreadsheet. I would manually enter our expenses and could easily generate some graphs, charts, and reports to help us see where money was going.
After about a year of using excel I realized that I wasn’t a very good programmer and that my formulas were typically wrong. I tried out Microsoft Money and a couple other computer programs. At the end of it all the one things I noticed is that none of them really helped us to create a budget and stick to it. Instead of helping me budget, all these programs helped me to simply see, after the fact, where all our money went.
It was around this time that I discovered Mvelopes Personal. What set Mvelopes Personalapart from every other piece of financial software that I tried was that it actually took your budget and helped you stick with it.
Here’s how it works:
First, you determine how much income you bring in each month. Next, you create a REALISTIC budget that keeps you under the amount of money you make (spend less than you make… what a novel idea). Each budget item gets its own electronic envelope. Now, whenever you get paid you take the paycheck and divide it up amongst your envelopes, funding them until they each get the amount you have budgeted for the month. Now, as you spend money throughout the month you simply mark the expense in the appropriate envelope… once the money is gone from the envelope, stop spending… it is that simple.
The approach seems so simple to me, yet I have never seen a program close to Mvelopes Personal on the market.
Mvelopes Personal will login into your bank and credit card accounts and automatically download your transactions… so, keeping up with your expenses is as easy as drag and drop. Also, it is all online, so you can access it from anywhere.
Now, yes, Mvelopes Personal does cost you money… but for me, I finally realized that I needed something more to help me make and keep my budget. Since we started using Mvelopes Personal 2 years ago we’ve been able to truly manage and steward our money.
If you’re interested, give it a shot… it is a free 30 day trial, so what do you have to loose?