New Year Plan: Budget Better with Mvelopes

Between the gifts, party outfits, and festive nights out, the holidays can pass in a frenzied blur of green (and

Between the gifts, party outfits, and festive nights out, the holidays can pass in a frenzied blur of green (and we don’t mean mistletoe). Once the confetti settles on New Year’s, it’s a good time to reevaluate your financial goals. Personally, I’d like to save for a weekend getaway, and I was excited to discover a tool that can help me with that: Mvelopes, an online personal finance service that helps you save through envelope budgeting.

Mvelopes takes its name and concept from Depression-era saving: Without access to credit, families took to setting aside money in envelopes to cover future expenses. In today’s digital world, Mvelopes allows you to create different spending and savings “envelopes” and set a spending limit for each. Rather than monitoring your checking account on the go, you can use the Mvelopes app to see how much you have left in an envelope before spending at the grocery store or shopping for clothes. By setting a budget that matches your income, you can set aside an envelope for whatever you’re saving toward—whether it’s a vacation or some emergency cushion—without overspending.

A basic version of the service is free to use on the web or from your smartphone (there is an iOS and an Android version), and you can create up to 25 envelopes (there are additional features if you upgrade to a premium account). The app utilizes location finder technology to identity the places you like to spend, and you can snap and save a picture of your receipt so you can remember what you bought. You can sync multiple accounts—checking, savings, and credit cards—and create envelopes to set aside funds to pay bills. You can decide whether funds allocated in each envelope roll over into the next month.

At some point during this holiday season, perhaps when you have a relaxing moment, think about a savings goal you’d like to achieve in the new year, and give it a try with Mvelopes.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest