Mvelopes: Save Money With This Service

At a Glance
  • In2M Mvelopes Personal

    PCWorld Rating

    Simple and useful Web-based budgeting software

Tired of wondering where all your money's gone a week after payday? Online service Mvelopes Personal can help you track your spending--down to the last dime--so you can budget your paychecks and maybe have a little cash left over. The service isn't perfect, but a recent update makes managing your money remarkably close to painless.

In2M offers the service, which began life several years ago as a stand-alone app with an online component. Today the service is strictly Web based, and the company recently rolled out version 3.0, a new Adobe Flex-based platform that uses Flash Player 8 to make the interface run more quickly and smoothly.

Are You in the Red?

So how does it work? When you sign up, the setup assistant walks you through the process of connecting the service to all of your online financial accounts--everything from your checking and saving accounts to your credit cards. You establish your monthly income, and then set aside money in your own list of Mvelopes to pay for everything that you spend money on, from cable television to dining out, from toll booth fees to morning lattes.

As you pay your various bills the transactions appear online, and you drag and drop them into their appropriate Mvelopes. At the end of the month, you see which Mvelopes still have money in them and which ones are (gasp) in the red, and then you juggle the balances accordingly. If you play the game right, and you watch your Mvelopes closely, you'll likely stop spending more than you make.

It Just Works

There's a bit of a learning curve to the service, and the way the system handles credit card purchases and payments is necessarily somewhat complicated, but in the end--if you're diligent--it works. I've been using the service for years, and despite a few hiccups now and again (occasional duplicate transactions and sporadic problems when my bank or credit card companies update their own Web sites), the service works. When I have run into trouble, the free technical support has proved to be quite good.

You can try the service free for 30 days; after that, you can pay quarterly ($39.60, or $13.20 per month), yearly ($129.60, or $10.80 per month), or every two years ($189.60, or $7.90 per month). The fee includes an online payment service, but you don't have to use it to make the service work.

With this latest update, Mvelopes has become an even more usable service. It continues to work better for me than Intuit's Quicken or Microsoft Money for budgeting, though I still use Quicken as a glorified check register.

Mvelopes Personal


Handy Web-based service makes being on a budget almost palatable.
$39.60 for three months; $129.60 for one year; $189.60 for two years
Current prices (if available)
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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Simple and useful Web-based budgeting software

    Pros

    • No cumbersome installation of software
    • Offers mobile access to your info

    Cons

    • Performance can be sluggish
    • No investment tools
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