Best Mvelopes Alternatives: 7 Apps for Envelope Budgeters

If you’re a fan of envelope budgeting, the right budgeting app can make it easier to track your spending in today’s digital world. And for years, Mvelopes has been one of the more popular envelope budgeting apps.

Sadly, Mvelopes is closing down permanently on December 29, 2022, after 21 years of service.

While existing users are being given the option to transfer to Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar at a discounted rate, you may be interested in exploring other budgeting apps that are like Mvelopes.

To help you in your search, I’ve compiled the following Mvelopes alternatives, including EveryDollar and how it stacks up.

Table of Contents
  1. Best Mvelopes Alternatives
    1. You Need a Budget (YNAB)
    2. Tiller Money
    3. EveryDollar
    4. Goodbudget
    5. Mint
    6. PocketGuard
    7. Printable Budget Worksheets
  2. FAQs
  3. Final Thoughts

Best Mvelopes Alternatives

Here are seven premium and free budget apps that make it easy to practice the enveloping system while incorporating other effective budgeting strategies.

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Who Should Use It: Those who need help transitioning into a budget or are living paycheck to paycheck.

YNAB is a robust budgeting software that assists you as you assign dollars to each expense. For example, it will ask you to allocate an amount ofyour income to common household expenses like groceries and gas but also easy-to-overlook expenses like car repairs. It “gives every dollar a job,” which puts budgeting at the forefront.

The core goal of the YNAB budget is to help you pay this month’s bills with last month’s income. With this approach, the aim is that you can transition off living paycheck to paycheck and have more money to save each month.

You can connect your banking accounts to import your transactions. There are also many interactive goal planners, calculators, and charts to track financial progress.

YNAB offers a generous 34-day free trial to test drive its budgeting tools. An ongoing subscription costs $14.99 monthly or $99 annually ($8.25/month).

College students can enjoy a free 12-month membership before needing to pay. Read our full YNAB Review for more details.

👉 Try YNAB for free for 34 days

Tiller Money

Who Should Use It: Spreadsheet budgets and ultra-customization.

Tiller Money offers impressive capabilities as you can incorporate several budgeting strategies into your spreadsheet and link your banking accounts for automatic updates. The platform works with Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel.

A customizable budget spreadsheet can be one of the best alternatives to envelopes, as you have more control over the planning and tracking process. 

Using one of Tiller’s pre-built templates and automated syncing makes spreadsheet budgeting doable for many who prefer the guided approach of zero-based budgeting apps.

All users start with the pre-built Foundation Template. After the initial account setup, you can make up to 200 digital envelope categories for expenses and savings goals.

You can also use this software for other financial tasks, including tracking your net worth, small business accounting, and retirement planning. In addition, many community-made templates are a complimentary membership benefit.

This service is free to try for 30 days and costs $79 per year. Learn more in our Tiller Money Review.

👉 Try Tiller Money for 30 days free

EveryDollar

Who Should Use It: People who want a category-based budget and are Dave Ramsey fans.

EveryDollar lets you set your budget by assigning a spending limit for each budget category, although it uses a zero-based budgeting approach. This strategy is almost identical to envelope-based budgeting, requiring you to assign a spending or savings job to each dollar.

This app lets you easily track transactions and your current account balances from multiple devices. 

EveryDollar also offers the following features:

  • Bill due dates
  • Connects to bank accounts
  • Debt repayment planner
  • Split transactions across multiple budget categories
  • Write personal notes for each transaction (for future reference)

EveryDollar is free for the first 14 days before you roll into a monthly or annual plan. After that, you will pay $14.99 monthly ($179.88 per year) or $79.99 annually when billed upfront.  

Additionally, your app subscription includes a Ramsey+ membership (there is no longer a free version.) Other benefits include access to Financial Peace University and Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps.

Find out more in our EveryDollar Review.

Goodbudget

Who Should Use It: Free envelope budgeting and unlimited premium envelopes.

While the envelope budgeting system is a popular strategy, surprisingly, few apps specialize in this technique. Goodbudget is a worthy exception, offering free and paid envelope budgeting plans.

Free Goodbudget users enjoy these benefits:

  • Up to 20 envelopes
  • One year of history
  • One account
  • Connect two devices
  • Debt tracker
  • Community support

Goodbudget Plus members enjoy these premium perks:

  • Unlimited envelopes
  • Unlimited accounts
  • Seven years of history
  • Connect up to five devices
  • Email support

GoodBudget Plus costs $8 per month or $70 annually.

The platform also offers several self-paced online courses to help you learn more about budgeting and increase your money management skills.

Mint

Who Should Use It: People looking for a free budgeting app for simple budgeting.

One downside for many of the best budgeting apps is the fees. Thankfully, Mint is free and has impressive tools to track spending and make a basic budget.

For transparency, you’ll have to endure ads and recommendations for optional services on your screen. However, iOS users can upgrade to Mint Premium for $4.99 per month to remove the ads and access other nifty features like in-depth graphs, bill negotiation strategies, and games.

The app syncs with your banking and investment accounts, allowing real-time updates. You’re also able to make customizable budget categories and create savings goals. 

However, as Mint is free to use, the budgeting capabilities are relatively lackluster compared to most Mvelopes alternatives. With that said, it’s a good fit for casual budgeters who want to ensure they are not overspending and effortlessly track their spending by category.

While you cannot pay bills directly from the app, you can receive due date reminders, track cleared payments, and rate increases. Our Mint.com review has more information.

PocketGuard

Who Should Use It: College students and those wanting a free budget app.

PocketGuard offers these free and premium budgeting tools:

  • Budgeting: Set a spending limit for each category. Free users can create three budgets, Plus users have unlimited budget categories.
  • Account syncing: You can automatically import transactions by linking your bank accounts. It’s possible to manually upload transactions too.
  • Spending Insights: Track your category-based spending by list or pie chart. You can also break down your spending by specific merchant and exclude transactions.
  • Debt Payoff Plan: PocketGuard Plus users can use the debt snowball or debt avalanche to get out of debt sooner. 

This is one of the best budgeting apps for college grads, as it has many interactive and free tools. While it doesn’t offer pure envelope budgeting like Mvelopes, it’s a close alternative. 

The free version is pretty good and doesn’t display ads. However, I’d recommend upgrading to PocketGuard Plus if you’re a serious budgeter. You will pay $7.99 monthly, $79.99 annually, or $99.99 for a lifetime membership.

You can access this platform from a web platform or mobile app.

Printable Budget Worksheets

Who Should Use It: People who prefer pen-and-paper budgets instead of apps. 

One benefit of using money envelopes is physically tracking your remaining funds for each category and moving your cash as necessary. A digital-only budgeting app can be effective but loses some of this effect.

Instead, you may consider free printable budget worksheets. They can require more effort than using an app that links to your accounts and categorizes your transactions. However, being able to hand-write notes can keep you accountable and makes your budget seem more “real.”

For example, you may try the Kakeibo budgeting system, which lets you keep your spending plan in a paper journal. You will identify your basic expenses, make savings goals, and track your spending with weekly and monthly reviews.

If you love budgeting with envelopes, you may consider the 100 Envelope Challenge as an add-on to your regular system. This challenge can help you save $5,000 in 100 days. 

FAQs

Can Mvelopes users switch to EveryDollar?

Registered Mvelopes accounts will receive a special email offer to switch to EveryDollar. In addition, there is a 30-day trial period to test the new platform and decide if it’s the best Mvelopes replacement.
It’s also possible to receive a prorated refund if you don’t want to change budget software under this particular arrangement.

Is Mvelopes going out of business?

Unfortunately, Mvelopes permanently closes on December 29, 2022. However, it’s possible to save your Mvelopes data as a CSV file before the platform shuts down and export it into a replacement app.

Is there a free alternative to Mvelopes?

Goodbudget, Mint, and PocketGuard are the three leading free alternatives to Mvelopes. Of these three, Goodbudget offers digital envelopes, while the others offer different budgeting strategies.

Final Thoughts

Mvelope’s departure is unfortunate as it was one of the best envelope budgeting apps, and many long-time users are being forced to switch to a different platform. Thankfully, there are several similar options, and some offer improved customization via multiple budgeting methods. 

The best Mvelopes alternative depends on your budgeting needs, desired features, and pricing. Plenty of free and premium platforms are available and are easy to use.

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About Josh Patoka

After graduating in $50k with student loans in May 2008 from Virginia Military Institute with a B.A. International Studies and Political Science with a minor in Spanish (he studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain for 3 months), Josh decided to sell his soul for seven years by working in the transportation industry to get out of debt ASAP and focus on doing something else with a better work-life balance.

He is a father of three and has been writing about (almost) everything personal finance since 2015. You can also find him at his own blog Money Buffalo where he shares his personal experience of becoming debt-free (twice) and taking a 50%+ pay cut when he changed careers.

Today, Josh relishes the flexibility of being self-employed and debt-free and encourages others to pursue their dreams. Josh enjoys spending his free time reading books and spending time with his wife and three children.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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