No more mVelopes -- anyone have recommendations?

Howdy, folks! I have been MIA for months, afflicted by all kinds of complicated real life stuff and by a new game on my phone that eats my attention. In any case… For many years now (16 to be exact), DH and I have used mVelopes to track our expenses. I splurged and paid for a Lifetime Subscription way back when because it was quickly going to pay for itself, and did. However, they have decided to stop doin personal budgeting because they’ve got a more lucrative business dealing with commercial companies. So I am soon going to be without a budgeting tool.

While annoying, this is also a good opportunity for me and DH to refocus our budgeting system. We no longer really need to track every cent, and in fact we don’t. Instead, we want to track based on three groups:

  • “regular” expenses
  • major things (3 cars, 2 remodels, 1 really nice vacation in the next 5 years)
  • savings

At the same time, we do like being able to see all our transactions from the various streams that we have.

Anyone have recommendations for a system that will make sense to former mVelopes users and will cover those much broader things?

ThyPeace, this new place is weird but I kinda think it’s a good idea.

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I’m not totally familiar with mVelopes, but I’ve used many financial software apps throughout my career and find Quicken Premier to be really easy to use. What’s nice about it’s features today, is that you can connect Quicken up to your bank account (credit card accounts as well) to download the activity and then categorize the transactions into buckets that you define. It also tracks actuals to budget using the transactions.

If you also have an investment portfolio, it’ll track that as well. It’s a little work to set it all up, but once set up, it’s a push of a button to download and categorize all of the activity.

There are also really good report and “dashboard” features as well. There’s also a companion IOS app as well.

Have a look here →

Hope this helps!!


Since you’re no longer looking to track every penny, but want to see all of the transactions, I would suggest looking at It will download every transaction, and summarize them into categories. (I will say, you may have to muck around with the categories it codes things into a bit.) You can also get monthly/annual reporting on your spending. And it’s free, although they do keep pushing things like credit cards.

If you wanted to track every penny in a budget specific app, I’d suggest looking at You Need a Budget. But it’s a little pricy if you don’t really need to track every penny.



I could be wrong, but I think Quicken has moved to a subscription model, presumably just to irritate me.

Plus, it gets grumpy when you don’t link your accounts to it.

Being the cheap, paranoid curmudgeon that I am, I don’t like either of these.

So I, ahem, still use the (wait for it) “Quicken 2008 Starter Edition” I bought as a CD (remember those?) at Costco for $14.95 or so back in the day. The CD still lives in the back of a desk drawer, so when I replace my laptop every 6-8 years, I plug in my portable $19.95 CD ROM into the USB port, reinstall the software, and then download my most recent backup.

Some years ago, it gave up nagging me about linking accounts. About the only nags left are the reminder to back up if it’s been more than 2-3 days, and the annual suggestion that I change my password

It allows as many accounts as I want (HSA, checking, money market A, money market B…). The learning curve is modest, the search and report functions are terrific, and it’s as customizable as I need it to be. (Last time the plumber was here? How much have we spent thus far on or upcoming vacation? August electric bill seems high. How does it compare with the last three Augusts? All literally less than a minute away)

It has some graphey and forecasty things which I’ve never used.

Remarkably, it still plays well with my current machine (Windows 11)

Yes, I need to balance with paper statements. Once a month, typically less than 5 min/statement, essentially all point-and-click once you’ve told it your new balance.

If the CD died, my go-to move would be to buy a replacement on eBay or somewhere.

It’s the software equivalent of my 1995 4Runner. A little ugly, but fits so well I’m not looking around until forced to




Hello Mr. Sutton. You might want to check again if your software will load on a new computer. My experience was disappointing when I bought a new PC. I figured no problem. I have the Quicken disk and the key. All I have to do is load it on the new PC and I’m off and running. Guess what? It don’t work that way. I was forced into purchasing an annual subscription to Quicken. (Annual meaning you have to pay $70-$80 every year in order to have Quicken run on your PC).

Of course maybe your experience will be different than mine and you will be fortunate enough to get your CD to work on a new PC. I didn’t have such luck.




Thanks, @aj485 ! We already use TurboTax, so an Intuit product had an edge over the Quicken versions that were recommended. I signed up and connected my accounts last night, re-categorized transactions as necessary (you were right that it took some time, but it was still easier than with mVelopes), and have set up a stream of budgets for major categories. I would like a bit less detail in the budgets, but not enough that I’m going to reinvent all their categories.

Amusingly, their categories are very similar to the ones DH and I have used for many years, right down to “Kids Activities.” Quite intuitive, really.

My only wish so far is that I could tie more than one goal to a single account. I haven’t figured out how to really track more than one goal without yet more accounts, and I really don’t want more accounts. I also need to figure out how to tell it to remove two of the Fidelity accounts that it pulled in, as they are not my nor our money. (They’re DD’s UTMA accounts, which I still manage even though she’s 19. Then again she’s pretty disabled so I may be managing her stuff for a very long time.)

ThyPeace, pleased so far.

Anyone have recommendations for a system that will make sense to former mVelopes users and will cover those much broader things?

I’ve never used mVelopes so I can’t comment on that.

I am fairly spreadsheet savvy so I made a spreadsheet to cover the budgeting. Well really there are two:

  1. An accounts spreadsheet that tracks all transactions in the checking account and the various credit cards.
  2. A by-month budget that assigns each transaction to a category and subcategory pair.

The budget spreadsheet has a “surplus” tab that accounts for checking account money not committed to the monthly budgets. We gather extra funds there until we spend them or invest them. That might fit in with your “major things” category. I also track the savings account here, because it’s primary use is to gather funds for the annual property tax payment, and I use a little math to make sure we’re on track for that payment.

Since I made this spreadsheet, the categories and subcategories are whatever I want them to be. I do have data validation turned on to make sure each column has a legal value assigned.

It took a minute (or maybe a few hours?) to set up the first time, but once that initial development is done, you’re home free. I have the Microsoft Office suite at home anyway, so there was no additional cost for Excel.

Something to consider,




Thanks for the post. How do your transactions get recorded into Excel? Do you do the data entry of each transaction in each account you want to track, or does Excel actually download from / or import from your bank?


How do your transactions get recorded into Excel? Do you do the data entry of each transaction in each account you want to track, or does Excel actually download from / or import from your bank?

The data for the checking account and the main credit card, both with Wells Fargo, are downloaded as CSV files which Excel can open natively. I do a little light editing (giving things meaningful names, for example) and copy-paste the results. That’s 90% of the work. Not exactly automatic. I probably could automate the process better with some Visual Basic but I don’t want to.

We have some secondary credit cards that have few-to-no transactions per week and I just type those in manually if needed. I typically manually enter the savings account transactions as well, which most months just consists of updating the balance.



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I do love a solid excel analysis once in a while, but I don’t want to download from the multiple places where we have money and transactions every month. Mint is doing that nicely, though I do need to get DH’s accounts added in. And then simplify the budget categories because at this point, I really don’t need separate “utilities” and “groceries” budgets. They’re both going to get paid for.

Today’s expenditure is the kind I need to track though: $25k and change for a new-to-us 2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid. More than we had originally hoped to spend, and DH decided he wanted the extended warranty for peace of mind. All good because we can afford it. I got the sense that people walking in with a cashier’s check for the full amount wasn’t completely unheard-of, but was a little unusual.

ThyPeace, next is the $150k wall project to keep our house from sliding into the neighbor’s yard and the house above ours from sliding into our yard. All the hauling and heavy work has to be done by hand because of the layout of the neighborhood. And we live in one of those ridiculously high cost of living places. Fun stuff.

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Sounds like a good story for Building / Maintaining a Home:

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@sutton Ditto what ImAGolfer pointed out. I am also a long-term Quicken user and I used to think along the lines you described. My thinking was that because I don’t use the links to download data into my Quicken, there was really no need for me to regularly update my Quicken versions. However, this presented a problem some years ago when Quicken announced that my ancient version would no longer be supported by (what was then) the current version of Windows. I dutifully went and purchased (what was then) a current version of Quicken and installed it on my computer. HOWEVER, because that newer version of Quicken was several versions beyond my previous version, my old Quicken data folders did not automatically convert. Instead, I had to rummage the internet for a “patch” to bridge my old data to the newer version. It all worked out in the end, but it was a major hassle. And I lived a few days in total panic thinking that a decade of my history/data would be lost. I make a point now to purchase a newer version of Quicken about every 4-5 years to make sure that my data can be converted and transferred seamlessly.

Just a cautionary note based on my personal experience.


@ThyPeace . I have never used mVelopes or Mint. Although I understand how they generally work, I am not familiar with the specific features for either. However, I am a long-term user (and lover) of Quicken. Quicken has a feature called “tags” that allows you to attach a code to an entry/item. The tag code is separate from the “category” label. In the older versions of Quicken, I believe the “tag” feature was called a “class”. I use tags to track specific goals or events. For example, if am doing doing a bath remodel, I will create a unique tag code to track those costs. At the end of the year I can simply use the report feature to create a report for that “tag” item and it will pull up all entries, whether paid by cash, check or credit card, for that item (i.e., bath remodel, for example). I used this same tool/system to earmark funds intended for specific goals placed into a single savings account. So if money is deposited into a single savings account for some specific goal (i.e., new tv, new car or vacation), it receives a unique “tag” to identify and earmark those funds for that goal. Quicken allows me to pull up a report for the entire savings account but I can request it to subtotal by each unique tag (or goal). Perhaps Mint has some feature similar to what Quicken can offer? Otherwise you might consider switching if this is an important feature to you. The Quicken “tags” is really a great feature but I suspect it probably underutilized by many.


Thanks! I will play with Mint to see if anything similar is available. I can create unique budgets for specific things; that might help. I also really need to reduce the number of categories they use. While “Kids Allowances” and “Kids Clothes” used to be important to me, at this point “Kids” is probably general enough. Similarly, I don’t really need to track pharmacy, general, grocery, and hardware store shopping (or whatever) separately anymore though once I would have found it useful.

ThyPeace, fewer categories please.