I am a strong believer in the cash envelope system. It works great for our family. But I also know that is not the case for everyone. You may not want to use cash but love the envelope system concept. Fortunately, there is a program you can use that marries your desire to use plastic with the discipline of a cash envelope budget.
When it comes to managing your money, spending and trying to get out of debt, there are many programs and apps out there. But, not all of them can do everything. That means one app for your budget, another for trying to get out of debt and then yet another for managing your spending.
ProActive does it all. You can manage your money, spending, budgeting, and debt payoff – all from one simple to manage app! But, before you jump in and download it, make sure you read this honest review. That way, you’ll know what to expect!
What is ProActive?
ProActive combines the beauty of shopping with plastic and the discipline of cash envelopes. The system ensures that you never overspend – ever! Just like with cash, when the envelope is empty, you are done shopping!
What is the cash envelope budget?
A cash envelope budget is what it sounds like. Rather than using plastic to shop you get cash and place the budgeted amounts into envelopes. For example, if your budget for food is $200 a paycheck, then you get cash and place $200 in an envelope earmarked for groceries.
When you grocery shop, you use only the cash in the envelope. That is all you have available to spend. It is impossible to overspend. If there is only $20 left then that means you can’t spend $22. There is not enough money there.
It is a system that works very well for people who want to better manage and control spending.
How does it work?
Once you sign up and create your account, you will get a ProActive branded debit card. When you are ready to spend, you use the ProActive card. But, before you can swipe, you have to let the app know which envelope the money needs to come from. That way, you always stay on budget and don’t spend more than you should.
Add funds to your account
When you get paid, review your budget. Pay the bills that are due. What you have left over is what you have left to spend on everything else on your budget. It will include items such as clothing, household items, personal care and beauty, groceries, entertainment, dues, etc.
You will go into the app and click the “+” icon. That starts the transfer from your bank account to your ProActive debit card.
Allocate the money to your virtual envelopes
Once the funds are deposited, you have to assign an amount to each category (a.k.a. envelope). Review the budget to see what you have available to spend.
Shop as usual (but pay with the ProActive card)
You can’t swipe your card until you have told the card which category (or envelope) the money should come from. Simply open the app and click the spend category. Then you can swipe.
If there is not enough money left in the category to cover your purchase, it will be declined. That makes it impossible to overspend.
The smart way to use ProActive
As parents, we teach our kids. They need to know how to take care of themselves, cook, clean and do other things around the house. But, it seems that financial responsibility is one that gets overlooked.
One thing that ProActive allows is for you to add your kids and teach them how to manage their own money. You can put funds on their account and they too can set up categories. And, just like mom and dad, they have to select the category before they spend so they are not spending more than they should either.
ProActive not only teaches your kids how to use a debit card, but also the financial responsibilities that go along with it. And, it is in an environment that both mom and dad can see (and control).
Who is ProActive a fit for?
Just like with every other app or budget system there is never a one-size-fits-all system. That means this may not work for you. If you love your credit card for the rewards then this will not work for you. You can’t attach a credit card and use this program.
But, if you struggle to try to manage your money and spending then you really need to get this app. It makes it impossible to overspend and helps you learn how to think about every purchase you make. You may not need to use it forever as you will become disciplined.
What does it cost?
When you sign up, ProActive will give you a 15-day trial. They want to make sure it is a fit for you before they make you pay. Then, if you love it, you continue at $5.75 a month (paid annually, so $69). You can add a second user for $29 a year and even add your kids for just $24 each.
What happens if I forget my phone?
It happens. We leave our phones behind. In that case, it is important that you always have an alternative payment method handy, such as your bank debit card, credit card or cash.
If your goal is to get out of debt, you have to first start with your budget and spending. If you don’t do that, you will never achieve your goals. ProActive is one tool that helps you every step of the way.