5 years ago, my husband and I decided that we were done using credit cards, and switch to using cash and our debit card.
|Our cash envelope wallet.|
We were trying to get out of debt, control our spending, and simply of financial life.
For us, the envelope system means that we use cash to pay for the majority of the things we purchase through out the month.
Here is how our system works:
We withdrawal cash twice a month, on the 1st and 15th. On the first, withdrawal pull cash for the following categories for the month:
Groceries: Self explanatory
Entertainment/Eating Out: Restaurants, concerts, events, ect.
Pet Supplies: Treats, brushes, food, ect.
Dry Cleaning: Self Explanatory
Home Goods: HBA, Cleaning Supplies, Toilet Paper, ect
Gas: Have to keep the tank full
Fun Money: The money my husband and I get to spend however we please.
At the beginning of the month, we put a set amount into each envelope, and that is all we get to spend for that month on that item. (Barring an emergency of course).
We have found that if we are more likely to spend more money when we don’t use cash, so this is a really good technique that we have found to help us stay on or under budget.
For some reason, for us, me especially, when I use plastic, even my debit card, it does not register that I am spending money. But, when I have to pull out those green dollar bills every time I shop, and I see my envelopes getting thinner and thinner, I think twice about what I buy. Which is why I because such a fan of using coupons.
On the 15th, we do our second withdrawal. This time, the money we pull from our account may not be used on a monthly basis, so we it will continue to grow if not used. At this withdrawal, we pull money for:
Christmas: We save a set amount each month all year, so that when December comes, we get to spoil the people we love presents!
House: This is for house decorating, minor home improvement projects, furniture savings, ect.
Car: For car maintenance like new tires, oil changes, ect,
Fun Money: A second disbursement of blow money for each of us.
My husband and I each get $40.00 a month in fun money to do whatever we want with. ($20.00 every two weeks) This can be used to eat out, buy a purse, buy shoes, buy make up, buy books, well, that’s what I do with my money.
Finally, at the end of the month, we combine all the cash we have left from the first withdrawal, and as a bonus for staying under budget we each get 10% as a little end of month bonus. The rest gets put into our spontaneous fund that we use as spending money when we buy things for a party we host, or extra spending money when we go on vacations out of town, or for a special night out.
Using cash helps us stay on or under budget, and simplifies our end of month account reconciliations, because there is a lot less activity in our checking account.
This system works great for us. For some, it may not be feasible, and may be easier to use some other system. Doing this motivates us to stay disciplined and encourages us to come in under budget each month.
Tell Me: Are you on the envelope system? How does it work for you? How do you budget and track your different expense categories?