5 TIPS for using the CASH ENVELOPE SYSTEM
If you’ve taken to Pinterest or Google to search “How to Budget?” You’ve likely come across alllll kinds of information about using a cash envelope system as well. And I have to say, in my personal experience, the CASH ENVELOPES SYSTEM has been the most effective way for our family of 7 to stay and budget - and even SAVE some money each month!!
Because I really believe in using the cash envelope system to make your budget work, I wanted to share 5 things to remember that will help you on your budgeting path!
1. Get an actual budget in place before you start using cash envelopes
I will eventually write a post on how we budget our money (a single income supporting 7 people), but for now, a quick overview👍🏻.
We use a zero-sum or zero-based budget, this is the kind of budget that Dave Ramsey recommends. Basically, you figure out how you will spend/use every single dollar of your income.
Since I love to plan- this is super fun for me since we have to essentially plan out how we will use every single dollar.
I can certainly appreciate that not everyone is going to love budgeting, it can definitely be scary! But after the first few months, you’ll begin to get the hang of it.
Before you can start effectively using the cash envelope system, you’ll want to have your budget figured out.
2. Figure out what Budget Items you will use to pay cash with
We have several items, mostly bills, that we do not use cause envelopes for. Other items like Grocery, gas, restaurants, and our personal “fun money” all go into an envelope.
This is a step where you’ll have to decide what you plan to use all the cash for and what you won’t. It’s totally whatever makes the most sense to you👍🏻!
3. Plan out exactly what Bill denomination you will need
I can totally see how this may seem a bit over the top in planning this whole cause envelope stuff out. But it makes a big difference when you sit down to actually fill your envelopes to have the right bills to go in each of the envelopes.
You don’t want to have to break a $20 from your grocery fund to get $1’s for your "fun money” envelope. I promise it will feel better to have all those envelopes ready to use if you figure out your bill denominations ahead of time!
4. Get your Money out right after payday!
This is one thing that has killed us in the past. If I don’t go get the cash right after payday, we are very likely to run to the store a couple of times early in the month. Then I’ll go get the wrong amount of cash out because I would have already planned out how much we needed from the paycheck.
It’s a pain, so learn from my mistakes and go get your cash as soon as you can!!
5. Write down everything!!
Honestly, I think this adds a whole additional level of accountability to yourself. It’s very easy to get your cash out, stuff all your envelopes, but end up not knowing what you have in each envelope or even where the money that you spent went. Which ultimately can lead to you running out of funds before your next paycheck! Booooooo!!!
I just use cash trackers taped on to basic envelopes to make this step part of our whole cash envelope routine. To make it even easier for you to get started, I’ve created some printable cash envelopes that will have the trackers printed right on them!
You can just print however many you need for each of the categories you figured out above! To get your printable cash envelope just head over to the Printables Resource Library to get your free Printable PDF Cash Envelopes!!