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Here’s the easiest DIY cash envelope system out there. You don’t have to have any sewing skills to make this either. Save money and get organized!
Several years ago I took a class that changed the trajectory of my life. A bit dramatic? Maybe. But I honestly cannot think of a single class that has influenced more decisions in my life to date.
The name of the class was Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey, and I took it with my then boyfriend (now husband). Both of us were interested in getting our finances in order, and I desperately needed a budget.
I know, who says that? But I had lived too long with the philosophy that budgets were not for me because I didn’t make enough money. (Don’t ask me where I got that idea; I do know it was influenced by my many attempts to force my small salary into traditional budget templates. If you’ve ever tried to do that, you know how depressing that can be.)
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Anyway, we took the class and graduated with a new perspective on finances. And to this day, I am so very grateful that we have a terminology to refer to when we talk about money. Neither one of us has to preach to the other about “what Dave said”; we just work the plan.
Now, to be honest, in our situation of paying back a large student loan debt, we have tweaked the plan a bit. And since I’m a stay-at-home mom, we have had to make some significant budget changes to make everything work.
But we’re doing the thing, and that is amazing to me. If you had told me ten years ago that I would be a budget girl, I would never have believed you. Budgets and cash envelopes were too complicated and stressful. Little did I know that a budget works for you and takes the stress away!
But enough of this rambling. You came here for a cash envelope tutorial, didn’t you? Part of Dave Ramsey’s system is to pay cash for everything. This idea isn’t new—my parents have been doing this for years—but putting it into practice was new to me. Initially, we dutifully labeled business sized envelopes and put our monthly allocations into them. This practice lost its luster as I tired of carrying around 15 envelopes in my purse (not to mention how sad they began to look!)
I eventually bought a plastic mini folder for coupons that I transformed into my cash envelope system, and that served me well. That is, until I saw my mom’s system last month. She uses a small zipper pouch and cut up an old Christmas card for her dividers. Seriously? I couldn’t believe how simple her system was and was excited to try it out for myself.
Make Your Own Cash Envelope System
You will need:
A zippered pouch (This cute pencil case has an additional pocket for coins.)
Card stock (I used one gorgeous page from Flow magazine’s book for paper lovers)
*Optional: Laminator + one laminating pouch
Okay, this system is as easy as it gets. Choose your paper and cut slightly larger than your cash. Label the top of each slip of paper with the allocation name (i.e. “groceries”, “gas”, etc.)
At this point, you can place your dividers and money into the zippered pouch. Or you can laminate the dividers so they will last longer. I LOVE my laminator, and I only had to use one laminating pouch for the dividers. (Be sure to keep an eye on Amazon for this laminator as it tends to go on sale regularly. We only paid $17 for ours, and it came with a set of laminating sheets!)
This simple project allows you to organize your cash so you don’t have to carry around ten or more different envelopes or a huge coupon wallet. Yay!
I honestly can’t believe it took me this long to realize there was a better way to do the cash envelope system. Leave it to my creative mom to come up with this idea! (Thanks, mom!)
I loved this post. First, because it’s an
easy way to get out of the credit card trap.
Secondly, after using this method for
Years, it gives the immediate visual of the current financial situation! Money not spent is tucked into a special envelope for extras in our house!
Thanks for much for your comment! 🙂 You’re so right–seeing what I actually have to spend for the month does make me pause. And it is fun when there are extras left over! 🙂 You’re such an inspiration to me. 🙂 🙂
This is a great idea! I don’t often carry around cash, but when I do this would be a perfect little gadget
I think you’ll like it! Doesn’t take up too much room in your purse & you can customize it with any paper design that makes you feel happy! 🙂 🙂 Have a great day, Beverley!
We are on again, off again cash envelope users. I actually made zipper pouches out of duck tape that are super fun. It would be easy to add dividers to them too! So far, we are using our grocery pouch this month. We’ll see if it sticks;0)
I love that idea to make pouches out of duck tape! I used to make mini wallets out of packing tape over papers that I liked. Too fun. 🙂 Dividers really help me to remember what’s what, that’s for sure! Thanks for stopping by!
I don’t ever carry cash but seeing your design makes me want to. 🙂 Thank you for linking up with Thursday Favorite Things!
You’re so sweet! Thanks for your comment. 🙂
We’ve done a cash system here and there. It helps with garage sales so we don’t overspend. Love your cash envelope. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty
Jennie, Love this and Dave Ramsey! We are on a mission to pay off our home in 5 years…..and a debt free scream on the show! I listen every night on the way home from soccer practice with my daughter. What an education she is getting. Thanks for sharing #HomeMatters Linky Party this week. I hope that you will be back this week! Rhonda
Oh, that will be so awesome, Rhonda! I’m so glad that you listen to Dave with your daughter; I wish I had listened to my parents when I was younger concerning debt, even “good” debt like student loans. She’s going to be one step ahead which is always good. 🙂
I’ve never tried the cash envelope system, but I keep hearing good things about it! I love how easy this system seems! Thanks for sharing at Creative Spark – yours was the most-clicked link last week! Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow at 6am EST 🙂
It really is an easy system, once you get the hang of it. I used to think it was really difficult too but you really make it your own, which I love. 🙂 That is so cool that it was the most-clicked link last week! ::blush:: That made my day! 🙂 🙂
This is awesome! I use cash envelopes, but lately have been wanting something different than envelopes (cuter and lasts longer). There are some people who sell cute pouches but that is an expense which doesn’t fit into my budget. However, making your own… I could do this!
You could! Keep an eye out for cute pencil cases at Target’s dollar spot or if you’re like me, maybe you already have some. 🙂 Have fun! 🙂
I love this idea and will definitely be giving it a try. What do you do with the coins you get as change from purchases? Thanks!
Thanks, Janice! I have a little coin purse that I use for change and for cards like my license. 🙂
I LOVE the zipper pouch you show, where is it from? I do not currently use a cash budget, i try and keep track with my credit cards, but I may try this out, especially if I have such a cute pouch like you. Who doesn’t need to save more money.
Thanks so much, Robin! I believe I found that zipper pouch at the dollar spot at Target way back when. That’s a great place to get them; I’d also check the school supplies section for super cute pouches. 🙂
This is such a great idea! I definitely look forward to make one of this. Thanks for sharing Jennie!
You’re welcome, Amanda! Have a great day! 🙂
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