Budgeting Series – Cash

October 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

The most effective way we have ever been able to stay on a budget is taking everything we are planning to spend out in cash.  If it is not a bill that will be paid with a check or electronically, it is in cash.  Then it is divided up into these cute envelopes I made to fit my unique purse just right.

I have an envelope for each category on the expenses list from the budget spreadsheet
Here is the purse I designed them for. I have three slots like the one shown above, I usually carry around no more than 6 envelopes, 2 per slot.

Using cash makes payday fun.  It is fun to count out and makes separate piles of real money in front of you.  Sure I like organization, but it can’t just be me that likes to count money.

I didn’t realize until I started using cash how easy it is to keep track of how much money you have left in each category. I made another envelope that is labeled “next week.” This is for when I make an online purchase, or for some reason or another had to use my debit card.  When I can’t use cash, the equivalent amount is still set aside in cash to use in the next pay periods budget.  If you do this you have put the cash in the envelope right away so you don’t accidentally spend it and then go over budget.

Now it is important to try and keep the rule of when you are out of money in, for example, clothes, than you are out.  No more buying clothes for that pay period.  However, a bit of leniency is ok if you need to borrow from another category if absolutely necessary.  As long as you are still using the cash you took out you are still within your budget.  If you find you are constantly having to borrow money from another category to get, for example, food, than maybe you need to go in to your budget that is on paper and put a little more in the food category and subtract a bit from whatever other category the money is being taken from.  Remember if the budget is going to stay balanced, and the amount increases in one area, it needs to decrease in another.

If you like this envelope design, you can download a Free Template and the blank labels.


  1. In the print dialog box make sure the image is not scaled to fit in any way.
  2. Print labels and envelope on your favorite scrapbook paper or heavy card stock, or print one envelope template and trace onto your heavy paper.
  3. Write category names on labels, then cut out and glue labels BEFORE you cut out envelope to make the top cut of envelope match the label.
  4. Cut out envelope
  5. fold up bottom flap along line, then each side flap. Use a hard edge to crease the paper well.
  6. Glue bottom and sides together, careful not to spread glue to the inside of envelope so pocket will stay intact

The envelopes are a bit snug on the money. I got a technique for getting the cash in there quickly. I squeeze the sides of the envelope with one hand and then, using my index finger and thumb push the money down.

Happy Budgeting!


Entry filed under: Budgeting.

Fun with Family Budgeting Series – Our Budget Template

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