Friday, March 6, 2009

Organizing Cash

I think the biggest key for me to keep our spending in check and our budget balanced is planning ahead. If I just look in the checkbook and see how much money is there, I might think I should not spend in one area or I may think I can spend more than I should in another area.
So now, I pretty much plan out all my spending. Bills get paid online. But I use cash for other spending. Putting a stack of cash in my billfold did not seem organized. Then I tried paper envelopes but they wear out very quickly.
I saw several cloth billfold systems on Etsy, and after a few attempts and using fabric I already had, I sewed up this system. I've been using it over a month and so far it is great.
I made 5 pockets that all can be removed and moved as needed. Mine are labeled
Gas - this is just for my car
Home -household, grocery items
Personal - stuff for me
Fun - eating out, movies, plays - whatever Jeff and I want to do
I also made another pouch with a zipper to hold change.
Jeff gets a separate amount of cash that he uses for his gas and personal spending but he does not use a cute fabric billfold for his like I do
The labels are just scraps of seam tape and I used rubber stamps for the letters.

So once a month, I pay bills on line and then figure out how much cash I need to put in each envelope. Then as the month goes on, I just spend from each envelope. I don't try to divide the change back out exactly, it all goes into the zippered pocket.

Last month, I spent most all the of the home, gas and personal funds. But the fun and gifts envelopes were still pretty full.

Jeff looked in the fun envelope this week and was surprised to see so much money in there. I think he is planning some fun activities for us this weekend - I am such a homebody, I rarely plan an outing so having the funds set aside should keep us more active.

And our budget is not so tight that if I do spend all my cash and still need things, I can write a check. This planning ahead is helping us save though. Even though I have not been employed for almost 2 months now, our checking and savings accounts balances are higher now than when I got my last paycheck.


  1. What a great idea! I have some friends who divide out their cash also, and they say it really helps.

  2. This is so clever. Thanks for visiting my blog. We lived in Texarkana before moving to Birmingham.

  3. You are so organized! The bags are extremely cute too. I once had a friend who got paid monthly and wanted to get paid weekly. So she divided her paycheck into 4 envelopes and used one a week. Maybe your dh would like some "manly" bags for his money. LOL

    Debbie J.

  4. I use an envelope system for our money too. I am using the paper envelopes, but your envelope system is so cute. Would you consider a tutorial on how you made it?

  5. What a great system. Cute too. :) I haven't found anything that works for me yet. Despite what system I have I still tend to overspend. *sigh*

  6. That's a super-cute idea and much prettier than paper envelopes.

    And yes, I can believe that you are saving more with being home. It's how we've managed to make it on a smaller income. It's amazing what can be saved when you don't have to be out and about so much.

    My focus is food and needs with few wants. I'm really trying to be very disciplined with it all.

  7. Too cute!! I posted about my homeade envelope system a few weeks back, but mine isn't nearly as cute as yours!

  8. The envelope system works! I wish I had too cute fabric pouches like you!!

  9. What a cute idea! I used to use the envelope system and you are right they do wear out. This is so much better!

  10. What a great Idea I have been budgeting like this too and using paper envalopes but will be making some of these soon!
    Thanks Cyndi

  11. Hi there, I stumbled over your blog and find it so warm and loving written. Surely I will visit again. Paula

  12. Love your pretty fabric envelopes! I do our budget in categories too, but have them in our online budget at I also have a little cash that I set aside for money to "blow". Your idea is probably easier. :)

  13. I like this! I, too, tried the envelope system but didn't like how ragged the paper envelopes became. I've been using a plastic coupon organizer, but yours is a lot prettier!

  14. We have been doing this for over 20 years. The key for us was deciding the amount every month and putting it into the budget. There is no variation in how much we get each month. We both tend to save most of our personal cash for bug purchases (my husband loves tools and I love to go see the grandchildren). When our kids were living with us- they too had envelopes.
    BTW- I credit this system with no mortgage and no car payments. We are saving for the next car- that envelope is on line and pretty full!

  15. Great system! I bet you could sell those!

    I came here from Like Merchant Ships. I put myself on a blogging vacation through the end of this week, which is leaving me with some free time to get out and explore other blogs... I'm glad yours was one of them! :)

  16. Excellent idea - the envelope system has been our staple budgeting system for quite some time, however our envelopes don't look nearly this nice!

  17. Wonder if I dropped a hint if my Mom might sew these for me??

  18. SO CUTE! I agree, a tutorial would be so nice! I have never seen anything like this. We use envelopes, but they are always tearing. This would solve that problem. I am posting a link to this post on my blog (I post links on Monday, so 4/6 will have the link). :D Thanks for the post!


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