Cash Envelope System

Cash Envelope System

A few days ago I shared that my husband and I are currently taking the Financial Peace University classes at our church. Part of Dave Ramsey’s system is to start using cash for as much as you can, at least during the beginning. At first I saw it only has a major inconvenience. However, I will say that it really does make sense and it really does work. People tend to have more of an emotional connection to cash and it makes it harder to part with. It hurts! Our first time eating out using cash was a new experience for sure. After the kids and my husband figured out what they wanted, I was calculating how much I could spend for my meal and still have money to cover taxes and tip. But that wasn’t the only thing that hurt. The food was mediocre at best and the service was even worse. It REALLY hurt to hand over our hard earned cash for that. It left an impression for sure.

Grocery Cash Envelope System

Now the FPU class includes a Dave Ramsey cash envelope system, but I tend to be quite girly at times. I’ve found that I use things more often when they’re girly and pretty. I got the inspiration for this system from Mom Needs a Clone over on YouTube. I followed her instructions on how to make these really nice cash envelopes and it couldn’t have been easier. You can watch her video on that here. She also sells these envelopes in her Etsy shop for those who don’t have the time or desire to make their own. I already had most of the material on hand so I decided to make my own.

Hair Cash Envelope System

I took a dry erase marker and wrote the amount for each envelope on the back. You can use permanent marker if you like; it will wipe off with a cleaner. I chose a dry erase marker for now because I’m still working on some of the amounts. Cash Envelope System

Here’s a quick look at several of the envelopes I have. My husband thinks that I have too many options, but that’s just the type of person I am. Some people only do envelopes for the big items like groceries and eating out. I’m a type A person that likes to be overly organized. It’s one of my strengths, and weaknesses. I have all of my envelopes in my binder for now, but some will be moved to our safe later. These sinking funds will start adding up and I don’t want to carry around all of that cash. Here’s a list of my many envelopes:

Meals Out
Date Night
Family Night
Kids Allowance
Hair Cuts
Dry Cleaning
Tags & Registration
Oil Changes
Auto Maintenance
Household Items

I don’t have an envelope for our blow money (or allowance) or our tithing. We keep our blow money in our wallets and I shared a few days ago that I keep our tithes in my spiritual binder.

Date Night Cash Envelopes

Have you done the cash envelope system for your family? If so, what are some of your tips and tricks that helped you stay on track and on budget??

Don’t forget to check out these similar posts!

Financial Peace University

Financial Peace University

Spiritual Binder

Spiritual Binder

Financial Peace University

Financial Peace University

My husband and I have been taking classes since the beginning of April for the Financial Peace University. For those not familiar with FPU it is a 9 week course designed by Dave Ramsey. Dave built a million dollar business in his early 20s and then lost it all. Since then he has built another million dollar company teaching people how to not follow in his earlier footsteps. He takes you step by step on how to get rid of your debt and build your wealth, all without any get rich quick schemes. I have read his Total Money Makeover book before and was familiar with his 7 Baby Steps before signing up for the class.

The Total Money Makover

However, I was skeptical to take the class at first. I was curious to see if it would teach me anything new about his process that his book didn’t already cover. I can say that it definitely does. But more importantly, it was good to get my husband in the class and participating. The group discussions are extremely beneficial since they help show you how everyone has tackled their financial situations differently. The class is Scripture based, but I really would recommend it for anyone and everyone. If you’re not religious, there’s still a lot of useful take aways. Since taking this class, my husband and I are feeling optimistic and peaceful about our financial futures. It’s amazing to be able to pay for any emergencies that pop up and recently we paid cash in full for my husband’s car. It’s an amazing feeling!!

Check out these amazing posts!

Budget Piggy Bank

This Thing Called a Budget

Cleaning Schedule

Cleaning Schedule 

A New Journey for a New Year

Another chapter has closed in our lives and we are bracing ourselves for the new adventures ahead in the upcoming year. My family ended 2016 with many changes around us, but perhaps the biggest change was my husband’s promotion and transfer at work. Last month, my family moved from Ohio to Charlottesville, Virginia.

Charlottesville Virginia

With this move, we’ve encountered many challenges. The first challenge was finding a tenant for our home in Ohio….in three months….during the holidays. Needless to say, this is still an ongoing challenge. This also caused another challenge in our life. Due to the financial strain of paying rent and a mortgage, we decided to downsize once we got to Virginia. This hasn’t been so much a hardship challenge because I’ve been slowly becoming more drawn to a minimalist lifestyle. However, my husband is a pack rat who apparently has an emotional attachment to everything he has ever own. And I mean EVERYTHING! It’s a slow process, but we’re getting there.

Another obstacle that we ran into was the preschool system here in Virginia. In Ohio, my youngest was going to preschool four days a week at minimal cost to us. However, the public preschools here are only for children with learning disabilities, while the private preschools cost an arm and two legs! I knew my daughter was going to be crushed. She loved being a big girl and going to school with her big brother every day. So after a lot of thinking and praying on the matter, I’ve decided to home school her. I’ll be sure to share my struggles and mishaps with that journey as we go along.


Possibly the biggest challenge I’ve faced personally with our move, is having to transfer my new personal training business. When I started IMT Fit Life I had the notion that we would be staying in Ohio for several more years so I was planting my roots, so to speak. I was training a few clients, working on programs for several different organizations, and making new connections daily. And then I had to walk away from it all. It was definitely disheartening to say the least.

But when one door closes, another door opens. That’s how the saying goes. We’ve closed the door to 2016 and our lives in Ohio. We have begun our new adventures here in Virginia and what a better time for new adventures than the New Year. And I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to share as we continue through these challenges and great adventures!


Shenandoah National Park

What’s in my Book Nook?

Whatever Wednesday Blog Series

As part of my 101 Things in 1,001 Days challenge, I stated that I wanted to read 40 books all the way through. I have a terrible habit of starting a book and never finishing it; a good majority of my books have book marks placed half way through them. I don’t know if I have reading ADHD or if I just get bored. So I’ve made it my mission to actually finish what I pick up, especially since I’m actually in several book club groups and have a Goodreads account. Here’s a list of books that I either have on my bookshelf at home, in my Kindle reader, or that are part of my book club that I’m attempting to read. Have you read of these books yet?

This Thing Called a Budget…

Ok, so here’s some harsh reality about me. I hate budgets and I’m a big over spender! I would think with my background that I would be really good at living frugally since my grandparents and parents had too. But I suppose I went the other direction and now I’m really kicking myself in the butt. My parents made sure that I knew you had to work for money and how to balance my checkbook. Too bad though that I didn’t get many lessons on saving or even investing. Well, I’ve decided to take back the financial control and have put my family on a tight budget, especially since I’m no longer working outside of the home.

Budget Piggy Bank

I’ve had some help throughout the years on working with a budget. I’ve never really stuck with it but at least I knew where to start. I did however get really motivated after reading Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover”. You can find a copy of it here on Amazon. It went over a few topics that I already knew about but it introduced me to a few ideas that were new to me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious on money management. But here’s a quick review of my budget. (You can click on the picture for a better view.)

Budget Example

I took one of the budgets that was worked up for me at a workshop and did some editing. I have all the deposits at the tops. I put in a place for additional deposits that we may get such as bonuses and taxes. I have formulas throughout the spreadsheet so all of my calculations are done for me. Since we get paid twice a month, I decided to break our budget down to those paychecks. This helps me keep better track of what bills are due on what check and my grocery & gas expenses. Now, I don’t put money aside every month for yearly expenses such as car tags and Christmas shopping. I’m usually putting quite a bit of extra money on payments so when something arises, I just take some money from another payment. It’s just what has always worked for me. (For Christmas shopping, I add in a budget line from October to December. I will then allot a certain amount of money for Christmas and by spreading it over a few months makes it easier to manage.)

You will also notice that I have a projected and actual spending column for each pay period. When I made this budget, I was able to go back to my bill journal and see what our utility expenses were in the previous years. This allowed me to get a good estimate on what we would be looking at this year. At the end of the month, I can compare what I projected to spend versus what I actually spent to see where I need to make adjustments.

Budget Example

In the Personal section, you will see that I do allot us an allowance. This may seem weird, but this little amount helps keep us on track. We each get a certain amount of money that we get to spend any way we want with no questions asked. We also know that when that money is gone then it’s gone. It definitely keeps my impulse shopping in check. I also budget a little bit of money for meals out as a family. It’s usually enough for one nice sit down dinner or a few runs at a drive through. It all depends on what we’re in the mood for.

 Budget Example

Now for the highlighted portion above. The numbers in the first column is the order in which I plan on paying off our debts. There are usually two options when planning out your snowball effect plan. Most people pay off their debts in order of their highest interest rates. I did this for a long time. I was told at one of my first budgeting workshops that paying off debt that way was the most beneficial because you would save hundreds of dollars in interest payments. Sounds logically, right? Well, I failed many times when I attempted my budget this way, until I read Dave Ramsey’s book. Remember me mentioning that earlier?? This is why I was failing, it can take longer to pay off the higher interest debts and then you (I) will lose your motivation. You keep slugging away and you seem to get nowhere fast. Now, I pay off our smaller balances first. This helps the motivation because you can start crossing off items from your budget earlier. If you keep seeing results, you’ll stay motivated.

In my second column you’ll see that I do keep track of out interest rates. I do this mainly to keep track of rate increases, or if I have two similar balances then I would choose the debt with the higher rate. The third column is the balance that we owe as of that month. You can’t see it in the shot, but I do have the balances added at the bottom. I originally had them together as one subtotal, but as of last night I added in subcategory totals (mortgage, student loans, vehicles, etc.). This is just a way for me to get a quick snap shot of what we owe and where.

Quick Budget Tips

  1. Start simple. Don’t get overly fancy or make it too difficult for yourself.
  2. Make sure you budget yourself some allowance or free money. You are more likely to slip up if you are TOO restrictive.
  3. Remember that budgets are not written in stone. Review your previous months and make changes as necessary.
  4. Cut up your credit cards or put them in a locked safe. GET THEM OUT OF YOUR WALLET. You can’t use it while your out shopping if it’s locked up at home.


This is my  “quick” budget review and I can go into even more detail in another blog post if you would like. Just let me know in the comments below. I hope you found something helpful here and if you have any suggestions on how I can improve my budget then I would love to hear from you!!