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How To find the Best Cash Envelope Wallet
You’ve decided it is time to go big or go home with your saving goals. You’ve read all the studies and know that using cash is the best way to actually save money.
Now comes the fun part. Putting your dreams into reality.
I’ve found that the only way I can consistently stick with using cash is to use a cash envelope wallet. It sounds crazy, but having the right wallet makes all the difference when you are trying to stick with an all-cash spending plan.
If you are reading this post then you have most likely already learned about cash budgeting and know the basics to help you become successful. If not, check out this post.
Since you already know you are ready to use a cash envelope system, let’s get down to the fun stuff.
What to look for in a Cash Envelope Wallet?
Okay, let’s be blunt here, the best wallet is one that you will actually use. Meaning it has to fit in your purse, is easy to use and matches the look and feel of your life.
I’ve used a lot of wallets over the years and if it is the wrong shape or size to fit easily in my purse it doesn’t get used. If it isn’t a color that brings me joy it isn’t going to get used. So take the time to find a cash wallet that works for you and the system you are already using.
What is the best cash envelope system wallet?
If you are looking for an all-in-one cash envelope system for budgeting the Conscious Wallet is perfect. Think of it as a cross between a cash wallet and a planner.
It comes with 12 removable cash envelopes plus budget sheets to help you track each of your envelopes. The envelopes include labels and each of them has a different color/design to make grabbing the right envelope easy.
I love the fact that the envelopes are removable. I don’t like carrying all my cash with me at once, so being able to control how many envelopes I have with me helps keep me on track.
It has RFID blocking to keep your personal information safe.
It is larger than a standard wallet, so keep size in mind if this is an issue for you.
One of the top cash envelopes that always makes it on the list is the SavvyCents Cash Wallet System. I love it because it is nice and roomy and has extra pockets for other cards like gift cards and store rewards programs. It has a nice little coin purse and plenty of room for a few extras.
My favorite feature is their simple indexing system to keep your money organized in the right categories. It comes with preprinted and blank labels to make cash spending super simple. It also zips closed to keep all your money inside!
It is also a wristlet, so if you are trying to ditch the purse it is a great way to keep your routine minimal.
It comes in a wide variety of fun colors and the price is very economical.
If you are going for the classic style, I love the Bella Taylor Microfiber Cash System Wallet. It just has the look and feel of a nice classy wallet.
The Bella Taylor Wallet has 8 cash envelope slots with customizable label inserts for each of your budget cateries. The money section has a zipper and then the card area has a close-over snap.
It also has 6 card slots, two window ID slots, and a spot for your checkbook or register. It is a well-designed snazzy-looking cash wallet.
The Solight is an all-in-one budgeting/wallet system. It includes budget sheets and envelopes all of which are removable and easy to access.
The wallet itself is made of high-quality PU leather and has tons of room to store your cards, coins, coupons, and envelopes. The budget envelopes are laminate coated which makes them very durable. They all have different patterns and include labels to make them super easy to locate.
The envelopes measure 6.6″x3.5″ and have a secure closure so your money won’t fall out.
The budget trackers sheets make it easy for you to track your spending and a coin purse is included for all of your change.
What Categories Should You Use For Cash Envelopes?
This is a very subjective question. It all depends! Personally, I use it for the following categories:
- Groceries – I can’t believe how much money I save when I use cash envelopes for grocery shopping. When I use my credit card I always, always spend more money.
- On a side note, I’ve started using grocery pick-up for 50-60% of my shopping. Although it is a bit more complicated I’ve found that by scheduling out my trips I’m able to continue to save money on food while still being able to enjoy the convenience of grocery pickup.
- Clothing – This was always a budget buster for me. Since I’ve switched to cash, I’ve consistently beaten my budget on clothing every month. It is a lot harder to give up cash for clothing that I don’t really need.
- Date Night – My husband and I always do date nights with cash. It saves us a ton of money and means we are no longer running around at the end of the night trying to find cash for the babysitter.
- Personal Money – This is my fun money! I love having my fun money in cash. I sometimes struggle to spend money on myself and having it in cash helps me get over my spending issues. I know it sounds weird, but it works for me.
- Kid Fund – I keep a small amount of money set aside for fun things for my daughter. This way I don’t feel guilty if I find a great deal on craft supplies or clothing and want to spend it on her.
- Dining Out/Lunches – Our dining out fund was out of control until we started using cash. It literally has saved us hundreds of dollars each year by making this one small change to our spending habits.
- I keep a separate envelope for lunches. Since I mainly work from home, this isn’t a huge expense, but I do like having a small budget for meeting friends occasionally.
What I don’t include in my cash envelopes
- Gas – I’m just too lazy to unbuckle a 4-year-old and cart her into the gas station in 100+ degree weather. If anything I actually save money by paying at the pump and avoiding the amazing donuts inside. I consider it a financial and health win!
- Semi-regular expenses – I pay for stuff like vehicle maintenance, school fees, random miscellaneous expenses, and my bi-monthly Costco runs.
- Daycare/Preschool fees – Technically I can pay this with cash, but since it is the same amount and I’m lazy, I have it set up for auto payment.
- Large purchases – Any large purchases I prefer to pay via credit card. I like the protection it offers and the points add up very quickly.
Using cash is a great way to save money, but you also need to look at your purchasing patterns and see what works for you. For example, I don’t make large purchases without very carefully reviewing my budget and speaking with my husband. It just isn’t an area of concern to me. But you better believe I go into Target with cash in hand. It is too easy to overspend in certain environments.
How do you start a cash envelope system?
It is super, super simple!
You literally just have to make the decision to go cash. Once you are written up your budget, calculate how much money you need for each category, and then add the required cash to your envelopes.
When I first started using cash I did my cash budget every two weeks when I got paid. I’ve simplified things now and typically refill my cash envelopes every month.
When I first started I also gave myself a lot of grace. I put an extra $20-40 in each category just in case I miscalculated. Any extra money I had got transferred to my personal spending money which really helped me stay honest with myself.
One thing I do recommend is not keeping all of your cash in your envelopes. This is done for two reasons, first, you don’t want to lose a bunch of cash if your wallet gets stolen. The second reason is that when you get started you are going to be tempted to overspend. If the money isn’t there it is pretty hard to overspend.
Remember once you have spent all of the money in your envelope for the month it is time to stop spending!
If you run into an emergency situation then you need to be disciplined enough to find another solution. If that won’t work then you need to shuffle money from another category and decrease spending in that area.
I remember having some expensive car repairs a few years ago. We didn’t want to dip into our emergency fund, so we canceled date nights for a month, cut our grocery and dining out spending, and made it through. It was a tough month, but the satisfaction from knowing we did it, made it all worth it.
After that month, we knew that we could stick with a budget and actually meet our financial goals of getting out of debt.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Cash Envelope Wallet
You Will Save Money
I know that sounds like a strong statement, but you will save money. There are a gazillion studies out there that all say the same thing. When you use cash it actually activates the pain receptors in your brain. You feel it when you spend cash! When you use a credit card, it is way too easy to separate your brain from the money you are spending.
If you don’t believe me, do a trial run and commit to doing a cash budget for 3 months. I can guarantee that you will end up saving money!