The Envelope System Bandwagon



Yes, we are just one more family that has joined the ever growing number of envelope system households. (click on the bold words to link to Dave Ramsey's website, if you are interested in reading further.)We have listened to Dave Ramsey over the years and we have taken many of his financial principles to heart. But this envelope thing just didn't seem like it would work for us. For one, we never use cash. Everything is automatically deposited, automatically withdrawn for bills, etc... So the idea of physically going to the bank to withdraw cash to then put into envelopes and carry around was just a bit more effort than we were wanting to put in.
But after 11 years of marriage and 11 years of "discussions" about what our money was being used for we've decided to give this a try.
And as much as I hate to admit it, it has really taken so much stress off of me throughout the week. I love knowing exactly what money I have to spend on groceries, eating out, clothes, the kids, sewing supplies, etc...
And, I don't have the guilt of pulling out the debit card to buy something not knowing if it is really in the budget for the month. Since starting this, Mike and I have yet to have any of those annoying "discussions" over money issues. This whole things seems to just flow well for us.
I hope we can keep it up. Like I said, the worst part is taking the time to go to the bank every paycheck and get the cash. But given the effecivness of it thus far, that is but a small sacrafice of time.

9 comments:

  1. My hubby and his parents are firm believers in a lot of Dave Ramsey's financial principles. I grew up with a mother who always charged everything but we never purchased anything we couldn't pay off each month. My mother, brother and I lived on my mother's modest income and, while we were barely above the poverty line, we always had everything we needed. My mother is one of the smartest women I know when it comes to providing for a family. It's alarming how many people live in debt these days. My hubby and I are fresh out of college but we are both very considerate of how we spend our money. We pay off our credit cards monthly and plan for the future. One thing I do think we could improve on is setting a monthly budget for expenses. I agree that the envelope system does seem like more work, but I think allotting cash for certain expenses each month is the best and easiest way to really stay mindful of where your money is going.

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  2. We've been doing the envelopes for certain budget items for about six months now and it's changed everything. Not only are we more responsible giving our first fruits to the church, but we are much better stewards with what we have and have seen a dramatic increase in savings because of less impulse spending.

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  3. Yes I heard of this system before but I wonder how it would work for me as my bank is on a different island than me. We simply cannot go off island every two weeks to withdraw money. Anyone have any suggestions?

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  4. Thanks Amy and Kyle! So true to all of that.
    Amanda~ that is a good question. And I really have no suggestions but hopefully someone will!
    We tried to use the envelope system principle without physically withdrawing the cash but it just didn't work. I guess we weren't disciplined enough to spend only what we alloted for each catagory. Having the actual cash keeps us in check to make sure we are only spending what we decided to and once its gone for the month, its gone.

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  5. Matt and I just started this 2 months ago...I second EVERYTHING you just said. Especially those awesome "discussions" we no longer have to have. :) I get nervous carrying that much cash around, but it has been really awesome for both of our "peace of mind."

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  6. Way to go JoAnna! The best part is that it didn't take you and Matt 11years to figure it out ;)

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  7. We are (slowly) reading through Dave Ramsey's book and although we are fairly frugal, we've never had an actual budget. I think the envelopes will be a good thing, but it does seems a bit archaic at times! Question: do you use a debit card for gas, or do you go in and pay cash. Yesterday I was at goodwill and picked up a book called, "The Cheapest Family in America." Makes me want to make a book cover fast, but it's actually pretty good.

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  8. Sorry for the delayed response Kate. We do use debit card for gas. Mostly because I have the boys in the car and don't want to take them all out to go in and pay. I try to use the envelope system for as much as I can but there are of course times when I leave the envelopes at home, or we don't have a specific envelope for what I need to get and then we'll just use the debit card.

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  9. Ramsey is new to me, but the envelope idea is a forgotten familiar one. We've been having the same budget talks -- I love the concrete, "real" quality of this idea. Thank you for sharing.

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