So you want to get your budget under control and start saving more money each month. One simple method you may want to try is envelope budgeting. This tried-and-true approach has been helping people for decades trim their spending and meet their financial goals. The idea behind envelope budgeting is pretty straightforward, but it's also extremely effective.
In this blog post, we're going to dive into envelope budgeting and how it can grant you piece of mind. Give envelope budgeting a shot and you'll quickly save money and start gaining more control of your finances.
What Is Envelope Budgeting?
Before you're able to start envelope budgeting, you need to know what it is: Envelope budgeting is a simple cash budgeting system that helps you gain control of your spending. The basic idea is that you allocate your income in envelopes for different expense categories like food, entertainment, gas, rent or mortgage payments, debt repayment, and more. You then only spend what's in each envelope.
How does it work?
- Decide on your expense categories. You can have as many categories as you want.
- Determine how much to allocate to each category based on your income and expenses. A good rule of thumb is to keep your total envelope amounts within 90% of your take-home pay.
- Label envelopes for each category and put the allocated cash inside. For variable expenses such as food and gas, you may want to divide the total into weekly amounts. For fixed bills on the other hand, you can stash the full amount.
- Only spend what's in each envelope. Once an envelope is empty, you're done for the week or month. This forces you to budget and prioritize your spending.
- Make adjustments as needed. You may find you need more or less in certain envelopes. Take from other envelopes or add to the total budget. The most important part is making sure your total spending doesn't exceed your income.
This cash envelope system is a hands-on budgeting method to control your cash flow and become more mindful about your spending habits. By limiting yourself to what's in each envelope, you ensure you stay within budget each month. Many people find this cash envelope budgeting system to be easy to stick to since it's such a straightforward .
Does it Really Work? Psychology Behind Envelope Budgeting
It's understandable to be skeptical about a system so simple. So we've broken down exactly why it works. When physical money is leaving your hands, it just hurts more. Suddenly, that $5 coffee doesn’t seem so appealing when it’s the last bill in the “dining out” envelope. Envelope budgeting leverages this mindset by making your spending extremely tangible.
Less guilt, more control
With regular credit cards, it’s easy to overspend without realizing it. But with this envelope budgeting method, people avoid all the “money guilt” at the end of the month when the statement arrives. You’re in total control of what goes in and out of each envelope, so there are no surprises. This can help reduce financial anxiety and give you peace of mind that your spending aligns with your budget and financial goals.
Out of sight, out of mind
It’s human nature to spend more when using credit cards since the money isn't physically leaving your wallet. This simple rule helps ensure you don’t overspend on impulse purchases or splurges.
By leveraging basic human behaviors, envelope budgeting gives you the framework to master your money in a very hands-on way. While it does require discipline and consistency, many find it an easy and effective tool for gaining control of their personal finance.
5 Benefits of Envelope Budgeting
So what do you actually gain from this budgeting method? Well -- the envelope cash stuffing system has some great benefits over traditional budgeting methods. Here are the top 5:
Envelope budgeting is simple to set up and easy to maintain. No complicated spreadsheets or accounting software.
It’s harder to overspend when you’re limited to the cash in each envelope. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. This can help curb impulse purchases and teach you discipline. We think twice about each purchase when we watch funds dwindle.
The envelope method is flexible and can be adapted to suit your needs. Start with just a couple expense categories and keep adding more cash envelopes over time as you get comfortable. You can also adjust the amounts in each envelope from month to month based on your current priorities and expenses.
Using cash instead of credit or debit cards makes you directly accountable for what you spend. Handing over cold hard cash for a purchase just feels different than swiping a piece of plastic. This accountability helps change behaviors and habits, teaching you to become a more mindful spender.
The envelope budgeting system may be low-tech, but it’s a tried-and-true method that has worked for many people striving to gain control of their finances. If you’re trying to find an easy way to budget, the envelope system is worth a go.
Apply to EASY Wireless’ Free Phone Program!
We hope that after reading this blog, you will have a better understanding of envelope budgeting and can start implementing it. But what if we told you that there were even simpler ways to save cash?
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