cash envelope system

Cash Envelope System

My day job is in finance. I have been working in finance for the past 10 years, I have read countless books on the subject, and my bachelor’s (and soon master’s) degree is in business.  Finance is kind of a hobby and passion of mine.  Of everything I have learned over the years, one of the experts in the field that has resonated with me the most is Dave Ramsey.  

I like Dave because his approach is so simple.  Live within your means. Establish a budget.  Pay off debt.  Save money.  There is nothing fancy or complicated about Dave’s plan, and it can be accomplished by anyone.  

There is one part of his curriculum (if you will) that talks about an envelope budgeting system.  If you want to learn more about the concept of envelope budgeting, check out the paragraph under “Why Use Envelope?” here.  There are some statistics that backup the concept that people are more conscientious about spending money when it’s in the form of cash, versus a credit or debit card.  Maybe because there tends to be more finite limits when dealing with cash, or maybe we attach more value to it, but it is generally harder for people to spend cash than to swipe a debit/credit card.  And when we deal with cash, we tend to spend less money, and we are more likely to stick to our set budget.   

That is why a cash envelope system is great when one is trying to adhere to a budget! 

envelope system print

Currently, my husband and I are expecting our second child, and we’re about to increase our monthly daycare bill substantially.  It’s a huge expense, and will cost more than our mortgage.  (How anyone ever has more than two kids and can afford daycare is beyond me!)  With this added expense coming up, I am revisiting our budget and cutting costs where I can to make sure we have a budget structured to meet our obligations, and continue our debt snowball.  One of the ways I am going to keep us on track is to incorporate a cash envelope system for our monthly expenses. 

I have seen some amazing custom-made cash envelope systems on Etsy for sale, and I appreciate the talent and hard work that goes into creating those beauties!  However, I don’t want to spend money in order to help save money, and I already have a nice wallet (a generous birthday gift from my mom).  So instead, I decided to make some dividers that can slip inside my wallet, which will divide my cash out into my various budgets.  

envelope system printed in place

And since I was already making them for myself, I decided to bundle them in PDF format, and let you use them too!  Below are some printables that you can use to make your own cash envelope system.  I recommend printing them out on a heavier paper, like card stock, or laminating them to increase their longevity.

These are the topics I found under Dave Ramsey’s free budgeting sheets (you can find them here), but if you think of something you don’t see here, email me and I’ll see if I can add some more templates below.  

envelope system

Saving and Household

Utilities and Transportation

Children and Clothing

Medical and Miscellaneous

Groceries and Eating Out


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8 Responses to Cash Envelope System (Free Dividers!)

  1. Amanda says:

    Could use it for receipts as well

  2. Sharisse says:

    Dave Ramsey is great, and this is a great way to learn how to budget. I don’t typically carry cash, but I do agree that you are more conscious of spending cash than you are when you just swipe your credit card!

  3. Scarlet says:

    I think this is a great idea especially for training good financial habits.

  4. Corinne says:

    I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan and this is such a smart way to implement his envelope system! I agree, I don’t want to spend a bunch of money to save money.

  5. C. Lee Reed says:

    I have always lived Dave Ramsey’s principles. I only use the envelope system for some items but it definitely helps keep your mind on what cash you have to spend and that you are spending it. Thanks for the template.

  6. Crystal says:

    What a great idea to have dividers right in your wallet! I used to hate taking out envelopes at work and at the shops as I felt like a little kid and I’d get weird looks. These days I have a wallet that has two sides so I use one for personal and one for groceries. When this wallet expires I’ll be back for your dividers for sure as they’re perfect!

  7. This is a great idea if you keep cash on you! I unfortunately don’t because I’m always afraid of it getting lost or stolen, so I’m strictly debit and credit cards. I will definitely pass this on to my cash-wielding friends though – I’m sure they’d love this idea!

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