How to Use a Cash Envelope System & How Our Family Budgets

Cash Envelopes

 

Holding cash in an envelope

Using cash is an important part of controlling your spending. It’s not only a system for people trying to get out of debt, but it’s also for everyone because it really makes you think more about your spending.

A cash budget never lets you overspend because once the money is gone, it’s gone. In order to make this work, stop using credit cards and stash the credit cards where it’s hard to get to them. You could also place your credit cards in a Ziploc bag and freeze them in water.

 

envelopes with cash

WHAT IS THE CASH ENVELOPE SYSTEM?

The cash envelope system divides your spending into small categories or budgets. And each category has its own envelope to help you manage your money better and help you intentionally think about how you’re spending your money. Having to hand cash to a cashier really does make you think twice about impulse buys. And setting aside money in an envelope for larger expenses helps relieve the burden when the bill comes due.

To begin using a cash envelope system, start by making a list of all your expenses and then decide which categories to make cash only. With your monthly bills, you can continue to have those deducted from your bank account. Here is a list of cash only categories you could have:

  • Groceries
  • Clothing
  • Eating Out
  • Entertainment
  • Hair Cuts/ Beauty
  • Doctor and Dentist Visits/Medicine
  • Miscellaneous Spending
  • Home Repairs
  • Vacations
  • Christmas
  • Car Insurance/Other Insurance

 

cash envelopes

HOW MUCH CASH TO TAKE OUT?

In order to determine how much cash you need to take out of each paycheck, take the total monthly amount for each category and divide it by two if you get paid every two weeks or divide it by four weeks if you get paid weekly. For instance, we have a monthly grocery budget of $400, and we get paid twice a month. If I divide $400 by two that’s $200 that we take out per pay check to use on groceries.

Additionally, break the cash down into weekly spending. For instance, if I pull $200 from each paycheck for two weeks of groceries and if I were to go to the store weekly, then I would only allot myself $100 per week to spend at the grocery store. That way I still have money to spend on groceries each week and I won’t come up short.

Here is another example. If your car insurance is $700 per year and you only receive the bill once a year, then in order to determine how much money to take out each paycheck, divide $700 by 12 months, which comes out to be about $58 per month. If you get paid twice a month, then you divide the $58 by two, which means you need to take out $29 per paycheck and set it aside in an envelope or bank account so you have the money to pay for car insurance when it comes due.

Once you decide the categories and determine how much cash will go into each envelope, then go to the bank and withdraw the cash each time you deposit your paycheck. Then place the cash in each category envelope. I don’t use anything fancy, just some blank envelopes that are located by my desk, and I write the category on the outside of the envelope.

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7 Video Tips to Save Money Now for Christmas

7 Tips to Save Money Now for ChristmasThe holidays are coming up quickly, and I want to share with you tips to save money for Christmas because the last thing we want is to have credit card bills that need paid off in January because that is a financial stress. It’s unfortunate that a lot of people have credit card bills from shopping during the holidays, so watch the video below to get 7 tips to save money for Christmas that have helped our family so we aren’t paying off Christmas items after the holidays. If you start now, you can save money to help pay for Christmas.

 

 

 

If you can’t see the YouTube video, head over to my channel here, and be sure to subscribe. And for those of you who like to read the post instead of watch the video, here are the 7 tips to save money now for Christmas.

1. Set a budget
Determine how much money you are going to spend on Christmas, and set a budget. To figure out how much you’ll spend, look back and calculate how much you spent last Christmas. That should give you an idea of what you think you’ll spend this year. It might also help you realize that you spent more than you planned and that you need to cut back on some Christmas items or presents this year. But when setting a budget, be sure not to set it too tight because it’s nice to have a little wiggle room for last minute purchases. And don’t forget to include in your budget the extras such stocking stuffers, Christmas cards, and holiday home decorations.

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How to Organize a Pantry on a Budget

how to organize a pantry on a budgetI’ve been wanting to organize my pantry for months now because it has been so disorganized. Check out the video of how I organized my pantry on a budget. Plus, I give additional pantry organizational tips.

Here are links to the items purchased:

 

 

If you can’t see the video, head over to my YouTube Channel here. And be sure to subscribe!

And you can watch the Video Tour of My Stock Pile and Food Storage here.

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9 Best Budget Apps to Keep Track of Your Finances

9 Best Budget Apps to Keep Track of Finances

Whether you are starting a New Year’s resolution to get in a better financial position or continuing to work toward your financial goals, you’ll want to use a budget app to help you with your finances. Budget apps are a great tool for managing your money, sticking to a budget and reviewing your spending habits to identify where money might be wasted. If you are like most people, you have your phone with you almost every where you go, which makes it easy in this digital age to have control of your finances at your fingertips if you have a budget app on your phone.

Here are 9 budget apps (most of which are free to use) to help you keep track of your money so you can get a better handle on your finances and put yourself in a better financial position this year.

 

1 – Mint

Mint takes the hassle out of creating a budget. It helps you manage your spending, saving and earnings, and can even sync to all your accounts including your bank and credit card accounts, 401(k), IRA and savings accounts, as well as all your monthly bills, so all your finances are in one convenient place. Mint lets you know when bills are due, what you owe and what you can pay. The app can also send you payment reminders so you can avoid late fees. Mint gives you a big picture view of your financial situation. It shows you all the recent transactions you’ve made, how you’ve been using your accounts, your account totals, monthly budget, credit score, spending organized by category, and even alerts for when you go over budget. The Mint app is free to use.

 

2 – EveryDollar

EveryDollar was created by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey. The app helps you create a monthly budget and more easily facilitate the Dave Ramsey’s baby steps budgeting. I’ve read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book about the seven baby steps and it’s one that everyone should read to stay motivated on your journey to financial freedom. EveryDollar is based on the envelope method and the principle of giving every single dollar a job. The app starts you with eight main budgeting categories that include the following: Giving, Savings, Housing, Transportation, Food, Lifestyle, Insurance & Tax, and Debt. You can add more categories to tailor it to your budget needs. Then you assign available funds for each category, and as transactions are entered, the amount is deducted from the appropriate category. The EveryDollar basic version of the app is free.

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4 Tips to Get Out of Debt Video

4 Tips to Get Out of Debt

Not having enough money to pay the bills and continuing to accumulate debt is stressful and it becomes a burden. It’s not easy to get out of debt and stay out of debt. However, if you want to get out of debt, it’s going to take sacrifice, discipline and hard work, but in the end it will be worth it. Once you get out of debt, that burden of debt hanging over you will be gone and you’ll have a financial peace of mind. You’ll also be able to take that money that was once going toward debt and instead use it to do things that are important to you and your family.

Watch the 4 Tips to Get Out of Debt video below so you can put yourself in a better financial position. This is your year to get your finances in control!

 

If you can’t view the video here, head over to my YouTube Channel here to watch it. Here is the link to the book, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey.

I didn’t explain how the debt snowball works as well as I wanted to on this video, so here is more of an explanation. Here is an example of how to use a debt snowball if you had the following debts:

Debt 1: Store Credit Card $400 Interest Rate: 7% Minimum payment: $25

Debt 2: Credit Card $4,000 Interest Rate: 14% Minimum payment: $70

Debt 3: Car Loan $10,000 Interest Rate: 4% Minimum payment: $250

Debt 4: Student Loan $15,000 Interest Rate: 3% Minimum payment: $150

First, pay the minimum payments on all of the debts each month, then start to get rid of them one by one. For this example, we’ll say that you find an extra $300 a month in your budget by earning extra money from a side job and cutting your discretionary income. Note: To pay down your debt sooner, look for jobs to earn extra money. This may be watching children, delivering newspapers or cleaning houses. Also, look into selling items around the house by determining what you can live without, and then hold a yard sale or sell the items online. Since the first debt is small, get it paid off quickly.

For Debt 1, you’ll pay $325 toward it (this is the $300 extra income you find + $25 minimum payment) and you’ll have it paid off within less than 2 months. Now take that $325 and put it toward Debt 2. When you do that you’ll be paying $395 toward Debt 2 each month ($325 + $70 minimum payment). Once Debt 2 is paid off, then take the $395 and put it toward Debt 3 so you’ll pay $645 toward it each month ($395 + $250 minimum payment). Then once you pay off Debt 3, you’ll pay $795 to Debt 4 each month ($645 + $150 minimum payment) until it’s paid off.

 

 

get out of debtYou can also read the post 4 Important Steps to Get Out of Debt, by heading over here.

 

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6 Tips How to Give Holiday Gifts Without Spending Too Much

Tips How to Give Holiday Gifts Without Spending Too Much

Trying to find the perfect Christmas presents for your loved ones for the holidays, without spending too much money or going into debt to pay for all of the holiday items, can be difficult. You want to give gifts that are nice and thoughtful, without looking like you are skimping on gifts, and this makes it easy to get caught up in the spending cycle during the holidays. But doing so can easily start to add up financially and take a toll on your budget. You don’t want to start the new year paying off credit card debt from Christmas.

So how do you give during the holidays without spending too much? Here are six tips to help you out:

 

1.  Set Limits and Set a Budget

Before you even begin shopping, start by deciding how much money total you will spend on Christmas gifts for the holiday season. It’s important to set limits on your holiday spending and set a budget of what you can afford. When spending money on your children’s Christmas gifts, set a specific dollar amount for each child or decide that you’ll limit the number of gifts per child.

Make sure to set a budget that is realistic. Don’t just come up with some random number. Look at what you spent last year on the holidays, think through the numbers and determine how much money you will need while trying to find a balance of what you can afford. You also don’t want to make the budget so tight that you get frustrated because there isn’t money for last-minute or unexpected holiday purchases. So give yourself a little wiggle room if your budget allows it.

It’s great to give nice Christmas presents, but if you find a gift that isn’t in your budget, then look for something else or go in on the gift together with another family member or friend. There have been many times when I wanted a specific gift for my mother, but it wasn’t necessarily in the budget. Rather than just purchasing it and going over my budget I asked my siblings to go in on the gift too. We were able to do something nice for my mom because we collaborated together, and we were able to stay within our budget.

Know your limits and don’t just spend money and put everything on the credit card, because come January it will be stressful coming up with the money to pay off the credit card.

 

2. Make a List & Don’t Feel You Have to Give Gifts to Everyone

Make a list of people you want to buy gifts for, but limit the amount of people you give to. Don’t feel that you have to give gifts to everyone.

When making a list, prioritize and first write down the names of those who are the most important people on your list. Then write down those who you would like to give something to if you have enough money left over in your budget. Next to each person’s name write down the dollar amount you can spend on them by dividing up your predetermined budget to all the people on your list. Once you have the dollar amount next to each name, then you can decide what to purchase for them. If you find a gift is on sale and it doesn’t cost as much as the dollar amount you were planning to spend on that specific person, then you can take that extra money and use it toward someone else.

With family, it can be hard not to get something for every sibling and their children, but financially that can be a strain on the budget. In my family and my husband’s family together we have 6 siblings, their 6 spouses and 26 nieces and nephews. Buying something for each of them would be a huge expense. What we do instead is for my side of the family, we each are given a name of one sibling and their family that we purchase a gift for, and we rotate it every year so we have an opportunity to give a gift to a different sibling each year. For my husband’s side of the family, we’ve done white elephant gifts or we get together and do fun inexpensive projects and activities with the kids. The point is that we simplify and communicate that we are keeping it simple and that we don’t expect expensive gifts from each other.

If you have groups of friends or co-workers, then think about giving homemade gifts, goodies or a holiday card to them. You could also suggest friends and co-workers do a Secret Santa, white elephant gift exchange or Yankee swap. It will help on the Christmas budget so you are only purchasing a gift for one person in the group rather than the entire group.

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Why It’s Important to Include Sinking Funds as Part of Your Budget

Why It's Important to Include Sinking Funds as Part of Your Budget

If you are wondering, “What is are sinking funds?” and “Why do I need to include it in my budget?” then here is some beneficial information that will help you to become more financially prepared for upcoming expenses.

What are Sinking Funds?

A sinking fund is a fund where you set aside money for expenses that are predictable. You know the expense is coming up and instead of waiting until the expense is due and there isn’t room in your budget to pay for it, you plan ahead for the expense by creating a sinking fund within your budget and set that money aside until you need to pay for that expense.

Many times when people start budgeting, there may be some expenses that they don’t anticipate such as an item in the home breaking that needs to be replaced or the car needing repaired. By creating a sinking fund, you’ll be able to spread out large expenses, or even smaller expenses, over time.  For many people this can be difficult to do because it requires patience and self control to plan ahead and to not spend money on other purchases immediately because they want those items right now.

Here is a list of expenses that you may want to create a sinking fund for and to consider including in your budget:

  • home repairs
  • new car or car repairs
  • family vacations
  • kids sports and activities
  • insurance
  • medical expenses
  • Christmas
  • subscriptions and dues
  • birthdays and gifts

 

How to Get Started on Sinking Funds

To get started on sinking funds, determine what expenses are coming up and which sinking funds you need. Calculate the total amount of money you will need in one sinking fund and what date you will need it. Then break it down into how much you need to save each month before the expense comes due. Begin saving that amount of money each month for the allotted time frame. For instance, if you know you want to save $1,000 to spend on Christmas and you begin saving in June, which leaves you about 6 months to save, then you need to put aside $166 each month (or $42 each week) to reach that goal before Christmas comes.

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How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget Video

How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget VideoRecently, there has also been thousands of people affected by natural disasters. Because of this and since September is national preparedness month, I want to share with you a video on how to build a 72-hour kit on a budget. In this video I share with you items I’ve added to our family’s 72-hour kits and tips on how to do it on a budget.  You never know when there might be an emergency and you need to leave your house quickly. And having a 72-hour kit that can be quickly picked up as you walk out the door could be a life saver.

This video is to encourage people to get their 72-hour kits ready by starting out simple. Start off by gathering the basics, which include food, water, light, warmth and personal hygiene, then add to it little by little every year. Compiling a 72-hour kit doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars. When I first started our 72-hours kits, I found many of the items around the house and placed them in a backpack to create 72-hour kits for each member of our family. Then I slowly added to it, as well as regularly rotated through items each year. Check out the video below on How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget:

 

 

What tips do you have to build a 72-hour kit on a budget?

If you can’t see the video above, head over to my YouTube Channel here. And please subscribe to my channel while you are over there.

 

How to Compile a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget

You can also watch my ABC4 News segment here where I share tips on how to build a 72-hour kit on a budget.

 

How to Build a 72-Hour Kit on a Budget

And also head over to my post here where I list all of the items I mention in the video.

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13 Tips to Teach Children to Save Money

Teach Children to Save Money

When I was young, I learned from my parents to save money and be frugal. I watched as my parents would save for an item, then purchase it when they had the money. Even though they may have wanted an item right then, they usually they did without, made due with what they had or purchased an item at a second hand store because it was less expensive. They taught me and my siblings to save most of the money we earned and put it into a savings account. And they said that if we saved money, it would help us to be able to pay for some of our college education. Because of their encouragement, I almost paid for my entire college education without taking out a student loan. You can read more of my story, My Financial Life Journey and the Lessons I Learned by clicking here.

Now that I’m a parent, I want to teach my kids how to budget, save money and stay out of debt. I’ve seen many times where a child grows up and moves out of the house only to start buying everything he or she wants with a credit card. They see what their parents have, and they want all of that now. Some of them don’t realize that it takes years to acquire the items that are in a home. Teaching children to save money isn’t easy. They usually want to spend money they receive immediately. Below are ideas to teach young children and teens how to save money.

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4 Important Steps to Get Out of Debt

get-out-of-debt-final-jpg

Living with debt can be stressful, and once you are in debt, it’s hard to get out of debt. The average household has about $132,000 in debt, which includes mortgages, and the average household with credit card debt has balances totaling about $16,000, according to the American Household Credit Card Debt Study.

When you don’t have enough money to pay the bills and you continue to accumulate debt, it becomes a heavy burden. Getting out of debt and staying out of debt is not an easy thing to do. If you want to get out of debt, it’s going to take sacrifice, discipline and hard work, but in the end it will be worth it. Once you get out of debt, that burden of debt hanging over you will be gone, and you’ll have a financial peace of mind. You’ll also be able to take that money that was once going toward debt and instead use it to do things that are important to you and your family, because life is about enjoying things that matter most.

Here are four important steps to help you get out of debt so you can put yourself in a better financial position. This is your year to get your finances in control!

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