Free Cash Envelope Template

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Many people struggle to stick to a budget. It’s too easy to overspend when you see something that you think you need to buy.

Thanks to debit cards, it’s so much easier to spend more than you had intended. That’s why many financial experts recommend the cash envelope system.

This old-school method helps ensure that you don’t spend more than you meant to. Let’s take a closer look at what it is and how it can help.

What Is the Cash Envelope System?

The cash envelope system is a budgeting method that requires you to put money into an envelope for a variable expense.

For example, groceries are a variable expense. Each pay period, you will put the amount you have allotted to groceries into an envelope.

The idea is that you spend only what’s in the envelope. When you go shopping, you’ll leave your debit card at home and only have the money that is in the envelope.

Other variable expenses include gas, household supplies, entertainment, clothing, and personal care. You’ll want to have a different envelope for each expense.

How Does It Help You Stay on Budget?

The cash envelope helps you stay on budget by forcing you to be more conscious of what you’re spending.

When you know that you only have a certain amount of cash to spend, you’ll be careful of what goes in your cart.

You’ll also be less likely to grab things you don’t really need just because they are on sale.

If you’re the type that justifies spending more because something is a stock-up price, you’ll be forced to rework what you’re buying to make it work with your budget.

What Should You Do with Leftover Money?

People often ask what you should do with the money you have leftover. It’s always a good idea to roll that money into the next pay period. We all have months where we’ll need to spend more than normal.

For example, when the holidays roll around, you’ll more than likely spend more money on groceries.

Rolling the money to the next pay period helps ensure that you have more money for those extras.

The cash envelope system is a great way to ensure you stick to your budget. Give it a try and see how it works for you.

You’ll be surprised at how much less money you spend. Best of all, you’ll also find that you have fewer impulse buys and work even harder to stay within your budget by couponing or looking for other ways to save money.

How we use our cash envelopes

We have used the cash methods at the beginning of our financial journey. After a few years, we simply stop.

In late 2018, we decided that we needed to change our financial game and this included using cash envelopes.

Now, to be honest, we are not fans of cash envelopes. We are not. We have made this clear in posts, but guess what?

Cash envelopes work.

They help us save money and stay focus.

We don’t enjoy using cash envelopes because is not convenient. Instead, we swipe our cards and spend more money. It’s a fact.

Using cash helps us save money and because this is a major focus for us, we decided to go back to using cash envelopes and growing our savings.

In January we were able to save $541 thanks to using cash!

This year I encouraged my readers and subscribers to challenge themselves if they are not using cash envelopes and start right now.

To make this fun, I created different money envelopes and this month I created Valentine’s Day envelopes to use this month.

If you are doubting the cash method, stop!

Cash works and you can make this work for you and your family.

Do you pay your bills all in cash?

No, it is 2020 and the real world is not about paying everything in cash. I pay my bills online and have categories that we use cash only.

What are the categories of cash envelopes?

  • Housing
  • Groceries
  • Transportation
  • Clothing
  • Pets
  • Kids & School

Of course, these are just samples of the cash envelope categories you can have and as I say always these should be categories that reflect you and your budget.

For the month of February 2018, we decided to take make a new challenge, and this time we are doing the Cash Envelope Challenge.

For the month of February, we are using more cash envelopes and sticking to it. This is important because, to be honest, we enjoyed our No Spending Month in January and we used cash for a lot of things.

That’s why we saved a lot of money. This month we are hoping to save even more, but we shall see.

To even help you understand more about categories continue reading because I’m going to show you more details about the categories below.

When you create a budget, you create categories such as:

  • Food
  • Household
  • Utilities
  • Car service
  • Mortgage
  • Healthcare
  • Etc.

The good thing about the cash envelope system is that you don’t have to make categories for EVERY category on your budget.

You make envelopes for categories that you can control or are problematic to you.

For example:

You don’t make an envelope for your mortgage because you already know how much your mortgage is each month. It’s even automated, and each month the mortgage company withdraw it from your account.

Your cash envelope categories should be the ones that affect your finances. The ones that you typically overspend your money on.

Top categories people overspend:

  • Food
  • Restaurant
  • Clothing
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Personal care

I recommend you stick to 5 or 6 envelopes. (We will cover more later)

Related posts:

Why people fail at using this system

When I hear people telling me that they tried the cash system, it didn’t work, yet they are still struggling financially, I tell them this:

It’s not the cash envelope method that failed; it’s you.

People fail using this method because:

They went with a negative attitude.

The cash envelope system isn’t sexy, and it does take effort. Are you going to let that stand in the way of your financial freedom?

They weren’t committed.

Here’s something shocking. My husband and I don’t enjoy using the cash envelope system and would love to use cards.

When we first started this method, we went in not wanting to like it, but we were committed to making it work.

Of course, using a card is convenient, but convenience is what got us into our financial mess.

The truth and the reality is that IT WORKS!

The cash method works.

I can’t lie, IT WORKS!

You can make it work.

You can make this method as convenient for you as you can.

When we first started, we made tons of mistakes, heck we couldn’t figure out budgeting at all, but we didn’t give up.

Giving up was not an option and we weren’t quitters.

Our problem was that we made this system too complicated, and we were creating a budget system that was someone else’s.

Make the cash system work for YOU, not others.


What do I do with the leftover cash from our cash envelopes?

What should you do with your leftover money? This is a good question and below I will show many options on what to do with your leftover cash.

With your leftover money from your cash envelopes you can do this:

  • Pay debt
  • Rollover to the next month
  • Save it

When is this the best idea?

If you are focusing on paying down or eliminating your debt, then use the money left over to pay off your debt.

How to decide which debt to pay down? (highest interest or lowest balance)

I’m going to say that when it comes to paying down your debt, you need to do what works for you and your family.

Many say to pay off the smaller debt, the high interests first, or the higher debt.

My opinion is that you should do what works for you and you feel good about it. Pay the debt that gives you the most anxiety!

I eliminated my consumer debt first before my auto loan because the consumer debt gave me more anxiety than the car loan.

For me, getting rid of the debt that gave me anxiety was important to me.


When is this the best option?

Beginners often ask what you should do with the money you have leftover.

It’s always a good idea to roll that money into the next pay period. We all have months where we’ll need to spend more than normal.

For example, when the holidays roll around, you’ll more than likely spend more money on groceries.

Rolling the money to the next pay period helps ensure that you have more money for those extras.

How to allocate in the next month’s envelopes

How you allocate the cash is by simply keeping the cash in the same category. If you have $50 leftover on your grocery envelope, you add that amount to the next payday.


Budgeted amount –   $300

Leftover amount –     $50

Total Envelope amt – $350


Best places to save (cash, savings account, investment?)

  • You can use the cash that is leftover and add it to your savings account. We recommend creating a savings account that is not easily accessible to you. We use CapitalOne 360 and Digit because the money is not easily accessible for us.
  • Loose change can be added to a jar and cashed later. We have a summer jar, which we use for our summer outing and pool days.
  • You can put that cash into an investment.
  • You can also save the cash in your home. We decided to increase our cash amount in our home in 2019.

Saving goal

I recommend you save money as well as pay debt. You can do both and there is no wrong way of doing things when it comes to your finances.

Many people believe that one way of doing personal finances works for everyone, and that is far from the truth.

Again, your personal finance is your own and should reflect you and no one else.

Do what works for you when it comes to saving money.

Can you pay debt, rollover cash, and save at the same time?

Yes, you can!

Depending on your financial goal, you can do all three. An example, for kids and school category, we tend to save and roll over the money all year round.

My boys are special needs children, and they do go to summer school, during the summer I might not spend a lot so that category grows when back to school time it helps me pays for supplies for them because I have rolled over what has been leftover.

For Christmas categories, we just save it and deposit the money into our Christmas account when the holiday is near. Our goal is to have our goal money saved by Black Friday.

Finding a System That Works For You

When it comes to budgeting and finances is called personal for a reason, it should reflect you and your family.

I explained how the cash envelope system works. You create a budget, make categories, get the blank envelopes to write the categories, stuff the envelopes, and use them until the next budget or payday.

The leftover cash can be used for debt, savings or just rollover.

BUT I wanted to talk to you about different ways to fill your envelopes.

I mentioned earlier that a good idea is to fill your envelopes with money every week or when you get paid.

Let’s be real for a minute, if you are living paycheck to paycheck it will be difficult to stuff your envelopes one time at the beginning of the month.

If you are starting the cash envelope system, then break your monthly budget into weeks. Either fill your envelopes one time a week or biweekly.

You can also budget your paycheck, and this means you will create a budget for each paycheck you receive and on that day head to the bank and fill your cash envelopes.

Cash Envelopes – Once a Month

I’m going to show different ways to stuff your cash envelopes using a Cash Envelope Sheet (Monthly)

First, you are going to write the month where it says month.

Then you are going to write down the categories you have created for the month.

This is just an example:

  • Household
  • Groceries
  • Transportation
  • Clothing
  • Pets
  • Kids & School

Next, on the column that says Budget write down the budgeted number for the month.

If you budgeted $700 for groceries and 25 for pets, write it all down.

On the total row write down the total for the budgeted amount.

In the Actual column, you are going to write the amount you spent at the end of the month.

In the circle, you write down the total amount of cash you need for the month which this the total amount budgeted.

Now, if you have the fund available to stuff your envelope with the monthly budgeted amount the use the How Much Cash Do I Need sheet or any blank sheet and head over to the bank to get your cash.

Then grab your envelopes and fill them with the cash for the entire month.

Remember that once the money is gone, is gone! You can’t refill your cash envelopes until the next budget so please be careful.

If monthly cash filled is not your thing, then I’ll show you how to fill your envelopes another way that will help you keep the amount of cash low and more manageable.

If you want to fill your envelopes every two weeks then all you need to do is break it down into two weeks.

The example sheet is one we use in our binder and we break it down into paychecks since we get pay every two weeks.

We love this system because again, we don’t have to deal with so much cash and is easy to see and manage our budget progress.

EVEN if you are going to use this method to fill your cash envelopes, I recommend you use the Cash Envelopes Monthly Sheet I showed you previously or the system shown.

Meaning you need to budget your categories for the month and then break them down.

This will make the system so easy because you will be seeing the process work.

Now with the biweekly sheet AFTER you have your monthly budget, you are going to look and see how your month looks.

First, you are going to write down your categories under category. This is just an example:

  • Household
  • Groceries
  • Transportation
  • Clothing
  • Pets
  • Kids & School

Next, you are going to look at your bills and your budgeted cash category. You know how your bills work and how much you need to pay each paycheck, right?

Let’s go over this example. Let’s say that we budgeted $600 for groceries and looking at my bills and first paycheck I’m going to be able to pull $300 until next payday for my cash envelope.

Your plan is to pull your last $300 on the second paycheck.

On the sheet, you are going to write down the amount you are going to fill the envelope and that’s $300 under paycheck 1 and $300 under paycheck 2.

Now household you have budgeted $75 and you see that you will be OK pulling $25 the first paycheck because on your second paycheck you are going to purchase a lot more, then you write $25 under paycheck 1 and $50 under paycheck 2.

You will go and do this for all your categories. Write down how much you will pull for each paycheck and add the total.

When you add the total for Paycheck 1 and paycheck 2 it should equal the budgeted amount on your first page.

You don’t have to split your categories in half. For us, we don’t fill our Christmas envelope until the second paycheck because on our first one we spend more on groceries and our kids and school events.

For us, it works for us.

Where to get a horizontal cash envelope template

We believe that if that using cash will help you get your finances under control.

The cash envelope system will help you to:

  • Save money
  • Eliminate debt
  • Control your finances
  • Change your life

Because we truly believe that it can help you we you can download our horizontal cash envelope template for free when you subscribe to our newsletter.

But before you go you are going to learn how to print, fold, and use this envelope template.

Are you ready?

Let’s begin!

Below is a photo of how to fold the free envelope template you will receive when you sign up to our newsletter.

If you are interested in how to use a budget binder printables make sure you click the link here.

If you are interested in learning how to use a great budgeting system and get these cash envelopes then fill out the form below.

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