Right off the bat, I HAVE to thank those who have commented on past Envelope posts both here and on facebook. Thank you for taking the time to share your tips on how to do this better. This month was SO MUCH easier...thanks to you!
The most helpful tip was about splitting the grocery budget into weekly increments. It was nice to have money each week and not feel like we'd run out waaayyy too early. As I mentioned in yesterday's Gala prep post, I even found grocery money I hadn't spent. Not sure how that happened, but I was glad it did.
I think the envelope system has lent itself to making our new cooking system that much easier as well. The two go hand in hand. Eventually, I'd like to be able to hand the kids the cash they will need to buy their groceries with for their cooking night. As of now, I'm not that organized, but I'm thinking within the next couple months, that might just become a reality.
The Warden LOVES to do our taxes. He always gets them done and submitted as early in the game as he can. If we had to pay taxes, I wonder if that feeling would change. I'm betting it would. But, because he submitted it early, we have received our refunds, which is a very happy thing.
Sad thing, though, is that both of our cars are in need of brakes. Ugh! So, there goes a good chunk of the refund.
I will write another post about this week's menu plan and share some other ideas for saving money there.
Tonight during dinner, each of the kids took a turn explaining how they need jeans or socks or underwear, so the clothing budget is as good as spent already.
trumpet fund. I put a larger bill in the envelope every month and have a bunch of $1 bills that rotate each month. The child has to earn $1 each weekday to pay off the debt. I look forward to this envelope going away.
It's nice to have school over and not have tuition payments for myself any more.
Still loving this system. I frequently wonder how we survived without it. It's so reassuring to know that money's saved aside for the kids' sports and other things that are months away.
At this point in the game, I think I can safely share some pointers in starting an envelope system for yourself:
- Go back through a couple months and figure out just what you're spending your money on.
- Figure out what things you spend on during the month--groceries, gas, etc.; which things you spend on monthly--utilities and other bills; and which things you spend on much less often--quarterly, yearly, etc.
- Even out your bills. Pay the same amount each month so you don't end up richer on some months than others. We pay these online. Our life insurance can only be paid yearly, so that is set aside in its own savings account, but the others--even those that are to be paid quarterly--are now paid monthly in smaller amounts.
- Set up envelopes for the things you spend on.
- Use a spreadsheet or even just a piece of paper to figure out just what cash you will need to spend--100s, 50s, 20s, 10s....You get the idea. Have it all figured out and then go to the bank. It's easiest to hand the teller a piece of paper with what you want. Make sure you have totals, so it's all easy to verify.
- Immediately after getting the cash, divide it among the envelopes. It's really easiest if, on the spreadsheet or paper, you have the number of 10s or 20s you're to put in each category, so you can just divide them easily into the envelopes.
- Divide the grocery budget into weekly amounts and keep separate envelopes for each week. I do this with our date money as well.
- Try VERY hard not to rob Peter to pay Paul. When the money's gone in an envelope, it's gone. Sometimes, when we're in the last week of a month, and the money for medical expenses, for example, remains in it's envelope, I'll dive into it and use it for something we need.
- Make sure you share. The Warden has his own container for cash too, and his cash is divided for groceries, gas, etc. too. He rarely uses all of his money, so near the end of the month, he'll hand me back the cash, and we can use that in an area where it's needed.
That's what I have for starters. Hope it helps. If you already do this, I'd love to hear any pointers you have as well. Again, thanks to those of you who have already shared. It's helped so much!