Basically it is a system of budgeting that has been around for ages, ya know like your grandma and maybe your great grandma used it kinda thing. But in the age of swiping cards we kinda lost this easy budget idea and thanks to Dave Ramsey he brought it back with vengeance :) You can read how Dave Ramsey explains it HERE.
This is how I convinced Reed to get on board. We had our budget all figured out and I was pretty proud of it. But having it all figured up on an excel spread sheet did nothing to how we felt like spending when out and about. So I took our budget we figured up when Reed got his first pay check and transferred everything to cash. Yep, we went and basically cashed Reeds entire pay check for the month of February! Of course there where things that we automatically paid online like our tithe, bills, and savings. So I paid all that jazz first. But then we split up the rest in to envelopes that were specific to different categories.
We kept it simple and just did gas, groceries, eating out, and projects. (Yes, we take on so many projects that we have an entire envelope dedicated to it, and really we split that in two so we each had our own project budget...) At first it was hard, because I actually had to look at what I was putting in the grocery cart instead of just getting everything I wanted for the next two weeks. Reed and I didn't realize how much we had been spending on drinks. Between apple juice, orange juice, mountain dew, tea, beer, and wine it felt like half of our budget was gone! Needless to say we learned to cut back a bit on our drink variety... Same for gas money. Reed loves his truck and also loves to get little treats when he fills up on gas. But thanks to our handy dandy gas envelope Reed cut back on getting his treats because that was taking away from him being able to drive his truck the way he wanted to.
It all may seem pretty trivial, but I think it was the small things that were killing us. We never had a super hard time with our budget, ya know thank the Lord we never had to go with out anything of importance! But we worried at the end of almost every month that we wouldn't have the gas money we needed or enough money in the bank to get groceries. Getting paid once a month has been hard to get used to! But thanks to this new system we hardly worried at all this month! Knowing that the envelope was there and it had the money in it for the entire month meant we really had to stop and think about what we were doing. I've cut back significantly on my Lowes trips, we haven't gone out of town nearly as much as we were. And we actually have taken ourselves out to dinner with out feeling bad about it!
Man, Reed and I both learned a lot about our spending habits. And I've LOOOVVVVEEEDDD not swiping my card. I don't know what it is but using cash and knowing exactly how much money I have is pretty great, no sneaky spending, no worrying if I buy this will it make it so I can't buy groceries later. I would totally recommend this system to anyone. Even if you just do it for one month to see where you are really spending your money.
Have y'all ever tried out this system? Or do you have another system that works well for your family??