I wish I could claim to be so creative as to have come up with the title for this post, but it wasn’t me. My hubby, Ryan, was making jokes about non-budgeting methods of money managing (er, mismanaging?) and calling it "smudge-it" or "fudge-it" and I said "Hey, I like it! I’m using that!". He only asked that I give credit where credit was due. 🙂
As I was pondering what works for me while driving to the grocery store to spend the last of my meager grocery budget money (I believe I came in at a little over a $1 under budget, but I need to count and make sure), I realized that one of the best things we do has to do with how we budget.
In the past 8 months or so, we have gone back once again (and I believe for good, this time!) to a simple little system that has served us so, so very well.
I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine.
This, ladies, is my Designer Envelope System, or rather my fancy-schmancy cash system wallet. Well, the orange and hot pink one, to be specific. Ryan has the plain old black one (not shown here).
This little beauty is what allows me to see at a glance how much money I have left in each of my spending categories. It gives me a place to store my receipts and write what I have spent and where. It stores my alloted cash amount for each category (ie. food and household, books and music, clothing, recreation, miscellaneous, etc.).
It is nothing less than an avenue for guiltless spending, careful stewardship, debt avoidance, and financial peace. Need I mention that I love my cash system?
If you have never used a cash system, I highly recommend that you consider it. Nothing has kept us more on track with our spending than doing this. Each time we receive our paycheque, my husband determines how much cash we need, gets it out of the bank, and divies it up into our respective designer envelopes.
We spend what we need to out of the set categories. We record what we have spent, when, and how much is left in that area of the budget. And when the cash runs out, our spending much screech to a halt. Occasionally, we transfer money from one area to another, if possible or necessary, but we only spend the cash that we have available.
No more embarrassing moments when the cashier loudly announces to the entire grocery store that my debit card says I have insufficient funds. No more shockingly high VISA bills. No more out of control spending.
If you are in need of help in getting your budget under control, I cannot give high enough praise for Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover and training materials. We are very indebted (lol, the only type of indebtedness that we will soon have!) to his teaching. It is practical, it is wise, and I believe it is Biblical.
If anyone is interested, I would be very happy to post more about how my husband runs our finances and budgeting, and the steps we have taken to become more financially stable. Leave a comment (or email me) and please ask any questions that you might have!
Edit: Since writing this post, I’ve written several others that are related or were a follow-up to this one: here are the links to read my posts on setting up a cash system, and a review of the budgeting system we use to manage our finances.