If you’re looking for new and creative ways to manage your finances, then you’ve probably heard of the cash envelope budgeting system. It’s one of the simplest and most systematic ways you can follow to save money and pay your bills.
But the thing that’s probably got you worried is how you’ll make those little envelopes to begin with. Well, we have the answers for you!
We’ve scoured the internet to find some of the best-looking cash envelope printable templates you can get your hands on. We chose a few that truly stand out, as they don’t just look good, but are also efficient to use.
We’ll also give you a few tips on how you can really make an effective cash envelope budgeting system.
Keep reading for a list of some stunning cash envelope printable templates we’re sure you’ll love. Say goodbye to those boring old cash envelopes!
In this article
How to Use the Cash Envelope Budgeting System
The cash envelope budgeting system is a simple, creative, and effective way to help keep your spending in check.
It’s a popular method of budgeting, especially for people who use cash a lot, as it limits their spending depending on the amount placed in each envelope.
According to a recent survey, around 80% of all Americans follow a budget every month. It also shows that 88% believe that budgeting should be done regularly. The cash envelope budgeting system was designed specifically to make budgeting easy.
It was made especially for people who have trouble sticking to their budgets. It forces them to be more mindful and deliberate when it comes to how they spend their money.
If you think the cash envelope budgeting system is right for you, then here’s how you can do it.
Step 1: Know Your Monthly Income
Before anything else, you have to have a firm grasp of your monthly income. Aside from the salary you get from your day job, list down any other income you receive from sources such as:
- A second job or part-time job earnings
- Income from investments
- Side hustle income
- Stimulus payments
- Government benefits, if any
- Child support payments, if any
Take note of one-time income sources that might also come in the next month. This often includes things like tax refunds, bonuses, etc.
On the other hand, if you’re self-employed and your income isn’t as stable, then establish a baseline average income. You can do this by looking at your monthly earnings during the previous year, adding them up, then dividing the total by 12.
Step 2: Think of Your Budget Categories
Now, think of the different things you usually spend your money on. List them down and assign them to different categories. These categories may include the following:
- Transportation and gas
- Personal care
- Children’s items
- Pet care
- Entertainment and dining out
Additionally, make sure to also include any irregular expenses that you may have. This includes gifts, taxes, or insurance. Include a savings category as well.
Step 3: Assign Amounts to Each Category
Now that you have a grasp of your income and the categories of your expenses, start allocating.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out how much to allot for each, you can review your banking statements. Check how much you spend on the different categories, and ideally, use a smaller figure so you can cut back a little and save.
If after assigning amounts to each of your regular expenses, you still have a few bucks left, then maybe you should add a savings envelope and put it there.
Put the corresponding amounts in each of your envelopes, and label them all accordingly. Make sure you write clearly so you never accidentally get money for groceries from your transportation envelope.
Step 4: Spend Accordingly
With your cash now assigned, it’s time to spend according to your budget. If you’re planning on going out to do the laundry, pay for your utilities, go shopping, etc., bring only the corresponding envelope with you.
If each envelope is equipped with a list, make sure to write down what the expense was for, how much it cost, and the new amount remaining inside the envelope. This should help you monitor how much money you’ve already spent and how much is left in each envelope.
The key to making this system work is to spend only whatever money you have available. Make sure that if one envelope runs out, you don’t draw cash from another one.
Admittedly, using this system can be tedious. Listing down each expense, for example, may be a time-consuming task for many.
It’s also slightly less convenient and less secure when compared to the more modern use of credit or debit cards when making purchases.
However, it does allow you to have some insight when it comes to your spending. It helps you save money by limiting your spending and encouraging you to build a habit of monitoring your finances strictly.
Free Printable Cash Envelopes
Without further ado, here are some of the amazing printable cash envelopes you can check out:
1. Black and White-Patterned Cash Envelope Printable Template
These black and white-patterned cash envelope printable templates are some of the simplest designs on this list.
They have simple black and white, symmetrical patterns that exude elegance and make budgeting look great. The designs are also big enough so you can paste a visible label in the middle of each envelope.
2. Succulent-Patterned Cash Envelope Printable Template
This succulent-patterned cash envelope printable template is also an easy one to use. It has a classic design and a large space that also allows you to easily see what that envelope is for.
It’s also easy to assemble. All you need to do is print it, and follow the lines so you know where to fold. Easy, right?
3. Brush Dot Cash Envelope Printable Template
The brush dot cash envelope printable template is a lot like the previous two. It has a design that’s simple and elegant, and is perfect for the budgeter who isn’t too particular when it comes to colors or patterns.
Like the previous two, this template has a straightforward design. It comes in three, simple brush-dotted patterns of different colors that are cool to the eyes.
4. Color-Coded Cash Envelope Printable Template
The color-coded cash envelope printable template is perfect for the visual person. While you can print them on simple white paper, it’s easier to have them color coded.
Assign a color for each category, and label it accordingly. This should make it easier for you to identify the envelopes you need. If you want to make it more fun, assign meanings to the colors as well.
Make the red envelope your luxuries envelope so you know to stop first and consider carefully before opening it.
5. Cash Envelope Printable Template with Expense List
The cash envelope printable template with expense list can also be printed on any color. This one, however, is for the budgeter who wants to keep track of his or her expenses.
Apart from the label, the envelope also has a table that lets you take note of a certain expense and what it is for. This will be useful, especially when assessing later on where you could have saved some cash.
6. Cash Envelope Printable Template with Expense and Balance List
The cash envelope printable template with expenses and balance list is a more detailed version of the previous item. This particular template is perfect for the budgeter who has a keen eye for detail.
Like all other items on this list, this envelope has a space for the category. It also lets you take note of when you started this particular budget and how much you started with.
The template also comes with a table so you can list down all your expenses, when you made them, and how much they cost.
Finally, it has a space at the bottom so you can write down how much you have left at the end of the month.
7. Horizontal Cash Envelope Printable Template with Expense and Balance List
The horizontal cash envelope printable template with the expense and balance list is a lot similar to No. 6. However, it has a horizontal format that gives you more space to accommodate more details.
This template also integrates the balance portion in the table. This allows users to see how much they have left with every expense, instead of as a one-time ending balance at the end of the month.
8. Floral Cash Envelope Printable Template with Expenses Insert
If you wanna be a bit more subtle with your expenses but a little louder with your envelopes, then this floral cash envelope printable template with expenses insert is perfect for you.
It has a wide variety of floral patterns that you can choose from. It also lets you be more subtle with your expenses as it keeps them in a separate printable insert. Now you no longer need to worry about having to hide how much is in the envelope or what you’re spending money on.
9. Classic Cash Envelope Printable Template
If you really can’t decide on anything, then you can never go wrong with a plain old, classic cash envelope printable template. It’s your typical plain envelope that comes with a shape and patterns you can follow to cut it out and fold it.
Hey, it might not look eye-catching, but it more than gets the job done, right? You can use colored pens and stickers to make it look more lively.
How to Make Your Own Free Cash Envelopes
Making your own cash envelopes no longer has to be complicated. The free printable templates listed above pretty much do the entire work for you. That being said, here’s a quick step-by-step guide to follow when making them.
Step 1: Determine the number of envelopes you will need based on the categories you have set.
Step 2: Choose the template you would like to use. Browse through our list of free cash envelope printable templates and choose the one that works best for you.
Step 3: Print your chosen template, cut out as instructed, and fold where applicable.
Budgeting Tips You Can Apply When Using the Cash Envelope System
1. Choose Categories You Have Trouble With
Don’t make a “clothing envelope” that you will never actually use. Make sure the categories you set are the ones that you really spend money on and have trouble maintaining a budget with.
There isn’t really a need for you to have an envelope category that you don’t really spend that much money on.
2. Bring Only the Amount that You Need
If you have a “lunch out envelope” and you’re planning to eat out with your friends at the office, then don’t bring the entire envelope with you.
Get only the amount you need. This should help you avoid spending more money than you can actually afford by limiting the amount of money you have in the first place.
3. Budget by Paycheck or on a Monthly Basis
You can set up a budget on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. We recommend setting up your budget either on a monthly or a by-paycheck basis.
Doing it on a monthly basis aligns your budget with most of your expenses. A lot of bills and loans are paid on these same terms, so aligning your budget according to them would make a lot of sense.
On the other hand, doing it on a by-paycheck basis also has an advantage. It lets you plan your budget accurately depending on the timing of your bills and paycheck.
4. Make Periodic Adjustments
Despite your preparations, setting this system up can take some time. You might have to go through numerous periods before you can set the right limits for each category.
Even then, you might find that things change every now and then, especially with the fluctuating prices of basic goods and services.
With that said, keep in mind that nothing is set in stone. Review your budget periodically and make adjustments as needed until you are comfortable with this system.
5. Stick with It
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, stick with it. It will take some time for you to build that discipline, but stick with it. Have some patience, learn to say no, and this budgeting system will definitely work.
In today’s digital age, it might seem a little too old-school to be carrying around cash envelopes. However, this is a tried and tested method of budgeting that has been used by people for decades.
If you are having trouble maintaining a budget, then put away the plastic and try this out instead. Plan your budget and stick to the rules and you will never overspend with the cash envelope budgeting system.