I am a fairly strict budgeter (budget-eer?) but I have gotten a bit sloppy over the last several months. One of the best ways for me personally to watch my money carefully is to use cash envelopes for my household spending. We have done this nearly all of our married life.(Because before we were married, we were...you know....in high school.) You can just go to the bank and get the money you have budgeted for each category of household funds and use that instead of an ATM card. (I am quite sure that there are people that are far more disciplined than I, that can use ATM cards with more care. I have learned that I am not really one of those people. Darn.)
If you need to start budgeting more carefully, or have trouble sticking to your budget and are interested in the cash envelope system, here's a cool article from Dave Ramsey's site on starting your own system:
Another thing I know, from lots and lots of personal experience, is this- when you make the stuff you HAVE to do more fun, you like it more. Hence, the cutesy envelopes!!
You'll need several sheets of scrapbook paper (however many envelopes you need is how many sheets of paper you'll need). You can use the thicker, card stock paper if you want the envelopes to be more durable. I will show you how to reinforce these with scotch tape too. You also need a bill envelope (the kind that comes with your bills to mail back), scissors, a pencil, adhesive tape (I REALLY like the permanent double stick adhesive tape they sell in the scrap booking section. It works even on card stock. I don't buy the dispenser, you don't need to, just buy the refill rolls, they're like 2 bucks. If you use card stock, use a ruler to lightly score the folds before you make them. If you want to make these and can't afford the paper and special tape, you could totally make some out of plain paper with scotch tape, and let your kids decorate them- I think that would be really cute!!!!!!
So, first take the envelope apart and open it up:
Then, trace it on the back side of the paper:
Then, cut it out! Do this for each of the papers. If you're using card stock, I don't advise cutting more than 2 at a time. If you're using thinner paper, you can cut several at once.
Now you're going to put the envelope together! fold the sides in first, then fold the bottom up.
Then fold the bottom back down and apply a strip of the adhesive tape to each folded-in flap on the side:
Peel back the other side of the adhesive tape to make it double sticky:
Then bring the bottom back up and press it on!! That's it!
You can then reinforce the sides and bottom edge with scotch tape: (Ok, come on, really?? Does the toe thumb HAVE to get into SO MANY shots?? Ridiculous.)
Now cut out small tags from the scraps, and write the categories for each envelope on them: (I would like to point out how lovely my hand looks in this photo. It's because you can't see my horrid thumb)
Then attach them to the envelopes! (I like to put a tag from a different paper on each becase then it looks cuter and stands out better) I use the adhesive then a glue stick to get the edges down (I just use the glue stick from the kids' art stuff):
(of course I made the most important envelope first)
Now you can either put the envelopes in the "dollar" section of your wallet, or make a larger cutesy envelope to hold them, or use one of those plastic sleeve-type envelopes that they sell at the office supply. I made this super easy (I CANNOT sew to save my life) simple cloth envelope to keep them in last year. (I have made a strict "I only sew straight lines" rule. One day I will tell you about the year I decided to make nightgowns for all the ladies in the family. It was a disaster. Mostly for them, because they had to act like they weren't awful.)
It used to have Velcro on it, but I used the stick-on kind and it fell off, and it's not really that important anyhow so I just left it that way.
I am really fortunate that I live next door to my mom, she has a serger and a sewing machine set up all the time, because she sews for a living. She makes quilts. :)
I also have an envelope for my coupons so I am sure that they are always with me! (This one is from my last envelope set, it actually survived! The others were trashed!!)
Ok, so now for the next topic- the grocery budget!! Like I said before, I have been sloppy about mine for a while now, and I am going to get back on track! So I want to keep my budget to $250 every two weeks. We don't eat out very much, and Wade takes his lunch other than the rare exception. Since my kids are homeschooled, that means all 3 meals per day for 4 (sometimes more if we have company) people.
I am really good about making a menu and using my grocery money well, I have just been buying extra things that "sound" good. I have also been careless about doing extra trips to the market for one item and ending up buying other items that I don't need. So I need to take my friend Bethany's advice and JUST take the cash for what I need!! This way I won't over spend!! (I know this, really I do. But knowing something and doing it are SO two different things)
Is there anything you could do to improve in this department? Do you need to start making a menu and a grocery list? Do you need to figure out exactly how much you are spending? OR are there any tips you can offer for others (including me!) if you have a special gift in household budgeting? I know that we are all in different financial and life situations, so not everyone will have the same experience- that's great! Then we can learn from each other! Please comment below (PLEASE! Your comments help keep me motivated to write this blog!) if you have any questions, tips, advice, or if you want to challenge yourself in this area too! Sometimes, honestly, it's just nice to not feel alone in the whole "sticking to the budget" arena! :)
Grocery day is today- so I get a chance to immediately test out my new challenge!! Wooo hooo! I wrote my favorite Spurgeon quote on my grocery list to inspire me....
"He is richest who is content with the least." Spurgeon
Have a GREAT day! :)