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Discussion Starter #1
I have been trying the envolope system and using just cash and it is not working at all! I end up spending money from different envolopes for the wrong thing, and then breaking a bill and having lots of change and putting it in my change jar but then not having much left in the envolope. I know I'm doing something wrong but I like the idea of saving my change. How do you make it work?
 

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sounds like maybe a self-discipline issue?? dipping into other envelopes for things which are not the specific intent or target? it might not be such a BAD thing in the big picture, as you are seeing the consequences of bending the rules a bit. i know sometimes that's the way i have to learn stuff!!!


if you're saving change to the point where there's not enough $$ to finish the primary mission, then that's a bit like robbing peter to pay paul....can't buy gas but look at my shiny full change jar. i'm kind of a novice at all this, but it sounds like you just have some kinks to work out so that they system works FOR you, not against you.
 

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Maybe you are needing to 1) allocate more $$ to each category and 2) supply your envelopes with smaller bills to start with.
 

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Maybe you are needing to 1) allocate more $$ to each category and 2) supply your envelopes with smaller bills to start with.
And 3)

STOP CHEATING THE SYSTEM

Don't allow yourself to use money from the wrong envelopes! Your breaking your commitment to yourself when you do that!
 

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At first, it takes time to figure out exactly how much to put into each envelope. . . once you get it figured out though - it shouldn't be an issue. . . you should not have to steal from another envelope for a different category. By 2-3 months it should be a smooth process.
 

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Have you sat down and written out a budget as to where your $$$ is going before trying the envelope system?

I don't currently use the envelope system but DH & I plan to start as soon as we figure out exactly where the $$$ is going in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't feel like I'm cheating it tho, I get paid about 5-6 times a month and I try to write up where all that Money goes but end up not having enough in my groceries so I take from a different envolope and then don't have enough left in it. It would be way better if I only got paid twice a month cause then I'd have more to work with?
 

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I don't feel like I'm cheating it tho, I get paid about 5-6 times a month and I try to write up where all that Money goes but end up not having enough in my groceries so I take from a different envolope and then don't have enough left in it. It would be way better if I only got paid twice a month cause then I'd have more to work with?
If you are taking from one envelope to fund another - it's cheating the system.

you have to manage with what you have! How do you figure you'd have more to work with, by getting paid twice a month, vs 5-6 times a month? the income would remain the same, just dispersed differently? Right? So you have to learn to manage your spending, in accordance with your income - hence what the envelope system is set up to help you do.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That's exactly what I do. I put 50 a month away for car repairs but don't take the 50 until later on in the month this month I need to get my car fixed early so I had to take that money from else where.
 

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That should have come from your emergency fund.
 

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And 3)

STOP CHEATING THE SYSTEM

Don't allow yourself to use money from the wrong envelopes! Your breaking your commitment to yourself when you do that!
Would someone please tattoo this backwards onto my forehead?

Thanks Greebo, you always speak the truth.
 

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What works for us is to only have the envelope with the grocery money with us when we go to the store. This way we can't pull out of another envelope. I also leave the money in the bank until I need it, then I take out what I'm planning on spending. If you don't have a bank, maybe leave the cash at home and only take with you what you want to spend. You're going to have to force yourself not to cheat. Whatever you can do to make it harder to cheat, it's going to help you. I would suggest only carrying around the cash you need for the day. If it's hard to cheat, you won't.
Good luck!
 

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What works for us is to only have the envelope with the grocery money with us when we go to the store. This way we can't pull out of another envelope. I also leave the money in the bank until I need it, then I take out what I'm planning on spending. If you don't have a bank, maybe leave the cash at home and only take with you what you want to spend. You're going to have to force yourself not to cheat. Whatever you can do to make it harder to cheat, it's going to help you. I would suggest only carrying around the cash you need for the day. If it's hard to cheat, you won't.
Good luck!
This reminded me: Its a drag when I'm tired, but the past few months I have been writing down EVERY item price, next to the item on my grocery list, and rounding up to whole numbers. I keep a running total as I shop. It has really helped me because then I know what's on my list has been purchased, and how much (if any) free money is left over for the fun stuff. Then I march right over to the fun stuff and it is guilt-free. There's no surprises at the check-out stand, I hate that feeling of "Oh No!" and having to put things back (or dipping into other money) so this has eliminated that situation for me.
 

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Sounds like you need to rework your budget and stick to it, and budget tweaking can take some time. If you are getting paid 5-6 times as month, you need to break your $ going into the envelopes into 5-6 'chunks'. For instance, if you get paid 6 times in a month, figure out a REAL grocery budget and put 1/6th in each time you are paid that month. It sounds like perhaps your budget #s are unreasonable. You need to reduce your budget to what you can ACTUALLY do, or you need to make more $ to cover your actual expenses. And greebo's got it- NO CHEATING. Defeats the whole purpose. If you have so much change left at the end of the months it's messing you up and detracting from your envelopes, you either need to start rolling it and turning it back into bills to put back into your envelopes, or you need to 'shop' less so not so much is 'wasted' in change! You are short-changing (haha) yourself by dipping out of other envelopes and by converting (what sounds like) a good bit of your envelope $ into change which you then remove from the system.
 

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The envelope system doesn't work for everyone. Some people really dig it. I hate it. Hate it. I hate going to the trouble to pull cash out every paycheck when I don't normally use it. I hate using cash. Cash has no magical power over my psyche and I don't get any feeling of anxiety watching it disappear. Why would I? I still have money in the bank. When it does get spent up, it's like it just disappears with no record. Then there's all the little things that pop up during the pay period that I just don't know what to do with.

I even bought the Dave Ramsey envelope wallet and messing with those envelopes and their little flaps every time I want to buy something is such a huge pain that I don't do it for long.

Before anyone points out that the system didn't work for me because I 'cheated' or lack discipline, I want to point out that in the past I've been able to live off of very little without spending anything that wasn't completely necessary. Self discipline isn't that much of an issue with me when it comes to spending. To set up arbitrary limits when I was perfectly capable controlling my spending just seemed silly.

Judging by some of Ashley's other posts, I really doubt self discipline is the issue. And calling it "cheating" when her bills are paid, her kid is taken care of and she has money in savings just doesn't seem fair. I really don't want her to beat herself up over it.

Ashley, I got two ideas for you. First, you might try just logging your expenses for a month in order to make sure that you really know what you spend on groceries so that you put the right amount in your envelopes. And I really think you need to leave your change in the envelope you got it from.

If you decide to try another system, you might try what I do. Plan out your paychecks by deciding what you're going to put toward bills and savings. Plan for other expenses that might not be included in your budget categories, like if you're planning a trip to the movies or to buy new shoes. Make sure that after all these things are taken out, you have a buffer that you can use to buy groceries and gas and other small things with. If you're getting paid 5-6 times a month, you can't screw it up too badly because you won't have to wait long for a new paycheck.

I don't know of anyone that endorses this method aside from me, but I did this for months and paid off a lot of debt with it. I still do it, and I'll probably always do it this way. IMO, the envelope system might be really good for people who have problems controlling their spending and need to see where their money is going. I'm just not one of those people, and I don't think you are either.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
The envelope system doesn't work for everyone. Some people really dig it. I hate it. Hate it. I hate going to the trouble to pull cash out every paycheck when I don't normally use it. I hate using cash. Cash has no magical power over my psyche and I don't get any feeling of anxiety watching it disappear. Why would I? I still have money in the bank. When it does get spent up, it's like it just disappears with no record. Then there's all the little things that pop up during the pay period that I just don't know what to do with.

I even bought the Dave Ramsey envelope wallet and messing with those envelopes and their little flaps every time I want to buy something is such a huge pain that I don't do it for long.

Before anyone points out that the system didn't work for me because I 'cheated' or lack discipline, I want to point out that in the past I've been able to live off of very little without spending anything that wasn't completely necessary. Self discipline isn't that much of an issue with me when it comes to spending. To set up arbitrary limits when I was perfectly capable controlling my spending just seemed silly.

Judging by some of Ashley's other posts, I really doubt self discipline is the issue. And calling it "cheating" when her bills are paid, her kid is taken care of and she has money in savings just doesn't seem fair. I really don't want her to beat herself up over it.

Ashley, I got two ideas for you. First, you might try just logging your expenses for a month in order to make sure that you really know what you spend on groceries so that you put the right amount in your envelopes. And I really think you need to leave your change in the envelope you got it from.

If you decide to try another system, you might try what I do. Plan out your paychecks by deciding what you're going to put toward bills and savings. Plan for other expenses that might not be included in your budget categories, like if you're planning a trip to the movies or to buy new shoes. Make sure that after all these things are taken out, you have a buffer that you can use to buy groceries and gas and other small things with. If you're getting paid 5-6 times a month, you can't screw it up too badly because you won't have to wait long for a new paycheck.

I don't know of anyone that endorses this method aside from me, but I did this for months and paid off a lot of debt with it. I still do it, and I'll probably always do it this way. IMO, the envelope system might be really good for people who have problems controlling their spending and need to see where their money is going. I'm just not one of those people, and I don't think you are either.

Thank you so much :) I really don't feel like I am cheating, I track every cent a spend already so I know most of my number are realistic. For January I wrote down every time I get paid and how much, I then broke it down into, car repairs, bills, rent, savings, groceries, misc, etc so everytime I get paid I know where every cent is going. I really hope this will work, I also took out things like car repair, groceries etc all at first so I won't be stealing from one envolope for something else. I get paid in cash 4 out of the 6 times a month so it works decent for me plus I pay my landlord in cash. This month I am going to leave all my change in the envolope until the end of the month and then at the end I will put it in my jar and every 2 months cash it in. My fingers are crossed that this system works for me!
 
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