Looking for free printable cash envelopes for your budgeting needs?
You’re in the right place!
The cash envelope system, popularized by finance guru Dave Ramsey, has gained popularity in recent years, and for good reason. It’s a simple yet effective budgeting system that helps you stick to your monthly budget.
In this post, we’ll explain how the cash envelope system works, and provide free printable cash envelopes to help you get started!
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The cash envelope system
The cash envelope system is a popular budgeting method that uses cash envelopes to keep track of your spending.
To start, you’ll need envelopes to put your cash in.
The number of envelopes needed will depend on the number of budget categories you have, e.g. groceries, eating out, entertainment, etc.
Each envelope is dedicated to one of your budget categories. Label the envelopes with their respective categories.
At the beginning of each month, fill the envelopes with cash according to your budget.
There’s only one cardinal rule that you’ve got to follow here – only spend the cash in your envelopes, no more!
If you have extra cash in any of the envelopes at the end of the month, avoid transferring the money to other envelopes. Instead, add it to your savings or use the money for the following month.
Why you should try the cash envelope system
Using cash envelopes for budgeting may seem troublesome, but there are numerous benefits to this system.
Physically seeing the cash that remains in your envelopes forces you to adjust your spending accordingly. If your ‘Eating out’ cash envelope is depleting quickly, it acts as a reminder for you to eat at home more.
This system trains you to be disciplined. Learning to spend only what’s in your cash envelopes can be tough at first, but over time, this hones your financial discipline!
Using the cash envelope system ensures that you don’t accidentally spend money allocated for necessities on other things. With cash envelopes, all your budget categories are clearly labeled, and your cash is carefully allocated according to your budget. This eliminates the risk of spending money needed for rent and utilities on other things, which can sometimes happen when all your money is pooled together in a single bank account.
Cash Envelope Categories
You don’t have to use this envelope system for all your budget categories.
Fixed expenses such as your monthly rental and car payments can be omitted. Other variable expenses and wants would be perfect for this, especially categories that you want to cut back on.
Here are a few cash envelope categories you can use:
transportation (e.g. gas, ride-sharing)
personal care (e.g. skincare, make up)
miscellaneous (e.g. gifts, special occasions)
Where to get your cash envelopes
Now that you know how the cash envelope system works, it’s time to get your envelopes!
Amazon offers a wide variety of cash envelopes that you can choose from.
Here are a few interesting options to consider:
Basic black cash envelopes. Label your budget categories on the front of the envelopes with a silver Sharpie for some sleek-looking cash envelopes!
Pinterest-worthy cash envelopes. These cash envelopes have a unique design, and they come with budget sheets to keep track of your spending.
Cash envelope binder wallet. This cash envelope organizer cum wallet with budget sheets and a pen holder is perfect for keeping track of your spending on the go.
Reusable cash envelopes. These cash envelopes made from faux leather are reusable, and they protect your bills from damage when you carry them around in your bag.
Your local stationery store
Show the small businesses in your area some love! Visit your local stationery store and buy a pack of cash envelopes.
Make your own
If you’re into DIY projects, make your own with our printable cash envelopes!
Free Printable Cash Envelopes
Our printable cash envelopes come in 2 different styles.
This printable cash envelope comes with a table on the front to fill in your expenses.
This makes it easy to keep track of how much you’ve spent so far and how much you have left in your envelopes for the rest of the month.
You can use colored paper to make these cash envelopes. Use a different color for each of your budget categories.
To get the most use out of these envelopes, fill in your spending details with a pencil instead of a pen. At the end of the month, erase the details and reuse the envelopes!
This printable cash envelope comes with a separate budget sheet to fill in your expenses.
Print the budget sheets separately and keep them in your cash envelopes.
Don’t want to splurge on patterned paper? Make your own at home! Find interesting prints and patterns on Google or Pinterest.
For example, we keyed in ‘black and white cat patterns’ into Google images and got great results!
Copy the image you like and paste it onto a Word document. Resize the image to fit the whole page and hit print. You’ve got yourself some homemade patterned paper!
How to make the cash envelopes
Here’s how to make your DIY cash envelopes:
Print the envelope outline.
Cut out the envelope.
Fold in the two smaller tabs along the dotted lines.
Fold in one of the larger tabs and using glue, stick it to the smaller tabs. You’re done!
Repeat the process to make as many cash envelopes as you need.
For style #2, print and cut out the budget sheets separately.
What if you use cashless payment methods?
Nowadays, cashless payments through online transfers and credit/debit cards are becoming the norm.
For cashless transactions, be sure to jot down your spending on the respective cash envelopes.
Once you’ve spent the budgeted amount, avoid using any more cash from that envelope. Any extra cash left behind can be used for the following month.
If most or all of your transactions are cashless, then consider using a digital envelope system instead.
Digital Envelope System
With a digital envelope system, you put allocated amounts of cash into ‘digital’ envelopes and limit your spending to those amounts.
You can use the Goodbudget app to create digital envelopes for your budget categories.
The default categories are Groceries and Gas, but you can create more envelopes and input your budgeted amounts accordingly. For the free version, you can add and manage up to 10 digital cash envelopes.
Once you set up your cash envelopes, start adding your day-to-day expenses into the app to keep track of how much you have left in each envelope.
This is a great way to use the cash envelope system, even if you don’t pay in cash!
If you’re looking for a simple yet effective system for your monthly budgeting, give the cash envelope method a try.
Use our printable cash envelopes to get started, or download the Goodbudget app on your phone for a digital envelope system instead.