Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beautify your Budget with Custom Money Envelopes

A couple of years ago, we decided to use the envelope system to keep better track of what we spent each month.  I began by using plain white small envelopes, but they would easily fall apart.  I was constantly replacing them.  The other problem was that that they constantly fell out of my wallet almost every time I opened it.

Everything changed when I happened upon a printable template that allowed me to make my own envelopes.  Well, it has been a couple of years and I absolutely love them!  My first set wore out so I just made a fresh batch and lamiated them this time. :0)

Here is how to make the money envelopes:

1.  Visit your local craft store and pick out the crafting paper that you like.  One sheet per envelope.  I purchased the 12"x 12" paper, because this allowed a little left over on each sheet to make the label circles (more on these in a moment).  So, if you get the larger paper, cut it down to 8 1/2" x 11" for the printout.

2.  Download the free envelope template from Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs.

4. Next, the labels.  I wanted a little different title circles than the one provided with the template, so I created my own labels for each of the envelopes.  I printed out the title circles (you may download my labels here) then cut out a slightly larger circle with a scalloped edge pair of scissors.  I mixed them up a little with the envelopes so that each scalloped circle was different than the envelope.  It is recommended that you hold the paper up to a light in order to position the labels in the right spot on the template.

5.  After the title labels are centered, it is time to laminate if you would like to.  I just covered them on one side with contact paper from the dollar store.  Next, cut out the envelopes, fold them and secure the folds with scrapbooking tape.

6.  Something that I love about my envelopes is that they are all connected and secured in my wallet.  Here is how to encase them together.  First, cut out a piece of cardboard the same size as the finished envelopes.  Cover one side of the cardboard with a pretty paper.  Then take a ruler and lay out where you are going to punch holes.  I punched a hole every 3/4" or so along the long side of the cardboard, just about 1/4" from the edge.  Use this cardboard as a template to punch holes in your envelopes.  Of course, make sure they are all facing the same direction. Punch holes and use yarn or thin binding (as I used) and thread the envelopes together.  The end result is a sort of spiral notebook of envelopes.

5.  Finally, secure them in your wallet by simply sliding the cardboard piece securely under one of the wallet's flaps.  All the envelopes should all be facing the same direction and ready to be filled.  Enjoy!

For what it is worth, here are the categories that I use for my cash budget each month.  After each paycheck we withdrawal the needed cash and distribute them to the envelopes.  It really helps me to stay on budget.  Once the cash is gone, then the money is gone for that budgeted item.  Those budget categories are...
  • Groceries
  • Gas
  • House Maintenance
  • Car Maintenance
  • Misc. (a little blow money for a fun family outing or something of the sort)
  • B-days (we just put in a little each month-then use it when a b-day comes up)
  • Christmas (a little each month)
  • Projects
  • Date Night
  • Clothing
  • Gifts (where I keep track of my b-day money, etc)

How about you?  How do you keep track of your cash and budget?

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