Cash envelope system (free printable)

So after reading the’s book on budgeting (I would totally recommend this if you are living on a budget and trying to save money), I recently decided to put aside my credit card for the next few months and try to only use the cash envelope system.

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If you’ve never heard of it, the cash envelope system basically consists of budgeting out a specific amount of money for certain categories each month (i.e. groceries, entertainment, clothing, etc.), and keeping the budgeted amount in cash in an envelope. You pull from this envelope throughout the month as needed, always knowing where you are at and how much you have left to spend. When the envelope is empty, you are done spending in that category for the month, and hopefully you were on budget or even below. Did I mention you stop carrying your credit card? Yikes!

Even though my husband and I are really good about paying off our credit card each month and keeping track of what we are spending, I know we overspend in certain categories because it’s so easy to do with plastic in hand. I am hoping that this new endeavor will give us the opportunity to save up and perhaps pay off some of our debt in preparation for buying a house.

Cash Envelope Templates

Anyway,  since I don’t do anything easy, I couldn’t simply use plain envelopes to hold my cash… so I made my own pretty ones! I was initially inspired by a small cash box that I found in the $1 section of Target; it was actually labeled “cash box” and it was perfect for holding all my envelopes in one place. How could I not see this as a sign to do a new craft project?

So as soon as I got home, I used a tutorial I found on to make my own cash-sized string-tie envelopes that fit perfectly in my new little cash box. Want to make some of your own? Start by downloading the printable envelope templates below. I’ve included several categories that I use for my own budget, plus a blank template for you to fill in. All of my utility bills and rent are paid using online bill pay through the bank, so I only use these envelopes for the variables like groceries, household (anything for household maintence, toiletries, cleaning products, etc.), clothing, and of course, a personal budget so I can splurge within reason and not feel like I am never allowed to buy anything fun.

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How to Assemble String-tie Envelopes from Template:

  • Print envelope template (I printed on heavyweight white paper) and cut out around edges.
  • Fold in all tabs and glue in appropriate places with a glue stick.
  • Print discs template (included in download above) on cardstock and cut out as many as needed (you will need 2 per envelope).
  • Prick the center of the discs with a large needle, then prick the two marked spots on each envelope.
  • Attach discs to envelope using brads. If you don’t have brads, you can also sew your discs on using a needle and thread.
  • Tie string around top disc and knot.
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Cash envelope system tip:
To simplify my envelope system each month, I wrote somewhere on each envelope what bills I needed to make the total amount for this category (i.e. for a $50 envelope, I would need 2 – $20, 1 – $10). Then I went back and totaled up all my $10, $20, $50 bills so I know what denominations to ask for when I go to the bank at the beginning of each month. When I get home, I follow my notes to stuff each envelope, and I’m done!

/// update ///

I created some new simple & more practical envelopes that you might prefer. Head {HERE} to download them and get instructions.

Free cash budget envelope printable |