Now, I don’t normally subscribe the ‘cash envelope’ method – I use and LOVE YNAB, which is a digital cash envelope system for all categories. I did the Dave Ramsey all cash spending before – I think Mike at the Budget Mom is a firm believe in all cash spending – but I am not a big fan of it personally. I do like cash, having it on hand, collecting spare coins in old pickle jars – but managing cash for all my spending sounds like a nightmare to me; and tracking it even worse. I certainly DO NOT have the time.
However, since my primary money-saving opportunity right now is focused on food (not wasting it, feeding my family, curtailing resturaunt and coffeeshop spending, etc.) I’m going to move my digital category envelopes out of YNAB an into the physical world just for those categories related to food and give this a shot.
The system I’m going to try is:
- Establishing spending goals in YNAB for the food categories for the month (in my case, $400 / month)
- Withdrawing that amount of cash for the month ($400)
- Dividing that full, monthly amount of cash up across each week’s mini-goal ($100 / week)
- Putting each week’s grocery allowance into an enevelope marked ‘Week 1’, ‘Week 2’, ‘Week 3’, and ‘Week 4’ (which has 8 – 10 days depending on if the month has 28, 29, 30 or 31 days total)
- On the first of each month, I’ll put Week 1 into my wallet and the stuffed envelopes for Weeks 2 – 4 away in my strong box.
- On the 8th of each month, I’ll pull out the envelope for Week 2, and put away the envelope for Week 1, any left over cash still in it.
- I’ll continue this cycle for cash envelopes on Week 3 & 4 for the month.
- Each time I get paid, I’ll look to fill in envelopes for the upcoming (or previously spent) grocery envelopes for the next month, so they are always full.
- For any holiday spending or abnormal grocery needs (parties, gatherings, etc.) I’ll continue to budget digitally and not count that as my ‘normal’ grocery budget.
Now, this is just a PLAN. And we know what happens when people plan – God laughs. So – let’s see if THIS system helps me manage my grocery / food spending.
I’m going to do the same things for my resturaunt / eating out / coffee shop / lunch downtown budget, which I have set lower for the month at $200, or $50 / week.
Here’s a link to my first YouTube Video where I walk through stuffing those envelopes, and cross my fingers that they hold me accountable to conservative spending habits concerning food!