We all know that managing our money can be tricky. It’s easy to lose track of expenses, overspend on things we don’t need, or just have no idea how much is coming in vs going out. The cash envelope wallet system for budgeting is a popular way to manage your finances more effectively and with less stress.
I love cash. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. I love the freedom and structure cash gives me. I love that I can plan my month (or week, or day) out and know how much money I have for that time.
There are way too many things that I’m in charge of, and one less thing to worry about makes my life just a little easier. Cash makes my life easier.
Do you feel like your money is always slipping through your fingers?
The cash envelope wallet budgeting system will help you get a handle on where all of your money goes. It’s simple to use and easy to understand, so it won’t take up too much time in your day.
You’ll be able to see exactly how much is coming in vs going out, and what you can do with that extra cash at the end of the month!
This system works because it forces you to spend only what’s available for each category. If there isn’t enough money left over for groceries this week, then no grocery shopping until next week when more funds are available!
No more impulse purchases or spending beyond our means – just a clear view into our finances every single day.
What Is The Cash Envelope Wallet System?
Essentially, the cash wallet system is a system similar to using cash envelopes for your cash. Except there are no envelopes.
You still have the same categories for money minus a way to budget the proper amount of cash in each of the groups you might overspend in.
You would decide on an amount that you will spend, place it in an envelope (or something similar) and spend as needed.
However, when that is gone, it is gone — no whipping out the plastic or taking from another source.
You just have to wait for the next paycheck.
For example, groceries. I spend about $400 a month on groceries: $ 150 every two weeks and $100 a month at BJ’s.
My cash envelope wallet gets that amount of money each month.
If I have extra, it will go in the miscellaneous envelope to spend on whatever we might need it for.
Having the right system for using cash is essential.
I have tried a few different cash envelope wallets over the years, and I have created one that works so well for me.
It allows me to use my favorite wallet that I got for Christmas a few years ago, and I know the possibilities are endless.
First, let’s go over the most popular cash envelope wallets.
My Top 21 Best Cash Wallet Systems for Budgeting
1. The New Rachel Cruze Wallet
The new wallet from Rachel Cruz is a higher-end leather wallet that’s available in two colors, black, and camel. It has 4 pockets specifically for cash and is a full zip-around wallet.
Rachel Cruz’s wallet comes with a wristlet strap, card slots, and a change pocket. It doesn’t have a cell phone holder but you can sneak your phone in there depending on size. You can check out the NEW Rachel Cruze Wallet here.
It’s not the least expensive but the quality is good. The zipper seems strong and glides well.
2. Savvy Cents Wallet
The Savvy Cents Wallet was my first cash envelope wallet, and I loved it. When I got mine years ago, they had limited colors. Mine was a white and teal chevron. This pink is fantastic – I might need to order this one!
This is the BEST inexpensive wallet. And you can buy this directly from Savvy Cents instead of going through Amazon.
What I like most about these wallets are the slots they have in them and the plastic tabs to label your categories.
As far as price goes, it’s one of the most affordable wallets and will last. I found my tastes had changed and with a new Michael Kors wallet for Christmas, I wanted to switch it up.
You can learn more about the Savvycents wallet in this article: Review of the Savvycents Wallet
14 Cash Envelope Wallets From Amazon
3. Bella Taylor Wallet
The Bella Taylor Wallets are a cloth design that is quite adorable with the buckle hardware in the front. I did find the colors and designs to be quite limited, but the inside is bright and easy to get to.
There are little tabs to label each category, but they are a tad hard to read, in my opinion. When you are standing in line at Target, the last thing you want to be doing is fighting with your money.
I find the raised tab dividers easier to manage. But if you are looking to be subtle about it, you might enjoy this one!
4. Divvy Up The Savvy Spender Wallet
The Savvy Spender Wallet by Divvy Up has one large compartment to house fabric nylon envelopes. These envelopes come with magnetic closures and labels.
For me, this does not appeal to me. One more moving part to get lost. I find as with the Bella Taylor; the names are more difficult to see.
I suppose once you get used to which color is assigned to which category it wouldn’t be as confusing.
For me, this seems awkward.
5. Dave Ramsey Wallet
It has paper envelopes inside. You can order the replacement envelopes, which is excellent.
It comes in limited colors and styles, but it is very affordable.
It has a tracking notebook and envelopes as well as all the other important spots for receipts, change, cards, and a checkbook.
There is also a smaller black version for men or others who don’t care for something this size.
6. All In One Budget by RK Day Planner Wallet Combo
The All in One comes with a wallet with 12 envelopes, 12 budget sheets, 1 binder note for organizing – offers plenty of room to store your cards, coins, envelopes, coupons and GIFT box package. This wallet has the ring binder to attach the envelopes and is a good starting price at under $20.
This is one of the most affordable wallets in the list. And as a planner wallet combo, its a zip around planner wallet organizer all in one.
7. Mou Meraki Women RFID Blocking Genuine Leather Bifold
This cash wallet by Mou Meraki will have to be modified with envelopes or dividers. But it is a great size for the dividers above and a good price. And with the RDIF (Radio frequency identification) blocking, you can add safety on to the list.
8. Mundi File Master Women’s RFID Blocking Wallet Clutch Organizer With Change Pocket
With three accordion slots, the Mundi File Master Wallet makes a great DIY cash wallet system. And it has RFID blocking. This wallet comes in a number of patterns and styles and is sold on Amazon for around $20. Plus, this light blue is so pretty!
I love the look and its a good cheap wallet.
9. Soligt All-in-One Cash Envelopes Wallet with 12 Budget Envelopes & Budget Sheets
The Soligt cash envelope wallet’s envelope budgeting system includes 1 stylish wallet in red with 12 envelopes, 12 budget sheets, 1 binder note for organizing. This has the ring binder adapter to securely hold your cash envelopes in place.
This is one of the best budget wallet brands.
10. Afmat All-in-One Cash Envelop Wallet
The AFMAT Wallet from Amazon comes with 24 waterproof money budget envelopes and 24 budget sheets. It also comes with 24 labels &and 1 marker. A great system for cash budgeting.
This is also an affordable envelopes option.
11. Saveyon Slim Budget Envelopes Planner Purse Combination
This wallet by Saveyon has the divider accordion-style wallet that is a little less cumbersome than envelopes. It has six tabbed envelopes and budget sheets to track your spending. Comes with RFID blocking safeguards.
Best zipper wallet for the money.
12. Nautica Money Manager RFID Women’s Wallet Clutch Organizer
This wallet by Nautica is the perfect size for DYI cash envelope wallets. The measurements are sot on for the cash divider printable above. It comes I many colors and has great reviews!
13. Magicfly Zip Around Planner Wallet
This is another great affordable option coming in at under $20 with good reviews. This Magicfly Cash Envelope Wallet comes with 12 budget envelopes, budget sheets, and labels. It’s waterproof and lightweight for tracking all your spending.
This is a cheaper version of Filofax and it comes with the cash envelopes.
You could even get the money zipper pouch and putt those in this. The plastic money envelopes might last longer than the paper ones.
14. Expanded Horizons RFID Blocking 10 Divider Cash Envelope Wallet
This Horizons wallet is an accordion-style with eight pockets and labeled windows to customize. It might be one of my favorites. No dividers or envelopes needed.
15. With You All In One Cash Wallet
I just love the color of this All In One Wallet. Its a larger size and has the wristlet band. It comes with 12 laminated budget envelopes, 12 budget sheets, and 12 label stickers. Good reviews and it’s just so pretty.
16. Kate Spade Planner Wallet
If you’re looking for a higher-end wallet planner, check out this Kate Spade agenda. It is so cute and you can add inserts to customize it any way you want. Who wouldn’t love a Kate Spade cash envelope wallet? Ask for one in the coming holidays!
8 Cash Envelope Wallets From Etsy
17. Personalized Envelope Wallet & Binder
This cash envelope planner and wallet by Konate Kreations can be customized with whatever envelopes you need.
I love this idea because everyone has different needs – and this type of wallet has plenty of space for all envelopes.
This is the same type of cash envelopes I use for my sinking funds.
18. Cash Wallet by Vintage Fabric Finds
This hand made custom fabric envelope wallet from Vintage Fabric Finds has individual zipper pockets with little tabs to write your category on. This is such a cute wallet with up to 10 pouches, depending on your needs.
19. A6 Binder Cash Envelope System From The Average Budget
This A6 binder cash envelope system from The Average Budget comes with your choice of wallet binder, 6 very pretty envelopes as well as labels, trackers, and bank withdrawal slips.
19. Cash Budget Wallet System by In Stitches Creations
In Stitches Creations makes these gorgeous patterned cash envelope wallets with up to 8 pouch envelopes. This wallet is so fun and comes with a wrist strap (which can be VERY important).
20. Fabric Cash Wallet from The Happy Quail
This envelope wallet from The Happy Quail is just gorgeous. The patterns used are so pretty and come with up to 10 sections with a clear label to mark your categories.
What are Cash Envelopes?
Cash envelopes for budgeting seem to be the newest buzz phrase in the personal finance world. When you are struggling with your finances and drowning in debt, using a cash-based budgeting system and kicking credit cards to the curb might just help you sleep at night.
What is The Cash Envelope Method?
The cash envelope method is a simple process of planning ahead and setting limits in the areas of your life you tend to overspend the most in. Then grabbing said amount of cash to reserve for those categories.
The key is to spend what’s in those envelopes and not a cent more. Allowing yourself the freedom to spend the money in the designated reserve yet having restraint when the reserve is empty.
Normally, cash isn’t used for all areas of spending. Fixed expences like rent or mortgage and cell phone bills probably wont be lumped into the case envelope method.
Think variable. Areas like clothing, groceries, and date nights. Like I mentioned above, areas that might be prone to overspending.
How the Budget Cash Envelope System Can Stop Overspending.
When you are using the cash envelopes for budgeting purposes, you are giving yourself the freedom to spend until it’s gone. There is a bottom to the food bucket. When you reach the bottom, you’re done until the bucket has been refilled.
Like children, adults also thrive with structure. Being able to spend all willy nilly without structure and restrictions makes for spontaneous and overly rambunctious spending practices.
Understanding that you only have $100 for beauty this month means you may have to choose between new highlights OR a pedicure…not both. Understanding will stop you from overspending.
You also have to be willing to make a commitment to the process. It doesn’t mean that when you want something and the cash is gone that you steal from another envelope or worse… pull out the credit or debit card to satisfy your urge for Pad Thai.
How to Get Started Using Cash Envelopes to Save Money
Track Your Spending
Know where your money is going each month. This will give you an idea of what categories you will need and allow you to see where overspending is happening. Cash envelopes are the perfect solution to knowing what areas you spend too much money on.
Create a Budget
Create a written plan and allocate the money to where you want it to go. Understand that there may be areas you are overspending right now and that can be trimmed right away. Also, understand that it’s going to take some trial and error. Budgets are forever changing and you might mess up. That’s ok.
Some budget once a month. Others (like me) budget every paycheck.
Set up Cash Envelopes and Categories
Once you have a roadmap, set up your envelopes. You can use old junk mail envelopes, a coupon organizer from the dollar store or you can buy money envelopes. I prefer the cash envelope wallet dividers described at the end of this article.
Then head to the bank and get your cash. Make sure you write down the denominations you need to help your friendly neighborhood bank teller’s job a little easier.
Know Your Cash Envelope Method Limits
Understand that when the cash from a category is gone, it’s gone. Remember, you are using envelopes to save money. There is no borrowing from another category or whipping out the plastic cards. When it’s gone, it’s gone until the next pay period. You must refrain from spending. Final answer.
To learn more about cash envelopes, check out this post, Does The Cash Envelope System Really Work?
Where To Keep Your Cash
Some people use actual envelopes described above. They will grab their grocery envelope when they are heading out to shop and just use that.
I have seen people who use a Filofax binder zip around planner wallet with pouches to organize their cash.
There are others who will go to the Dollar Tree and grab a coupon organizer to keep with them as they need it. Everyone will find a system that works best for them.
I do not use envelopes in the most common sense of the word. Instead of those basic A6 brown envelope cash envelopes, I went with something a little more special.
Even though it is based on the cash envelope theory, it just doesn’t work for me.
A few people have created these cash envelope wallets that are affordable and fantastic.
21. How to Make a DIY Cash Envelope Wallet
Should You Buy a Cash Envelope Wallet or Make Your Own?
There are some great wallets on this list ranging from the best cheap wallets to the high end Kate Spade wallet. But there are other options.
As I mentioned, I tried all sorts of clips, and they all seemed awkward and bulky.
I found myself fumbling around trying to get the clips off and then trying to hold the wallet, clips and money felt clumsy.
So I needed to create a system similar to the Savvy Cents cash envelope wallet that had worked so well for me over the years.
This is when I knew it was time to DYI cash envelope wallet!
I traced their dividers and created ones that fit perfectly into my new wallet.
Then I went through my stock of scrapbooking paper and found patterns that I loved.
I traced them, cut them out, used my label maker to create custom labels and then laminated them!
This is by far the best system I have ever had. It’s mainly a filing system for cash! Find the free printable pattern for these above.
How Do You Start A Cash Envelope System?
Remember, you don’t necessarily have to carry all the cash around with you all the time.
Once your category cash has been spent, DO NOT SPEND ANYMORE!!! You are finished until next paycheck or the next month, depending on how you budget.
You may NOT “borrow” from another category or use the debit card.
There is a relevant amount of discipline involved here. Don’t waiver. Stay strong.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Cash Divider Wallet?
Track Your Spending
It is so much easier to keep track of how much you are spending.
You know for sure that you will not pay any more than $400 per month on groceries because that is all you have!
Your fun money spending will not get out of hand if you only have $25 per week to spend.
Can’t spend more than $150 per season on new clothes if you just have $150 cash in your wallet!
You will not pay any interest to a third party when you use a cash wallet system.
You put the money in your wallet and take it out when you need to make a purchase.
No interest on that purchase. And no bill to pay (or not to pay) at the end of the month.
Yes, some credit cards will have zero percent interest for a time, but it won’t last forever and shuffling your money around constantly to avoid that interest hike doesn’t sound like fun.
Pay cash. So much easier.
Less Chance Of Stolen Identity And Theft
Yes, there is always a chance that someone will steal your purse and all the cash in it but those instances are probably rarer than someone hacking the TJ MAXX database and taking your information.
Also, you do not have to carry ALL your cash in your wallet all the time.
If I’m going shopping, I know I need my grocery cash and maybe my clothing cash as I know that my youngest needs shorts for his school trip to Florida.
If someone gets ahold of all of your information through your credit card or even debit card, it will take a lot more work than replacing a few hundred dollars cash.
I’m willing to take the risk.
Psychological Benefits For Using Cash
Cash (for most) is just harder to spend. You can see it, feel it, smell it and understand that it took you one hour of work to make that $30!
An hour of work that you may or may not love. But one hour of work out of your life.
Do you want to spend one hour of your life on that shirt?
If you have a hundred dollar bill, and you want to buy a cup of coffee, you may think twice about breaking that 100 dollar bill and just go home and make your coffee.
You may be apt to understand cash more if you are holding it in your hand.
Use Cash And Get A Deal
I have offered retailers cash and gotten a discount many times.
I got 20% off a couple of tuxedos for my oldest son’s wedding by paying in cash.
I rented a porta potty for a party and got money off. I have paid less for tv at a privately run electronics store by paying cash.
Purchasing a used car (or any other item) from an individual with cash in your hand would increase your probability of paying less.
They know it is a done deal and there is no bank or check involved.
I’m all about saving money. And I’m all about the Benjamins!
What Categories Are In My Cash Envelope Wallet?
Here are the categories that I have in my wallet. Like I mentioned above, I rarely if ever have cash in all of these at one time.
- Groceries. Self-explanatory. BJ’s money once a month would also sit here.
- Eggs. We get our eggs from a farm, so I like to have a separate spot for this. There is to place to get change, usually, so it helps to have the exact amount.
- Mine. Yup…all mine.
- Gas. Yes, I use cash for gas.
- Bella. This is our old lady pup, and this is for anything that pertains to her – spa days once per season, food, or vet.
- Date Night. Twice per month, we go out on a date night — nonnegotiable.
- Misc. Whatever we might need. Car parts, home repair money, DMV will all go in here with a proper sticky note if required.
- H & H. House and hygiene. So, Target. I head there once a month with a list.
- Gifts. This could be anything from a birthday to Valentine’s Day.
- Clothes/Hair/ Rx. Shopping, haircuts or prescriptions would get stuck in here. This would also have proper sticky notes if needed.
Can You Use the Cash Envelope System Without Cash?
I have heard people who use the cash envelope system without cash but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are psychological benefits to holding cash in your hands and physically handing it over to pay for purchases. As a Financial Coach, I would discourage using plastic of any kind.
I can’t imagine not using cash. I owe everything to deciding on a cash system.
If you are part of the cash-only group, where do your Benjamin’s live?