Monday, July 6, 2009


Wow. I feel an episode of synchronicity coming on. This morning I was trying to get caught up on all the blog visiting that I missed out on last week, when I came across this posting by Rhonda Jean, on her blog Down To Earth. I nearly dropped my teeth when I read that she used the "envelope method" of budgeting. I thought I was the only one who ever did that!

John and I are very different when it comes to handling money, and when we were first married, it caused me a lot of stress. We finally came up with the perfect plan - one that involves me having a separate household account, so that I can set goals, and plan and budget to my heart's content, and he can spend his portion down to the last penny each month, and not even keep a check register if he doesn't want to, without causing me to have a nervous breakdown.

Once I had control over a set amount each month, I decided to track what I was spending on groceries, entertainment, clothing, house & garden, gifts, and all kid related stuff. When I knew how much I had been spending, I thought about where I wanted to go, and came up with a budget of sorts - reducing some categories in order to add new ones, such as charitable donations and Christmas and vacation funds. When I had all that worked out, the big question was, how on earth do I monitor myself, to keep from overspending in any one category? That's when I came up with the envelope method. I just took a bunch of letter-sized envelopes, labeled one for each category, and put the budgeted amount of cash into each envelope. Each time I decided to spend something, and had to take money from one of the envelopes, I got a really good visual reminder of how much was left for the month, and I could ask myself, do I really need this? Am I going to run out before the end of the month if I buy this? Eventually budgeting became second nature to me, and I no longer needed the envelopes, but I still think it's an excellent way for a novice to get a handle on his or her spending.

If you think I was shocked to discover that Rhonda Jean used my secret budgeting method, imagine my astonishment when, on the very next blog I visited (Simple, Green, Frugal Co-Op), I found Heather, of Beauty That Moves, talking about - you guessed it - the envelope method. Not only does she use it, she also, crafty girl that she is, felt compelled to come up with special designer fabric envelopes to keep her funds in! They are just too, too cute. You absolutely must go here to check them out!

When synchronicity calls, you have to listen don't you? I figured there must be someone out here who is struggling with money management, and spirit is telling me it's time to speak up! So here it is. Hope it brings budget tranquility to you and yours.


d.a. said...

Coincidence, synchronicity - very cool!

Speaking of which: I just - as of this very evening - started testing an electronic-based envelope system called "Moneywell". From only one month's data, I got quite the eye-opener! Spouse & I use debit cards almost exclusively now, so a software version (of an envelope method) that allows us to import bank data works well. Will be buying this software.

Hill Country Hippie said...

My hubby just sent me a link to that, and it is way cool!