An Easy Way To Keep From Overspending

Envelope method to keep from overspending

Sticking to a budget can be tough. Especially if you use a debit card and hate doing math in your head like I do. You can have the best of intentions but just keep finding yourself overspending every month. 

Earlier this year, I got really fed up with our system. I wasn't going on crazy shopping sprees or anything but I kept going over our budgets. A little bit in each category eventually started to add up. So it was time to try something new. 

Enter the Envelope Method:)

I admitted before that I've always been the non-money person. I would much rather be doing the spending, giving, and shopping instead of the saving, tracking and budgeting. My eyes kind of glaze over if we have to talk finances for too long. 

So if you're the same way and are starting to drift, hold on! This is probably the perfect method for you as well haha!

Here's how it works...

Decide where you usually overspend.

For me it's mostly FOOD. Groceries, eating out, date nights, and coffees. Occasionally clothes, diapers, and kids stuff as well. In each of these areas, label a separate envelope. Anything else that doesn't seem to be a problem for you can be spent on the debit card. 

Take out cash for these budgets ONCE A WEEK.

Weekly instead of monthly works best for me. That way if I run out of cash, I just have to make it a few days. If I were to take out cash once a month and spend all the money early, it could be weeks before that envelope gets refilled. My husband gets paid once a week so weekly withdrawals works really well for that reason too. 

If life happens, just rearrange your envelope funds

Each envelope is not set in stone. The budget is for you not the other way around. So I love that if my little guy needs new shoes and the kids' clothes envelope is low, I can take money from another envelope like coffees and reassign it. This same situation on a debit card is tricky because it's just too easy to forget or get lazy about deciding where the extra money would come from.

No checking in = freedom as a couple

Another thing I love about this method is the trust it builds. My husband doesn't feel like he has to constantly check the account or sit there wondering why I'm spending $200 at Target:) There's no worrying with us where money is going or explaining each purchase. I thought it would make me feel like a child getting an allowance. But actually it makes me feel more responsible and confident in the way I spend. It's been super freeing and good for us as a team.

One last tip...keeping organized. 

I clip all my envelopes together and have an extra for receipts. But you could also order the envelope system from Dave Ramsey. At first it felt like kind of a pain to be shuffling through all my envelopes at the store and pulling out separate cash amounts from each. But after awhile, I started to do this in advance before actually going inside. It keeps me on track while I'm there. Then when I get home, I just check my receipts and rearrange the cash into the right envelopes again. Easy!

How do you keep from going over budgets? Would you ever use the envelope method?