Simple system for saving

March 31, 2017



Kelly Brantley


The envelope system — it works!


This is a very practical tool that has been used for many generations.  It is a cash system where you fill individual envelopes each week with a certain amount of money allocated for each envelope. There are four envelopes that I recommend that you use: Grocery Envelope; Weekend Envelope — Friday night, Saturday and Sunday; Weekly “Me Money” Envelope — Monday through Friday; Fuel Envelope; and Grocery Envelope.


While people differ on how they spend money, we all have to eat. Food is a crucial part of our budget. You must decide how much money you need each week to put in the grocery envelope for your family. 


Our family shops at a large discount store, which offers a variety of nonfood products, and I believe in keeping things simple. For me, the definition of grocery is one of the following: food, paper products, deodorant, tooth paste, hair products, dish detergent, soap, cleaning supplies and dog or cat food. You now purchase these items using the cash out of your grocery envelope. This will help you not to overspend and keep you within your budget. Be realistic as you decide how much to put in the grocery envelope for your family. 


The weekend envelope is a powerful envelope because it includes eating out and entertainment, and in today’s society we all like to eat out and we do it often, more than we realize.      


The weekend amount can be $25, $50 or $100 or any amount, but whatever the amount, it has to be realistic and fit within your budget.   


The power — and freedom — of this envelope comes in helping you understand the reality of your spending and keeping spending in check. Let’s say you have $50; you may decide to go out to a nicer restaurant for dinner. However, if you have $10 left in your weekend envelope, you might choose a fast-food restaurant instead.


For your “Me” Envelope, every Friday you put a certain amount of money weekly in your pocket for the next Monday through Friday. This envelope covers the following: your favorite coffee, breakfast, lunch out, soft drinks, snacks, tobacco and alcohol.


The weekly amount can be $25, $50 or $100 or any amount, but whatever the amount, it has to fit your budget. 


The Fuel Envelope can be used two different ways: you can put cash in the envelope and pay cash when you fill up your car for the week, or, use the debit card when you fill up, but you must put the debit card receipt in the fuel envelope and keep a running total on the outside of the envelope of how much you have spent that month on fuel.    


The envelope system helps you rethink your purchases and helps prevent spontaneous spending.


Everyone’s spending and wealth potential boils down to the choices made each and every day with each and every dollar.


Kelly Brantley, author of Debt-Free & Wealthy, One Dollar at a Time, is a nationally known speaker and Dave Ramsey Certified Financial Counselor for North Louisiana.  Kelly’s financial commentary airs every other Monday at 6:15 a.m. on KNOE TV 8.  Her website is www.DebtFreeWithKelly.com. Her book can be purchased from the Louisiana Tech bookstore.


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