4 Great Cash Envelope System Wallets

The envelope system of budgeting requires that one keeps their money in, well, envelopes. You label the envelopes for each area of spending, like gas money, groceries, eating out, entertainment, etc. The envelope system of budgeting requires that one keeps their money in, well, envelopes.

You label the envelopes for each area of spending, like gas money, groceries, eating out, entertainment, etc.

However, carrying around a bunch of envelopes can be cumbersome, to say the least. Also, since my sister-in-law once threw a large sum of cash into the garbage thinking she was throwing away an empty envelope, my husband has his hesitations about the system.

We’ve used the system anyway.

Paper clipping bills together and labeling with a sticky note helps. But then, what do you do with the change?

And who wants to be in the checkout line behind someone trying to juggle paper clips and sticky notes with their wallet and their bags of stuff? Not me, and I consider myself a pretty patient person.

Enter the Envelope System Wallet . . .

Recently, I discovered the envelope system wallet. Now I have an organized way to, once again, implement this budgeting system without all the obstacles. An envelope system wallet is designed to be used with the cash envelope system of budgeting. Here are four great envelope system wallets I’ve found.

Great Envelope System Wallets

1. Dave Ramsey’s Envelope System

Personally, I don’t care for Dave Ramsey’s Designer Envelope System. I prefer natural materials like leather or fabric and his wallets are vinyl. I also cannot appreciate the huge Financial Peace University logo embossed on the outside. But since I know that a lot of readers are Dave Ramsey groupies, I’ve included it. Actually, he has several envelope systems to choose from, plus a coupon organizer and they are all reasonably priced.

2. SavvyCents

If you want your wallet to stand out in the crowd, choose one from SavvyCents. These envelope systems come in black, pink, or polka dotted patent leather or zebra stripes. However, if you’re a firm believer in the idea that it’s the inside that counts, SavvyCents wallets have the goods. Inside the zippered wallet are an accordion-style file system, six debit/credit card slots, and room for your checkbook. Included are pre-printed and blank labels for the tabs on the accordion sections. SavvyCents wallets measure 8”x4” and sell for $28.

3. Etsy

A search on Etsy for “cash envelope wallets” returned over 300 hits. Ranging in price from $12 to $76, most of the wallets featured are for women. At least my man wouldn’t carry any of them. I did see one labeled “Man Organization Wallet Carhart.” The fabric on the exterior resembles a Carhartt® coat. One other is made of camouflage fabric and is more like a zip-shut bank bag with fabric envelopes inside. I think it would be something a man would keep in the glove box of his car, but not carry around in his pocket.

Two crafters’ wallets were my favorites. CitrusDesigns makes the camo one already mentioned and another style made of vinyl. Her design looks less bulky than those with zippers on all the pockets; plus I really like her choice of fabrics. TheLaughingHouse is the other crafter. Her accordion design is my absolute favorite because you don’t have the bulk of a bunch of envelopes to contend with.

4. Make your own!

For those of you with a creative touch, or at least a little sewing/crafting know-how, make your own wallet. Craftsy.com sells a great pattern for a wallet that includes six zipper-shut pockets, slots for credit/debit cards, and a place for your checkbook.  The pattern sells for $1.61 and you can choose any fabric in the store to make it out of—even zebra-striped.

If you enjoy crafting, but not sewing, consider modifying a wallet you already own. Kelleigh Ratzlaff is a work-at-home mom that designs papercraft templates to sell. On her blog, she has a free template and tutorial for making your own envelope insert that will fit into a standard-sized wallet. She also has an Etsy store where she sells pre-made envelope sets for your cash budget system.

I’m excited about this wallet discovery because, honestly, I’ve gotten a little lax with the use of my debit card lately. Now, I have a true reason to go shopping—with cash, of course.

Do you use the cash envelope system of budgeting? What do you carry your cash in? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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  1. William @ Drop Dead Money

    Great idea! We’ve been believers in the envelope system for decades, but gradually abandoned it for this very reason. Thanks for pointing these out. Oops, there goes this month’s discretionary budget! 🙂

  2. Carol J. Alexander

    Not if you get the pattern for $1.61 and make your own, William. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. John

    you could always just separate the cash in your wallet. put gas money in a paper clip. put groceries money in a separate paper clip and so on. put small sticky notes on the outside bill of each paper clip full of money

    • Carol J. Alexander

      You missed a paragraph, John, where I talk about this. Sticky notes come off and get lost and then I get confused about what is what. And to have my husband fool with paper clips and sticky notes? It just won’t happen.

  4. We used envelopes for a long time, but recently switched to Mvelopes, which is an electronic version of the envelope system. It enables us to use our debit card instead of having to carry cash all the time. We love that Mvelopes has an iPhone app, so whenever we go to the store, we check the app to see how much money we have left in the appropriate category.

    • Carol J. Alexander

      Thanks, Rich. I’m definitely looking into that. Since we have direct deposit and it’s a hassle to run to the bank (we live quite rural) we do rely on our debit cards a lot.

  5. Courtney

    Thanks so much for this!! I can’t wait to get my savvycents wallet– it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!