Grab your free printable cash envelope templates (or make your own) and start organizing your money today!

One of the best kinds of hobbies are the ones that you get giddy thinking about! The ones that you can’t wait to get home to try out your latest idea, you just know it’s going to be amazing!

It’s even better if this hobby helps you accomplish your big goals, like getting a better hold of your personal finances. (#nerdmuch) 🙂

That’s exactly what we’re digging into today, and I have some great cash envelope templates so you can get crafty and make your own. That’s the best part; you can make them exactly how you want them! Yes, your crafting skills may stink (don’t worry, you’ll get better). You can make them in your favorite color, design, add stickers, washi tape, whatever “it” is, you can do it! (hmmm… do people still bedazzle things?)

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Why should I use cash envelopes?

Cash envelopes are used as a way to budget your money, it’s the “cash envelope system”. Basically, at the beginning of every month, ,you decide how much money you want to spend in specific categories. And, once that envelope is empty you stop spending money. So it’s a safety catch for your monthly budget.

The cash envelope system is great for someone who may be tempted to spend more money than they should, but with cash budget envelopes, they can’t spend more than the amount they determined doing their monthly budget planning.

Using an all cash budget, is typically done with your spending money. For example you wouldn’t use cash budgeting for debt repayment, or your car insurance payment, as it’s online, and it’s a fixed expense, so their’s no need to budget it out because you you know how much it will cost. (We talk more on which spending categories this works best for below).

Sometimes people only do the cash budget system for a few months to help get their spending habits in line. Once they get a feel for how much they should be spending they transfer over to a budgeting app, or go back to using a credit card so they can earn reward points. No matter what payment method you prefer, I think it’s beneficial for people to try the cash envelope method for at least a few rounds of monthly expenses and spending.

Some people also use cash envelopes as a mini savings account, to hold their sinking fund money. I use a budget envelope for my Christmas money, for things I’m saving up for. It’s an easy way to set money aside and not get it jumbled up with the rest of the money in your savings account.

How to make your own free cash envelopes

You’ll need just a few things…

  • paper
  • scissors
  • tape or glue
  • ruler or instead of measuring yourself, you can just use a printable cash envelope template, and I have one right here for you, and it’s free! Just enter your name & email address, and you’ll get the Better Budget template pack that includes both a vertical cash envelope and a horizontal cash envelope. Just print, cut it out and then trace it on your favorite paper!

DIY cash envelope template

If you still want to measure out your own envelope, then no worries, I got you covered. Here are your envelope measurements so you can DIY your own free cash envelope template.

Vertical cash envelope template

  • a long rectangle: 6 1/2″
  • a small flap at the bottom & top: 3/4″ and 1″
  • 2 side flaps: 1 3/4″ and 2″ 
vertical cash envelope template

Horizontal cash envelope template

  • a long rectangle: 6 1/2″
  • 2 side flaps: 1/4″ and 3 1/4″
  • small bottom & top flap: 1″
horizontal cash envelope template

Which cash envelope design is best?

Well, it depends on how you will use them and store them. If you’re going to carry them around in your wallet, then it needs to fit inside. Room for punch holes?  

Or if you’re going to keep them at home in your budget binder then it doesn’t matter. Personally, I like horizontal envelopes the best. Sometimes with vertical, it gets hard to slide bills into it easily (especially if it’s an old soft bill). But maybe I am just impatient and try and jam it in 🙂 Quite possible.

Making your cash envelopes yours

As I said above, you can design your cash envelopes any way you want. Here are some of my favorite supplies…

These are just a few options for you to think about, but there are thousands of designs and ways to accessorize your cash envelopes. You just need to sort through your options and see what fits your personal style.

I don’t know about you, but I love getting crafty; it’s fun. And at the beginning of every month, I get excited to sit down and make some new ones (if I am not reusing ones from previous months). This is one of the hands-on fun parts of using the cash envelope system!

But as I mentioned, you can reuse your envelopes; you just need to be sure to use sturdy cardstock so they hold up. Or you can do some good old fashioned laminating (use packing tape to cover it). And you will need a cash envelope template insert to use to log your purchases. Print this on heavy card stock, so it slides in the envelope easily.

If you love the cash envelope method be sure that you keep everything organized with a cash envelope wallet. It makes it so much easier and cleaner than having random envelopes in your purse!

Cash envelope tracker & planner

Another useful item is a cash envelope planner, this is a form where you write out which denominations you need for your envelopes, and then you take this to the bank to get the correct bills for your envelopes. It just makes the process go much smoother & faster, and it’s formatted so that the math is double-checked, so you know it’s correct.

You may also want a budget form designed specifically for cash envelope budgeting . It just makes it so much easier when all your things line up and match. For example, you wouldn’t wear your running shoes with your little black dress, would you?

I keep all of my extra cash envelope printables and my budgeting supplies in my budget binder. Which makes it handy to have everything in one spot.

saving money free templates

What categories of cash envelopes should I make?

You can turn any budgeting category you want to into a cash envelope. Or you can shift their purpose and make sinking fund category cash envelopes.  

Some of the more common categories are…

  • groceries
  • restaurants
  • gas
  • fun money
  • clothing
  • kid stuff
  • hobby stuff
  • pet
  • gifting
  • date night
  • miscellaneous 

Sometimes you pay bills online, things like your water, electricity, cable, etc. You don’t need to make envelopes for those, but you do need to account for that money. Sometimes if your electric bill is higher one month, you may need to go back to one of your cash envelopes and pull back some money from it to deposit back into the bank to cover that variable expense.

Cash envelopes for teaching kids about money

If you have an older child, say tweens, you can give them a money envelope for their school clothes, school supplies, and such. It’s a great way for them to get a feel for what budgeting is like.

Just write out a master list of everything they need, and then the cash envelope and the money. Then they are responsible for making sure they “afford” everything on their list. BUT, you may need to be prepared if they don’t as wisely as they should, and for some reason, don’t have enough to buy their binders, etc. Either way, it will be a great learning lesson and experience for them.

dave rasmsey quote on kids and money

Money envelopes for gifting

Once you get into your groove of making cash envelopes, you can use them for gift giving. Any place you’d normally give cash, you can make a fun cash envelope and write a note on it, just like you would with a greeting card. It makes giving cash more personable and unique. This would be good for graduation, weddings, baby showers, etc.

Gifting a red envelope has significance in certain cultures, it symbolizes good wishes and luck for the new year ahead.

Cash envelopes help you stay organized

I would love to think that I have an amazing memory, but I don’t. That being said, I have mixed up my money now and then when I had it in just a single bank account. How much was for the car tune up? How much was for new running clothes? How much was for bills?

When you use the cash envelope budget system all of that confusion gets taken away, everything is seperated and labeled! Nice huh!

Download your free cash envelope templates

If you want some basic cash envelopes for saving money then you can get a vertical cash envelope template and a horizontal cash envelope template right here . It comes with a bunch of other free printable worksheets to help you save money!

If you’re looking for something that is bright & fun then check out the printable cash envelope templates in the Shop!

At the end of the day

Making your own cash envelope templates can be a great way to get started with the cash envelope budgeting system. Or you can use them for your short term sinking funds. No matter what you use them for, you should have fun with them!

One of the unexpected bonuses with making your own CE’s is the emotional tie to it. You’re like, “I made that!” You are more careful with it, and hopefully the money inside too!

free saving money printables

Which money envelope style are you going to use?