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Posts tagged with: modified money envelope

Modified Money Envelope System


Well the month is almost over and I wanted to report on how my modified money envelope system has gone.

Remember, I decided to do a modified money envelope with only 2 categories: groceries and eating out. Instead of a traditional envelope I used the two compartments in my wallet and designated one for each of these purposes.

How did it go?

Well, as with anything new, I think there were a bit of some growing pains.


There’s really only one. Because the money was stored in my regular wallet (instead of a big, bulky envelope), at the beginning of the month I would sometimes forget it was there! Twice I went to the grocery store and paid with a debit card out of habit, then got out to the parking lot and face-palmed over not using my cash!! This was frustrating and annoying to try to reconcile with the cash I had on hand (by subtracting odd dollar amounts when I didn’t have correct change, etc.). Just a bit of a learning curve as I tried to re-learn to use CASH ONLY instead of debit.


I really, really paid attention to that money dwindling! These are categories that I usually go over on and this month I basically told myself that this cash was all I have in the world (even though we obviously have more money in the bank). So when the money started running low I had to get creative with making meals at home and using ingredients we had on hand. Instead of just putting it on debit and worrying about how I’d gone over budget later, I was forced to really work with ONLY the cash that I had allotted to these categories, no more.

Overall, I think the system worked great! After learning to spend my cash instead of automatically defaulting to debit, I didn’t have any problems. I’m definitely going to keep it up next month.

One potentially negative in terms of my grocery budget……I don’t know how but last month and this month I’ve run out of money well before the month was over. In both cases I’ve been forced to eat out of our freezer and pantry. That’s all well and good and helped me from going over our grocery budget. BUT, our freezer and pantry are both looking pretty darn bare right now. Our freezer, in particular, has rarely been so low on food! I’m hoping that with Thanksgiving next month I’ll be able to stock up on a lot of sale-priced meat (turkey is at a once-a-year low in November); and on the bright side of things, I have the room in my freezer to spare fore stocking up on some meat and other freezable food. However, I’m going to have to get crafty on how to stock up since I still don’t want to increase my grocery budget. That will be a challenge for next month. Fun times!


September Budget Update


This month we had $6317 to work with for income. Little heads up….we went over our budget. The excess was taken from our extra savings. Here’s how we stacked up in each category:

Place Planned Budget Actual Spent
Rent 1055 1055
Electricity 260 245
Water 65 61
Natural gas 20 14
Sprint (2 lines) 115 114
Cable/Internet 100 100
Car Insurance 104 103
Health Insurance 350 350
Trash 35 35
Debt 2009 1779
Miscellaneous 300 366
Groceries 400 483
Baby Purchases 1200 1077
Gasoline 100 111
Saving for Irregular Expenses 445 445
Total Budgeted 6558 6338


So our actual spent ($6338) minus our income for the month ($6317) means we spent over budget by $21. Not too terrible, but there were some categories of spending I’d like to zero in on and give some additional details….

First, you’ll notice that less was spent in debt payments than was initially planned. I hate to put less toward debt, but here’s what happened….

Do you remember when I moved my student loans to be Income Based Repayment (IBR)? Welllllll, there was some confusion with this. I realize how irresponsible and airheaded it sounds for me to admit that I didn’t realize what was happening with these payments, but….yeah. That’s kind of what happened. Apparently, there was a “hiccup” with my ACS student loan IBR payment. And by “hiccup”, I mean I was actually paying the full payment rather than the lower income-based payment. I don’t know how this happened. And, actually, it would have just continued like that forever if I hadn’t made a call to the company about something totally unrelated and discovered completely coincidentally that my payment was not, in fact, in IBR status. So that changed in a hurry. This lowered my monthly ACS payment from $247/month down to $77/month. Remember – while in IBR status, any unpaid interest is forgiven for subsidized loans, so I consider this a good deal since this extra money could (theoretically) go toward other debts.

Of course, this month we did not have any extra money to go toward additional debt. Womp, womp!!!! I also paid less toward our car loan than I had originally hoped (I made a $1,000 payment this month – still more than the minimum, but not as much as I’d hoped).

I was over on our grocery budget, but I’m hoping the new modified money envelope system I’ll be using this month will help with that.

I was also over in miscellaneous. Miscellaneous is broken down into four sub-categories:

  • Entertainment: budgeted = $20, actual spent = $8
  • Eating out: budgeted = $100, actual spent = $136
  • Personal maintenance: budgeted = $30, actual spent = $15
  • Other: budgeted = $150, actual spent = $207

Total budgeted = $300, actual spent = $366

Again, the modified food envelope should help curb my eating out spending. The “other” category spending was, in my opinion, pretty unavoidable. $94 was spent on my annual life insurance premium (side note: I mentioned in this post that I increased my semi-annual savings to account for this expense for future years’ annual payments). If it weren’t for this expense we would have been well under-budget in this category so I’m not concerned with the other much smaller purchases made from this category.

So there you have it. We did still go over our income, but it wasn’t too bad considering the original planned budget placed us at $200 over our income, so ending at $21 over income isn’t terrible.

This month also turned out to be pretty lackluster in terms of our income (though not as terrible as it could have been). My family was in town all weekend so I didn’t get a chance to write a planned budget post, but I’ll try to get one up either later today or on Tuesday depending on how work stuff goes.