Friday, November 12, 2010

What's in your envelope?

Last night was our MOPS (mom's of preschoolers for those who didn't know) meeting. A bunch of mommies meet up once a month for a child-free night of much needed adult conversation with no interruptions from screaming kids, no spills to clean up and no breaking up fights! It's pure bliss! Usually we have a speaker at the meetings and do some fun craft along with eating yummy food. (more on that later!) Last night a woman came to tell us how to use coupons. I didn't learn anything new, which means that I'm keeping the most bacon in my pocket. And that's a good thing. I don't use coupons a ton, but when I do use them, they save me money. Even a small savings is money saved. Something Grandma Bacon taught me when I was little. I still remember my mom lugging around her coupons- in a SHOE BOX! She may have got odd stares and questions about her box, but they saved her a lot of money, and that's what matters.

Last night we also did a neat craft to make a coupon holder that I wanted to share with you. Ok so on to making it. The best part of making this is I'm sure you have all the supplies just laying around your house already and it will only take you 10 minutes!

Here is what you need:
Front cut off from a cereal box- I happened to have just finished my box of raisin bran this morning!
envelopes (as many as you'd like, I used 15)
piece of ribbon-(you don't need this if you don't have it. String or a clip will work too)
Double stick tape or glue

Whew... got all that! That's all you need.

First take your envelopes and fold back the flap so it is open. So OPPOSITE of folding it to seal the envelope.

Next take your double sided tape or glue and place it along the part you'd lick. (yes you can even just lick the envelope instead of using tape or glue). Now stick it to the back side of the next envelope (the part you wouldn't address if sending a letter). Keep repeating this process, stacking the envelopes on top of each other until you've added the amount of envelopes you want.

Here's my stack with all 15 stuck together:

Next. Fold your cereal cover in half. If you want you can make it fancy by glueing on material or a nice piece of scrapbook paper to the box front before this step. Add tape or glue to the top envelope and stick it to the top of one side of the folded cereal box. Repeat with the bottom envelope and stick it to the other top side of the cereal box.
Here they are all stuck together.

Next you can add your ribbon for a tie. Use glue (or tape) to stick it on. If you don't have ribbon you can paper punch a hole on each side of the top and use string to hold it together. Or even a clip or just rubber band the whole thing! What ever you have laying around.

Now it's all ready for your coupons. Last night I was talking with some of the other mommies about how we save money in the Bacon house. They were impressed we spend only $200 a month on groceries for all six of us and asked how we do it. One thing I mentioned was using the envelope system for saving and spending money. After I finished this craft I looked at it and thought how perfect it is for the envelope cash!

Wondering what to do this weekend? How about sitting down with your significant other and discuss your new budget! OH come on, it's suppose to be cold and we're suppose to get between 0-8 inches of snow depending on who you talk to... what else will there be to do! (Ok if you live someplace warm pretend your stuck in MN with all the snow! OH I'm not ready for snow yet.)

So where to begin with the envelope system. You can do what I did, start with google. Type in the envelope system and there will be lots of sites explaining it. Basically write down all the non- bill things you spend money on into categories. Then decide what amount of money you think you will need for the month to buy those things. For us, one envelope holds grocery money. Since we spend $200 a month on it, I put $80 in the envelope every two weeks. The other $40 goes into our envelope for Sam's Club which we usually visit every 2-3 months. Yes every 2 weeks I go and get CASH (you know that green paper stuff) out of the bank and fill up our envelopes.

When we first started this (back when Little Miss Bacon was just a baby) we started with baby steps. I took out for four categories - gas for vehicle 1, gas for vehicle 2, food, and 'other'. Our other category was for non- food things like toilet paper, diapers, cleaning products, ect. Over the years we realized we needed to budget for other things to take full advantage of a working budget. Need some ideas of where to start, here is the list of what is in our envelopes.

Gas-vehicle 1
Gas- vehicle2
Garbage bill
Water bill
Date night- for those rare cases where Mr. Bacon and I get to go out together without kids!
Car maintenance
Car tabs
Sam's Club
Alcohol (hey we even need to budget for that wine we drink!)
Hunting fund

This is what we found works for our budget. The water and garbage bill are not monthly bills, they usually are ever 3 months so it helps us to know we have the money to pay for those by taking the cash out and putting it in the envelopes. As for things like Car tabs and hunting, these are things we use only once a year, we take the cost, divide it by 12 and put that much in the envelope each month. So now when car tabs are due, there's no wondering where we are going to find the money for paying for them. Our Gift fund is for saving for birthday and christmas presents. I add money in it each month and when something goes on sale, or the kids get invited to a birthday party, I have money to pick those presents up.

Mr. Bacon and I have sat down together and decided how much money should be put in each envelope each month. Again when we first started we just kinda guessed at how much we'd need. At the time we have about $300 a month in the grocery budget for only 4 of us, and one was still a baby! Each month I'd look over our receipts to see what we didn't need to buy, or what else I could make from scratch. We'd challenge ourselves to only spend $x.xx of money to lower our grocery bill and we did!

So try it out, first steps are baby steps and just start talking about a budget or categories you need for your budget. Or if you already have one decide if using cash for everything will help save you more money. It has for us. We found if we have to pay cash for something, and when the cash is gone you are out for the month, it's a big eye opener of what we should buy vs. what we thought we wanted to buy. It also helped curb a lot of those impulse buys that are too easily forgotten when using plastic to pay for them.

So this weekend, grab a cup of hot cocoa, make yourself an envelope holder and decide what you are going to put in it! I'd love to hear what you came up with.


  1. I like this!!
    Great ideas for the budget too.

    Excited to follow all your posts now.

  2. I think that I will put in coupons. At this moment I use one envelope for all my coupons. I have them by date, but this way I could have them by month and not have to sort through them all before going shopping. Thanks for the great idea.
    I found your I idea on the blog One Momma Saving Money. Thanks so much for coming up with this and sharing this.

  3. ooooo i love to make things and i am going to make one today....i'm thinking the envelopes with cash sounds good...and i'll add any coupons i have to the envelopes also...good idea!

  4. Just discovered your blog via Pinterest..have bookmarked it for later reading. It looks like a blog that I can learn a lot of useful tips from. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for the simple but clever envelope wallet, I live in England where we dont get quite so many coupons, so having as little or as many pockets will work well! Keep up the good work x

  6. Thanks for the simple but clever envelope wallet, I live in England where we dont get quite so many coupons, so having as little or as many pockets will work well! Keep up the good work x

  7. I absolutely love this and am going to make this right now!