A Look at My Filofax Budget Envelope System

Monday, February 24, 2014

This post was last updated October 2018.

Make Your Own Cash Envelope System

If you're already working on fixing your finances (whether it's from my Being on a Budget post or my Fixing Your Finances book), you are probably feeling really motivated to create a spending system that works for you and the KEY to taking control of your spending is using cash and keeping it organized. 

I've shown off my original Filofax Budget Envelope System and I want to give you the tips to make your own!

Filofax Temperly used a Cash envelope System
Step 1: Pick Your "Wallet"
What I Use: Filofax Temperly personal size
What You Can Use: I will forever sing praises for the Filofax organizer because you can put so many other things in there besides your envelopes but if you don't want to get this fancy you can also use a plastic expanding file for coupons. Anything with a loop closure, snap, or zipper will suffice.
There are other Filofax options that zip up here, here and here.
You can find cheaper small expanding organizers
here and here.  

Filofax Temperly Cash Envelope System Envelopes

Filofax Temperly Cash Envelope System Envelopes

Step 2: Pick Your Envelopes
What You Can Use: You can find zip envelopes here, here, and here. They are perfect for keeping your cash secure and safe. I used a label maker to put the name of each category on the front of the envelopes.

Filofax Temperly Cash Envelope System

Step 3: Organize Your Loyalty Card and Gift Cards
What I Use: I keep my loyalty cards and gift cards in the first pocket. 
What You Can Use: If you have a basic accordion file you may just want to place your gift cards and loyalty cards in the first or last pocket.

Filofax Temperly Cash Envelope System
Step 4: Organize Your Coupons
What I Use: I keep my coupons in the second pocket of my Filofax.
What You Can Use:  You can keep yours anywhere, even in it's own pocket in a mini accordion file.  You want them to be with you at all times so there's no excuse not to use them!

FREE Printable Cash Deposit Slip for Cash Envelope System

FREE Printable Transaction Log for Cash Envelope System

Step 5: Create an Expense & Deposit Log
What I Use: I made my own Transaction and Deposit Logs
What You Can Use: Download and print my free Transaction Log and Deposit Guide. You can also make your own in Word or Excel.  Whenever you make a deposit or spend from your envelope you MUST log it.  The Deposit Guide allows you to know what amount to put in each week or biweekly when you get your paycheck.  I've become accustomed to the joy of withdrawing the money at the ATM and filling up my envelopes.

Free Printable Cash Envelope Transaction Logs for Cash Envelope System

Filofax Temperly Cash Envelope System envelopes

If you have money left over at the end of each month in certain envelopes you can either:
A. Roll it over to the next month (a great idea as it creates a mini savings fund like I talked about in my budget post.)
B. Take it out and move it to a different category you would rather have it in.
C. You can also roll it over to act as the next deposit into that envelope or another envelope.  That way you take out less cash on payday.

If you are short in a category and need the money for an emergency you can:

Do what I do with my Vet Fund.  Say that one of my Chihuahuas gets sick and needs an emergency vet check up.  The bill ends up being $200 but I only have $100 in my Vet fund. So I will take that $100 from my Vet Fund and combine it with $100 from my emergency fund (see my emergency fund post.)

If your envelopes are getting too full you can:

Take the cash out and put it into paper envelopes that go in a safe in your home.  This way you don't have to worry about carrying a large amount of cash on your person and your envelope system will have some breathing room.

Did you know that I offer a budget spreadsheet, debt tracker, and I have a financial book available for purchase? 


Get your FREE Financial Spreadsheets HERE.

Did you register for my e-course yet?
 Enroll in my Fixing Your Finances e-course for the sale price and you'll learn everything you need to in order to reduce your debt and become debt free, build up a savings fund, stop using or safely use credit cards, and live on a balanced budget where you can actually control your spending.  I promise my course WILL help you.

And I have a Facebook Group!
Be sure to join my Facebook group, Fixing Your Finances, to help you with your finance journey along the way. 

Cash envelope system 
 photo Screenshot2014-01-05at102823PM_zps73241dbc.png


  1. Holy moly, I'm envious of your organization!! You may have inspired me to get a little system going of my own... :) So nice meeting you!

  2. Yay I'm so glad you enjoy and I inspired you! Nice to meet you as well!

  3. This is so awesome! Like Mandy, I am super envious of your organization!!! I've tried a time or two to get this budgeting system down .. you've definitely inspired me to look into a wallet like this!! Thank you!!

    1. I hope you find one you like! :) Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed the post :)

    2. Ynab (www.youneedabudget.com) does basicly the same thing but without having to physically carry cash everywhere.

  4. so neat! You are so organized!

  5. Wow this is pretty cool!! Thank you for sharing :)


  6. I'm impressed! I think I will have to give this, or some version of it, a try. I keep thinking that I'll get more organized as I get older, but it never happens! Time to make a real effort!

    Polished Portland

    1. I totally understand. trust me, once u do this though youll be on a roll and its easy to maintain!

  7. So I am loving this - However - on the Filofax website I am not seeing a zippered personal size?

    1. the UK website has it , or check ebay. Also, their Spring 2014 line will be out on the US site soon!

  8. We use to follow this similar cash only method to pay bills while in the Navy for 20 years. But ours was just in separate envelopes and kept in a locked box in the freezer. But it really did help to not over spend, use credit cards, and seemed to have extra left. You always think twice before reaching for cash verses swiping a card thats out of mind out of sight. Our bills now have lessened over the years but we need to get back to this same helpful solution. I carry a bill marker in my purse, so I can mark cash to see if they are counterfeit. Especially during a my own yard sale, at a yard sale,flea market, big events , ATM bank tellers. etc. Unfortunately that problem does exist. Love your organized method, thanks for sharing.

  9. Hi, i really love this idea. Is there a way this system could help us get ahead ? We have fallen behind due to my husbands heart issues and I'm getting super stressed and trying to keep us afloat .

  10. Can this system be used to help get my family back on track ? We have fallen behind due to some heart issues my husband has had over the past year . I feel like there's no light at the end of the tunnel.

  11. I love using the cash envelope system so much I decided to make some of my own envelopes. The printable is available for £1 (unlimited prints) on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SavingScotts?ref=search_shop_redirect

  12. That is so awesome. I have been thinking a lot about this post. Right now my biggest question so far is where did you get your personal Filofax? I love the layout with the pockets and well the whole thing. It looks to save with the zipper nothing can fall out.

    1. I got mine on the Filofax website. you can look on there or look on ebay or amazon to find ones that zip ... hope that helps :)

  13. Thanks Ellen I just received my budget Filofax today. So excited Thanks

  14. Do you have a link for the envelopes you purchased on ebay? I cannot find them anywhere!! I just ordered my ikat temperly in pink on amazon!!!

    1. Hey girl!! i hope u see this comment. i would just search for "plastic zip envelopes"

  15. Its been 3 months so far. It is so hard but I wish I had done this 19 years ago. Thanks again Ellen

  16. What do you do when your spouse needs to access the cash..but you have the budger wallet? Or what do you do if you are budgeting for both a husband and wife but need access to the same envelopes?

  17. Hey! Great post! Any idea where to get those zip envelopes for cheaper than $4 for 1?? I want to get a big pack of them!

    1. Hey thanks Mike! Just keep looking around on places like ebay or amazon till you find a deal!


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