We’ve been thinking of moving to a cash-only envelope system to better manage our spending, but I’m looking for ideas on how to “share” the cash with my spouse. Although I do the bulk of the shopping in our household, my husband often will often make a stop or two (e.g. to snag a great deal, pick up milk, etc.) on his way home from work.
I am curious how other people might handle this scenario when using cash. Do you have two sets of envelopes? Pass the cash back and forth? Any other strategies? -Becky
I cannot recommend a cash budgeting system highly enough. In fact, I wrote a whole chapter on it in my upcoming book! I truly believe it has been one of the keys to financial success for us.
But your question on how to share cash when you’re on a strict cash envelope system is excellent. We’ve also found that there are certain categories we’ll both spend in and this can pose a few issues. We’ve tried a few different things:
1. Pass the Envelopes Back and Forth
I typically do most of the grocery shopping, however, Jesse will sometimes make a quick run to Aldi for me. If I know in the morning that he’s likely going to be making a quick stop at the grocery store on his way home from work, I’ll send the grocery money envelope with him that day.
2. Rob Peter to Pay Paul
When in a bind, if we don’t have the envelope and one of us needs to buy groceries, we can borrow from another envelope and re-pay it from the grocery envelope that evening. It’s not the option I’d recommend, but it does happen around here sometimes.
3. Set Up His and Hers Envelopes
We’ve found it helpful to each have our own designated envelopes for certain budget categories. For instance, we each have our own clothing envelope and we each have our own blow envelopes. We added separate blow envelopes to our cash budgeting system last year and it’s been a great addition — it’s our fun money to spend however we like or to save for something extra that’s not in our current savings goals list.
If your husband routinely stops for groceries, it might be wise to set up a grocery envelope for him with a small portion of the grocery money so that you don’t have to mess with passing the envelopes back and forth, robbing Peter to pay Paul, or falling back on a debit or credit card because you don’t have an alternative.
If you have a cash budgeting system, I’d love to hear what you do for categories that are shared in your budget. Any great suggestions or ideas?