Free Printable Cash Envelopes for Budgeting

These free printable cash envelopes can help you track your spending and stick to your budget so you can save more money!

Free Printable Cash Envelopes from

Spending less money so we can save more sounds good in theory, right? But how do we actually put it into practice?

There are many different strategies we could use to start saving money, but one of the most simple and straightforward ways is with the cash envelope system for budgeting.

What is the cash envelope system?

Made popular by Dave Ramsey, the cash envelope system (also known as “cash stuffing”) involves setting a budget amount for each category of variable spending, putting that amount of cash into an envelope, and only using the money in the envelope to pay for items in that category. When the cash in the envelope runs out, there is no more spending in that category for the remainder of the month (or pay period).

Free Printable Cash Envelopes with Spending Trackers,

The cash envelope system is helpful because it allows us to physically see how much money we have available to spend in any particular category. (Cash envelopes are generally used for variable expenses. Learn more about tracking recurring expenses here.)

If you’d like to try the cash envelope system for budgeting in your home, here are the steps you can follow to do so.

1. Create a budget.

Our free printable Budget Binder can help with this! We can look at past bank statements to figure out how much we’re spending in each category per month. Based on our past spending, we can set a goal amount for future spending by category.

What are common cash envelope categories?

Though our budget will also include amounts for recurring spending (like mortgage/rent, car payment, student loans, etc.), cash envelopes will only be used for variable spending.

Some common cash envelope categories are…

  • Groceries
  • Eating out
  • Gas
  • Household supplies
  • Clothing
  • Entertainment
  • Gifts
  • Personal care
  • Hobbies/fun money

2. Prepare and fill the cash envelopes.

Once we’ve created a budget and know how much we’re allotting for each category, it’s time to put together our cash envelopes… And we just so happen to have a pretty printable for that!

Cash Envelope Supplies

  • Cash envelope printables (below)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue dots

Print the Cash Envelope Template

Our printable cash envelopes come in two parts: (1) an envelope template, and (2) a form for tracking spending right on the front of the envelope.

Free Printable Cash Envelopes Templates from

We think it’s kind of fun to print the envelope template on the back of a piece of pretty scrapbook paper to create beautiful cash envelopes that will get us excited about using them!

Cash Envelope Template Printed on Scrapbook Paper from

Once the cash envelope template has been printed, use scissors to cut along the solid lines around the outside…

Cash Envelope Template Cut Out,

And fold the template on the dotted lines to create the envelope shape.

Cash Envelope Printable Template Folded,

Secure the envelope with some tape or glue dots to ensure that they stay together.

Backs of Pink Cash Envelopes,

Finally, cut out the spending tracker cards and use tape or glue dots to attach them to the front of the envelope for easy tracking.

Free Printable Cash Envelopes, part of the Budget Binder at

After the cash envelopes are complete, write the category and budgeted amount (starting balance) on the front of each one, and fill each envelope with the appropriate amount of cash.

(If you prefer to keep track of your spending on binder pages, snag our free printable check register here.)

3. Stick to the budgeted amounts in the cash envelopes!

Now it’s time to put our budget into action! Each time we make a purchase in a particular category– groceries, for example– we’ll be sure to pay with the cash that we’ve allotted in our cash envelope.

Once the purchase is complete, we can document it on the card on the front of the envelope so we always have an accurate total of how much we have left to spend.

Remember: The amount of cash in each envelope is the only money we have to spend in that category for that designated period of time, so it’s important to track accurately and plan our spending appropriately.

What if I run out of money in my cash envelope before the end of the month?

If the cash in a particular category is depleted before the month ends, we should try our hardest not to spend any more money in that category until our cash envelopes are refilled.

If our grocery envelope runs out, we can get creative by challenging ourselves to make meals using only items we have in the pantry or freezer. Or if the clothing envelope is empty, we can hold off on new clothing purchases until the following month.

Free Printable Cash Envelope Templates, part of the Budget Binder at

It will be tempting to borrow money from other envelopes, but resist this as much as possible! The cash envelope system is so beneficial because it helps control our spending, so simply adding more funds from somewhere else when we run out defeats the entire purpose.

What if I have extra money in my envelopes at the end of the month?

Yippee! If we don’t spend all of the money allotted in a certain category for the month, this is a great opportunity to put some extra cash toward a debt we’re trying to pay off or a savings goal we’re trying to reach.

4. Tweak your cash envelope system as necessary.

If we realize that the amount we’ve budgeted in a certain category is unrealistic (either too much or too little), we can certainly tweak the amount for the following month.

While it’s important to be diligent and careful about our spending when we’re trying to pay down debt or build up our savings, we also need to be realistic about what’s actually attainable from a spending standpoint so our budget can be as accurate as possible.

There’s more where that came from!

The cash envelopes are part of our free printable Budget Binder! See all the printables in the Budget Binder and snag your copy in this post!

The Cash Envelope System: Final Thoughts

We hope these cash envelopes will be helpful for you as you work to meet your financial goals! (And dare we say… even make budgeting a little bit fun?!)

We are so proud of you for being intentional about your spending so you can make smart financial decisions and set yourself up for success in the future. You’ve got this!

Free Printable Cash Envelopes: Frequently Asked Questions

Some spending is unpredictable and just can’t be helped. If we have an emergency and absolutely need to spend more cash than we’ve budgeted, we should sit down (with our significant other, if applicable) and decide the best way to proceed in order to cause the least negative impact on our finances.

Sometimes this may mean pulling from additional cash envelopes or dipping into our emergency fund. In these cases, it will be especially important to be diligent about sticking to our budget in the remaining categories if at all possible so we don’t dig ourselves into a hole of debt.

Cash envelopes are great because they help us to…

  • Stick to a set budget
  • Be intentional about our spending
  • Have a tangible way to see how much money we have available
  • Separate spending by category
  • Hold ourselves accountable

Look at past bank statements to get a ballpark figure for how much you typically spend in each category.

If you don’t want to do that or your bank statements aren’t available, simply track your spending for the first month to see where you land. Then use those numbers to set budget amounts for the following months.

Want to save this post to revisit later? Be sure to pin the image below so you can find it easily!

Free Printable Cash Envelopes for Budgeting, part of the Budget Binder at

Happy organizing!

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