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Well, I offered & a question about the envelope system

February 14th, 2008 at 02:37 pm

I offered to get another retail job to help pay off debts or throw extra money at savings but DH doesn't want me to. I'm working only about 26 to 28 hours a week but he's afraid I'll wear myself out if I work too much. The business is picking up and he thinks that before long I'll have more hours at work and we'll be out of the tight spot we're in. I hope he's right but told him if he changes his mind, to just let me know.

I really am not opposed to working another job if it will benefit us and I think it would. Not that I really want to work more but 26 or so hours a week isn't many.

In other things, I spent several hours today playing with Clusty, a search engine I just found out about. I still prefer Google for general and overall results but if I need categorized or specific results Clusty is my new favorite. I imagine I'll use a combination of the two engines to maximize efficiency.

One of the terms I researched with both engines was 'envelope system'. Google turned up more results but Clusty's results were very neatly categorized and pointed me to specific things about the envelope system. That was handy.

In the process of reading the sites I was referred to one of the things I read over and over was that one shouldn't borrow from one envelope to put into another and one shouldn't use the debit card if one is out and about and needs/wants something that falls into an envelope category and one doesn't have the envelopes! Those are things we've done a little of here. And we know we need to stop. Most people, including Dave, suggest going back home and getting the envelopes or not getting the item at all but with gas costing around $3 a gallon, turning back for the envelopes isn't always the fiscally responsible thing to do and not getting the item isn't always the best option.

In light of that, why not use the debit card if you have one and either take that same amount from the envelope and deposit it in the bank or deduct it from the money for that envelope next time you fill it? It seems to me that either of those accomplishes the same basic thing without using excess gas and without deprivation. Yes, I understand the concept of 'if you don't have the money don't buy the item' but I don't carry the envelopes with me and sometimes need to stop for milk or bread or some such thing.

What do you do?

6 Responses to “Well, I offered & a question about the envelope system”

  1. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    I was a CONSTANT borrower from one envelope to the other, which told me that this particular method wasn't for ME, but - I can see the frugal standpoint of not backtracking. We use youneedabudget.com and I do estimate a budget at the beginning of the month and do some tweaking as the month goes by. I'd think if you are borrowing too often or changing your spending plans around too much it perhaps is trying to tell you something and things need to be re-examined. YMMV!

  2. Dido Says:

    I also use "you need a budget" and I often switch money around between the envelopes. I don't have a problem with that. If you look at your expenses, some are fixed (eg rent or mortgage), some are variable. You want to keep the fixed expenses envelopes constant, and you want to include some "savings" envelopes for major upcoming expenses, both ones that you can anticipate (biannual car insurance bills, for example) AND ones you can't (big veterinary bills, for example). Other envelopes you might feel free to switch between. For example, I often switch money between my envelopes for grocery, dining out, and entertainment--if I'm eating out a lot one month, then I need to spend less on entertainment and for food at home. If I'm spending a lot on household supplies, I'll transfer money from my personal care (toiletries, vitamins, haircuts, gym etc) envelope. In the YNAB system it's easy to do and for me the main point is that I stay within my total spending limit for the month as much as I can (barring major emergencies). I think the point is to make a system work for you, and not have you work to be rigidly adherent to a system.

  3. JanH Says:

    I wonder if you can use a "deposit" envelope and when you use your debit card, take the amount out of the appropriate envelope and put it in the deposit envelope. Then, you can take the deposit envelope to the bank whenever you are going that way and fill the account back up? You'd have to have enough to cover the debit card already in the bank though. But, I think that's what I would do instead of taking the envelopes with me. Just a thought....

  4. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    I think Dido has some excellent advice in her response. I just want to say that you have to keep trying - what works now, may not work in six months as things change. You'll change - your expectations, experinces and habits will change - your expenses might change as well- Just Keep Tweaking!!

    Nice of you to offer to work more. Praying that your husband's business takes off to a great success.

  5. Ima saver Says:

    I never borrow from my envelopes. I do carry the grocery money with me at all times. I keep the envelope in my purse.

  6. denisentexas Says:

    Thanks for the great input. Jan, I like the idea of the deposit envelope and I think that would work for us. Thanks for suggesting it. Ima, I might try carrying the envelope with me. Thanks!

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