Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pretty Cash Envelopes...the Dave Ramsey Way!

My husband and I have been married for 29 years.  And thankfully he had a plan for how to manage our finances when we got married.  The envelope system!  I think he learned it from the late Larry Burkett, back in the early 80s.  The man who teaches this concept world-wide today is the one and only Dave Ramsey.  It has worked GREAT for us all these years.

The gist is that you put cash in labeled envelopes for as many categories as you practically can.  The grocery money has an envelope, and when the cash is stop spending til the next payday.  I must admit we sometimes rob another envelope alittle bit if something has depleted the food cash and we need milk and apples for the next few days.  But overall, that's the way the system works.  But as you can see, the envelopes get pretty tawdry over time.

They are in and out of my purse, the car, hubby's pocket, etc.  So within a month, they start looking kind of bad.  I used to be a bit embarrassed when I'd take them out of my purse to pay for something at the store.  I wondered, years ago, if people though I was too poor to have a wallet!  Ha!  But now, nearly every time I use them at a store, the clerk says, "Do you use the envelope method?  I've been wanting to try that!"

So...this week the sewing bug hit me.  And I have lots of cute little pieces of fabric that I wanted to use to make something practical.  I have to thank the cute little gal blogger at Just Imagine Heaven who created this great tutorial for making fabric money envelopes, for use with the cash envelope system.  It was perfect for my stash of cute fabric AND perfect for fixing the grubby envelope problem.

And here are the ones I've made so far.

Strawberry fabric for the Grocery envelope.  (Ok, so when my husband goes to the grocery store for me, I imagine he'll pull out some cash and leave the strawberry envelope in the car...ha!)

This red and white gingham is sort of festive, so I am deeming it the Gifts Cash envelope.

This cute sewing themed fabric will hold my Etsy shop cash, for when I need to buy supplies.

My attempt at a 'manly' envelope for Hubby...for the Home Maintenance Cash.  Denim and red flannel...I think he'll go for that.

This cutie pie is for the Misc Cash...that's what we call the cash we use for paper products, photo processing, toiletries, cleaning supplies, a magazine, etc.  

LOVE this vintage style fabric!

Classy aqua and white prints for the Clothing envelope.  I should mention that I plan to buy iron-on laundry labels in white and create a label for the front of each envelope.  That's on tomorrow's to-do list.

And now to fill them!  One thing I LOVE about the envelope system is that it gives me permission to buy clothes for me or my guys when there is money in the envelope!  There is alot of freedom in budgeting and designating your dollars when you get paid.

The envelope system also gives you an immediate place to put receipts from those purchases.  My Etsy envelope will hang on to Post Office receipts for me til I get them filed.

Hey!  Let's go to Home Depot!  I should say that this is just for things like paint, landscaping, new door seals, etc.  We have bank accounts that would take care of big maintenance needs for our home.  When we were young and poor, we only had about $25 a month to put toward home maintenance.  But it built the habit in us, and that was invaluable.

The Gift envelope is a HUGE help.  We put a set amount in it each month, and whatever is not spent that month, stays there to be added to the next month's allotment.  When birthdays and Christmas come, we are very thankful to have this stash of cash, ready to use.

I still need to sew envelopes for Eat Out, Haircuts, Dog Care, Gasoline (a friend suggested a duct tape envelope for hubby for that!  Perfect!), and Extra.  Extra is that envelope that covers things that pop up now and then such as a new coffee pot or park district soccer fees.

Do any of you use the envelope method?  If you've always wanted to try it, you can start slow...maybe with just a Grocery, Gas, and Eat Out envelope.  Go to Dave Ramsey's website for lots of encouragement on how to Live Like No One Else So You Can Live Like No One Else!  


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Stockpiling Gifts...Always Be Ready!

Tis the season to start thinking about gifts!  Fall and winter birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day, hostess gifts, or just 'thinking of you' gifts.  It's such a relief to always be prepared.  Establish a drawer, closet shelf, or bin as your gift stash and begin stocking up on things you'll need in the next 6 months.  Here are some ideas to get you rolling!

1.  Gift Cards...this is the newest idea I've had for having gifts on hand.  So many times I've wished for a $5 gift card to send to someone that I want to thank, encourage, bless, or add to a b-day gift.  Getting in the car and going to town to buy a gift card would now cost me about an hour of time and a gallon of gas, as we live in a country neighborhood.  So, I've been starting to buy little gift cards for $5-$10 as I am out already shopping.  Ideas include Subway, Target, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Chipotle, Qdoba, Panera, and more.  Today I remembered a friend's birthday is this Saturday and she lives 7 hours away!  Her birthday tends to sneak up on me because it is at the beginning of the month.  Thankfully I have a cute Target gift card on hand, ready to send her, along with my next idea.  :)

2.  Book Marks...I have had a great deal of fun the past few months making handmade bookmarks.  These are listed in my new paper crafts Etsy shop called The Green Door Cottage.  I sell them in sets of 3 or individually.  The sets of 3 cost around $7 or $8 and that includes shipping, so each bookmark is just about $2.50 each and can be individually gifted.  If you don't like to make your own, you can see my shop HERE.  Or you can make your own and they will cost you pennies plus your time!  This gift is so easy to mail in a card without additional postage or a trip to the PO.  

3. is the time of year for lots of Craft Shows.  Be watching for cute gifts that you can keep on hand to give to your friends and family.  As pictured above, I like to make these altered art composition notebooks.  They cost me .50 each, and are so much fun to make.  I also have these in my Etsy shop but you can make your own if you prefer.  It's such a fun creative project.  No two are alike, and I love having that small blank canvas to work with.  They are good for journals, school, meetings, and writing letters to give to your kids or grandkids someday.

4.  Nice dish towels and dish cloths...I always watch for these on clearance at Kohls, Target, and the Homegoods/Marshalls/TJ Maxx stores.  Kitchen linens wear out quickly, and nothing makes the kitchen a cheerier place to work than fresh new kitchen linens.

5.  Seasoning mixes, dip mixes, bread mixes, soup mixes....I love to give gifts that can be used up, rather than sit and take up space.  Our daughter gave us a soup mix and a bread mix last winter, and they were such a blessing when I needed a quicky tasty meal.  Watch for good coupons for these and keep a few on hand.  Homemade seasoning mixes are great too.  There are so many recipes for popcorn seasonings as well as for meat, pasta, and more.  Target sells fun popcorn seasonings too.  And little jars of jams make nice gifts, as well as flavored syrups, vinegars, and oils.

6.  Pretty Paper Products...I have so enjoyed receiving pretty packages of napkins and paper plates to use here at home for company.  Cute, unique ones make great gifts.  Target also has cute paper-crafting/scrapbooking supplies on clearance on a regular basis.  I make a point of visiting their paper goods aisles each time I go.

7.  Candles and Handsoaps...a candle during the fall and winter is always a welcome gift.  Watch for good sales or clearance on those!  And who doesn't love nice pump handsoaps as a gift?  I don't usually buy them for myself, but LOVE to receive them for gifts.

8.  Candy and Gum...Target is good about having gum and candy on clearance in their Food Department on an endcap.  I have filled many a Christmas stocking with these that I start picking up in the fall, so that the freshness date will still be good.  I haven't paid full price for gum for my purse in a long time, thanks to Target.  :)

9.  Children's Books...Target's Dollar Spot often has cute children's books for sale.  So do Barnes and Noble and Sam's Club!

10.  Nice Cleaning Products and Kitchen Helps...Sometimes I don't like to splurge on cleaning products and helps that go beyond the bare necessities for myself.  But I would love having them as a gift.  My daughter bought me an Oxi-Clean Gel Stain Stick for a gift last year, and it has been one of my favorite things in the laundry room!!  Or how about the nice Mrs. Myers products, Method Products, or Melaleuca Products.  A geranium scented kitchen product sounds delightful...think I'll put it on my wish list.  :)  Microwave Steaming Bags and Crock Pot Cooking Bags are also such nice helps to receive as a gift.

  Things I DON'T buy for my gift drawer...I no longer buy notepads.  They are so cute and I love them!!  But I, myself, have jillions of notepads that will last me the rest of my life, so I figure my friends and family don't need them either.  I am also careful about buying scented hand lotions unless I plan to give them right away.  Their scents can go rancid after a year.  YUCK.

I hope this has given you a few new ideas.  Would love to hear your ideas too!  Each comment is read and appreciated!


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