For anyone looking to stick to a budget and finally get their spending under control, one of these envelope system wallets could be just what you need.
The goal here is to divide your cash up into different spending categories so that you only spend as much as you’ve allocated to each one.
And by using a specially-designed cash envelope wallet for this, you’ll be able to see at any time how much you’re able to spend in different areas of your life, while keeping track of just where your money is going.
This, in turn, will make it much more likely that you’ll actually stick to your budget. After all, by making this process as easy as possible, you’ll have no option but to succeed at this!
(I also recommend using your phone to help you with your budget – mainly because, if you’re anything like me, you probably have it with you at all times. And using a free app, like Personal Capital, to automatically keep track of your finances will make this super simple to do.)
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Best envelope system wallets
1. Conscious Wallet Cash Envelope Binder
What helps Conscious Wallet’s cash envelope binder wallet stand apart from the others is all the colors. Seriously, for anyone who needs some bright colors to keep them motivated with their budgeting, this is just what you need.
Not only are all the cash envelopes color coded, allowing you to quickly find the one you’re looking for, but the budget trackers are beautifully designed.
Also, the fact it’s in a binder format means you can open everything out flat and easily see how your money management is going.
2. With You Cross-body Wallet
The With You wallet describes itself as the “all-in-one cash budget envelope system wallet” – but honestly, the first thing I noticed is what it looks like.
Seriously, this thing looks incredible and exactly like a “normal” wallet, with the fact you can make it either cross-body or hanging from your wrist just an added perk. I chose to highlight the light blue one in the picture above as, well, I love it, but you can also choose the chic black option if you prefer.
It also has all the finance-related features you could need, including 12 cash envelopes, budget trackers for each one, two receipt compartments, and more standard aspects like card holders.
3. Bestlife Envelope System Wallet
The Bestlife cash envelope wallet is set out almost like a planner, with a zip running around it that, when open, lets your wallet lie flat.
You’ll then have access to the 24 envelopes (and 24 budget sheets) inside in a binder setting, so you can easily flip through them to check on your cash, set your budget and record your expenses.
It also comes with 14 card slots so is definitely overall on the bigger side. Whether or not this works for you will depend on just how much you tend to carry around on a day to day basis.
4. Kate Spade Cash Envelope Wallet
Now, this isn’t strictly a Kate Spade cash envelope wallet. Instead, it’s a Kate Spade wallet that people have found converts perfectly into the envelope system.
The fact it’s by Kate Spade means it’s one of the pricier options on this list – but it also looks amazing and if it helps you stick with your cash-based budget, then it could very well be worth it for you. Plus, you’ll have the choice of one of six different colors!
The video below shows you exactly how to do this. While she uses this Kate Spade planner, it’s not available anymore so the one in the picture above will do just as well.
(And while you can make your own inserts like the person in the video, these tabbed budget envelopes will do exactly the same thing and save you from having to make them yourself.)
5. Savvy Cents Wallet
The Savvy Cents Wallet is one of the sleeker options you’ll find. While the red one in the picture definitely caught my eye, there are 10 other colors you could choose from.
But what sets this one apart is what’s inside. That is, the tabbed sections are built into the wallet, meaning no colorful inserts needed. Instead, you can simply flip through each section until you find your expense category.
Some people live for color but others – like me, to be honest – love the simplicity that this all-black effect offers.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are only five tabbed sections. This may be enough for you, but just check to be sure.
6. Dave Ramsey Envelope System Wallet
As the person who made the cash envelope system famous, it’s only right that we mention Dave Ramsey’s wallet that does just that.
In addition to the envelopes themselves, there are plenty of tracking pages here to make sure you’re always on top of where your money is coming and going. This makes this wallet a great companion to the lessons Dave teaches in the book that really got this going, Financial Peace University.
One thing to note is that the envelopes in this one are made from paper, not plastic or leather. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but it does mean that you’ll have to be slightly more careful when using them so that they don’t tear.
7. Filofax Cash Envelope Wallet
This Filofax organizer wasn’t strictly made to be an envelope system wallet – but it’s become renowned for doing just that.
In particular, many YouTubers swear by their self-created Filofax cash envelope wallet. This is because it looks great, the quality is really impressive and the fact you’re building this yourself means you can customize it as much as you want.
The video below will show you just what you can do with this organizer when converting it. While you can, of course, make your own cash envelopes, these 12 laminated envelopes are a quick, beautiful, very cost-effective way to have this done for you.
8. Saveyon Wallet
If you’d prefer a slimmer option than some of the others on this list, then this Saveyon wallet could be for you.
Rather than the mini-binder format that some of the other wallets from this company have, the envelopes here slip into a ready-made section, so you can simply pull each one out when you need it.
It comes with six tabbed envelopes with 24 sticker labels, so you can easily switch a budget category if you need it. You’ll also get a yearly budget sheet and 12 budget trackers, to cover you for each month.
(And don’t worry, you’ll also get unlimited access to the budget printables that come with it, so you can keep using them once you’ve filled them up in the first 12 months.)
Our top pick for the best budgeting app is Personal Capital. Not only does it automatically track your spending – it’s completely free!
9. Saveyon Cash Envelope Wallet
The Saveyon wallet has literally everything you could need if you’re looking for a wallet that helps you manage all aspects of your budget with the cash envelope system.
Just look at what it comes with: 12 tabbed cash envelopes, a pocket for storing coupons and receipts, a monthly budget planner, a monthly calendar, an overall spending tracker and trackers for each envelope.
(And if you buy it, you’ll also be given access to unlimited printables to replace each of the planners and trackers once they’re full.)
With basically every feature you need from something like this, this wallet is about as functional as they come.
10. Three Way Cut Zipper Cash Envelope
The Three Way Cut wallet is one of the most popular cash envelope organizers on Amazon and it’s easy to see why, as it’s got basically everything you need.
In fact, reviewers describe it as “super nice”, “practical”, a “great organizer” with “nice, sturdy envelopes” and that it’s “functional and chic”.
It’s got 12 cash envelopes with 12 monthly budget trackers, arranged in a binder so you can easily flip to the one you need.
And perhaps the most impressive part is that they offer after-purchase support if you need help using the envelope system or advice on sticking to your goals!
11. Saveyon Binder
If you’re looking for an envelope system wallet that’s the opposite of black, this Saveyon Binder should have caught your eye by now.
That is, the light pink really helps to set this apart, although this one has other unique features too. In particular, the envelopes are clear, so you can quickly see how much cash is in each one or whether you remembered to put that receipt in there.
You do, however, get color-coded labels, making it even more efficient for you to find what you need.
One thing to take note of is that you don’t get any paper trackers with this. You do, however, get access to downloadable versions of these so you can print as many of them as you want at home.
12. Divvy Up Magnetic Budget System Wallet
This Divvy Up wallet is great for anyone looking for a budget system wallet that doesn’t look any different from the standard wallet you’d normally keep in your handbag. It’s sleek and durable, easily able to be carried with you to make sure you’re sticking to your budget wherever you go.
The best part about this though is the magnetic envelopes. That is, instead of paper or plastic envelopes, this comes with five different colored fabric envelopes.
And each of these has magnets built into them, meaning that they snap into place inside your Divvy Up wallet. The magnets also hold each cash envelope closed, meaning your money is kept entirely safe until you need it.
This magnetic effect also means there’s no problems in adding other envelopes. Your wallet will come with five of them but if you need more, you can find other magnetic envelopes here in a range of colors.
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13. Bveyzi Travel Wallet
To take your envelope system wallet wherever you go, this Bveyzi travel wallet will do the job for you.
That is, while it’s possibly too big for everyday use, this wallet is perfect for when you’re traveling. In fact, there’s plenty of space for your phone, passport and up to 17 cards, with the wrist strap helping to hold on to this when you’re out and about.
It’s also got RFID protection, so your cards will be safe no matter where you are.
It’s not strictly made for following the cash budget system, but the compartments are easily big enough for you to add some cash envelopes for this purpose. I’d recommend these ones as not only are they durable, but they look great too.
14. Bella Taylor Cash System Wallet
The Bella Taylor Cash System Wallet comes with eight envelope compartments built-in to the wallet, so no need to play around with paper or plastic envelopes here (especially if you’re not comfortable pulling them out in public).
Instead, simply label each section (which can easily be swapped out if you need to) and you’re on your way!
And rest assured that your money is completely safe here. In fact, the section of the wallet with the cash envelopes has a separate zipper to keep it closed – and that’s in addition to the twist lock on the outside of the wallet, so it’s next to impossible for your cash to fall out.
15. Soligt All-in-One Cash Envelope Organizer
The Soligt All-in-One Cash Envelope Wallet System is surprisingly slim (and surprisingly affordable!) given how much fits in here.
That is, it opens up to 12 envelopes that you can flip through, all bundled together with the mini-binder inside. They’re all color coded too to help you find them quickly.
You’ll also find 12 budget sheets, with information on where to find more for free once you’ve used these up.
Finally, it’s made of vegan PU leather, so it also ticks the ethical box too!
16. Sachielle Envelope System Wallet
The floral design on the budget envelopes here make this one really stand out, so there was no way I could go past including the Sachielle Envelope System Wallet on this list.
But not only do these envelopes look amazing, they’re super functional too. Specifically, they’re held shut with a hook and loop closure, so you know your money is secure.
This wallet comes with 15 of these cash envelopes, although it’s worth noting that the closure does add a tiny bit of bulk, to the point that you won’t be able to fit all 15 in at once. However, this shouldn’t be seen as too much of a problem, as it simply means that you can treat some of them as spares.
17. Magicfly Cash Envelope Wallet
The Magicfly Cash Envelope Wallet is very stylish, looking just like a sleek clutch. It’s also meant to be very lightweight, not to mention waterproof, so you’ll have no hesitation in taking this with you wherever you go.
The envelopes themselves come in a great range of designs and you’ll also have two compartments to safely tuck your bills and receipts away.
Finally, this comes with plenty of budget trackers and stickers for you to keep everything organized, so you’ll know that you’ll be able to stay organized with this one.
18. Hommie Cash Divider Wallet
The Hommie Cash Divider Wallet really wants to make sure you’re enjoying every inch of color that’s contained in this one.
That is, this cash envelope binder is actually transparent, allowing you to take full advantage of the incredible array of designs on each envelope. You’ll also get a bonus clear pocket for loose change, so there’ll be no scrambling as you figure out how to keep all of your cash separate.
It’s a good way to ensure that you’ll actually follow the envelope system, given it doesn’t come with pockets for your cards, so don’t see this as a complete replacement for your wallet. But for helping you to stick with a cash-only budget, you really can’t go wrong here.
19. Antner Cash Envelope Binder
The Antner Cash Envelope Binder is easily one of the cheapest options on this list, but don’t mistake that as meaning that it’s not as good as the others.
The outside casing of this one almost has a suede effect, with a button to clip it shut to make sure everything is kept where it should be.
And once you get inside, you’ll find 12 clear pockets to keep your cash for every single category. The transparency makes sure you always know just how well you’ve been doing at saving in each type of expense – or where you may need to tighten your spending a bit more.
What is an envelope wallet?
An envelope wallet is a wallet that contains one envelope for each of your spending categories. The goal is for you to keep as much cash in each envelope as you have budgeted for each category, so you are not able to spend more than you have allocated for each one.
By having an envelope wallet for this, the intention is that you’ll be able to always keep track of how much money you have available to spend as you’ll be carrying this around with you. It’s also a good strategy for helping you to stick with the envelope system, as you’re making it as convenient as possible.
In many cases, having a cash envelope wallet also means that you’ll be writing down each of your expenses. This will let you be able to quickly check the budget tracker for each category as well as the envelope itself when you’re out and about.
How does the Dave Ramsey envelope system work?
The Dave Ramsey envelope system works by having you allocate a set amount of cash to each of your budget categories, by putting this cash in different envelopes representing each category. You will then be limited to only spending the amount of cash in each envelope for the month for each type of expense.
For example, you could have one envelope for food costs. If you’ve determined that you want to spend up to $400 this month on your groceries, you would put $400 into that envelope the day that you’re paid.
(And you can see how much you should spend on food a month here.)
The idea is then that you can only spend this much on your food expenses, as once the cash is gone, that’s it. This means it’s a great way for you to stick to your spending limits – and, ideally, to help you reduce your spending so that there’s cash leftover in each envelope at the end of the month.
Not sure how much money to allocate to each budget category? Take a look at: The Household Budget Percentages You Should Be Using
Which Dave Ramsey book explains the envelope system?
Dave Ramsey first promoted the envelope system in his book, Financial Peace. It formed part of his widely renowned strategy for helping people get out of high amounts of debt, by helping them bring their spending under control through using cash envelopes.
While many people see Financial Peace as being the key to changes they simply had to make in their lives, you should also consider taking a look at Dave’s other book, The Total Money Makeover, particularly if you’re struggling with debt.
It was released much more recently and is where Dave’s famous baby steps came from, so this book could be a lifesaver if you feel like you’re drowning in debt and can’t get out.
How do you start a cash envelope system?
You should start your cash envelope system by figuring out exactly how much you have to spend in each budget category. Then, when you receive your next paycheck, you should withdraw the total amount of your budgeted expenses in cash and divide this cash into different envelopes that are labeled with the names of each of these categories.
So to continue the earlier example, one of the envelopes should have “food” written on it. When you’re paid for the month, you’ll then withdraw the total amount of your budgeted expenses.
Take $400 from this total and put it in your “food” envelope, while also doing the same for all your other budget categories. This is then how much you have to spend for the month on this type of expense – so no cheating and taking from other envelopes.
(For some ideas on which cash envelope system categories you can use, take a look at our article on the various budgeting categories.)
What do you do with leftover money in cash envelopes?
If you have any leftover money in your cash envelopes, this should be put towards your financial goals. This may include paying off high-interest debt, building your emergency fund or contributing to your retirement account.
You should also give yourself a pat on the back, as having money leftover means that you’re doing a great job at limiting your spending!
In fact, if you’re a real pro, you should aim to spend a little bit less in each budget category every month. By progressively reducing your spending – meaning you’re contributing more and more to your financial goals over time – you’re putting yourself well and truly on the right track towards setting yourself up financially.
What are the benefits of using an envelope system wallet?
The main benefit of the envelope system is that you have a clear, visible limit on how much you can spend. By seeing the cash in your hand, rather than using a card, there’s no risk of you overspending as you’ll know already exactly how much you can spend on each type of expenditure.
It’s also been shown that people spend less when they pay with cash as opposed to plastic. This seems to largely be because you can see the direct impact of your spending if you’re forced to pull out money for each purpose, rather than swiping a card and dealing with the results of this later.
Is using cash only a good idea?
Using cash only can be a good strategy to help you control your spending, by making sure you immediately see the direct impact of each purchase you make. However, this shouldn’t be seen as a permanent way forward given the shift away from cash in many aspects of society. It is also much more secure to use bank cards.
That is, if you struggle to control your spending, using cash only can be a good idea in the short term. You’ll be forced to limit yourself to only as much cash as you’ve allocated to each spending category as once you’ve run out, you’re cut off.
Studies have also determined, as mentioned earlier, that people tend to spend less when using cash as they can directly see the money they’re handing over.
At the same time, it’s not realistic to commit yourself to only spending cash forever. Many purchases simply can’t be made using cash, so it’s important that you use something like the cash envelope system to build good habits. These can then be applied to any spending you do with credit or debit cards.
There’s also a security consideration, in that carrying significant amounts of cash is a risk. This is another reason why, in the end, becoming comfortable with using bank cards is a necessity for the long term.
Does using cash help save money?
Studies have determined that using cash results in people spending less. As you are able to see the direct effect of your spending as you hand cash over, this tends to have a larger impact on people compared to when they use a debit or credit card, helping them to limit their spending.
On the other hand, some people see swiping a card for their expenses as a way for them to simply deal with the results of these purchases later. This can easily result in an unwelcome surprise when the credit card bill arrives at the end of the month.
Final thoughts: which is the the best envelope system wallet?
The best envelope system wallet for you is going to depend on your exact needs. For example, if you have a ton of budget categories, the wallets with only six or so envelopes may not be enough for you.
At the same time, if you already carry enough stuff around and don’t want to add to your load, it’s probably best that you focus on some of the smaller, slimmer options. Alternatively, you may prefer to be able to see everything at once, in which case one of the more complete cash envelope binders would work best.
And in this case, looks definitely count. That is, you want to actually enjoy the process of following this budget system, so choosing one that’s as colorful as you want – or as sleekly black as you love – will help you make sure that, this time, you’ll definitely stick with this.
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About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured on Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a six-figure investment portfolio. Find out more.