How I Used the Envelope Method to Save for My Birthday Trip


How I Used the Envelope Method to
Save for My Birthday Trip

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Written by Camille Carr

Sometimes you have to save money to get from what you have to what you need. I wanted to save a certain amount of money for my birthday weekend. I couldn’t take it from any check with messing up other financial obligations. I followed a couple different steps to get to where I am: money saved and birthday weekend approaching. Here’s how I did it:

1. I decided how much I wanted to save and how long I had to do it.

You have to think about all the incidentals. If it’s a birthday trip, you have to think about gas, food, shenanigans, shopping, etc. You have to think about the total cost of everything. Then throw a little more on top of that. I’m a planner, so I started planning pretty early. Luckily, this gave me a longer period of time to get all of the money. A reasonable amount a time with just enough cushion in it. The more time you give yourself, the smaller your savings increments are.

2. I made note of my spending habits. 

I know that for me, it is much easier to swipe my card than part with cash. I knew that the key to my saving it taking the money off the card all together. Some people just need it to be in a different account on a different card. Or putting it in an account that you don’t have a card to at all. To know how you should save is to know how you spend in the first place.

3. Out of sight, out of mind. 

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The envelope method is putting money aside in an envelope in an effort to not spend it until it’s time. Some people use physical envelopes; some use virtual ones. There are plenty of savings apps that can help with this. But I needed a physical envelope with real cash to make sure that I was saving effectively. I had an envelope that I decorated and labeled and found a special place for. If you’re hiding something from yourself, it needs to be a place you can found, but don’t frequent. If you are constantly seeing it, it may be easy to spend it. I put mine somewhere that I rarely cracked open but could always get to.

4. Understand that budgets are living documents.

Sometimes things happen and you have no choice but to dip into your stash. But if you’ve given yourself enough time, you can shift some things around. If there is a will, there is a way. Life doesn’t worry about your budget, so give yourself a little room to breathe.

5. Enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

Saving is not the easiest thing in the world. It takes self-awareness and discipline. Just because you have that money to spend doesn’t mean that you can spend it right now. Saving takes patience. But once you’ve done it, and you get to your event, enjoy. You’ve earned some time to stop planning and be a little spontaneous.

Keep up with Camille on Twitter: @_camalexandria

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