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The pink envelope club

February 4th, 2008 at 06:29 am

A few people have been talking about the “envelope system” here, so I thought I would share that my husband and I belong to the “pink envelope club.”

After coming up with a workable spending plan that put our needs first and our creditors’ needs second, we gave each other – and Mini Me – a personal allowance (aka our expense accounts).

Every two weeks, I go to the bank and withdraw cash in certain denominations. Along with my withdrawal slip, I hand the teller a note with how many 1s, 5s, 10s, 20s and 50s that I want. Yes, the teller usually looks at me like I’m an anal-retentive freak, but I figure it’s better than handing the teller a note saying to give me all her cash and nobody will get hurt….

Back to the pink envelopes, the adults in the house get the exact same amount – ranging from $200 to $300 every two weeks depending on the month -- and Mini Me gets $10 in cash. In the case of the adults, this money goes toward clothes, shoes, personal growth, personal care, hobbies and lunches out; and each person has their own envelopes for each category. (Mini Me puts her money toward paying for unnecessary junk that she may deem necessary when we’re out and about.)

We came up with the amounts to stick in each adult’s envelope by recording how much we spent and on what for a month and then taking an average of each category. Because I’m more likely to spend $200 on shoes while my husband is more likely to spend $2 on shoes, we kept it fair by giving the adults the exact same amount of money to spread over the same number of categories. That usually means that I have to save my pennies up to buy shoes while he has to save his to buy wheels for his bike.

The basic rule of thumb is that it’s up to each individual to decide what he or she is going to spend their money on – unless the person is walking around in holey shirts and the fashionable spouse says it’s time to spend some dough on clothing or if you’re under the legal drinking age and you’re trying to buy tequila.

The other primary rule is that once your allowance is gone for the month, there’s no more to be had so you better spend wisely. This rule is not always strictly enforced; because if there’s extra money in checking, we can take an advance on the next allowance period. However, the advance cannot exceed the excess money in checking.

As for the significance of the pink envelopes, there is none. We simply had a bunch of pink envelopes lying around when we first came up with this money-saving idea, so that’s what we used.

1 Responses to “The pink envelope club”

  1. nance Says:

    I do the same thing to the bank tellers. Glad I'm not the only one.

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