119 Cash Envelope System Budgeting Categories (to save more)

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Saving plays an important role in financial growth. The cash envelope system isn’t new. But it can help curb unnecessary spending. So how does it work, and what are the best envelope budgeting cash envelope categories?

To save effectively and train yourself to do away with bad spending habits, you may need to adopt some saving techniques to help curtail spending and enhance your financial status.

The amount of money an individual can save solely depends on their income, and the categories in which an individual saves depend on their preference and level of importance.

A method of saving and budget control that is proven effective is the Dave Ramsey cash envelope system. This method, if utilized properly, will help you budget adequately for each category of expenses you might have, and it will help increase savings.

If you don’t know about the Dave Ramsey’s Envelope System, I explained everything you should know in a recent article to help you further understand its essence.

Click on the link to read the full article on this website.

This article entails the various possible and relevant budget categories when adopting the Dave Ramsey cash envelope system and how to better use the cash envelope system.

This article will also give details under each main spending category to help make necessary provisions. If you are on a tight budget and struggle with mismanagement of funds, you would find this article very useful.

List of Main Budget Categories

Below are the top 16 overall budget categories.

Then down below, I’ll break down each of those 16 into all the individual sub-categories. You don’t need an envelope for each of these, but my list will allow you to get as detailed and organized as you want.

  1. Housing Budget
  2. Food Budget
  3. Car Budget
  4. Insurance Budget
  5. Utility Budget
  6. Personal Expense Budget
  7. Kids Budget
  8. Miscellaneous
  9. Health Budget
  10. Pet Expenses
  11. Holiday Expenses
  12. Donations/Family Upkeep
  13. Religious Expenses
  14. Disasters
  15. Salaries
  16. Moving Budget

1. Housing Budget

These cash envelope categories include expenses like rent, mortgage payments, household repairs, and household maintenance.


Rent should be a priority when listing your monthly expenses if you cherish having a roof over your head. Creating this budget category would save you the frequent stress of having a quit notice.

Mortgage Payments

At the end of the month, set out a certain amount in a cash envelope, and if you perhaps have any unexpected cash, you can throw some of it into the mortgage envelope.

Household Repairs

Household repairs are expenses that do not come often, and budgeting for them can start from small bits. Although they do not often happen, they come unexpectedly. Cash envelopes work well for this category.


This budget would be useful to homeowners who need a change of furniture, which could be living room furniture or your home office furniture.

Home Decor

This spending category involves a budget for revamping and enhancing the aesthetics of your home.

Association Fee

Budgeting for this will help you pay the fees in due time without any delay.

Lawn Mowing 

If you pay someone to clear your yard and make it look good, this budget will help you plan appropriately for seasons where you need to mow your lawn often.

Replacement Items

This budget is made to easily replace household items that go bad easily; this could be your microwave or fridge.


This helps you budget for cleaning your house if you do not do it yourself.

Pool Cleaning

If you own a pool, depending on the frequency of use, you can budget for a pool expert to treat the water and clean it.

Garden Items

If you have a mini garden, you might want to purchase equipment to maintain it.

2. Food Budget

This spending category is important in every household, and it is necessary to make provisions for them with the cash envelope system. These expenses include groceries, restaurants, fast food, and events.


Grocery Shopping is one category you can’t escape. Your grocery budget should cover the necessary things you use for your meal plan, as well as your toiletries and other household items. It should be removed immediately when you receive your monthly income and go straight to your grocery envelope.


Set a budget for that coffee you enjoy so much, and don’t spend more than you’ve budgeted.


We all want a nice time out some days, and using the budget system can make this happen. Put some cash in the envelope little by little, and in no time, it will amount to a figure that can give you a good time out.

Fast food

Budget for the days you decide not to cook at home, and you need to get something nice from fast food.


You don’t necessarily need to use a physical envelope for this one. A virtual envelope would be as effective. Events like birthdays and anniversaries occur not too many times a year, so you can adopt a quarterly budget system, and after a long time of budgeting, you would have enough for any event.

Work lunch

If you need to grab lunch while at work, this budget will help you spend properly

School Lunches

The budget for your kid’s lunch should be in cash.

3. Car Budget

This budget category should include car payments, Gas/Public transport costs, car repairs, and maintenance. Cars contribute to a significant deduction from our take-home pay.

Car Payments

If you need to get a car, you can deduct some money as soon as your monthly salary comes in. The cash envelope method works well under this category.

Public Transport

Public transport is the next best thing if you decide not to use your car.


You can use separate envelopes for fuel and public transport.

Car Repairs and Maintenance

Cars are machines that need to be looked after to prolong their life span, and in this spending category, you may require a lot of cash, considering the high costs of some repairs and regular servicing.

Paint Job

Your car may begin to lose its beauty, but a nice budget will get you a nice look.


Plan to replace your worn-out tires depending on how often you use your car.

Parking Fees

Set out a specific portion of cash in an envelope to pay for parking.


This could be taxes, a vehicle license, or a driver’s license.


Set aside cash for any toll you have to pay. You do not need a very large budget for this spending category.

Car Registration

This category is a budget for individuals who have just acquired a car.

Car Fines

You need to budget for unexpected fines.

4. Insurance Budget

Adopt the cash envelope for this, and you can budget for any type of insurance with an average income. This may include Health Insurance, Car Insurance, and Life Insurance.

Health Insurance 

The first thing to do is to get a paper envelope and remove it from your salary. Health is important, and it should be included in your monthly budget.

Car Insurance

A proper car insurance payment plan will save you a lot of stress and money when you have damaged your car. I advise you to make a realistic budget for this and set aside some cash for it.

Malpractice Insurance

This insurance is mainly for healthcare professionals, and a simple budget will do.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is one type of insurance that will cost you a lot of money. You can adopt the Dave Ramsey method here. You don’t necessarily need to use physical cash, just set aside a monthly amount.

Different strokes for different folks. There are some people that prefer not to use a budget. In a recent article, I listed reasons why people do not want to use a budget. Click on the link to read the full article to find out.

Dental Insurance

You can set a budget to cater to your dental health.

Vision Insurance

If you visit the optician often, or you’re an adult with sight complications, making a budget for insurance is a good idea.

Liability Insurance

This budget will protect from third-party lawsuits.

Disability Insurance

This can be a long-term budget and should be saved in bits.

Long-Term Care Insurance

This budget is to provide nursing home care and home health care for adults.

Property Insurance

You can set a budget to help from your monthly income to carter for your property insurance as a homeowner, although it might cost a fortune.

Pet Insurance

Insurance for your pets should be prioritized.

Identity Theft Insurance

You may adopt the cash envelope system on this budget.

5. Utility Budget

Your utilities may include, Phone, Internet Bill, Electricity Bill, Water Bill, Sewer, and Trash Bill. Budgeting for the time of each bill is essential.

If you have a low income, in a recent article, I listed some tips on how to budget on a low income. Make sure you read the full article to the end and implement the strategies discussed.


The cash envelope budgeting system may not work well with this expense because most of the payments will be made virtually, so you can adopt a digital envelope system using a budgeting app.

Internet Bill

People who work from home use the internet more, and you can get a nice deal if you budget for long-term plans.

Electricity Bill

Your electricity bill is more like a fixed expense, and you don’t want to run late with those payments. The envelope budgeting method works well and is a great way to reduce your overheads. Ensure to minimize your electricity usage to avoid spending above your spending limit on just this expense.

Water Bill

Water bills aren’t high, and you can cut your water bill expense by budgeting properly, getting a cash envelope, and putting a certain amount.


Before the end of the month and the period in which you receive your next paycheck, you can set out an envelope and put in small bits of extra money you get to make up your trash bill.

Trash bill

Your trash bill is another fixed expense that should have a proper budget.

Streaming Sites

As much as this is entertainment, you should add it to your utilities and adopt the virtual envelope system.


Due to the regular payments or this expense, it is important to budget properly.

Gas Bill

Your usage will determine how often you are required to pay a gas bill. Study your usage pattern to budget appropriately.

6. Personal Expense Budget

This budget category is necessary, especially if you like to live a fancy life and look good. But when you have a very tight budget, you can easily cut down on some of them.


You can use actual cash for this budget. Get an envelope put in your amount, and set it aside.

If you are curious about budget apps for couples, I wrote in a recent article about a few practical and reliable apps you can start using today. Click on the link to read the full recommendations.


Hair bills can be planned. Prepare a budget based on the frequency of your salon visit.

Gym Membership

Gym membership costs less if you pay quarterly, bi-annually, or annually so you might want to consider budgeting long-term so that you can get a discount. You can budget for this without cash and make payments with your debit card.


Trips mostly happen in summer and winter, so you can budget quarterly.

Movie Night

You can use actual cash for this budget and plan for at least one movie night a month.


These expenses can be purchases from an online store, so you may decide to keep a virtual budget and pay using your credit card. Try to monitor your spending by requesting your credit card statement each month.

Alternatively, if you walk into the store to make purchases and prefer cash, ensure to adopt the cash envelope system and follow it to curtail your spending habits to meet your financial goals.


Purchase shoes that will last a long time so that you don’t need to break the bank for this budget category.


You can adapt the Dave Ramsey cash envelope system to budget for this category.


Budget for bulk purchases with this expense if you are a frequent user


On a tight budget, you should reduce the frequency of going to a casino to a few times a year. A cash budget works for this category.

Friends Outing

Friends hangouts are always planned, so you have enough time to create a budget.

Date Night

A date night with your significant other or spouse could use a nice budget.


If you fancy spa treatment, you can work with a budget and put a fixed amount in an envelope.


Most of us drink beer, wine, or spirits. And in many states, liquor, at least, can’t be purchased at the grocery store, so it sometimes doesn’t get included in the grocery budget. Make sure to account for it.

Phone expenses

Putting some extra cash in an envelope will amount to a lot, and you can get that new iPhone.

Laptop/Laptop accessories

This isn’t frequent, but if it is urgent, set out a certain amount monthly.


You can budget for your self-care with a small amount of money.


This isn’t a monthly budget, so you can save in bits for this category.


You can create a monthly budget for your Yoga classes or pay upfront to get a discount if that’s available.

7. Kid’s Budget

Kids may come up with unexpected needs, and these needs must be attended to. These expenses may include school expenses, daycare fees, kids’ clothes, and shoes.

School Expenses

This category involves any expense relating to your child’s education, like school fees and other school expenses. For school fees, simply plan for each session. The cash envelope system is a powerful tool to meet the demands of school fees.

Daycare fees

The best way to utilize this budget is to save money when you have extra cash after setting a cash budget. However, if taking your kids to daycare is needed, prioritize it like it’s their school fees.

Kids Clothes

You need to set a certain amount of cash for your kid’s clothes. Seeing that they are not monthly expenses, you can adopt cash envelope budgeting.

Ensure to save money in the appropriate envelope, especially if you have a cloth budget for yourself. They should be charged as different spending categories.

Kids Shoes

You need to set a fair amount of cash for your kid’s shoes; sure to go for durable shoes.


You can use cash envelopes for things like lunch money and books because kids usually prefer cash as their allowance.

Extracurricular Activities 

Budget for extra expenses like your kid’s extracurricular activities.

Summer Camps

A cash envelope system can be used to budget for this expense.

Birthday Gifts for Friends 

A little amount of money set aside can get nice things for your friends and their kids.


Kids need to look smart for school, so you should budget for this category.

School Books

School books are bought per term and sometimes in sessions; place priority on them.

Kids-After School

You can adopt a cash envelope system for this spending category.

8. Miscellaneous

You might not necessarily plan for these expenses, but they are still miscellaneous with a budget in place.

Credit Card Bill

This bill might seem small, but when compiled, they amount to a lot of money. Sinking funds work well with this bill, and for repayment of credit transactions, a budget binder works as well.

Postage stamps

Postage stamps do not cost much, but you may budget for them or remove them from your emergency fund if you need to pay. You can also keep a cash envelope wallet for this budget category.

Atm charges

Atm charges can be overwhelming when you think about the total you spend in a year. One-time withdrawals per month can reduce these charges.

After giving a list of main categories, below are some other categories you may want to try.

9. Health Budget

Healthcare costs have gone through the roof since 2008 or so. But there are also a lot more out-of-pocket expenses too, So make sure to account for everything that gets spent on top of the actual healthcare bill.


Hospital bills




Dentist Bills

10. Pet Expenses

Pet Food

Pet Medications

Veterinary Bills

Grooming fees

Pet Sitter

Pet walker

Pet Training

Pet Toys

11. Holiday Expenses

The holidays often see families spending thousands of dollars they don’t have, usually on credit cards. Then come January, they take months, if not most of the year to pay it off.

Check out my article on how to save money for the holidays without going into debt!

Holiday Travel

Holiday shopping

Holiday meals

Holiday Entertainment 

Holiday Vacation

Christmas Card 

Christmas Gifts

12. Donations/Extended Family upkeep

Charity Donations 

Children’s Allowance

Elderly parent expenses

13. Religious Expenses



Financial Aid to the less privileged

Building levy

Welfare budget

14. Disaster

A good emergency fund covers this too, so in many cases, you won’t need to have envelope categories for these.

Natural Disaster

Economic downturns


15. Salaries

Maid salary

Driver’s Salary 

Chef’s Salary

16. Moving Budget

Immigration Budget 

Relocation Budget

How Do You Use The Envelope System For Online Purchases?


Having budget categories and adopting the Dave Ramsey System will help you track your budgets and budget effectively.

In the course of the article, we made a list of possible budget categories to help you with money management and saving more.

The budget depends on your expenses and the kind of costs you incur on each expense, as well as your monthly income. The above budgeting categories are the essential categories, and I have given a short but detailed explanation of each.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/money-envelope-with-american-dollar-banknotes-on-white-surface-4386179/

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