What is “cash stuffing?” How an analog practice helps you save

Budgeting, in theory, has never been easier in the digital age with countless apps and templates to help users manage their savings. However, a new, entirely tech-free method is gaining traction after a Texas woman documented a budgeting practice called “cash stuffing” to repay thousands of dollars in debt.

Jasmine Taylor, 31, was drowning in nearly $80,000 in debt in January 2021, per USA TODAY. She tried countless budgeting techniques and nothing seemed to work.

Then Taylor came across YouTube “cash stuffing,” which involves taking money out for designated spending purposes and putting it in envelopes, and the analog practice helped her out. its debts in two years.

Related: 4 ways to manage your personal finances well and achieve your financial goals this year

By 2022, Taylor had paid off all of her debts while amassing a Next TikTok along the way. Now, Taylor has turned the practice that turned her own budgeting into a full-time business called Villains and Budgets which operates as a blog and sells different merchandise to help with money stuffing, such as workbooks, wallets, and savings challenges.

“I could hand you a $100 bill now and a debit card with $100. I guarantee it would be a lot easier to swipe that card than to bust the $100. We just have some type of connection with physical cash,” Taylor told the outlet.

If people put aside $21 every week starting in January, they’ll have over $1,000 by Christmas, she added.

What is cash stuffing?

Cash stuffing is a budgeting practice in which you withdraw money at the beginning of the month (or whenever you receive a paycheck), then place varying amounts in envelopes designated for specific categories. The idea is that this will prevent you from spending more than you have allocated to that specific category.

How to start “cash stuffing”

Before taking a cramming approach to budgeting, review your spending habits as well as your savings goals. An easy way to gauge where money is being spent (and wasted) is to print out bank statements for the last two or three months and highlight any spending habits that seem repetitive or careless.

After evaluating your expenses against your financial goals, you can begin the envelope process. While you can customize your envelopes to suit your specific budget needs, Taylor suggests dividing your cash stuffing into two categories:

  • Variable expenses for daily needs and wants like groceries, hobbies, gas, etc.
  • “Sinking fund” for insurance, holiday shopping, emergencies, etc.

The practice of setting money aside each week to cushion funds helps reduce stress in an emergency. Other envelopes can be used for savings or debt repayment. Putting aside $10 a week, for example, may not seem like much, but over time the accumulated money will come in handy if you face a medical emergency or other financial burden.

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