How can I control my spending with an envelope?
by Amber Drabek
I never dreamed that I would be stuck in a financial hole, as deep as I was, three years ago. God had led me to a new chapter in life and to a new city. However, the choices I had made financially finally caught up with me. Whenever I felt empty inside, I would grab my credit card and start spending. I needed my God to fill that empty place inside of me—not material possessions! God placed it on my heart that He had plans for my life and they were beyond anything I could ever imagine! Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP): “For I know the thoughts and plans I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” However, the question that I had for myself was: How can these plans come to fruition if my god was a credit card?
The Lord came to my rescue once again and led me to the Financial Freedom in 7 Weeks Plus book and course. God used this program to show me ways to control my spending and my cash flow. A cash flow system is a way to keep track of where your money goes and how it is spent, saved, or wasted. One of these cash flow systems is an envelope system. A flexible spending plan is projected and planned to allot specific funds to specific spending categories. Some examples of these categories are as follows: groceries, rent, clothing, entertainment, and savings.
Now, to use the envelope system, take your envelopes and label them with these specific spending categories. You can use whatever category you choose, but those that you have a more difficult time controlling are great places to start. Once you receive your paycheck, place the allotted cash monies into the envelopes. A log sheet or register should be used, for each envelope, to track incoming and outgoing monies. If your spending plan is balanced with a positive monthly cash flow, then there should exist sufficient monies for each envelope. Once the funds from an envelope are used, then spending from that category must be stopped for that time period. Money can be transferred from one category to another, if need be. However, new debt is not an option. Restraint and discipline are required for the system to work properly.
A simple envelope cash flow control system has enabled me to avoid the use of credit cards and stop overspending. This has been imperative for me to remain on a road to complete financial freedom and to achievement of God’s life plan for me. Of course, for anything to flourish and prosper in life, God has to remain in the center. I have to continually pray and to remain in God’s Word. “Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (AMP)