If I told you there is a way to use 2 cents to generate hundreds of dollars for yourself, you would jump at the opportunity to learn how it’s done. Well, stand up because it’s time to jump. You can convert 2 cents into hundreds by using a 2 cent item to help you not spend hundreds. Not spending that which is earned is the same as generating income since they both affect our budgets in exactly the same way.

We all should be doing a budget at a minimum every month. Unfortunately, just writing down a budget does not guarantee one will stick to the plan. Yours truly even has trouble sticking to a budget from time to time. I have found that using a simple envelope, which costs less than 2 pennies, helps me stay on target. Here’s how.

When I receive my paycheck, I pay my bills leaving only the money for food, gas, miscellaneous, and savings in the account. Since I have paid my bills, I can mark them off the budget leaving only the money I will save plus what I intend to spend on food, gas, and miscellaneous. I then take a trip to the bank, go inside and do something that most people forget you can do. With the tellers help, I withdraw money for these items and place the budgeted amounts into an envelope for each category. I leave practically no money in the account. I then mark off these remaining items on my budget. I am left with a budget that has lines through each item. At this point, I am done with the budget.

I am left only with the ability to spend what I have in the envelopes for the remainder of the pay period. This helps me in several ways. First, I have no additional money in my account so I can’t spend more than I make. Second, I don’t have to write down every transaction that involves food, gas, or miscellaneous purchases. Since these tend to be most of what I purchase, it saves me from having to write down the majority of my transactions. Instead, I place the receipt in the envelope as a record of what I have spent. Third, the envelope acts as a gauge that shows me what I have left to spend. Rather than tracking these categories on paper, I can open the envelope, see what is inside and instantly know how much I can spend. Lastly, our nature is to spend less when we use cash. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Visa, Mastercard, or Discover’s websites and you will find in their retailer sections that businesses should accept these cards because consumers spend more when using plastic. By using cash, we tend to think more about wasteful spending than when we use credit or debit cards. I know I do!

The end result typically is I will find money left in the envelopes at the end of the pay period. Even when I don’t, I have stuck to the budget which is a positive thing. I prevented myself from overspending as I typically do when I don’t use envelopes. Either way, I have saved money that I would otherwise have spent.

By using envelopes, I protect myself from the most evil person I know, myself. Give it a try. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You waste a couple of 2 cent envelopes. Spend a few pennies, give it a try then give me your 2 cents worth.

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