Simplest Budgeting Method EVER! + FREE printables! (Updated, new, and improved!)

the easiest, simplest, and most effective way to budget EVER!

5 Years ago I sat down at my kitchen desk, turned on my computer's (horrible quality front-facing) camera, and recorded (on impulse) my simple budgeting method; how I track my weekly budget using an envelope. Little did I know that this simple method and terrible video would be one of my most viral principles ever!

It's long overdue, but I finally sat down and made an updated version of the video, with new tips and – you're welcome Video Land – a much better quality camera.

Then, after you watch the video, come back for a few additional tips and clarifications.

Watch the video online or click and watch below:

See?? Not so scary!

Here are a few additional tips to make this method work even better for you:

Open 7 bank accounts.

Yes, seven. This will help you organize and simplify your money more than you can imagine. Read and watch a video all about that HERE.

Divide up spending responsibilities

No reason to step on each others' toes! Divide and conquer! Sit down and write out everything you spend money on, then divide up. If you do the cooking, you should buy the groceries. If you drive the kids around usually, you should be in charge of paying school fees. If you are the one that knows about cars, you should be the one to handle oil changes and car repairs. This will keep you efficient, organized, and give you autonomy to do things your own way! See more about that HERE.

What your “Grocery” budget includes:

  • Anything you could find at a neighborhood grocery store.
We're not talking Costco or super Walmart. We're talking a “neighborhood Walmart”, Smiths, Safeway-type stores. They don't have power drills and sheets for your bed, but they have most of the basic items you might need to buy on a day to day basis.
  • Examples of “grocery budget” items:
Food, shampoo, dog food, lotion, baby wipes/diapers, shaving cream, ziplock baggies, basic kitchen utensils & baking items, cleaning supplies, milk, basic cold remedy medicine, makeup and other toiletries, etc.

“Other” budget includes:

  • Money set aside for normal, regular, non-grocery expenses.

These are “want to have” items most of the time, and not “need to have” items. Once again, this does NOT include any form of bill or utility, see the next category for that. See below for more explanation.

  • Examples of “other budget” items:
Home decor needs, clothing, haircuts, babysitting money, piano lessons, getting the car cleaned, school pictures, lunch with friends, spa treatments, shoe repair, gifts for birthdays/showers, etc.

So where do bills, utilities, and gasoline come from? In our house, money for that comes from our family budget.

Family budget includes:

  • Expected, set monthly expenses involving the family, house, and travel, as well as unexpected expenses involving the family.
These are the “need to have” expenses that keeps the family running, and are NOT food-related.
  • Examples of “family budget” items:
Utilities (gas, electric, cable, internet), medical expenses (co-pays, medical bills, insurance), car expenses (gas, repairs, new tires, registering the car, oil changes), home costs (mortgage payment, homeowners insurance, home repairs, new water heater, new furniture, TV, or other large household expenses, etc.), family entertainment (travel, trips), etc.
I break down my ridiculously simple, easy, and practical budget system that single-handedly got us out of major debt and helped us get ahead financially. |

 Oh! And of course, FREE PRINTABLES!

If you don't want to hand-write each of your envelopes, then click HERE to download our free printables.


Good luck with your new budgeting system!

Need a little more help?

Don't forget about my Secret Sauce online budgeting program, Budget Boot Camp! BBC is a super fun 27-video program that makes money easy to understand. All you need is a screen and you're set!

And don't forget, if you don't save at LEAST what you paid for the program, I'll refund every dime. You've got nothing to lose (except your debt)! Use the code FCFBLOG to get an extra 10% off, because I love you 😉


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  1. What about a household of 1 or 2? Do the single person and the couple still get $300/month for groceries? I assume yes bc you still have to buy all those household items. Planning out my meals (and then sticking to it, not making whatever’s quick bc I’m HUNGRY) is the hardest change for me. But I eat better when I stick to this. Healthier body and healthier budget? Double win!

  2. I have a very similar system with a few slight changes – I budget $250 per week for grocery and other – So I combine the 2 into one weekly envelope. If there is $ left over at the end of any week, it remains in the envelope until the end of a four week cycle. At that point I transfer it into our savings account. It gives me the flexibility to have that extra cash on hand for a meat or bakery or Costco order, for example. While I understand your point about not going over the weekly limit, I would prefer to keep the extra cash available for a planned larger grocery haul, rather than a shopping trip just for the sake of spending the extra money.
    Also, my husband has a credit card that we use to make most purchases to collect much needed airline points to visit our son overseas. Each month he buys gift cards to the food shops that I frequent using his credit card. I then reimburse him with cash and use the cards for grocery purchases… Win, win! Points and I am still technically paying cash!
    Thank you for the video … Your enthusiasm is remarkable!

  3. Any tips for using this with Amazon? Some of my purchases on Amazon are consumables and some are other. Also I can look at my orders but won’t have a receipt. Also what if my husband and I split our Other purchases? Do we just split our Other total? What if he’s not on board with this? Do I just do my best with my envelope? Thanks!

    • Your envelope should cover what YOUR spending responsibilities are, your husband’s spending shouldn’t affect your envelope in any way. So divide that up FIRST! As for online expenses, they count! They need to come out of your budget, so write them on the envelope just like everything else!

  4. Two part question, have you every thought of a payment plan type of option for your financial bootcamp? I would love to do it but need to budget for it.

    Also do you mirror this for household expenses?

    • I’ll take the payment plan into consideration! It usually works out because people will just set aside $25/week or so, and will have enough for the program in a few weeks. So maybe you could try that? Use the code FCFBLOG for 10% off which also helps!

  5. Hey Jordan! I am starting your envelope budget today. Thank you so much for sharing your system with us!
    Two questions:

    1) what do you do with excess? Do you keep it for the next month? Or do you deposit leftovers into savings?

    2) What does your husbands budget method look like? I know you have said that he covers entertainment, but what else? I’m trying to get my husband on board too. 🙂

    thanks again!

  6. So if you do a Costco run or Walmart run…maybe even Target and are purchasing things that belong in “grocery” AND “other,” do you just have to go through your receipts to figure out how much to deduct from each category? Does that make sense?

    Next question that has NOTHING to do with any of this. Ha! Can you give me some tips for having your kids 18-months (or so) apart? My first two are 22 months and my oldest handled it like a champ. But my 18 month baby boy is sooooo clingy to me. I’m due soon with our third and wondered if you had any tips for handling a new baby when I still feel like I HAVE a baby. Ha!

  7. Hello There! Question J, how much do you budget weekly for your other budget? Also, how to you budget for new clothing or to get your nails done or even a pedicure? I would love to see a video or a picture of an envelope from your June budget just to see how you adjust if you go over budget! Thanks J!

    • I, also, am confused how you figure out how much to budget for the “other” category. Is it different every week or the same? So confused !

  8. If there are only 2 people in your family (just me and my spouse) should we only budget $200 each month for groceries? In the video you mention $100 per person per month starting at $300. So do you suggest budgeting $300 for groceries per month?

    • If you could get by with $200/month that’s great! But $300 is probably more realistic. Don’t go over $300 though!

  9. What would budget look like for 2 people (me and my husband) And I also babysit 1 three year old full time and watch my 2 grandchildren (3 and 6) full time and feed them also so I need to include breakfast, lunch, snack and sometimes dinner for them.
    Would I be budgeting for 4 people?
    My husband thinks $100/pp is unrealistic in Hawaii what do you think? Tia
    Right now I seem to be spending at least $800/mos if not more because I have no time for couponing like I used to so I do most of my shopping at Costco and I buy a lot of fruits/veggies for the kids.

    • Hawaii is very expensive so I agree, you would need more than $100 – maybe more like $150/pp. Just test it a bit and see what you can do!

  10. I looked through to see if you had answered this question. I have watched a few videos and read a few posts, but still haven’t found your answer, Jordan 🙂
    If Costco doesn’t fit into groceries, where does it fit? I just started this system on Friday, so far so good, but I haven’t made my much needed Costco trip because I don’t understand where it fits. Thanks so much 🙂

    • Fits into grocery! Unless you’re buying clothing from Costco (or toys) in which case it’s from your “other” budget 🙂

  11. What did you do for your family budget when you earned $31k/year? We can’t afford to pay a mortgage or rent in the new area where my husband got a job (not unless we want to pay over 50% of our income on housing and utilities – and have no money for anything else).

    • Yes! Please share! How can this work for a single mom making 31,000 and barely getting by? I can’t seem to get ahead and I only get paid twice a month I’m working on raising my awful credit score
      . I am tired of stressing over money but I love my job I’ve been at for 19 years. Mine is a mess

  12. This sounds like a really simple method to try, but I’m confused about your husband having separate envelopes. If I’m trying to figure out our entire monthly budget, I would need to know what my husbands envelopes are for and how much his should be as well. You said his is for going out to eat, but you also said your “other” is for that as well. How do I know if it comes out of mine or his? I would love to get some clarification on this. Are there any other envelopes that your husband has? I’m the one in charge of the finances, so my husband would probably just rather I keep track of everything. Thank you!

  13. Hi Jordan! I am excited to try this method out for myself for the first time and see how it goes. I had a question – you said under grocery tab it doesn’t mean like Costco. I understand we are looking at a week at a time needs – but some things that are consumable I like to get at Walmart – like bread and milk and butter and toilet paper…so how do I best do this to stay in the budget? I mean usually when I buy stuff like this at Costco I don’t need to buy it every week but it might be a bigger spent week one week…does this make sense what I am even trying to ask…haha, just wondering can I use this budget thing and Costco or is it only work if I use a local grocery store and buy things not in bulk…

  14. I was wondering where does day care fit in? I was thinking family budget with the monthly bills but I’m not too sure. Thank in advance for your help.

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