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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 method entirely void of technology is garnering traction after a Texas woman documented a budgeting practice called “cash stuffing” to pay off 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 stumbled upon “cash stuffing” on YouTube, which involves taking cash out for designated spending purposes and putting it in envelopes, and the analog practice has helped her get out of debt in two years.

Related: 4 Ways to Set Up Your Personal Finances Right and Tackle Your Financial Goals This Year

By 2022, Taylor had paid off all of her debt while amassing a TikTok following along the way. Now, Taylor has turned the practice that transformed her own budgeting into a full-time business called Baddies & Budgets which functions as a blog as well as selling different merchandise to assist in cash stuffing such as binders, wallets, and savings challenges.

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

If people put away $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 wherein you withdraw cash at the beginning of the month (or whenever you receive a paycheck) and then place varying amounts in envelopes designated to specific categories. The idea is that it will prevent you from spending more than what you’ve allocated for that specific category.

How to get started ‘cash stuffing’

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

After you’ve assessed your spending in relation to your financial goals, you can begin the envelope process. While you can customize your envelopes based on your specific budgeting needs, Taylor suggests breaking your cash stuffing into two categories:

  • Variable expenses for everyday needs and wants like groceries, leisure, gas, etc.
  • “Sinking funds” for insurance, holiday shopping, emergencies, etc.

The practice of putting away money for sinking funds every week allows for less stress when emergency strikes. Other envelopes can be used for savings or go towards paying off debt. Putting away $10 a week, for example, may not sound like a lot, but over time the money accrued will come in handy if you’re hit with a medical emergency or another financial burden.

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