How I Saved $340 in less than 50 Days Using My Cash Envelope System

After trying about fifteen different budgeting strategies, I eventually came out with a plan that works for me. It involves cash envelopes, tracking spending, a monthly budget, and a variable savings program.
I am paid biweekly so most my totals are for a two-week period. On payday I reset, or sweep, my envelopes and start at $0. I just make a note of the remaining amount and then pull what extra money I need from the bank to refill my envelopes. You can also roll over your extra money and have more of a cushion. Modify this approach to meet your needs.
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The Trick to Successful Budgeting

I’ve tried a variety of budgeting strategies and techniques that did not work out the way I wanted. Some are actual products and some are ideas. All I wanted a successful budget. One of my big struggles was how I thought about budgeting.
I started out with the idea that a written budget would help me get my finances in order. This was not the case. I had several problems with my first several written budget attempts. I had several problems with my attempts at the written budget. At first, I thought it was because my budget wasn’t detailed enough and didn’t have all of the categories I needed it to cover. Eventually, I came to realize it wasn’t my budget that had problems. The problem was how I thought about my budget. Read more

Electronic Envelopes: The Good & Bad

I’ve read innumerable posts on budgeting strategies. I’ve tried so many different approaches, some successful and some not so successful. The primary reasons some approaches were not successful was because of how I function. There is nothing wrong with those approaches, they just didn’t work for me. One of those strategies was electronic envelopes. Despite it not working for me, I’ve seen great benefits with this strategy.

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My 2016 Savings Challenge

I’m sure you’re familiar with the 52 week challenge. If you’re not familiar, the basic premise is to save an increasing amount every week (Week 1-save $1, Week 2-save $2, etc.). The ending total is $1,378. Pretty much everyone has made a printable to track it so there are plenty of options if you want to stick with the original.
There are now several variations of this challenge, including the reversal, bi-weekly, monthly, modified/save-as-you-can, double, etc. There are many advantages to these savings plans, particularly if you’re new to saving. It’s nice to ease into savings with small amounts and increase over time. The typical argument for this is “I was able to save $20 last week so I can save $21 this week.” This is a really motivating strategy. Read more

My 2016 Goals

  • No Spend Week Last Week of Every Month (Totaling 3 Months)
  • Save ~$7557.95 (Combined Mega & Penny Savings Challenges)
  • $1000 Emergency Fund
  • Complete Elimination Diet (Phase 1 Beginning 01/11/2016)
  • Budget Monthly (Make, Follow, Save)
  • Clean Out Dog Closet
  • Complete Five 10-Day Challenges
    • Track all spending
    • Cook all meals
    • Don’t spend money
    • Save all $5/$10 bills
    • Sell 1 item a day
  • Meal Plan Two Weeks Per Month
  • Envelope Budgets
    • Master List
    • Individual Envelope Lists
  • Create Weekly Schedule (Cleaning, Money, Home, etc.)
  • Master File in Dropbox: Budget, Master List, Meal Plan, Daily Reminders, etc.)
    • Saving Tracker
    • Visual Tracker
    • Budget
    • No-Spend Table
    • Priorities List
    • Envelope Master List
    • Additional Challenges
    • Miscellaneous
    • Goals
    • To Sell List
  • Two Yard Sales (April, July)

Introduction: About Me & Furry Finches

Hello my lovely friends! I’m so excited to see you!
I’d like to take a little time to introduce myself. My name is Michelle and I’ve created Furry Finches to share my experiences of being a mid-20’s newlywed.
My goal is to provide insight into the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along my way to help me achieve my goals. My goals are to become debt-free, financially free, organized, build my own home, and one day have a family. Until then, I’m paying down my debt and trying to make it until next payday.
My family currently consists of my delightful husband, our magical rescue dog, Scout, and our precious baby beagle, Atticus. They are both named after To Kill A Mockingbird characters (my favorite book, by dear Harper Lee). They are also the inspiration for the name of my blog. Get it? Two furry dogs named after the Finches.
We live in a teeny tiny starter home (~790 sq. ft.). It’s a little cramped but I believe it’s teaching us both valuable lessons in both togetherness and eliminating unnecessary stuff. Since we moved into our home we have eliminated many items and we do not even miss them. It’s freeing to remember that our family is so much more important than any physical items we could acquire.

Here are some key things I feel you should know about me:

  • I work full-time in the mental health field and I love my work.
  • I love my dogs probably pretty closely to how you love your children.
  • I keep baby pictures of Atticus’s puppyhood.
  • I frequently annoy my coworkers by sharing too many photos of my dogs with them.
  • love being a #dogmom.
  • I enjoy using hashtags in both written and verbal communication satirically.
  • I’m a huge Harry Potter fan.
  • I also love Futurama.
  • I use too many parenthesis when writing (and I’m trying to cut it out).
  • I enjoy making others laugh.
  • I watch too much TV.
  • I am passionate about saving money and paying down my debt.
  • An unorganized area gives me anxiety. Serious, serious anxiety.
  • I love to make lists.
  • By definition, I am profane.
  • I love printables.
  • I love to try to make things myself (soap, deodorant, lip balm, food, etc.).
  • I love receiving advice, tips, and tricks from others.
  • I do not keep up with the Kardashians or the Joneses.
  • I enjoy connecting with new people and would love to hear from you!

I really hope you stick around and find something helpful!