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DIY Envelope System

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I needed an envelope system for the cash I regularly carry in my purse that was:

  • Not bulky–a girl’s purse is already a shoulder breaker
  • Organized–trying to keep all the money straight isn’t easy for a girl on a budget
  • Cute–has to fit the whole aesthetic of the purse, wallet, etc.
  • Easy to grab and go

I was concerned that the prevalent cloth versions on Etsy would get bulky and beat up in a purse. I was thinking, what could I use that has multiple pockets, doesn’t bend and is super-slim? Ah-ha, a pocket picture album! Dollar bills fit in 4×6 album pages perfectly. Keeping in line with said budget, the project is also super low-cost. Even a few friends have even adopted this great idea.

Supplies: heavy-duty scissors, contact paper/adhesive drawer liner, a 4×6 picture album, embellishments, 1 standard sheet of 12×12 scrapbook paper cut into six 4×6 sheets.

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1. Cut a piece of contact paper slightly smaller than the width/height of the album cover. Fold it in half about three times.

2. Cut the contact paper like those snowflakes you made as a child. You will need the heavy-duty scissors to cut through those thick layers.

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3. Apply the resulting paper design to the cover. If you’ve found a vintage photo album that already has a beautiful cover, feel free to skip these first three steps!

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4. Insert the scrapbook paper into six pages of the album. Feel free to use more if you need to.

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5. I used some leftover scraps of contact paper and a felt-tip marker to label each envelope: EAT, DUDS, POST, ENTERTAIN, SUNDAY, and SPEND. Be sure to label the outside of the picture sleeve or your greenbacks will cover up the label and you’ll waste time trying to figure out which pocket is which.

6. Embellish as desired. I didn’t want to add any sort of money symbols to the front cover so I could keep the wallet more “covert.” I didn’t want to make it very inviting for sticky fingers.

This project is a great way to prepare for all those upcoming New Years’ Resolutions or to keep tabs on your Christmas budget. I’ve heard it said (from financial professionals) that the envelope system is one of the best methods for keeping a budget, so I’m sticking to it. When the “out to eat” money is gone, it’s gone. But hey, I feel so excited that we even have an “out to eat” category in our budget now.

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