For more than a year now, my husband and I have tried to follow a budget using Dave Ramsey’s Envelope System. For those of you who haven’t heard of the envelope system before, it’s pretty simple (his website goes into a lot more detail) but basically you sit down and figure out your expenses — groceries, entertainment, gas, etc. — and then decide on how much money from each paycheck you want to pull for each of those expenses. This is where the envelopes come in. After you’ve figured out how much money you’re going to pull, put that amount in envelope marked accordingly. I also keep a coupon envelope just so I can have them all in once place and easy to grab.

For us, groceries and entertainment are our bigger expenses so every two weeks I pull the following (keep in mind, we’re a family of four so of course the amount would change depending on your family’s needs):

Groceries: $200
Entertainment: $40

If your envelope runs out of money before the next paycheck, in no way are you suppose to take money from another envelop or pull more. You HAVE to wait until your next paycheck. We have definitely had our weeks where sticking to the budget hasn’t been easy and we’ve had to adjust our amount a few times but we’ve noticed we’ve done a lot better with our money since we started using envelopes.

Side note, my husband and I also give ourselves a $75 allowance every two weeks which helps stretch our family budget. We put the allowance system in place so if he wants something or I want something we can save up for it and then use the money however we want. We don’t have to ask each other permission, I guess you could say. If it’s a bigger expense and something we both want than we do talk about it and then plan appropriately.

Sadly, since we started this system, I’ve gone through A TON of envelopes. I mean, let’s be honest, paper envelopes weren’t made for the wear and tear of everyday use.

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These guys had seen better days.

So one day, forever ago, my husband suggested I could sew an envelope wallet together. I mean, easy, right?! Um, no! Well, after almost a year of talking about it, I finally did it! I don’t know why it took me so long. Maybe it’s because I was a little intimidated by the whole thing. I think I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t claim to be a sewer…not even close! But when I ran across this awesome DIY Envelope Wallet Post by Kelly I actually felt like maybe I could take it on. Note to self though, don’t start a never-before-tried sewing project at 10 p.m. at night. I was up WAY past my bedtime and I’m even a night owl.

I read through the tutorial (like 50 times) before I started and I tweeked a few things, that I’ll share with you, but I really like how it turned out. Even my husband said he liked it. So I’ll count this as a win!

If you feeling gutsy like me, here’s what I did to make my own envelope wallet and maybe save a few trees in the process.

Supplies:
Fabric
7 Inch Zippers
Letter Appliques
Button
Small Piece of Thin Elastic

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All my supplies.

I actually like to work on one thing at a time so I started this project by cutting out all my pieces. My wallet ended up with four envelope pockets so make sure to adjust your amounts if you’re making more or less.

You’ll need to cut four 8×8″ squares for the pockets, two 9×10″ squares for the wallet cover and then five 4×9″ strips for the card/coupon pockets.

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Make sure to iron on the pieces so they lay better for you while sewing.

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My assembly line.

Because I’m not the best sewer, I started with the card/coupon pocket first. I decided I’d work with the easy part first and work my way up to the more difficult stuff.

Take three of your 4×9″ strips and fold them in half lengthwise and press. Top stitch along the folded edge of each piece of fabric. Grab another 4×9″ strip, which will be the backing, and lay it printed side up. Lay the strips you just made onto the backing and space them on the backing so that the bottom edge of the lowest strip lines up with the bottom edge of the backing piece.

Pin and sew down the center.

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Starting with the top strip, pull each of the strips back and sew the bottoms of each piece to the backing. This is what will hold the cards in place and keep them from falling to the bottom of the pocket.

Now take the last 4×9″ strip and place it face down, right sides together, on the whole piece and sew. Make sure to leave an opening so you can turn it.

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Turn it right side out, press and sew a topstitch around the whole thing.

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From here, I moved onto the wallet cover. I actually sewed an extra strip to my front cover making it a 9×10″ square but you can keep it simple and just use a solid piece of fabric.

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Once you decide what you want to do, grab the two 9×10″ squares and place them right sides facing together, leaving a section open so you can turn it. Start by sewing a 3/8″ seam around the edge. However, this is where I tweeked things a bit. Once you get to the middle of the bottom part of the wallet, stick the small elastic piece between the two pieces of fabric and continue to sew. Turn it, iron it and topstitch all the way around to give you a nice finished look. 

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Now comes the part I was dreading, I have never sewn zippers before but Kelly’s tutorial gave me the confidence I needed to at least try.

Take a piece of the 8×8″ fabric square and facing up, pin a zipper on both sides face down on the printed side of the fabric.

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This is where it got tricky for me. I found if I pulled the zipper down to about the middle of the fabric and then started to sew, it helped the zipper edge lay flat onto the fabric. Then when I reached the middle I pulled the zipper back up so that I could sew the remaining edge (it was a bit awkward trying to work around the sewing machine foot but it was worth the extra effort to me). I hope that makes sense. This is what worked for me but if there are better ideas out there, I’d love for you to share.

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Place the other 8×8″ square face down and sew it’s edges to the other edge of each zipper.

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Now you’ll need to sew the remaining two sides. Make sure to keep one of the zippers unzipped so you can turn it once all the edges are sewn.

Once they’re turned, fold so you know how it will lay once in the wallet and iron on your letter applique. I did a “G” for groceries and an “E” for entertainment. That still gives me two more pockets that I can add to at a later date. In the other tutorial she sewed tabs to the sides of her pockets. I decided that I liked the idea of the appliques better. But if you want to use tabs you can view her tutorial. She does a great job walking you through how to do them.

Now it’s time to piece everything together.

Pin your card/coupon pocket onto the wallet cover, flip so that you’re sewing on top of the top stitch you made earlier on the wallet cover. This just makes it so the outside looks clean and doesn’t make the stitching off. Here’s where I changed mine to fit my needs. I just sewed the 3 outside edges. I left the top part open so that I could stick my coupons in it. You can close the top part off if you want, I just didn’t want my coupons still in a paper envelope. I wanted everything together

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Coupons tucked in there nice and neat!

You’re almost there! Just a few more steps. Next, stack the two envelope pieces on top of each other, place onto the wallet cover and sew down the center so that it looks like pages from a book.

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Last, but certainly not least, add your button. I had to hand sew mine on but depending on what you have this won’t take long. I promise.

You’re all done! Here’s hoping to happier budgeting habits and more money in the bank. 🙂

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