The Cash Envelope system is yet another example of the higher frugality credentials of our cousins across the pond. Along with extreme couponing and playing "the drugstore game" (yet to take off in the UK), the cash envelope system is one which is designed to help you gain control of your money and stick to shopping on a budget. There are numerous websites full of tips on how to use the cash envelope system, but essentially, you take your wages for the week (or month or whatever) and divide the cash into envelopes according to your budget. So you may put aside a certain amount for groceries, another sum for school trips, and mark another envelope "birthday presents". Then you only spend the money you have allocated in that envelope. Once the budget for entertainment is spent, that's it until the next payday. Google "Dave Ramsey cash envelope" for more information.
My sister has been using this method for several years, literally using brown envelopes to divide up her cash for bill payments, clothes etc. She is pretty savvy like that. However, using brown envelopes for money would be a risky move in our house. The King would probably use them to write telephone numbers and wood measurements on. Prima would want to play "secretaries" with them. Secundus would transform them into paper aeroplanes.
Before adopting the cash envelope system, then, I needed an alternative to plain ol' envelopes. I was pleased to find a pattern on Etsy and felt sure that if I went to the effort of making my own cash envelopes wallet, I would actually use it. Besides, the project required lots of zips, something I avoid at all costs and therefore a skill in which I need some practice. Walter and Veronica's pdf pattern was extremely well priced, at only $1.61 with colour photographs to tie in with the instructions. Looking at the 13-odd pages of the pdf download, I knew this would be a project with a steep learning curve, especially as I had not used oil cloth very much before and didn't know whether I had a zipper foot. But working in imperial was no problem and the tone of the instructions was encouraging and amusing.
Armed with a fabulous printed oil cloth by Lucie Summers, clear vinyl and a length of velcro from Beyond Fabrics, I began the careful process of cutting the materials according to the instructions. I was lucky enough to find a handful of zips on sale at my local charity shop at only 25p each. Although they were too short, at 7", I decided to adapt the project to save money.
The pattern was certainly one to get my teeth into. I think it may have been aimed at more proficient seemstresses than me, as I took a long time to get my head round certain parts of the instructions. Of course, not being at all familiar with zips made it quite a challenge. After a while I felt I had to ignore Walter and Veronica's advice not to pin the oil cloth, as I was getting lots of slippage and lines which were far from straight. I also encountered so many problems with tension that I got a headache. But this was neither the fault of the pattern not the fabric - it was just my inexperience.
We have also been given a 15% discount code for Beyond Fabrics! Enter the code MUNTOPIA (if that doesn't work try MUMTOPIA, I'm not sure if it is a typo) at checkout to get 15% off everything.