Sew Your Own Cash Wallet (For Cash Envelope Budgeting)

Today, the beautiful Marnie (Queen of the Marniverse) graciously agreed to share her latest project with us – a cash walled for the Envelope System of budgeting!  I saw this in person, and it’s an amazing project!

I am super excited to have the opportunity to guest post on You Pinspire Me.

I am even more excited because of what I have to share with you.
My New Year’s resolution was to start living on a cash-only budget.  Easier said than done.  Especially in the digital world, where it is so easy to just swipe a card to pay for everything. 

Certain monthly expenses (like rent, insurance, student loan payments) are still automatically paid out of my bank account each month, but my other expenses (i.e. groceries, gas, entertainment, etc) are only paid with cash.  However, I wasn’t overly fond of the idea of carrying around paper envelopes in my purse for each of my budget categories.  Paper is so flimsy, and I figured that with wear & tear they wouldn’t last long.  Also, because we carry so much change here in Canada ($1 & $2 coins) I wanted durable pockets that I could close to keep the coins securely in place. 

I spent some time shopping for a wallet that would suit my needs, but couldn’t find anything I really liked.   I decided that the only way to get everything I wanted would be to make my own wallet. 
I browsed around Pinterest a bit, and found a wallet on imperfecthomemaking.comthat had all of the elements I was looking for: zippered envelopes, lots of slots for cards, and pockets to slip a notebook & my cheque book in.  If you want a little variety, you may also find the tutorial for a cash wallet on helpful.
Here’s what you need to get started: fabric (I used cotton, but if you want something a little sturdier, you could also use laminated cotton or vinyl), zippers, thread, elastic, a button and a sewing machine.  If you have a supply of fabric scraps, this is the perfect project on which to use them up.  However, if you aren’t an avid sewer you can buy a bundle of coordinating fabric at your local craft or department store, which is what I chose to do for this project.

I’m not going to reiterate the step-by-step instructions in this post.  If you want to make your own wallet, you can follow the instructions on this blog.  For the wallet I was making, I opted to double the amount of slots for cards, creating space for them at both the back and front.  Also, because I was just using plain cotton, I inserted two pieces of thin cardboard before stitching up the outer shell to give it more structure. Here’s a look at all the fabric pieces cut out:
The skill level required to make this wallet is moderate.  Its mostly a matter of sewing up a lot of seams, and then sewing the individual parts together.  There are a few spots where the layers of fabric get a bit thick, but really the most intimidating part was the zippers.  I’ve never sewn zippers before.  However, following the instructions given, I found it was really quite simple!
I am soooo happy with the finished project:

outside view
inside view
side view
cash ‘envelopes’ sewn onto the wallet base

hidden pocket :)
The reaction to this wallet has been amazing.  Almost everyone I have shown it to has been astounded that I made it.  :)  I definitely recommend making one of your own.
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Jenn vanOosten

I live in Hamilton, Ontario, and love my city. I'm a Netflixer, choral music geek, bookworm, inventor of recipes (I take Artistic Licence on EVERYTHING that I make), wife of one, mother of two, and owner of a neurotic Schnauzer. I respect people who respect others. I love good food that's well done, but my favourite lunch is KD & hotdogs. With ketchup. I'm addicted to Clearance Shopping. I will ALWAYS get the product that I want at the price that I want, eventually.


  1. I am not sure i cold live on a cash budget.. i have tried but it is so hard to keep up.

  2. Awesome!! Very creative indeed! i think i am more shopaholic when i have my cash on my wallet..

  3. This is such a cute wallet! (Though I don’t know if I could do a cash budget, that sounds like it would be HARD)

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