Photo courtesy of Psychonaught, whose dad apparently never taught him to put the smallest bill on the outside.
For several years now, J and I have been paying for cash with things, using the Dave Ramsey envelope method. The popularity of this method--where you get cash at every pay day and put it into specific envelopes for each purpose--proves that everything old is new again. According to my dad (who did teach me to keep my singles on the outside of my money clip), my great-grandmother could never get the hang of banks and kept returning to her envelope system after each failed banking attempt resulted in overdrafts and other issues. I can't imagine what she would have done with online banking.
In any case, we quite like this system, as it makes it very easy to pay for anything we need, from dog food to day care to dishwashing detergent (although we also buy things that start with other letters, too). When we first started the envelope system, we used actual letter sized white envelopes with the purpose written across the front. It was convenient because we could bring the entire envelope with us when necessary, like when we went grocery shopping or ate at a restaurant. But regular letter sized envelopes are made for speed and not endurance, and so we eventually decided to replace them with an expanding coupon holder.
This is both good and bad. Back when we were using regular envelopes, there would invariably be an envelope still hanging out in someone's pocket or wallet or glove compartment when it came time to dole out the next portion of cash. So I'd either create a new envelope for that purpose (which would mean we'd have envelope twins and triplets hanging around, none of them with much cash in them), or I'd waste 20 minutes tracking the envelope down. So it's nice that our new accordion files cannot get lost that way. However, using the cash requires estimating how much you'll need and taking it from the particular envelope to go with you. This becomes even more difficult if you have several errands. Suppose you need to pick up a tool at the closest Lowe's, go grocery shopping, and then pick LO up at day care. You'll end up with a pocketful of uncategorized cash that will NEVER become easy-to-return-to-its-envelope change, and so you spend a frustrating several moments looking for your receipts and a calculator, figuring out how much you owe each envelope, and then trying to find change from the other envelopes to place the proper amount back where it belongs. Feh!
The uncategorized cash problem also leads to the found money conundrum. Going through pants pockets prior to doing the laundry (which I learned to do after a disastrous lip gloss incident), I will often find random money. Sometimes it's wrapped around a receipt, which lets me know what the money belongs to. But more often than not, the money is silent as to its origins, taunting me with the possibilities for its use.
That's usually when I put it in LO's college fund:
Once this bad boy is full, LO will be able to go to Harvard! (To use the restroom.)