I also just started this system in January. So far, this is how it goes. I get paid every two weeks, and the size of my paychecks vary, but they are pretty much guaranteed to be at least a certain amount. So I double that amount and that is the amount of money we have monthly. Then I subtract all of the bills that I pay online or by check. I took the difference and split it in two, since I make two paychecks per month, and that left me with x amount of money for everything else for two weeks. So now I have envelopes for week 1 and week 2, and have taken out the cash from the bank for the next two weeks, right after I get paid, and put them in the envelopes. So far these are the envelopes that we have, although we are going to be adjusting this depending on how things go:
Spending money for me
Spending money for DH
Activities for kids
I need to figure out a way to add the following items in somehow, because right now they aren't budgeted for:
Unexpected large purchases.
I am also finding it really hard to stick with my spending money budget. the only thing that I really spend money on at all is coffee and food at work. I work full time, often 12 hour shifts and a few of them in a row, so it's really hard to get a lunch and dinner packed on those days. And I'm pregnant and just get so hungry sometimes. So I can easily spend $10 a day at work even though I've only allowed myself $20 per week. And even if I only spent that $20 / week, that's a lot! $80 per month is like a whole student loan payment or something. I would love to get rid of that spending but I don't think I can realistically.
I'm also still figuring out exactly what to do with overages, specifically on the grocery bill. Either leave them there and have extra - perhaps for eating out? Or else just put in less from the next paycheck and spend that overage on debt?
We just finished the second week of this, and while we got through it only spending the allotted amount, it wasn't exactly in the correct categories. Yesterday we took DH to the zoo and paid for it out of the clothing fund. But I realized I put too much in the clothing fund and not enough in the activities fund so I was kind of OK with that. But like i said I need to adjust the $ amounts that go in the different categories. I expect to learn as I go.
The most impressive thing I found was that we were able to get by on $150/week for groceries, which for us is scaling back quite a lot. We usually buy kind of expensive organic foods, but I did some serious couponing and planning and was able to save quite a bit, knowing that I had to, as opposed to just going to the store and buying whatever I thought we wanted or needed, which is what we are used to doing.
Then on the months when there are 5 paychecks, I'll still take out the same amount for the two weeks worth of envelope spending and put the rest towards debt or savings or something like that. And anything over the minimum paycheck amount will go to the same - mostly debt.