Have you heard about this new trend – cash stuffing? It’s taking over social media and Gen Z is embracing it. Basically, cash stuffing is the revitalization of the old-fashioned way of saving for specific goals. Instead of saving cash in paper envelopes (did your grandmother do this too?), the cool kids are saving their dollars in fancy, colorful envelopes and binders.
I find this new trend a tad bit ironic given the rise and popularity of digital forms of payment and more recently the adoption of cryptocurrencies by younger generations. Cash stuffing is a complete 180 from that trend. But then again, this is a way to simplify saving and organize spending, and maybe getting back to the basics is what we need right now. With less than a quarter of Gen Z saying they feel organized around their finances, maybe envelopes are the answer.
Why it matters:
After working so hard to become better off financially over the past two years, no one wants to see the money they earned disappear because of inflation. But the rising cost of everything has people dipping into their rainy day funds or increasing their credit card bills.
In its own way, cash stuffing is a way to regain control of your spending. When you can see and feel the money you have available, it is easier to stick to a budget. It can help you prioritize what really matters and prevent you from swiping your card mindlessly.
What it means for you:
If you haven’t tried cash stuffing, it’s easy to get started. Write down the top three places you’ve been spending more money than you would like — groceries, gas and meals out come to mind for me. Then, think about how much you can really afford to spend on those categories and commit to that amount. If you’re crafty, create your own fun envelope or binder system or buy one online. And start stuffing!
If you still prefer to stay tech-savvy, there are plenty of resources to help you divvy up your paycheck and plan for your savings goals. Do what is best for you. If you decide to give cash stuffing a try, just be smart about where you keep your binders of bills. Having a lot of cash in one spot in your home can be risky.
Lindsey Bell, Ally’s chief markets & money strategist, is an award-winning investment professional with a passion for personal finance and more than 17 years of Wall Street experience. Bell’s unique ability to connect the dots between data and real life and craft bite-sized money ideas that people can use and apply stems from her deep background as an analyst, researcher and portfolio manager at organizations including J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank. She is known for demonstrating why and how an understanding of all things money improves a person’s finances and overall well-being. An ongoing CNBC contributor, Bell empowers consumers and investors across all walks of life and frequently shares her insights with the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Kiplinger’s, Forbes and Business Insider. She also serves on the board of Better Investing, a non-profit focused on investment education.