Frugal Living · With Kids

DIY Give, Save, Spend Envelopes

A large part of our debt journey is also the desire as Dave Ramsey puts it to “change our family tree”. Our 5 year old requests to listen to debt-free screams from Dave Ramey and our 3 year old knows that “Debt is DUMB”.

We want them to know that money comes from working, to feel the satisfaction in delaying pleasure to save for a purchase, and become a natural giver. 

We have tried lots of versions of give, save, and spend containers with no success. We first tried three paper envelopes for each child with the words writen “Give, Save, Spend” on them. The change fell out of the envelopes and the paper got torn very quickly so that idea was a fail! Then we tried glass jars so they could visually see the accumulation of their money. After the glass spend jar shattered all over the floor of a store, we counted that idea as a fail. 

We love the idea of the Financial Peace Jr. kit from Dave Ramsey and if you can spend the money on it then it seems like a great buy. But we already had a whiteboard job chart and we really couldn’t spend that amount of money per child. We checked Etsy and similar zippered pouches are around $20 each! Eek! Most of them also are opaque so your child can’t visually see how much money they have.

We knew we had to create our own system and doing it frugal was a high priority!

Each DIY Give, Save, Spend Envelope only cost $3.50! 

Our  envelope system needed to be DURABLE, VISUAL, AND PORTABLE!


  • We purchased our supplies at the Dollar Tree
  • 3 clear zipper pouches (Clear is important because then they get the visualization of their money accumulating)
  • One Reusable Binder Ring (Dollar tree sells them in a pack of 3 or 6). This is important so that at home they can all be stored together, but you can easily remove one pouch to take to the store.


  • Easy instructions: Take off tags, write “Give, Save, Spend” on them and your child’s name. Put together with the reclosable binder ring and you’re done!
  • Slight more OCD instructions:
    • Print off Give, Save, Spend in a thick font in a large size
    • Trace the outline of the word on top of the envelope with a ball point pen. This will leave an ever so slight impression in the plastic.
    • Trace the impression left in the plastic with a black permanent marker and then fill in the font!
    • You’re done! 


  • For now we are focusing on one paid job each as they learn to do it well but eventually they will have the opportunity to do more jobs. Currently their jobs are to sweep under the kitchen table and to clean the kitchen table/chairs.
  • We have plenty of non-paid jobs in our house that we expect just for being a part of the family (making bed, cleaning up toys, bringing dishes to the sink, etc.)
  • We pay our children every Sunday night during our family meeting. Even adults appreciate consistency from their employers in regular paychecks so we try to model this at home as well.

What are some jobs that you pay your children for vs. expecting them to help with?

Are you ready to give this system a try? Let me know below how it goes!

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