Using a ring binder for budgeting – Part 2

Hi! Maryanne is back today with her second post for The Budgeting Project.

2: Designing the money envelopes

I had a lot of fun — and a healthy amount of frustration — in designing the money envelopes for this project. The inner Design Geek in me jumped at the opportunity to work with vectors and paths on Adobe Illustrator and make everything so pretty and inspiring, while the outer Financial Budgeting Freak focused on me sticking to the goals that I have identified in the first post.

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I find design work a very creative and liberating process, with so many possibilities and ways to go, that it’s too easy to lose track of what I have set out to do in the first place. It did help that I have outlined all my goals in the first post, so I had those printed out, cut down to size, and put it in  my planner, right after my task list and check list for this project. I had the page open on my desk beside my keyboard the whole time I was doing toe design work on the envelopes.

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The envelopes were a joy to design! Working with all these wonderful design applications really enhanced the look of my envelopes. But the frustration came when I was already creating the physical envelopes that will hold the cash in the Filofax Savannah. I had to create the actual templates after drawing them by hand on large sheets of paper with the dimensions all measured and plotted out, encode those dimensions into my design software, print out the paper, cut out the outlines by hand, and score and fold them without any proper tools!

I did not want to use the envelopes that were ready and available in stores (the closest appropriate size of which was the #6 envelope), because I wanted my money envelopes to measure exactly 95 mm x 171 mm, the exact same size as the personal-sized Filofax refills. It’s important to me that all pages and envelopes are of the exact same size, because I will still be using a cover page, some notepaper for tallying, and some inspirational decorative pages, so same-size content will make everything look much neater.

I did not have the Stampin’ Up Envelope Punch (which I found out about too late), and we don’t have much crafting tools here in my country, and ordering the proper tools online would take about three weeks to arrive. So out went my little craft knife and some aluminum rulers. 

This was the part that was the most difficult. Frustration mounted when I confirmed that I, indeed, did not have the ability to cut anything in a straight line to save my life. Any mistakes or misalignments I made in the cutting or scoring or folding, no matter how infinitesimal, seemed to taunt me and grow worse in my eyes, and, call me crazy, but I actually lost some sleep over them. The envelopes I made would look more and more lopsided by the hour, and it just drove me nuts, and I threw everything into the trash, and did everything all over again, with pretty much the same mistakes.

Needless to say, I was not getting anywhere, making my envelopes was taking longer than I planned, and it was no longer fun, prompting me to ask for a reprieve from my original deadline for this post, which was September 30. That was when I decided to get some expert professional — and industrial-grade — help. I enlisted the help of the printing office that I usually go to when I need refills from my Etsy store machine-cut to size. (Where would I be without industrial-grade machine cutters? Dear me.)

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The printing office guys are not called professionals for nothing. My envelopes came out perfectly cut and scored, and it took me only seconds to fold the parts, glue the seams together, and finally behold the fruit of my less-than-professional labor (with a little help from professionals).

Here, finally, are the envelopes, in all their feminine, Art Nouveau-esque beauty, on luxurious ivory-colored paper.

TBL envelope 1

TBL envelope 2

TBL envelope 5

TBL envelope 4

TBL envelope 6

TBL envelope 3

I find these envelopes really inviting to use. I don’t like to use anything ugly (who does?), and for something as personal and long-term as this, I wanted to use something durable, in an elegant and timeless design that I will not tire of.

Next post: The setup, and how it all works

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