What is cash stuffing? TikTok’s budgeting trend explained

Cash stuffing
(Image credit: Amazon)

“Cash stuffing” has become a viral trend on TikTok (opens in new tab), reaching more than 700 million views. Similar to Dave Ramsey’s envelope system (opens in new tab), cash stuffing involves sorting your cash money into various categories in an effort to save money by avoiding overspending. While there are already many digital budgeting apps on the market, cash stuffing works for those who prefer a hands-on approach. It seems that physically sorting their cash is helping Gen Z towards financial stability.  

What is cash stuffing?

Cash stuffing is a form of budgeting using physical cash. Before starting, you’ll first need to come up with a budget for how your cash is going to be allocated. Each paycheck is cashed out and then funds are sorted or “stuffed” into envelopes for different spending categories, like rent, groceries or vacation savings. Usually, the envelopes fit into a small binder, where they’re each labeled with their appropriate category. Amazon (opens in new tab) even has an array of “cash stuffing” sets available to make getting started easy. Cash stuffing is a great solution for those who have trouble with impulsive buying and overconsumption. You can't simply swipe your card anymore, instead you'll have to pull cash out of the appropriate envelope. Plus, by being aware of where each dollar is being spent each month, you’ll relieve the stress of mental budgeting (opens in new tab).  

cash stuffing binder

(Image credit: Amazon)

Pros/cons of cash stuffing

Money

(Image credit: Amazon)

Pros:

  • Helps relieve stress relating to finances
  • Prevents unnecessary purchases and overspending 
  • Makes budgeting tangible and concrete - helping you stick to your finance goals
  • Helps you to be more mindful of how you're spending each month

Cons:

  • Time-consuming method of budgeting
  • Less protection for your money
  • No interest earned on cash
  • Can be more difficult to pay certain bills, like rent and utilities, with cash instead of online payments with a card

Bottom line

Overall, cash stuffing is a great budgeting option for those who prefer a hands-on approach to managing their money. This method, which is viral on TikTok, helps individuals assess their finances each month by allocating their paycheck between categories. Each category has it's own envelope, usually organized in a small binder. If you've been struggling to maintain a budget, or can't seem to figure out where your money goes each month, this method could be a life-changer for your finances.

If you prefer digital budgeting, check out the best budgeting apps for 2022 (opens in new tab)

Next: A new bill in Congress could ban TikTok in the U.S.

Erin Bendig
Staff writer, personal finance

Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.