Cash Stuffing TikTok Trend — Is it a Budgeting Hack or Money Trap?

Cash stuffing is a form of budgeting that involves taking cash from your paycheck and putting it in different envelopes. Learn more about this savings tool.

Danielle Letenyei - Author

May 8 2023, Updated 2:47 p.m. ET

Have you ever looked at how much you spend each month on Amazon or other online retailers? You know, the things you buy that you don’t really need, but it’s just so easy to hit “Buy Now” and have it charged to your credit card. Using a credit or debit card can make it hard to stick to a budget.

If you’re one of the many people who have trouble keeping track of your spending but would like to pay off your debts and build your savings, social media influencers have the answer — cash stuffing.

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Cash stuffing is a money saving method that has taken TikTok by storm. In fact, cash stuffing TikTok videos have garnered more than 216 million views on the platform. So, what exactly is cash stuffing and does it really work?

A pile of cash
Source: Baddies and Budgets Facebook
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What is TikTok cash stuffing?

Cash stuffing tips and tricks are the latest trend to go viral on TikTok. Cash stuffing is a form of budgeting that involves taking money from your paycheck and putting a certain amount of cash in different envelopes for your essential expenses. One envelope is for rent, one for utilities, one for internet, and so on. The cash you have left over is used for more non-essential things.

The budgeting technique supports the theory that paying with cash prevents overspending. If you have $100 in cash to spend going out on the weekend, once that $100 is gone, it’s time to leave the bar and go home.

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There are numerous TikTokers promoting cash stuffing as a form of budgeting. Some use binders with plastic sleeves for each expense, while others use fancy envelopes. Jasmine Taylor of Baddies and Budgets has over 617,000 TikTok followers who tune in to hear her advice on using cash stuffing and budget binders to get your finances in order.

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Taylor was “stressed and depressed” about her finances after she was laid off from her medical job right before the COVID-19 pandemic, CBS News reports. She found out about cash stuffing while searching the internet for budgeting advice. According to CNBC, the TikToker turned finance fanatic had about $60,000 in student debt and another $9,000 in medical and credit card debt.

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But after implementing the cash stuffing method, in her first year of getting her financial affairs in order, she paid off $23,000 in student loan debt. She also cleared the medial debt and credit debt she had tied to her name. Taylor went on to use her $1,200 stimulus payment to start her business, Baddies and Budgets. She reportedly collected $850,000 in 2022 and is projected to earn $1 million in 2023.

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Does cash stuffing really work?

The concept of allocating your income to different envelopes for your expenses isn’t new. Financial guru Dave Ramsey has been preaching the idea for years. You can even buy envelopes on Ramsey’s website.

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Ramsey promotes zero-based budgeting, which assigns every dollar you earn to your expenses until you’re at zero. Ramsey’s budgeting app Every Dollar helps with this budgeting technique.

Is cash stuffing a trend?

Not everyone agrees that cash stuffing is the best way to budget. There can be security concerns around having cash in your home. And, cash stuffing can sometimes be “overly restrictive” and doesn’t take into account emergency expenses that may come up, NerdWallet banking specialist Chanelle Bessette told MarketWatch.

“However, if you have an emergency fund set aside, you might not have to worry about this downside,” Bessette said.

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CBS personal finance analyst Jill Schlesinger sees cash stuffing as an inconvenient fad, NPR reports.

"What does work: Track your spending, make a budget, figure out where your money is going and where you can cut back. It's not sexy stuff, but it works,” Schlesinger told NPR.

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