Money·3 min read

Cash Stuffing Has Millions of TikTok Views. Here’s Why.

accessibility, woman counting cash
December 9, 2022

Raise your hand if #MoneyTok has helped you boost savings and crush financial goals with its tips and tricks. One old-school budgeting hack is even becoming popular with Gen Z on the platform: Cash stuffing. And based on the millions of #cashstuffing views, this method isn't going anywhere just yet.

What is cash stuffing?

The goal is to help you budget and save money. Here's how it works: Instead of using a debit or credit card, you'll use cold hard cash to pay for things like groceries, gas, entertainment, etc. The key is to allocate a certain amount of $$ for each category, and separating (read: stuffing) the cash into an envelope or budget binder that's labeled for each category. Oh, and once you've spent all the cash in the designated envelope, you'll have to wait until your next cash-stuffing session to spend again. (Note: When you re-stuff your envelopes is up to you. It can be each time you get a paycheck, once a month, your choice.)

Another way that people use cash stuffing is to literally play hide-and-seek with their cash. As in, putting a few hundred bucks under their mattress, in an old pair of shoes, or in an empty container and hiding it. Then, they can use the money for something they're saving up for — whether it's a new computer or simply paying off debt. Because out of sight = out of mind, apparently.

Why is Gen Z so into cash stuffing?

The pandemic and rising costs from inflation have helped prompt Gen Z to get serious about money management. And cash stuffing comes with major benefits, like… 

  • Less stress: If you’ve got your money organized, you’re in a good position to avoid financial anxiety that often comes with overspending

  • Consistent savings: Turns out, it’s tougher to splurge with cash than a card because you physically see the money leave your wallet. And labeling your money tends to have the same effect. If your cash is in the grocery envelope, you’re a lot less likely to use it for retail therapy

  • More control over your money: If you’re cash stuffing, you’re revisiting your budget pretty often. Taking the time to review your finances on a regular basis will put you in control of your spending.

Cash stuffing sounds great. Anything to know before I get started?

There are a few cons to the cash stuffing trend. Like if you skip a savings account, you could miss out on money (read: interest) in the long run.  Another downside? Cash stuffing is pretty time-consuming. You’ll have to take the time to withdraw cash, review each category, and separate the cash into various envelopes. Consistently. Plus, there’s the fact that we live in a digital world. So you may not be able to use your cash to pay for certain items — making it harder to stick to your cash stuffing budget.

Got it. How do I start cash stuffing?

First thing’s first: set realistic money goals. Would cash work for everything you need to pay? If not, it might be better to gradually start cash stuffing with monthly bills before you go all in. Next, separate your cash into categories — and put the plastic away. Stick to your cash allocations and repeat as needed. 


Cash stuffing is trending for good reason: for many people, it actually works. And if your occasional splurges are sending your budget out of control, cash stuffing might be just what the accountant ordered.

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