The problem that so many working people and working families in Louisiana face is that age-old issue of "too much month left at the end of the money". In other words, budgeting to make our paychecks stretch all the way from one pay period to the next can be quite a problem. If you throw in the uncertainty of higher gas prices there are now more than a few reasons for people to be concerned about their current economic situation.

Photo Illustration by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images
Photo Illustration by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images
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Experts in any field will tell you the best way to solve any problem is to first understand what the actual problem happens to be. For a lot of us, our financial problems aren't related to how much we earn, they are more a function of how much we spend and when and where we spend that money that we don't actually have.

Credit cards and debit cards and Venmo and PayPal have made money "invisible" to a lot of consumers. We don't see that plastic card in our hands as real dollars and cents when we make purchases that we probably should have thought about in the first place.

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That's where an old fashioned practice now being made popular by the Internet has captured the imaginations of so many people. The method is called "cash-stuffing". Early generations before the invention of Tik Tok might know this method as the cash-envelope method or the envelope system.

It works like this. Fans of radio financial guru Dave Ramsey will already be very familiar with this method of financial planning. 

The first thing you need to do is figure out how much money you're spending on basic necessities such as food or rent. Rent or a mortgage should be easy since it's usually a constant number. The food bill you'll want to guess and you can do that by looking at your spending for previous months.

You'll also need to estimate how much money you'll need for things like gas, incidentals, entertainment, and all of the other things you could be spending money on. Once you've done that, here is where your financial picture gets really clear.

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According to the method, you'll want to cash your paycheck. Yes, get the entire amount in cash. Then you'll need to get some envelopes. On the outside of each envelope write down what it's for. It could be food, entertainment, gas, electricity, whatever your expenses are. Then put the amount of cash in each envelope that you have designated for each expense.

Now, as you go through the month take only cash for each designated envelope to pay for each assigned expense. You'll very quickly learn just how much you're spending on some things and how much you're not spending on others. This will paint a very accurate picture of how where your money is going and how you can adjust your budget to not spend so much.

With credit cards, debit cards, and apps like Venmo it's really easy to lose track of where you're spending your money. With the cash stuffing method, it's all laid out for you in green and white. Even if you don't apply this to your household budget, it could be a great way to teach kids about saving and planning for purchases. There's no doubt it will help them out in the long run.

And once you've saved enough cash, you might want to invest in real estate.

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