The Hybrid Budgeting / Zombie System

Alright guys, I think we found our happy medium with the cashless society debate ;)

A guy I met at FinCon last year chimed into our convo here, and he officially wins the award for being the most creative, haha… But also super USEFUL too! Because not only does this take the pros of both sides of the equation (cash vs digital), but also solves a slew of those budgeting problems we listed out on Friday too.

Here’s his idea, in response to me wooing people with points if they can convince me cashless is good ;) Let me know what you think:

Hey J. I will take you up on triple point offer! Actually, I’m going to want 1.5x in brownie points as I’m going to convert you to a hybrid system.

Here it is:

#1. Put your “Regular” expenses on autopay from one bank account. “Regular” = fixed expenses (including savings) in accounting terms.

#2. Deposit enough, but only enough, in that account to cover the Regular expenses that come due until your next paycheck. For most people this will amount to 40-70% of their monthly spending. Consider every dollar deposited to this account spent the moment it is deposited.

#3. Withdraw the remainder of your pay in cash.

#4. Divide the cash up into your “Irregular” expenses in the amounts you would like to spend on each in a perfect month.

#5. Doll out the cash as needed. If you run out of cash in one category, you can decide which area of your spending life needs to take the hit to subsidize the shortfall in that area. (This makes you decide if the overspending is a necessity, was bad planning requiring an adjustment, or just crappy willpower on your part)

#6. Repeat for next paycheck

Here is why this works so well based on the semi-doomsday scenario you wrote about.

  • No electricity to transfer funds for a payment that is due? Not to worry, the bank or vendor can’t tell you haven’t paid because their system is down too!
  • Even if they could tell you haven’t paid, they can’t come get your stuff because they can’t look up where you live, because that too is in some e-database somewhere
  • The utilities can’t shut off your power because it is already off due to the zombies

So there you sit with your little pouch full of cash from which you can buy groceries and toilet paper. Pretty nice. And who knows, since you are one of the few shoppers with cash, the grocery store may be open to huge discounts on their perishables and frozen foods! So enjoy your flame grilled steak and lobster tonight that you bought for less than the mac & cheese was going for.

Upon official notification, I’ll shoot you my brownie point bank account number so you can send my winnings electronically.

Mitchell Walker

Not too bad, sir! One foot in the digital landscape, and one in the cash-is-king other – milking the pros of both, while not screwing yourself by going “all in” on either.

I can dig it… Another perk is that if your cards/accounts get hacked, they only have access to a portion of your money too (which may or may not be there by the time they get in), and if the government is on your tail, they’ll also only have a portion to go on! Leaving you to your own sneaky lifestyle and improprieties! Boom!

So your points are on the way, Mr. Walker, and I salute you for your creativeness.

Although, I must say – I kinda feel like you cheated, as I just stalked your website and saw that this is the same system you’ve been peddling to all your friends and family too! For years now!

And you know what? I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT :) Not only did you figure out a set up that really works for you and your money, but you then took it a step further and decided to share it with the rest of the world too. Thanks for paying it forward!

And in fact, I take back all your brownie points, and in exchange give you something much better: FREE PUBLICITY. Let’s turn this into the “Mitchell” show today and spread around all your goodies – what say you? (I take that as a yes since I can’t hear you… let’s do this!)

>> Introducing, The PouchPlan System! <<

Tired of always being stressed out about money? Worried about the apocalypse and all those empty bank accounts of yours? Worry no more – there’s a budget for that! Introducing, The PouchPlan Budgeting System by Mitchell Walker!

The PouchPlan combines the best of the envelope budgeting system with the advantages of today’s electronic payment abilities, [resulting] in a safer, more reliable, and less active participation requirement for users… It’s core is a naturally intuitive based spreadsheet that has you split your expenses into those which are regular in amount and frequency and those expenses that are not…

The spreadsheet automatically calculates your bank deposits, cash needs, and the timing of both, not just your budgeted amount. Once set up, you are on autopilot. It requires about 5 minutes per paycheck to keep you exactly on target with your plan.

So not only is The PouchPlan a fully-integrated system, but it’s wrapped around a customized SPREADSHEET too! And it’s all yours, free of charge! –> Full Feature PouchPlan Spreadsheet

But that’s not all! Take this spreadsheet, and then throw in a copy of Mitchell’s corresponding book for only $14.95! (Or $3.95 for the ebook) Great for all ages! (But really just adults): The PouchPlan Budget: The Simple Way to Find Hidden Money, Improve Your Life, and Build Wealth

But wait, order now, and get this complimentery Tedx Talk too! An 11 minute value, absolutely yours and guaranteed to hype you up:

So what are you waiting for?? Pick up that mouse and order now! There’s only *unlimited* copies, so act fast!

// End Infomercial

(Did I say it was going to be an infomercial? I guess you get what you pay for… ;))


Haha… But seriously, if “budgeting better” is at the top of your New Year’s list, check out his system and see if it helps. It really does sound good, despite my antics here!

Big thanks to Mitchell for being a good sport about it all today, and reminding me yet again why I love blogging for a living ;) I can’t believe this is a real job!

‘Till next time…

UPDATE: Mitchell just told me he’s giving free shipping to the first 50 paperback books sold, as well as signing them too :) Use coupon code “budgetsaresexy” at checkout if you’re interested. (For the 10 or so who already ordered, he’ll be refunding your shipping costs for you)

No budgets were harmed in the making of this promotion.

(Visited 39 times, 1 visits today)

Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!


  1. Mr. Tako January 22, 2018 at 7:01 AM

    Interesting system. The only problem is, 99% of the time when the zombies aren’t attacking electronic is going to be way more convenient for those irregular expenses.

    That said, having some cash on hand for when the next hurricane hits isn’t a bad idea. When the zombies do attack, I doubt anybody will be taking cash.

    1. Joe January 22, 2018 at 10:38 AM

      The system also seems a bit complicated. If you’re a money nerd, you will enjoy doing this. But most people won’t. I’m a money nerd and this sounds like too much work.

    2. Mitchell Walker @thePouchPlan January 22, 2018 at 12:44 PM

      Mr. Tako,

      Thanks for your comments and they are very spot on. The only thing I would add is that sometimes a little bit inconvenience (and a second more of thought) is just enough to help one avoid an impulse purchase.

  2. Chris @ Duke of Dollars January 22, 2018 at 7:31 AM


    I personally prefer to use my CC to get points and awards, then pay off the full balance each month instead of the cash method, although I know many people love that one!

    I really should get some cash on hand though – never know when zombies will attack lol

  3. Olivia @ birds of a fire January 22, 2018 at 7:34 AM

    Haha, I love the infomercial bit at the end! “Order now, and I’ll throw in A FREE ebook copy for a friend too! Only 475 left. Let’s talk to some of our callers!”

    Cool system for sure.

    1. J. Money January 22, 2018 at 10:01 AM

      I thought I was pretty clever there for sure :)

  4. Jason@WinningPersonalFinance January 22, 2018 at 7:40 AM

    This is a great system. You get the benefits of points for most expenses and lose the ease of credit for discretionary spending. I’m a fairly fanatic budgeter and may give this a try to see if it leads to lower spending.

    1. J. Money January 22, 2018 at 10:02 AM

      Let me know how it goes if you do! It def. hits a lot of the pros in each of the areas.

    2. Mitchell Walker @thePouchPlan January 22, 2018 at 1:05 PM

      Jason, thanks for the kind words. For those who are experienced budgeters, we find many who try this stay on it because of the very limited time required and the 100% up to date categories. For example, we have never met, but if we did I could hand you my pouch and you could tell me how much I had left to spend,until my next paycheck, in 8 categories in an instant!

  5. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance January 22, 2018 at 7:44 AM

    Haha now we can have the best of both worlds! We use both electronic payment and cash.

    The electronic payment is mainly for auto payment and normal purchases. The cash is for whatever purchase that needs cash of it we want to chip in at a restaurant or something. Very creative idea!

    1. Mitchell Walker @thePouchPlan January 22, 2018 at 1:12 PM

      Thanks for joining in the discussion. You seem to have found the same type of balance we have with the cash and electronic payments. I think some people might not have considered that most of the irregular types of purchases they make require their physical presence to happen. So whether you hand them a credit card or cash, the transaction happens with about the same amount of effort.

  6. Mike @ Balanced Dividends January 22, 2018 at 8:24 AM

    First of all, I’m loving the featured image again. It scared me at first because I was not awake enough, but then I realized it had zombies which made everything okay on this foggie, zombie-apocalypse-like morning in Chi-Town.

    Overall, the system seems very interesting. We’ll check it out further. Thanks for sharing. – Mike

    1. J. Money January 22, 2018 at 10:09 AM

      Zombies make everything better ;)

  7. Sean @ Frugal Money Man January 22, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    I have been using electronic pretty much my entire life. I barely use cash for any of my purchases and actually don’t really like having cash on me (not really sure why haha).

    I will definitely look into this system more in depth, and potentially give it a trial run in the future!

    Thanks for the share!

  8. Katelyn January 22, 2018 at 8:39 AM

    I have been reading for blog for a few years but this is the first time I have posted! Happy to be here, love your stuff. I implemented this system around 3 years ago and it has been paramount for me in reaching my financial goals. If I know I cant touch my account because it only has enough to cover my bill payments and the rest is in cash, I don’t. Whereas my mental accounting would fail me when I kept everything in one spot! I hope this post can help others as I found this system to be super effective. I also don’t feel obliged to track my cash spending — I pay myself first, then the rest is bills, then cash can be spent guilt free!

    1. J. Money January 22, 2018 at 10:14 AM

      Beautiful! Really cool to see how it plays out in the real world – thanks so much for popping over and sharing :) Don’t let it be another few years though okay?? Seems like you’re on your game over there and we need all your secrets!!

  9. Dora January 22, 2018 at 8:41 AM

    I call that the “shortage” budget and I do something similar. Many years ago, I realized that if I kept cash in my wallet, I found more things to buy. I have only what I need in my wallet, sometimes less. Same with what’s in my checking account. I transfer money out of the checking account as quickly as possible to ensure that I can’t use my debit card all over town. It have boosted my savings ever since.

    1. Mitchell Walker @thePouchPlan January 22, 2018 at 1:17 PM

      Interesting name you assigned your budget…especially since it has produced abundance! You point out a phenom that lots of others have shared with me. The “black hole” effect of undesignated money. It will literally suck away your dollars and leave you with a quantum physics problem to determine where and why it went away!

  10. Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto January 22, 2018 at 9:34 AM

    Gees, I hope you got an Affiliate deal for all of that promo!? (in cash, please!!).

    Great to share Best Practices. We all win. Thanks for sharing!

    1. J. Money January 22, 2018 at 10:15 AM

      Haha…. hopefully if this post goes viral he’ll buy me a beer or something :)

      1. Mitchell Walker @thePouchPlan January 22, 2018 at 1:19 PM

        J., You are up to a Tallboy and a six pack is in sight!

        1. Mitchell Walker@ThePouchPlan January 23, 2018 at 4:19 PM

          Affiliate update… one SIX Pack is in the cooler for J Money!

          1. J. Money January 24, 2018 at 6:20 AM

            Haha… I’ll take it!

  11. Dave @ Married with Money January 22, 2018 at 9:44 AM

    We basically do this but all electronically – that is, split up all of our expenses in various accounts instead of cash as Mitchell suggests. It’s worked well for us and helps facilitate the ‘anti-budget’ pretty well, or variations of it.

    I will say though that a nice advantage of having all that cash would be getting it in nickels, putting some of it into a pillow case, and having some make-shift bludgeoning tools for when the zombies come.

    1. J. Money January 22, 2018 at 10:16 AM

      Indeed, haha… Would work much better than cash in a pillow ;)

  12. jen13 January 22, 2018 at 10:38 AM

    This is what we do as well. Our checking account only has a balance to pay the bills each month plus a couple of extra hundred just in case.

    Most people on this board are here because they are good with money. I still believe in diversification and not just with stocks. I don’t want to be in the situation where there is a 1 point failure and I have no other options. That is why I have stocks, cds, gold, real estate and cash. I also use different banks should any one of them have an issue.

    1. J. Money January 22, 2018 at 1:20 PM

      Very smart indeed! I keep all my banking at USAA for simplicity/streamlining, but if they go down one day you are very much correct that I am screwed, at least with electronic stuff haha… Although of course I’d have cash to cover me for a while :) (And silver/gold coins – woo!)

    2. Mitchell Walker @thePouchPlan January 22, 2018 at 1:40 PM

      Hello Jen, thanks for putting your comments out there. I did want to expand on something you said that is very insightful. “Most people on this board are here because they are good with money”. I completely agree.
      Many people who are good with their money find the PouchPlan to give them an incremental increase in their ability to do even better. However, there are 300 million other fellow Americans ( I don’t have a clue how many worldwide), who are not good with their money. When one of these adopts the PouchPlan ( or any other budget that is doable), their life is transformed! These are the ones I want.
      So I have a favor to ask of you and all the other wonderful folks who showed up here today. As you look over the PouchPlan, PLEASE let me know of anything you can think of that would make it simpler, easier, or better. You all have my email above, but here is my phone. 903 563 3396. All are welcome to call me with any assistance. Mitchell

      1. jen13 January 22, 2018 at 7:28 PM

        It sounds like a great plan! I’m a penny pincher and to squeeze out a little more mileage, I would after step 4, skim a little cash off the top before putting it in the envelop for irregular expenses and put it in my little secret cash stash, for example maybe a $20 bill. Then after step 5 anything left over at the end of the week or pay period would also go in my little secret stash of cash, maybe another $5 or $10, sometimes $20 or more. It gave me motivation to save when spending on groceries and other things. For example, if I could save $5 by skipping a latte or clipping more coupons than i knew that $5 would go in my stash so it encouraged me to cut back on my irregular expenses. After about 2 years I had about $3,000 in my secret stash. One day i pulled out my envelop and counted the money in front of my husband, he couldn’t believe it. He never even missed the money or knew I was skimming. Now he is doing the same thing and he is always asking me how much I have in my secret stash trying to beat me.

        1. J. Money January 23, 2018 at 6:30 AM

          HAHAHAHA that is awesome!!! And for once where *Skimming* is actually good! :)

  13. Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom January 22, 2018 at 1:55 PM

    Yaaaaaassssss!!! This is almost exactly the system I use as well! We pay bills online, use cash for almost everything else. I would love to pick his brain on advice for people who have irregular income. I’ve been toying with the idea of TWO checking accounts. One for income and transferring money out to another checking account that is linked to all of our bill pay, so I can see at a glance how much disposable income is left. This would also help us pay bills earlier than needed without spending our whole check already in case we have a long stretch between pay days….

    1. Mitchell Walker @thePouchPlan January 22, 2018 at 3:05 PM

      Hey Krystal,
      You nailed the subject that gives individuals the most difficulty in budgeting. I have several techniques & suggestions, but what all are doing is tying to accomplish winning the Price is Right TV game. Get as close as you can without going over!
      Seriously, we have had realtors to car sales people successfully use the PouchPlan with varying income. I spent 15 years as the CFO of a Berkshire Hathaway company and nothing, and I mean nothing, was as difficult to forecast accurately as income. That said, there are systems I’ve tried to simple down to make the process effective for individuals who face this challenge. Reach out and we can visit.

      1. Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom January 23, 2018 at 8:22 PM

        I would love that! Thanks!!

  14. Done by Forty January 22, 2018 at 2:11 PM

    Love the systems and the marketing, too.

    We’re trying a mostly cash, but electronic-for-Amazon & utilities & mortgage, plus cards for gasoline because ain’t no one got time for that, system this year. Three whole weeks in and we haven’t gone crazy yet.

    1. Mitchell Walker @thePouchPlan January 22, 2018 at 3:09 PM

      Congratulations! If you’ve made it 3 weeks, you have passed 80% of those started with you and you probably have a lifetime habit well underway. I suggest you look back a bit and see how far you’ve come in these 3 weeks and do something to celebrate a really cool victory!

  15. Brandon January 22, 2018 at 3:22 PM

    I heard Mitchell on the Stacking Benjamins podcast recently! Smart and funny guy. I can’t bring myself to use cash but respect the heck out of your system. I try to use a digital pouch system and figure if electricity goes down then Mad Max rules apply anyways!
    Great seeing you here Mitchell!

    1. Mitchell Walker @thePouchPlan January 22, 2018 at 5:23 PM

      Hi Brandon. I cant wait to tell my wife that someone beside me thinks I’m funny, I will be pushing the line of credibility if i claim to be smart in the same conversation, so I’m going to save that one for future use! Seriously, thanks for the encouraging words.

  16. Debbie January 23, 2018 at 3:03 AM

    A friend of mine has used this system for years. He suffered a break in but luckily his cash was stashed! Hidden away. Suggest a fire box? I respect this system as it’s worked for him but we use our credit cards for cash back points. Recently spent $5700 on a new HVAC system. It was nice to get 2% back in cash. We always pay our cards in full each month to avoid paying interest. We do keep a small amount of cash on hand but reading all this, I think we need to increase it in case of a zombie attack. Thanx for sharing a great idea.

    1. Mitchell Walker@ThePouchPlan January 23, 2018 at 4:14 PM

      Hey Debbie,
      Most folks have two nice size fire resistant boxes in their home. One is the fridge and the other the freezer! We have at times put our extra cash in a Tupperware container and stored it in the freezer and had cold, hard cash in just a few minutes. Actually the freezing has no effect on the paper bills, just FYI.

      1. J. Money January 24, 2018 at 6:22 AM

        You are too much man, haha….

        1. Debbie January 25, 2018 at 4:29 AM

          Cold hard cash. Love it. Great idea. I heard some people hide jewelry in the fridge/freezer too! Just hope the burglars aren’t hungry if/when they break in!

          1. Mitchell Walker@The PouchPlan February 9, 2018 at 9:50 AM

            Debbie, just write “casserole” on some freezer tape, stick it on the container and it should be completely safe.
            Since you know this is code for “cash, a roll” you too will remember where your $ is stashed!

      2. Kev February 8, 2018 at 9:44 AM

        Here’s a story I heard on the radio last year.

        The home of an old lady who passed away was being cleaned out. One person was cleaning out the freezer and found stacks of bills buried in the corner. As they cleaned out the home more and more money was found. I believe it amounted to something like $30,000. A fair chunk of cash.

        It’s safe to say she wasn’t hiding it there out of fear of zombies.

        1. J. Money February 8, 2018 at 12:53 PM

          Oh damn! That would be wild to find! Another place to look for hidden cash? The lenses of old school cameras… A guy once told me he found $3,500 in $100 bills rolled up in one of them at a yard sale, and now checks them every single time he comes across one :)

  17. Frankie January 23, 2018 at 3:33 AM

    Great system – I can see how this really helps people stay on track, and awesome to see the impact you’ve had helping others. I’m sticking with cashless all the way though, just too hooked on how easily I can analyse and track my spending.

    Although my favourite local Japanese restaurant only takes cash, so I do make some rare exceptions…

  18. [HCF] January 23, 2018 at 5:39 AM

    As someone who experienced times when power shutdowns were regular, the money went into hyperinflation, worth close to nothing and it was in concern if we have to take what we can and head towards the border you cannot emphasize enough the importance of asset diversification and having cash and other valuables in hand. Also, we have a lot of places where you can not pay with a card, so having cash at hand is not optional for me. I already wrote about my budgeting struggles, but agree with this seems a good system.
    Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the TedX talk very much and congrats on you results.

    1. J. Money January 23, 2018 at 6:52 AM

      I can only imagine! You’re still in Serbia right? I have handfuls of Zimbabwe notes in my collection that are like 100 Trillion or 500 Billion and ridiculous numbers like that… so freaky :(

      1. [HCF] January 23, 2018 at 7:21 AM

        Yes, I am. I think the “highest value” was 500 billion (or milliard as we say in Europe) note, the one on the cover of my hyperinflation post, absolute madness.

    2. Derek January 24, 2018 at 10:19 PM

      Yeah, here in the US most people tend to think “it could never happen here”… and although I’m no doomsayer, I also realize that it could most definitely “happen here” (*looks at the national debt*) and that it’s best to be prepared for the worst.

      1. J. Money January 25, 2018 at 5:41 PM

        Yup, pretty much! Nothing seems off the table these days, ugh…

  19. Southcountygirl January 24, 2018 at 9:59 AM

    For me, I keep $1,000 in low denomination bills in my house, and I each keep $100 in my wallet for those times when a card simply won’t work. (I also have a handy check book and places will still take those apparently).

    The rest of our finances are done online because of the simplicity of the digital age, but this is an INTERESTING concept. It wouldn’t work well for hubs (He can’t resist spending cash… we are trying to train him not to spend money put in a certain place in his wallet if it’s a single bill… so far for the month, he’s kept his $10…. if he lasts the end of the month we will make it a $20…. and so on till he has some emergency money on him and learns restraint.

    The other day in the grocery store, someone looked at me like I was crazy because I wasn’t paying for groceries with a credit card (Hubs got a reimbursement for something at work in cash and it was easier to apply it to our groceries then drive to the bank to deposit the $22… but the clerk was like… Your splitting a payment between cash and card… like it was such an inconvenience… and then he rang it up wrong and I had to remind him I gave him TWENTY two… not just two dollars…

    1. J. Money January 24, 2018 at 10:18 AM

      Oh jeez, haha… It’s like when you try to use $2 bills and people will think they’re fake :) And apparently arrest you for it too, according to some news stories!

  20. Mitchell Walker@The PouchPlan January 24, 2018 at 3:56 PM

    Dear Southcountrygirl,

    Let me introduce you to something we called the mini pouch. It is any wallet, or other money capable holding enclosure, that is easily carried with you and has 3 to 4 slots you can put cash in. I used my Daytimer for years. My spouse typically purchased 80-90% of our household items and food , and 100% of our clothes, therefore my daily need for cash was much, much less.
    Each Monday, I would take $40 for gas, $20 each for entertainment,food,household and Misc. for a total of $100. Anything I did not spend would go back into the pouch and I would “restock to the $100 level again each week. You might want to try this with the “hubs” as he continues up that learning curve!

  21. Bob February 15, 2018 at 7:46 AM

    I just found your website this past week, so am still trying to review all of the content, which looks pretty good so far, when I as this particular piece I had to comment. I have been using this type of plan for a couple of years now. I set up a completely different checking account, and every payday, which is biweekly, I deposit an amount into it which equates to 1/2 of the monthly total of bill. This has another advantage, which is since I get paid biweekly, I end up putting in 13 months worth of bills every year, not saying this is a replacement for a regular savings plan, but it is nice to see that total alway be enough to cover all your bill. As to the 2nd part of the plan, I than take out “spending money” for the week which consists of grocery, gas, and personal money for the pay period. To be honest still working on self-discipline for the rest of the budgeting process, primarily saving as much as possible, but by following this hybrid method, the bills are paid on time, and we’re able to keep some money on hand for groceries and such.

    1. J. Money February 15, 2018 at 5:13 PM

      BOOM! You’ve mastered something half the country will never do :) We all slip from time to time, but as long as the trend is going upwards with that net worth just keep on doing your thing and tweak as you go! It’s an ever-evolving process!

    2. Mitchell Walker@The PouchPlan February 21, 2018 at 4:55 PM

      The way you so calmly explain how your month to month “budget” works so easily should be a huge flag to others that a doable and usable budget beats all others! Well done!