Gen Z Still Uses Cash Stuffing To Manage Finances, According to New Study

An envelope full of cash with the word "Groceries" printed on it, with other envelopes in the background.
RonBailey / Getty Images/iStockphoto

As financial strategies go, “cash stuffing” is not exactly cutting edge. People have been doing it ever since currency became the preferred way of paying for things.

The term means what it sounds like: You literally stuff cash into envelopes and mark each for a particular purpose.

Cash stuffing has become a hot trend among younger folks, partly because so many TikTok influencers hail it as a sound financial practice. It continues to see a huge spike in popularity with Gen Z and millennials, according to a recent survey from personal finance platform Credello.

The survey of 600 U.S. adults aged 18 to 41, conducted in late July in partnership with Pollfish, found that nearly 61% of respondents use cash stuffing to manage their finances. More than four in 10 (43%) use cash stuffing regularly when they receive their paychecks, while 25% do it a few times a week.

Among the other survey highlights:

  • 1 in 3 respondents say cash stuffing is “very effective” for saving towards a goal.
  • 29% use it to pay off large purchases.
  • 28% use it for everyday purchases or utilities.
  • 24% use it to pay down debt.
  • 17% use it for small purchases.
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The Future of Finances: Gen Z & How They Relate to Money

Although many Gen Zers (29.48%) learn about cash stuffing from TikTok videos — which get hundreds of thousands of views — an even bigger percentage (36.44%) learn about it from family. Thirty percent of respondents said they turned to budget tools such as cash stuffing due to the pressure of high inflation. About one-third turned to cash stuffing to curb overspending.

The nearly 25% of respondents who use cash stuffing to reduce debt mainly put it toward high credit card balances. Even so, more than half of respondents (55%) still use credit cards regularly. About one-third (32%) said they “barely” use a credit card, while 13% don’t have a credit card at all.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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