Yep, I said it, that frightful word: budgeting! Why are we so afraid of budgets? In college, I often said, “I’m living on a tight budget.” As I look back now, I realize that statement wasn’t true because I wasn’t actually following a budget. I knew I had school bills to pay and groceries to buy, and that I needed to make as much money as possible, but I never wrote any of it down.
Why? I was afraid of (1) what my budget would show, and (2) the time it would take. I realize now that by not creating a budget, I was living in fear and wasting a lot of time worrying. Sounds a lot like the two reasons I was avoiding doing a budget in the first place, doesn’t it?
So, here’s a simplified look at the benefits of a budget:
A budget is a plan! Ron Blue explains that a budget is simply a “series of premade decisions, or better yet a spending plan…” Your budget is a plan that you create every month by listing out all of your monthly income, listing out all of your monthly expenses, and then assigning every dollar a purpose. John Maxwell once said that “a budget is people telling their money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
My wife and I use what’s called a “zero-based budget.” In this, every single dollar is assigned a “home” (giving/generosity, bills, debt, savings, investing), and each dollar is “sent home” by the end of the month.
A budget provides the proper perspective that we are merely stewards of God’s resources! Psalm 24:1 states, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” When we take time each month to list out “our” income we must stop and remember that nothing in this life is actually “ours.” As Ron Blue says, “God Owns It All.” Everything belongs to God, including our paycheck and our bank accounts. Thus, by budgeting, we are carefully planning out how to use God’s resources.
Finally, budgeting provides us with a sense of peace. It provides peace because we know exactly where our finances stand. When we write out every expense, we take away the chance of forgetting when a bill is due or accidentally missing a payment. Budgeting creates a clear monthly spending path and helps us to be proactive with money rather than passive.
Budgeting also provides marital peace. When a husband and wife make a budget and agree on it, they become united in their finances! Sometimes it’s difficult, and budget arguments may arise, but through this process, the couple works together to determine how every dollar is spent.
In Luke 14:28, Jesus used budgeting as an analogy for counting the cost of being his disciple, stating, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?’” Budgeting is counting the cost of our monthly expenses in order to faithfully steward the income God has entrusted to us.
Though it might be scary at first, budgeting will reap many rewards. It’s a stewardship plan that provides you with a peaceful perspective!