Many people cringe at the thought of a budget as it raises mental images of not being able to go anywhere, do anything or have any fun. However, a properly designed and maintained budget gives you freedom rather than restrictions.
Instead of your money simply disappearing, a budget allows you to actually decide where to spend it. It allows you to take into account the necessities and the niceties for both your long and short term spending. It gives you the freedom to decide what is important to you and then use your money for what is important, instead of it merely trickling through your fingers.
A budget allows you to decide on appropriate boundaries about where, when and how to spend your money. You have complete freedom within those boundaries. Rather than being restrictive, a budget helps you focus spending on what really matters to you.
We live in Florida and our patio is screened in. When our youngest grandson was two years old, he was allowed to play anywhere within the confines of the screened patio. He had complete freedom within the defined boundaries. He could not go past the screen enclosure, so he was able to play wherever he wanted within those boundaries. The screening protected him from wandering off and getting lost or meeting an alligator or falling into a lake or swimming pool.
A budget works in a similar way – it allows you to set up a ‘border’ around your finances. You have boundaries around which to plan your spending. You have freedom within those boundaries to spend money as you wish. But having the boundary keeps you safe from bad stuff – like financial alligators!
We have run into several people during our time in ministry who earned significant amounts of money in salaries but they never had any money to do what was really important to them. One person had a six figure income, but no savings account for his 6 children whom he hoped to send to college. Once he started to use a budget to track his spending he could see that his money was being spent on things that were not most important to him and his wife. The budget allowed him to redirect his spending toward college funds for his 6 children – which was his highest priority.
Once you establish and use your budget you will see how freeing it can be. As the Bible tells us in Isaiah 55:2. “Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?”
If you want to learn more about what God has to say about how we should handle our money and possessions take our nine-week Bible study, Navigating Your Finances God’s Way.
Watch for our next blog on creating your spending plan.