Budget: What is it?

What do you think about when you hear the word “budget?”  I’ll tell you what I thought when I heard the word budget.  I thought it meant not having a life, or it was too time-consuming to make a budget.  The worst thought I had when I heard the word budget, was it was going to be too constrictive.  Have you ever felt that way?  I know I have.  When I was past 18 my mom tried her best to get me to start budgeting my money, but I would have none of that.  I wanted to spend my money, my way and I didn’t want a budget to tell me what to do with my money.  In 2014 I lost my job working in a factory, now up to that point I had never budgeted my money.  I think that was Jesus’s way of getting me to start budgeting.  I have been budgeting my money ever since.

I tell you that little story because I want to talk about: you guessed it, budgets.  Read Luke 14:28, For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it?  Did you see that the Bible talked about budgeting even in biblical times?  What this verse is saying is if you are going to build anything, from a simple shed to your life.  Before you start building you should sit down and make a plan.  It was just like when I was working at my job in a factory, I didn’t have a plan for my money.  I went through life spending as I went, when I wanted something I brought it.  Let me ask you a question, would you start building a house without blueprints?  Of course not.  So why do we go through life without a plan for our money?

So what is a budget?  A budget tells your money where to go during the month, that’s it.  I love this John Maxwell quote “A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.”  That is so true, how do I wish that I had kept some of the money I have made over the years.  You see, having a budget frees up your money to do the things you want to do with your money.  If you are living your financial life by the seat of your pants, you will never gain any traction with your money.  If you are not planning with your money every-time you get it, you are planning to fail with your money, that simple.

So how can you start budgeting?  First, we need to figure out where your money has been going.  Go get your last checking account statement and go over it. Writing give, save, or spend next to each item you spent your money on.  Why these three words you may be asking?  We will talk about those words next week.  You should be giving some of your money away, saving some of your money, and finally spending your money. Check out Mint.com for an easy way to track your money, and it’s free.

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