Budgeting. The word itself has a negative sound to it. It sounds so … so … nerdy? constraining? confining? restrictive? I hated this word. This word meant that I had to do … I had to … I … I really did not know what it did mean!!! Really! Yeah, yeah, I knew that it meant that we were going to plan out our expenses and ensure that we spent according to the plan, but that had never worked before! Well, I am now 31 months’ worth of budgets smarter (note to grammar freaks – I am having the month be possessive to drive you nuts!!!), and I believe that budgeting does not just mean planning our expenses on paper. It is something much deeper. So what does budgeting really mean?
Recently, I collected the reasons why people were taking a personal finance class. Here are some of the reasons:
- Be on same page with spouse
- Get out of debt
- Stop living paycheck to paycheck
- To give more
- Be financially free
- Better communication (with spouse)
- To become a better steward of what I already have
- Behind on payments
- To adopt a child
- To live off of one income (so mother can stay home)
- Gain control of finances
- To set up and stay on a budget
As I looked through the reasons, it hits me clearly what budgeting really means. It means “I want to be able to do some great things with my life, so I choose to budget in order to achieve these great goals!”
Do you really think that the person who responded – “To set up and stay on a budget” was really thinking about the inherent act of budgeting? I don’t think so. I believe that they are stating an obvious need (a budget) that is necessary because they realize that it is the only way they will achieve some of their huge life dreams like “adopting a child” (awesome!), “live on only one income so mother can stay home” (great!), “better communication with spouse” (unbelievably important!), and “to give more” (WOW!).
Consider what you could do if you had no debt. What ministry could you pursue if you did not have to worry about income? What business would you start if you were set financially? What type of employee would you be if you were not living from paycheck to paycheck? You see, a HUGE benefit of budgeting cannot even be measured in money. It is measured in accomplishing what God made you to do – regardless of the pay.
What are you supposed to be doing right now that is currently on hold due to financial mistakes?