Each year, the cost of living goes up, prices of basic commodities rise, and stretching your monthly income often seems harder. Not to mention those unseen, unavoidable expenses like health emergencies, car maintenance, home repairs, your child’s school project, and the list goes on.
As they say, budgeting is the single most important part of financial management and good financial stewardship.
The Investopedia website gives a very accurate definition of budgeting, “It’s making sure that you’re spending less than you’re bringing in and planning for both the short- and long-term.” It’s a conscious, planned decision of allocating your money intelligibly and biblically.
The thing is, despite the familiarity of the term budgeting, Investopedia explains that so many people still think of it as, “depriving themselves, and they avoid it like they do a diet.” But there is no reason to avoid it or put it off for tomorrow.
A diet plan is not at all starving yourself; it’s simply a program that guides you to eat the right food and cutting down on unhealthy ones. Similarly, a budget plan is meant to guide you on spending right and cutting down on non-essentials. Budgeting is making a proactive plan to maximize your monthly income.
As the Bible says in Proverbs 21:5, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” (NIV)
No, you don’t begin to budget when you start to run out of cash. You begin making plans way before you receive your monthly paycheck. Remember, you are a steward of God’s resources, meaning, the finances you have is not for you to spend whenever and however you wish.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (NIV)
Budgeting allows you to track non-essential spending and allocate this to more important things like a family vacation fund or a business upgrade. How much do you spend on taxi expenses going to work every day? Creating a transport budget may allow you to save for a car purchase in a few years.
Calculate how much you spend on your family’s last minute daily menu which often includes fast food delivery. Planning ahead may leave you with bigger savings that you can donate to your local church’s soup kitchen. You can also increase your savings and emergency budget from the money that you will save by skipping unnecessary coffee breaks.
The benefits of budgeting and planning ahead are priceless. It’s not about being stingy, but it’s all about preparing to make the most out of the resources God has entrusted you.
It says in Luke 14:28, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.” (NIV)
Make sure your budget always includes an entry to bless the people around you, like supporting a church ministry, giving to the needy, or donating to charity.
Once you have practiced the discipline of budgeting, you will soon realize that your monthly income goes a longer way and that you’re actually spending on things that are most valuable to you, like your family, loved ones, your ministry, church, and your business.