Hard to Make Ends Meet? Your Budget is the Plan!

1. A budget is nothing more than a plan for saving and spending money. It includes where the money will come from and how much to expect, as well as what expenses that same money will be used to meet. A good budget takes care of all the regular and important bills — like rent or mortgage, utilities, food, gasoline and insurance — and allows for the unexpected or occasional expenses.

2. With budgeting, when the paycheck comes in, the family already knows how much of this check needs to be set aside to meet the bills coming due, and how much is available for extras — perhaps dinner out and a movie. Everything is planned for and covered.

3. To live without a budget often leads to short-sighted decisions:
“If I have money right now, I can spend it right now. So if I want new clothes today, and I have the money today, why not spend it? The rent isn’t due until next week, so I’ll worry about that then.”

4. Unless you are one of those rare individuals who makes more money than you can spend, you will need to develop a plan for where your money goes or it will slip out of your hands. Sometimes it will disappear in small amounts that add up quickly, maybe a candy bar purchase here, a newspaper there, a cup of coffee or some fast food. Supermarkets, convenience stores, fast-food chains and so forth are all successful in squeezing money out of you, especially if you have no budget—no plan. After all, it is only money, right?

5. List all of your expenses. In order to understand a budget, you must know exactly what you are spending. Sometimes a husband and wife can lead separate lives financially and have no idea what the other is doing. If credit cards are abused, expenses can careen out of control, leading to painful experiences in debt. For a budget to work, both husband and wife must be honest about expenses. So, take a sheet of paper and list your expenses.

6. After specifically itemizing the expenses, you need to decide which expenses are the most important and the first to be paid. Food, shelter, utilities, clothing and transportation are the basic necessities that should be at the top of the priority list. Within a Christian budget, one must not forget to give God what belongs to Him.

7. If you do not have a steady income or if you are at a place in your life where the outgo is exceeding the income, use this process for prioritizing your needs. When one is “down in the dumps” and without a plan, it can be easy to spend recklessly.

8. Learn to say “No”! It may not be easy, but learning to say no will go a long way in helping to balance a Christian budget and avoid the trap of excessive debt. If it isn’t in the budget, then it shouldn’t be purchased at this time.

9. King Solomon once wrote:

Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:5-7

10. Turning your situation around may be a difficult process, but in addition to the wise principles of Scripture, there are numerous resources available to you.

11. Solomon also wrote:

Without counsel, plans go awry,but in the multitude of counselors they are established. Proverbs 15:22

12. Your budget is the plan; and if you need help, seek the guidance of a wise and understanding counselor. Seek the advice of an experienced family member, successful businessperson or even a debt counselor. Those counselors can help you set a budget;
manage your income, expenses and debt; and help put you on the road to taking care of your family in the best way possible.

13. The great news about this is that anyone can do this – no matter what their income level. If you can do it on a small income, then you can do it on a large income.
If you can’t do it on a small income, then you won’t be able to do it on a large one either.

14. The almost sure-fire way to make a budget that fails is to NOT budget for any fun stuff. I wrote about how budgeting should be fun and it is a necessary ingredient
for success. You need to budget for clothing, entertainment, going out to dinner, or whatever else it is you love to do! The key is to do it in moderation and to set limits and abide by them.

15. The amazing thing is that by budgeting for fun stuff, it actually liberates you to spend money on these items. When you have money budgeted each month to buy clothes,
the money is now sitting there waiting to be used for that assigned purpose. Suddenly you can go clothes shopping without feeling guilty!!.

Go to the ant, sluggard; consider her ways and be wise;
who having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her
food in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest.

Proverbs 21:5
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenty;
but the thoughts of everyone who is hasty only to poverty.

Proverbs 22:3
A prudent one foresees the evil and hides himself,
but the simple pass on and are punished.

Proverbs 24:3-4
Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it
is established; and by knowledge the rooms shall be
filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Proverbs 25:28
He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a broken
down city without a wall.

Proverbs 27:12
A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, the naive
proceed and pay the penalty.

Proverbs 27:23
Know well the face of your flocks; and pay attention
to your herds.

Proverbs 27:26
The lambs are for your clothing, and the goats are the
price of the field.

Luke 14:28-30
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not
sit down first and count the cost, whether he may have
enough to finish it; lest perhaps, after he has laid
the foundation and is not able to finish, all those
seeing begin to mock him, saying, This man began to
build and was not able to finish.

1 Corinthians 16:2
On the first day of every week each one of you is to put
aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections
be made when I come.