Why am I writing about budgeting? I am literally asking myself this question right now. When I readily offered to write on this topic, what was I thinking? I don’t have a powerful money-related story to share. I’m not particularly passionate about the topic of finances (although my husband certainly is). What do I have to offer here? Well, I think it’s maybe just some honest thoughts from someone who knows that even though finances may not be the most exciting subject, it’s still really important to talk about.
“Hey hunny, let’s take a look at our budget.” This is a phrase I often hear being married to a financial advisor. With my husband’s job, many people naturally assume that we have the perfect budget in place—a budget we always agree on and follow without the slightest complaint or deviation. If you thought that, you’d be quite mistaken.
It’s not that we’re terrible with money—although we’ve certainly found ourselves in our fair share of tough spots throughout our seven years of marriage. Thankfully, we’ve gotten to a place where we do a lot of things right when it comes to our finances. Truth-time though: There's still something about having a budget that just sounds…well, boring and restrictive. It seems almost fun at first, like a new experiment or challenge, but any excitement usually wears out during that next trip to the mall or while scrolling through online ads for all the pretty things.
Some people love everything about budgeting. For others, however, the word budget can feel like the adult equivalent of a toddler’s “potty” words—something to be avoided at all costs.
So, do we really need to budget?
First off, God doesn’t tell us that, in order to follow Him, we must have a budget. God does instruct us to make wise choices with our finances though. A budget can help ensure that we are setting aside money for our tithes and offerings even before the money hits the bank account. It can keep us accountable with our spending and help us see where our money is going. (Hello diapers, maxed-out insurance deductibles, and home repairs!) The way we handle our money can also point to sin issues in our hearts—another very worthwhile thing that budgeting can bring to light.
There are, of course, legitimate things that probably take priority over working on a budget. If you’re in a season of raising littles like we are, maybe it’s the never-ending cycle of feeding your hungry toddlers. (Because, the moment you’re finally done cleaning the mac & cheese off the wall, those cute munchkins are asking to eat again.)
Life is busy. However, spending time creating and updating a budget can actually help a lot in the long run. Making wise choices with money can lower your stress levels, which could then affect how you make decisions and interact with the people around you. If you have kids, it can help them see how to have a healthy relationship with money that could impact them for years to come. I am so grateful for the excellent example my parents offered me because I know that’s not a given. I hope to do the same for my kids as well.
So, are you convinced of the importance of this whole budgeting thing? Even if you’re not, I get it. I’ve been there. But why not at least put together a budget and see what you think? There are many great resources available to help you get started. One of those is Financial Peace University, a course that’s offered by many churches including Eagle Brook.
Also, know that your budget isn’t everything. Your budget doesn’t change your relationship status with Jesus, so don’t treat it like it does. Matthew 6:24 states, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Money is arguably the most common modern-day idol available to us. Our identity can easily become wrapped up in money, whether we have a little or a lot of it. And when our identity is found in anything other than Christ, we are pretty much guaranteed trouble. So clearly, obsessing about our budget and potentially placing that in front of God isn’t the answer either.
What’s the bottom line here? Well, having a budget won’t force us to make wise choices, but it’s a tool that can help us to better honor God with our money. God doesn’t want us to be bound by our finances. So, even if you’re like me and think that budgeting seems a little (ahem) boring, remember: God can use something as seemingly unexciting as a budget to begin breaking chains that had no right to be there in the first place.