Budgeting money can appear to be a very intimidating task.
All those numbers and calculations is enough to make anyone’s head spin …
… which is probably why most people choose to just ignore their finances altogether!
After all, ignorance is bliss, right?
Statistics show that almost 80% of full-time workers are living paycheck to paycheck. That means that if an emergency were to pop up at any moment (and let’s be honest, they often do at the most inconvenient times), most people would not have the money to cover it.
This then often leads to putting that money on a credit card and racking up hundreds (and thousands) of dollars of debt!
That ignorance all of sudden does not seem too blissful, does it?
On top of that, money fights and problems are currently among the very top reasons why married couples get divorced.
Therefore, it is so important for married couples to not only know how to budget, but also be on the same page when it comes to budgeting and handling money. If you are single and desiring to be married, this is the perfect time for you to invest in your future marriage by learning essential and positive money principles that will ultimately set you and your future spouse up for success.
Being good stewards of our money as Christians is most certainly an important biblical concept.
Genesis 2 — when God places Adam in the Garden of Eden to tend to and take care of it — shows us that it is God’s will for us to be responsible with anything that He places in our care, especially money.
Money is referenced in more than 2,300 Bible verses — more than basically any other topic you can think of …
… that means it must be pretty important in God’s eyes!
Since it is that important, let’s discuss some budgeting tips and THREE basic steps on how to budget your money so that you can develop a healthy and godly relationship with money.
- List all of your fixed expenses for the month.
Fixed expenses are necessary items that do not change from month to month (i.e., your bills), such as your rent/mortgage, car note, car insurance, home insurance, HOA dues, health insurance, utilities, phone bill, etc.
For listing your expenses (and completing the next couple of steps), you can use any system that works best for you.
If you are a ‘pen and paper’ type of person, write everything down on paper. If you like using and are proficient in Microsoft Excel, do that. If you like using apps, use one. (Mint and EveryDollar are a couple of great options for budgeting apps).
Having everything written out allows you to see what exactly is happening with your money and allows you to really take control of your finances.
- List all of your variable expenses and allocate a reasonable amount for each category.
Variable expenses are items such as gas, groceries, eating out, entertainment, clothes, etc.
The key word here is reasonable!
Set a reasonable dollar amount in these types of categories and stick to it. Look at previous months to gauge what you typically spend in each of these areas, and cut down on any areas where you tend to overspend.
- Budget any extra money leftover for your short-term and long-term financial goals until you reach zero.
Short-term financial goals can include saving up to pay your car insurance (if you do not pay it monthly) or saving for Christmas gifts.
Long-term financial goals are things such as paying off any debt you owe, saving up for a down payment on a house, and purchasing a car. All of your leftover money should be accounted for somewhere in your budget so that you know where all of your money is going for the month.
After creating your budget, be sure to track your spending throughout the month and see how you did at the end of the month!
If it is your first time budgeting, it may take a few months of re-adjusting your budget to get it right …
… but that is okay! It is a process. So give yourself some grace as you figure it out.
Once you learn how to budget your money using this method, you will begin to find money that you thought you never had before! It will almost feel like getting a promotion at work. Imagine all of the financial goals you will be able to achieve just by know exactly where your money is going.
As believers, we must realize that making good money decisions is important not just for us in the present moment, but it’s important because your stewardship today will determine the financial success of the generations that will come after you.
Proverbs 13:22 says that “a good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children.”
As with any decisions in life, what you choose to do now affects the future. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get to it! Don’t forget to let us know how your budgeting goes this month.
Listen in, and read up, for more content about how to be a good steward of your money and life God’s way!
Mariah Street is an attorney for a state government agency, where she loves serving the state’s population. To her, serving and loving on God’s people in any way she can is an honor and privilege. Mariah is continuously chasing after God’s purpose for her life and seeks to encourage others to do the same by living an intentional, God-led life.