Why You Need A Budget
Which one of these sounds the most like you?
I don’t make enough money to have a budget.
I’ve worked too hard to get this far. I don’t want a budget telling me how to spend my money!
I don’t even know where to start when it comes to budgeting.
I am overwhelmed already, I don’t need one more thing to think about!
The thought of making a budget and sticking to it can feel intimidating. If you’re like me, you may think a budget is restricting. It is, on the one hand. But on the other hand, it’s absolutely freeing!
Money Needs a Job
All money has a job. And it needs you to be its boss. Money that doesn’t have a job has a funny way of disappearing.
A budget gives your money a specific task, which keeps it working for you. If you intentionally direct each dollar you make towards a specific goal, you’ll find it easier to reach that goal.
Budgeting helps you identify your priorities.
If you’re in a season where you are scaping to make ends meet, your budget will give you permission to prioritize certain things like housing, food, transportation, clothing. It will also identify what things you can let go until you can increase your income. There is so much freedom to be found in having a budget!
How Do You Start Budgeting?
There are a lot of great apps out there. Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar app is a good one and it’s free. But you don’t have to get too fancy. Grab a notebook and a pen and track your expenses in there or use a spreadsheet to list your income and your expenses.
Here’s a basic budget worksheet you could also use.
The idea is to get to make your income minus your expenses equal zero each month. Every single dollar needs to be told where it will go and what it will do, or remember, it will disappear on you. It’s not that you need to SPEND until you reach zero, but you need to put every dollar into a category. If you have extra, put it in the saving or debt category. Dave Ramsey does a great job explaining the zero budget here.
If your income or expenses change during the month, you’ll need to adjust your budget worksheet. A budget is a fluid document, reflecting the needs you have while at the same time requiring an intentional act to change it. This helps limit impulse spending. Very helpful indeed!
Give it Time
Like every new habit, budgeting will take trial and error and lots of practice. I will get easier the more you do it. Don’t give up!
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 ESV
Allow yourself lots of grace. There will be mistakes and frustration but every step in the right direction is a step closer to your goal. Even small victories are still victories. Celebrate the small steps and each little victory. Be generous with grace. Finding financial freedom is hard, but you can do it!
About the author: Vanessa Hull