A common misconception is that if you do not have a current or stable income, then you cannot follow a budget. While this misconception is widely accepted, it is a false stigma. Budgets are applicable to all individuals who receive an income and/or who incur expenses. A budget helps bring understanding to your spending as well as tells your money where to go rather than your money telling you where to put it. It is a tool that can help an individual better manage their finances, and the managing of finances is one topic on which the Bible does not lack content.
In Acts, Paul says farewell with these final words:
“I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:33-35
Paul is a tremendous example of the hard work and determination it takes to manage finances well in order to both take care of personal needs but then to also use our Godly resources to help those that may be struggling. His words are words that express wise management of finances as well as the importance of generosity.
In Romans, we learn that God detests unpaid debt. It is not a sin to accumulate debt, but the
Scriptures do say that we must never take on debt that we do not plan to repay. The only continuous “debt” that we should owe is the debt to love one another.
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” –Romans 13:8
Those are just two of the many examples where the Bible brings up finances and the importance of managing them well to serve Him. If you have been considering improving your financial management practices in order to better serve God, take time to reflect on the five steps to creating a budget displayed below. Budgets are a great way to maintain control of your finances, provide you with a depiction of what your current financial situation is, how you may reach your financial goals, and how you may plan ahead for emergencies.
Step One: Estimates
This step requires that the individual estimate the expenses he or she incurs in every category (gas, food, clothes, entertainment, etc.). The categories will differ from person to person, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Step Two: Actuals
After establishing an estimated budget, an individual must figure out how much he or she actually spends on those categories. Therefore, it is best to collect bank statements, receipts, and/or track upcoming expenses to determine the actual income and expenses.
Step Three: Prepare Budget
Once a person has completed the first two steps, their next goal is to prepare a realistic budget. During this stage, an individual may decide he or she must cut back funds in a specific area or allocate additional funds in another area.
Step Four: Tracking
Various tools are created to assist people who want to track their budgets; excel spreadsheets or Mint.com are two simple ways to stay up-to-date with your plan. However, if you’d like to meet with a NEXUS coach, we also have pre-existing budgeting tools within excel for our clients and other online options. To schedule an appointment, please click on this link: http://www.ronblueinstitute.com/schedule-an-appointment
Step Five: Revise