Did you know that money is the number one cause of conflicts in marriage? Often when we hear of doing a budget it sends chills down our back. For most people a budget is like a ball and chain that only reminds them of restriction.
Maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. The Bible commands us to “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds” Pro 27:23 (ESV). The purpose of a budget is not to restrict you but to free your spending. Another way to refer to a budget is a spending plan. The key to a good spending plan is to leave no dollar unaccounted for. In the words of Dave Ramsey, “every dollar should have an assignment.” In fact, when you add up every dollar in your spending plan and compare that to how much money you have to work with – it should balance to zero. Most people make a monthly spending plan, even though they get paid weekly or bi-weekly. This monthly budget better fits how bills are paid…monthly.
Your spending plan should have separate categories for like items to make it simple. You may need 10-12 categories to fully describe how you will be spending your money. You should have category for savings, debt, house, food, insurance, and auto to name a few. Some of these categories will have some sub-categories. For example, the house category will probably include house payment, taxes, utilities, internet, cable, etc.
Once you feel like you have a workable spending plan, it is crucial that you and your spouse come to agreement on how the money will be spent. Even if one spouse loves to talk money and the other hates it, or if one spouse is the spender and the other is the saver – you must reach agreement. This can be a time of give and take or even a time of “aggressive negotiations” but either way, there must be unity. As you can imagine, your budget this month may not work out exactly as you planned. You will have to make some tweaks for the next month. The spending plan is a working document that just gets better and better the longer you do it.
A couple of great resources can be found at: daveramsay.com; crown.org; nfcc.org
Pro 14:23 “in all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty”