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Building discipline into your spending.

Do you inwardly cringe when you see the word “budget”?

Does the sound of the word bring with it a sense of dread?

I even have the nerve to put the word “discipline” into the post title.

You may have thought of creating a budget for you or your family, but, never quite completed the job. There was not enough internal motivation or external push at the time, so the effort was relegated to the pile of started, but, unfinished tasks.

Well, having a budget is a giant step toward building discipline into your spending.  

 

So, Why Do I Need a Budget?

In the midst of a financial crisis, it’s even more important to know where your money is going.

A budget is a spending plan. It allows you to see the various buckets of your income and spending grouped together in way that you can easily see if you are achieving your financial goals, or heading for trouble. Trouble hits when you are spending more than is coming in. You could be making a six-figure income, but, it’s not what you make, it’s what you are able to keep in your control that matters most. Using credit to make ends meet definitely does not help your financial stance.

Most folks know what being “broke” means…having little or no available cash, no savings, out of money, strapped, or down-and-out.  The word “broke” has the connotation of being a temporary situation. That is, you’re only “broke” until your next paycheck clears the bank. If “broke” is where you are, you don’t need to stay there.

Creating and sticking to a budget is a means to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

The question is: “Do you want to continue managing your money so that you are “broke” before each payday”? Or, do you want to develop a spending plan that allows you to give as the Lord instructs, to beat debt, to send your children to college, to build that retirement nest egg, or whatever goal the Lord has given you?

 

What Does a Budget Provide?

Here is what a budget provides:

  • a sense of control over your spending;
  • an organized view of income vs. expenses;
  • a framework within which to operate;
  • improved awareness of the flow of your money during the month; and a
  • method for achieving your financial goals

 

What A Budget is Not

A budget is NOT:

  • a straight jacket keeping you from spending the way you really want
  • a plan you make and never look at again
  • impractical
  • un-achievable
  • a pain in the butt

I take that back. It can be a pain, but, that’s where the discipline comes into play. A budget is not a “Set It and Forget It” type of instrument. It must be managed regularly. When you can see that the benefits far outweigh the time it takes to use your budget to manage expenses, you have no problem with creating and maintaining one for your household.

Eventually, you become so familiar with the rhythms and flow of your spending and income that you intuitively know when to conserve and where you have some leeway. More importantly, you know that your spending plan can create opportunities to build up a savings which serves as a buffer against the unforeseen.

Go check out our post on  6 Budget Principles

 

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