"Money Talks" will be a series of articles in which we discuss money from a Christian perspective.
Should a Christian budget? Is is a Christian's responsibly to set up and use a budget?
In a world of plastic credit cards, layaway, day loan businesses, pawn stores (originally used to PAWN something for a LOAN), and commercials stating "It's my money and I want it now!" it is no wonder so many people struggle with the proper use of money and how to manage it. However, in a world of endless information at our fingertips via books and the web, we have no excuse to be ignorant to the proper use of money. But this still doesn't answer if a Christian should budget? Is it wise, of course! Is it a biblical principle? The answer...YES.
A Budget Helps You Manage Your Expenses Responsibly.
Jesus says in Luke 14:28-30, "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it--lest after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish'?". Our life is that tower. We should be responsible with what God has blessed us with and not waste it. Solomon writes, "Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds" (Proverbs 27:23).
A Budget Helps You Stay Content.
By creating budget and sticking with it, you learn to live with less "things" and learn to be content. Dave Ramsey is known for saying, "Delay pleasure". The Hebrews author writes, "Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5). Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:10, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs". Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:24 that we cannot serve two masters. Creating and maintaining a budget can and will help us learn to be content. Delaying pleasure is an ability we, as Christians, must learn.
A Budget Equips You to Better Provide For Your Family.
By creating and maintaining a budget, you will learn to spend less money on "pleasures" and "fun" and allocate resources to "necessities". Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:8, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever". If you have trouble providing for your family, but still "go out to eat", go to the movies, buy junk food, have unnecessary subscriptions, have cable, and all other expenses that are not "necessities" a budget would eliminate those problems (if you maintained one). If we want to be able to successfully provide for our family in a responsible way, a budget accomplishes that for us.
A Budget Helps You Stay Out Of Debt.
This is the one topic no ones likes to talk about. Debt. In a world where you can buy anything with credit (so it seems) we must ask, is it really necessary. Remember the quote, "Delay Pleasure". The simple fact remains, it is wise to not spend what you don't have. Creating a budget will help you visualize where your money is going, how much you have in each "category", and if you can afford something. There is nothing wrong with waiting a few months (or longer) before buying that "thing" you really WANT. The Bible speaks very negatively about debt. Proverbs 22:7 says, "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender". Proverbs 17:18 says, "It is stupid to guarantee someone else's loan". There are many other passages, but it is fairly clear. It is unwise to go into debt. Creating a budget in which you PREPARE yourself for expenses (even unexpected expenses covered in your budget) will allow you to: ONE-live a more responsible life, TWO-live a life with less stress, THREE-free up wasteful spending, FOUR-"Live like no one today so you can live like no one tomorrow"(Dave Ramsey).
I encourage you to make a budget! The Bible, through basic principles, teaches us to be wise with our money--budgeting is how we can accomplish that.
I was taught about budgeting since grade school, lived off of one before my first job, and my wife and I have lived off of one since we got married. It has made life so much easier (financially and mentally). There are many more positive things a budget can do for you, these are just a few that I find very important.
We will continue to write on issues surrounding money with our "Money Talks" series. In the mean time I highly encourage you to check out Dave Ramsey who provides some great resources.
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As always, I love you. God loves you!