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The Importance Of Budgeting

 

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When you hear the word budget, what’s your reaction? If you’re like most people, confining orcomplex come to mind . . . a financial straightjacket that’s going to require hours of tedious bookkeeping.

That’s why we call it a Spending Plan – because it’s simply a way to make sure you spend your money in ways that are most important to you instead of getting caught up in impulsive spending. Proverbs 27:23 says, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.” These days fewer of us have flocks and herds, but the principle of staying on top of your finances still applies.

So, the first step is to decide the best type of spending plan for you to use. You might choose to use a pencil and paper budget, a software program, or a popular online budget like www.Mint.com which is free.

Then, track your income and spending for 30 days to develop an estimated budget where you’ll break down your spending by category; for example, giving, housing, food, and transportation. You can visit www.compass1.org to see suggested percentages of what you should be spending for each category.

Once you start your Spending Plan, you’ll realize that it’s dynamic as your income changes and as life happens – you’ll always be tweaking it to make it more accurate.

A budget – a spending plan – is the most effective financial tool to help you make real progress on your journey to true financial freedom.

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Spending: It’s not in the Budget

When you think about it, a budget is only as good as what you recognize you’re going to be buying. Unfortunately, a lot of people leave these items out of their budget.

  • Pets. There are regular vet visits, food, treats, and kennel stays. Americans spent about $55 billion on their pets last year.
  • Travel. Trips by auto or plane to see family, go to class reunions, go on vacations, or go see friends.
  • Home Maintenance. There are all kinds of “sneaky expenses” – leaky gutters, painting, replacing the water heater, and repairing a leaky roof –the list goes on and on.
  • Non-monthly bills, such as, property taxes, and homeowners and auto insurance.
  • Gifts. Gifts for birthdays, holidays, office parties, graduations, weddings . . . well you get the idea. Budget what you can afford for gifts and stick to it.
  • Fun Money. My mom used to call it Mad Money. It’s a good idea for husbands and wives to have a monthly allowance that can be spent any way they want until the allowance is used up.

Remember, that a budget – I prefer to call it a spending plan – can be your friend. It’s the financial tool that will help you get out of debt, become more generous, and save and invest for the future. To learn more log on to www.compass1.org.

Warmly in Christ,

Howard Dayton