One won’t usually find the word “freedom” among the words most commonly associated with “budget”.
But while one would think to set a restriction on the amount of money you spend monthly would leave you feeling closed off and limited, budgeting correctly actually does the opposite.
Controlling what you do financially (instead of letting your finances control you) and knowing where your money is going each month gives you . . . peace.
It sounds like an oxymoron, but this is why it works:
1. You’ll Stop Wondering Where Your Money Went
Don’t you hate it when you get to the end of the month and all you have to look at in the bank is a few pennies? I mean, where did it go?
I hate not knowing what I spent my money on.
Wasting money on insignificant things only means having to wait longer to reach the big goals I’m saving up for, whether that’s a vacation, staple pieces for my wardrobe, or retirement investing.
The simple fact is this: the results you want will be achieved faster if you plan your steps than if you just walk through life aimlessly.
What’s even scarier than not reaching your money goals? Not being able to pay bills because you spent all of your money this month on . . . well, you aren’t quite sure . . .
Having a plan for your money means your money will have a purpose.
2. You’ll Grow Your Money Faster
Having a budget will give you the motivation to save more than you spend.
Once you make a plan for how much money you need to save before you buy the next (fill in the blank), you’ll have the option to cut back on short-term indulgences in order to get the long-term luxuries.
Simply put, you’ll be more organized, and more excited to realize how much faster you can stash cash than you even realized.
3. You’ll Have the Freedom to Spend
Hold up, isn’t budgeting all about saving money?
The truth is, I feel much more at ease about spending money being on a budget than when I didn’t have a budget.
How? The thing is I know how much money I have to spend, and I don’t feel that post-consumer guilt kick in because I had that money allocated to spend before I even set foot in the store.
4. You’ll Make Wiser Decisions
Ever buy something stupid?
Before I got married, I lived in an apartment with no washer/dryer hookups.
I spent around $60 on this little cannister on peg legs that spun when you turned the crank-handle, so you could wash your clothes by hand “easily.”
My friends were all impressed that I washed my clothes by hand, and I was satisfied to never have to drag my clothes out of the house to be washed ever again.
Yeah, I should’ve listened to the reviews.
Let’s just say this little hand-crank “washing machine” didn’t turn out to be quite the investment I was hoping for.
It lived, untouched, in the back of my closet for months before I finally stopped denying it was a bad purchase and pitched it in the dumpster.
Ever do something like that?
When you have a budget, with decided amounts to spend in each category, you’ll think twice before getting your debit card out to make a dumb purchase online, because you’ll want to make sure you’re putting that limited money to good use.
5. You’ll Learn How to Communicate Better
My husband and I talk monthly about our budget.
It’s the perfect time for us to connect over what our monthly schedule looks like (whose birthdays are coming up? Do we need extra gas money to visit those friends in the next town over?) and review where we’re at in our financial goals.
We learn how to compromise, set and work towards goals together, and how to plan for the future as a team when we make the monthly budget a priority.
BONUS: You’ll Be Free to Give
This one is perhaps the best benefits of budgeting.
When I first became a Christian, I was terrified of tithing.
Paying “tithes” is the Christian practice of giving your “first fruits” back to the Lord. The tithe is traditionally 10% “from the top” paid to the local church.
For more information on tithing, read this helpful article by one of my favorite Christian websites!
I struggled for awhile with the thought of only living on 90% of my income (which in my mind was more like 65% after taxes!). I crunched the numbers with the calculator over and over, trying to see if it was even possible.
The thing that pushed me to keep trying was knowing as soon as I got married I’d have no choice – because my then-boyfriend-now-husband had been tithing his whole life, and wouldn’t stop for my lack of faith!
When I started budgeting, I realized that donating 10% of my money was totally more feasible than I thought.
The Lord made provision over provision for me to allow me to realize I could do this, and I’ve never looked back.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7, ESV)
Giving is important for two reasons.
For one, it allows the body of Christ to care for those who need help. It provides funding for our Pastors (who are essential to our Christian life), food for the hungry, and support for the missionaries bringing the gospel to unreached places.
But giving is almost more important for the giver than the receiver.
Giving changes who you are, it makes you more like Christ.
The flesh is selfish, but the Lord is selfless. Giving gives you the perspective that nothing is truly ours but on loan from God, and it is ultimately the Lord who provides for our every need.
Having a budget will help you keep things in line so that you won’t make the mistake of spending too much on frivolous thrills to the point of not being able to give generously.
I hope these budgeting tips will inspire you to give it a try with a fresh, positive perspective.
I love using this free budgeting app from Dave Ramsey to track my monthly expenses, and I’ve made free printable Budget Sheets so you can keep track of hitting those big financial goals and stay motivated!
Just download it in the Learn Well Library (grab the passcode below if you haven’t already!) and print it off, I recommend slipping it in a clear sleeve or laminating and using a dry erase marker to save on paper and reprints.