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will arise – accidents happen and things   particularly averse to the act of detailed
        break. A budget should have some leeway.   planning and later checking of numbers;
        If your budget is designed only for ideal   the thought of it gives rise to the sensation
        circumstances and contains no margin   similarly produced by fingernails scraping
        for irregular expenses, it is going to let   a chalkboard. But sometimes challenges
        you down.                             need to be taken by the horns and faced
        Lessons Learned from Experience       head on. For others, the benefits have
          Upon preparing our preliminary budget   never been explained and it has not been
        not long after we were married, Esther and            2
        I discovered two problems. First, as it had   exampled to them.  Still others may feel
        been created, it wasn’t going to work; there   that budgeting is unnecessary in a life
        was a strong likelihood that some months   of faith. We do need to trust God in the
        were going to see more going out than   realm of finances and our living needs, but
        was coming in. Don’t make the mistake of   faith and planning are not opposed to one
        thinking you can simply use your credit   another. Circumstances out of our control
        card to cover those shortages, and pay it   sometimes arise that blow the budget and
        off when things (hopefully) turn around.   bring great financial pressures – these are
        Credit card debt is deadly debt; don’t carry   not unnoticed by our Heavenly Father (cf.
        balances on your credit card beyond their
        monthly due date. We realized we had to   Mat 6:32). But that doesn’t negate the value
        decrease what we planned to spend or   of planning.
        else we were going to dig ourselves into a   The practice of budgeting and sticking
        hole. “The prudent sees danger and hides   to it is often simply an exercise of self-
        himself, but the simple go on and suffer   discipline. There are millions in the world
        for it” (Pro 22:3).                   for whom “budget” is not part of their
          Second, after a few months, we realized   vocabulary; they have nothing with which
        our giving to the work of the Lord, whether   to budget and merely hope to survive day
        through the local church or privately, had   to day. The circumstances of most who
        become a function of merely what was left
        over after all else was allocated. While   read this publication are far different,
        our spending wasn’t amounting to an   and with your relative abundance comes
        extravagant lifestyle, it did reflect some   responsibility to be wise and not careless
        wants that weren’t necessarily needs.   with what the Lord entrusts you. At a
        Again, our budget helped us to see what   minimum, tracking how you have spent
        we could change. Before the Lord, we   your  money  over  the  past  year  will
        determined a percentage of our income   likely be an eye-opening and spiritually
        that we wanted to give. We then tried to   fruitful exercise. “If then you have not
        adjust how our monthly expenditures
        were allocated in order to give more to   been faithful in the unrighteous wealth,
        the Lord. “Honor the Lord with your   who will entrust to you the true riches?”
        wealth and with the firstfruits of all your   (Luk 16:11).
        produce” (Pro 3:9).                   ² Beyond the simple use of an Excel spreadsheet,
        Why Is Budgeting Neglected?           some potential online tools or apps to help you
                                              budget include YNAB, PocketGuard, Mint and
          Some individuals’ personalities are   Wally.

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