Has this ever happened to you?
Everything is trucking along well in your life as far as finances go. You and your spouse are employed. Your bills are being paid. You aren’t too worried about money. So far, so good.
Then one day, you find yourself in a conversation with a colleague about plans for retirement. Retirement?!
Or your best friend from your childhood invites you unexpectedly to a destination class reunion.
Or the refrigerator dies for the last time.
Or all three on the same day!
How does this make you feel? Are you still feeling confident? Are you struck by the anxiety of not being sure you can weather the ensuing financial upheaval?
In my experience, in addition to seeking the Lord’s guidance by staying faithful in prayer, there is one fail-proof way to mentally prepare yourself for life’s financial twists and turns: A BUDGET!
Stay with me here…
A budget is a plan for spending and saving money. It is not inherently positive or negative, but rather a fantastically simple tool that packs a big punch! Are you excited yet?! (If you know me in real life, you know I’m being genuine in my excitement for all things calculator-y…!)
Here are 5 ways a budget can truly help you live a better life:
1. A budget can guide you in setting and reaching your financial goals.
It is really hard to reach a goal that hasn’t been set! By identifying what you have to work with and how money flows in and out of your household, you can be more realistic in setting goals for your family’s future.
2. A budget can guide your spending according to your priorities.
In a nutshell, allocating a certain amount of money to certain spending and savings categories keeps your priorities in check. Conversely, by not tracking your spending, you may end up buying $100 worth of “fancy” coffee when it turns out your priorities included a $100 contribution to your 401k. Also, being aware of your spending habits can motivate you to find creative ways to save money, or to capitalize on extra earning opportunities.
3. A budget can help you build wealth.
Reducing or eliminating debt and starting to save money is such a gratifying endeavor. By organizing your spending now, you can improve your financial stake in the near future.
4. A budget is the most basic tool in planning for retirement.
Starting to save for retirement early, in combination with being debt free by retirement time (or way earlier!), can be instrumental in having a comfortable retirement.
5. A budget provides peace of mind.
Once you get into the habit of updating your budget, you’ll know with certainty whether or not it’s wise to plan a vacation or purchase a home. It can reduce your anxiety just to be able to make an informed financial decision and be confident in it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg! I’m excited to share more practical tips on making your budget work for you in future posts.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
What does having a budget mean to you? Comment below or join in our Facebook conversation!
Gracia y paz,
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