Budgeting. It’s not always pleasant, but it is very helpful. If you find yourself with no month left at the end of the money, try putting everything down on paper. That is what I did, and I cannot tell you how informative it was. Look at receipts, go over your bank account, look at what is going out and start writing everything down. It may take a week or even two weeks to complete your list. Take your time and if you think of something else, pull up your saved list and add it. When you are confident you have added everything, take a careful look. I am confident you will find ways to cut back and save money.
When I was a much younger mother, each month I would plan and write, an entire month’s worth of meals, plus the grocery list. I would do most of the month’s shopping in one trip. Back then there was only one grocery store in the valley that offered great prices and that was Food 4 Less in a neighboring county. Wendell would go with me; typically, we found a babysitter and we went crazy. It would take several hours including drive-time. I would then divide my month’s “fresh groceries” grocery money into 4 envelopes: one per week. I found, for me, it helped me stay on track and helped me save money.
Living on a budget means we are aware of our financial status, and we have aligned our spending as such. God wants us to be good stewards of our money. That will typically mean budgeting.
The Bible does not use the word budget, but it talks a lot about stewardship.
A steward was a person who had been put in charge of overseeing the property, money, and even the family, of a wealthy employer. Stewards were expected to manage well, as the master of the house expected his money to increase and his property to be well-maintained. You can read of such a story in Matthew.
“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’” Matthew 25:14–30 The Message Version
Joseph was a steward to Potiphar in Genesis 39:2–6. Although a slave, Joseph earned the trust of his master and was put in charge of all that he owned. Later, after he became Pharaoh’s assistant, Joseph showed excellent stewardship in storing up the grain of Egypt so that the country would survive the coming famine.
We are currently studying Joseph in Women in the Word. He was such a faithful young man. And we can see God’s hand in this story. Read more in Genesis 41:39–41. We could say that Joseph budgeted the grain to make it last.
The book of Proverbs has much to say about economic issues, including the wisdom of saving money and the folly of squandering it.
“The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.” Proverbs 21:20. This proverb implies having a budget.
For Christians, budgeting reminds us that our lives are not our own. All we have been given is on loan from God, and He expects a return on His investment.
Look at the parable in Luke 12:47–48. “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” NKJV
Our resources are to be used wisely, and budgeting helps us be wiser.
In our busy world, budgeting time is also a biblical concept.
Ephesians 5:15–16 says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” - ESV
And John 9:4, “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.” - NLV
Budgeting is a means of exercising self-control, a fruit of the Spirit that makes us more fruitful in our service to the Lord Galatians 5:22. (Source: GotQuestions.org)