Creating a Budget
Creating a Budget
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.” Luke 14:28-29 NLT
Jesus tells us time and time again to count the cost. While He is referring to counting the cost of discipleship, He also makes it clear that this principle is not just for spiritual things, but material ones as well. In order to explain the spiritual principle of counting the cost of following Him, Jesus uses the analogy of counting the cost of constructing a building. When it comes to making a budget, God tells us that we must count the cost of living expenses. The importance of making sure we do well with our money is that it is not ours; it’s God’s. We don’t want to be like a builder who starts constructing a building but then runs out of money before he has completed the building, but unfortunately, many of us are living this way on a regular basis. We get our pay check and then before you know it, you have spent it all and still have not gotten everything you need to make ends meet. This happens because, like the builder, we did not properly count the cost and allot our money to right places. God has provided for us, but we have not done well in planning and taken care of what He has given us. With that said, it’s never too late to start a budget! If you’ve never had a budget before or have fallen out of the habit of keeping a budget, this can seem like a daunting task, but with some prayer and a little bit of hard work, you’ll have a budget and be “counting the cost” in no time!
Basically, a budget enables you to tell your money where to go instead of it just disappearing (we all know that feeling!). By looking at your income and then listing all your expenses, you are able to see where all your income is going and to make adjustments. One of the best things about making a budget is that as your life changes, you are able to make changes to where you allot your money. For instance, if you spend $75 per week on groceries, but then have a baby, you are able to make adjustments accordingly because your faithfulness in paying off your credit card has just freed you up another $100 per month. A budget also allows you the ability to attack your debt. Once one debt is paid, then the money you were paying on it can be added onto the amount you’ve already budgeted for another debt. Thirdly, a budget will not only help you get out of debt, but it will keep you out of debt and prevent you from accruing more debt! That sounds like a good plan to me!
The first place to start when making a budget is to start small. Budget for one month. List your income, spouse’s income, etc. Then list all expenses: tithe, medical insurance, mortgage/rent, utilities, taxes, phone, food, car payment, gas, credit cards, student loans, date nights, etc. Some amounts will be fixed (like your mortgage/rent), while others are adjustable (groceries, gas, etc.) If you have never made a budget before, take one month to write down everything that you spend so you can see where your money is going. If you don’t like where it is going ($50 to Dunkin Donuts, for example), make sure you adjust your budget accordingly. After you have figured out the amount that you can spend for each expense item, do whatever it takes to stick to it! *Side note- make sure your expense DO NOT exceed your income* Also, it’s important to budget you tithe because that way, you will never miss it!
Ultimately, we have money because God has given it to us to accomplish His purposes on this earth. Once we learn to budget well and take care of what God has given us, we will begin to see that He truly has given us above and beyond anything we could ever hope or dream!
To download a budget worksheet or look at our other budgeting resources visit http://www.ashfordchurch.org/GIVING/Budget-Resources/